Faculty senate eyes tenure policy review

Faculty senate plans to discuss concerns about proposed changes to tenure policy during their first meeting on Monday.

Tenure is a semi-permanent position granted to proven faculty members after a probationary period. Unease spiked after Tech’s Board of Trustees asked the provost to create a tenure-review policy.

Faculty members are concerned potential changes could jeopardize the job security tenure provides. 

“The purpose of tenure is to protect academic freedom – freedom of a professor to freely talk about the things the professor is an expert in without worrying about politics,” said Dr. Troy Smith, senate president.

A faculty member can apply for tenure at the start of their fifth or sixth year. If accepted, employment is assured until retirement or dismissal for adequate cause, according to the policy. Although potential changes are not definite, Smith said changes could allow tenured faculty to be reviewed regularly.

“People who don’t have tenure … they might be reluctant, not only to not talk in class about things, but they may also be reluctant to be involved in things such as Faculty Senate,” Smith said.