Most schools require professors to have office hours to advise students but mentoring?

Scott Jaschik reports at Inside Higher Ed.

Mentoring as Tenure Criterion

Purdue University, like most colleges and universities, evaluates faculty members up for tenure on their accomplishments in research, teaching and service. And as is the case at most research universities, research has tended to be prominent.

But university administrators told the Purdue board last week of plans to make significant changes in those criteria. On top of them all in the policy — coming first in the policy to signal overarching importance — will be an expectation that faculty members are active mentors to undergraduates, especially to at-risk students. And teaching evaluations will feature two new measures: commitment to involving undergraduates in research and to pedagogical innovation.

Taken together, the new criteria represent a move to shift priorities in tenure reviews, said Deba Dutta, provost at Purdue, in an interview Saturday.

“It is putting the student experience and student success at a higher level than most universities do,” Dutta said. “We are a research university,” he said, but research universities need to be producing new scholars to promote new scholarship, and to stop separating the student experience from the promotion of research excellence. The student experience must be central, he said.

Dutta said board members had encouraged this approach and, at his request, agreed to hold off on finalizing the changes until the next meeting so he could first consult with faculty members.

When that happens, Dutta may run into opposition, to judge from initial faculty reaction.