Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No plans to change tenure policies in UA System

UA System officials say the campus shooting by a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville will not affect the tenure policies across the system for the three institutions.

Amy Bishop, a biology professor at UAH, allegedly killed three professors and injured three others when she shot them during a faculty meeting Feb. 12. Officials said she had recently been turned down for tenure.

Kellee Reinhart, vice chancellor for system relations for the UA System, said in an email that the faculty handbooks for the Capstone, University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAH are different and are written by each school individually.

“Each of the three UA System campuses develops its own formal written policies and procedures related to tenure,” Reinhart said.

Reinhart said none of the three schools are currently working on changes to tenure policies.

Charles Nash, vice chancellor of academic affairs for the system, said although each college and university creates its own tenure policies, there are guidelines that every school in the country follows for creating such policies. Nash said the American Association of University Professors, or AAUP, put these guidelines in place in the 1940s and 1950s.

“We see many tenure policies similar across the U.S.,” Nash said.

Nash said tenure gives faculty members the chance to gain experience without being wrongly reprimanded.

Nash said tenure is about job protection only when the faculty member is behaving appropriately.

“Tenure is about the responsibility the university has to the researcher and about the responsibility the researcher has to the university,” Nash said.

According to the UA Faculty Handbook, a faculty member can receive tenure once the individual has gone through a probationary period, showing excellence in the classroom, in research and in future potential, along with a number of other qualifications. In addition, the handbook goes states that faculty members can apply for tenure a year before the end of their probationary period. The application goes to the department chair, then to the dean of the college, then to the provost. If all three individuals approve, then the professor is granted tenure.

The Associated Press reported that Bishop appealed her denial of tenure in March 2009. WHNT reported that in Nov. 2009, UAH President David Williams concluded that tenure procedures were followed correctly in March. A few weeks prior to the shooting, Williams had denied Bishop’s tenure request again.

The University of Alabama has the highest number of tenured professors within the system, despite dropping from 65 percent in 2004 to 58 percent in 2008. UAB went from 45 percent to 41 percent during that same time. Auburn University went from 70 percent to 67 percent.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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