BY WATCHING ADAMS STAFF – 2/10/20
Under the leadership of President Cheryl Lovell, the administration at Adams State University (ASU) is considering changes to faculty tenure beginning in the Fall 2020 academic year. Earlier today, ASU Associated Students & Faculty (AS&F) delivered a letter to the Faculty Senate opposing this proposal. The email introduction and letter is published below in full.
From: Diane Arias
Date: Mon, Feb 10, 2020 at 4:15 PM
Subject: AS&F Letter Non-Tenure Track Policy
To: Faculty Senate
Good Afternoon Faculty Senate,
The AS&F Executive team has learned about the potential changes to the faculty tenure track positions. We have decided through the many discussions we have participated in that we are against the policy change that was presented to the Faculty Senate and have voiced our concerns regarding this policy in the attached letter. We believe to ensure shared governance for ASU, students and faculty must be involved in the implementation of this policy.
We hope the conversation moving forward about faculty non-tenure track positions will incorporate the student voices.
I would like to extend an invitation to any faculty member to attend our next AS&F meeting February 24th at 6:00pm in BUS 142 so that we may move this conversation forward.
Thank you all for your time and care about this new policy.
VP of External Affairs
Associated Students & Faculty
5 February 2020
Dear Faculty Senate,
On behalf of the executive team of Associated Students & Faculty, we would like to offer our unwavering support to faculty members regarding the potential policy change concerning faculty tenure track lines. As students who chose to receive our education from Adams State University, we feel that this potential policy would significantly impact the quality of our education. We greatly value all faculty on our campus; however, we recognize that our remarkable tenure and tenure-track faculty have and will utilize their ability to build lasting relationships with their students. While exploring schools and opportunities, students prefer and value the experience that tenured faculty can offer. Students appreciate the stability and expertise, especially at a public and rural institution that is not research-based. The experience tenured faculty contribute to our education is indispensable. Tenured positions demonstrate the professor’s stability and commitment, but also the institution’s unwavering status on the importance of high-quality education students are receiving. Tenured faculty help to develop higher-quality students who go on to become influential individuals that are socially mobile, creative, and prepared professionals.
Not only would the current and future students of ASU be impacted, but the greater Alamosa community would suffer a significant loss as well. Community members of Alamosa are hesitant to welcome faculty who have no plan of staying in Alamosa long-term. The greater community benefits greatly from the relationships and bridges built by Adams State faculty. The presence in the community is felt and valued. Their community might not see the negative consequences in the short-term, but the long term repercussions would certainly hurt Alamosa and the surrounding areas. Our successful faculty are influential to the Valley, and their willingness to commit to the community demonstrates one more way that they are devoted to students at Adams State. We are lucky to have faculty members who serve on City Council, help to organize city events, take students on engaging experiences around the world, and set the example for what it looks like to be an active citizen and spectacular individual.
It is our understanding that this policy is following Colorado state trends, alongside Ft. Lewis College and Western State University. However, we see the maintenance of tenure track lines as an opportunity to stand out from our competitors to continue our promise to provide quality, personalized undergraduate education. Adams State University has a long-standing (and respected) history of having tenured faculty. The disruption in this trend will be detrimental to the institution as a whole. With the eventual loss of tenured positions, many clubs will most certainly flounder or die with those positions lost. Our executive team also wishes to remind the ASU community that one of the more significant issues we are facing is retention among students and faculty. This policy will encourage the transition of faculty regularly, and this sets a poor example for students who struggle to buy into their institution. As executive board members, we also wish to call attention to the long term impact that this policy will have on clubs and on-campus organizations as tenured faculty members advise many of our clubs. The experience of being in a club keeps students engaged and encouraged during their Adams Experience. Studies demonstrate that engaged students help retention and are more likely to succeed academically.
In any action that may follow, please keep in mind that we, as students, are here to support our faculty and our beloved institution. We value our faculty members, and we are strongly opposed to seeing a decline in Adams State’s quality of education and experience as a direct impact from this proposed policy. We value the stability our faculty members contribute to our education and wish to extend not only our gratitude but also our support. We hope that this letter will demonstrate our dedication to our faculty during this process.