One of the most important responsibilities of faculty in higher education is the commitment to mentor, support, and appraise our colleagues through the tenure review and evaluation process. Currently, we have 54 tenure candidates, including 10 in their first year, 18 in their second year, 12 in their third year and 14 in their fourth year of tenure review and evaluation. Because the Tenure Review and Evaluation Committee (TREC), chaired by Chad Tsuyuki, coordinates this important process for both untenured candidates and tenured colleagues, all MiraCosta faculty have a stake in ensuring this process is implemented in a fair and equitable manner. As the tenure candidate review and evaluation process has recently changed (2018), it is important that tenured colleagues participating on Tenure Review Committees (TRCs) become informed and familiar with the contractually-defined elements of this process.
Where to Look for Guidance and Answers Regarding Evaluation
The updated TREC website is the first place to turn to with any questions about the tenure review and evaluation process. The TREC website provides a link to Article H, our contractual agreement with the district defining process and procedures specific to tenure candidates, as well as the forms and timelines associated with each element of this process. The TREC website also provides the information and forms needed by our tenured colleagues participating in their 3-Year or 6-Year evaluations. Since the tenured faculty evaluation process has not yet been negotiated with the district, the process is still guided by the information provided in the Tenured Faculty Professional Growth and Development (TFM) Handbook (last updated in August 2017). Fall 2019 negotiations between the Faculty Assembly and the district include a reopener to bring the tenured faculty evaluation process more in line with the tenure review and evaluation process for tenure candidates, and to consider a somewhat more comprehensive third year evaluation (offering more parity with the sixth year process). The FA and the district have agreed that both tenure candidates and tenured faculty can bring any appeals to the evaluation process through the establishment of the Appeals and Review Committee (ARC), with responsibilities defined in Article H.3.2.
For those who have not recently participated as a member of a TRC, there are some key changes in the process also outlined in Article H that should be noted. These include the requirement that deans complete an Observation and Discussion Report for the first two years of a tenure candidate’s review and that they also complete a Dean’s Report pertinent to the criteria for evaluation for each cycle. Given that our working conditions agreement with the district will not be reopened until spring 2021, additional elements identified by TREC and mutually agreed upon by the FA and the district will be outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the end of the fall 2019 semester.
It has been suggested that the tenure process best be viewed as a four-year interview. While tenure is not a guarantee of lifetime employment, it does ensure the provision of due process and the protection of our working conditions. It behooves us all that this process be fair, equitable, and reflective of our collective commitment to clarity, candor, and care…one plan, observation, survey, report, reflection and review at a time.