The new tenure standards will be vital to ensuring faculty members are adequately teaching and serving their students.
Faculty members at Texas State are currently able to reach tenure at six years. Beginning next fall, the requirements for achieving tenure will expand.
Texas State administrators recently altered the tenure policy. According to a Nov. 6 University Star article, faculty members will be required to wait the full six years before applying for tenure in addition to receiving reviews by outside professionals. This change in the method should provide students with the best possible set of faculty members.
According to a May 20, 2011 University News Service press release, Texas State granted 40 faculty members tenure in the spring of that year. According to a July 11 University Star article, 34 additional faculty members were granted tenure for the fall 2012 semester.
According to the same Nov. 6 article, about one-third of Texas State’s faculty members would have been able to apply for early tenure before the policy change. This number is one of the reasons administrators made stricter requirements for tenure application.
Tenure was created to allow faculty members to reach a more secure position within a particular university. Texas State professors who achieve tenure receive a significant salary boost.
Therefore, faculty members may want to achieve tenure as early as possible. Tenure does not ensure faculty members cannot be fired, but it does signify the university wants them to continue teaching at Texas State for a length of time.
State and department evaluations are not enough to determine if faculty members are doing their jobs to the best possible advantage of students. Some administrators may not take the evaluations seriously enough, and bad ratings should affect how faculty members are viewed. The implementation of outside evaluations should help ensure students are taught correctly by enthusiastic professors.
In addition, it would be in Texas State’s best interest to potentially elongate the time faculty members must work before the university grants them tenure. This change will allow officials more time to assess tenure-track faculty, which in turn should give students the best possible tenured professors to choose from during their academic careers. Faculty members need more time to adjust to their department working environments and teaching methods.
Every student learns differently, so not every student is going to think each faculty member is adequate. However, the university knows what is best for students as a whole.
Tenure is the university’s way of acknowledging and appreciating excellent faculty members. By raising the standards and qualifications of tenure, university officials are making excellent strides toward increasing the academic rigor of Texas State.
While some faculty members may not agree about the new changes to the tenure process, the heightened standards will truly highlight and recognize the best faculty members on campus.
--Ariella Hannon is an English senior.