The evaluation of faculty performance is critical to maintaining quality, a Kansas University report tells the Kansas Board of Regents.
The report, prepared by the KU Office of Academic Affairs, also says faculty evaluation at KU is both systematic and rigorous.
All seven regents institutions have been asked to submit to the regents a report about existing faculty review procedures. KU faculty members fear changes in the tenure process, but regents officials say they are only seeking information, not changes.
In an effort to clear up rumors among KU faculty, Stanley Koplik, executive director of the regents, and Martine Hammond-Paludan, regents director for academic affairs, spoke to about 30 faculty members and KU students during a special University Council meeting Thursday night.
The meeting was prompted by faculty concerns about "post-tenure review," a process in which faculty members would be reviewed every five years after receiving tenure. Some faculty members believe they already are rigorously reviewed, and they oppose additional evaluations.
The board is tracking faculty members who received tenure in 1974 and 1975 to find out if the faculty members are still teaching.
ACCORDING TO KU's report, 71 KU faculty members were granted tenure during the 1973-74 and 1974-75 academic years. The report said 49 of those faculty members were still teaching at KU during the 1989-90 academic year. Two retired, 13 left KU for other institutions and seven left academia.
KU also offered information about the status of faculty who entered the tenure track during the 1981-82 and 1982-83 academic years. Of the 60 faculty members who entered the tenure track during those years, seven were promoted; five were "counseled out," or advised that their chances of receiving tenure were not good; eight didn't receive a reappointment prior to tenure review; five were denied tenure; and four left academia. Eleven faculty members fell into the "other" category, which includes death, family relocation, spousal employment issues and program transfer.
Of those 60 faculty members, 21 remained at KU, with tenure, during the 1989-90 academic year. No faculty members had moved to non-tenure track positions.
"A PRELIMINARY review suggests that 40 to 60 percent of those who entered the tenure track in 1974 and 1975 are still teaching," Hammond-Paludan said at the council meeting. "But that's not the case at Wichita State University, where 81 percent of those entering tenure in those years are no longer at WSU."
Hammond-Paludan said 59 percent of those faculty members left the Wichita campus before review, 14 percent were denied tenure and 8 percent opted to leave campus after receiving tenure.
Hammond-Paludan said the board of regents wants to know why.
"What can be done with the system?" she said. "No one wants additional paperwork for a post-tenure review, but we need to be asking these questions."
She and Koplik said the board of regents and the people of Kansas want a more clear understanding of what happens at the seven regents schools.
"I'd like to address several concerns that are on your mind," Koplik told faculty members. "At the outset, I would like to communicate that the subject of post-tenure review finds its origin in Kansas in a breakfast meeting between elected faculty senate presidents and the board of regents."
HE SAID the issue isn't post-tenure review but faculty productivity, performance and rewards.
Koplik assured council members that the board isn't ready to launch a post-tenure review process.
"There is no pre-conceived plan that there's going to be some organized post-tenure review," he said.
KU faculty members currently are reviewed annually for salary purposes. The university's report to the regents said the criteria for tenure and promotion traditionally have been demonstrated achievement in teaching, research and service.
Some members of University Council said Thursday that the annual reviews should suffice.
Bezaleel Benjamin, professor of architecture and urban design, said the regents need only compile annual reviews if the board wants a post-tenure review every five years.
Koplik said he understood that review processes already exist. But he said the regents have a responsibility to have a hand in campus affairs.
"WE ALL WANT the board of regents to be persuasive advocates for higher education," he said. "I personally don't want them to be blind advocates of higher education. Regents must be well-informed.
"Over $980 million is provided to the regents system by state and private resources. It's big business by any stretch of the imagination. The regents have a responsibility to be informed, and they do their homework."
Koplik said it is sometimes difficult to explain what college faculty do for a living. Regents and legislators, who are frequently better versed in business than education, may scoff when told a faculty member teaches seven hours a week, Koplik said. Unfortunately, he said, people outside of education equate that with a 40-hour work week and don't understand that faculty members have other responsibilities, such as research and public service.
"The bottom line on which we are measured is very different from the bottom line on a balance sheet," Koplik said.
Bunker Clark, professor of music history, said the regents must understand that every faculty member is different. Some may concentrate on teaching while others may be more involved in research, Clark said.
"We're not all the same," Clark said.