ScienceBlogling Abel Pharmboy asks two questions about collegiality and tenure:
1. Do you think that lack of collegiality is grounds for denial of tenure for a candidate that otherwise meets the basic quantitative criteria outlined in university guidelines?
2. Do you feel that collegiality – or whatever you want to call it: teamwork, cooperation – should be an important factor in making academic tenure decisions?
To get question 1 out of the way, I’m assuming that the guidelines don’t specifically mention collegiality (which is really stupid). In that case, to deny someone tenure based on criteria that don’t exist is not sufficient grounds for denial, any more than if a university denied tenure on the basis of inadequate service, when no service requirement was stated.
But question 2 is the crux of the matter.
I don’t see how one can function as a scientist without being collegial. Even if people in the same department aren’t collaborating in their research (again, stupid), they still have to figure out how to educate the students. In one department that I was formerly in, there was very little inter-lab research collaboration. On the other hand, there was a lot of discussion, not always collegial, about how to educate undergraduates and graduate students (which, at times, led to an incredible amount of conflict).
Is it possible to fulfill your minimal* educational obligations and be a reasonably productive researcher? Sure. But that’s a low bar: a good faculty member has to productively work with his or her colleagues.
I don’t really see how collegiality can’t be part of the decision to grant tenure.
*I use minimal, since deciding what everyone’s obligations are to the students will require working with others.