The tenure decision process

The tenure decision process varies across institutions. All colleges and universities value teaching, scholarship, and service in slightly different ways and the tenure decision process is built upon institutional culture, nuance, and sheer historical quirks. While there is no way to fully describe all of the variations that exist in the tenure decision process, today’s post will describe the broad parameters and levels of review that exist at most colleges and universities.

Photo credit: UConn

At most institutions, there are three basic levels of review:  department, college/school, and institution. Again, each institution is different, but I suspect these 3 levels exist at the vast majority of colleges and universities in the United States.

Involuntary presidential turnover in American higher education

In higher education, we tend to want to study successful leaders. However, we can also learn a great deal from those leaders that end up not succeeding for whatever reason. Recently, my research assistant, Molly Ellis, and I published an article in the Journal of Higher Education on involuntary turnover among college presidents. In today’s post, I want to share the key conclusions and implications from our work.

Photo credit: Associated Press

Before all *@#%! breaks loose…

With the ongoing free speech debates, growth of student protest movements, and a general political disquiet in the nation, I’ve been thinking about how institutional leaders manage and guide their institutions during turbulent periods. This has made me think back to an article I wrote several years ago with Kenneth A. Shaw, the former chancellor of Syracuse University. In the piece that appeared in Trusteeship, we considered how to track emerging issues and grapple with public relations challenges. For today’s blog post, I want to share the article as it remains as instructive today as when we first wrote it in 2006.

Photo credit: The Daily Orange

Before All *@#%! Breaks Loose…

By Kenneth A. Shaw and Michael S. Harris

In helping your institution grapple with public-relations challenges, be prepared to track emerging issues through four distinct stages.

IN SEPTEMBER 2005, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced the formation of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. But many knowledgeable observers reacted with surprise. Why was the secretary acting now?  What is the purpose of the commission? Is the Bush administration pushing to implement a college version of the No Child Left Behind law?

Many of these questions will be answered as the commission completes its work this fall. Yet we know from the group’s membership and discussions to date that accountability is going to be a major theme of its recommendations. Trustees and chief executives need to ask why we were taken aback by creation of a major commission and what boards can do in response to this and other issues that arise nationally and on our campuses.

Part of the answer may lie in three words, “Just Do It.”

Congress attacks higher education in tax plan

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has passed their version of tax reform. The U.S. Senate seems poised to follow suit in the next few days or weeks. Although there are different implications of the current forms of the bills in each chamber, fundamentally, there is little way to interpret the current legislation as anything other than the headline, “Congress attacks higher education in tax plan.”

Republicans in Congress are attacking higher education in order to pave the way for corporate tax breaks. 

We must stop glorifying busyness

Chances are if you run into someone on campus then the conversation will go something like this. “Hi, how’s it going?”  “I’m so busy!” “Yep, me too!  It must be that time of the semester.” It doesn’t matter when this conversation occurs because it is always that time of the semester. A study by John Ziker from Boise State University even provides data on how busy we are in higher education. In a blog post, Ziker found that professors at Boise work 61 hours per work and spend 17% of their time in meetings. The curse of knowledge work (which most of us in higher education are engaged in) is that it can largely be done anytime and anywhere. For too many of us that turns into all the time and everywhere.

Photo credit: Peter Kuo