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UBC Publications

UBC Reports Feb 23, 1972

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v '-
Two Nobel
To Lecture
Four leading scientists ancl humanists, including
two Nobel Prize winners, will give a total of ten
public lectures at the University of B.C. in March.
Three of the lecturers will be the first visiting
professors brought to UBC as the result of a gift from
Dr. Cecil Green, a former UBC student, and his wife,
The fourth speaker will give two Dal Grauer
Memorial Lectures.
The Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professors are:
Dr. Gerhard Herzberg, Canada's 1971 Nobel Prize
Winner and a research scientist at the National
Research Council in Ottawa;
Dr. Donald 0. Hebb, one of Canada's best-known
experimental psychologists and Chancellor of McGill
University, and
Dr. J. Tuzo Wilson, one of the world's leading
geophysicsts, who teaches at the University of
The Dal Grauer Memorial Lecturer is Prof. George
Wald, professor of biology at Harvard University and
winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1967.
Prof. Wald is perhaps best known for a 1969
speech that he gave at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology in which he attacked U.S. militarism and
analysed the disaffection of contemporary young
Following are dates and locations of the lectures.
Dr. Herzberg will give three lectures as follows:
Wednesday, March 1 - "The Spectra of
Hydrogen." A non-specialist lecture for a general
audience. 12:30 p.m., Hebb Lecture Theatre, East
Mall, UBC.
Thursday, March 2 — "Spectroscopic Studies of
Molecular Structure." Substantially the material
presented at the Nobel Lecture in Stockholm in
December, 1971. 12:30 p.m., Hebb Lecture Theatre.
Friday, March 3 — "Experimental Verification of
the Theory of the Hydrogen Molecule." A specialized
lecture for physicists and chemists. 2:30 p.m., Room
250, Chemistry Building, Main Mall, UBC.
Dr. Hebb will give two lectures as follows:
Thursday, March 16 — "The Nature of a
University Education." 12:30 p.m., Hebb Lecture
Friday, March 17 - "The Mind of Man." 8:15
p.m.. Lounge, Totem Park Residences, UBC.
Dr. Wilson's lectures are as follows:
Monday, March 20 — "A Scientist in China." Dr.
Wilson spent a month in China in the fall of 1971 and
will contrast his experiences at that time with an
earlier visit. 8:15 p.m.. Lounge, Totem Park
Wednesday, March 22 - "The Mechanics of Plate
Tectonics." A specialized lecture for geophysicists
and geologists. For details as to time and place, call
Thursday, March 23 — "Earthquakes and Earth
Sciences in China." A lecture for a general audience.
12:30 p.m., Hebb Lecture Theatre.
Prof. Wald's lectures are as follows:
Tuesday, March 28 — "Therefore Choose Life."
8:15 p.m.. Lounge, Totem Park Residences, UBC.
Wednesday, March 29 — "The Origin of Death."
12:30 p.m.. Old Auditorium, UBC.
UBC representatives told a committee of the B.C.'
Legislature last Friday (Feb. 18) that the principle of
tenure for faculty members should be retained.
And UBC, they added, should remain free to work
out appropriate internal procedures for granting
tenure to junior faculty members and for dismissing
those who already hold tenure.
Support for the tenure principle was the main
feature of two briefs presented to the Select Standing
Committee on Social Welfare and Education of the
Legislature, which was asked to review tenure at
B.C.'s three public universities in the throne speech
that opened the 1972 session of the Legislature.
Full texts of the briefs presented to the committee
by UBC's administration and Faculty Association
appear on Pages Two and Three of this issue of UBC
UBC was the first public university to appear
before the 16-man committee, which is chaired by
Mr. John D. Tisdalle, Social Credit member in the
Legislature for Saanich and the Islands.
UBC's academic administration was represented at
last Friday's two-hour hearing by Dean Ian McT.
Cowan of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. He told
the committee that UBC's president. Dr. Walter Gage,
would be prepared to appear before it at a later date
"after the committee had crystalized its thinking on a
number of issue arising out of the briefs" to be
presented by the universities.
Accompanying Dean Cowan to answer questions
arising out of the brief were Prof. William Armstrong,
UBC deputy president, and Dean Philip White, head
of the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.
UBC's Faculty Association was represented at the
hearing by Dr. Robert Kubicek, current president of
the Association; Dr. Richard Spencer, vice-president;
and Dr. Peter Pearse, immediate past-president.
Both Dean Cowan and Dr. Kubicek, in presenting
their respective briefs to the committee, emphasized
that UBC is currently involved in the second year of a
detailed reassessment of tenure and has drafted a
more detailed restatement and elaboration of principles and procedures that will retain the advantages of
tenure while removing most of the potential seeds of
During the hearing, members of the legislative
committee pressed Dean Cowan for details regarding
the new UBC tenure document, which Dean Cowan
said he was reluctant to discuss because it was still
being debated by various University bodies, including
the Faculty Association.
He said the new tenure document will be "more
legalistic" in tone and content. In the past, he told
the committee, society was prepared to accept a lot
of things on trust, but society today is more legalistic
and the new UBC document will reflect that change
in thinking.
"We don't like this," he said, "because it makes
life more difficult for everyone."
Dean Cowan said UBC's decision to re-examine
and review its tenure document was a response to the
tenure problems that had arisen at universities elsewhere. He said one of the main concerns of the new
document would be to detail more clearly the
procedures under which tenure would be granted to
junior faculty members, the procedures of appeal
when it was denied, and the conditions under which a
tenured faculty member could be dismissed.
This line of questioning eventually led to a motion
by Mr. Herb Capozzi, Social Credit member for
Vancouver Centre, that copies of the proposed UBC
tenure document be submitted to the Legislature
committee on a confidential basis.
The motion failed for lack of a seconder.
Dr. Kubicek, in presenting the Faculty
Association's brief to the committee, largely supported the views that had been expressed by Dean
He emphasized the position taken by the Association in its brief that "tenure is needed to ensure that
the University can play its essential role in the best
interests of society."
The brief continued: "We believe the system can
be improved and that it should be subject to
continuing review by concerned parties within the
University. This is now the practice at UBC."
Dr. Kubicek also emphasized that one of the main
concerns of faculty members is the existence of
proper procedures for the granting of tenure and for
appeals when tenure is denied.
He said the system of granting tenure is likely to
work well when faculty members know that there
exist clearly laid-down procedures for assessing
teaching and research.
Faculty members will protest, he said, if the
existing procedures are designed to be used in a
"cavalier fashion."
Toward the conclusion of last Friday's hearings
Dr. Kubicek said the contemplated changes in the
existing procedures with regard to the granting of
tenure at UBC are largely "a question of adjustment
and oiling of the machine rather than basic changes."
At this point Mr. Tisdalle asked if there should be
a basic set of tenure procedures which would apply to
all universities in B.C.
Dr. Pearse said that the problems of B.C.'s three
public universities are different, largely because of
size and makeup. UBC, he said, had a number of
professional schools, including medicine, which had
special problems with regard to tenure.
He said there should be a set of basic principles on
the question of tenure but it was important that
universities work out detailed procedures that suit the
needs of each.
In addressing the Legislature committee. Dean
Cowan emphasized and commented on a number of
points made in the UBC brief.
He emphasized that the University's decision to
withhold tenure from a junior faculty member does
not constitute dismissal, although it has been interpreted in this way. (Faculty members who are denied
tenure are offered a one-year terminal contract under
present UBC regulations.)
He said failure by the University to offer tenure to
a faculty member reflects no discredit on the individual. A decision to withhold tenure simply means
that the University feels it would be better served by
the replacement of the candidate by another person.
Later in the meeting. Dean Cowan cited the cases
of two faculty members who had been denied tenure.
One, he said, was a first-rate researcher but a failure
as a teacher, while the other had shown no ability as a
researcher but was potentially a good teacher.
The individual who had ability as a researcher
knew that he had little teaching ability. Dean Cowan
said, and another position was found for him within
six months.
The other faculty member, he said, went to the
student newspaper to fight the tenure decision. "He
hasn't asked for help from me," Dean Cowan said,
"but if he did I would try to help him because I feel
he could be a good teacher."
Dean Cowan said that he tries to prepare an
"honest, forward-looking" assessment of an individual who leaves the University when he is denied
Dean Cowan also commented on several aspects of
Section 8 of the brief dealing with alternatives to the
existing tenure system.
Section 8(a) of the brief says it could be argued
that the danger of the University being placed under
pressure to discharge a faculty member whose
academic findings and teaching embarrass the
community   leaders   is   small   and   thus  tenure   is
Please turn to Page Four-
What follows is a statement on appointment and
tenure at the University of B.C. presented to the
Select Standing Committee on Social Welfare and
Education of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria last
Friday (Feb. 18). The statement was presented by
Dean Ian McT. Cowan, head of UBC's Faculty of
Graduate Studies. At the Victoria meeting with Dean
Cowan were Deputy President W.M. Armstrong and
Dean Philip White, head of the Faculty of Commerce
and Business Administration.
Tenure is a form of contractual appointment
officially designated as "without term," awarded to
some faculty at North American universities after it
has been established that the faculty members possess
in high degree a number of criteria set down as
requisite for "permanent" association with the
Tenure, unique to the academic profession, exists
as an insurance of the faculty member against
non-academic or non-academically motivated interference with the subject matter of instruction and the
acts of enquiry and instruction.
Tenure, for this purpose, is regarded as essential by
the Association of Canadian Universities and Colleges,
by the equivalent bodies representing the Universities
of the United States of America, by the Canadian and
the American Associations of University Teachers,
and is endorsed in practice by all major universities —
indeed almost all universities — on this continent.
The initial appointment of a newly qualified
candidate for a faculty position is usually for a term
of two years as an assistant professor. After the first
year the achievement and potential of the individual
are reviewed and if it is clear or probable that the
individual does not measure up to expectations he or
she will be informed that the awarding of another
term appointment will not occur.
If the review is satisfactory at the end of the first
year but not at the end of the second year of the
initial contract, the faculty member will be so
informed and given a one-year terminal appointment.
If the faculty member has performed well during
the first two-year appointment and the University is
still in need of the services he or she can provide, a
second two-year appointment will be awarded. This
may be followed by a second two-year renewal.
Not later than November of the fifth year of
appointment as an assistant professor, the individual
must be considered for appointment without term. If
a decision against offering the individual such an
appointment is reached then the faculty member is
given a year's notice dating from the expiry of the
appointment then in force.
In the case of a more experienced faculty member,
first appointed as an associate professor, the term of
the initial contract is three years and the review for
without-term appointment takes place at the end of
the second year.
Those transferring to the University into the initial
rank of professor are appointed from the outset
without term.
No academic administrator holds his administrative office without term; all such are held "at the
pleasure of the Board of Governors."
Except in the case of terminal one-year appointments, no faculty member may continue at the
University of British Columbia on term appointments
beyond six years.
The University of British Columbia is considering
lengthening the period of pre-tenured appointments
by one year.
The criteria will necessarily vary in detail between
departments, but they should include:
a) The candidate's quality as a teacher, fully
considered, at all levels of instruction (including
junior undergraduate, senior undergraduate, honors
and graduate) in which he has been engaged, and in
particular his capabilities as a teacher of his special
subject. In assessing teaching, a measure of quality of
intellectual endeavor and not simply of popularity or
virtuosity, should be sought;
2/UBC Reports/Feb. 23, 1972
b) The candidate's quality as a scholar and
researcher, as measured in the quality of his higher
degrees, the quality of his completed and published
work, and his potentiality as scholar and researcher
which may be measured in his completed work and in
his manuscripts being prepared for publication. Here,
too, quality, not mere popularity, virtuosity or bulk
of publications, should be the measure of acceptability. In assessing quality, all other things being
equal, published material should carry greater weight
than unpublished, and completed, more than incomplete;
c) Service to the Department, Faculty, University
and community;
d) Academic integrity: this criterion may betaken
to include:
(i) Objectivity in the pursuit and dissemination of
knowledge through teaching and research. It is a
breach of integrity to endorse one ideology by
banning the study or discussion of all others;
(ii) Integrity in relations with students. It is a
breach of academic integrity to exploit students for
private advantage, or to be other than objective in
assessing students' academic capabilities;
(iii) Respect for academic freedom, in principle
and in specific application, and including the
academic freedom of students. It is a breach of
academic integrity to act to infringe that freedom,
either by overt action, or by agreement that infringes
the freedom to publish the results of research
conducted in the University, or under its auspices;
(iv) Respect for academic colleagues. It is a breach
of academic integrity publicly to denigrate the
character or competence of colleagues. Professional
judgments of colleagues should be given with fairness
and   objectivity.   All   information   obtained   in   the
course of making or receiving such judgments should
be treated as confidential;
(v) Honesty in acknowledging scholarly debts to
colleagues and students;
(vi) Respect for the duly constituted regulations
and authority of the University, including those
pertaining to appointments, conduct while in the
employ of the University, and notice of resignation
from the University;
(vii) Respect for the reputation and interests of
the University in the outside community. In his
statements outside the University, the faculty
member has a responsibility to state the truth as he
sees it, but he should not knowingly allow anyone to
infer that he is acting or speaking on behalf of the
University unless he is authorized to do so. In his
professional relationships with one or other sectors of
the community he should ensure that these are in no
way inconsistent with his primary obligations to the
e) The interest of the Department, Faculty and
University in generating academic strength and
The over riding consideration in tenure decisions is
the service to be rendered to the University. It is
sufficient ground for withholding tenure that, in the
judgment of the parties charged with making the
tenure decision, the University would be better served
by a candidate's replacement by another person.
a) The University's: decision not to offer renewal
of an expiring term contract is not dismissal though it^H
has   been   misinterpreted   as   such   by   those   who
contend for renewal against a University decision.
A decision not to offer renewal may be acknow-
'We Believe Tenur
What follows is the text of a brief presented in
Victoria last Friday (Feb. 18} to the Select Standing
Committee on Social Welfare and Education of the
Provincial Legislature by the UBC Faculty
Association. The brief was presented by Dr. Robert
Kubicek, the Association's president, who was accompanied by Dr. Richard Spencer, vice-president
and Dr. Peter Pearse, immediate past president of the
The following brief, presented by the Executive of
the Faculty Association of the University of British
Columbia, is designed to clarify the issues relating to
tenure at this University. This document will briefly
describe the objectives and functioning of the tenure
system, explain its advantages and outline some of
the features of the general present context within
which that system Pperates.
We take the position that tenure is needed to
ensure that the University can play its essential role in
the best interests of society. We believe the system
can be improved and that it should be subject to
continuing review by concerned parties within the
University. This is now the practice at UBC.
the interests of society that a continuing community
exists which will produce new ideas and be competent to make a critical assessment of society's
premises and activities. To this end we believe it is
essential to preserve and protect the freedom of a
university professor to enquire and criticize and to
teach without threat of retaliation from people who
may disagree with him. The failure to provide this
kind of protection silences not only the visible
dissenter whose personal security is undermined, but
also the others for whom potential insecurity is
sufficient deterrent to free enquiry.
Implicit in the granting of tenure is the freedom of
the University to undertake responsible enquiry, even
if it may offend public opinion or private interests.
Tenure ensures that the mature scholar, whose
competence is not to be lightly questioned by his
own professional peers and whose apprenticeship is
completed, is able to engage in such a venture. In
addition tenure creates a body of established
academics who can provide impartial and critical
assessments of the scholarly performance of other
academics whose worth must be determined. This is
fundamental to the attraction and retention of
talented faculty and, therefore, to the search fer
Tenure means the right of a faculty member not to be
dismissed except for cause. For a tenured professor
dismissal   means the  unilateral  termination of his
appointment by the University. The UBC Fa
Handbook  defines cause as failure or  refuJ
perform reasonable duties over a substantial period,     '
incompetence, gross misconduct, or the decisions of
the University Senate to discontinue teaching in a      j
specific area of study. The UBC Faculty Handbook     i
sets out procedures which have been agreed to by the     j
administration and the faculty for determining where """   .
there is cause for dismissal. These procedures are
intended to ensure due process for professors faced      j
with dismissal. The burden of proof in dismissal cases
for tenured faculty members lies with the University,
specifically  in the first instance with  professional
colleagues and ultimately with the President and the "
Board of Governors.
The initial appointment of a University teacher
does not constitute a guarantee of permanent employment. Initial appointments at UBC are usually* *■
for one year in the case of lecturers, two years for
instructors and assistant professors, and three years
for associate professors. The appointment may be
renewed for periods not exceeding a total of five
years. Each renewal involves prior consultation
between academic peers, and review of scholarly* 1
work. The five-year period allows the University time
to consider the candidate's scholarship before committing itself to granting him tenure and allows the
candidate time to prove his capabilities. These
appointments do not imply that there will be a
permanent position for the candidate.
After not more than five years, the Head of a
Department, in consultation with senior colleagues,
must assess the overall professional competence of a
non-tenured teacher and recommend either that he
obtain tenure or that his appointment be terminated. ■
Such assessments involve extensive and detailed re-_^   i INTMENTS STILL EXISTS
ledgment that the individual has not lived up to
expectations, does not compete favorably with
candidates now available or that, despite good performance, the University is no longer in need of his or
her specialization.
b) Dismissal refers only to termination of a term
appointment, without the agreement of the
appointee, before the expiry of the term, or the
termination of an appointment-without-term.
c) Dismissal occurs for cause, e.g., failure or refusal
to perform reasonable duties over a substantial
period, incompetence and gross misconduct.
d) A faculty member's contract can also be
terminated without the consent of the appointee for
either of the following reasons:
1. A decision by the University Senate to discontinue teaching in a specific area of study, or
2. Physical or emotional inability of the appointee
to carry out reasonable duties.
e) When dismissal is involved the University sets in
motion procedures carefully designed to guarantee
the rights of the individual and the University. These
involve examination by all three decision-making
levels and, upon request of the individual, by
successive unbiased committees of Faculty.
There are three official levels of decision-making
on this topic.
a) The Department Head has the responsibility for
^initiating   the   recommendations   upon  all   appointments within his jurisdiction.
b) The Dean of the Faculty within which the
department  functions  has the responsibility of re
viewing recommendations he receives from the Meads
of Departments and making recommendations on
them in turn to the President.
c) The President, under the Universities Act, has
the final authority for recommending action on
appointments to the Board of Governors.
Each of these three levels usually exercises its
responsibilities in matters of appointment, and
especially reappointment and appointment-without-
term, by drawing upon the advice of appropriately
structured committees.
a) Appointment-without-term can be seen as
leaving the University open to accumulating on
faculty some individuals who are no longer discharging their duties up to the University's expectations. This may arise from illness, loss of enthusiasm,
failure to keep abreast of a rapidly changing field, or
other social or emotional reasons. We have seen no
indication that the University is more afflicted with
this problem than is business, the civil service or other
areas of employment. Nor do we detect a different
capacity of these other sectors to rid themselves of
the problem or to coerce the backsliders into greater
As in all areas of endeavor the University has
powers for persuasion short of dismissal and we are
convinced uses these as well as other sectors.
b) Most of the appointment-related troubles encountered by B.C. universities are involved with
junior faculty on term appointments. For various
academic reasons these individuals have not
convinced the universities that they merit the
accolade of a tenured appointment and that they are
likely to measure up to the attendant responsibilities.
Some  of  those  who   are  not recommended for
appointment-without-term attempt to categorize
their experience as unjustifiable "firing" in order to
invoke the social pressures that may be associated
with this event. They prefer to overlook the actuality
that the decision they have received is a statement
that "at this time the Department and University
would be better served if a new member of faculty
were appointed."
c) To assure that decisions as important to the
individual and to the University are not made without
great care and consideration there are, in most
universities, carefully designed procedures. The
AUCC has suggested one set, the CAUT another
suggested draft. You have been provided with these
and with a comparison of them.
Some of the disagreements at our universities rest
upon failure to apply appropriate procedures, or
upon misinterpretation of procedural requirements.
In considering an issue such as term of appointment and particularly the peculiarly University status
of tenure, it is appropriate to examine other alternatives that will assure the University of its opportunity
to build and renew a faculty best suited to its
complex purposes; that will at the same time assure
the faculty member of some job security even if his
scholarship leads him to discover, pronounce and
teach ideas that are unpopular in the community.
a) It could be argued that in our society the danger
of the University being placed under pressure to
discharge a faculty member whose academic findings
and  teaching  embarrass the community  leaders, is
Please turn to Page Four
) System Can Be Improved'
view and evaluation of the teaching and research done
by the candidate prior to and during the period of his
appointment. They may include consideration of
assessments made by students or by student advisory
committees. The recommendations are forwarded,
with all supporting documents, to the Dean of the
Faculty, and thence to the President and the Board of
Governors. The Dean must be prepared to provide a
*c«*|ate who has not bee^ granted tenure with a
wK explanation for the decision. Mon-renewal of
fixed-term Contracts, and failure to grant tenure do
not constitute dismissal; nor are they to be construed
as allegations of incompetence or misconduct.
In 1969-70, 48*3 per cent of the 1,473 faculty
members then employed at UBC had tenure. These
included 95 per cent of full professors, 68.1 per cent
of associate professors, 16.8 per cent of assistant
professors and 10.4 per cent of instructors.
From the above account it may be deduced that
the granting of tenure is not automatic. In fact, the
series of reviews prior to renewal of short-term
"contracts, as well as the tenure reviews are regarded as
most serious investigations and evaluations of a
candidate's total scholarly record. This lengthy and
time-consuming procedure has been developed in
order to maximize the chances of retaining those of
academic excellence, and to minimize the chances of
providing security for those of lesser abilities.
We believe there is no satisfactory alternative to
some system of tenure, and we are opposed to its
abolition. However, we believe some valid criticism
can  be made of our present arrangements.  Indeed
UBC has underway a review of its tenure document.
If the tenure system is, as we have suggested, the best
means of ensuring the vital and responsible use of free
enquiry, then we think that the University  itself
should be charged with improving the system to meet
any present problems.
Context of the Current Tenure Debate
"-1. THE ACADEMIC MARKET. The number of
qualified teachers available for employment in any
given discipline may fluctuate considerably from time
to time and in response to the changing condition of
disciplines at the time of graduate work. It is the
responsibility of departments to obtain for their
students and for the community the best and most
highly qualified researchers and teachers^ available,
within the limits of budgets and facilities. In a buyer's
market, the competition for tenured positions will
naturally be greater than it is in a seller's market.
Those who fail to obtain permanent positions at one
university will have difficulty obtaining appointments
At present, in contrast to the situation a few years
ago, many departments of universities are able to
select their faculty from an oversupply of very well
qualified personnel. Inevitably, this creates insecurity
for untenured members whose qualifications may be
less impressive than those of people seeking initial
2. POPULATION CHANGES. Connected with the
changing academic market, there*are abrupt fluctuations in the population seeking instruction. Coincident with a limited supply of teachers in many fields,
the number of students bolted upwards in the 1960s.
The supply of teachers has now increased considerably, but the untversity-age population has started to
decline. During the period of very high enrolment,
university departments were required to employ
teachers at a rapid pace, and in some cases this
involved employment for persons of mediocre
accomplishment. With the subsequent drop in population pressures, together with the sudden increase in
highly qualified personnel in certain fields, these
departments face the need of reducing faculty size.
Since it is the obligation of department heads and
university presidents to obtain for students the most
competent instructors and most capable scholars
available, and to employ a number in each field
congruent with student enrolment, some persons
hired during the 1960s are threatened with job loss.
In areas requiring an immediate decrease in faculty
size, the competence of those whose short-term
contracts are not renewed is not necessarily in
question. In such cases, the non-tenured academic
may well assert that he is equally competent with
senior colleagues whose tenure appears to obstruct his
addition to overall population changes, the intellectual tastes and personal motivations of students
vary from time to time. Economic conditions and
political  realities  influence career plans and   intel
lectual concerns. An upgrading in the general levels of
education, with the attending upgrading of jobs
outside the university, encourages students to undertake university education for economic rather than
intellectual reasons. These shifting concerns affect
student enrolments in various faculties and departments, so that a discipline which attracts a large
enrolment in one decade may experience a sharp
decline in the following decade. Changing student
tastes and needs also affect their judgments of faculty
teaching competence, and this in turn influences their
enrolment in various courses.
Departments undergoing the effects of changing
student demands must adjust to sudden increases and
equally abrupt decreases in needs for faculty. The
unpredictability of these shifts can create difficulties
for a substantial proportion of the faculty.
4. KNOWLEDGE EXPLOSION. The university is
particularly vulnerable to what constitutes competence and ability in disciplines which are experiencing rapidly changing standards, effects of new
and technically demanding methods, or those which
have within their boundaries extreme differences of
opinion on intellectual matters. Throughout the
several decades since the war, the expansion of
knowledge in many fields has been explosive.
Changing scopes and substance of disciplinary bodies
of knowledge have occurred from time to time
throughout history, but the change has not affected
such a large proportion of scholars simultaneously
and in so many related fields since the 17th century.
In these cases, the definition of scholarly competence is itself subject to debate, and assessment of
competence may vary with particular intellectual
positions. Junior faculty members may be subject to
standards of competence which they regard as inappropriate. At the same time, senior faculty
members are susceptible to the obsolescence of
laboriously developed skills. A conflict may then
develop between persons with differing conceptions
of their discipline and its proper direction. This
conflict may include both defences against change
where change would adversely affect senior members,
and irresponsible claims to superior competence
where change greatly increases the alternative interpretations of adequate performance.
UBC Reports/Feb. 23, 1972/3 HEARINGS
Continued from Page One
unnecessary. "Regrettably that is not so," the brief
Dean Cowan commented to the committee:
"Never a year passes but a university president is
pressured by some sector of the community about
research findings regarded as unpopular or an embarrassment."
Referring to Section 8(c) of the brief which deals
with the possibility of unionization of the faculty.
Dean Cowan said this prospect is "horrifying."
Unionization would make it impossible for the
University to recognize excellence in teaching and
research or to redress grievances on a day-t.o-day basis
as it can under existing procedures, he said.
"We don't like the idea," Dean Cowan added,
"and we hope you won't either."
Dean Cowan also emphasized that the University
does not grant tenure in administrative posts. He said
that in his own case he does not have tenure as dean
of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, but he does have
tenure as a professor in the University.
Several members of the Legislature committee
questioned the UBC delegation about the incompetence of faculty members who already hold
Both Prof. Armstrong and Dean White cited cases
where they had persuaded tenured faculty members
to leave the University because either their teaching
or research abilities were substandard.
Prof. Armstrong said that if persuasion failed to
convince a tenured faculty member that he should
leave, other options, such as withholding promotion
and salary increases, were open to the dean or
department head.
Asked by Mr. Capozzi for an estimate of the
percentage of "incompetent" faculty members in the
University, Prof. Armstrong at first said that the
question was difficult to answer, but he guessed it
was a "small percentage."
Later in the hearings he said "as a guess, five per
cent of the academic staff might be described as
Prof. Armstrong also cited figures which showed
that in the 1960s the University hired about 150 new
faculty members a year in order to keep pace with
rapidly-increasing student enrolments.
He said that four years later one-third of each
group of 150 had left the campus for various reasons.
"This indicates," he told the committee, "that the
University's preliminary screening of candidates for
tenure is pretty thorough."
Dean  Cowan  said  that   it is always difficult to
decide who  is competent and incompetent when a
decision has to be made about who to let go.
He said that in looking over the entire faculty list
recently he had come up with the names of four
tenured people who might be dispensed with. "But,"
he added, "if a man has served faithfully for a period
of 25 years, you don't turn him out on the street.
This applies just as much in the world of business and
the civil service."
He said an individual who was no longer top-flight
might still be useful as a teacher of undergraduates or
in some other capacity. "An attempt is made to find
a useful role for him in the University," he said.
The UBC administration delegation was also
questioned about the possiblity, mentioned in their
brief, of extending the pretenure period from five to
six years.
Dean White said that a five-year period was not
always long enough to assess the abilities of a faculty
member who might be working on the frontiers of
knowledge in an attempt to extend them.
He also pointed out that the lead time for
publishing the results of research in journals is now
two years in some cases.
Dean White also said that the UBC curriculum is
constantly under review and since courses change
from year to year it often takes time to gauge the
teaching competence of new faculty members.
Dean Cowan, winding up his testimony to the
committee, listed the following advantages of tenure
to the University:
• Faculty members are able to pursue research
within the University and to differ substantially with
4/UBC Reports/Feb. 23, 1972
colleagues without threat to their survival  in  their
• It enables faculty members to make pronouncements in the public interest on controversial matters
without the threat of reprisal;
• It protects the Board of Governors and the
President against unseemly outside pressures by depriving them of the right to arbitrarily fire a faculty
• It protects the quality of University teaching
and research by forcing an exhaustive review of each
faculty member before tenure is given; and
• It enables the University to hire outstanding
people from other universities who already have
tenure or are unable to gain it because they are
employed at an institution which grants it only to a
limited number of people.
The Faculty Association delegation, in addition to
dwelling on the context of the current tenure debate,
which formed Appendix I of their brief, answered the
questions put to them by members of the Legislature
committee on the relationship between tenure and
academic freedom.
When committee members suggested that the
question of tenure and academic freedom ought to be
separated and that academic freedom might be
defined in some sort of contractual arrangement with
the University, Prof. Pearse replied that tenure and
academic freedom are inextricably involved in the
teaching and research functions and cannot be
Dr. Kubicek said there is a need for academic
freedom within the University itself to protect
faculty members who are involved in basic disagreements with their colleagues on the nature of
their discipline.
"Where discussions are aimed at clarity and
precision, vigorous debate can go on," Dr. Kubicek
said, "and I would argue that the department that is
running smoothly is not a good department."
Dr. Kubicek also replied to a query from a
committee  member who asked  if faculty members
Continued from Page Three
small and thus "tenure" is unnecessary. Regrettably
that is not so.
b) Various alternative terms of contract could be
considered. There is lots of room between appointment at pleasure and appointment-without-term.
It has been suggested, for example, that faculty
members who have demonstrated their worth after,
say, five or six years of service, might be given
five-year terms renewable after academic review, or
five-year terms renewable annually.
c) Unionization of faculty is another possibility —
with collective bargaining on the many issues inevitably occurring.
d) None of these alternatives in our judgment
offers to the University the real advantages of a
system including the concept of without-term
appointment. This is not to say the existing system
cannot be improved in detail. Indeed the University
of British Columbia is in the last stages of a revision
of its procedures that has been under study for two
In our view the need for "tenured" appointments
still exists. If the universities in British Columbia were
compelled to abandon the principle of appointment-
without-term, or to greatly limit its application, they
would have great difficulty in attracting and holding
faculty of first rank.
Furthermore, our assessment, as academic administrators, is that the abandonment of tenured appointments would contribute little or nothing to curing the
ills we have been experiencing in matters of appointment and renewal of appointment.
The University of British Columbia is into the
second year of a detailed reassessment of tenure on
its campus and has drafted a much more detailed
restatement and elaboration of principles and procedures that we feel will retain the advantages of
appointment-without-term (tenure) while removing
most of the potential seeds of discontent. It also
protects the right of appeal against decisions denying
this status to those who would like to acquire it
despite their inadequacies or the inappropriateness of
their special expertise.
spend too much time on research for publication
rather than teaching.
Dr. Kubicek said the existing University documents which set out the qualifications for tenure are
not worded in such a way that research is given more
weight than teaching.
Speaking as a member of the Department of
History, he said he felt that teaching was given more
weight than research in making decisions about
tenure in his department.
He added that in recent years the number of
contact hours between faculty members and students
had been increasing. During the 1960s, he said, when
the University was faced with startling increases in
enrolment, "all one could hope to do was lecture."
In recent years, students have been pressuring the
University for better-quality teaching and faculty
members are not insensitive to that demand, he said.
Just prior to adjournment of the committee
meetings, Hon. Donald Brothers, Minister of
Education and a member of the Legislature
committee, emphasized that it was not the
committee's purpose to attempt "to accuse anyone of
anything." He said the committee was charged with
investigating a problem and determining if it was
possible to help solve it.
Dean Cowan replied that the University delegations had come to Victoria in the same spirit and
were pleased to co-operate with the Legislative
Additional meetings of the committee are planned
to hear delegations from other B.C. universities.
UBC's Alma Mater Society is scheduled to appear on
Feb. 29.
The Faculty of Law's promotion and
tenure committee at the University of
B.C. has been expanded to include all
full-time staff.
A motion to this effect was approved
Feb; 2 at the first meeting of a new body
in the^Faculty of Law called the Faculty
Assembly, consisting* of law faculty
members and 10 students* The Faculty
Assembly was formed in November.
A faculty meeting immediately
following the Faculty Assembly meeting
passed the same motion.
A motion to the Faculty Assembly
meeting to include students on the
promotion and tenure committee was
Under the new regulations, all 31
full-time members of the law faculty will
sit and vote on the committee with the
exception of the person being considered.
The dean will also seek out the advice
of senior faculty members in accordance
with the provisions of UBC's Faculty
Handbook dealing with faculty appointments.
Under the system used almost
everywhere else at UBC, promotion and
tenure committees are made up of senior
faculty members only.
■■■fctffc VoL 18< N°- 4 - Feb. 23,
llll|^ 1972 Published by the
llllll University of British Columbia
ma'mWmW and distributed free. UBC
REPORTS Reports appears on
Wednesdays during the University's winter
session. J.A. Banham, Editor. Louise Hoskin,
Production Supervisor. Letters to the Editor
should be sent to Information Services, Main
Mall North Administration Building, UBC,
Vancouver 8, B.C.


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