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MSSU Faculty Face Vote on New Tenure Track - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Faculty Face Vote on New Tenure Track

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -                  Faculty members at Missouri Southern State University face a vote on a revised faculty handbook. It changes guidelines for getting tenure and gives faculty a choice that could send some of them back to school.

     A power point presentation explains to  faculty members the results of four years work to revise the faculty handbook including  strengthening  guidelines for getting and keeping tenure . A choice faculty will have to make if they want to be eligible for promotion to professor.

 Vice President of Academic Affairs Crystal Lemmons says, "What it means to be on tenure track at our campus,  for that it means a terminal degree or doctorate degree and giving folks the opportunity to obtain those if they don't already."

     Dave McKee, teachers thermal physics and  is on the tenure track. He has his doctorate. Those who don't will have six years to earn one. Those who don't succeed or attempt tenure simply retain their current titles and can earn raises but won't get promotions.

Faculty senate president Michael Garoutte says, "Their jobs are not in jeopardy. They're given the option to go on tenure track and faculty I talked to say that's an amazing option I never thought  would happen. "

    But it won't be easy. Those on the committee say it won't change a faculty members class load but could be challenging to reach a Ph.D. or doctorate  level." Garoutte says,  "It may be as much as sixty or ninety  credit hours and of course then including a dissertation.  If one is a faculty member who's teaching, then being asked to go get their terminal  degree while teaching, that could be a challenge."

Lemmons adds,   "It can be expensive to pursue a terminal or doctorate degree."

     Evaluation guidelines for all faculty levels are being clarified in the proposed handbook. Guidelines which ensure tenure  is earned.

 Garoutte says, "When I say strengthening the process,  that does include beefing up the requirements.”  The new tenure guidelines include a checklist of what to do every year, how to complete a portfolio, evaluations from colleagues and mentoring. Plus a committee will look at applications for tenure and make recommendations so it isn't simply automatic after teaching six years.

High school students milled across the MSSU campus  for foreign language day Tuesday, but the university  is also courting those who want graduate degrees.

     Garoutte says, "If I've got a masters degree I can't teach masters level students. I need to have a degree higher than that and that's one of the areas we're moving into, is graduate education."

There were sixty  faculty members who  participated in the revisions. 

    Garoutte says, "We've really put forth a process by which faculty have had input in developing the policies that govern us. And that's a change for the better as far as I'm concerned."

     Faculty will vote on the proposed changes April 29-th. 
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