by Sarah Haman
The tenure process at Whitworth is laborious and typically takes seven years to accomplish.
When being considered for tenure, faculty write essays on different prompts that show how they see their teaching philosophy, their faith and their service fit into the university’s mission, Provost Carol Simon said.
“Some institutions will hire people [and automatically give them tenure] but Whitworth won’t do that,” theater professor Diana Trotter said. “You have to earn tenure here.”
In addition to the written essays, peer evaluations and student evaluations are an integral part of the evaluation process as well, Simon said.
“Tenure is really, really important,” Trotter said.
It allows a university to build and maintain a high quality of faculty and have some sense that those people are going to be invested in the institution for the long term, Trotter said.
However, every so often there is a movement by various constitu- ents in academia that questions whether tenure should exist, she said. Some people think that tenure may cause professors to become lazy, Trotter said.
Trotter objects to that perspective because the person who was hired into the job in the first place, may have competed nationally against hundreds of other people and had to be the top candidate to get the job, she said.
“You’re dealing with someone of a pretty high level. They spend around seven years being evaluated to receive tenure,” Trotter said. “What are the odds that person is going to suddenly become a lousy teacher? The amount of evaluation is more significant than any other field I can think of.”
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