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University of Hawaiʻi board defers modified tenure proposal after faculty criticism

University of Hawaii Manoa Campus
Sophia McCullough

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi's board has deferred a proposal to modify the school's tenure system after dozens of faculty members criticized the effort.

The Board of Regents on Thursday voted to refer the recommendations to a special ad hoc committee for further discussion, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The committee, which will include the entire board, will also consider the findings of a legislative task force.

The proposals would have given deans and other administrators greater input in the five-year review of tenured faculty. They would have also reserved tenure for faculty who actively engage with students in the classroom, tied tenure to enrollment requirements and eliminated tenure tracks for support faculty and extension agents.

The faculty union and individual faculty rallied against the proposals. Regents received more than 600 pages of written testimony slamming the proposed changes.

“If you pass these proposals, we will have a revolving door of faculty, which is costly in time and money, and there will be a decrease in faculty willing to do essential service, which will lower our status and threaten accreditation,” said Ashley Maynard, a psychology professor.

Regent Robert Westerman said the proposals weren't an attempt to fire anybody but were aimed at starting a conversation about tenure.

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