Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

University Senate meeting set for discussion of tenure clock proposal

The University Senate has scheduled a meeting for Feb. 21 to discuss and consider a resolution regarding a proposal to increase the maximum allowable faculty tenure probationary period from eight to 10 years.

The Senate includes all professorial faculty (assistant, associate and full tenured or tenure-track professors), all librarians, primary research faculty with full-time appointments, executive officers and deans.

The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Forum Hall of Palmer Commons, and will follow a brief meeting of the Senate Assembly scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m.

The full Senate will be asked to consider the following resolution: "Whereas Regents Bylaw 5.09 was established sixty years ago as a University-wide policy, and that other alternatives than the proposed extension to the tenure clock may exist, resolved that the faculty of the University of Michigan oppose an extension of the tenure clock beyond that which is currently specified in Regents Bylaw 5.09."

Phil Hanlon, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, is considering the longer tenure clock, saying it could better meet the needs of today's tenure-track faculty. The Senate Assembly is on record as having "significant reservations" about the proposal.

The eight-year maximum tenure probationary period now in use was adopted by the Board of Regents in 1944. A change requires a vote of the regents because the maximum time is referenced in Regents Bylaw 5.09.

The change would not require any school or college to adopt a longer tenure probationary period, but would give more flexibility to units in which faculty want it. The governing faculty of each school or college will continue to decide the length of its probationary period.

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs has compiled background material on the issue that can be accessed at www.umich.edu/~sacua/tenure/02-11_tenuredocs.pdf.