The University of Colorado System released findings today from a large-scale study of its tenure process. A report on the study, written by Howell M. Estes III, a retired U.S. Air Force general, combines recommendations from both an internal and an external review group.
University officials have said they hope the review will show state legislators that the system is adequately handling questions about the quality of the university’s faculty (The Chronicle, January 6). Conservative lawmakers have been incensed since early last year that a tenured professor at the university’s Boulder campus, Ward Churchill, called some victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks “little Eichmanns” (The Chronicle, February 10, 2005). Mr. Churchill’s research and tenure qualifications are now the subject of a separate inquiry (The Chronicle, April 24).
While General Estes’ report calls for improvements in the university’s processes for post-tenure and annual faculty reviews, the findings are largely self-affirming. The report calls the tenure process “well designed and generally well managed” and describes the process of earning tenure “extremely rigorous … transparent, selective, and self-correcting.”
There will be a public-comment period and several campus forums before the university’s Board of Regents decides whether to accept any of the recommendations.