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The University System of Georgia Board of Regents is the governing authority of 26 public institutions across the state, including the University of Georgia.

In a Wednesday meeting of the Board of Regents, the University System of Georgia approved changes to post-tenure review, including lower standards for firing tenured professors and additional metrics for evaluation. 

The changes allow the opportunity to fire tenured professors without cause. Previously, all removals were done for cause determined by willful or intentional violation of BOR policies or statutes and bylines of the institution. 

The new language expands what faculty members and other employees can be removed for. 

“Such removals for cause shall be governed by the following policies on Grounds for Removal and Procedures for Dismissal. A faculty member may also be separated from employment prior to the end of the contract term other than for cause as outlined here, pursuant to other policies of the Board of Regents. Such other policies shall not be governed by or subject to the following policies on Grounds for Removal and Procedures for Dismissal,” the policy says.

Oversight

Each USG institution, with the exception of Georgia Gwinnett College, is responsible for establishing tenure criteria and procedures that follow an outline from USG. On Tuesday, the BOR added language that gives them oversight over this process. 

“While the Board of Regents has delegated authority for tenure decisions to institution presidents, if an institution is adjudged to be insufficiently rigorous in its enactment of faculty review processes the Board of Regents may move the authority to award tenure to the Board level until institutional processes have been remediated,” the policy says.

Promotion criteria

The outlined tenure criteria for faculty promotion includes excellent teaching, noteworthy professional service to the institution or community, noteworthy research and continuous professional growth and development. 

The BOR added an additional criteria of “noteworthy involvement in student success activities” to this list.Tristan Denley, the USG’s executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer, explained the language in an email provided to the Red and Black.

“The intention for this ‘student success’ category is to include ways in which faculty engage with students both inside and outside the classroom to materially impact student learning and engagement other than through instruction, as well as faculty involvement in established strategies that improve student graduation metrics,” Denley said.

Examples of student success activities include advising and mentoring, undergraduate and graduate research and involvement in faculty development activities, according to Denley’s email.

Nathalee Simoneau began her foray into journalism at The Red & Black in spring 2021 and is the current assistant city news editor. Specific areas of interest include food insecurity, housing/land development and local government ordinances.

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