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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student


BFC discusses promotion, tenure policy

The Bloomington Faculty Council made changes to the tenure and promotional policy for IU at a meeting Tuesday.

The first reading of the changed “Principles and Policies on Tenure and Promotion” occurred during the meeting, and small changes to the document were discussed.

“What this is is an effort, I think, to sort of comprehensively update the core policies,” BFC president Herb Terry said. “And we’re really bringing together policies that the faculty have adopted.”

The draft includes added paragraphs to the Statement of Principles section that further elaborate on IU principles, Claude Clegg, associate vice provost for Faculty
Development and Diversity, said during the meeting.

A policy to revisit and revise the document every five to seven years was also added.

“We imagined this document to be a living document,” Clegg said.

The BFC dedicated copious amounts of time to discussing the voting practices for tenure.

“Faculty members and administrators are ineligible to vote on promotion or tenure in review committees or unit meetings if they have not been substantively involved in the review process; including participation in deliberations related to the case,” the current
draft reads.

One faculty member said in the case of sabbatical or other academic obligations that require travel, faculty shouldn’t be penalized for missing the vote so long as they have been active participants throughout the whole process.

It was suggested a phrase similar to “material engagement with the case” be added to the sentence to allow for such a person to be included in the vote.

A set number has also been set for letters of recommendation for promotions.
Six external letters is the minimum, Clegg said.

“We’ve also opened up the range of letter writers,” Clegg said. “Typically, it’ll be expected that letter writers are from peer institutions. But there are instances that we can imagine a person not in academia who would be an appropriate letter writer.”

Clegg said non-academic letters should be a rare case.

Terry said they need to work out the issue out of those professors achieving tenure in a core school.

A core school is a school that is on more than one campus.

For instance, the Kelley School of Business has departments at both IU Bloomington and IUPUI, Terry said.

Currently, a faculty member’s tenure is only valid at one campus.

“If you get tenure in one of these core schools, you don’t have tenure in the school,” Terry said. “You have tenure in Bloomington or you have tenure at IUPUI.”
A standard set of metrics to evaluate faculty members for tenure and promotion is included in the ballot’s wording.

“Somebody said it’s a living document,” Terry said. “On the other hand, it has to be specific enough that when you’re hired to come here you know what you have to do, as best you can, in order to achieve tenure and get promoted.”

Follow reporter Kathrine Schulze on twitter @KathrineSchulze.

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