Faculty Pass CAPT Reconfiguration
On Friday, April 6th, the faculty voted to adopt a long-debated reconfiguration to the Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure -- or CAPT, as it is commonly referred to. CAPT is a powerful committee which recommends faculty for tenure and promotion. The motion passed with 72% of the vote to thunderous applause, ending almost five months of uncertainty.
The changes, which were first proposed in November of 2017, will split the CAPT into two separate committees and extend the time for consideration of tenure candidates. According to the motion, the “caseload that CAPT is carrying is unsustainable given calendar and workload distribution restrictions.”
CAPT will now split into the Committee on Promotions (COP) and the Committee on Tenure (COT). This will allow the COT to deal exclusively with tenure applicants, freeing them to consider the applications in more depth. The COP will be made up of five elected members who will review promotion requests.
There has been considerable pressure within the administration to reform CAPT in order to cope with the unusually high number of tenure-track faculty coming up for consideration over the next few years. There are currently 216 tenure-track faculty at Skidmore -- a record number -- with 15 tenure cases up for consideration next year alone. Beau Breslin, the Dean of the Faculty, told The Skidmore News in an interview last year that the goal of the reconfiguration is to “give the CAPT the time to interrogate the files completely.”
The initial proposal included an “en banc” review procedure, where any negative recommendation would be reheard by the full CAPT after an initial hearing by five members. This provision has been stripped out of the new proposal, replaced by a permanent committee of seven members dedicated solely to trying tenure cases. In the new proposal, any negative recommendation could be appealed to the three-member Tenure Review Board, which could rehear the case along with the eight original member of the COT.
During the voting on Friday, five amendments were offered to the CAPT motion by Greg Gerbi, the Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee. These amendments included a motion to rename the Committee on Tenure (COT) to the Appointments and Tenure Committee (ATC), to allow members to recuse themselves in the event of a conflict of interest, and to mandate that tenure candidates be notified by March 1. These three amendments were incorporated into the original proposal as friendly amendments and passed.
Professor Gerbi also proposed an amendment specifying that any tie vote of the TRB and COT will result in a positive recommendation for tenure. This amendment was opposed by the CAPT motion’s proponents, but was adopted by the full faculty after a vote. Another amendment to lengthen the time for a candidate to appeal a negative decision was rejected.
These changes will go into effect next year, allowing Skidmore to more efficiently and thoroughly process the flood of tenure candidates.