This sound is generated automatically. If you have feedback, please let us know.
- It is expected to be approved by the State University System of Florida Board of Trustees modified version policy next month that creates procedures for evaluating faculty members after they earn tenure.
- An initial iteration of the proposed regulation was scheduled to be voted on last month, but was later canceled. It drew sharp criticismincluding from faculty who argued that it duplicated existing policy and corroded tenure protections.
- Language to be voted on next month would require universities to report on the post-tenure review process every three years, rather than annually as originally proposed. But the regulation retains the basic idea of evaluating teachers who already have protections in place, which is what fueled most of the criticism in the first place.
A state law passed last year required public colleges to change accreditors every few years and allowed institutions to set up post-tenure reviews.
The concept of post-tenure reviews is itself controversial. Defenders of tenure say these ratings undermine a key protection for what is generally a lifetime appointment. Tenure means ensuring that scholars can engage in research, even on unpopular topics, without fear of interference from outside sources.
Critics argue that professors can abuse tenure and allow for sloppy job performance without any mechanism to remove problematic faculty. However, tenured professors can generally be fired for reasons such as committing a crime.
Florida’s proposed post-tenure review system would examine faculty members’ “level of achievement and productivity” and assign them one of four ratings: exceeds expectations, meets expectations, does not meet expectations or unsatisfactory.
Those who get the “fails to meet expectations” label will be put on a performance plan and then let go if they don’t improve. Those marked “unsatisfactory” would be terminated immediately.
System officials have tweaked which faculty will be ranked first under a proposal set for a vote next month.
After tenured faculty members reach the five-year limit in employment, they will be evaluated. However, the previous draft of the regulation states that the 20% of teachers with the “highest tenure in rank” will also be reviewed in the first year after it takes effect.
Similarly, in each of the four subsequent years, the 20% of tenured professors who have not yet been reviewed would be subject to this process.
The system dropped the “longevity in tenure” language, and now the proposal only states that 20% of tenured professors will be evaluated in each of the next five years after the policy is approved.
Officials also clarified that once the policy goes into effect, universities will not be able to enter into collective agreements that conflict with it.
The United Faculty of Florida, or UFF, the union representing Florida faculty, including the state’s 12 public universities, said in an emailed statement that the changes “are a good start.” However, he said the proposed policy was still lacking in certain areas, such as an effective appeals process.
“We appreciate the improvements the board has made this week, but they can be better,” the union said. “The UFF is committed to seeing this through.