November 20, 2017

Lack of tenure has repercussions for students

By Megan Brewer —

The Faculty Assembly met Nov. 17 to discuss adding more tenure track faculty. The goal of creating more tenure-track faculty is to adhere to students needs.

The university’s enrollment goal of 30,000 students would result in tenure-track faculty having greater course loads or more contingent faculty being hired.

If tenure-track faculty were given more of a course load, Arts & Sciences Dean Kimberly Kempf-Leonard said Arts & Sciences research would be hindered.

As of 2016-17, 64 percent of faculty are contingent. Having more contingent faculty has left some students feeling as if faculty doesn’t care or can’t help them.

Katie Adamchik’s reasearch on students who dropped out of U of L quoted one student as saying “Teachers weren’t interested in helping me at all.”

“Students are perceiving that we are not very caring,” Professor Karen Christopher said.

To some members, the fear of having more tenure faculty is that it would dilute tenure.

There will be “new expectations of tenure but there will be expectations,” Kempf-Leonard said. “If you are a faculty member who thinks you are too good to teach an undergraduate class, you’re not earning your salary.”

Faculty wants to create more tenure and tenure-track faculty in support of U of L students.

U of L’s American Association of University Professors launched a “Tenure Matters” campaign to allow individuals to share their tenure stories, along with Twitter hashtag #tenurematters.

Photo by Shelby Brown / The Louisville Cardinal

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