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KU Faculty Senate approves post-tenure policy

Published on -12/6/2013, 11:22 AM

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- After nearly a year of discussion, the Faculty Senate at the University of Kansas has approved a post-tenure review policy.

The policy accepted on Thursday removes most of the punitive language included in an earlier version, after some teachers expressed concerns in earlier meetings about possible administrative discipline against faculty that did not meet department expectations.

Kansas Provost Jeffrey Vitter and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little still must approve the policy, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/IvWBEJ ).

The Kansas Board of Regents in 2012 ordered state universities to devise a post-tenure review policy that would help faculty members "reach their full potential for contribution to the university."

The version approved Thursday sets up committees to evaluate tenured faculty every seven years. The senate rejected an alternate version proposed by Gerald Mikkelson, a professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, that would have limited the role administrators could have in post-tenure review and put the policy and review process almost exclusively under faculty control.

The approved proposal removes language included in earlier versions about disciplinary actions, including dismissal, for faculty members who don't satisfy an academic department's criteria. Faculty members said the Board Regents made no mention of dismissal procedures when they required the post-tenure review policies.

But Mikkelson said Thursday even the revised draft "opens a pathway" for school deans, the provost and other administrators to unilaterally use post-tenure review to discipline faculty.

Another controversy was over where the policy would be held. Many faculty wanted the policy in the faculty's own book of rules and regulations, rather than becoming part of the provost's policy library, which would put it under the direct control of administration. Opponents said that would allow administrators to change the policy without faculty input or approval.

The compromise approved Thursday keeps the post-tenure review policy with the provost's library but would require Faculty Senate approval of any changes.

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