The PoliBlog

The Collective
Friday, February 18, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

It is becoming increasingly clear that there was some serious professional negligence at the University of Colorado vis-a-vis Ward Churchill. It is bad enough that someone sans a terminal degree was given a tenure-track position (and a chairmanship) at a major research school, but according to the Denver Post it appears he received tenure early and did not go through the proper processes (I am unclear, from the story, exactly what happened in terms of what procedures he did/did not have to follow).

Further, he had a history of disruptive behavior pre-tenure:

University of Colorado officials received repeated complaints about Ward Churchill’s demeanor and temper, beginning two years before he was granted a tenured faculty position despite never going through the normal review.

The story goes on to detail a number of incidences, including one in which Churhcill allegedly threatened a colleague with harm over the question of the naming of some dorms on campus.

In regards to his tenure review/promotion:

In 1990, Howe was a vice chancellor and Churchill’s supervisor at his job as director of the University Learning Center. She served as a reference for Churchill for a one-semester teaching job but expected him to return to the center. She was surprised when he received a tenured teaching job.

“The tenure process is a laborious and long one, and it’s very rarely given early,” she said.

Three years after receiving tenure, Churchill was again accused of inappropriate behavior.

More details would be nice, but this sounds utterly bizarre and an unacceptable way for any university or college to conduct business.

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Filed under: Academia | |


  1. You got that right.

    Comment by Karl Maher — Friday, February 18, 2005 @ 12:36 pm

  2. There are instances where non-terminal degreed individuals are placed in tenure-track positions. This is especially a debate in mass comm schools, where professionals who have only a masters are hired at some universities on a “professional tenure track.” Instead of a research component, they have other standards that they meet, like outside work and grants.

    Further, some schools hire “stars” with professional experience as department heads/deans, and those folks automatically get full professor status (that happened at USC with Dean Charles Bierbauer, who has a masters degree).

    I don’t think Churchill qualifies under those standards, however.

    Comment by bryan — Saturday, February 19, 2005 @ 7:34 pm

  3. Indeed. It isn’t so much that I am shocked it happened in a general sense, but the combo of events here is pretty remarkable.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Saturday, February 19, 2005 @ 7:41 pm

  4. Ward Churchill’s Tenure and Chair Obtained by Lying
    Last week, Steven Taylor brought up the fact of Ward Churchill’s very thin credentials for his chair…

    Trackback by Hennessy's View — Tuesday, February 22, 2005 @ 8:09 am

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