Tenure is a mutual agreement the university and professors enter into which grants the professor a permanent position on the faculty. Why is this important for UVU? Randy Neilson/UVU Review

Recent changes in campus tenure policy may go unnoticed by students, and yet what tenure is and why we need tenured faculty are two questions crucial to our growth as a university.

According to the American Association of University Professors’ 1940 statement, as quoted in UVU’s June 2006 tenure policy, “Tenure is a means to certain ends; specifically, (1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and (2) a sufficient degree of economic freedom to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability.”

When the university advertises a position available, they specify whether or not it is a tenure-track position.

However, a tenure-track position does not mean they will become tenured, but it guarantees consideration for a tenure position.

Each year for six years the professor is evaluated and on the third year they undergo a midterm review by the department chair and dean.

Dr. David R. Keller, professor of Ethics and previous president of the UVU chapter of AAUP said, “It’s my understanding that tenure at UVU is based on three things: service, scholarship and teaching.”

He continues, “To get tenure at UVU you need to be competent in all three and at least show excellence in one or two of them.”

To really be considered for a tenure-track position, and also in the probationary period after securing such a position, professors must show their regular and important contributions to the three categories.

Service is to sit on a committee of the professor’s choice (highly relevant to their academic study) and issue committee service in one way or another.

Scholarship is considered the production and publication of research, such as presenting papers at an academic conference, writing books or creating some form of art – in other words, the production of work in whatever mediums are appropriate to the professor’s area of expertise and talent that allows them to contribute to the world of academia.

Teaching requires professors to show through curriculum and student evaluations that they are providing students with opportunities to expand their knowledge or gain experience in the field of the professor’s discipline.

Traditionally, we are a teaching-based school with little emphasis on research. This also carries over to their tenure considerations.

Dr. Robert Cousins, English and Literature department chair said, “UVU is pretty clear about saying that teaching is the most important because research is not our priority.”