Saturday, October 24, 2015

Lincoln's Tenure and Promotion Policy

This week’s blog narrows its focus from general teaching issues to one specific—and extremely important—policy at Lincoln:  Promotion and Tenure.  

The PTS committee, in its effort to ensure the integrity of a stellar professorate at Lincoln University, has reviewed the current promotion, tenure, and sabbatical processes. As a result it is circulating this recommended modification for faculty review and input
At the request of the PTS Committee, I am asking you, whatever your rank and years of service at Lincoln, to read the revised PTS policy first presented in March of 2015 for faculty review

and make suggestions for improvement.   
What, for you, are the essential issues this policy should include? Are they included?  Do you agree with the rating categories for promotion and with the separation of tenure and promotion? I look forward to a spirited debate.


  1. I admit that I have not read the whole promotion and tenure document; however, a cursory glance suggests subjectivity or even arbitrariness in some of the policy decisions; for example, with respect to criteria, weights and minimum scores.

    The revised PTS policy seems to be an attempt to quantify qualitative criteria, and there is something to be said for that; but, without justification, it comes across as arbitrary. What, for example, is the definition of "serious consideration" as used in the document; and how is it different from "consideration"?

    Strictly speaking, "tenure" is described or characterized but not defined, in spite of appearances to the contrary. The claim that "Tenure is a means to certain ends" or "Tenure is a status earned" is not precise enough to count as a definition. An accurate definition will help resolve, for instance, the issue of separating tenure from promotion (among other things).

    Safro Kwame

  2. I agree that we should begin by defining tenure. Why do we have such a vague definition of tenure? Our document reads: "Tenure is a means to certain ends; specifically: “(1) Freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability” (Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors, 1940)." If my students submitted this as a definition I would refuse to grade it until they gave an actual definition!
    The current "definition" implies that you only have freedom to teach if you have tenure. What about all our adjuncts, lecturers, visiting professors etc? Don't they have freedom to teach?
    I my opinion, tenure should be defined as an " earned permanent faculty position (in a specific department)". The emphasis of our document should be on HOW tenure can be earned, including the time-frame requirements. I hope to add more on this topic later!