American Association of University Professors
Minutes of the fall meeting, October 20, 2001
The fall meeting was convened at 10:00 a.m. at Kansas State University, at the 'Little Apple,' Manhattan - in the Kansas State Union. The Kansas Conference was welcomed to the KSU campus by Professor Donna Potts (KSU-AAUP) and Professor Al Cochran (KSU-Faculty Senate). The guest speaker was introduced by Professor Joe Yanik (ESU-AAUP).
The guest speaker was Dr. Robert Kreiser, Associate Secretary of Academic Freedom & Professional Standards of National AAUP. His topic was "Post Tenure Review - Faculty Evaluation." Dr. Kreiser is a historian with an expertise in certain areas of the supernatural, psychic phenomena and the like, which may make him especially qualified to address this topic.
Dr. Kreiser began his remarks by a reference to the Association's existing policy on post-tenure review, approved by Committee A and adopted by the Council in November 1983. I have taken the following quotation from the National AAUP website: http://www.aaup.org/rbpostn.htm
Dr. Kreiser's presentation was lively and stimulated a great amount of discussion. Below is a summary of several points made during the presentation.
- "The Association believes that periodic formal institutional evaluation of each postprobationary faculty member would bring scant benefit, would incur unacceptable costs, not only in money and time but also in dampening of creativity and of collegial relationships, and would threaten academic freedom . . . The Association emphasizes that no procedure for evaluation of faculty should be used to weaken or undermine the principles of academic freedom and tenure. The Association cautions particularly against allowing any general system of evaluation to be used as grounds for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions. The imposition of such sanctions is governed by other established procedures, enunciated in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings that provide the necessary safeguards of academic due process."
The discussions were so lively and many faculty had more to say or ask, - so that it was decided to continue the discussions after the lunch break. The lunch was great - our thanks to Donna Potts for the arrangements.
- The stated purpose of post tenure review (PTR) is to 'protect the profession' and rid our campuses of 'deadwood.' Sidebar: One meaning of deadwood is reference to the bowling pins that have been knocked down but still remain on the alley.
- Post Tenure Review relates more to the 'corporatization' of our campuses and the industrial model of accountability than with 'protecting the profession.'
- PTR, if established on a campus, should be initiated on a trial basis - it should be periodically reviewed to check its efficacy.
- PTR should be used to improve faculty and not to 'fire' them.
- PTR must not threaten academic freedom.
- PTR must not revisit tenure such that a faculty member must prove his or her value to the University. But instead, the burden of proof must fall on the Institution (administration) to prove that the faculty member is not suitable for continued employment (as a faculty member). Alternative employment should be offered if the latter was deemed the case.
After lunch the afternoon business meeting began with President Joe Yanik, presiding.
1) The minutes of the spring meeting (April 21, 2001) were distributed to all attendees. After briefly reviewing the minutes it was moved by Elmer Hoyer (WSU) that the minutes be approved as changed. The motion was seconded and it passed.
2) The treasurer's report was distributed to the members present. After a brief explanation by the treasurer, Bill Scott (KU) moved that the report be approved. The motion was seconded and it passed.
3) Past-President Elmer Hoyer (WSU) discussed the Kansas Conference Committee A meeting with Jim Perley (Ohio and National AAUP) and a handout was provided that summarized some of the key items discussed in the meeting. One important item related to the procedures and principles the Kansas Conference committee will employ in the future. Two motions resulted from the discussion of Committee A activities.
a) There is a perception that something went awry with the Kansas Conference Committee A activity in 2000. Fred Whitehead moved that an ad hoc committee be formed to find out what happened at the Kansas Conference and National level of AAUP. The committee members will be Jim Hamilton (KSU), Lyman Baker (KSU) and Bob Neufeld (McPherson). A committee report will be given at the Spring Conference meeting.
b) As the procedures of Committee A were discussed it became apparent that they needed to be refined in ways the Kansas Conference could not manage. Jim Hamilton moved that another ad hoc committee be established to hone the various steps. The motion was seconded and it passed. The members of the committee are Joe Yanik (ESU), Lyman Baker (KSU) and Bill Scott (KU). A report is expected at the Spring conference meeting.
4) President Joe Yanik mentioned a joint AAUP-ACE document called "Good Practice in Tenure Evaluation". He said that the document could be located and viewed at: http://www.acenet.edu/bookstore/index.cfm?pubID=205 Joe also stated that he and others at ESU created a document based on the above. Their document is located at: http://www.emporia.edu/math-cs/yanikjoe/FRCGuidelinesWeb.htm
5) The next item of business was campus reports. Several chapters reported on their activities.
6) The date of the fall meeting was tentatively set for Saturday, April 13 (or 20) to be held at McPherson College . Details will be arranged. The meeting was peacefully adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Rich Hughen (FHSU)