Achieving tenure is the ultimate accomplishment for many assistant or associate professors who hope to climb up the professional ladder at their college or university. Unfortunately, undergoing a rigorous review process is vital in obtaining and keeping tenure, which can prove unfair due to biases, prejudices, or discrimination. Thus, if you find yourself in the position of suspecting an unjust tenure review process, know that you have options.
What Is Tenure?
For educators invested in academia as a lifelong career path, achieving tenure is crucial for job security and stability. This esteemed status comes with specific academic freedoms and protections afforded only to those who acquire it following a comprehensive evaluation of their research portfolio, teaching experience or skillset, accolades received for service contributions within their community and profession, and most notably – peer perception. Obtaining tenure empowers professors who otherwise may not have possessed adequate academic protection from controversial or novel research enterprises with the means necessary to break new ground without fear of academic judgment.
Granting or denying tenure ultimately depends on a lengthy process that higher education institutions implement called pre-tenure review. Once an assistant professor acquires their initial contract papers for employment with a college or university and confirms whether they are eligible for a tenure-track role, the institution’s manual provides guidelines regarding personnel policy procedures relevant to the tenuring process.
For instance, at Georgia University (UGA), several factors involve the promotion-to-tenure review process in place:
* Evaluations: This core component includes annual written evaluations alongside peer reviews consisting of each candidates scholarship history; research involvements; creative works record; ability to teach effectively; performance in service activities linked to community involvement within their field.
* Pre-Tenure Review: Come year three; an appointed committee reviews assistant professors’ “performance in teaching, research and other creative activities” before reporting back findings related to promotion/tenuring progress.
* Annual Evaluations: Post-initial reviews, eligible assistant professors facing tenure will undergo yearly reviews involving preliminary, first-year-of-eligibility, and second-year-of-eligibility levels. With confirmation of eligibility by the seventh year via prior approval, candidates can only apply for tenure promotion in this final year.
* Promotion/tenure Position: Eligible college or departmental faculties take part in a secret ballot for the promotion-tenure evaluation process to produce said report. In instances where applicants disagree with faculty decision-making regarding promotion/tenure progress, review or appeal opportunities are also available.
Even after acquiring tenure status in academia, career advancement may still prove challenging due to discrimination. UGA requires post-tenure reviews for all tenured faculty members. As summarized below from their policy manual, criteria and procedures must adhere to university policies alongside policies affecting individual colleges/schools:
* Review every five years: Timelines involving handling qualitative and quantitative evidence of faculty member performance for the immediate previous five years will comprise fulfilling annual review requirements while considering each faculty members publications; evaluations; research activities over such period.
* Discussion with Faculty Member: This segment aims to determine accompanied contributions relevant award records associated with school support systems along specific lines of study under consideration within a department.
If you suspect that your college/university tenure review was unfair or failed adherence to educational institution guidelines due to discrimination practices or other reasons related to personal biases, schedule a consultation with experienced education attorney Todd Spodek immediately.
Tenure Review Discrimination Matters
College/university personnel understand ongoing anti-discrimination laws exist. However, instances of subtle discriminatory behavior often go unnoticed or ignored even though more than 70% of teaching appointments pertaining to academia are already non-tenured positions where various groups (women and people of color) face greater challenges obtaining tenured status despite potential discriminatory actions.
Accordingly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibit discrimination during tenure review processes, with Title VII addressing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex and Title IX covering sex-based discrimination in education.
If you suffered through tenure/promotion-related discrimination, take relevant action! Complaint filings using campus review boards or external parties such as the Office of Civil Rights noting alleged violations under Title IX involving discrimination practices may affect future progress. Otherwise, EEOC complaints for work-related sex-based discrimination among college/university personnel may represent a wiser solution. Meanwhile, seek appropriate legal counsel from Todd Spodek’s experienced educational attorney team to ensure all affected bases receive adequate coverage by established policies.
Find the Best University Employee Defense Attorney
Higher education faculty can experience potential unfairness or discriminatory conduct affecting individual tenure views within universities but an esteemed lawyer experienced in managing university-specific work issues/college collegiate appellate processes supported by relevant federal antidiscrimination law provisions is vital in combating unlawful discriminations.
Schedule a consultation with attorney Todd Spodek from the superior law firm: the Spodek Law Group at 212-300-5196 or contact them online today to find out more about how they can be helpful in combating any unfair discrimination that’s limiting your career growth within academia.
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