*Adopted by the Texas Tech University Board of Regents, May 12, 1989
A university is a community of scholars whose members are engaged in the discovery, evaluation, transmission, and extension of knowledge. As such they must be free to search for and express the truth as they find it, whether in the classroom, research-creative activity, or service as members of the community, and regardless of their tenure status. They must also be free from undue constraints, whether imposed from inside or outside the university.
Faculty members' privileges imply correlative responsibilities. In addition to maintaining standards of competence, particularly those relating to scholarship and teaching ability, faculty members are responsible for maintaining the proper attitude of objectivity, industry, and cooperation with their associates within the university. It is a faculty member's professional responsibility to contribute productively throughout his or her academic career.
As persons of learning, faculty members should remember that the public may judge their profession and institution by their utterances and other actions. They should thus at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and exercise every effort to make clear that as individuals they do not speak for the institution.
I.Concept of Tenure
Academic tenure, or continuing appointment, has been developed so that Texas Tech University may have the benefit of the competent and honest judgment of its faculty. It thus recognizes the professional status of University faculty and assures that tenured employment may be terminated only for adequate cause.
Tenure may normally be obtained only after a period of probationary service. After tenure is granted, the burden of proof rests upon the University when it wishes to dismiss a faculty member.
II.Purpose of Tenure
Tenure is designed to accomplish the following purposes:
A. to assure the faculty of freedom of teaching, of research, of opinion, and of full participation as citizens in the community; and,
B. to provide appropriate procedures of due process for establishing justification for possible termination of tenure, so that faculty members may be guaranteed adequate notice and a fair hearing;
C. to assist the university by encouraging sound standards for the original selection of faculty;
D. to result in the retention, encouragement, and promotion of the ablest and most promising faculty.
III.Types of Appointment
Members of the faculty who are employed full time in the University and who hold the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor are eligible for tenure consideration. The tenure policy does not apply to administrative or part-time appointments.
Types of appointment:
A. Appointments which may be made upon the basis of continuing appointments are:
B. Appointments which are probationary and which may lead to the admission to tenure are:
C. Special full-time appointments which do not acquire tenure are:
Visiting Assistant Professor, Visiting Associate Professor,
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor,
Research Scientist or Research Professor
Although the above full-time appointments do not acquire tenure, persons holding these appointments have academic freedom and after six years can only be dismissed for adequate cause. Individuals dismissed for adequate cause shall be accorded due process in accordance with the Faculty Grievance Procedure.
Appointment to the above ranks can be continued beyond six years only by majority vote of the tenured faculty of the academic unit (department, college, or school) in which the position is placed, and subject to the approval of the responsible dean and the Provost. Faculty members whose duties are appropriate to tenured and probationary faculty shall not be given the ranks listed in Section C.
IV.Admission to Tenure
A. The terms and conditions of every appointment shall be stated in writing and shall be in the possession of both the University and the faculty member before the appointment is completed. Probationary faculty members should review the established standards and procedures for consideration for tenure which are available in the offices of department chairpersons and deans.
B. A faculty member must complete a reasonable probationary period before acquiring tenure in the University. In exceptional cases, associate professors and professors may have their initial appointment in the University with tenure when the traditional tenure review procedure set forth in Section IV.E. precedes the appointment. (Faculty members who are promoted in rank shall not thereby acquire tenure unless the normal tenure review procedure set forth in Section IV.E. has been completed.)
C. The maximum probationary period for admission to tenure is the same for all tenure-eligible ranks. Before the end of a six-year probationary period at Texas Tech University, an untenured assistant, associate, or full professor must be notified in writing either that tenure has been awarded or that the appointment will not be renewed at the end of the seventh year.
D. Determination of the maximum probationary period for admission to tenure is subject to the following Guidelines:
1. Computation of the maximum probationary period begins upon a faculty member's initial appointment to a tenure-eligible rank and is not affected by promotions made during that period.
2. A probationary year for admission to tenure shall begin in September of the calendar year in which the appointment is made.
3. All time accrued in full-time service at Texas Tech University in a tenure-eligible rank will be counted in the probationary period.
4. Tenure may be awarded prior to completion of the full probationary term. A faculty member, at his or her request, may be considered for tenure prior to completion of the full probationary period without prejudice for later reconsideration.
E. Primary responsibility for evaluation of the academic qualifications of candidates for tenure rests with the faculty. When the organizational structure permits, four sequential levels exist in the tenure review process: (1) evaluations by the department or division which includes a vote by the tenured faculty and recommendation by the chairperson; (2) review at the college level which includes recommendation by the dean; (3) review by the Provost which includes review by the Dean of the Graduate School; and (4) review by the President. The President makes recommendations for tenure to the Board of Regents. A faculty member is awarded tenure only by the action of the Board of Regents.
All academic appointments and tenure judgments and recommendations rest upon objective requirements in relationship to the ability of the faculty member to perform his or her responsibilities in teaching, research-creative activity, and service. Such judgments and recommendations are to be made without regard to race, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, or physical disabilities which do not obstruct professional performance.
VI.Grounds for Termination
Termination of the employment of a tenured faculty member or any other faculty member before the expiration of the stated period of appointment, except by resignation, retirement, or under extraordinary circumstances because of demonstrable bona fide financial exigency, will be only for adequate cause shown with the burden of proof on the University.
A. In each case of termination the issue will be determined by an equitable procedure, affording protection to the rights of the individual and to the interest of the University. In cases where the respondent faculty member admits his or her conduct constitutes adequate cause, or does not choose to have a hearing, he or she may offer in writing his or her resignation.
B. Before the filing of formal charges, every reasonable effort shall be made to mediate and conciliate differences. The Chairperson of the Tenure Advisory Committee (or other member designated by the committee) shall make a rigorous attempt at confidential, equitable, and expeditious mediation. After such attempted mediation has failed and the mediator has made a report in writing to the President of the University, a copy of the report going to the faculty member, a formal investigation shall be undertaken. A member of the Tenure Advisory Committee, appointed by the chairman of said committee, and the Provost (or his representative) together shall conduct a thorough, confidential, equitable, and expeditious review. This review and the recommendations of the investigating team shall be considered by the President of the University in determining whether formal charges should be filed by the President to terminate a faculty member's employment for cause.
C. In all cases of formal charges, the faculty member will be informed in writing of the charges which, on reasonable notice, will be considered by a Hearing Committee convened by President. The Hearing Committee will be made up of five members chosen by the Tenure Advisory Committee from a panel of twenty tenured faculty members who will be elected annually. Two panel members of the twenty will be elected from each college or school by the voting faculty of each college or school with the remaining panel members being selected at large. Members of the Tenure Advisory committee shall not be eligible for concurrent service on this panel and the Tenure Advisory Committee.
D. The Hearing Committee shall be selected in this fashion. First, the Tenure Advisory Committee shall by lot order the names of the members of the hearing panel, assigning them numbers one through twenty. Second, panel members deeming themselves biased shall remove themselves from the case. Third, either party in the dispute may strike no more than three names from those remaining on the list. Finally, the Tenure Advisory Committee shall designate the five names with the lowest numbers remaining on the list to constitute the Hearing Committee.
E. The Hearing Committee will select a chairperson from its membership and may, if it chooses, request appropriate legal counsel to be furnished by the University, but not from the Office of the General Counsel. The legal counsel will advise the Hearing Committee but will not vote. The committee may consult with the General Counsel of the University on technical questions not directly bearing on the merits of the case if the committee considers such consultation appropriate and helpful. The hearing will be private and confidential unless the faculty member elects to have a public hearing. The Hearing Committee shall determine procedures to be implemented in the hearing, which procedures shall afford due process and fairness to both parties.
F. In every such hearing the faculty member shall have the right to appear in person with legal counsel, retained by the individual, and to confront and cross-examine witnesses. The faculty member shall have the right to testify, but may not be required to do so, and may introduce in his or her behalf all evidence and material, written or oral, which he or she considers to be relevant or material to the case. The University shall also have the right to legal counsel from the Office of General Counsel in the preparation and presentation of charges and have the same rights in the hearing as those accorded to the faculty member. An audio tape of the proceedings shall be made and delivered to the President for submission to the Board, and a copy of this audio tape shall be made available to the respondent. The record will be transcribed only on the request of either the faculty member or the President at the expense of the requesting party.
G. The Hearing Committee, by a majority of its total membership, shall make written findings of the fact on each charge and make specific recommendations with regard to each of the charges and the charge as a whole. The committee, by a majority of its total membership, may make supplementary suggestions it deems proper concerning disposition of the case. If minority findings, recommendations, or suggestions are made, they shall be similarly treated. The Chairperson or the Hearing Committee shall deliver the findings, recommendations, and suggestions to the President who shall transmit them along with his or her recommendations to the faculty member and to the Board of Regents.
H. The Board of Regents, by a majority of its total membership, shall approve, reject, or amend the findings, recommendations, and suggestions of the Hearing Committee based on the record. Any amendment or change of such findings, recommendations, or suggestions, and the reasons therefore, will be stated in writing and communicated to the President who will transmit them to the Hearing Committee, which will then study any additional matters presented to it and within 45 days submit its recommendations to the President. If the Board of Regents then overrules the recommendations of the Hearing Committee, it will state in writing to the President, who will transmit the decision to the Hearing Committee, its reasons for its actions in overruling the Hearing Committee's recommendations. The President shall also notify the faculty member in writing of the Board's decision, and this communication shall include the findings and recommendations of the Hearing Committee as well as those of the Board. The decision of the Board of Regents shall be final.
I. The procedure for termination described in the foregoing paragraphs of this section does not negate the right of the President to suspend a faculty member from all or some duties when the President reasonably believes that the allegations, if true, create a likelihood of harm for persons or the University. The suspension shall be with pay until such time as the suspended faculty member has been accorded the procedural rights described in the foregoing paragraphs of this section.
VIII.Notice of Nonreappointment, Termination, or Resignation
A. Full-time faculty members in their first year with the University whose duties commence with the first semester of the academic year must be notified by the following March 1 if they are not to be reappointed.
B. Full-time faculty members in their first year with the University whose duties commence after November 15 must be notified by the following April 15 if they are not to be reappointed.
C. Full-time faculty members who are in their second year with the University and who are not to be reappointed shall be notified by December 15 of the academic year in which the appointment is to terminate.
D. Full-time faculty members with more than two years with the University will be notified of nonreappointment by issuance of a terminal contract for one academic year.
E. Full-time faculty members who hold a position by appointment for a fixed time period shall receive notice of nonreappointment in accordance with the terms of the appointment or in accordance with VIII. A, B, C, or D above.
F. The University is not required to give a nontenured faculty member a reason for a decision of nonreappointment. However, each faculty member is entitled to see all of his or her personnel file and, at his or her expense, to obtain a copy of the information contained therein. If a nontenured faculty member alleges that a decision not to reappoint him or her is caused by considerations violative of academic freedom, for constitutionally impermissible reasons, or for significant noncompliance with the University's established standards or prescribed procedures, the allegation shall be given preliminary consideration by a faculty committee. The Tenure Advisory Committee is responsible for appointing this committeefrom within or outside its own membershipand for its functioning. If the committee concludes that there is probable cause for the faculty member's allegation, the Tenure Advisory Committee shall notify the Provost and convene the hearing committee and the matter shall be heard in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section VII, except that the faculty member shall be responsible for stating the specific grounds on which the allegations were based and the burden of proof will rest upon the faculty member.
G. Notice of resignation by a faculty member shall be given as early as possible to obviate serious inconvenience to the University.
IX.Tenure Advisory Committee
The Tenure Advisory Committee may consider matters pertaining to tenure or academic freedom referred to it by members of the University community. The committee reports to the President. If the President does not approve a recommendation of the committee, the committee shall be informed in writing of the reason of disapproval. The substance of any recommendation by the committee, if approved by the President, shall be given consideration for incorporation in the operating procedures of the University.
The committee shall consist of five tenured faculty and two ex-officio members who are the Provost and a dean selected by the Provost's Council. The faculty members will be elected at large by the voting faculty for staggered terms of five years, with one membership position terminating August 31 of each year. No more than two faculty members elected from any college or school shall serve on the committee at the same time. No elected faculty member will be eligible for reelection to the committee until a period of one year has elapsed from the termination date of a prior term unless he or she was elected to serve less than two years of an unexpired term of a previous member. The dean member shall serve for three years, but shall not be eligible to serve consecutive terms. The committee shall determine its own rules of procedure.
X.Implementation and Revision
This policy is to be implemented immediately upon approval by the Board of Regents. Faculty members in a probationary status on that date will have the opportunity to choose the tenure policy under which they wish to be considered for tenurethe policy applicable to them or this policy. All tenured faculty members are subject to applicable provisions and procedures of this tenure policy. The tenure of faculty members who have attained tenure under prior policies at Texas Tech University continues. This policy shall not be applied in derogation of any faculty member's contract rights.
Revisions to this policy may be proposed to the Board of Regents by the President. The Tenure Advisory Committee, the Faculty Senate or other
academic groups may submit proposals to the Provost. Such proposals shall be reviewed by the Tenure Advisory Committee and the Faculty Senate. Following this
review, the Provost shall present approved proposals to the faculty for consideration. In this process, the voting faculty (as defined in the Constitution of the
Faculty Senate) shall be polled for approval or disapproval of the proposals. If approved by the voting faculty, the proposals shall be forwarded by the Provost to
the President for review and, if the President approves, to the Board of Regents for its consideration. Under the statutory authority of the State of Texas, the
Board of Regents has the sole authority to revise this tenure policy.
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LAST UPDATE: 8-1-98