In a statement from the President’s Office, administrative officials outlined their decision to decline the suspending of tenure as outlined by a recently proposed Kansas Board of Regents policy. Provost David Cordle said universities are better equipped to handle issues like tenure themselves.
“While we appreciate the fact that the Board of Regents is trying to create more flexibility to deal with budget challenges, we feel we have very good policies in place to deal with these issues by working together,” Cordle said. “(Faculty input is) very important...those of us that have been in higher education for a while have come to understand how useful shared governance can be.”
While the proposed changes to tenure policy were optional for universities, Cordle stated he is firmly convinced the university is much better off as things stand.
“This was an initiative that the regents undertook themselves and I remain firmly convinced we are much better off (as we are),” Cordle said.
While the policy specifics are of recent discussion, debates regarding tenure practice have a long history.
“I am a big advocate for tenure,” Cordle said. “I think it’s one of the features of higher education that makes colleges and universities strong. I would also say to you that there is a lot of misunderstanding about what tenure is and what it means. There is often a perception that It is a guaranteed job for life, but it is not that. It is a feature that provides some protection for faculty members so that they can freely pursue their research and teaching in academia without fear of interference. Tenure is a program that has worked well for us and one that I think will continue to work well.”
Faculty Senate president, Sandra Valenti, said KBOR did not reach out or take any other collaborative efforts in drafting the policy.
“Every institution has its own compositions and people personalities... so it’s another reason for us to talk amongst ourselves and to know what’s happening best in our own kitchen,” Valenti said. “No collaborative effort was made (with us) during the making of the bill...but we need to move on from here.”