ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A popular engineering professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage was denied tenure and may lose his job.
As many as 80 students signed a letter addressed to the chancellor in support of Grant Baker, an assistant professor who wants to stay at UAA, where he has taught engineering for the past seven years. A number of engineering faculty members also back him.
Provost Jim Chapman last week denied tenure for Baker. The final decision rests with Chancellor Lee Gorsuch, who has until May 1 to rule on the matter.
If the provost's recommendation holds, Baker will lose his job in another year.
UAA reviews faculty members for tenure after seven years. Of about 100 reviews annually, typically six to a dozen are denied tenure, university officials say. If denied, the professor is terminated.
Administration officials say Baker lacks proper research credentials to fulfill university standards for a tenured or permanent position.
At the School of Engineering, tenure-track faculty members are expected to balance a workload to include 60 percent teaching, 20 percent research and creative activity, and 20 percent service.
Baker helped secure the establishment of a $115 million long-term research endowment at UAA using settlement money from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He argues that that constitutes research. He also secured grants for several computer workstation projects.
The provost's decision, Baker said, reflects another faculty member's animosity toward him and an Alaska Supreme Court case he won last year against the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Chapman wouldn't comment on the specifics of the case but said he was simply following university guidelines.
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