Kenyon College in Ohio has revised its tenure and promotion guidelines for professors to include engaging in “diversity” and “inclusion” efforts as part of the faculty’s evaluation process.
While many faculty members in higher education already dedicate what appears to be an exorbitant amount of time toward issues revolving around their ideas of diversity and inclusion, Kenyon College has now decided to write it into its guidelines for achieving tenure status and promotions, as reported by Diverse.
“In order to assure equity in evaluating members of the faculty being reviewed in consideration of reappointment, promotion in rank, and salary adjustments, the faculty, in cooperation with the administration and the Board of Trustees, has adopted the following Evaluation Criteria and Procedures,” states Kenyon’s revised guidelines.
Kenyon’s new guidelines include contributing to “programs that strengthen inclusivity, diversity or access to liberal education,” in which the college asserts is part of the overall criteria for “fostering an open, respectful, supportive, accessible, and inclusive community.”
“All we did was put down in writing what all of us wanted to do, anyway,” said associate professor Tom Giblin to Diverse, “So at the end of the day, it wasn’t controversial. It was really a wonderful thing to experience.”
Giblin added that Kenyon staff wanted to “be specific” about what it means to be an “excellent teacher” when they decided on the guidelines’ revisions. “Being explicit really helps to let the world know what we mean by excellent teaching,” continued the associate professor.
While everyone on staff who voiced their opinions allegedly agreed to the new expectations, the revised guidelines nonetheless set a precedent that would require new professors potentially seeking tenure at Kenyon to fall in line with a subjective set of standards, curtailing intellectual diversity among the school’s tenured staff.
Assistant professor Patrick Ewell told Diverse that he believes the new guidelines are good because they will “incentivize” faculty to keep going what they have already been doing.
“There were already many people [at Kenyon] doing good diversity and inclusion work,” said professor Ewell, “but nowhere in the guidelines to specifically reward them.”
Kenyon’s president Sean Decatur told Diverse that it is “critical” for these efforts to be recognized as part of the school’s evaluation process, as it demonstrates their “institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion, and also the recognition that this should be work that is embraced as a part of faculty work and responsibilities.”