Approved at the Board of Regents meetings last week were the promotions of eight faculty members.
Patrick Forsythe, Natural and Applied Sciences
Jenell Holstead, Human Development
Eric Morgan, Democracy and Justice Studies
Alison Gates, Art and Design
Kaoime Malloy, Theatre and Dance
Ryan Martin, Human Development
Rebecca Meacham, Humanistic Studies
Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges, Human Development
Assistant Prof. Jon Shelton (Democracy and Justice Studies) co-authored an op-ed opposing the new Regents’ draft policy for tenure, which the full board will vote on at its meeting in Madison Thursday. Read it here http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/03/04/uw-system-regents-tenure-policy-vote/81274980/
The complex process of writing new tenure policies for University of Wisconsin System faculty took a turn recently that frustrated professors and led some to question whether efforts at UW-Madison to write strong layoff protections will be negated by less robust statewide rules. That’s how the Wisconsin State Journal described in providing lengthy, in-depth coverage.
UW System faculty members might be wondering about the origins of an email survey about tenure and employment being distributed this week. The emails and tenure status of all faculty and instructional staff, statewide, were provided by UW System central administration in response to an open-records request. The survey is being led and overseen by a researcher at the University of Chicago, funded by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Participation in this outside survey is, of course, voluntary and solely at the discretion of the individual.
Several UW-Green Bay faculty members are sharing word of a gathering next Saturday (Sept. 19) in Milwaukee, as the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors will host a joint summit for higher education workers across Wisconsin. All faculty or staff members of AFT-W or AAUP are invited to attend the summit, which will include talks by AAUP Executive Director Julie Schmid and AFT Executive VP Mary Cathryn Ricker, as well as coordinating strategies across Wisconsin campuses for dealing with the big changes to state law regarding tenure and shared governance. Members of UWGB-United are also coordinating ride sharing. You must sign up to attend by Monday (Sept. 14). For questions or to sign up, please contact UWGB-United President Doreen Higgins, Vice President Andrew Austin, or CLAS representative Jon Shelton.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller distributed a letter to all faculty and staff last week, indicating he wanted to comment on developments related to the 2015-17 state budget and the insertion of language dealing with tenure and shared governance. Miller reiterated that Regent Present Regina Millner and UW System President Ray Cross have been adamant in their support of tenure and governance, and noted that a Systemwide task force (both Chancellor Miller and Prof. Steve Meyer are members) will assist the Board of Regents in shaping policies moving forward. UWGB’s Miller shared the following statements on the key topics:
Shared Governance – “Shared governance is highly valued at UWGB and will continue. The new advisory role of faculty and staff does not change the need for an effective shared governance system. Indeed, the collaboration of students, staff and faculty governance bodies will be even more important in the coming years as we celebrate our first fifty years and look forward to the future. The existing shared governance organization and procedures will continue at UWGB as allowed by law.”
Tenure: “I have been, and continue to be, fully and strongly supportive of tenure as essential to ensuring full freedom of inquiry, discovery and teaching in the academy. I will continue to enthusiastically recommend tenure for qualified faculty upon the recommendation of the tenured faculty and with the approval of appropriate administrative officers.”
With respect to program review:
“I strongly support a thoughtful, vigorous, routine and faculty-driven process of academic program review that allows for the possibility of the discontinuation of a program no longer deemed an essential component of the curriculum.”
With respect to the layoff of faculty related to program discontinuance:
“The layoff of tenured faculty resulting from program discontinuation must be governed by rigorous standards of due process operating within an effective shared governance system.”
You can read the Chancellor’s full message.
Sarah Goldrick-Rab, a UW-Madison professor of educational policy studies and sociology, a nationally prominent researcher regarding college affordability and access, and an outspoken public intellectual, is again drawing national attention. So far this month she has tweeted comparisons between Scott Walker and Adolph Hitler, and she also warned some incoming UW-Madison freshmen that the school they’ve chosen is a sinking ship. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank as commenting on the issue: “Any institution has its critics,” and “…especially in social media, it’s important to remember that the loudest voice usually isn’t the most accurate.”
“With more voices joining the highly charged debate over tenure protections in the University of Wisconsin System, it has become increasingly clear that at least in education circles, what’s happening here is perceived as a bellwether for public universities across the country.” That is the lead paragraph the Thursday edition of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article – read more.
Some see it as political grandstanding, or as proposals that seem dramatic but won’t in fact change much about the way the UW System does business. Others see deep-seated enmity and a campaign to gut academic freedom and punish higher ed. The Politico website has a relatively concise but well-balanced overview that talks to people with various perspectives on the Wisconsin tenure debate.
A recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and others about a GOP bill on its way to becoming state law that would change the way the UW System handles tenure. The proposal is generating intense criticism from faculty members, including one UW-Green Bay educator whose blog was quoted in the J-S article. “In one of the most bizarre developments I can think of in higher ed, we are about to have one of the world’s most respected university systems pretend to have tenure,” wrote Chuck Rybak, associate professor of English and Humanistic Studies. Read more.