Bad timing for tenure plan

The recent proposal aimed at attracting less experienced faculty to NIU is a good idea that, unfortunately, comes at a bad time.

A Board of Regents proposal for NIU, Illinois State University and Sangamon State University would ease the tenure path for faculty transfers who have less than three years experience. Under the proposal, incoming faculty with less than three years experience elsewhere might be able to have some of that time credited towards the mandatory six-year probationary period required before tenure consideration is possible.

Currently, only incoming faculty with more than three years experience can have that time credited. Obviously the hope here is to attract younger faculty.

Charles Morris, Regents vice chancellor for Academic Affairs said the proposal would make the Regency schools more competitive but the impact would be minimal.

This would be true under normal circumstances due to the budget crimp on faculty hiring. However, another personnel idea being tossed around would greatly affect this.

A proposal to give faculty over 50 years old a one-time-only chance to cash in early on their retirement funds will be proposed at next year’s legislative session. The motive for the bill stems from legitimate concern by Illinois teachers that retirement funds are in jeopardy because the General Assembly has failed to match individual funds for nearly a decade, as it was required to do.

If passed, it will undoubtedly drain a significant number of faculty from Illinois universities. And what better time—during an expected faculty migration—than to put in place a nifty incentive program attracting new faculty to fill in those gaping holes?

As stated in an earlier Star editorial, the retirement fund idea, ultimately, will be bad for the universities and is a poor substitute for proper state funding. The Regency tenure proposal, however well-intentioned, will be tarnished by furthering that cause at this time.