Sept. 30, 2010

Report calls for post-tenure review policy modifications

by Erin Rosacker

A Faculty Senate task force assigned to review Iowa State's post-tenure review policy issued its findings and recommendations in a Sept. 8 report. The group was assembled last year by then-senate president Arnold van der Valk.

ISU's policy was adopted in 1999, in response to a request by the state Board of Regents for its development. The task force report pointed out that the policy's wording was deliberately general to give departments flexibility in enforcement. However, it said "the vagueness of [the policy] has resulted in the policy being largely ignored, ineffective and without consequences, whether positive or negative."


As part of the study, the task force examined post-tenure review policies and procedures at other schools. It also considered the position of published opinions and select governing bodies -- such as the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Universities.

In addition to a pair of senior tenure-track faculty members, the task force also included representatives from the Faculty Senate, department chair's council, dean's council and office of the executive vice president and provost. The group made six recommendations for modification of the current policy, including:

  • Establish a consistent assessment of post-tenure achievement
  • Develop an effective formative and evaluative review process of faculty performance
  • Shorten review intervals from seven to five years
  • Include external peer review in the process
  • Tie salary step increases to "superior" reviews
  • Link annual departmental reviews of the PRS (personal responsibility statement) to the frequency of post-tenure reviews

Senate president Micheal Owen told senators at last week's meeting that the report was accepted by the executive council and forwarded to another senate task force working on promotion and tenure procedures.

"They will report to us in the future if they feel that our current post-tenure review policy needs to be modified," he said. "We may be dealing with that in the near future."