Clearing up a few tenure misconceptions

by Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

As a heavily-quoted faculty member in the Simp’s Jan. 22 story on the tenure process, I want to be sure the quoted remarks selected by the Simp for that story do not leave a false impression among your readers. The article accurately represented my concern that many junior faculty around the country are uncertain of what it takes to be tenured. The article left out, however, two statements I made in my Simp interviews that are needed for context. First, I declared that the tenure process might already be as clear as possible: individual faculty have unique strengths and weaknesses, and different academic disciplines make unique demands on faculty. Second, I declared my confidence in the Faculty Personnel Committee’s decision: for important reasons, those outside the FPC do not have access to all of the information the FPC considers in making its decisions. Finally, I’d like to make clear that, although I remain concerned about uncertainties in the tenure process in general, in my own case I have no complaints. I think Simpson faculty work hard to make fair and accurate evaluations of those undergoing the tenure process. None of us without all the facts are in a position to pass judgment on the outcome of a particular case.

Mark Freyberg

Professor of Sociology