Digital tenure file system to be optional

Allison Smith

Electronic version expected for 2010

Starting this fall, a digital version of the application for tenure will be available for professors. The digital system was originally going to be the only way a professor could apply for tenure, but the faculty senate voted to make it optional for professors.

Sue Averill, associate provost for faculty affairs, hopes the application process will be completely electronic by the fall of 2010.

“It was decided that the first year would be sort of a test-run and then beginning in the fall of 2010, hopefully, if everything goes the way it’s supposed to this year, then they’ll all be electronic,” Averill said.

At the Board of Trustees meeting on June 4, the board voted on a change in policy to the tenure system. The university can now offer tenure to associate professors and professors at other universities if they come to teach at Kent State.

Each department is able to vote on the professor coming to the university. Three-fourths of the department committee need to agree in order to hire the professor with tenure.

“It gives the university more flexibility in recruiting talented professors from other institutions to come to Kent State,” Averill said. “But it also gives the faculty at the department level a say in the process.”

As of now, professors who want to apply for tenure need to submit paperwork that can sometimes be as thick as three inches. The purpose of the digital tenure file system is to eliminate this paperwork and make it easier for people who are doing the reviewing. Averill said they can look at it anywhere they have Internet access, whereas before they had to come to a specific room where the paperwork is kept.

Averill said perhaps the best thing about the digital tenure system will be for teachers who have a performance (such as dramatic, theatrical and artistic performances) they want to submit. She said before it was difficult if a DVD was submitted because the reviewer needed to find a computer that the DVD worked on, and the computer might not have the correct program to play the video.

“The chance of them really seeing the content of that performance is really not as great as it will be on the electronic system,” Averill said. “They’ll just be able to load the DVD into the system and then put a link on their tenure file.”

Averill said the program will be user-friendly. David Dalton, associate professor for education, health and human services, is overseeing the technical side of the program. Averill said he has been helping to train faculty in the new program.

“We’re hoping that it’s really gonna open up possibilities, new ways that candidates can present their materials rather than just sheets of paper in a binder,” Averill said.

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected]