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Trustees approve provision
for University-wide tenure
June 22, 1998

A change in the University's by-laws under which faculty members will hold tenure throughout the University was approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting in May.

Faculty members will continue to be assigned to a primary campus but will be tenured throughout the University. The change took effect immediately and applies to faculty members who are already tenured, as well as to those receiving tenure in the future.

The practice until now has been for a faculty member to have a formally designated tenure location. Under the change, that location would be the entire University..

If that campus were to close or a tenured faculty member's program closed at the primary campus, the faculty member would be assigned to another campus within that program. In practice, said Chancellor Mark Emmert, speaking to the board in February, when the issue was discussed, the University has done that anyway.

"This is to recognize that we are a single University and that faculty on all campuses have the same standing," he said.

The provision for University-wide tenure grew out of the Strategic Plan, said Fred Maryanski, vice chancellor for academic administration. It was articulated in a September 1996 report of the strategic planning implementation task force on the regional campuses, which Maryanski chaired..

University-wide tenure is part of the philosophy that was outlined by the task force and adopted by the trustees. "The regional campuses are integral units of the University with a mission identical to that of the entire University," stated the report. "There exists one set of schools and colleges and academic departments in the University. Faculty members at all campuses are full members of their school or college and department."

"University-wide tenure is necessary and appropriate," said Richard Long, professor emeritus of civil engineering, who chaired the Senate faculty standards committee when the proposal was discussed in the Senate. The Senate approved the provision in 1997.

Peter Halvorson, a professor of geography and chair of the Senate Executive Committee, said University-wide tenure will offer some job protection for individuals, and will give the University greater flexibility in staffing.

He pointed to the School of Business Administration as a model. "This is how the business school routinely operates," he said. "Their faculty teach in Hartford and Stamford, to ensure that the programs there are appropriately and adequately staffed."

The University-wide tenure provision involves a single set of criteria for promotion, tenure and renewal decisions at all campuses. Department heads and deans will administer the PTR process, as well as the hiring of new faculty members, with formal input from the campus administrator.

Edward Marth, executive director of the UConn chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said he welcomes the provision. "This eliminates a false dichotomy," he said. "It makes no sense to have different standards at different campuses."

AAUP data show that in 1997-98, there were 917 faculty members at the levels of assistant, associate and full professor, not including the Law School or the Health Center whose faculty do not belong to this bargaining unit. Of this number, 762 are tenured, including 639 at the Storrs campus, 93 at the regional campuses and 7 in the Marine Sciences Institute. A further 23 tenured faculty are with the Cooperative Extension System.

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu