Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Oct. 24, 1997

Full faculty will vote on promotion and tenure plan

by Linda Charles

The Faculty Senate OK'd a full faculty vote on the proposed promotion and tenure policy during its October meeting.

Two factions debated whether the senate or the full faculty should vote on the promotion and tenure policy. Senate president Bill Woodman said that as the only elected body of the faculty, the senate should approve or disapprove the promotion and tenure policy. He said the senate's importance would be diminished if the vote were taken to the entire faculty.

"Do you want a strong senate or a weak senate?" he asked. But proponents of a full faculty vote said the issue was too important not to give each faculty member a chance to voice his or her opinion.

The original draft of the proposed promotion and tenure policy, unveiled during the spring semester, broadened the definition of scholarship and called for five-year reviews of tenured faculty. Parts of the draft were sharply criticized by faculty, and the ISU Committee to Review Promotion and Tenure Criteria and Procedures is revising it. A revised policy is expected to be ready later this semester.

President Martin Jischke, in remarks he made to the senate at the meeting, called promotion and tenure one of the key issues facing the university.

"I believe it is in the public's interest and in the interest of Iowa State University to support a system of tenure and the general framework of promotion as we now know it at ISU," he said.

But, Jischke added, it "would be wise" to consider some changes to the policy, specifically to ensure academic freedom for all faculty and students, not just those with tenure, and to provide post-tenure reviews, more flexible tenure criteria and professional development of all faculty and staff.

The president said tenure is difficult for the public to understand, and many view it negatively as "employment for life."

"This makes it all the more imperative that we take the lead in addressing the public's concerns, for if we don't, there are many others who will be happy to do it for us," Jischke said, "and we may not be pleased with what they propose."

Other key issues facing Iowa State, Jischke said, involve research and undergraduate education. He cited recent reports from the Task Force on Research and the Task Force on Undergraduate Education (see story on page 2), and called for campus discussion of both reports.

Jischke also fielded questions from the senators about Veishea. He said the problems stem from alcohol abuse and the large number of people who come to campus solely to party. He added that the notion that Veishea is a financial boon to the community is a myth.

In other business, the senators approved a policy for special grade-point averages. Under the policy, those who wish to require a special minimum grade-point average for a program will need to submit a rationale for the requirement and an equitable way to implement and evaluate it. The senate agreed to review the policy in two years.

The next senate meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in 260 Scheman. The meeting is open to the public.

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