Tenure and Promotion Review Process Underway: Clarification a key goal

Glennis Nagel

A year-long look at tenure and promotion has resulted in recommendations for revised guidelines, according to Dr. Ken Nikels, chair of the Rank and Tenure Clarification Committee.

“The committee has worked on the rank and tenure documents since March, 2006, and has now completed its initial work,” he said. The revised documents have been sent to Dr. Finnie Murray, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs; Faculty Senate, deans and UNKEA.

“At this stage, we are seeking input from faculty regarding the documents,” Dr. Nikels said. Faculty may review the revisions and make suggestions, now through April 30.

The revised documents, which are comprised of nine sections, are available online at: http://www.unk.edu/academicaffairs/facultyhandbook/index.php?id=21712 Also available online are the current (unrevised) documents in the Faculty Handbook, for those who would like to make comparisons: http://www.unk.edu/academicaffairs/facultyhandbook/index.php?id=2937

“As faculty review the materials, they will note that the revised documents do not include an Appendix B,” Dr. Nikels noted. “That material has been incorporated into Section III: Faculty Academic Records.

“Faculty should provide comment, suggestions or questions to one of the committee members no later than April 30,” he said. Members of the Rank and Tenure Clarification Committee, and the unit they represent, include: Dr. Larry Kuskie, business & technology; Dr. Tuff Hilton, education; Dr. Anne Foradori, fine arts & humanities; Dr. Joe Benz, natural & social sciences; Mary Barton, library; Dr. Allan Jenkins, UNKEA; and Dr. Frank Harrold, Deans Council.

“There was some procedural ambiguity (in the original guidelines),” Dr. Nikels said. “We have a good committee. They have gone through the document carefully. They’ve really worked hard on this lengthy, sometimes tedious, process.” One of the major changes to the new guidelines is the elimination of the use of the terms “good,” “superior” and “outstanding” as applied to scholarship, research and service.

Secondly, colleges and departments will be developing their own criteria regarding promotion in rank and tenure. The criteria will go through an approval process. All college and departmental guidelines must conform to Board of Regents’ (BOR) policy, and must be approved by the affected faculty, the college dean, the senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Life, and the chancellor. Changes to UNK guidelines for post tenure review are included in the committee’s recommendations. Before, there was only BOR policy regarding post tenure review.

Noting that the committee’s research was comprehensive, extending outside UNK to the NU System and beyond, Dr. Nikels concluded, “I think that the new guidelines will help faculty.”