Summer for the Board of Trustees is pretty straight forward. They have one meeting out of the entire summer, which is June 26 at 11 a.m. in the Bernhard Center. Two important topics that are talked about is WMU’s tuition rate as well as tenure and promotion.
The secretary to the Board of Trustees, Kahler Schuemann, talked about it saying it is a less than ideal time for important decisions to be made. It is unfortunate that people are not as involved with the meetings and what is taking place on the agenda because not as many people are on campus and attending the meeting during the summer.
“The summer is an interesting time because your faculty is not on contract and most of the students are gone,” Scheumann said. “It tends to be a time for the University where we continue to build, recuperate, plan and coordinate for the next year.”
The topics discussed during the summer meeting are particularly saved for that meeting due to timing. For tuition rates, it is held in the summer because it has to do with the state budget, which is a major component.
“The budget doesn’t typically come out until, or approved fully, until the summer months,” Schuemann said.
With deciding tuition rates, tenure and promotion is also a major part of the summer meeting.
“Once you’re tenured, you have reached a dignified status which comes with privileges and protections,” Schuemann said.
Christopher Cheathman is the Vice Provost for Budget and Personnel and the man who helps and handles the tenure process.
“Tenure really represents the achievement of excellence by our faulty and that they’ve reached a high level of performance in certain areas,” Cheathman said.
One of the levels if you are going up for tenure is if you are an assistant professor, which then you will get promoted to associate professor and the three main things that are assessed to achieve tenure are professional competence, professional recognition and professional service. Professional competence is the teaching side of their job, so how well the faculty does in the classroom, whether that be preparing their courses or interacting with their students, etc. Professional recognition is the scholarly side and the research that has been done. Professional service is how you serve the university, the particular college the faculty is apart of and how they participate in that college as well as how they serve the community and all of those combined Cheatham said.
“You need to have a combinational performance in those three areas,” Cheatham said. “You are evaluated by your peers, your supervisors, so your peers in the department, your department chair, your dean and the provost, all of those different levels so it is a multi level type of review.”
The other two levels of achieving tenure have to achieve just professional competence and professional service, but they can do professional recognition if they want, but it is not required. Now when you go through the process, it is a recommendation process that then goes up to the provost who makes the final decision of whether a person will get tenure or not. That then decision or recommendation goes to the Board of Trustees and the Board then makes the final decision.
“More times than not they agree with those decision, but it absolutely is their final stamp of approval,” Cheatham said.
Summer is the time to acclimate to the university, Schuemann said. It is when the Board does a self evaluation as well as an evaluation for President Montgomery. The summer months are not fully down time for the Board of Trustees, but it is a good time to get ready for the new school year.