Frank Stahl’s Senate motions for Today

Update: The Senate passed a revised version of motion 12a on a unanimous voice vote today. Frank diplomatically withdrew motion 12b, allowing the admin to maintain the cherished fiction that their efforts to hide tenure decisions had nothing to do with VP Martinez.

1/13/2010: Frank’s Senate motions are needed to codify what was once a collegial procedure where the faculty in the form of the FPC gave advice to the Provost on who should get tenure and why, and the Provost in turn explained his final decisions to the faculty who had advised him. As near as we can tell – and some of this is speculation – this process worked fine until last year, when Provost James (Jim) Bean decided he wanted to give tenure to OIED Vice Provost Charles Martinez for shady administrative reasons. We’ve tried to find out details on this – like when Charles was actually put on a tenure track – but Melinda is trying to charge us to see the paperwork.

Jim really, really didn’t want to have to tell the FPC what he was doing. So he put Charles up for tenure at the last minute and then changed the rules on the FPC, and that’s why we are all wasting our time on this. Thanks Jim – and thanks to Frank for working to fix this nonsense!

Dear Senators,

             In the interest of expediting discussion of motions 12A 
and B at the 13 January meeting, here is a brief description of the 
need for the Motions.

     Our University enjoys a generally good procedure for deciding 
matters of promotion and tenure. Committees at Department and College 
levels collect and evaluate documentation of each Candidate’s record 
of research, teaching, and service, and forward recommendations to the 
Chair or the Dean, respectively. These materials, along with the 
recommendations of the Chair and Dean are forwarded to the FPC, whose 
job is to evaluate the materials and make recommendations to the 
Provost.

    The Provost reaches decisions based on his/her evaluation of the 
documents and the recommendations of the FPC, and then composes 
decision letters for delivery to the Candidates. For decades, until 
this past year, these letters were shared with the FPC Chair. This 
sharing provided assurance that the Provost was making decisions in 
the best interests of the University’s academic program.

    Decisions that compromise those interests could arise under several 
conditions. For instance, a Provost could grant tenure on the grounds 
that a candidate fills certain University needs that are unrelated to 
the academic program. Or a Provost could deny tenure on the grounds 
that the candidate, although bright and productive, might project an 
unfavorable image to the public. Or simple budgetary problems could 
lead a Provost to cut the work force by denying tenure.

            The sharing of letters with the FPC Chair provides the 
historically sanctified route for protecting the University from such 
problematic actions. It also recognizes the hard work and sacrifice 
made by members of the FPC, one of the most demanding of the 
University Committees.

Respectfully,

Franklin W. Stahl

Molecular Biology

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