Tenure Has Become a Civil Service Style Essay

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Tenure has become a civil service style protection for academic faculty and provides "legal contours, including property and liberty interest as well as contract principles and procedural rights" (Olivas, 1997). but, over the last decade, where public interest is focused on accountability, post-tenure review processes have become a hot topic. Several court cases have helped shape the process for accountability in post-tenure reviews, both for the faculty member and the institutions. Some argue that tenure adds burdens to institutions and creates mediocrity environments, where others argue that teachers need freedom to grow and require intellectual and didactic latitude to accomplish demanded tasks (Hill, 2010).

Tenure was designed to give teachers academic freedom, or the freedom to conduct research and publish the results as well as freedom to discuss their subjects (subject to adequate performance of duties) in the classrooms (Academic Freedom, 2013). Once a teacher had completed a required probationary period of teaching, they were eligible for tenure, which was for indefinite periods of time that created job security. Academic freedom, the fundamental principal, which came with tenure, awarded the teacher the right to conduct research, publish the results, and discuss their subjects with students in the classroom without fear of reprisal. The 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure states:

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"Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition" (Hill, 2010).

Case law, such as Perry v. Sindermann [408 U.S. 593 (1972)], formalized and legally defined tenure (Hill, 2010). It provided legal guidelines for property and liberty rights of faculty. The most significant legal source regarding tenure is the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). AAUP has become the voice of professors in the legality of post-tenure review, even though it does not have legal authority.

TOPIC: Essay on Tenure Has Become a Civil Service Style Assignment

Where institutions and administrators argue that tenure adds burden and creates mediocrity, others argue tenure is necessary for professional development of faculty to attract new students and other faculty members (Hill, 2010). Still others feel that tenure is being weakened by replacing full-time faculty with part-time faculty and more than half of full-time faculties are hired for non-tenure positions (Lasko, 2006). Some ethical dilemmas have occurred due to historical acceptance of some degree of misbehavior or incompetence among tenured professors because the costs of prevention outweigh the benefits. Professors have special obligations in communities where their profession is judged by their actions and words. With public pressure for accountability, some states have adopted post-tenure review polices for institutions of higher education.

Under Texas State law, the Education Code outlines polices for higher learning institutions to use in adopting their own post-tenure review policies (Sec. 51.942. Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty, 1998). The code requires faculty to be subject to evaluation process no more often than once a year and not less often than once every six years. The evaluation is required to be based on professional responsibility in teaching, research, service, patient care, and administration as well as include peer review. The evaluation is directed toward professional development and incorporates commonly recognized due process rights. This includes notice of the review, the manner of scope of the evaluation, opportunity to provide documentation during the process and before, (subject to disciplinary action on basis of evaluation conducted), notice of specific charges, and opportunity for hearing the charges.

The faculty member may be subject to revocation of tenure or other appropriate disciplinary action if incompetency, neglect of duty, or other good cause is determined to be present. Neglect of duty is defined as, "continuing or repeated substantial neglect of professional responsibilities" (Sec. 51.942. Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty, 1998). In case of subjectivity to termination on the basis of evaluation, the member must be given the opportunity for referral of the matter to a nonbinding alternative dispute resolution process… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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