Tennessee college presidents to voice views on tenure in May 1 forum at Tennessee Tech

Four presidents of Tennessee higher education institutions will exchange views on the hotly contested issue of tenure in a May 1 forum at Tennessee Technological University.

The event, Tennessee Tech's second annual colloquium on the subject of tenure, features four presidents expressing their opinions on one of the most intensely debated issues in education today: whether tenure -- a system that offers certain job guarantees when performance measures are met -- should continue in America's college and university systems. The program begins at 7 p.m. in the University Center Multipurpose Room and is free and open to the public.

Tenure is an issue, says colloquium organizer Leo McGee, that stretches across aspects of academic freedom, job recruitment, job performance and, most critically, the quality of education American students receive.

"The subject of tenure is receiving more attention than ever before," said McGee, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Tennessee Tech. "Questions concerning its place in today's academy are primarily coming from outside the higher education enterprise. Therefore it is very timely for the perspective of college presidents to be heard."

Panelists and the perspectives they will discuss in 12-minute presentations are:

  • Karen Bowyer, president of Dyersburg State Community College, "What is the future of the tenure system in the academy?"
  • James Catanzaro, president of Chattanooga State Technical Community College, "Is the tenure system really necessary for academic freedom?"
  • Hal Ramer, president of Volunteer State Community College, "What has been tenure's role in higher education?"
  • Angelo Volpe, president of Tennessee Technological University, "What is the Tennessee Board of Regents' report on tenure?"

The presentations will be followed by a period of general discussion with the floor open to questions from audience members.

"The President's Perspective on Tenure" is sponsored by Tennessee Tech's Instructional Improvement and Faculty Development Committee and the university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Facilitators include a statement of purpose by Jeffery Roberts, assistant professor of history; introductions by Janell Hawkins, instructor of the Academic Development Program; and service as moderator by McGee.

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