FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A draft policy outlining criteria for the dismissal of tenured University of Arkansas faculty will be put to a vote this week.
The university’s board of trustees will consider the proposal Thursday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. It’s being recommended for approval by UA System President Donald Bobbitt.
“It is important that faculty has input and that valid faculty concerns are addressed in an appropriate manner,” said Mark Waldrip, chairman of the University of Arkansas trustees board. “I do feel that there’s been extensive interaction with faculty in recent months in order to bring this proposal to the point of consideration by the board of trustees.”
Some professors question the proposed changes, which have been amended since being proposed last fall. Others support them.
“The Academic Senate is not in agreement with everything, but it is a much better policy than when we saw it in October,” said Leanne Lefler, a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences associate professor of nursing and president of the UAMS Academic Senate.
Lefler said the proposal’s improvements include a change in the proposed policy’s language regarding how conduct and an “unsatisfactory performance” can lead to a colleague’s dismissal.
Law professor Josh Silverstein is among those who oppose the proposal. He said he would like to see the board shelve the project or create a committee with representatives from all UA System campuses to study the policy.
Silverstein wrote an alternative policy update with law professor Robert Steinbuch that includes a narrower list than the proposal’s causes for dismissal.
Tenured faculty members currently have the right of continuous appointment, according to current UA System policy.
“They want to dramatically increase the power of the university to terminate faculty,” Silverstein said.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com