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6/5/2012 12:00 AM

Post-Tenure Review

From The Department Chair Insider — June 2012, Vol. 1

Q. What is the chair’s role in post-tenure review?

A. Post-tenure review (PTR) policies come in two basic forms: periodic, when all faculty are reviewed by a committee of peers at a regular interval, and initiated or triggered, when PTR is invoked when performance falls below the satisfactory level for a period of time, usually two years. In the latter case, the initiator is the department chair, who would make this determination in the context of the annual review process. The chair’s role is more prominent in the initiated form of PTR because of the link to the annual review process and in making the judgment that performance has fallen below the line that is deemed satisfactory. The chair’s decision is then reviewed by a peer committee that will evaluate the annual review history of the individual and establish a plan for improvement with the faculty member.

Regardless of the type of PTR in place, chairs have the overall responsibilities of monitoring faculty performance and stimulating improvement or sustaining excellence in all faculty. Chairs are in the best position to identify when faculty performance begins to slip and to use the appropriate interventions to correct the trajectory before it falls into the unsatisfactory range. Because annual review documents are a part of the documentation used in PTR, the chair’s evaluation decisions, support investments, and goal-setting strategies are evident to faculty review committees and others who review PTR cases. Thus, the PTR process does reveal some things about the chair’s abilities and leadership in fostering faculty productivity and effectiveness.

N. Douglas Lees is associate dean for planning and finance at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.