What is PMYR?

PMYR is a periodic multi-year review of faculty activity. Post-tenure review (PTR) emphasizes the application of PMYR to tenured faculty members. However, PMYR and PTR are synonymous for the purposes of our discussion.

Why are we talking about it?

Faculty are discussing PMYR because of agreements made in the new three-year faculty union contract reached in July, 1998.University administration wanted a post-tenure review policy in the contract and said they would not settle or give pay raises unless a policy was agreed on. Faculty union negotiators countered that this issue needed careful study and discussion among the faculty as a whole before a position on post-tenure review could even be formulated.

THE CONTRACT COMPROMISE: A new contract with 15% raises was finalized, BUT about half the raises depend on negotiating some kind of post-tenure review policy, and negotiations on PMYR were delayed until February 1, 1999, giving Fall semester for all faculty to discuss PMYR and work to design a policy proposal that the Union will take to the negotiating table.

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Standard Principles of PMYR

Our preliminary research has shown that PMYR usually adheres to the following principles:

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Opportunities and Concerns

Our committee has also begun discussing potential opportunities and concerns associated with systems of post-tenure review. The following table has been adapted from a hand out by Christine Licata, Senior Associate of AAHE's New Pathways Project, who spoke at an MTA con ference this summer. Though not exhaustive, this list helps initiate our discussions.

Opportunities Concerns
1. Longer term view of individual performance that possible through annual reports. 1. Can be time and labor intensive, and lead to over-administration.
2. Forces conversation about performance and individual career goals. 2. Provides no guarantee that the process will positively affect all faculty.
3. Can respond to accountability demands and mollify external critics. 3. Viewed as an assault on tenure, replaces academic culture with corporate culture.
4. Can help return underperforming faculty to full productivity. 4. May undermine collegiality.
5. May forestall further external interference and keep tenure system viable. 5. Requires additional resources for faculty growth and development.
6. Can provide closer alignment between individual discipline interest and departmental priorities and goals. 6. May diminish pursuit of controversial, unpopular, or unusual areas of inquiry.
7. Can accommodate and promote differentiated opportunity to adjust mix and balance of faculty activities to better match career goals. 7. Can create two-tier faculty and workload; may foster perception of lower standards for some individuals.

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AAUP's Position on Post-Tenure Review

American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a position paper on post-tenure review in1998. In their view, post-tenure review must:

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Existing Models of PMYR

Existing models of PMYR have several features in common, including a stated period of review; evaluation based on the faculty member's own input on teaching, research, service as well as future goals and research plans; and a process that identifies possible outcomes and the principal administrators involved. One distinguishing feature involves the scope of the review. Models in practice fall into two basic categories:

More information on existing models in practice is available from:

In addition, a 20 page summary of existing models has also been distributed to department representatives.

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Selected Papers on Tenure and PMYR

Licata and Morreale on Post Tenure Review: Policies, Practices, Precautions (September 1997)

Wendy Roworth at UMass-Amherst (November 1998)

Post-Tenure Review: An AAUP Response (June 1998)

A Summary of PTR Policies at 17 Universities (September 1997)

Report on the University of Illinois Seminar on Tenure (December 1996)

Public Higher Ed: Battleground in the Tenure Wars by William E. Scheuerman in Thought & Action (Fall 1997)

The Truth about Tenure in Higher Education (1998 ?)

Critics of College Teaching by Walter P. Metzger in the NEA Almanac of Higher Education (1996)

Rethinking Tenure: Toward new templates for academic employment by Richard P. Chait in Harvard Magazine (July-August, 1997)

More Faculty Members Question the Value of Tenure by Courtney Leatherman in The Chronicle of Higher Education (October 25, 1996)

More Colleges Conduct Post-Tenure Reviews by Denise Magner in The Chronicle of Higher Education (July 21, 1995)

Post-Tenure Faculty Evaluation by Christine M. Licata in ERIC Digests (1987)

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PMYR at Other U.S. Universities

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The Faculty Committee on PMYR

The faculty committee on Periodic Multi-Year Review (PMYR) has convened and begun to study the issue of post-tenure. The committee wishes to facilitate the widest possible discussion of PMYR on this campus. We will be contacting faculty for input on this important issue as well as communicating with the administration throughout our deliberations. The PMYR Committee is comprised of the following faculty members. Please feel free to contact any member directly with your questions or concerns.

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Last Modified: November 18, 1998