Board of Regents hears ideas on post-tenure review

By Trigie Ealey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 4, 1996

Karen C. Tully
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Student Regent Jonathan Schmitt discusses post-tenure reviews at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting Friday morning. The meeting took place at ASU's Memorial Student Union.


The Arizona Board of Regents, meeting Friday on the campus of Arizona State University, discussed the post-tenure review proposals of the state's universities.

The post-tenure review documents were written by the Faculty Senates of ASU Main, ASU West, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona at the direction of the regents. Each university completed its own study of the issue. The board's staff compiled a matrix of the common elements from the reports.

The regents will use the matrix as a guide to draft board policy on post-tenure review. The universities will then have the opportunity to implement their own policies complying with board's policy.

Some of the common elements included in the annual reviews are measurements of teaching, scholarship, service and overall performance over a preceding 36-month review period. The annual reviews of teaching will include student input, including evaluation of classroom performance.

Unsatisfactory performance in one area will require the faculty member to enter into a faculty development plan. The faculty member has one year to improve or could be required to enter into a performance improvement plan. A performance improvement plan can also be required if the faculty member has been found to be overall unsatisfactory. A faculty member who fails to improve by reaching designated "benchmarks" will face dismissal for just cause.

Student Regent Jonathan Schmitt said it seemed excessive that it takes literally years for an instructor with a teaching deficiency to improve.

"With the one year for annual review, a faculty development plan plus three years for improvement plans, that is five years," Schmitt said. "As a student, I will have graduated by then. Three semesters should be enough to improve a teaching deficiency."

John Schwarz, Arizona Faculties Council representative to the board, said the three-year time frame for improvements is the maximum. In most cases, he said the time frame would be a year to a year and a half.

Regent John F. Munger said he understood the need for flexibility in the time limits, but he feared legal troubles if a faculty member was only given one year to improve.

"A faculty member is going to say, 'Well, I need three years,'" he said. "Probably in every case, they are going to say that. I think we need a specific plan."

He said he supported one-year plans, with provisions for exceptions. He said he did not want the universities to have to prove they were not "arbitrary and capricious."

While having benchmarks to measure improvements is good, he said they do not help students.

Schmitt also brought up student evaluations, which is not mentioned in the individual universities' documents.

"Not only should student input be considered, but post-tenure reviews should contain and seriously con-sider student input," he said.

Regent Donald Ulrich held up an Arizona Daily Wildcat article and questioned the logic of disregarding the views of students.

"I have never heard of asking the customer about what is wrong with our service or our business and then when they tell you, you say great but we aren't going to pay any attention to it," Ulrich said.

The report, with modifications as directed by the board, will be brought back to the regents for its Dec. 10 meeting at the UA.

In other action, the regents: