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UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

FAU students debate over post-tenure review

Post-tenure review is a process in which tenured faculty members are evaluated on their performance over a five-year period. If they do not meet specific criteria, they may be terminated.
Empty+classroom+in+Culture+and+Society+building+on+FAU+Boca+Raton+campus.%0A
Erika Fletcher
Empty classroom in Culture and Society building on FAU Boca Raton campus.

Student opinions on post-tenure review (PTR), a performance review for tenured university professors, are divided.

Students are concerned that professors who do not comply with PTR’s requirements for permanent employment should not be allowed to keep their teaching positions. Others sympathize with the fear and uncertainty that terminating professors can cause and believe there should be other ways to address poor teaching.

Elisa Cortes, a special education major, graduated from FAU last spring. Cortes said she experienced questionable teaching styles from tenured professors. She wished that PTR had been implemented during her time at FAU to ensure that professors met the university’s ‘high’ standards and quality of teaching.

An FAU student who wishes to remain anonymous stated that PTR would notably benefit their educational experience in their STEM course. By following barred guidelines, PTR would eliminate archaic teaching styles and accommodate the changing needs of student education.

“[I have] received grades that don’t align with assigned rubrics, sat through lectures giving inaccurate information, and uses outdated software programs over three decades old,” said the student. 

For the past three semesters at FAU, Jada Wilson has identified language barriers between professors and students that can hinder academic performance. She has advocated for teachers to provide subtitles or transcripts to improve the effectiveness of lectures.

“I’ve had to witness classmates asking for slower dialects or better explanations and the [thick accent] teacher won’t give that grace,” said Wilson. 

Balazs Barany, an FAU student, reconciles with the positive effect of PTR and the undermining fear of potential termination, which threatens job security and professors’ financial well-being.

“[I] can see how a regular re-assessment of teaching qualities is aimed at the general betterment of education, but I can also understand why this could lead to anxiety and uncertainty among faculty members,” said Barany.

Florida faces a teacher shortage as educators relocate to escape the political pressure. Joao Brandao, a political science major, sympathizes with the professors scrutinized during the PTR review.

“I believe that a PTR [creates] a target on the backs of professors, regardless of their longevity at any educational institution,” said Brandao.

Ximena Dipietro, a history major, opposes the PTR process because it allows political influence to interfere with professors’ classrooms and may result in the termination of good professors for arbitrary reasons.

“PTR is just another form for a conservative state government to influence the governance of higher education rather than preserving any supposed academic freedom,” said Dipietro. “The fact is that reviews of professors already exist, like in SPOT or other processes.”

FAU House of Representatives, Marc Forrester worries about PTR and Senate Bill 266, which expands higher education reform by prohibiting state public colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Professors and students are standing up for their rights against the violation of free speech and censorship.

“It’s just another form of political shenaniganry that is to be expected of the current state administration,” said Forrester. “It’s a pretty blatant assault on our First Amendment rights by those who, at the same time, claim to protect them.”

Forrester believes that PTR would not be effective if implemented. Not all professors are equally effective in their teaching methods and some may find it challenging to keep their students engaged. PTR should be used to identify areas where professors need to improve rather than terminate for poor performance.

Despite the challenging times, multimedia journalism major Dylan Backer commends FAU professors and faculty for their commitment to teaching, advising, and service, which helps students achieve excellence and professional development.

“My personal educational experience at FAU has been as advertised and I definitely feel like I am leaving class each day having learned something,” said Backer.

 

Michael Cook is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

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Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a junior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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