1:025 Policy on Academic Tenure
|Austin Peay State
|Policy on Academic Tenure
The following policy of Austin Peay State University (APSU) on tenure is applicable to all tenure-track faculty within the University.
Faculty and administrators are also required to follow the Tenure Procedures and Guidelines document, which comprises procedures and guidelines related to the retention, tenure, and promotion of all tenure-track and tenured faculty within the University. These procedures and guidelines embody and communicate all provisions, definitions, and stipulations of Austin Peay State University.
The quality of the faculty of any University is maintained primarily through support of a wide variety of professional development. It is monitored through the appraisal, by competent faculty and administrative officers, of each candidate for tenure. Tenure at Austin Peay State University provides certain 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.
|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 University until the expiration or relinquishment
of that status, subject to termination for adequate cause, for financial exigency,
or for curricular reasons.
|A basis upon which a faculty member, either with academic tenure or a tenure-track
or temporary appointment prior to the end of the specified term of the appointment
may be dismissed or terminated. The specific grounds that constitute adequate cause
are set forth in Termination for Adequate Cause Section H herein.
|The formal declaration by the APSU Board of Trustees that APSU faces an imminent financial
crisis, that there is a current or projected absence 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 its educational goals and priorities, and that the
budget can only be balanced by extraordinary means which include the termination of
existing and continuing academic and non-academic appointments. The purpose of the
APSU financial exigency policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding
financial exigency at the university.
|A full-time employee who holds academic rank as instructor, assistant professor, associate
professor, or professor. APSU Policy 2:051 provides additional details about types of appointments.
|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 University 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
University and for the University to determine whether the individual meets its perception
of quality and/or projected need.
|See APSU Policy No. 2:051.
|Annual evaluations conducted by the candidate’s department chair or other appropriate
head of an academic program unit are an important aspect of the criteria for tenure
at APSU; therefore, university policy should include a clear statement as to the role
of evaluation in measuring those criteria relevant to assessing the merit of the probationary
A. Tenure AppointmentsThe awarding 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 University. 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 APSU Board of Trustees does not award tenure in non-faculty positions.
Tenure appointments reside in the departments and academic program units and are assurances of continued employment during the academic year subject to expiration, relinquishment, or terminations of tenure as set out in Sections IV (Criteria to Be Considered in Tenure Recommendations) and V (Changes in Tenure/Tenure-Track Status). Recommendations for or against tenure should originate from the department or academic program unit in which the faculty member is assigned and should include appropriate participation in the recommendation by tenured faculty in the department or academic program unit as specified in Policy.
Tenure is awarded only by positive action of the APSU Board of Trustees, pursuant
to the requirements and procedures of this policy at APSU. No faculty member shall
acquire or be entitled to any interest in a tenure appointment at APSU without a recommendation
for tenure by the President of the University and an affirmative award of tenure by
the APSU Board of Trustees. No other person shall have any authority to make any representation
concerning tenure to any faculty member, and 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 APSU, 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.
The President has the authority to recommend tenure or to continue faculty members in probationary status in accord with the provisions elsewhere in this policy. The President shall base his/her determination upon consideration of the recommendations of departmental and college retention and tenure committees, and upon the recommendations of departmental Chairs*, college Deans*, and the Provost.
*(APSU Editorial Note: Some academic units of the University have directors instead of Chairs. If the job description of the director of an academic unit includes duties and responsibilities typically assigned to the Chair of a department, then the director shall be seen as the equivalent of a Chair and shall participate in all personnel processes including retention, tenure, and promotion.)
See Tenure Procedures and Guidelines document for Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions.
All tenure-track faculty shall be reviewed for retention on an annual basis until
they attain tenure. The guidelines governing the criteria for retention are included
within this policy (1:025) as well as in the Tenure Procedures and Guidelines document.
Types of evidence relevant to evaluating effectiveness and contributions in teaching, research/scholarship, and service/outreach are identified in this policy under “General Criteria for Evaluation of Faculty Members.”
Confidentiality of MeetingsAll retention, tenure, and promotion committee proceedings and deliberations are strictly confidential. Faculty members who serve on review committees may discuss the vote and specifics of a particular personnel meeting only with other members who are also part of that same personnel review committee. As the discussion of the review committees involves personnel issues, the personnel review committee members are encouraged to exercise appropriate discretion in any subsequent discussion of the meetings. Faculty may consult with the university ombudsman and the Office of Human Resources in this process.
D. Probationary EmploymentProbationary faculty may be employed on annual tenure-track appointments for a probationary period, which may not exceed six (6) years; however, six (6) years is considered to be the normal length of time required to develop a substantial record in teaching, research and service. 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 APSU Board of Trustees. Upon approval of such an exception by the APSU Board of Trustees, the faculty member’s recommendation for tenure will go forward to the Board as meeting the requirements for the probationary period, per APSU Policy 2:063.
A period of approved leave of absence shall be excluded from the requisite period for completion of the probationary period unless the Provost of the University specified in writing prior to the leave of absence that it shall be included in the probationary period. However, articles that are published (online or in print) during the “leave of absence” period shall be accepted as items in Area 2 (Scholarly and Creative Achievement) during the probationary period.
For example, if the faculty member receives notice of an acceptance of an article (submitted at a previous time) during the “leave of absence” period or receives notice of an invitation to submit a scholarly essay to a journal, the faculty member may count this as part of his/her publication achievements in Area 2. When there is disagreement as to the admissibility of scholarly/creative activity in Area 2 during a “leave of absence” period, the faculty member shall consult with his/her Chair, Dean, and Provost to resolve the situation. This provision applies to tenure-track faculty only.
Leaves of absence may not be granted retroactively. A faculty member may apply for a maximum of two (2) extensions in one-year increments so long as the total probationary period does not exceed six years. Requests for a second extension follow the same procedure and are subject to the same considerations as the original extension.
2. Stopping the Tenure Clock
A faculty member in a tenure track appointment may request to “stop the clock” during his/her probationary period when circumstances exist that interrupt the faculty member’s normal progress toward building a case for tenure. Discretion for stopping the tenure clock rests on the institution and requires supervisory approval. In such cases, the faculty member may request to “stop the tenure clock” for one-year if he/she demonstrates that circumstances reasonably warrant such interruption. Reasons for approving a request to “stop the clock” 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, but are not limited to, childbirth or adoption, care of dependents, medical conditions or obligations, physical disasters or disruptions, or similar circumstances that require a fundamental alteration of one’s professional life. The intent of this policy is to serve the best interests of the University while providing neither preference to, nor adverse effect on, a faculty member’s process of developing a case for tenure. Once approved, the “stop the clock” year is not counted in the probationary period accrual.
However, articles that are published (online or in print) during the “stop the clock” year shall be accepted as items in Area 2 (Scholarly and Creative Achievement) during the probationary period. For example, if the faculty member receives notice of an acceptance of an article (submitted at a previous time) during the “stop the clock” year or receives notice of an invitation to submit a scholarly essay to a journal, the faculty member may count this as part of his/her publication achievements in Area 2. When there is disagreement as to the admissibility of scholarly/creative activity in Area 2 during a “stop the clock” year, the faculty member shall consult with his/her Chair, Dean, and Provost to resolve the situation. This provision applies to tenure-track faculty only.
3. Procedure for Modifying the Probationary Period
A faculty member seeking a modification of his/her probationary period must submit his/her request, in writing, addressing the considerations described above. The request is to be submitted to the department chair/director for consideration and recommendation. The chair/director’s recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of the faculty member’s college for consideration and recommendation; thence to the Provost for consideration and approval or denial. The Provost will notify the faculty member, in writing, of such exceptions within one month of submission. Requests for modification of the probationary period that are based on a faculty member’s health or care for an immediate family member should also be submitted to the APSU Office of Legal Affairs.
A faculty member who is appointed to an administrative position prior to a tenure award remains eligible for tenure under two conditions: 1) the faculty member must qualify for tenure under departmental or academic program unit, college and University guidelines; and 2) the faculty member must maintain a significant involvement in academic pursuits including teaching, scholarship and service. The time (or prorated portion of time) spent in the administrative position may be credited toward completion of the probationary period.
Where a faculty member is serving a probationary period in a department or academic program unit and is subsequently transferred to another department or academic program unit, the faculty member may – with the approval of the Provost – elect to begin a new probationary period on the date that the transfer occurs. If he/she does not so elect (and confirm in writing to the President), time spent in the first appointment shall count toward establishing the minimum and maximum probationary period.
|Criteria to be
Considered in Tenure Recommendations
Faculty members shall be evaluated for retention, tenure, and promotion in the areas listed below and according to the standards indicated for the particular personnel action being considered. Time periods for particular personnel actions and supporting e-dossier material relevant to each action are as follows:
Tenure: since initial appointment; and
Promotion: since initial appointment or date of last promotion whichever is the more
General Criteria for Evaluation of Faculty MembersThe following are general criteria to be used in evaluating faculty members for any personnel action. This list is not exhaustive, and the selection and relative importance of each of these criteria will vary with the type of action contemplated as well as the nature and mission of the department to which the faculty member is assigned. It should also be recognized that common sense and flexibility need to be used in the application of criteria. Faculty members truly outstanding in one (1) area but less active or successful in others may well be contributing more to the well-being of the University than someone adequate in all areas but outstanding in none. Reasonable expectations for the following evaluative criteria for retention, tenure, promotion and merit shall be established in writing at the departmental and college levels as a standard or basis for personnel actions.
Effective teaching is an essential qualification for tenure, and tenure should not
be granted in the absence of clear evidence of a candidate’s teaching ability and
potential for continued development. Excellence in teaching is a strong recommendation
for both tenure and promotion though it cannot be considered in isolation from scholarship
and service. Although it is difficult to establish evidence of teaching excellence,
each department must develop a procedure to ensure that factual information relative
to a candidate’s teaching is available at the time he/she is considered for tenure.
It is expected that a component of teaching is effective student advisement.
The teaching portfolio should include, but is not limited to, evidence of teaching excellence as follows: ability to organize and present subject matter in a logical and meaningful way; ability to motivate and stimulate creativity, intellectual curiosity, and interest in writing and inquiry in undergraduates and/or graduate students; and evidence of peer evaluation. Documentation of teaching should routinely include: statement of teaching philosophy; course materials; student evaluations for every course evaluated during the probationary period; and evidence of supervision of student projects and other forms of student mentorship. A candidate for tenure may choose to include other types of evidence that support his/her application for tenure such as additional student input; student products; teaching recognition; teaching scholarship; peer input; evidence of professional development in teaching; evidence of disciplinary or interdisciplinary program or curricular development; alumni surveys and student exit interviews; and other evidence of excellence in teaching or mentoring, or both.
Candidates should be evaluated within the scope of their defined academic assignment. For most faculty members, judgment of “Effectiveness in Academic Assignment” will involve evaluation primarily of teaching, student advising, and related instructional activities.
Positive evaluation in the area “Effectiveness in Academic Assignment” is the prime, but not sole, condition for retention, tenure, or promotion.
B. Research/Scholarship/Creative ActivitiesA candidate for tenure must present evidence of his/her research, scholarship and/or creative activities when he/she applies for tenure. Such evidence should cite books, journal articles, monographs, creative activities, performances, or exhibitions that have undergone appropriate peer review. Research publications in refereed journals or media of similar quality are considered reliable indicators of research/scholarly ability. Written reviews and evaluations by qualified peers, either in person or aided by other forms of reports, or both, are appropriate for performances, compositions, and other artistic creations. Books published by reputable firms and articles in refereed journals, reviewed by recognized scholars, 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 tenure dossier/application must include evidence of peer review of the candidate’s record of research/scholarly activity by qualified peers. The scholarship of teaching is a valid measure of research capability. It 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. Appropriate textbooks or educational articles in one’s own discipline and innovative contributions to teaching, if published or presented in a peer-reviewed forum, constitute scholarship of teaching.
Research and scholarly and creative activities are important to the University's role in society. Clear evidence of the quality of work shall be a part of every evaluation, including evaluations from Deans and directors supervising special programs in which the faculty member participates. Evidence supplied by the candidate or others might include the following:
C. Professional Contributions and ActivitiesPart of every faculty member's expected performance in Professional Contributions and Activities is regular participation in the governing and policy-making processes of the University, and such participation should be included in this area of evaluation. Evidence of a faculty member's contributions in the area of professional service might include examples of assistance to the faculty member's discipline, the local community, and to the larger society. The faculty member should also include evidence of continuing professional development and growth. The documentation of all service activities is required and may include evaluations from colleagues, Deans and directors supervising special programs in which the faculty member participates. Service should include participation in organizations and on committees, although more significance will be attached to formal and informal leadership than to mere membership. Evidence might involve the following:
D. Criteria for Assessing the Long-Term Staffing NeedsThe long-term staffing needs of the department/division and the University are taken into account at each level in the review process when candidates are evaluated for retention and tenure. Criteria to be considered may include the following:
A. Non-renewal of Probationary Tenure-Track
Unless there is a violation of state or federal law under the limitations described in the APSU Policy 1:010 (Appeals and Appearances Before the Board), decisions that are not subject to appeal to the APSU President include (a) non-renewal of a tenure-track faculty appointment during the first five years of the probationary period and (b) denial of tenure unaccompanied by notice of termination in the sixth year of the probationary period.
B. Transfer of Tenure
Where a faculty member is tenured in an academic program unit (e.g., a department or division), 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.
C. Expiration of TenureTenure status shall expire upon retirement of the faculty member. Tenure shall also expire upon 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.
A faculty member shall relinquish or waive his/her right to tenure upon resignation
from the University 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. Where a tenured faculty member is transferred or reclassified to
another department or academic program unit by the University, the transfer or reassignment
shall be with tenure. Tenure is not relinquished during administrative assignments
at the University.
A tenured faculty member may be terminated as a result of financial exigency at APSU
subject to the APSU Board of Trustees declaration that such financial conditions exist.
Personnel decisions (including those pertaining to tenured faculty) that result from
a declaration of financial exigency at APSU will comply with the APSU Board of Trustees' policy 5:025 (APSU Policy on Financial Exigency).
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 University’s
representative faculty body in identifying the specific curricular reasons, evaluating
the long-term effect on the University’s curriculum and its strategic planning goals,
and 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 tenured faculty member(s).
The procedures whereby this presentation is made to a representative faculty body is provided below in item G. That body will have the opportunity to respond in writing to the President before action described below is initiated. Each of these reasons for termination of tenure for curricular reasons must denote shifts in staffing needs that warrant greater reductions than those that are accommodated annually in light of shifting positions from one department to another or among colleges to handle changing enrollment patterns.
G. Procedures for Termination of Tenure
A faculty member with tenure or a faculty member on a tenure-track appointment prior to the end of the term of appointment may be terminated for adequate cause, which includes the following:
I. Procedures for Termination for Adequate CauseTermination 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:
APSU Policy 1:025 – Rev.: September 18, 2020
APSU Policy 1:025 (previously 5:060) – Rev.: May 19, 2017
APSU Policy 1:025 – Rev.: July 26, 2016
APSU Policy 1:025 – Rev.: May 12, 2015
APSU Policy 1:025 – Issued: April 29, 2014
President: signature on file