Volume 9, Number 9 January 11, 2002

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New standards set to be finalized

Vice-President Academic & Provost Michael Atkinson says the University Review Committee “will make the final adjustments later this month” and  approve the new U of S standards for promotion and tenure.

They’ll come into effect July 1 for all new appointments and all promotion cases.

Michael Atkinson

The move will cap years of on-again, off-again efforts to revise the standards, and as Atkinson told University Council Dec. 13, it will now allow Colleges across campus to get on with using the updated rules.

Over the past couple of months, Atkinson has held meetings to gather concerns about the draft new standards.

At Council in December he unveiled the URC’s latest revisions to the standards, which have come in response to various points and concerns raised.

The revisions clarify some meanings and procedures in areas like external referees for tenure, and student evaluation of teaching.

Atkinson said one of the main concerns he’s heard is the heavy workload this may cause department heads and others, administering the new more extensive procedures for promotion and tenure cases and appeals.

Chemistry Prof. Ron Sutherland raised it again, telling Council, “Every department will have at least half their faculty requiring action under this, and operationally it’s much harder.”  He told Atkinson, “You’ll have to find a way to ensure deans and department heads have appropriate levels of assistance.”

Atkinson agreed it may be tough.  “As universities turn over 50 per cent of faculty in the next 10 years, the workload will be huge, and we’ll have to help each other.  To deal with three or four cases (at a time) would be a huge burden,” he acknowledged

He said in a Jan. 3 interview that he intends to issue a message to deans clarifying which tasks in the new standards are mandatory and which are optional.  And he says “we will provide new forms, new suggested letters to reviewers” and other supports for the new standards process.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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