HB 999, passed earlier this year by the Florida Legislature at the urging of Governor Ron DeSantis, not only affects university students but also their teachers and professors.
The bill requires the boards of trustees at the state’s public universities to review tenured faculty members every five years, as well as having the final say in the hiring process.
The controversial bill was introduced in February by Republican Rep. Alex Andrade of Pensacola.
The new tenure policy has instructors and professors concerned about the safeguard that is tenure. Some say the new law has the potential to disrupt academic freedom.
However, some professors see the bill in a more positive light. Ezzeldin Aly, a professor of sports management at Florida A&M and vice president of the university’s Faculty Senate, told The Famuan that maybe the new tenure policy isn’t so bad after all.
“If you want to know my personal opinion about this, I am with it. I think it is very important as a teacher to stay in the market and to stay current,” Aly said. “There are some essential requirements to keep this job going.”
Tenure must be earned. It’s a process that professors go through that ultimately protects them from losing their jobs over irrelevant disputes and their right to express academic opinions.
Aly said she believes that the tenure review process would be a benefit for professors to prove themselves when it comes to evaluations.
“With this new shift in Florida, all of the professors once they finish the tenure they have to finish post tenure evaluation.” Aly said, “You want to ensure that those professors aren’t slowing down the work because they are tenured.”
Most professors have to go through the process of evaluation and to be reviewed by peers making room to improve their craft and possibly get promotions.
“You want to make sure they are really working, really producing and they are teaching up to date to enhance their teaching production,” Aly said.
As a professor himself, Aly says that he endures evaluations all the time, but looks upon it as an opportunity to do better and to be better.
Aly also explains that with the new tenure policy, it’ll be a good opportunity for teachers to put in their work and prove themselves when they are tenured.
“I really do hope everyone can grasp the same concept as me,” Aly said.