UT Faculty Senate debates post-tenure review

The University of Tennessee met on Monday to discuss issues facing the faculty including resolutions to the new post-tenure review policy.

Those directly impacted by post-tenure review took the opportunity to discuss the recent policy mandated by the previous Board of Trustees during the University of Tennessee Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 15.

The new post-tenure review board policy requires additional review of all tenured faculty every six years. The former board passed the new policy in March.

In a Twitter thread Monday, the senate said “…the UTK Faculty Senate disapproves of the new PPPR/PTR Policy (BT 0006) and calls for the new Board of Trustees to review that policy decision.” Faculty Senate voted on a resolution to enact such a call for review.

According to the thread, the new policy could cost up to 1.2 million dollars in lost time. Additionally, the senate also said “[UTK] implemented an additional system of post-tenure peer review in the late 1990s similar to the new PTR/PPPR policy that was discontinued after five years.”

Though the senate approved the resolution, Faculty Senate President Misty Anderson stressed the vote does not change the new board policy and agrees to adjustments made in the template provided by the Board of Trustees.

“We’re bound by board policy,” Anderson said. “We, as a body, are supposed to approve handbook changes. This is our participation in that process.”

Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis address the faculty senate’s questions and comments at its meeting on Nov. 15 in Knoxville, TN. Photo/Ainsley Kelso

Since 2010, UT’s mission has focused on becoming a Top 25 public research university. With the new post-tenure review policy, questions arise regarding its effect on potential faculty researchers joining the university.

“I actually don’t think it will have any significant effect on that one way or the other,” Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis said. “I think most of our highly productive faculty are not going to view this as punitive. Therefore, it shouldn’t have any major negative effect. Where the effect is in the amount of time and effort expended by the faculty in the review process.”

As well as discussing the board policy, senators addressed the search for a new UT system president and chancellor as well as comments about Interim President Randy Boyd.

With Boyd’s recent appointment, questions remained regarding the time it will take to find candidates to fill the chancellor and system president roles.

“They have appointed Randy Boyd to a six month to two-year appointment,” Davis said. “So, I don’t believe there is any intent to do anything quickly on the president search.”

Boyd takes office Nov. 26.

Another senator asked when administration expects the new campus board appointments by Gov. Bill Haslam.

“I have been in communication with Gov. Haslam,” Davis said. “We have not received any official announcement as to when that process will be done, and we are at his mercy in that respect.”

The Board of Trustees next meeting is Nov. 2, followed by the Executive Council on Nov. 5 and the Faculty Senate on Nov. 19.

Featured Photo by Ainsley Kelso

Edited by Chelsea Babin