It's failure and sadness all the way around in this story from Inside Higher Ed about Prof. Steve Aird and Norfolk State University.
No one seems to dispute that Aird was denied tenure for failing too many students. How many is too many? Well many professors at Norfolk State say that there is a clear expectation from administrators — in particular from Dean Sandra J. DeLoatch, the dean whose recommendation turned the tide against Aird’s tenure bid — that 70 percent of students should pass.
Now that seems more than a little nuts, to have a quota. However, Aird wasn't just marginally below quota:
The review listed various courses, with remarks such as: “At the end of Spring 2004, 22 students remained in Dr. Aird’s CHM 100 class. One student earned a grade of ‘B’ and all others, approximately 95 percent, earned grades between ‘D’ and ‘F.’” Or: “At the end of Fall 2005, 38 students remained in Dr. Aird’s BIO 100 class. Four students earned a grade of ‘C-’ or better and 34, approximately 89 percent, received D’s and F’s.”
These class records resulted in the reason cited for tenure denial: “the core problem of the overwhelming failure of the vast majority of the students he teaches, especially since the students who enroll in the classes of Dr. Aird’s supporters achieve a greater level of success than Dr. Aird’s students.”So I gotta say that this is more than a little nuts too. If you are consistently failing a majority of your students, you are in the wrong place. One can argue that the institution should be reformed or disbanded, but as an employee you cannot take it upon yourself to create an entirely separate mini-world.