Tenure Rights Expanded at Western Michigan University
AAUP AT WORK
The banner streaming across the Web site of the Western Michigan University AAUP chapter, the faculty union at that institution, proclaims: "United we bargain, divided we beg." True to its proclamation, the WMUAAUP chapter achieved a major victory in negotiating its 2002-05 collective bargaining agreement by securing a formal place in the tenure system for a new "faculty specialist" appointment category. According to the agreement faculty specialists (formerly referred to as academic career specialists) include lecturers, clinical specialists, aviation specialists, and language specialists. The category also includes "professional specialists," a group whose responsibilities may include teaching or nonteaching duties, planning, or activities more commonly associated with adminstrative, rather than faculty, positions, such as marketing and student recruiting, or managing and supervising grant and contract staff.
Under the terms of the agreement, the faculty specialists, previously ineligible for tenure, become "fully participating faculty members in the academic community," eligible for the rights and privileges of tenure. In a departure from traditional criteria governing tenure and promotion decisions, faculty specialists will not be evaluated for tenure, promotion, and merit pay in the area of "professional recognition," but they will be evaluated in "professional competence" and "professional service. …