Tenure Case Hinges on Collegiality

by E Wayne Ross on January 22, 2010

Inside Higher Ed: Tenure Case Hinges on Collegiality

Something’s rotten in Ohio.

Depending on whom you believe, a bizarre tenure case that has unfolded over the past year at Ohio University either represents a last-ditch effort to oust a troubled and potentially dangerous professor or a concentrated conspiracy to derail his career before it truly begins. Either way, Bill Reader’s tenure case is headed for some sort of conclusion this month.

A journalism professor since 2002, Reader’s tenure decision went before a departmental committee last January. Despite glowing teaching evaluations and no documented trace of disciplinary action in his past, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism’s Promotion and Tenure Committee agreed only narrowly to recommend that Reader receive tenure. The 7-5 vote sent a clear message of dissension within the ranks, and served as a precursor for recommendations of tenure denial from the school’s director, the college of communication’s tenure review committee and the dean. In the meantime, a cascade of charges and countercharges have been made, centering on whether Reader is the kind of professor Ohio wants to have around.