Miami University’s percentage of tenured faculty is significantly higher than the national average of 27 percent of college instructors tenured or on the tenure track; Miami has 58.59 percent. As a university, Miami strives to retain high quality professors who are experienced and devoted to teaching students but also are heavily involved in increasing their knowledge through research ventures.
Such instructors are prime candidates for tenure if they continue to meet the requirements of the university through a series of evaluations. Furthermore, a Miami professor seeking tenure must have worked at the university for at least six years.
Miami is considering new evaluation methods to decrease the number of professors granted tenure, however, the number has already decreased over the past 20 years. Moreover, the report introduces the fact that Miami graduates who teach at Miami are excluded from receiving tenure.
The editorial board of The Miami Student recognizes that while the difference between Miami’s percentage of tenure professors and the national average is high, it should not be viewed as negative to the university. In light of the current budget crisis, Miami is looking to find more ways to cut expenses to meet the new budget. If the university maintains a high number of tenured professors, then more money will need to be allocated. Although non-tenured instructors should also receive high salaries, the money should not be found by granting tenure to fewer professors.
Having a high percentage of tenured faculty is directly beneficial to students’ educational experiences. Miami is ranked No. 2 nationally as an undergraduate teaching university and that ranking reflects the quality of professors and their commitment to students. Yet, it is essential the university is selective when deciding which professors should receive tenure. Student evaluations need to be taken into considerable account when a professor is seeking the tenure distinction.
Once a professor is tenured, it is easy for their duty as a professor to lag behind because they already did the work to solidify their credibility and now they are focused on research. It is important to stress that professors need to take their tenure seriously and remain focused on educating students. Instead of doing their research while on sabbatical in a teaching vacuum, this board recommends professors involve undergraduates in their research in creative ways.
This board also disagrees with the university rule that Miami graduates cannot receive tenure and are only allowed to teach at the university for seven years. It is understood that Miami may be encouraging diverse professors who offer new ideas and do not succeed from a lineage of Miami professors. While the board understands this is a sensible policy, certainly an academic background at Miami should not preclude the possibility of teaching here for more than seven years.