While the committee discussed how to create a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere we also recognize the there are inherent issues within the academic atmosphere that breed anxiety and fear. The lack of job security for one-year appointees causes both professional and personal stress. We recommend clearer timelines related to reappointment decisions,discussions of expanding contracts to multiple years for excellent hires and frank discussions from CAL to Chair to employees about their paths at MSU.
Another area to address involving mistrust and lack of transparency at MSU is the peer review process related to raises. The CCTF contacted Terry Curry, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources, about alternatives to the Peer Review process;he confirmed that a few units do not use peer review. The Faculty Handbook says…
For merit salary increases, peer review advice also is required, but procedures may range from faculty advice to the chairperson or director on standards and criteria to specific commentary on individual faculty by an elected peer review committee. In all cases the academic unit administrator at a minimum is required to obtain the advice of the unit faculty on merit salary standards, criteria and procedures.
However, Curry “believe[s] the merits of having peer review outweigh the difficulties in doing so.”
The CCTF recommends that CAL reexamine peer review as suggested by Dean Christopher Long in another communication with the CCTF. These options can include HuMetricsHSS which is an initiative for rethinking humane indicators of excellence in academia, focused particularly on the humanities and social sciences or Epistemic Exclusion Initiative about which Dean Long notes, “If we are going to truly create a culture in which scholars doing innovative interdisciplinary, and intersectional scholarship thrive, significant reform of the Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure process will need to be undertaken.”
The role of tenure and its metaphorical ticking clock is another area that also causes anxiety for many. It is hoped that a culture of care would understand and offer active empathy with the person experiencing the run-up to submission for tenure and the waiting game related to the decision for tenure.