07/27/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

DePaul Professors Criticize Tenure Process

The late Leona Helmsley doesn't get quoted that much in faculty deliberations, but she was featured prominently in a memo circulated this spring at DePaul University -- a memo that set off an intense debate about the fairness of the tenure process.

In the memo, Robin Burke, an associate professor of computing and digital media, cited Helmsley's much-derided quote that "only the little people pay taxes," to say that DePaul appears to have a "Leona Helmsley tenure process," in that "only the little people are reviewed for tenure." Burke cited the decision by Provost Helmut Epp to accept a departmental recommendation to award tenure to two faculty members in Burke's college at DePaul.

The two (whose names are not generally featured in the voluminous memos that have been flying at DePaul about their promotions) had been working off the tenure track and were simultaneously put on the tenure track and tenured -- without the standard, lengthy process that would normally be required for someone at the university coming up for tenure.

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