[EAS]Post-Tenure Reviews

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Oct 23 16:32:48 EDT 2002

Mail*Link¨ SMTP               Post-Tenure Reviews

Dear Colleagues -

Tenure usually elevates faculty into the higher levels of governance
in their home institution and their world-wide professional peer
group. Sometimes they respond with great enthusiasm to this new
dimension of political identity and power, this new cherished asset,
which they like to show off, to polish, to use to send a message:
"Look at me, they say, I've managed to become myself, to be
distinct, unique, unlike you."

All usually to the detriment of thoughtful intellectual contribution
within their institution, especially to the, by then, even more
"unlike" undergraduate education aspects. One realizes with wonder
the degree to which faculty can live in parallel, largely
disconnected, universes within the same institution, even the same
department. Such communication as does take place between such
universes is a complex polyglotism of several different languages,
each useful to transmit a different meaning and to communicate about
a different type of specialization.

Assessing intellectual contribution _within_ the institution strikes
me as one of several good reasons for instituting post-tenure review
processes, the subject of this mailing on the Tomorrow's Professor


Date: 10/23/02 5:37 AM
From: Rick Reis
"...academic departments like to think that they hire well, evaluate 
well early on, and award tenure to people who will function well to 
the end of their careers."
	       "desk-top faculty development, one hundred times a year"


The posting below looks at the development of posttenure review and 
the many different forms it is now taking.  It is from Chapter 1, Why 
is development of tenured faculty a concern? in Posttenure Faculty 
Development, Building a System for Faculty Improvement and 
Appreciation, by Jeffrey W. Alsete. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report 
Volume 27. Number 4, Adrianna J. Kezar, series editor. Prepared and 
published by JOSSEY-BASS, A Wiley Company, San Francisco. Copyright © 
2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Rick Reis
reis at stanford.edu
UP NEXT: Balancing Teaching and Research

			Tomorrow's Academia

	----------------------------- 1,906 words ---------------------------


Jeffrey W. Alsete

pp. 8-11.

In 1986, one writer believed that performance evaluation for tenured 
faculty was so controversial that it could not be discussed openly in 
most colleges and universities (Reisman, 1986). He compared it with 
the situation that occurs in psychotherapy when patients ignore a 
central reality, one that seems obvious and important, in their 
personal situation; therapists refer to it as "the elephant in the 
room" (p.73). Although many universities had some form of performance 
evaluation of faculty-annual reviews for salary increments, students' 
evaluation of courses, periodic reviews for promotion, for 
example-only a small number of universities actually had a formal 
institutional policy. The Association of American Colleges (AAC) and 
the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which 
sponsored the Commission on Academic Tenure in 1971, recommended 
corrections for the deficiencies in the tenure system (Bennett and 
Chater, 1984); several recommendations were related to evaluating 
tenured faculty members. Posttenure review began to really emerge as 
an issue in the early 1980s.

In 1982, the National Commission on Higher Education Issues 
identified posttenure review as a major issue facing higher education 
and recommended that a system of peer review be developed on campuses 
to help ensure faculty members' competence and to strengthen 
institutional quality (Licata, 1986). At the urging of the American 
Council on Education, a Wingspread Conference on periodic evaluation 
of tenured faculty was held in 1983 in cooperation with the AAUP 
(Reisman, 1986). The conference invited both proponents and opponents 
(such as the AAUP) of posttenure review to voice their beliefs. 
Harold Shapiro, then president of the university of Michigan, pointed 
out faculty members' fundamental concerns about this issue, noting 
that tenure is an anchor so ingrained in faculty perceptions of their 
roles that the academic community would be diminished and even 
ruptured by posttenure review. In fact, he went so far as to say that 
it is suspect for a university administrator or trustee to even 
speculate formally about the subject. Although it appeared that the 
elephant in the room was still invisible to many attendees at the 
Wingspread Conference, Shapiro concluded that periodic evaluation of 
tenured faculty was good personnel policy and can play a nurturing 
role in faculty development (Reisman, 1986). The awarding of and 
continued existence of tenure is not really the central issue in the 
current debates about tenure. The real issues today are honest 
faculty evaluation, including posttenure review; adequate faculty 
development, including posttenure development; and termination when 
appropriate, linked to effective evaluation (Perley, 1995). This 
monograph includes examples of how posttenure review and faculty 
development can work together, yet not be formally connected, to 
improve faculty instruction, intellectual contributions, and service.

Professor Charles M. Larsen was actually the one who introduced a 
"different kind of posttenure review, a system better termed 
development" (Reisman, 1986, p.76). Larson believed that the focus of 
such a review would be on the positive goals of faculty support and 
improvement, not just on the negative procedures designed to weed out 
individuals who may not be living up to their responsibilities.  The 
concept of using performance evaluation for developmental purposes 
rather than for decisions about promotion, salary, or termination is 
not a new concept in the education literature, and the idea of two 
types of evaluation is discussed in a series of articles appearing in 
the 1960s (Reisman, 1986, p.77). A distinction can be made between 
formative evaluation designed to provide useful feedback to guide an 
ongoing activity designed for improvement and summative evaluation 
"aimed at answering a question in a final or terminal way" (Geis, 
1977, p.25).  Similarly, two types of posttenure review have been 
termed "self evaluation" (formative) and "formal evaluation" 
(summative (Sullivan, 1977, pp. 130-148).  An earlier ASHE-ERIC 
Higher Education Report offered an overview of the factors 
influencing posttenure review, stated the support and opposition, and 
gave then current examples at colleges and universities (Licata, 
1986).  The report concluded that faculty development programs should 
be linked to a posttenure evaluation system. In other words, the 
formative should be linked to the summative.  This strategy, while 
logical at first reading, goes against established management theory 
stating that evaluation should be separate from development (Meyer, 
Kay, and French, 1965). Research has shown that it is unrealistic to 
expect a single performance appraisal program to take care of all 
employee and institutional needs.  A linked strategy would force the 
evaluator into a self-conflicting role as a counselor (trying to help 
improve faculty performance) while at the same time presiding as a 
judge over the action to be taken on the same professor's salary. 
Separating the two functions could also avoid the potential problem 
with some faculty who may set their professional development goals 
too low if they know serious consequences would result from not 
achieving them.  A later work also discusses the need for posttenure 
review and expands the definition to include five different methods:

1. Annual reviews-A short-term performance assessment that is common 
at many institutions and is often linked to merit pay. In some 
settings, these reviews are perfunctory and not effective at 
providing feedback for long-term career development and overall 

2. Summative (periodic/consequential)-A comprehensive review of all 
tenured faculty conducted periodically. Improved plans are used and 
the results are assessed with consequences for nonperformance.

3. Summative (triggered/consequential)-The comprehensive review of 
selected tenured faculty that is usually triggered by unsatisfactory 

4. Formative (departmental)-A review centering on the establishment 
of a professional development plan emphasizing the institution's 
needs and individual faculty members' career interests. Developed 
with the department head or dean.

5. Formative (individual)-Periodic review of all tenured faculty 
focusing on specific performance areas and long-term career goals. 
This option does not question competence and does not include formal 
personnel action (Licata and Morreale, 1997).

According to Licata and Morreale, the most useful system of 
posttenure review is a combination of Option 2 
(summative-periodic/consequential) and Option 4 
(formative-departmental) (p.36). Other research has shown that 
performance evaluation of tenured faculty is perceived (by a survey 
of department chairs and administrators) to be more effective than 
reports completed by faculty or departmental reviews, and that 
developmental reviews are perceived to be more effective than those 
tied to salary reviews (Reisman, 1986). In addition, faculty 
performance in scholarship or research is believed to be more easily 
influenced by development strategies than the teaching or service 
components of faculty performance, probably because research by its 
nature can be more easily quantified that the more ambiguous quality 
assessment of postsecondary teaching and service to the community. 
Critics of posttenure evaluation and development must understand that 
it is the performance (usually research, teaching, and service) of 
the tenured individual under evaluation (or development), not the 
tenure of the individual (Bennet and Chater, 1984). Although tenure 
itself is indeed under attack in many ways, it is more often a change 
or addition to tenure-such as adding posttenure review 
procedures-that is occurring today. One recent survey of 680 colleges 
and universities found that 61% of respondents had a posttenure 
review policy in place and that another 9% had such a policy under 
development (Harris, 1996).

These numbers are not surprising, given the increase in the public's 
calls for accountability and the decrease in budgets at many state 
colleges and universities. (Goodman, 1994). In addition, the 
federally mandated uncapping of the retirement age for college and 
university faculty that went into effect January 1, 1994, has added 
to the reasons that posttenure review is becoming more common. Many 
faculty are understandably worried, for "tenure does not provide an 
absolute right to continue employment. The periodic review of faculty 
performance is one manner of addressing the ever present need to 
ensure excellence in the university" (Olswang and Fantel, 1980, p. 
30). Moreover, periodic reviews would not violate academic freedom, 
despite the pleas of many faculty to keep tenure as it is (Olswang 
and Fantel, 1980). Nevertheless, a faculty member at Colorado College 
points out that a system of formal posttenure review would cause the 
faculty to become angry (Cramer, 1997), believing that tenure review 
is a very high stress time for individuals and that academic 
departments like to think that they hire well, evaluate well early 
on, and award tenure to people who will function well to the end of 
their careers (see also Brittain, 1992).

The AAUP is moving toward a more positive opinion of posttenure 
review, with faculty development as the primary goal. The 
association's current policy, adopted in 1983, states that periodic 
formal evaluation of tenured faculty would bring little benefit and 
would incur unacceptable costs in money and time, and reduce 
creativity and collegial relationships (American Association of 
University Professors, 1997). The association also believes it could 
threaten academic freedom. A more recent report on the subject, 
however, issued by the AAUP's Committee on Academic Freedom and 
Tenure, admits that posttenure review is rapidly becoming a reality 
and that the association might as well create a set of guidelines for 
the establishment of a system for the periodic evaluation of tenured 
faculty (American Association of University Professors, 1997). The 
report states that if such a system is designed and implemented by 
the faculty in a form that properly protects academic freedom and 
tenure, it could offer a way of evaluating tenured faculty that 
supports professional development as well as professional 
responsibility. Subsection IV.B. of "Standards for Good Practice in 
Post-Tenure Review" suggest that posttenure reviews should be 
developmental and supported by institutional resources for 
professional development or a change in career direction (p.11). The 
AAUP also suggests that if a formal development plan is used instead 
of posttenure review, the faculty and institution should mutually 
create the plan. The AAUP seems to support the separation of 
evaluation and development.  It makes sense that a formal system of 
posttenure review that has strong consequences for nonperformance not 
be tied to a professional development plan. Thus, faculty could plan 
high achievement goals with less fear of repercussion if they do not 
achieve those high goals.

As for faculty that are tenured, the continuous review through a 
formal evaluation and faculty development planning systems could be a 
constructive way to maintain the vitality of senior professors in a 
rapidly changing environment (Rice, 1996). It should be a time for 
feedback and acknowledgement from colleagues, supervisors, and others 
in a profession that is usually very private. Once a faculty member 
has achieved tenure and been promoted, fewer regular opportunities 
may occur for self-analysis. These processes of reviewing senior 
faculty have "the potential for supporting resilient careers and the 
adaptability of faculty for what should be the capstone of their 
professional lives" (p.31). Senior professors are not the only 
faculty who made need posttenure review and development, however. 
Relatively younger tenured faculty occasionally may not be interested 
in research, intellectual contributions, and, in general, changing 
their professional environment  to help improve their performance and 
the institution-which may be one of the reasons that posttenure 
review policies are becoming more popular today in different types of 
institutions (Magner, 1996). Some of the impetus has come from state 
legislators, board of trustees, and colleges and universities 
themselves. A common theme in many of the articles, reports, and 
statements about posttenure review is the importance, when assessing 
practices of evaluation, of determining a program's outcomes and 
effectiveness in promoting faculty development and productivity 
(Licata and Morreale, 1997; Neal, 1988). Clearly, a need exists to 
look further at the development of responsible and effective faculty 
evaluation and development systems that consider enhancing the growth 
of the faculty member (Rifkin, 1995).

References available on request.

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