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Answers to Test Your Tenure Knowledge Quiz

Thank you for taking our Tenure Knowledge Quiz.  Below are the answers


1. TRUE/FALSE  Teaching
doesn't matter in tenure decisions

False.  While the most important factor in a
tenure decision is a candidate's scholarship, Blanche Capel, professor of cell biology and chair of Duke's Appointments, Promotions and Tenure (APT) Committee, said teaching is
always considered and in some cases can play a decisive role.

Student evaluations and other classroom reviews are among the
materials the APT committee considers. 
In addition, each candidate prepares a statement of teaching
philosophy.  "The committee
looks for improvement in teaching performance," Capel said. "We want
to know if they reach a number of students.  Sometimes that statement of teaching philosophy is one of
the most interesting items in the package.

"If a candidate has a mediocre scholarship record, a
good track record in the classroom isn't going to make a difference.  But if it's a borderline case, and the
candidate is a strong teacher, it can affect the committee's decision."


tenure candidate never actually meets with the APT Committee.

True.  While the image, popular in TV and
movies, of a young faculty member standing before senior members of the faculty
may make for great drama, it doesn't happen in real life at Duke.  The candidate never meets with the
committee.  However, Capel said,
candidates do have an important role in the process: They tell the committee about their
accomplishments in a written CV, they write a detailed statement of their
intellectual interests and future directions, and they may suggest outside
scholars in their field that the committee might contact for information about
the candidate's research.


committee members must recuse themselves from consideration of a departmental

True.  To avoid a conflict of interest, any
member of the APT committee must withdraw from discussions about others in the

Capel said other committee members may recuse themselves if
they have an extensive working or personal relationship with the
candidate.  "It's always done
on the honor system, but in my years on the committee, I've always known an APT
member to recuse themselves if there was the possibility of an appearance of a
conflict of interest."


junior faculty member receives regular reviews prior to the tenure decision.

True. All junior faculty members are reviewed annually by
chairs or deans, although usually the review is for the purpose of providing

After their third year at Duke, junior faculty members are reviewed
for the purpose of determining their probable suitability for tenure at Duke.  If this review is positive, the faculty
member is reappointed to a second term, leading to the tenure review at the end
of the sixth year.

According to a 2005 report from the provost's office, the
overall percentage of junior faculty who receive tenure hasn't changed significantly
in recent decades.  However,
departments are increasingly weeding out candidates who are unlikely to get
tenure before the candidate goes to the APT committee. As a result, the number of
negative decisions by the APT committee is declining.


APT process covers all of the university's 10 schools

False. The School of Law has its
own APT process, although the provost must still approve its candidates. In the
School of Medicine, faculty in the basic sciences go through the university APT
system after being reviewed by the basic sciences APT committee; however in the
clinical sciences, candidates are reviewed through their own internal procedure
and candidates are approved by the chancellor for health affairs.


6. What are the three required
components for promotion from associate to full professor?

1. Research and longevity

2. Research, teaching and a
fade-away jump shot

3. Research, teaching and
university service

3. Research, teaching and service.
The Faculty Handbook says appointment to associate professor does not
necessarily imply eventual promotion to full professor. To earn promotion to
full professor, a candidate must show high-quality performance in a
minimum two of three areas -- research, teaching and service -- together with a
good performance record in the third component.


7. TRUE/FALSE The APT committee has the
final say on all tenure decisions.

False.  The final decision rests with the provost, who may overturn
the decision of the APT committee. This happens rarely, however.   In some cases, the dean may
submit information to the provost concerning how the candidate's appointment
could affect the school's goals and mission.  This information is not germane to the APT committee's
discussion and is not shared with the group, but it can be considered by the


8. What percentage of Duke regular
rank faculty members are tenured?

A. 50-60%

B. 61-70%

C. 71-80%

D. Above 80%

B. 61-70%  For the entire university, 69
percent of the regular-rank faculty are tenured, but the percentages vary
across schools.  Law has the
highest percentage -- 95 percent are tenured. Medical and nursing faculty have
the lowest tenured percentages, ranging from 55 percent in nursing to 57 percent
in the clinical medical sciences. 
In Arts & Sciences, 82 percent are tenured.  All
numbers are from the 2009-2010 academic year.
The numbers don't include
adjunct professors but do include other regular-rank faculty members such as
professors of the practice and research professors.


9. Once a faculty member joins the
Duke faculty, the tenure clock cannot be stopped.

False. All regular-rank faculty
members, who include tenure-track faculty, are eligible for flexible work
arrangements. Faculty members on the tenure track are automatically eligible
for three months of tenure clock relief for each year of approved Flexible Work
Arrangement. However, as outlined in the tenure clock relief policy, there is a
36-month overall limit in tenure clock extension.

Before this 2003 policy, faculty
members could seek tenure relief only if they were seriously ill.  Now it can be granted for the birth or
adoption of a child; when the faculty member is the primary caregiver of a
seriously ill parent, spouse, child or partner; following the death of a family
member; or following catastrophic residential property loss.  The policy is intended to give faculty
more flexibility in balancing their work and family lives.


Do you have other questions about tenure?  Send us queries to geoffrey.mock@duke.eduClick here to return to the main story.