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Brown faculty governance modified at special faculty meeting

Changes include creation of new committee to review denied promotions, tenure, reappointments

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, June 26, 2020

At Tuesday’s special faculty meeting, attendees passed a motion to create the Procedural Integrity Committee, which will take over responsibilities regarding denials of promotion, tenure and reappointment from the Committee on Faculty Equity and Diversity. 

Before the motion creating the PIC passed Tuesday, CFED had been in charge of reviewing promotions, tenure and reappointments that were denied by the Tenure, Promotions, and Appointments Committee, a coalition of tenured professors which reviews the tenure process in general.  

According to James Morgan, Professor of Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences and chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, the restriction on CFED membership had a “detrimental effect” so that the committee “was not equitable or diverse because it was confined to tenured members of the faculty.” 

Morgan also said that, in practice, only including tenured professors meant that the committee included professors who were still up for promotion review. Consequently, the committee would lose members whenever these members had to be reviewed by the committee themselves for promotion. This occurred, for example, whenever associate professors in the committee were up for promotion to full professor.

According to Morgan, these two issues persuaded the FEC to create a motion to remove the denial of promotions, tenure and reappointments from the jurisdiction of the CFED and create the PIC to take over these responsibilities.

Membership of the PIC will be restricted to four full professors, while membership of the CFED will now be open to six faculty members who do not have to be tenured.

President Christina Paxson P’19 emphasized that the PIC will also work to adhere to equity and diversity standards in fulfilling its new responsibilities.

“PIC looks at whether that policy was followed when looking at promotions to tenure, and it’s not like equity and diversity play no role; they do,” Paxson said.

During the meeting, Morgan also noted that leadership of the executive committee will change in the coming year as part of its regular turnover process. Johanna Hanink, associate professor of Classics, will take over Morgan’s role July 1 as the chair of the FEC for the next academic year.

Hanink reported that the FEC held a faculty comment session about the University’s response to the COVID-19 crisis that was attended by 285 faculty. A memo summarizing faculty concerns discussed in the session about the University’s response to the pandemic was sent to University administrators. Hanink added that “an informal working group” of faculty had been assembled, comprising members of different task forces and committees working to address the repercussions of the pandemic. 

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