I keep seeing various articles around the web that call for a change in how tenure is granted, a move to recognize the new ways of scientific communication and the new things that we’re valuing–data sets, blogs, collaborative productions. I am interested to see what university really makes that change first and puts forth the paperwork that states that there will be the change in what is recognized. The majority of the Big Ten/CIC schools sent out that letter last month, which was very encouraging, but I’m waiting for Promotion and Tenure Committees and various faculty bodies to ratify new documents.
I know I’ve explained what reviews I’m up against at my place of work. If you’re interested in seeing the more formal documents that they hand out to job candidates, those are available here. One thing that you may note is that we have Clinical positions and Tenure Track positions. Clinical tenured positions are reviewed at three years and at eight years and are evaluated differently. There is more emphasis on practical publications and work and less on Research. There are a number of people in the technical services department that fall under clinical positions. Clinical faculty get fewer research days and less funding for conferences, but are not under quite the same publish-or-perish that the tenured faculty fall under. Other than that and with the exception of voting on promotion (tenure has to evaluate tenure track but I think tenure might also evaluate clinical? Clinical does not vote on final tenure track vote but is involved up until that vote), there isn’t supposed to be a difference between the two. When the library faculty meet, it’s both tenure and clinical.
We also have Academic Professionals–which is a non-tenured position but usually is a librarian. Because those positions fall neither under faculty or into the staff union, these positions are fewer and farther between. The University was working on trying to reclass those positions, not only at the library but across campuses. My understanding is there is not a specific promotional path for the APs.
Something I’d like to do when I find a spare couple of weeks (checks calendar of 2045) is to have a look at what are considered our peer institutions and see what their listed tenure requirements are and talk, if possible, with recently tenured faculty to find out what support they have. Add it to the whiteboard.