Posttenure Faculty Development: Building a System for Faculty Improvement and Appreciation

Posttenure Faculty Development: Building a System for Faculty Improvement and Appreciation

Posttenure Faculty Development: Building a System for Faculty Improvement and Appreciation

Posttenure Faculty Development: Building a System for Faculty Improvement and Appreciation


"National attention on posttenure review begs the question of what the underlying concern really is with posttenure faculty accountability and professional development. This report has the potential to contribute to our understanding of both issues. The sections on Posttenure Faculty Development in Action, Designing Development Activities for Tenured Faculty, and the AppAndices are particularly useful to the practitioner because they move the topic from theory to practice."
--Christine Licata, associate dean, Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf and senior associate, American Association for Higher Education, New Pathways II Project

Alstete synthesizes the debate around posttenure review and develops a model for faculty development that combines the best principles of posttenure review with the long-standing practice of faculty assessment and development. He also explains why posttenure faculty development can make a difference in dealing with mandatory retirement caps, changes in student demographics, technology, and globalization. Even if your campus is not trying to implement posttenure faculty development, this report will make you stop and think about the latest practices and innovations.


It is beyond cliché to discuss the increased calls for accountability in higher education over the last 15 years.

Assessment, performance indicators, changes in accreditation, performance funding, Total Quality Management, and many other processes call for higher education to provide evidence of performance. Performance measures are being redefined at more levels each year. and posttenure review of faculty members' performance is one way to hold higher education accountable to its constituents. Many individuals suggest that posttenure review undermines academic freedom and tenure. Others believe posttenure review can enhance faculty performance by ensuring more systematic and comprehensive feedback. and still others argue for posttenure faculty development. But faculty development is often noted as a cliché, meeting all the challenges presented to higher education, whether diversity, technology, or globalization. a palpable tension exists between interpreting posttenure review as a measure of accountability or development.

Looking more deeply at the tensions surrounding posttenure review, the aaup in 1983 developed a statement suggesting that [periodic formal institutional evaluation of each postprobationary faculty member would bring scant benefit, would incur unacceptable costs, not only in money and time but also in dampening of creativity and of collegial relationships, and would threaten academic freedom.] aaup also objects to posttenure review because the process often suggests that tenured faculty do not already undergo continual evaluation from student evaluations, reviews before appointment to school and university committees and graduate faculties, annual evaluations, performance plans, and so on. the aaup cautions against the use of posttenure review because [at its most draconian, post-tenure review aims to reopen the question of tenure; at its most benign, it formalizes and systematizes longstanding practices] (AAUP, 1999).

There is more agreement that some posttenure review system, aimed at faculty development rather than accountability, is a needed strategy for improving performance. Jeffrey Alstete is aligned with the aaup in his emphasis on development rather than accountability and the separation of evaluation and development. Instead of posttenure review, the author recommends posttenure faculty development to strengthen support for tenure. Alstete has many . . .

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