At this time of year, a number of faculty hired a few years ago approach their "tenure time"—the date in the academic calendar where their tenure is approved, or not, by the Board of Trustees.
Old hands will remember a time in the thankfully distant past where the tenure process was vulnerable to political pressure and petty vendettas of personality. Some may recall its nadir which culminated in a dramatic standing room only Board of Trustees meeting and almost cost us a fine colleague. Over the years, our union leadership labored to reform the process to make it meaningful and to protect the faculty as well as the institution.
Recent hires have expressed the predictable concerns one might expect and have been reassured that the institution can now distinguish between those worth retaining and those not. Of course, this is also the result of reformed hiring processes as well.
Today the district is, of course, more risk averse than ever. One wonders about the lawsuit that might have been had Mathur and company prevailed that March evening and denied the tenure of that faculty member in question.
For the play-by-play of that unforgettable evening see: Mathur Goes After Jeff for Naming a Greenhouse (aka "Hello Mr. Chips"). Yes, it's all true. You can't make this stuff up though some would really like for us to forget it all. But we can't do that either. We're too academic. Plus, it's way too entertaining and instructive. Was the instructor almost denied tenure despite his excellent teaching record? Yes. As the then Chancellor Sampson said, "His teaching isn't the issue." Again, one wonders about the lawsuit that might have been.
Of course, even the reformed process is only as sound as the good faith of all its participants.
Let us know how it goes out there.
• The infamous “greenhouse” affair, part 1 - Feb 29 2000
• The infamous “greenhouse” affair, part 2 - Mar 20 2000
• Tales of Snafuery - Sep 07 2006
• Some Mathurian tales of pettiness and ruthlessness - Jan 04 2000