Faculty Views of Tenure Policies: An Empirical Investigation

Slowik, Linda H., Xiaohui Zhong, Kathleen Zimmerman-Oster, Dawn Archey, and Domonique Anderson

The goals of the ADVANCE ITC grant at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) was to conduct institutional self-assessment to identify issues impeding the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women faculty in the STEM disciplines and to create an action plan to transform the institutional climate. Part of this effort was to examine faculty perceptions toward promotion and tenure policies to provide a foundation for institutional transformation. To understand these perceptions, a climate survey was administrated to all full-time UDM faculty. Information on the fairness, clarity, and the need for modification of promotion and tenure policies were collected from faculty and analyzed. Results reveal that policy perceptions are structured parsimoniously into two main factors (fairness/need for modification and clarity). As predicted, faculty views varied significantly as a function of gender and as a function of tenure status. In addition, relationships between policy perceptions and organizational and individual outcomes are explored from a social science perspective. Recommendations are suggested for creating action plans at the institutional level to improve the fairness and clarity of policies for all faculty.