2.6 Tenure Policy and Procedures
The college [university] recognizes the value of tenure as promoting not only academic freedom but also the stability, in a Benedictine sense, of the college [university] as a community of teachers and scholars dedicated to these ideals.
Because of the long-term consequences of the granting of tenure, the probationary review processes are carefully structured to assist in the development of each candidate for tenure as well as to allow for a careful evaluation of every candidate. Although the review for tenure focuses most directly on the qualifications of the candidate, other considerations enter into every individual decision to confer tenure, including the particular needs within a department and the financial resources of the college [university]. A decision not to grant tenure does not, therefore, necessarily reflect an unfavorable judgment of the candidate.
Tenure is granted by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees [Regents] on the recommendation of the president, who is guided by the recommendations of the Rank and Tenure Committee and the provost.2.6.1 Definition of Probationary Status
Ordinarily, tenure is granted only after a probationary period of teaching at the college [university]. The probationary period gives individuals time to improve their performance and to demonstrate their abilities. It also gives colleagues the time to observe and evaluate them on the basis of performance in faculty positions. During the probationary period, a faculty member has the same academic freedom as a tenured faculty member.
The probationary period begins with an appointment as a full-time or reduced-load ranked faculty member (see Section 2.1.1) at the rank of instructor or higher, and ordinarily shall not exceed six full academic years of service (or its equivalent for reduced-load appointments) at the college [university]. If newly hired faculty members are given credit for previous teaching experience (shortening the length of the probationary period), this information ordinarily will be stated in writing in the initial contract, in accord with Section 2.3.6.
The decision on reappointment or non-reappointment of probationary faculty members is made annually by the president, employing the recommendation of the provost and the results of the annual evaluation by the department chair in consultation with the divisional dean [and/or by dean of the School of Theology]. (See Sections 126.96.36.199 and 4.2 for a further description of the annual review process.) Non‑reappointment of a probationary faculty member can occur only in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.13 (see especially Section 2.13.3, "Non-reappointment of Probationary Faculty") and cannot be based on reasons which involve a violation of academic freedom or the college’s [university’s] policy on nondiscrimination (see Section 2.1.1).2.6.2 Definition of Tenure
Conferral of tenure means that a faculty member is entitled to annual contract renewal unless either the faculty member or the college [university] terminates the contractual relationship in accord with the procedures of Section 2.13, "Separation."2.6.3 Eligibility to Apply for Tenure
The qualifications necessary to be considered for tenure include:
- possession of an appropriate earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree from a graduate institution of recognized standing, or its professional equivalent, as described in Section 2.1.0;
- the rank of assistant professor; and
- the expected completion of six years of full-time probationary service (or its equivalent for reduced-load faculty) by the end of the academic year in which application for tenure is made. Time on leaves will count toward tenure only if the faculty member and the college [university] agree to this in writing at the time the leave is granted. (For definition and procedures for leaves, see Sections 2.9.3, "Other Professional Leaves," and 2.11, "Nonprofessional Leaves.")
In rare cases, the provost may recognize extraordinary circumstances or performance by authorizing a review for tenure prior to the usual deadline on the recommendation of or in consultation with the department chair [the dean of the School of Theology] and the divisional dean. Such a candidate for tenure must nonetheless meet the usual deadlines described in Section 2.6.4.b and c.2.6.4 Application Notice and Deadlines
Each spring the Office of Academic Affairs will prepare and send to all current faculty a list of all faculty members who, according to college [university] records, will be eligible for third- or sixth-year review during the following academic year and who are thus expected to apply for formal review. Any faculty member who believes that he or she has been mistakenly omitted from or included in the list must promptly make this known directly to the dean of the college who oversees this process. Any disputes over eligibility will be resolved by the provost.
Also during the spring term, the Rank and Tenure Committee notifies the faculty of guidelines, procedures, and deadlines applicable for reviews in the following academic year. It is the responsibility of each candidate to meet all deadlines:
- A faculty member intending to submit a file for review at the third or sixth year must inform the Rank and Tenure Committee of that intention by the deadline announced by the committee, a date prior to the deadline for submission of the file.
- A file of appropriate materials (as established by departmental policy) must be submitted to the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] for review by departmental colleagues (see Section 188.8.131.52.2 below) by the deadline set by the chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology].
- The complete file (File A, described in Section 184.108.40.206 below) must be submitted by the deadline set by the Rank and Tenure Committee. The file is presented to the secretary to the dean of the college, who is responsible for transmitting the file to the committee.
It is the responsibility of the Rank and Tenure Committee to conduct a formal review of probationary faculty members, in their third and sixth year of probationary status at the college [university], or upon request by the provost, as described in Section 220.127.116.11.6.5.1 Simultaneous Application for Tenure and Promotion
If the candidate for tenure is simultaneously applying for tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor, the committee will use the materials for the tenure review as the basis for its recommendation concerning promotion. Candidates should, therefore, take care in their application materials to request both tenure and promotion and to provide ample evidence for advancement in rank as well as for the granting of tenure. See Sections 2.7, "Promotion" and 18.104.22.168, "Associate Professor."22.214.171.124 Third-year and Tenure-review Files
Faculty members are reviewed during their third and sixth years (as described in Section 2.6.3) by the Rank and Tenure Committee based on the evaluation criteria listed in Section 2.5 and the committee's examination of the evidence contained in two review files for each faculty member reviewed.
File A: Professional portfolio of materials prepared by the faculty member. This file should contain:
- current curriculum vitae;
- a self-evaluative essay describing personal philosophy, strategies, and objectives concerning the criteria of Section 2.5;
- evidence of teaching effectiveness: the teaching portfolio, as described in Section 2.5.1;
- a current program of professional development (see Section 2.9.1) (including any earlier programs and an account of progress made on earlier goals);
- letters of recommendation;
- any earlier annual evaluations by the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology], and, for sixth-year review, the letter of evaluation from the Rank and Tenure Committee at the third-year review;
- the letter of initial appointment, if it included any agreements pertinent to tenure review (see Section 2.3.6); and
- other specific evidence that the candidate has met the various criteria listed in Section 2.5.
No material may be placed in File A without the faculty member’s knowledge, as indicated by his or her signature or initials on the first page of each document. It is the right and responsibility of the faculty member to make sure that this review file is complete. The candidate may add no materials to the file after the deadline.
File B: Materials solicited by the Rank and Tenure Committee. As described below in more detail, it is the responsibility of the Rank and Tenure Committee to solicit:
- evaluations of the candidate from the appropriate chair(s) [and/or dean of the School of Theology] (see Section 126.96.36.199.1);
- evaluations from the other members of the candidate’s department [and/or the School of Theology] (see Section 188.8.131.52.2);
- for sixth-year review, evaluations of this faculty member’s performance from appropriate students (see Section 184.108.40.206.3); and
- any items identified in Section 220.127.116.11.f above that may be in the candidate’s file located in the Office of Academic Affairs but which were not submitted by the candidate;
No unsolicited materials will be accepted for File B, and materials in File B will be unavailable to the candidate.
At no time during the review process will the material in these two review files be available to anyone other than the members of the Rank and Tenure Committee [the dean of the School of Theology if appropriate], the dean of the college, the divisional dean, the provost, the president, legal counsel, or the Executive Committee of the Board. Upon completion of the review process, the review files will be closed.
Materials of a personal nature provided by the candidate (for example, manuscripts, reprints, student course surveys) are to be returned to the candidate. The candidate’s responsibility for retaining student course surveys after use in the evaluation process is described in the document “Procedures for Student Course Surveys.”
Other material and all of the material solicited for File B will remain in a closed file in the Office of Academic Affairs. Where appropriate, these materials may be considered in subsequent formal reviews of the faculty member by the Rank and Tenure Committee. The materials in the files are not to be used for any other purpose, except as may be required by law.18.104.22.168.1 Evaluation by the Department Chair [and/or the Dean of the School of Theology]
It is the responsibility of the appropriate department chair(s) [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] to submit to the Rank and Tenure Committee evaluations of each candidate scheduled for formal review from their area. These evaluations should address the degree to which the candidate meets the evaluation criteria of Section 2.5. They should also evaluate the candidate in light of the educational needs of the department or program in both the near and long-term future. The chair should specifically include a judgment concerning the candidate’s eligibility for tenure (Section 2.6.3) as well as a projection of departmental faculty needs over the next three to five years (developed in conjunction with the divisional dean), especially as these projections relate to the qualifications of the candidate for tenure. If the department has developed guidelines for evaluation (as described in Section 22.214.171.124), the chair will append a copy for the use of the committee.
Ordinarily, no probationary member of the faculty should serve as department chair. In the event that a department chair is scheduled for a third-year or tenure review, the divisional dean, in consultation with senior members of the department, will designate someone to prepare the evaluation.
The chair delivers the letter of evaluation to the candidate at least one week prior to the deadline for the candidate’s submission of the review file, to allow the candidate time to respond. Should a chair’s letter be late, the candidate must still submit the file by the usual deadline but will have the option of submitting an additional written response to the tardy letter by a later deadline, to be set by the chair of the Rank and Tenure Committee upon request from the candidate.126.96.36.199.2 Evaluation by Department Members
At both third-year and sixth-year review, the Rank and Tenure Committee solicits an evaluation of each candidate from all ranked members of that person’s department(s) [and/or the School of Theology]. Departments may establish policies for this review process, but in any case the department chair should arrange with the candidate a date for making appropriate materials available for review by department members.
It is the responsibility of every tenured member of the department conscientiously to submit to the committee a signed evaluation of the candidate for inclusion in File B by the deadline. However, in light of the candidate’s responsibility to submit in File A sufficient evidence to warrant positive action by the committee, any departmental colleague may choose to have the candidate include in File A his or her signed evaluation. Any non-tenured member who wished not to submit a written evaluation may abstain. In the spirit of open dialogue, faculty members are encouraged to share their written evaluations with the candidate, but only the chair is required to do so.188.8.131.52 Committee Deliberation for Third-year and Tenure Review
After the review files have been completed, the Rank and Tenure Committee will conduct its review.
- The committee will examine file materials and determine the degree to which each candidate has successfully met the various criteria.
- The committee will also interview the appropriate departmental chair and the divisional dean [and/or dean of the School of Theology] for each faculty member being reviewed. If additional information about the candidate’s performance is obtained, the candidate will be invited to respond.
- The committee also has the right to consult additional experts, either from within or outside of the college [university] (e.g., program directors) for clarifications about matters of fact which might aid them in their evaluation. If additional information about the candidate’s performance is obtained, the candidate will be invited to respond.
- After completion of its review, the committee will come to its decision and submit to the candidate and the provost an evaluation of the candidate, a recommendation of either a probationary or a terminal contact for the following year, and, in the case of an endorsement of continued probationary status, the committee’s recommendations for improvement prior to the tenure review. A copy of this evaluation, with recommendations, is also sent to the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] and the divisional dean.
- The provost then transmits the recommendation of the committee to the president along with the provost’s own evaluation and recommendation for continuation or termination of the candidate’s probationary contract. The provost will notify the candidate and the department chair in writing whether his or her recommendation to the president was positive or negative and, in the case of a negative recommendation, will indicate the grounds on which the recommendation was made.
- The president makes the final decision. Any decision to end a probationary appointment as an outcome of this review process must follow the procedures in Section 2.13.3, “Non-reappointment of Probationary Faculty.”
The provost notifies the candidate of the president’s decision on or before May 1. A copy of the formal notification is also sent to the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] and the divisional dean.184.108.40.206.1 Meeting with the Candidate
On completion of its review, the committee schedules a meeting among one of its members, the candidate, the dean of the college, the divisional dean [the dean of the School of Theology as appropriate], and the department chair to clarify for the candidate its evaluation and, for those candidates endorsed for continuation toward tenure, the committee’s expectation prior to sixth-year review.220.127.116.11 Action on Tenure Review
- After completion of its review, the committee will come to its decision and submit to the candidate and the provost an evaluation of the candidate and a recommendation either for or against the granting of tenure. A copy of this evaluation, with recommendations, is also sent to the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] and the divisional dean.
- The provost transmits to the president the committee’s recommendation along with the provost’s own evaluation and recommendation. The provost will notify the candidate and the department chair in writing whether his or her recommendation to the president was positive or negative, and in the case of a negative recommendation, will indicate the grounds on which the recommendation was made.
- The president reviews these materials and then forwards the file and the recommendations of the committee and the provost, along with the president’s own recommendation, to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees [Regents] for the final decision. Any decision to end a probationary appointment as an outcome of this review process must follow the procedures in Section 2.13.3, “Non-reappointment of Probationary Faculty.” The president will notify the candidate and the department chair in writing whether his or her recommendation to the Executive Committee was positive or negative and, in the case of a negative recommendation, will indicate the grounds on which the recommendation was made.
- The provost informs the candidate of the Board’s decision as soon as possible. A copy of the formal notification is also sent to the department chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] and the divisional dean.