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Corrections appended.

At an occasionally rowdy meeting Tuesday, following an equally tense debate at an April 13 forum, faculty discussed proposed changes to tenure policies preceding a May 4 vote on the proposal. Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 called the faculty to the discussion, which was moderated by the ad hoc Committee to Review Tenure and Faculty Development Policies.

The committee's recommendations include extending the probation period for tenure candidates from seven to eight years, soliciting external letters about candidates by the Dean of the Faculty and increasing the provost's role in appointing faculty to the Tenure, Promotions and Appointments Committee.

The University is reviewing its tenure policies in response to a New England Association of Schools and Colleges report that criticized the high rate of tenure at Brown, though not all the recommendations are aimed at reducing the tenure rate.

Sharon Krause, professor of political science and a member of the ad hoc committee, opened the discussion by saying, "We invite questions of all sorts." Each member of the committee presented an element of the proposal that was individually discussed — or, more often, criticized.

Susan Alcock, professor of archaeology and classics and a member of the ad hoc committee, presented changes in the recommended procedure for election to TPAC. With the changes, the provost will finalize the nominations for appointments in consultation with the faculty.

"We would also like to note, the final decision remains by faculty ballot," Alcock said. The provost's role in TPAC would resemble his role in appointing members of the Academic Priorities Committee and the University Resources Committee, she said.

"I don't see the problem with adding the chief academic officer into the mix," Alcock said.
"The provost's role is not a veto role," Krause said. "This is an individual who has a unique perspective on the University as a whole."

Repeating a sentiment that had been expressed at the faculty forum, Professor of Comparative Literature and French Studies Edward Ahearn said, "Having a set of proposals that gives much more power to the administration is something that strikes at the heart of faculty governance."

"Power relations can affect how things can play out," said James Green, professor of history. "There is significant, sincere and honest concern from the faculty about these measures, and we're not being listened to in this regard. I have not seen this in the six years I've been here."

The proposal recommends that candidates for TPAC meet the threefold criteria of strong scholarship, citizenship and teaching ability. Sheila Blumstein, professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences and a member of the committee, said the provost could enforce these standards. She asked, "Is it the case that consistently 100 percent of the members of TPAC meet the criteria? I think that has not been the case."

The committee also discussed recommended changes to the tenure review process.

Changes from the last proposal stipulate that the dean of the faculty can only add, and not eliminate, names of external evaluators and would reduce the minimum number of letters from 10 to eight. Candidates for tenure will still not be informed of the list of letter-writers nor of the vote tally.

"I find it very, very disturbing that this is being proposed," Ahearn said. "It increases the role of secrecy in the process."

One of the few faculty members supportive of the proposal, Professor of Geological Sciences Tim Herbert, said the discussion was devolving and pitting faculty against the administration.

"It's not a democratic process. It's not an open election, it never has been," he said of tenure review.

Professor of Judaic Studies Ross Kraemer rejected the recommendation that the candidate not see the final list, even if the department can. Scholars encounter a number of peers with whom they have differences or even grudges, she said. Members of the department "may know where the professional ones are, but not where the personal ones are," she said.

Professor of Philosophy Charles Larmore noted that candidates would be able to list scholars from whom they would not want recommendations. "It would be difficult for me to imagine a person losing track of all the personal enemies they have or whose spouses they stole," he said.

The discussion moved on to the issue of extending the probationary period for tenure candidates from seven years to eight years.

"What research did you consult to come up with this magical number?" asked Associate Professor of Africana Studies Corey Walker.

Krause said the number of years was raised by one to accommodate scholars in the sciences who may need more time to establish themselves. A year can make a difference, she said.

Finally, Larmore spoke about the division of TPAC into two subcommittees of seven members, one covering the sciences and the other the humanities and social sciences.

Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences Jim Morgan said that some scholars, like himself, researched in a gray area that could fall into either discipline. "I think the principle behind this is well-founded, but the execution is poor," he said.

The point of the change, Larmore said, would be to "concentrate expertise and knowledge in the decision-making process." This would benefit the candidate, he said. Several professors expressed concern that dividing TPAC would split the sciences and humanities across the University.

Joan Richards, professor of history and TPAC chair, recommended that ad hoc committees be convened for evaluating individual candidates or that TPAC be divided into two subcommittees that separately evaluated promotions and tenures.

Professor of Comparative Literature Dore Levy suggested that the tenure review process be staggered and spread throughout the year for different fields of candidates.

Despite the many new recommendations raised by faculty at the forum, the committee's recommendations will go to a faculty vote May 4.

An earlier version of this article misattributed two quotations to Michel-Andre Bossy, professor of comparative literature and French studies. The quotations should have been attributed to Edward Ahearn, also a professor of comparative literature and French studies, who was seated beside Bossy at the faculty meeting.

The article also misattributed comments to Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies and Anthropology Marcy Brink-Danan. In fact, Brink-Danan did not speak publicly at the meeting.



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