In a move to recognize and reward excellence in teaching, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has created options for pursuing tenure and extended contracts, as well as guarantees of academic freedom and participation in faculty governance, for full-time faculty members whose primary responsibility is teaching.
The new policies took effect July 1 and directly impact about 128 teaching faculty members. The changes also give WPI new tools to retain excellent teachers, a shift that will ensure that students receive top-notch instruction, said Provost Wole Soboyejo.
“WPI has excellent faculty who have a mission to teach and conduct research, as well as excellent faculty who focus on the teaching mission of WPI,” Soboyejo said. “The approach that we are taking will distinguish WPI as a leading university that best balances research with teaching, educating students who are distinctive, while also rewarding faculty who contribute significantly to the preparation of students who are ready to work on day one.”
Tenure is an employment category that guarantees professors the right to speak, teach, and research as they wish, and it confers permanent job security. At research universities such as WPI, tenure is traditionally awarded only to faculty members who balance teaching, research, and service, and only after a lengthy review process. While WPI’s new tenure path for teaching faculty will be equally rigorous, it will focus on the quality and impact of teaching practice and innovation.