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Fall, 2010 Report

Theodore K. Miller (SPEA)
Charles S. Watson (SPHS)
Treasurer: Julie Bobay (Library)

Robert Eno:
Laura Ginger: (Business)
Moira Marsh:
Maxine Watson: (Biology)

Building a Faculty: Does Our Tenure Process Accomplish our Goals?

Faculty and Trustees
A Conversation With the Chancellor
New Lecturer and Clinical Policies

Following its tradition of providing opportunities for the airing of important issues on campus, the AAUP organized a Spring Forum on the topic, “Building a Faculty: Does Our Tenure Process Accomplish our Goals.”  The discussion extended from the procedural issue of how tenure criteria in our university handbook are determined and modified to the more substantive issues involving the criteria themselves. The Academic Handbook states that tenure at IU can be earned either by demonstrated excellence in research, teaching, or service or by near-excellence in all three areas, the “balanced case.”  What messages do our new faculty get from these criteria for tenure and from our present tenure granting process?  Tenure dossiers are typically weighty affairs.  Is the time consumed in the building of this massive collection of evidence by our young faculty well spent?  And, must a colleague be “collegial” to be tenurable?

Remarks from three panel members, David Zaret, Ben Brabson, and Susan Eklund started the discussion.  David is Professor of Sociology and Executive Associate Dean of COAS; Ben is Professor of Physics and President of the IUB chapter of AAUP, and Susan is Professor of Education and Associate Dean of the Faculties.   Bob Eno, President of the Bloomington Faculty Council, moderated the lively discussion.

The Procedural Issue: One recent event prompting this Forum topic was the recent circulation of a draft “Enhancement Plan” for the College, which proposed replacing current tenure expectations of excellence in one of the three areas of teaching, research, and service, or on the basis of the balanced case, by a “teacher-scholar” model, where tenure is granted only to outstanding researchers who are also excellent teachers, eliminating the balanced case option in the College.  During the discussion there was general agreement that changing the policy set forth in the Academic Handbook must proceed through the normal channels of faculty governance and approval of the Board of Trustees.  Though the weight given to individual tenure criteria is left to units to decide, all campus units must follow the stated policy.

Principle vs. Practice: David Zaret pointed out that while the stated principle of tenure is similar from one institution to another, there is considerable variability in how the principle is applied.  At IU, for example, the principle has been applied quite flexibly.  The practice of granting tenure has often included considerations of a balanced set of criteria and capabilities.  IU faculty work toward a performance level rather than against a quota and some three quarters of candidates achieve tenure.

The Teacher-Scholar Model: David explained the teacher-scholar model. He quoted Dean Subbaswamy’s formula: “Excellence in research is indispensable and uninspiring teaching is no longer tolerable.”  David suggested that this model, which does not suggest the possibility of tenure with less than outstanding research, gives a more accurate picture to new faculty of the standard route to a successful tenure review, at least in the College.  Shouldn’t new faculty at a research university be told explicitly that excellence in research is the sine-qua-non for tenure?

The University-Centered Model Ben Brabson argued for the recognition of faculty who contribute to the mission of the university in a variety of ways. University faculty are asked to be good at several things at the same time.  Being excellent researchers is not enough, in his view.  Faculty are asked to establish a research program, to lecture, to mentor both undergraduate and graduate students, to enhance the curriculum of their departments, to provide outreach for their students, to participate in the governance of the institution, to write letters of recommendation, to serve on university wide and departmental committees, and to work for the betterment of  their profession--all at the same time.

In the sciences excellent researchers often find  themselves at the  national  laboratories  where research alone is sufficient.  What tenure criteria best give new faculty the message that they are expected to contribute to the university mission in a variety of ways?  How, exactly, do new faculty develop the habit of contribution to all aspects of an excellent university?

Flexibility in Building a Faculty:  Susan Eklund made the case that a bargain is struck between the university and its faculty.  The university agrees to provide a secure employment environment where academic freedom protects novel and heterodox views.  In exchange, the faculty provide responsible research, teaching, and service conducted in an exemplary manner.  Though the usual tenure situation is research excellence, exceptionally COAS and the professional schools grant tenure at IU on the basis of the balanced case or excellence in teaching or service.  Susan provided some actual numbers. For example, some 15% of the cases in the Business School are granted on the basis of the balanced case, and even in the College, 4% of successful tenure cases are granted on the basis of the balanced case.

Extensive dossiers:  How do our elaborate procedures and extensive dossier expectations--designed to protect candidates and let them exhibit their strengths--actually shape our junior colleagues' career development and campus experience?  While David Zaret held in one hand the slim folder of a tenure dossier of the 1960s, Susan Eklund showed pictures of  trunk-size dossiers submitted this year.  Comments from members of the audience focused this part of the discussion.  The ideal dossier should reveal the “quality of mind” and an “understanding of the elements of a research program.”  Can we persuade our new faculty to present only their best work and can we convince ourselves that that is sufficient to allow us to assess their potential?

Collegiality: How should Bloomington respond to the growing national debate on whether “collegiality” should bear on tenurability?  Though most agreed that non-collegial behavior rising to a level that obstructs excellence in teaching, research, and service is unacceptable, there was deep concern about identifying collegiality as a separate category for tenure.  Given the vagueness of criteria for collegiality, such a category could be subject to abuse and become a threat to academic freedom.

Summary: Bob Eno closed the discussions with three observations: First, that campuses in the IU system have significantly different missions and that our criteria for tenure as stated in our Academic Handbook must be broad to be flexible enough to serve these different missions.  Second that by keeping our criteria broad, we are able to keep the people we really want to keep and construct a diverse and balanced faculty.  And third, if we want to build a faculty that can accomplish the complex mission of the campus, we must find ways to guide junior colleagues to develop as campus citizens, accommodating their needs to develop as teachers and grow into roles in the campus community as they establish the quality of their research.               
                                                                                                                                    - Ben Brabson, Physics

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Faculty and Trustees

For a number of years, the Bloomington AAUP has strongly backed legislative bills that would mandate faculty trustees for all Indiana institutions of higher education.  While previous bills have been killed without hearings by the state Senate leadership, despite bipartisan House support, this year, strong lobbying by the AAUP State Conference and sponsorship by influential Senate Republican Murray Clark brought the bill to a hearing in Senate Committee, where it was defeated by a single vote.  Mark Kruzan, author of previous faculty trustee bills, attached the bill to a different bill concerning residency requirements for IU trustees.  As this bill approached conference committee, very strong lobbying against the bill by state college and university administrations led to the removal of the faculty trustee language.

During this process, members of the University Faculty Council asked President Brand to enter into dialogue on the merits of the bill and the concept of faculty trustees.  President Brand explained his personal opposition, which he said could be subject to rethinking,  and stated that  although a member of the IU university community had spoken against the bill in hearings and our institutional lobbyist had made similar statements, IU was taking no position on the bill, and had declined to join with other institutions in a letter of opposition.

During UFC discussions with President Brand, he proposed a change of formal policy at IU that could produce many of the benefits the AAUP foresaw in having faculty trustees while avoiding what President Brand sees as the danger of boards losing the effectiveness of their public advocacy role by including as members institutional employees.  In recent years, it has been traditional that the senior co-secretary of the UFC (alternately the Faculty Council president of IUB and IUPUI) be invited to attend the executive sessions of IU trustee meetings, President Brand proposed that official policy be drafted providing that the co-secretary be included in all sessions by default, with certain limited exceptions, such as sessions or portions of sessions dealing with personnel, collective bargaining, or litigation issues, where, in many cases by statute, non-trustees cannot be present.

In March, the current UFC co-secretaries met with IU’s University Counsel to work out details, and President Brand has now proposed such an arrangement to the trustees, asking the UFC for prior endorsement.  It is understood by all involved at IU, that this arrangement is intended to serve as a state model.  If it broadly adopted, significant goals of the faculty trustee bill may be accomplished.


- Bob Eno, EALC

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A Conversation with the Chancellor

Faculty who attended the April 9 Spring meeting of the AAUP-Bloomington Chapter were treated to a frank and open discussion with Chancellor Brehm regarding her experiences and perspectives on academic freedom and faculty governance. Noting that some faculty will always have unpopular positions, Chancellor Brehm asserted that the university must protect all university citizens' right to express those positions, following the example of Herman B Wells’ defense of the right of Kinsey researchers to conduct human sexuality research in Indiana. While stressing the centrality of the principle of academic freedom to the business of the university, however, she gently probed some of the more challenging and interesting complexities that arise when the principle is applied to real-life situations. She explored some of the difficulties inherent in defending the rights of all people to express opinions, referring to some responses to the recent Benton mural controversy where individuals strongly supported the right and responsibility of the university to continue showing the mural as an expression of free speech while simultaneously expressing intolerance for the right of others to argue that the mural should be removed.      

Chancellor Brehm described her experiences with faculty governance and her commitment to it. To indicate the importance of shared governance, she noted that although in her view a campuswide general education curriculum would benefit Bloomington, if she cannot persuade faculty to endorse it, she will not follow the lead of some other institutions by mandating it.  Control over the curriculum is one indispensable feature of strong faculty governance.

The Chancellor urged the AAUP to work to influence decisions that will make the university a free and inviting community that will entice faculty to come and stay. She acknowledged the tremendous pressures on pre-tenure faculty, and asked the AAUP chapter to participate in the socialization process of junior faculty to understand their role in faculty governance following tenure. She also spoke of the importance of family-friendly policies to attract and retain the best faculty to IU, expressing admiration at the recent passage of Domestic Partner Benefits at IU. She asked the AAUP to help institute family-friendly policies, and referred the group to the 2001 AAUP policy, "Statements on Principles of Family Responsibilities and Academic Work".

                                                                                                                                                        - Julie Bobay, Library

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New Lecturer & Clinical Policies

Since the mid-1990s, faculty governance at IU has been struggling to develop policy to regulate non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty teaching appointments in Clinical and Lecturer categories.  Last year, the UFC created and the Trustees adopted new systemwide policies for NTT appointments.  The purpose of the new policies was to improve terms and conditions of employment and strengthen academic freedom protections for non-tenure-track colleagues, and to reduce incentives to expand NTT ranks for primarily financial reasons, at the expense of tenure-track slots.  Although rapid growth of NTT faculty is a national trend, the rate of growth at IU has been slower than elsewhere, and remains relatively modest in Bloomington.

The new policies have been used on other IU campuses to convert substantial numbers  of  part-time  NTT positions to regular ones governed by the favorable terms of the new regulations, part of a three-year program of conversion mandated by the Trustees.  This Spring, the Bloomington Faculty Council adopted campus procedures to regulate promotion, teaching loads, service expectations, and other facets of NTT appointments in Bloomington, in the spirit of the UFC provisions.  Key features include a cap of six courses per year, expectations of substantial professional development, and a campus review process for promotion and appointment to long-term contracts.  Individual schools have drafted relevant policies this year, and while adjustments will be required in some cases to conform with system and campus provisions, the long process of developing appropriate policies to regulate NTT appointments has moved several steps closer to completion.
                                                                                                                                                                    - Bob Eno

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