Governor Rick Scott is circulating this seven point plan on ending university tenure to prospective College Board appointees. The plan calls for measuring classroom effectiveness based in part of student evaluations, and splitting research and classroom functions to determine who is teaching the most students at the lowest cost.
At Florida State, PhD candidate Jennifer Feltman says ending tenure would dampen academic freedom. “A very high bar is set for earning tenure, at least in my field. Publications, books are required, a very hefty process one must go through that takes years. So it is not just something that is given away.”
Last year, lawmakers briefly thought about trying to end tenure at the Community College level. But after Presidents and faculty testified, it died a quick death.”
Former FSU trustee Steve Uhlfelder says Rick Scott will face huge opposition if he goes forward. Uhlfelder should know, he once floated the idea of limiting tenure to seven years. “Good professors will not be harmed by continuing review of their tenure. And I don’t believe that once they get tenure that it should be a lifetime job.”
But should Gov. Scott prevail, come next fall, Professors may have to start worrying more about what their students think, if they want to keep their jobs.
The United Faculty of Florida opposes the end of tenure, saying it will put Florida colleges and Universities at a disadvantage when scholars are seeking teaching and research positions.