In the publication An Agenda for Excellence: Creating Flexibility in Tenure-Track Faculty Careers (pdf), ACE and a panel of presidents and chancellors from across the United States outline an ambitious agenda to reform and enhance the academic career path for tenured and tenure-track faculty.
The report is the first product of a grant to ACE from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to fund the project: Creating Options: Models for Flexible Tenure-Track Career Pathways. The project's goals were to:
Raise awareness of faculty work-life issues.
Spark a national dialogue to encourage change in the career cycles of tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Generate thoughtful, tested approaches to assist campuses in adapting promising practices to address faculty work-life issues.
Among other steps, the report recommends that presidents and chancellors take steps to:
Allow colleges, schools, and departments within a university to establish their own agreed upon guidelines for interpreting criteria for promotion and tenure, taking into account heavy teaching loads, professional service activities, student advising, and the four distinct functions of scholarship, as outlined by Ernest Boyer in Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate.
Create flexibility in the probationary period for tenure review without altering the standards or criteria. Longer probationary periods should not be required for all faculty, but flexible time frames of up to 10 years with reviews at set intervals should be offered. This option could benefit faculty who may need to be compensated for lost time or given additional time to prepare because of unanticipated professional or personal circumstances.
Examine and proactively address the work-life issues and professional climate of faculty members throughout the entire career cycle.