Monday, May 23, 2016

Diversity as a Tenure Requirement

Inside Higher Ed
By Scott Jaschik
May 23, 2016

Pomona College's faculty has voted to change the criteria for tenure to specifically require candidates to be "attentive to diversity in the student body."

While many colleges and universities encourage faculty members to support diversity efforts, and a few have encouraged tenure candidates to reference such work, Pomona's requirement may go farther in that it applies to all who come up for tenure. The faculty voted overwhelmingly this month to approve the change. At Pomona, the faculty controls the tenure criteria, so the vote is final, although there is a grandfather clause exempting those already in the tenure-review process.

The key changes in how faculty members are evaluated can be seen in this part of the Pomona policy, with bold indicating the additions made this month:

Intellectual leadership at the college includes, most particularly, but not exclusively, good teaching that is attentive to diversity in the student body, meaning competence in all, and excellence in at least one, of these teaching activities as measured by the high standards that prevail at Pomona College:

1.      Lecturing;
2.      Leading seminars and discussions;
3.      Guiding laboratories, independent studies, theses, tutorials, studios, performances/exhibitions, rehearsals, student research, coaching or any other modes of individual or collaborative learning, whether or not explicitly offered for course credit.
4.      Fostering an inclusive classroom where all students are encouraged to participate in discussions, studios, rehearsals, performances, activities and other course exercises.

Further, the Pomona policy outlining the preparation of a tenure portfolio by a candidate says that the faculty members should "specifically address their efforts to create and maintain an inclusive classroom. This may include describing classroom practices used to encourage the participation of a diverse student body, or to cultivate an awareness of differing backgrounds, focuses, and needs among the student body and broader community. Techniques such as communities of learning and community partnerships are relevant here, as are the inclusion of scholarly and other works emerging from the perspectives of underrepresented groups, or any other classroom practices that support inclusivity and diversity."

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