Dear faculty colleagues,
I am writing to share with you the report of the FAS Tenure Track Review Committee (TTRC), submitted to me by TTRC Chair, Hopi Hoekstra, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Curator of Mammals in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
As you know, in Fall 2020, I charged TTRC, a committee comprised of 11 tenured faculty members from across the divisions and SEAS, with undertaking a comprehensive review of the FAS tenure-track system. In particular, I asked the committee to examine the processes for promotion to associate professor and promotion to tenured professor. I applaud TTRC for their extraordinary work, including extensive outreach to faculty colleagues and deans across the FAS, careful review of data, thoughtful deliberation, and a comprehensive report documenting their recommendations for my review.
As its overarching conclusion, TTRC found a structurally sound system that nonetheless will benefit from improvements. I believe that their recommendations in this report will move the FAS forward. I also want to highlight a central theme in the report, which I fully endorse. The report calls for a new level of shared responsibility for the tenure-track system among the tenured faculty. This will require a greater degree of senior faculty engagement with our tenure-track colleagues, not just proximate to promotion reviews, but in an ongoing way from the point of hire, symmetrical with our tenure-track colleagues’ own continual focus on their journey towards promotion and possible tenure.
Starting this fall, the FAS will begin the complex work of implementation. I am asking the Office for Faculty Affairs to work with me and the divisional and SEAS deans to develop a thoughtful plan for staging the implementation of TTRC recommendations. I expect implementation to take place over the next two years. In the near term, I am asking TTRC members to lead discussions in the coming weeks with the chairs’ councils in the three academic divisions and in SEAS, as well as with Faculty Council, to answer any questions colleagues may have about the report. As our work continues, I will keep the Faculty informed of major developments. Your partnership in this work will be not only valued but essential.
The FAS’s tenure-track system is central to our efforts to build a world-class faculty. Strengthening this system is one of the most important things that we can do. I look forward to working with all of you on the truly exciting task that lies ahead.
Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences