Join the discussion
your opinion of post-tenure review at Emory? Should internal
resources such as University Research Committee grants be closed
to senior faculty? Can Emory support its faculty without reducing
the motivation to push the envelope?
Risk & Reward
what you need as a faculty member
Money and Biomedicine
academic physician's ambivalence
Samuel C. Dudley, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
could do some things here that I couldn't do at other established
seats of power
Worthman, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and
director of the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology
Charles Darwin had wanted to be comfortable, he never would have
taken the voyage on the HMS Beagle.
Wallen, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and Behavioral
Academic Exchange September
1999 Contents Page
Scholars often say they came
to the academy because of a passion--to sift through the rubble
of pitched political battle, to shed new light on an age-old
scientific mystery, to untangle the knotty language of a provocative
But what happens when a faculty member loses that passion for
teaching and learning and the vocation becomes merely a job?
How does an institution safeguard against a decline in productivity,
against mediocre work?
Some institutions have turned to post-tenure review as one answer.
State legislatures have begun requiring many public universities
to adopt such procedures in response to public pressure to scrutinize
the system of tenure. It's a controversial practice: advocates
say it defends and strengthens tenure in light of this scrutiny,
while opponents argue that it threatens academic freedom by questioning
a tenured professor's work.
Last year, The American Association of University Professors
(AAUP) weighed in on the direction of post-tenure review, backing
away from its prior position of dismissing the notion altogether.
The aaup opposes any kind of formal, periodic review that could
jeopardize tenure and offers "minimum standards for good
practice," such as involving faculty in designing and conducting
and not using post-tenure review as "a re-evaluation or
revalidation of tenured status." Moves to revoke tenure
on the grounds of incompetence should be a separate process,
the organization states.
Whether it's called by that name or not, each of Emory's nine
schools practices some form of post-tenure review, although the
procedures vary in rigor and implication. In the medical school,
for instance, tenured faculty undergo a highly structured review
three years after promotion to associate professor, then subsequently
every five years. These reviews include a detailed dossier of
activities, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, and proposed
goals and objectives. The dossier is evaluated in a formal meeting
with the faculty member by a committee of other faculty.
Theology school tenured faculty also undergo a five-year review.
The faculty member presents a portfolio for review by two peers,
followed by several conversations with the dean and associate
dean for faculty development. A letter to the review candidate
summarizing those conversations then becomes the basis for the
In the law school, post-tenure review consists of an annual assessment
by the dean. According to Nathaniel Gozansky, associate dean,
the law faculty has discussed establishing a peer review process
that would take place every three to five years, but, he adds,
"at this time those are very preliminary
Post-tenure review at
Routine reviews are prompted by possible promotion or merit increase
of salary. The department, dean, academic senate committees,
and chancellor or vice chancellor contribute to the process.
Criteria are teaching, research and creative work, professional
competence and activity, and university and public service. The
review can determine the level of merit increase or the promotion.
of Wisconsin at Madison
Reviews are conducted at least every five years by one or more
tenured faculty in the department. The outcome is a set of goals
agreed upon by the faculty member and the review committee. These
vary widely but might include spending more time on teaching,
broadening research to areas with greater potential for extramural
funding, or contributing more to the department's outreach mission.
The dean's request for the faculty member's statement on past
work and a five-year plan initiates the five-year review. A conversation
follows between the faculty member and the dean, who is advised
by a small committee that also meets with the faculty member.
While issues or concerns may be raised, the process does not
have pre-determined outcomes. D.T.