uDenver approves pathways to long-term contracts for non-tenure-track faculty

February 18, 2015

The board of governors at the University of Denver recently approved changes to the institution's appointment, promotion, and tenure policies that some say could serve as a prototype for other institutions that employ large numbers of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members. Under the new system, proposed by the university's faculty, non-tenure-track instructors can be hired on annual contracts for no more than 5 years, at which point they are either released or promoted to an assistant professorship with a new, renewable contract that can extend for up to 3 years. Assistant professors can apply for promotion to associate professor at any time, but must be evaluated after 6 years' time; if they receive a positive review, they receive the promotion with a 5-year contract. They can subsequently apply for promotion to full professor. There are still many unanswered questions, including whether or not this program will lead to fewer tenure-track appointments. Moreover, there are no raises associated with the new system, just longer-term contracts. However, advocates say that the benefits of the new approach will likely outweigh any risk involved and that the program may help the institution attract high-quality teachers to its faculty. Inside Higher Ed