University of Tennessee president criticizes faculty reaction to post-tenure review

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro sent an email to faculty Thursday criticizing the response to proposed changes to the post-tenure review process that some opponents say amounts to eliminating tenure.

“Periodic post-tenure review of all tenured faculty is not uncommon in higher education, and I am convinced that requiring it will enhance academic excellence, accountability and transparency at the University of Tennessee,” DiPietro said in the email.

“Additional rationale for doing so is that it will recognize faculty accomplishments and achievements, rejuvenate underperforming faculty, identify inadequate annual faculty evaluation procedures and support removal of faculty who are performing unsatisfactorily.”

Comments have been ‘false and misleading’

DiPietro also said recent faculty comments have been “disappointing, false and misleading” and that the university has a responsibility to “ensure that tenure is not misinterpreted as unconditional job security for life regardless of performance.”

The proposed changes, to be considered by the UT board of trustees later this month, would make room forĀ peer reviews of tenured faculty at least every six years and reviews of all faculty in underperforming departments.

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