How to Improve Faculty Satisfaction at uw tacoma coache fellows’ Report to uw tacoma Faculty Assembly July 2014

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D) Tenure and Promotion

Four major items in the COACHE survey address the issues of tenure and promotion: tenure policies, tenure clarity, tenure reasonableness, and promotion. In all these four areas, UW Tacoma has a lower median score than its comparison institutions and all-participating institutions.

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Faculty assessed UW Tacoma in terms of tenure and promotion on items listed below. On a 1 – 5 scale, their responses indicate problems in almost all areas of tenure and promotion:

  • Clarity of tenure/promotion process

  • Clarity of tenure/promotion criteria

  • Clarity of tenure/promotion standards

  • Clarity of body of evidence for deciding tenure/promotion

  • Clarity of feedback given to faculty member if he/she will achieve tenure/promotion

  • Consistency of messages about tenure/promotion

As detailed in the COACHE Provost’s Report, among UW Tacoma faculty, men indicate distinctive dissatisfaction with issues related to clarity, while women indicate distinctive dissatisfaction with issues related to tenure reasonableness. Associate professors, men, and faculty of color also show distinct dissatisfaction with promotion. While about 75% pre-tenured faculty indicate that they receive formal feedback on their progress toward tenure, only 15% of associate professors indicate they receive formal feedback on their progress toward full professor.

We believe that tenure and promotion issues should be one of the prioritized areas for improvement. Our core values, such as teaching excellence and research productivity, are intimately tied to tenure and promotion decisions. Other core values, such as interdisciplinarity, also relate to tenure and promotion in view of the specific difficulties in getting interdisciplinary work to be recognized, funded, and appropriately evaluated in tenure and promotion. Moreover, if tenure and promotion are the ways in which the university holds it faculty accountable for the work they do, tenure and promotion are also the areas in which the issue of transparency has been the murkier. We also believe that another prioritized item, mentoring, is closely related to the issues of tenure and promotion.

[Action Plan]

Assess and Articulate [In a Year]

  • Establish a committee to review tenure criteria across UWT system.

  • VCAA should finalize and publish UWT lecturer reappointment and promotion guidelines.

  • Units should prepare their lecturer reappointment and promotion guidelines.

  • Clarify how the university’s “urban-serving identify” influence/should influence tenure and promotion.

Inform [In a Year]

  • Put all UWT tenure criteria and dates on the Faculty Resource Page: Departments often fail to communicate the tenure guidelines or dates, unable to update web pages and information is scattered throughout UWT webpage.

  • Example: (the site provides information to everyone who involve in tenure and promotion decision.

  • Conduct new faculty orientation and workshops on tenure and promotion.

  • Continue to hold regular Tenure and Promotion Q&A sessions.

  • Have email address and encourage faculty to email questions.

  • Help chairs and others to provide plenty of feedback along the way—annually and during reappointment review.

  • Provide sample dossiers to pre-tenured faculty and sample feedback letters to those responsible for writing them.

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