Iowa Board of Regents

Tenure at Iowa's Public Universities

This April, the Board of Regents will consider 277 actions with regard to promotion and tenure at Iowa’s public universities. Tenure in higher education is often misunderstood.

First, Tenure is a contractual employment status granted to eligible faculty members to encourage the free exchange of ideas. It is a form of job security that supports academic freedom and expanding knowledge to the benefit of all society. Academic freedom, which states that faculty can engage in intellectual debate without fear of reprisal or censorship, is a vital component of teaching at Iowa’s public universities. Tenure and academic freedom go hand in hand. 

All faculty - tenured or not - must meet expectations in terms of teaching, research, service or clinical obligations. Tenure does not mean a faculty member cannot be fired. Faculty need to meet those expectations and failure to do so can result in termination. In addition, program cuts also can result in the elimination of tenured faculty positions.

Additionally, tenured faculty still undergo regular performance evaluations. These evaluations include annual departmental reviews, deep reviews with external input from field-appropriate experts every five-to-seven years, and annual student evaluations of teaching.

Fifty-one percent of the Board’s 2020-21 tenure considerations are for women. During the 2017-18 academic year, just 40 percent of tenure requests were for women. 

For more on tenure at Iowa’s public universities - click the video below

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