If a tenured professor exhibits gross "incompetence and neglect" in his or her duties at the University of Houston, he or she will get a warning to do better next time, according to UH's tenure review policy. The UH System Board of Regents Academic and Student Affairs committee suggested at its Oct. 6 meeting that this standard was inappropriate for evaluation purposes and that the time given to professors to improve should be streamlined.
The committee recommended that all four UH campuses redraft their post-tenure review policies for approval at the February meeting.
"The standards in our policies is the standard for termination," said Faculty Senate President Angi Patton. "We are wanting to craft a policy that is for development."
After a tenured professor receives an unsatisfactory evaluation, he or she is required to propose a plan for improvement.
The policy presented to the Regents labeled neglect, incompetence and dishonesty as unsatisfactory. Those qualities are already listed as grounds for termination in the handbook, Patton said. The policy should focus more on finding tenured faculty who need help developing teaching, research, or community service skills, she added.
UH System Chancellor/UH President Arthur Smith said, "The success of the policy is not how many faculty members are terminated, but how many who were found unsatisfactory, are no longer unsatisfactory."
The Board of Regents likes the policy's emphasis on teaching, Smith said.
Patton said Provost George Magner appointed a teaching steering committee that will discuss, among other things, issues involving teaching evaluations.
The area of evaluating teaching is new for UH, Patton said.
"Student evaluations are im-portant, but don't tell the whole story," Patton said. "How you evaluate teaching is something we're going to have to learn."