Faculty members at Saint Louis University are worried about a proposed post-tenure review policy that the American Association of University Professors says is written in a way that has the potential to endanger the tenure status of professors at the Jesuit institution.
"Post-tenure review should be for the purposes of assisting faculty members in improving their performance," says B. Robert Kreiser, associate secretary of the AAUP. "But the policy that has been proposed would effectively eviscerate tenure as it's understood at most institutions of higher learning."
At issue in the proposed policy, which is slated to take effect in January, are two of the potential outcomes it outlines for a post-tenure review. The proposal says that, following a review, professors could remain tenured or could be placed on a "performance improvement plan" with a re-evaluation in two years; both of those potential outcomes are typical in post-tenure reviews.
But the other options under the Saint Louis plan—moving faculty to non-tenure-track positions or giving them a terminal contract, in which they would be fired with a year's notice—are "of grave concern," said Mr. Kreiser, who has reviewed the policy. "This policy is certainly among the worst I've seen, and it's hard to imagine a policy that could be much worse than this one."
The policy also says that post-tenure review will be similar to the regular tenure-and-promotion process. Mr. Kreiser said that sends a message that "even though you have tenure now, we're going to review you as though you do not."
The policy would apply to full-time professors, although some would be exempt. Those to whom the policy would not apply include university medical group professors, department chairs, directors of degree-granting centers, deans, and faculty members on the university's campus in Madrid.
A university spokeswoman at Saint Louis University did not respond to requests for comment....