In Toledo, Another Step In the Tenure Process

From Inside Higher Ed:

Lloyd A. Jacobs announced last week that in his role as president of the University of Toledo, he plans to interview every faculty member who comes up for tenure before making a recommendation to the board on whether to approve the bid.

While many faculty members are angry about the idea that an academic career can be evaluated in a short conversation, Jacobs said he finds it odd that people expect a president to urge trustees to grant tenure to someone without the president having talked to the person and formed an independent judgment. “I think that the concept of university presidents being relegated to a rubber stamp role is one of the downsides of our current higher education,” he said.

“I am making an independent judgment. I am attempting to exercise the responsibility that the board has delegated to me, in the best possible way,” he said. “It’s putting a face with a name, including the data gained from observation of body language, facial features, voice tone,” he said. He said that the interviews would last about 30 minutes, and would cover teaching, research, service and other issues depending on where the conversation leads.

It sounds as though Jacobs thinks a 30 minute evaluation of “body language, facial features, voice tone” could have an impact on his recommendation (because if not, why is he doing this?). Does that make any sense?

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.