Report slams University System of Georgia’s tenure review changes

Georgia Tech professor Carol Senf rallied with professors from several Georgia universities on Oct. 12, 2021 against changes to the state system’s post-tenure review process they believe will make it easier for administrators to fire them. The rare protest, held before a state Board of Regents meeting on Georgia Tech’s campus, was the latest dispute in a semester-long battle between the two sides over the system’s direction. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

caption arrowCaption
Georgia Tech professor Carol Senf rallied with professors from several Georgia universities on Oct. 12, 2021 against changes to the state system’s post-tenure review process they believe will make it easier for administrators to fire them. The rare protest, held before a state Board of Regents meeting on Georgia Tech’s campus, was the latest dispute in a semester-long battle between the two sides over the system’s direction. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Georgia system leader ‘strongly disagrees’ with findings

A national faculty association released a report Wednesday that says the University System of Georgia and its Board of Regents conducted “flagrant violations … of academic governance” when it changed its post-tenure review process two months ago.

The American Association of University Professors said it will likely vote soon on censuring the system, a rare move that could result in fewer faculty members coming to work in Georgia. There are about 8,400 tenure-track and tenured faculty in the Georgia system, according to the report.

The system’s acting chancellor, Teresa MacCartney, wrote a letter to the group Wednesday saying she “wholly and strongly” disagrees with the report’s conclusions.

ExploreGeorgia Board of Regents approves changes to its post-tenure review guidelines

The 19-member regents voted in October to change its post-tenure review process, which officials said are needed to better measure how faculty members are working toward ensuring students earn degrees. The changes include reviewing how faculty members interact with students outside the classroom through mentoring or advising.

Faculty members at several Georgia universities criticized the changes beforehand, saying they didn’t have enough input in the process. They say the changes now make it easier for administrators to fire professors after one unfavorable review, with little input from peers.

“Many institutions of higher education today incorporate some system of post-tenure review. However, to our knowledge, very few, if any, such institutions have post-tenure review policies that decouple academic due process from post-tenure review,” the 16-page report says.

ExploreGeorgia college students want ‘temporary’ fee to go away

MacCartney countered that faculty members still have input in the performance review of colleagues.

“Faculty members will repeatedly be given notice of deficiencies in their performance over the course of years and will be given numerous opportunities to improve performance as well as respond to evaluations by both faculty peers and administrators, as well as the right to appeal any adverse action,” she wrote in a three-page letter.

The association’s next step is formulating a recommendation on censure. Its governing council will vote, likely early next year, on whether to censure the Georgia system. The group said censure could be avoided if the system restores prior due process protections.

ExploreMore AJC higher education stories

About the Author

Editors' Picks