|Academic Policy Statement 900417|
|Faculty Tenure and Tenure Election Procedures|
|Sam Houston State University|
|Revised February 9, 1999|
1.01 The following definitions and procedural guidelines are in compliance with Chapter V, Subsections 4.221 through 4.227 of the Rules and Regulations, Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, and as such, represent institutional policy regarding academic tenure.
2.01 Tenure is the highest award the university can bestow. It is a means to certain ends; specifically:
a. freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and
b. a reasonable degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability.
2.02 Freedom of research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching, and of the student to freedom in learning. Both are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.
2.03 The total tenure process up to the administrative level of the President of the university is advisory, and tenure may be awarded only upon recommendation of the President and confirmation by the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System. The Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, Rules and Regulations state that in no case will de facto tenure be granted a faculty member.
3.01 For purposes of tenure, the term "tenure unit" is defined as the faculty of a college which is not divided into smaller units, or of a department, or of an officially designated program or group of programs within a department, or of the Newton Gresham Library, who share in the obligations, rights, and protections of tenure within their discipline or disciplines. The designated tenure units, within the present administrative structure at Sam Houston State University, are the Newton Gresham Library and those listed below within each of the colleges. This list may not be revised without the approval of the tenured faculty of the unit or units involved in the proposed revision.
College of Arts and Sciences
Foreign Languages (Spanish, German, French)
College of Business Administration
Economics and International Business
General Business and Finance
Management and Marketing
College of Criminal Justice
College of Education and Applied ScienceAgricultural Sciences
3.02 Tenured faculty of a tenure unit is defined to mean those tenured faculty of the university who hold an official academic appointment in that tenure voting unit. The "senior ranking tenured member of the tenure unit" is defined as the tenured faculty member of that voting unit with the highest rank and the longest time in that rank. It should be clearly understood, however, that tenure is granted to an individual as a member of the faculty at Sam Houston State University and connotes no property rights and/or entitlements of whatever kind regarding individual departments or components and/or units of the university.
3.03 Chair of a tenure unit is defined to mean the person who holds the administrative appointment over that unit (for purposes of tenure, program coordinators are not considered to hold an administrative appointment).
3.04 Tenure means the entitlement of faculty members to continue in their academic positions unless dismissed for good cause. The definition of good cause is set forth in the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, Rules and Regulations, Chapter V, Subsection 4.23.
3.05 A tenured position is one in which the occupant holds tenure as a member of the faculty of the university in accord with established tenure policy.
3.06 Tenured faculty refers to permanent faculty who, after a probationary period not to exceed a total of six years, have undergone a tenure election by their peers, and have had tenure awarded by the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System.
3.07 A tenure track position is one in which the occupant is expected to progress toward a tenure decision in accord with established university policy and in keeping with understandings developed with the occupant of that position at the time of his/her employment.
3.08 A probationary faculty member is a full-time, tenure track faculty member who has not stood for tenure election.
3.09 The tenure file of a probationary faculty member is the cumulative collection of records, which are used to support the annual evaluation of the probationary faculty member by the tenured faculty. The word Ďcumulativeí is to be interpreted as meaning for all the years of the probationary period. A tenure file is to be maintained by the chair of each tenure unit in which the probationer holds an academic appointment. The tenure file should be open for review at any time by the tenured faculty members of the tenure unit. Among the records that are kept in this file are:
a. A copy of the initial letter of appointment to the university.
b. A current résumé.
c. The summaries of the annual evaluations made by the tenured faculty.
d. The notes from the annual conference with the probationer held by the chair of the tenure unit.
e. The summaries, furnished by the chair of the tenure unit, of the university sponsored student evaluations of the probationer.
f. Any interpretations of the student evaluations which the probationer may wish to include in this file.
g. Any other pertinent materials that the probationer chooses:
(I) For example, materials relating to teaching could form a portfolio including copies of teaching materials used, descriptions of new course development or employment of creative teaching approaches, the use of modern technology, awards, or other acknowledgments of teaching effectiveness, statements of teaching philosophy and goals, and so on.
(2) With regard to research and creative activity, materials may include a listing of publications, the actual publications, conference papers or summaries thereof, summaries of research grants, descriptions of workshops attended or conducted, descriptions of creative works, or any similar documents.
(3) The probationer may include FES Forms 3, 4, and 5.
3.10 The senior tenured faculty member in a tenure unit is:
a. The tenured faculty member with the highest rank and the earliest date of appointment in that rank.
b. In cases where two or more tenured faculty members have the same rank and dates of appointment, the faculty member having the earliest date of tenure.
c. In cases where two or more tenured faculty members have the same rank, dates of appointment and dates of tenure, the faculty member having the earliest date of employment at SHSU.
3.11 The Standing Faculty Tenure Committee, consisting of nine tenured faculty members appointed by the President of the university, recommends to administrative officers and to the faculty guidelines for the probationary period and for holding tenure elections. The committee monitors the elections and serves the President in compiling the results of the elections and in helping to resolve issues arising during the tenure process.
a. With due consideration of the number of full-time faculty equivalencies assigned to the major academic entities of the university, the nine (9) members of the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee will be distributed proportionately among those entities. Those entities include the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Applied Science, the College of Business Administration, the College of Criminal Justice, and the Newton Gresham Library.
b. On each occasion of the expiration of the terms of members of the committee, the proportional distribution of the membership shall be reviewed in the interest of maintaining proper balance.
4. RELEVANT CRITERIA
4.01 At Sam Houston State University only faculty members with the academic rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor and Instructor may be granted tenure.
4.02 All probationary faculty appointees are expected to qualify for a tenure election by completion of all requirements for the appropriate terminal degree or special credentials by the time a decision concerning tenure must be made. The only exception is in those instances in which the initial written contract or a subsequent reappointment contract clearly waives the requirements for a terminal degree or special credentials as an ultimate condition of eligibility for tenure consideration.
4.03 In addition to the preceding criteria, there are several factors that should govern both the annual review of probationary faculty by the tenured faculty and tenure elections:
a. Evidence of teaching effectiveness.
b. Evidence of the capacity for continuing research or other creative activity.
c. Evidence of the capacity and the willingness to be of service both to the university and to the larger community.
d. Evidence of the capacity and the willingness to function as an effective colleague in the accomplishment of the goals of the tenure unit and the university.
e. The future program needs of the tenure unit and of the university.
Since the relative importance of these factors and the particular means used to assess them vary from unit to unit and can vary over time within a particular unit, each probationary faculty member should consult the chair of his or her tenure unit for information concerning those specific details. This section of the Policy Statement on Faculty Tenure and Tenure Election Procedures simply establishes general guidelines for what constitute considerations relevant to the tenure review and tenure election processes.
5. PROCEDURAL GUIDELINES
5.01 Time Limits
a. A tenure decision must be made on a probationary faculty member after a maximum of six years of full-time employment at the rank of instructor or higher. A maximum of three years of previous full-time service in other accredited institutions of higher education may be included in this period. Only in rare circumstances should tenure be considered for any faculty member with less than three years of service at Sam Houston State University.
b. For purposes of calculating the period of probationary service, an "academic year" shall be the approximate nine-month period from September through May as designated in the common calendar established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and published in the university catalogue. If a faculty member is initially appointed during an academic year, the period of service from the date of appointment until the beginning of the following academic year shall not be counted as academic service toward fulfillment of the maximum probationary period. One year of probationary service is accrued by at least nine months full-time academic service during any academic year. A faculty member shall be considered to be on full-time academic service if in full compliance with the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System standards pertaining to minimum faculty workloads at general academic universities.
c. By no later than the end of the sixth year, a probationary faculty member should be either:
(1) granted tenure, or
(2) given a notice that the seventh year will be the probationary member's last year of employment.
d. In the case of an interim faculty member being transferred to probationary status, the number of years, if any, of previous employment considered toward tenure shall be determined in writing between the faculty member and the university at the time of the transfer.
5.02 Annual Review of Probationary Faculty by the Tenured Faculty
a. Each probationary faculty member will be evaluated each year prior to the year of the tenure election by the members of the tenured faculty within each tenure unit in which the probationary faculty member holds an appointment. Because of the seriousness of decisions relating to tenure, the annual review must be regarded by each tenured faculty member as one of his or her most important contributions to university service.
b. Early in each spring semester according to a schedule announced by the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee, the chair of each tenure unit will seek evaluations from each of the tenured faculty members in the tenure unit, of all the probationary faculty members in that tenure unit during the current academic year.
c. The evaluations will be obtained from a group discussion by the tenured faculty. These evaluations by the tenured faculty may be written or oral or both. If a tenured faculty member cannot attend the group discussion, his or her evaluations may be obtained by the chair individually. To provide a basis for the evaluations, it will be the responsibility of the chair to prepare the tenure file on each faculty member being evaluated, to make the file available on a timely basis to the tenured faculty members, and to secure written confirmation from each of the tenured faculty members that he or she has examined the file before the meeting.
d. A summary, prepared by the chair, of these evaluations shall be included in the tenure file of the nontenured faculty member. The summary may be reviewed by tenured faculty members upon request.
(1) In the case of all newly hired probationary faculty, the evaluations resulting from the tenure review in the spring of their first year should include an indication of the degree of consensus of the tenured faculty that the probationer is making or is not making satisfactory progress toward tenure.
(2) In the case of probationary faculty who have been employed full-time at the university for three years or who have accumulated a sum of years of employment at the university and credit for years of progress toward tenure at another institution which equals three years, the evaluations resulting from the tenure review in the spring of the fourth year should also include an indication of the degree of consensus of the tenured faculty that the probationer is making or is not making satisfactory progress toward tenure. Thus all probationary faculty, with the exception of those who bring three years of credit to the university, will receive two such indications. The chair should provide, for the file, a summary of the university sponsored student evaluations along with any interpretive statement the faculty member may wish to include.
e. After the consultations with the tenured faculty, the chair will hold a frank, constructive conference with the probationer, with notes of this conference kept in the probationerís tenure file. The probationer shall be given an opportunity to insert into the file a written response to the summary evaluation. These conferences are to be held in each tenure unit in which the probationary faculty member holds an appointment. When these conferences are concluded in each tenure unit, copies of the summary evaluation, the chairís notes on the conference with the probationer, and the written response, if any, by the probationer to the summary evaluation are to be forwarded to the Dean of the college in which the unit is located or to the Vice President for Academic Affairs in the case of units that are not located within a particular college.
f. If the chair is not tenured, the evaluation of the chair will be conducted, as described above, by the senior ranking tenured member of the tenure unit.
5.03 Faculty Eligible for Tenure Elections
a. A list of those eligible for a tenure election in a tenure unit will be transmitted to the chair of the tenure unit by the appropriate dean early each semester. The chair of the tenure unit will inform the tenured faculty of the tenure unit of the names of those members of the tenure unit about whom a tenure decision must be made.
b. The updated, cumulative files of the probationary faculty eligible for tenure election in the tenure unit will be made accessible to all the tenured faculty of the tenure unit at least two weeks before the election.
c. If a candidate for tenure holds an appointment in only one tenure unit, that candidate shall be voted upon only by the tenured faculty of that tenure unit.
d. If a candidate for tenure holds an appointment in more than one tenure unit, a vote shall be taken in each such tenure unit and the results of each vote shall be forwarded. In such cases, the supporting data submitted to the President will include a record of the extent to which the candidate has served in each tenure unit. In the case of the Newton Gresham Library, service shall be interpreted as employment as a professional librarian.
5.04 Tenure Elections
Upon notification by the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee specifying the week of the tenure election, the chair of the tenure unit, regardless of the chair's tenure status, will call the tenure election. Parliamentary procedure is encouraged for the conduct of the meeting.
b. Attendance at or participation in tenure election
(1) One hundred percent attendance of the tenured faculty of the tenure unit is urged. The president, vice presidents, and deans may not attend or vote. Unless specifically excluded elsewhere in this policy statement, any assistant or associate dean who is tenured may participate in the tenure review and election process in the tenure unit of appointment.
(2) It should be noted that if a tenured faculty member is on leave of absence, that member retains the right to vote by absentee ballot or in person.
(3) Although a tenured faculty member may participate in more than one tenure election by virtue of an appointment in more than one tenure unit, in no case should that faculty member cast more than one vote for the same candidate for tenure; in such instances the vote should be cast in the tenure unit where the majority of teaching effort is rendered. In cases where equal teaching efforts are made in separate tenure units, the tenured faculty member will choose the tenure unit in which to cast the vote.
5.05 Role of the Chair of the Tenure Unit
a. The Director of the Newton Gresham Library and the Associate Dean of the College of Criminal Justice will perform the same functions for tenure election purposes as those performed by the chair of a tenure unit.
b. The chair of the tenure unit will open the meeting, present a brief objective summary of the probationerís tenure file orally and in writing, and then will turn the meeting over to the senior tenured faculty member. The chair shall not attend the remainder of the meeting. If the chair is standing for tenure election, the task of presenting the summary of the tenure file falls to the senior tenured faculty member. The required absence of the chair of the tenure unit from subsequent deliberations underscores the fact that the tenure election process is a peer review process and therefore is distinct from any process conducted by an administrative officer of the university such as the process involved in the Faculty Evaluation System. Because it is a distinct process, it may on occasion have an outcome at variance with the Faculty Evaluation System.
c. If the chair is the senior tenured faculty member and holds an academic appointment in that tenure unit, the next senior tenured faculty member in the tenure unit should preside over the meeting.
5.06 Role of the Tenured Faculty Members of the Tenure Unit
a. Based on observations and study of the cumulative tenure file, the tenured faculty will discuss each candidate's credentials and record of performance in light of the relevant criteria as specified above in section 4.03.
b. The tenured faculty members will attempt to assess each candidate's prospects of further and continuing service and contribution to both the candidate's discipline and profession.
c. The tenured faculty members will review the candidate's field of expertise and service to determine whether these are compatible with the current and projected needs of the tenure unit.
5.07 Tenure Vote
a. The vote will be taken by a secret ballot.
b. If absentee votes are an absolute necessity, the absentee ballot(s) should also be cast by secret ballot prior to the meeting with a ballot identical to the one to be used at the meeting.
c. The total vote should be canvassed and announced in the presence of the tenured faculty.
d. The deliberations as well as the results of the vote should remain confidential.
e. During the course of the discussion and prior to the vote being taken, the tenure election meeting may be recessed for good cause, by a majority vote of those present, to be reconvened at a specified time and date.
5.08 Transmittal of Tenure Election Votes
a. The senior tenured faculty member presiding over the tenure election will transmit the numerical result of the votes through the chair of the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee to the President and, simultaneously, to the appropriate department chair. The department chair will review the election report and give his/her endorsement or non-endorsement of the recommendation(s), then forward the report to the appropriate dean of the tenure unit. The dean in turn will send this report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs together with his/her recommendation regarding tenure for each candidate from his/her college.
b. In the case of a tenure election of a chair of a tenure unit, the senior ranking tenured faculty member presiding over the election will forward election results to the Chair of the Standing Faculty Tenure Committee and to the dean of the tenure unit. In the case of a tenure election of an academic dean or the Director of the Newton Gresham Library, the results will be forwarded directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
5.09 Report of the Tenure Elections
The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be responsible for compiling a report of the results of tenure elections, as reported through administrative channels. The Vice President shall provide to the President of the university his/her recommendations regarding tenure for each faculty member.
5.10 Awarding of Tenure
Notice of a tenure award from the Board of Regents, The Texas State University System, shall be given in writing only by the President of Sam Houston State University or by the Vice President for Academic Affairs on the authority of the President.
5.11 The procedures, criteria and standards described herein are minimum standards for the university. In view of the tremendous diversity present throughout the university in size, scope and mission of various organizational units, additional enhancements may be desirable for individual units.
In all cases the design of such enhancements should be made with the development, legal liability, and mission of the institution in mind and with strict attention to the principle that tenure is fundamentally a faculty matter. Organizational units choosing to utilize such enhancements in procedure should follow the same process of informing probationers as described herein for the establishment of criteria and standards.
APPROVED: Bobby K. Marks, President