What is academic tenure?

By Victoria Moorhouse

Staff Writer


Tenure, this word in academia is reoccurring. For instructors, it is a stress taken away from their everyday worries. For the rest of the academic population, it may just be a word thrown around in conversation regarding their professors’ status. What does tenure mean and what does it do for your college?

When any instructor of any status is hired at CCC, they work for five years with a year-to-year contract. During their fifth year, the instructor applies for what is called academic tenure.

Basically, academic tenure allows an instructor to have a stable contract that is renewed every year as long as the instructor is fulfilling their duty successfully.

“With tenure you cannot be dismissed without reason or cause, it’s a guaranteed contract,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Services, Dr. Jacqueline Galbiati.

As explained by Dr. Galbiati, around 1910, females were being dismissed as educators because of their marital status or because of pregnancy.  Tenure was designed as a way to protect educator’s jobs and for good work to continue.

According to the CCC faculty tenure procedure, “the granting of tenure by the Board of Trustees is based on: Five consecutive years of employment by the college in an academic area, satisfactory professional performance as evidenced by formal evaluation and Recommendation by the College President.”

The application for tenure is fulfilled in a series of steps. First the instructor completes a self-evaluation of their performance. Next, the instructor has to receive student evaluations to become part of their application packet. Lastly, the instructor creates a written summary of his or her own performance.

The application is turned in and reviewed. The dean of that specific department looks at the peer classroom evaluations and makes a recommendation to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Services. At the February board meeting, tenure is granted or denied.

If tenure is granted at the February board meeting, the faculty member will begin their tenured contract in the beginning of their sixth year at the institution.  If tenure is denied in February, the faculty member has the rest of the academic year to look for another job.

“Tenure is a privilege and has job security to it, but still requires you to be a professional,” said Dr. Galbiati.

During the five years that faculty are working towards tenure, mentoring takes place. Faculty members that have tenure, have the opportunity, to take new faculty under their wings and guide them to become better college employees.

Dr. Galbiati feels that in majority, faculty members feel that it is a privilege to have the stability and honor of academic tenure.

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