By Bea Herrera and Jenny Redding
As fall tenure evaluations wrap up, faculty (the tenure candidate) must know his or her rights under the collective bargaining agreement. Noted in Article 11-Tenure Evaluation.
First, the tenure review committee process must have followed the steps outlined in Article 11. All tenure review committee members must have performed the evaluations and attend the meetings to go over the outcome of each observation as outlined in Article 11.
Second, at the end of the process, the tenure candidate must have been given a recommendation for the upcoming year. All observation comments or evaluation ratings must have been provided to the candidate in writing in the appropriate forms/documents with copies provided to the candidate.
Tenure candidates cannot be forced to sign the evaluation documents until after they have reviewed each and every form before signing. Tenure candidates also have the right to rebut each comment on each evaluation if they feel inclined to do so. There is no time limit for this, but it is advisable to do so right away, before the college President makes his or her recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which is usually in January or early February.
Tenure candidates can also sign the evaluation forms but write on the form over top of their signature that they are signing only to acknowledge receipt of the forms; however, are not in agreement to what was written, or they object to all or part of it. Candidates have a right to note this statement on the form.
If a tenure candidate receives a “needs improvement,” a specific, reasonable improvement plan must be written by the Tenure Review Committee and presented to the candidate at a meeting to review it in detail. This meeting should take place before the end or the fall term. Tenure candidates must confirm if a spring evaluation will he required. If the Tenure Review Committee includes it in the improvement plan, then a spring evaluation will take place. All Tenure Review Committee members, not just one or two, should be evaluating the tenure candidate. The same process repeats itself in spring, as it did in fall when a “needs improvement” plan required a spring evaluation.
Third, if a tenure candidate is not clear about the process or wants to provide additional information or discuss concerns he or she may have, the candidate can convene the whole tenure review committee before the final recommendation is sent to the college president.
Lastly, if the tenure candidate believes the process was not followed, AFT is recommending the tenure candidate contact the Grievance Chair, Bea Herrera, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Assistant Grievance Chair, Jenny Redding, at email@example.com to discuss the situation and his or her contractual and California Education Code rights. All discussions are strictly confidential.