Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
August 28, 1998

Vrchota outlines senate's slate

by Linda Charles

As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Even though the faculty approved a promotion and tenure policy last spring, the Faculty Senate will find the policy on its agenda again this year, says new senate President Denise Vrchota, adjunct assistant professor of journalism and mass communication.

While a policy was approved by a general faculty vote spring semester, the policy also must be approved by the provost, president and Iowa Board of Regents, Vrchota noted.

"We were naive in thinking that just because the general faculty approved it, it would just go sailing through the provost's and the president's office and to the board of regents and everyone would say, 'Yes, yes' and pass it on," she said. "That has not become the case."

Officials in the provost's office spent the summer reviewing the policy and are recommending several changes, Vrchota said. Some are in wording to make the document read better or make it consistent with other policies, but some changes could be described as "substantial," Vrchota said.

The promotion and tenure policy expands the traditional definition of scholarship (research and artistic activities) to include creative activities, teaching and extension/professional practice. The policy also calls tenure "the keystone for academic freedom."

Narrowly defeated by the faculty vote was a policy that would have mandated a post-tenure review for faculty at least every seven years. That issue too is likely to surface on the senate's agenda during the coming year, Vrchota said.

"Post-tenure review needs to continue to be a concern, she said. "It would not be smart to not continue talking about it."

Vrchota added that she believes if the senate does not craft some sort of post-tenure review policy, it could be imposed on the faculty from outside sources.

Other items that will come before the senate this year, she said, include:

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