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Honored professor challenges state leaders on tenure

Dr. Scott Vander Ploeg

2009 Acorn Award Honoree

By Jacque Day

Madisonville, Ky. – On Friday the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce presented the 2009 Acorn Award to Madisonville Community College's Dr. Scott Vander Ploeg. At the award ceremony in Bowling Green, in front of some of Kentucky's highest officials, Dr. Vander Ploeg addressed an important topic to him. Jacque Day has more.

With the ear of Governor Steve Beshear, former governor Paul Patton, several Kentucky university presidents and board of regents leaders, Dr. Scott Vander Ploeg addressed the issue of tenure. He says he felt compelled to point out, it was the tenure system that provided him the academic freedom to perform at the level of excellence recognized by the Acorn Award.

"And that academic freedom is crucial for scholars especially, and those who are dealing with ideas. Lacking the protection that tenure has, I would be unable to address my students openly. I would be unable to write perhaps more fully about issues...."

Earlier this year, the Kentucky Community and Technical College Board of Regents voted to do away with tenure for new faculty. Dr. Vander Ploeg serves as MCC humanities division chair. He says the elimination of tenure not only affects the faculty members, but the institution as well.