||Vice President for Academic Affairs
|Responsible Executive Officer:
||Vice President for Academic Affairs
To define tenure and establish requirements relative to awarding tenure.
Source/Reference: TBR Policy 5:02:03:70
Policy on academic tenure for Walters State Community College is based on an adaptation of the academic tenure policy for the Tennessee Board of Regents Community Colleges. Tenure is awarded only by positive action by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), pursuant to the requirements and procedures of this policy, at a specific college. The award of tenure is recognition of the merit of a faculty member and of the assumption that he/she would meet the long-term staffing needs of the department or academic program unit and the college. The continued professional growth and development of faculty is necessary for institutions of higher education to continue to provide educational programs in accordance with the college’s mission, goals, and its changing needs. Tenure is awarded only to those members of the faculty who have exhibited professional excellence and outstanding abilities sufficient to demonstrate that their future services and performances justify the degree of permanence afforded by academic tenure.
The quality of the faculty of any community college is maintained primarily through the appraisal, by faculty and administrative officers, of each candidate for tenure. Tenure at a TBR community college provides eligible full-time faculty with the assurance of continued employment during the academic year until retirement or dismissal for adequate cause, financial exigency, or curricular reasons, as further discussed herein. TBR does not award tenure in non-faculty positions. TBR sets minimum provisions and each college may establish additional requirements for the eligibility of faculty for consideration of tenure. College policies on tenure must cite and specifically acknowledge compliance with TBR Policy on Academic Tenure. Likewise, policies must embody and communicate clearly all provisions, definitions, and stipulations of the TBR Policy.
What is academic tenure?
Academic tenure is the personnel status awarded to specific full-time faculty members in an academic department or academic program unit who are continued at a community college until retirement or dismissal for adequate cause (incompetence or dishonesty in teaching or research, willful failure to perform duties for which the faculty member was employed, conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, improper use of narcotics or intoxicants, capricious disregard of accepted standards of professional conduct, falsification of information on the employment application, and/or failure to maintain the level of professional excellence exhibited by colleagues); financial exigency (imminent financial crisis); or curricular reasons (academic program is deleted from the curriculum or substantial and continued reduction of student enrollment in a field or discipline).
The following are general definitions of terms used in this policy. They are further defined in the subsequent sections of this policy.
- Academic Tenure - a personnel status in an academic department or academic program unit pursuant to which the academic or fiscal year appointments of full-time faculty who have been awarded tenure are continued at a community college until the expiration or relinquishment of that status, subject to termination for adequate cause, for financial exigency, or for curricular reasons.
- Adequate Cause - a basis upon which a faculty member–either with academic tenure or on a tenure-track, term, or temporary appointment–prior to the end of the specified term of the appointment may be dismissed or terminated. The specific grounds which constitute adequate cause are set forth in Section VI. G herein.
- Financial Exigency - the formal declaration by TBR that one or more of its community colleges faces an imminent financial crisis, that there is a current or projected lack of sufficient funds (appropriated or non-appropriated) for the campus as a whole to maintain current programs and activities at a level sufficient to fulfill educational goals and priorities, and that the budget can only be balanced by extraordinary means that include termination of existing and continuing academic and non-academic appointments.
- Faculty Member - a full-time employee, who holds academic rank as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor. Further definition can be found in TBR Policy 5:02:01:00.
- Probationary Employment - period of full-time professional service by a faculty member for whom an appointment letter denotes a tenure-track appointment in which he/she does not have tenure and in which he/she is evaluated by the college for the purpose of determining his/her satisfaction of the criteria for a recommendation for tenure. Probationary employment provides an opportunity for the individual to assess his/her own commitment to the college and for the college to determine whether the individual meets its perception of quality and projected need.
III. Consideration For tenure
- Tenure process
Our college policy contains:
- a defined probationary period,
- provisions for a tenure-track faculty member to be guided through the tenure process by the Tenure Mentor Committee,
- a process that defines the levels of review to include peer review,
- procedures associated with review by each level, with a clear description of materials that each level will review (see pages 6-8),
- a calendar or schedule of the review process, and
- the types and frequency of evaluation of probationary faculty members in the areas of teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
The college’s procedures ensure that peer committees have confidentiality of individual tenure votes unless there is evidence that casts doubt upon the integrity of the peer committee. This policy shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Tennessee Public Records Act, codified in Tennessee Code Annotated § 10-7-503 and 504.
Annual evaluations conducted by the candidate’s dean or department head or other appropriate head of an academic program unit are an important aspect of the criteria for tenure; therefore, the policy includes a clear statement as to the role and methodology of evaluation in measuring those criteria relevant to assessing the merit of the probationary candidate. These evaluation criteria include provisions for providing a Tenure Mentor Committee who can conscientiously address deficiencies in the candidates’ progress toward tenure and provide feedback to the candidate. In addition, the candidate may request a preliminary review by the Tenure Mentor Committee prior to application for tenure as a mechanism to assess the progress of the candidate for tenure. The Tenure Mentor Committee shall be composed of all academic deans, one tenured faculty member from each academic division, and each faculty member on tenure track. If the academic division does not have a tenured faculty member, the academic dean will serve both roles.
Who is eligible for academic tenure?
A full-time employee who holds academic rank as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor and who during a period of full-time professional service (minimum of 5 years and maximum of 6 years) holds an appointment letter denoting a tenure-track appointment and who is evaluated by the college for the purpose of determining his/her satisfaction of the criteria for a recommendation of tenure is eligible for academic tenure. This probationary employment period (minimum of 5 years and maximum of 6 years) provides an opportunity for the individual to assess his/her own commitment to the college and for the college to determine whether the individual meets its perception of quality and projected need. The probationary period shall be a minimum of five (5) years and cannot exceed six (6) years. The minimum probationary period of five (5) years may include credit for up to three (3) years for prior service when agreed to by the president. The number of credited years is specified at the time of the execution of the tenure track appointment. Under no circumstances may this probationary period exceed six (6) years.
A faculty member may request to “stop the tenure clock” during his/her probationary period when circumstances exist that interrupt the faculty member’s normal progress toward qualifying for tenure. In such cases, the faculty member requests to “stop the tenure clock” for one-year if he/she demonstrates that circumstances reasonably warrant the interruption. Reasons will typically be related to a personal or family situation requiring attention and commitment that consumes the time and energy normally addressed by faculty duties and professional development. Examples may include leave of absence, administrative appointment, transfer to another department or unit, childbirth or adoption, care of dependents, medical conditions or obligations, physical disasters or disruptions, military deployment, and/or similar circumstances.
Anyone holding faculty rank as of fall 2020, is eligible to move from a term contract to a tenure track contract if the faculty member chooses. This is a one-time opportunity for faculty. Once the faculty member has turned down tenure track, the faculty member will have to interview for a tenure track position to be placed pm tenure track going forward. Once the faculty member vacates the position for any reason, the position will then be reviewed for a term or tenure-track position.
- Tenure appointments
- Recommendations for or against tenure shall originate from the department or academic program unit in which the faculty member is assigned. Procedures of review will be determined in keeping with the statements included in III, A, 1-6 above.
- The review shall include appropriate participation in the recommendation by tenured faculty in the department or academic program unit.
- Although it can be difficult to establish evidence of teaching excellence, each department must ensure that factual information relative to the candidate’s teaching is available at the time he/she is considered for tenure.
- The recommendation for tenure must be made by the president to the chancellor and by the chancellor to the Board of Regents. In the event that the tenure is awarded by TBR, the president shall furnish to the faculty member written confirmation of the award. The locus of tenure is awarded as appropriate in the department or academic program unit of the faculty member depending upon the organizational structure of the college.
No other person shall have any authority to make any representation concerning tenure to any faculty member. Failure to give timely notice of non-renewal of a contract shall not result in the acquisition of a tenure appointment, but shall result in the right of the faculty member to another year of service at the college, provided that no tenure appeals remain outstanding due to lack of cooperation and/or appropriate action on the part of the candidate in completing the appeal process.
- Minimum eligibility requirements
Tenure may be awarded only to:
- Regular full-time faculty members who:
- Hold academic rank as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor and meet the minimum criteria as specified in a separate TBR policy.
- Have been employed in a tenure-track appointment and have completed the minimum probationary period of service as stated in the college’s policy and/or as agreed upon in writing and signed by the president or his/her designee.
- Have been determined by the college to meet the criteria for tenure and have been so recommended.
- Special contract faculty:
Faculty members supported in whole or in part by funds available to the college on a short-term basis, such as grants, contracts, or foundation-sponsored projects, may be eligible for tenure if continuing support for such members can be clearly identified in the regular budget of the college.
- Length of probationary employment
Probationary faculty may be employed on annual tenure-track appointments for a probationary period which may not exceed six (6) years. The faculty member may apply for tenure following a probationary period of not less than five years, provided that exceptions to the minimum probationary period may be made under special circumstances upon recommendation by the president and approval by the chancellor. Upon approval of such an exception by the chancellor, the faculty member’s recommendation for tenure will go forward to the board as meeting the requirements for the probationary period.
- Calculating the probationary period
Only full-time, continuous service at a college will be included in determining completion of the probationary period, unless a break in service is approved. Employment during summer terms and in part-time positions shall not be credited toward satisfying the probationary period.
- Credit for prior service. The minimum probationary period of five years may include credit for prior service when agreed to by the president, and subject to the maximum permissible credit for prior service as noted below:
- Credit toward completion of the probationary period may, at the discretion of the president, be given for a maximum of three years of previous full-time service in a temporary faculty appointment or term appointment at the same institution (see Types of Appointments, Section 1) or in an earlier tenure-track appointment at the same institution that has been followed by a break in service. Any credit for prior service in a temporary full-time faculty appointment at the same institution or in an earlier tenure-track appointment (at the same institution) that has been followed by a break in service must be recognized and confirmed in writing in the appointment letter to a tenure-track position.
- Credit toward completion of the probationary period may at the discretion of the president be given for a maximum of three years of previous full-time service at other colleges, universities, or institutes provided that the prior service is relevant to the college’s own needs and criteria. Any credit for prior service that is recognized and agreed to must be confirmed in writing at the time of the initial appointment.
- Leave of absence. The period of approved leave of absence shall be excluded from the required probationary period. A faculty member may apply for a maximum of two, non-consecutive one-year leave increments. Exceptions may be granted by the president of the college in writing prior to the leave of absence. Exceptions may include: (a) crediting the leave periods to the probationary period and/or (b) granting more than two, non-consecutive one-year increments. Exception (b), per TBR policy, requires approval of the chancellor of TBR.
- “Stopping the tenure clock.” A faculty member may request to “stop the tenure clock” during his/her probationary period when circumstances exist that interrupt the faculty member’s normal progress toward qualifying for tenure. In such cases, the faculty member may request to “stop the tenure clock” for one-year if he/she demonstrates that circumstances reasonably warrant the interruption. Reasons will typically be related to a personal or family situation requiring attention and commitment that consumes the time and energy normally addressed to faculty duties and professional development. Examples may include childbirth or adoption, care of dependents, medical conditions or obligations, physical disasters or disruptions, military deployment, or similar circumstances.
- Administrative appointment. A faculty member appointed to an administrative position may remain eligible for tenure consideration. The faculty member must: 1) qualify for tenure under the college’s guidelines, and 2) maintain a significant involvement in academic pursuits including teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
The time (or prorated portion of time) spent in the administrative position may be credited toward completion of the probationary period.
- Transfer to another department or unit. When a faculty member is serving a probationary period in a department or academic program unit and is subsequently transferred to another department or unit, the faculty member may,with the approval of the president, elect to begin a new probationary period on the date the transfer occurs. If he/she does not so elect (and confirm this in writing to the president), time spent in the first appointment shall count toward establishing the minimum and maximum probationary period.
IV. Criteria to be considered in tenure recommendations
The criteria for a recommendation of tenure depend upon the nature, mission, and goals of the college in which tenure may be awarded and of the department and academic program unit in which a faculty member is employed. The faculty member must demonstrate willingness and ability to work effectively with colleagues and in a professional manner to support the mission of the college and the common goals of both the college and of the academic organizational unit. Moreover, criteria for tenure relate to the college’s three traditional and often interrelated missions: teaching, service/ outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
Our policy includes sections that identify criteria to be considered in tenure recommendations and specify in broad terms their relative importance. Those sections clearly distinguish between (1) criteria relevant to assessing the merit of the probationary candidate and (2) criteria relevant to assessing the long-term staffing needs of the college and of the department or academic program unit to which the candidate is assigned.
Criteria for tenure relate to the college’s three traditional missions: teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research. In the community college setting, effective teaching is of paramount importance.
What are the components of the tenure process?
- Teaching. Effective teaching is an essential qualification for tenure. Tenure shall be granted only with clear and documented evidence of a candidate’s teaching ability and potential for continued development. The faculty member must demonstrate willingness and ability to work effectively with colleagues and in a professional manner to support the mission of the college and the common goals of both the college and the academic organizational unit.
Each of the items listed below must be submitted as evidence of effective teaching and be included in the teaching portfolio.
- Evidence of ability to organize and present subject matter in a logical and meaningful way,
- Evidence of effective strategies to motivate and stimulate student learning,
- Statement of teaching philosophy,
- Course materials (i.e., course syllabi, handouts, exams/evaluation instruments, instructional materials), and
- Results of student evaluations for every course evaluated during the probationary period.
Additional types of documentation may also include:
- Open-ended or other student input,
- Student products,
- Teaching recognitions/awards,
- Evidence of professional development in teaching.
- Evidence of disciplinary or interdisciplinary program or curricular development,
- Alumni surveys,
- Student exit interviews,
- Evidence of supervision of student projects and other forms of student mentorships, and
- Other evidence of excellence in teaching or mentoring, or both.
- Service/outreach. Service and/or outreach encompasses a faculty member’s activities in college service, outreach or public service, and professional service. Evidence of performance in one or more of the following activities should be submitted in the teaching portfolio. Weight and magnitude of importance will be directed by the college’s policy on faculty promotion (WSCC Policy 06:05:00).
- College service includes, but is not limited to, serving on departmental or divisional committees, advising students, and participating in college activities and on college committees. More extensive citizenship functions such as membership on a specially appointed task force, serving as advisor to a college-wide student organization, and membership on a college search committee should be taken into account in consideration for tenure.
- Outreach primarily involves sharing professional expertise and should directly support the goals and mission of the college.
- Professional service includes activities such as service on state, regional, or national committees, guest lecturing on other campuses, and other appropriate activities.
- Scholarship/creative activities/research. Candidates for tenure must present documented evidence of their scholarship, creative activities, and/or research in the teaching portfolio. While each item listed as required under “teaching” must be included, the tenure candidate is allowed considerable latitude in his/her presentation of evidence of activities in scholarship or creative activities or research.
However, such evidence should cite typical professional development activities such as presentations at a professional meeting, journal editorship, article and grant proposal review, performances, exhibitions, creative activities, as well as completing books, journal articles, or monographs, and other appropriate activities.
- The scholarship of teaching is a valid measure of research capability. Scholarship goes beyond doing a good job in the classroom; creative teachers should organize, record, and document their efforts in such a way that their colleagues may share their contributions to the art of teaching. Authoring appropriate textbooks or chapters within a book, reviewing textbooks, or serving as a consultant, writing educational articles, making presentations, and using innovative contributions to teaching constitute scholarship of teaching.
- Performances, compositions, and other artistic creations are examples of appropriate creative activities. Documentation of such activities might include written reviews and evaluations by qualified peers.
- Publications in journals or media of similar quality are considered indicators of professional and/or scholarly activity.
- Publications that are reviewed by peers are more significant than those that are not subjected to such rigorous examination. It should be emphasized that quality is more important than quantity.
The recommendation for tenure results from a majority “vote for tenure” among the academic division’s tenured faculty with regard to the above criteria. Tenured faculty of the division convene to review portfolio and cast vote for tenure or against tenure. Division dean delivers results to Academic Affairs. Vice president of Academic Affairs forwards recommendation to president by April 1. President forwards recommendation to TBR by May 1. Following the June TBR meeting, president notifies tenure candidate of TBR approval. Tenure is awarded only by positive action by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
- What is a typical timeline of the tenure review process?
Typically, a faculty member will be on tenure track for a minimum of 5 years and no longer than 6 years. This timeline assumes no credit toward completion of the probationary period. For the faculty member starting the tenure track beginning fall 2017, the timeline would be as follows for the candidate electing the minimum 5 -year option:
Fall 2016-Spring 2017
Fall 2017-Spring 2018
Fall 2018-Spring 2019
Fall 2019-Spring 2020
Fall 2020-Spring 2021
Request peer evaluation
Fall 2021-Spring 2022
Tenure vote by tenured division faculty
The faculty member electing the 6-year maximum would, of course, roll this timeline over one year, requesting the peer evaluation in Spring 2022 and the tenure vote occurring in Spring 2023.
Faculty member on tenure track joins the Tenure Mentor Committee.
Tenure track candidate begins accumulation of artifacts for portfolio
Attend the Tenure Mentor Committee meeting addressing portfolio development.
Tenure track faculty member attends workshop to begin portfolio construction
The materials should include the following:
- 2-inch 3-ring binder
- Ample supply of plastic protective page covers
- Tabbed dividers
- Professional resume
- Statement of philosophy of education and teaching
- If the candidate chooses to submit the portfolio electronically, please contact the executive aide in the vice president for Academic Affairs office.
Tenure track candidate may request a pre-tenure review by an ad hoc committee from the Tenure Mentor Committee. Review team shall be comprised of 1) assigned mentor (chair) who is a tenured faculty member from within the tenure-track faculty member’s division, 2) a tenured faculty member from outside the academic unit and 3) the dean of the academic division where tenure will be granted. (Optimal time is after annual evaluation. The chair shall convene the review team.)
When tenure-track appointments are not to be renewed, the tenure candidate shall receive notice of his/her non-retention for the subsequent year no later than April 1 of the first year of service; January 1 of second year of service; the close of the academic year preceding the third or subsequent year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year; or, if the appointment terminates during an academic year, at least twelve months prior to its termination. The tenure track is an up (the award of tenure) or out (termination) process (See TBR Tenure Policy Section VI).
Tenure track candidate maintains contact with Tenure Mentor Committee and continues accumulation of artifacts.
Tenure track candidate requests second pre-tenure review.
Fall 2018-Spring 2019
Fall 2019-Spring 2020
Fall 2020-Spring 2021
Tenure track candidate maintains contact with the Tenure Mentor Committee, continues to accumulate artifacts, schedules annual pre-tenure review, and contacts chair of Peer Evaluation Committee to request outside peer evaluation prior to mid-January 2021 (for the candidate electing the minimum 5-year probationary period; one year later for the candidate electing the 6-year maximum). The tenure candidate will choose one course to be evaluated by one peer evaluator of the candidate’s choice from the academic division and another peer evaluator will be assigned by the committee chair at random from outside the academic division. Once completed, these evaluations will be valid for two consecutive years. Note: In a year in which promotion peer evaluation and tenure peer evaluation both occur, the single two-tiered evaluation (1 evaluator of choice and 1 evaluator assigned by Peer Evaluation Committee) will satisfy the requirement.
Fall 2021 (5-year minimum)
October 1, 2021
Complete eligibility criteria form and submit to division dean
October 15, 2021
Division dean submits eligibility form to Academic Affairs
October 20, 2021
Academic Affairs submits eligibility form to Human Resources
October 30, 2021
Human Resources returns eligibility form to Academic Affairs
November 15, 2021
Academic Affairs returns eligibility form to division dean
December 15, 2021
Tenure candidate submits portfolio to division dean
Spring 2022 (5-year minimum)
Division dean submits portfolio to Academic Affairs by mid-January 2022. Academic Affairs returns portfolio to division dean by beginning of February 2022. Official ballots for tenure vote are attached. Tenured faculty of the division convene to review portfolio and cast vote for tenure or against tenure by mid-March 2022. Division dean delivers results to Academic Affairs. Vice president for Academic Affairs forwards recommendation to president by beginning of April 2022. President forwards recommendation to TBR by beginning of May 2022. Following June TBR meeting, president notifies tenure candidate of TBR approval.
- Tenure is awarded only by positive action by the Tennessee Board of Regents
Tenure at a TBR community college provides eligible full-time faculty with the assurance of continued employment during the academic year until retirement or dismissal for adequate cause, financial exigency, or curricular reasons.
The complete tenure policy is available in this document (Policy 06:02:01) and mirrors the current TBR tenure policy 5:02:03:70.
V. Exceptions to minimum rank qualifications
The minimum rank qualifications should be met in every recommendation regarding appointment to academic rank and for promotion in academic rank.
VI. Changes in tenure and tenure-track status
- Non-renewal of probationary, tenure-track faculty.
- When tenure-track appointments of faculty are not to be renewed, the faculty member shall receive notice of his/her non-retention for the ensuing academic year as follows:
a. In the first academic year of service
1. For appointments expiring at the end of the academic year, notice must be given no later
than April 1 of that academic year.
2. For appointments expiring at the end of the current calendar year, notice must be given no later
than November 1 of that year.
3. For appointments expiring during an academic year, notice must be given at least sixty (60)
days prior to the expiration date.
b. In the second academic year of service:
1. For appointments expiring at the end of the current academic year, notice must be given no
later than January 1 of that academic year.
2. For appointments expiring at the end of the current calendar year, notice must be given no
later than August 1 of that year.
3. For appointments expiring during the academic year, notice must be given at least one
hundred fifty (150) days prior to its termination.
c. In the third or subsequent year of service:
1. For appointments expiring at the end of the current academic year, notice must be given no
later than the last day of the preceding academic year.
2. For appointments expiring at the end of the current calendar year, notice of non-renewal must
be given no later than December 31 of the preceding year.
3. For appointments expiring during the academic year, notice of non-renewal must be given at
least three hundred and sixty-five (365) days prior to the date of termination.
The above dates are the latest dates for notice of non-renewal of faculty on tenure-track appointments.
2. Notice of non-renewal shall be effective upon hand delivery of the notice to the faculty member, or upon the date the notice is mailed, certified mail, return receipt requested, postage
prepaid, to the faculty member at his/her current home address of record with the college.
3. Applicable time periods for notice of non-renewal are based upon actual years of service at the college at which the faculty member is currently employed and are in no way affected by
any credit for prior service that may have been awarded.
4. In computing time for notice of non-renewal, exclude the day the notice is served; count every day thereafter, including intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays; and include the last day.
But if the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period continues to run until the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
5. When a faculty member in a tenure-track appointment completes his/her probationary period, the faculty member will be given notice of non-renewal of the appointment during the spring term following application for such status. Such notice of non-renewal should be given not later than the final day of the academic year. The faculty member’s right in an instance where timely notice is not given is described
in TBR policy.
6. Faculty members on tenure-track appointments may have their employment terminated for any reason that would justify termination of a non-tenure-track faculty member. The tenure-track faculty
member is entitled to the same process regarding termination that would be applicable to a non-tenure-track employee.
7. The non-renewal or non-reappointment of any faculty member on a tenure-track appointment does not necessarily carry an implication that his/her work or conduct
has been unsatisfactory.
8. Neither non-renewal of a tenure-track faculty appointment during the first five years of the probationary period nor denial of tenure unaccompanied by notice of
termination in the sixth year of the probationary period are appealable to the chancellor, unless there has been a violation of state or federal law.
- Transfer of tenure
Where a faculty member is tenured in an academic program unit he/she may be transferred to another academic program unit. In such cases, the transfer will be made with tenure; moreover, the tenure appointment will be transferred to the new academic program unit. In no instance may the faculty member be compelled to relinquish tenure as a condition for effecting the transfer.
When a faculty member with tenure is appointed to an administrative position, he/she will retain tenure in the former faculty position only; and a faculty member otherwise eligible for tenure who also holds a non-faculty position may be awarded tenure in the faculty position only, subject to the requirements of this policy.
- Expiration of tenure
Tenure status shall expire upon retirement of the faculty member. Tenure shall also expire in the event of permanent physical or mental inability of a faculty member, as established by an appropriate medical authority, to continue to perform his/her assigned duties.
- Relinquishment of tenure
A faculty member shall relinquish or waive his/her right to tenure upon resignation from the college or upon failure to report for service at the designated date of the beginning of any academic term, which shall be deemed to be a resignation unless, in the opinion of the president, the faculty member has shown good cause for such failure to report.
- Termination of tenure for reason of financial exigency
The employment of a tenured faculty member may be terminated as a result of financial exigency at a college subject to TBR declaration that such financial conditions exist. See TBR Policy on Financial Exigency (05:02:06 ).
- Termination of tenure for curricular reasons
The employment of a tenured faculty member may be terminated because (1) an academic program is deleted from the curriculum or (2) because of substantial and continued reduction of student enrollment in a field or discipline.
Before declaring that curricular reasons exist, the president will ensure meaningful participation by the college’s representative faculty body in identifying the specific curricular reasons, evaluating the long-term effect on the college’s curriculum and its strategic planning goals, and judging the advisability of initiating further action.
Prior to initiating the process described below, the president will present, either verbally or in writing,a description of curricular reasons that may warrant the termination of a tenured faculty member’s employment. The college policy describes procedures whereby this presentation will be made to a representative faculty body, and that body will have the opportunity to respond in writing to the president before action described below is initiated. At Walters State Community College, this presentation will be made to either the Academic Affairs Committee or the Curriculum Subcommittee. The body to whom the presentation is made will have the opportunity to respond in writing to the president within 10 working days after the presentation. Each of these reasons for termination of tenure for curricular reasons must denote shifts in staffing needs that warrant greater reductions than those which are accommodated annually in light of shifting positions from one department to another or among colleges to handle changing enrollment patterns (see definitions, below).
- Process for termination of tenure
- The president’s decision to terminate a tenured faculty member’s employment for curricular reasons is subject to appeal to the chancellor and TBR as provided in TBR Policy 1:02:11:00.
- If the faculty member(s) whose employment is to be terminated indicate(s) objections to the president’s written statement(s) and request(s) a review, the president will appoint a faculty committee consisting of a minimum of five tenured faculty members from a slate of ten tenured faculty members proposed by the representative faculty body. The committee shall conduct a hearing on the proposed termination(s). The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the president, who shall in a reasonable time inform the faculty member(s) whose employment is proposed for termination in writing either that the decision for termination stands or that it has been altered.
- Upon determining that termination of employment of one or more tenured faculty members is required for one or more of the two reasons cited above, the president shall furnish each faculty member whose employment is to be terminated a written statement of the reasons for the termination. Those reasons shall address fully the curricular circumstances that warranted the termination and shall indicate the manner and the information upon which the decision was reached regarding which faculty members’ employment would be terminated. The president’s written statement shall also indicate that the faculty member has the opportunity to respond in writing stating any objections to the decision.
When a tenured faculty member’s employment is terminated for curricular reasons, the position will not be filled by a new appointee with the same areas of specialization as the terminated faculty member within a period of three years unless the terminated faculty member has been offered, in writing, reappointment to the position at his/her previous rank, tenure, and salary (with the addition of an appropriate increase which, in the opinion of the president, would constitute the raise(s) that would have been awarded during the period that he/she was not employed).
Upon determining that termination of employment of one or more tenured faculty members is warranted for curricular reasons, the president shall base his/her decision about which faculty member(s) employment should be terminated upon his/her assessment as to what action would least seriously compromise the educational programs in a department or division.
Termination for curricular reasons presumes a staffing pattern in a department or academic program unit that cannot be warranted either by comparison with general load practices within the college or by comparison with faculty loads in comparable departments or academic program units at similar colleges. In that light, the president shall also, at his/her discretion, base his/her decision on a careful assessment of the impact of the curricular reason on staffing requirements in the department or academic program unit as compared to overall patterns in the college and to comparable departments or academic program units.
Unless the president demonstrates that an exception should be made to minimize qualitative compromise of an educational program, the following considerations should guide the president in determining the order of faculty reductions in a department or academic program unit where termination of tenured faculty is proposed for curricular reasons. These considerations should not be construed as being mandatory:
- Part-time faculty appointments should not be renewed if tenured faculty positions are terminated.
- Temporary faculty or tenure-track faculty appointments in the probationary period should not be renewed if tenured faculty positions are terminated.
- Among tenured faculty, those with higher rank should have priority over those with lower rank.
- Among tenured faculty with comparable rank, those with appropriate higher academic degrees should have priority over those with lower degrees.
- Among tenured faculty with comparable rank and comparable degrees, those with greater seniority in rank should normally have priority over those with less seniority.
The president of the college will have the discretion to deviate from this policy if he/she can demonstrate that the quality of the college’s programs will be negatively impacted by strict adherence to this seniority preference.
When a tenured faculty member’s employment is to be terminated for curricular reasons, the president will make every possible effort to relocate the tenured faculty member in another existing vacant position for which he/she is qualified. In instances where, in the opinion of the president, relocation within the college is a viable alternative, the college has an obligation to make significant effort to relocate the faculty member, including the bearing of reasonable retraining costs. The final decision on relocation is within the discretion of the president.
a “Program is deleted from the curriculum” means that TBR takes formal action to terminate a degree major, concentration, or other curricular component and that such termination eliminates or reduces need for faculty qualified in that discipline or area of specialization.
b. “Substantive and continued reduction of student enrollment in a field” means that over a period of at least three (3) years, student enrollment in a field has decreased at a rate in considerable excess of that of the college as a whole and that such reduction has resulted in faculty-student ratios that, in the opinion of the president, cannot be warranted either by comparison with equivalent faculty load practices within the college or by comparisons with faculty loads in comparable departments or academic program units at similar colleges which the president would deem to be appropriate for comparison.
H. Termination for adequate cause
1. Reasons for termination:
A faculty member with tenure or a faculty member on a tenure-track appointment or temporary appointment prior to the end of the term of appointment may be terminated for adequate cause, which includes the following:
a. Incompetence or dishonesty in teaching or research.
b. Willful failure to perform the duties and responsibilities for which the faculty member was employed; or refusal or continued failure to comply with the policies of the board of regents, the college,
or the department; or to carry out specific assignments, when such policies or assignments are reasonable and non-discriminatory.
c. Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
d. Improper use of narcotics or intoxicants, which substantially impairs the faculty member’s fulfillment of his/her departmental and college duties and responsibilities.
e. Capricious disregard of accepted standards of professional conduct.
f. Falsification of information on an employment application or other information concerning qualifications for a position.
g. Failure to maintain the level of professional excellence and ability demonstrated by other members of the faculty in the department or academic program unit of the college.
2. Procedures for termination:
Termination of a faculty member with a tenure appointment, or with a tenure-track or temporary appointment prior to the annual specified term of the appointment, shall be subject to the following procedures. No termination shall be effective until steps d. through j. below have been completed.
- A faculty member may not be suspended pending completion of steps d. through j. unless it is determined by the college that the faculty member’s presence poses a danger to persons or property or a threat of destruction to the academic or operational processes of the college. Reassignment of responsibilities is not considered suspension; however, the faculty member must be reassigned responsibilities for which he/she is qualified.
- In any case of suspension, the faculty member shall be given an opportunity at the time of the decision or immediately thereafter to contest the suspension; and, if there are disputed issues of fact or cause and effect, the faculty member shall be provided the opportunity for a hearing on the suspension as soon as possible, at which time the faculty member may cross-examine his/her accuser, present witnesses on his/her behalf, and be represented by an attorney. Thereafter, whether the suspension is upheld or revoked, the matter shall proceed pursuant to these procedures.
- Except for such simple announcements as may be required concerning the time of proceedings and similar matters, public statements and publicity about these proceedings by either the faculty member or administrative officers will be avoided so far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including consideration by the board of regents.
- Upon a recommendation by the chief academic officer of the college to the president or upon a decision by the president that these procedures should be undertaken in consideration of the termination of a tenured faculty member, one or more appropriate administrators shall meet privately with the faculty member for purposes of attempting to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the problems giving rise to the proposed termination proceedings.
- If a mutual resolution is not reached under step d. the president shall appoint a faculty committee consisting of tenured faculty members, whose appointments should be, but are not required to be, agreed to by the faculty member. The faculty committee shall conduct an informal inquiry of the facts giving rise to the proposed termination and seek a mutually acceptable resolution. Should no such resolution be reached, the committee shall recommend to the president whether in its opinion further proceedings should be taken in pursuit of the termination. The recommendation shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by reasons for the recommendation. The committee’s recommendation shall not be binding on the president.
- If no mutually acceptable resolution is reached through step e. and/or if after consideration of the faculty committee’s recommendation the president determines that further proceedings are warranted to consider termination, the following steps shall be taken.
1. The faculty member shall be provided with a written statement of the specific charges alleged by the college which constitute grounds for termination and a notice of hearing specifying the time, date, and place of the hearing. The statement and notice must be provided at least twenty (20) days prior to the hearing. The faculty member shall respond to the charges in writing at least five (5) days prior to the hearing. The faculty member may waive the hearing by execution of a written waiver.
2. A committee consisting of members of faculty or faculty and administration shall be appointed to hear the case and to determine if adequate cause for termination exists according to the procedure hereinafter described. The committee shall be appointed by the president and the officially recognized faculty senate, assembly or advisory committee, with the president appointing ten members and the faculty senate appointing two members, for a total of twelve members. The committee may not include any member of the faculty committee referred to in e above. Members deeming themselves disqualified for bias or interest shall remove themselves from the case, either at the request of a party or on their own initiative. Members of the committee shall not discuss the case outside committee deliberations and shall report any ex parte communication pertaining to the hearing to the committee chairman, who shall notify all parties of the communication.
g. The hearing committee shall elect a chair who shall direct the proceedings and rule on procedural matters, including the granting of reasonable extensions of time at the request of any party and upon the showing of good cause for the extension.
h. The chair of the hearing committee may in his/her discretion require a joint prehearing conference with the parties that may be held in person or by a conference telephone call. The purpose of the pre-hearing conference should include but is not limited to one or more of the following:
1. Notification as to procedure for conduct of the hearing.
2. Exchange of witness lists, documentary evidence, and affidavits.
3. Define and clarify issues.
4. Effect stipulations of fact.
5. A written memorandum of the pre-hearing conference should be prepared and provided to each party.
- A hearing shall be conducted by the hearing committee to determine whether adequate cause for termination of the faculty member exists. The hearing shall be conducted according to the procedures below.
1. During the hearing, the faculty member will be permitted to have an academic advisor present and may be represented by legal counsel of his/her choice.
2. A verbatim record of the hearing will be taken and a copy will be made available to the faculty member, upon request, at the faculty member’s expense.
3. The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the college and shall be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole.
4. The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence. The administration will cooperate with the committee in securing witnesses and making available documentary and other evidence.
5. The faculty member and the administration will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. Where the witnesses cannot or will not appear, but the committee determines that the interests of justice require admission of their statements, the committee will identify the witnesses, disclose their statements, and, if possible, provide for interrogatories. An affidavit may be submitted in lieu of the personal appearance of a witness if the party offering the affidavit has provided a copy to the opposing party at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing and the opposing party has not objected to the admission of the affidavit in writing within (7) seven days after delivery of the affidavit, or if the committee chair determines that the admission of the affidavit is necessary to ensure a just and fair decision.
6. In a hearing on charges of incompetence, the testimony shall include that of qualified faculty members from the college or other universities of higher education.
7. The hearing committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence and may admit any evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every possible effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available.
8. The findings of fact and the report will be based solely on the hearing record.
9. The president and the faculty member will be provided a copy of the written committee report. The committee’s written report shall specify findings of fact and shall state whether the committee has determined that adequate cause for termination exists and, if so, the specific grounds for termination found. In addition, the committee may recommend action less than dismissal. The report shall also specify any applicable policy the committee considered.
j. After consideration of the committee’s report and the record, the president may in his/her discretion consult with the faculty member prior to reaching a final decision regarding termination. Following his/her review, the president shall notify the faculty member of his/her decision, which, if contrary to the committee’s recommendation shall be accompanied by a statement of the reasons. If the faculty member is terminated or suspended as a result of the president’s decision, the faculty member may appeal the president’s action to the chancellor pursuant to TBR Policy 1:02:11:00.
Review of the appeal shall be based upon the record of hearing. If upon review of the record, the chancellor notes objections regarding the termination and/or its proceedings, the matter will be returned to the president for reconsideration, taking into account the stated objections, and, at the discretion of the president, the case may be returned to the hearing committee for further proceedings.
3/06; 11/08; 01/13; 10/13; 01/15; 11/19;02/21