University considers tenure policy change

Gabi Wy

Provost Ronald Rochon visited Faculty Senate Oct. 2 and said the university is looking to change tenure policy to become consistent across campus.

“We want to look at each of the colleges at the university,” he said, “and examine their structure in regard to … assessment, evaluation and securing promotion and tenure for the campus.”

The university hopes to make policy more efficient and straightforward, Rochon said, and that could mean making the process of applying for tenure uniform across all university colleges.

“We’re looking at our faculty handbook, which holds our policies and practices in writing,” he said. “We’re examining those narratives and looking for ways we need to insert changes and/or additional language to provide clarity.”

While he contributed to the meeting, Rochon said faculty ultimately drove the conversation.

“It was a good meeting,” he said. “It was healthy and extremely important. When I left that room, I felt very good about the progress we made with that discussion.”

Rochon said only faculty truly see each other’s day-to-day work.

“University colleges make recommendations to my office,” he said. “For me, the most important part in regards to assessment is to have your peers make the recommendations⎯other scholars and other teachers in your field and in your discipline who understand your body of work.”

Although Rochon’s office sees the recommendations, he said in terms of professors’ work ethic and teaching, faculty will know best.

“The peer aspect is significant,” he said. “It’s essential. It’s non-negotiable.”

Rochon said the conversation is far from over.

“This is all possible,” he said. “This has not been decided or determined. We’re having good discussion about it.”

Rochon the university compares strategies with other successful universities.

“USI has grown quite a bit since 50 years ago,” he said. “We’ve become extremely complex and diverse. Universities, like everything else, evolve. You can’t be like an ostrich with your head in the sand. You have to be mindful of the changes going on around you.”