Signpost (Weber, Utah), 1999-04-021
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Ve ber S tati: Umiversity . DEB Erorxi n April 2-8, 1999 By Angie Welling copy editor-7hf slgnpost Although Cheryl Hansen, an assistant professor in the foreign language department, is currently considered to be on tenure track, she will not find out if she receives tenure until April 2001. However, receiving the added job security doesn't mean much to the Weber State University professor. "At my age, I don't particularly care if I get tenure or not," Hansen said. "Because by the time I get it, I'll be close to retiring. But I still have to go through the process." Hansen isn't the only professor with mixed feelings about tenure. In fact, the age-old practice is spurring a great deal of controversy in the academic world. , According to Associate Provost Kathleen Lukken, the main goal of higher education is to question everything. Tenure, she said, gives faculty the right to offer controversial opinions or question practices without the fear of offending high-ranking officials. "If you protect the individual, you protect the enterprise as a whole," Lukken said. WSU Provost David Eisler agreed. "One of the basic premises of our educational process is the concept of academic freedom. Tenure helps protect this concept and can provide a shield from arbitrary and capricious decisions," Eisler said. However, according to a Nov. 5, 1997 article in "The Chronicle of Higher Education," James F. Carlin, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, said colleges and universities would only improve if tenure was abolished. Carlin said tenure was an "absolute scam" that does not insure academic freedom, the article reported. According to the article, Carlin said, "Can you imagine a professor in 1997 being terminated for unpopular views or beliefs? What tenure has become is a lifetime job guarantee." While I lansen agreed, saying t hat the First Amendment would provide necessary protection, she also said professors need some type of job security. "Tenure, in my understanding of it, is like job protection short of having a union," she said. James E. Perley, president of the American Association of University Professors, agreed that tenure is vital to both job security and academic freedom. In his "Chronicle of Higher Education" article, "Tenure Remains Vital to Academic Freedom," Perley wrote, "Academic freedom and tenure are inseparable because you can't be free if you're afraid of losing your job." Perley also claimed that tenure is linked firmly to academic freedom and creates a model structure for the rest of the world. Abandoning those concepts, the article staled, threatens to bring the structure of higher education down. 7 6Vf r Volume II Number 23 "Academic freedom and tenure are inseparable because you can't be free if you're afraid of losing your job." James E. Perley, president of the American Association of University Professors With all the arguments for tenure, it may come as a surprise that some institutions, such as Westminster College in Salt Lake City, have abandoned the practice altogether. Fred Fogo, a communication professor at Westminster, said the lack of tenure is not a major factor for professors at the school. "I would expect most people would prefer to have tenure, but we understand the reasoning behind it," Fogo said. The reasoning, he said, is that the school likes to reserve the right to terminate professors who do not perform up to capacity. Like Westminster, WSU does reserve the right to terminate its tenured professors under five circumstances: cause, medical incapacity, institutional financial exigencies, discontinuance of program and retirement. Lukken said proving behavior extreme enough to warrant a tenured professor's dismissal is difficult, and the burden of proof is on the administration. "It has to be a pattern, something you can clearly define as having an impact on students or the university in some measurable way," she said. "It's hard." Fogo said he was aware Westminster did not grant tenure to its professors when he w;s hired, but was willing to live with it in exchange for the chance to focus on teaching. r "We are here to teach," Fogo said. "We don't require research and publishing." At WSU, according to the Policies and Procedures manual, professors must "achieve a rating consistent with college standards in professional activities, such as research and other contributions to knowledge, leadership in professional organizations and active pursuit of professional competence." However, Lukken said, private institutions can dismiss the practice of tenure because they have more control over school policies. "If B YU... decided to do away with tenure, they would have more opportunity to impose those policies on the faculty than we do at a public institution," Lukken said. See Tenure paqc 2.
|Title||Signpost (Weber, Utah), 1999-04-02, Vol. 2, No. 23|
|Creator||Weber State University|
|Contributors||Associated Students of Weber State University; A generous grant from the Utah State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.|
|Description||Weber's current student newspaper, the Signpost, first appeared on September 29, 1937. For two years prior to that time, campus news was disseminated via announcements posted on a bulletin board known as the "Signpost". As a result, the masthead of the first issue of the paper itself featured a rudimentary wooden sign with the title spelled out in rustic-looking letters. Over the years the paper has been published continuously, though the look, size and style has changed several times.|
|Subject||College student newspapers and periodicals; Weber State University|
|Publisher Digital||Stewart Library, Weber State University|
|Source||University Archives LD5893.W55 S5, Stewart Library, Weber State University|
|Rights Management||Public Domain. Courtesy of University Archives, Stewart Library, Weber State University.|