Tenure in Academics
Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: Revised December 2014; February 5, 2018
Effective January 2015, persons employed prior to January 2015 may follow previous tenure policy, which is available in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
I. Academic Tenure
More than any other single factor, tenure decisions affect the quality of the faculty. Tenured faculty retain the status until they retire, resign, or are terminated for cause, unsatisfactory job performance, or financial exigency. Therefore, tenure shall be granted only to those faculty members who demonstrate the ability and potential to contribute to the discipline, demonstrate collegiality, and support the teaching mission of McNeese State University.
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-A)
Indeterminate tenure, hereafter referred to as tenure, is intended to ensure and enhance faculty members’ academic freedom for teaching and job effectiveness. Tenure assures the faculty member that employment in the academic discipline at the institution will be renewed annually until the faculty member resigns, retires, or is terminated for cause, unsatisfactory job performance, or financial exigency.
Faculty members shall not be eligible for tenure at the instructor rank or non-tenure track status.
Each recommendation by an institution to grant tenure to a faculty member shall be submitted to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors at a time designated by the System president, which shall be no later than the date to submit annual budgets for approval.
B. Eligibility for Tenure
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-B)
The probationary period for faculty appointed as tenure track assistant professor is normally six years. For faculty appointed as tenure track associate professor or tenure track professor, the probationary period is normally four years, but may be up to six years. Prior to accepting a tenure track appointment, a faculty member may negotiate with the dean, in consultation with the department head and with the documented approval of the provost, president, and University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, to count years of previous full-time experience at the rank of assistant professor or higher as fulfilling part of the probationary period for tenure. The preferred status is for the faculty member to complete the probationary period at McNeese. A tenure-track faculty member may apply for tenure during the spring of the sixth year of employment in the tenure track position. Tenure track faculty who begin employment in the spring term will serve six years and one semester probationary period. Tenure is not automatic and cannot be earned simply by serving the probationary period.
The faculty member’s record of performance as indicated on the Annual Performance Review (APR) and level of performance (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) outlined in each department’s APR document are among the factors considered in tenure decisions. Faculty must provide evidence to demonstrate he/she continues to meet workload expectations and teaching, research/scholarship, and service expectations as noted in the annual APR. In addition, the faculty must demonstrate evidence of collegiality and professionalism such as, but not limited to, respect toward peers, students, administrators, and a willingness to collaborate and become a contributing member of the learning community.
The tenure review must be completed no later than the end of the sixth year of continuous full-time service at McNeese for a tenure track assistant professor, or the fourth year for a tenure track associate professor or tenure track professor. Tenure track faculty hired in the spring semester must complete an additional probationary semester. Denial of an early application for tenure does not affect the time allowed in the probationary period.
The application for tenure is considered separately from the application for promotion in rank (See Promotions in Academics policy).
C. Interim or Third Year Review of Performance
The tenure track faculty member is evaluated for potential success with the tenure application at the midway point of the probationary period which is usually the spring of the third probationary year. Faculty evaluation is a dynamic process; therefore, it is McNeese policy that the interim review status or results are not binding but are intended to assist the faculty member with understanding expectations and interpretation of job performance with regard to the tenure process. It is expected and incumbent upon all parties involved that they be candid and forthright in their assessment of the faculty member’s strengths and weaknesses in his or her performance and the recommendations for improvement. Statements concerning collegiality should be based on evidence of respect for peers, willingness to work toward departmental goals, professionalism, and other such factors. Evaluations shall not be tainted by undocumented or hearsay evidence.
Interim reviews are conducted by the department head and dean with input from tenured faculty in the department and are advisory in nature. The interim review is part of the overall review a faculty member receives during the probationary period. The interim review is not a recommendation for future tenure but is an opportunity to provide the candidate with a formal review of their progress to this point.
For the interim review, the department head should gather information from tenured faculty within the department for the discussion regarding a tenure track faculty member’s potential for success. For the purposes of the discussion, the department head may share the tenure track faculty member’s APR results with the tenured faculty members in the department. When the department head discusses APR results with the tenure track faculty member, the discussion should extend to indicate there is appropriate progress or there is need for improvement in specific areas to support the tenure application. For the interim review, inclusion of all APR results, indications of collegiality, and level of job performance is appropriate. The department head should consider the input from tenured faculty in the department and extend constructive comments based on tenured faculty review. In the third-year review, neither the department head or dean are authorized to guarantee that tenure will or will not be recommended. However, the department head or dean may indicate there is need to continue with positive performance or to make improvements. During the third-year review meeting and discussion, the department head or dean should provide information related to collegiality and, if necessary, offer suggestions for improvement. The department head or dean should convey the dynamic nature of job performance expectations and evaluation.
A written copy of the interim review report shall be provided to the faculty member. The faculty member should sign a statement indicating the interim review consultation was held. The department head should place the signed document in the faculty member’s departmental personnel file and forward a copy to the dean.
II. Recommendation for Tenure
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-C)
Recommendation for tenure for faculty who are in the final year of the probationary period shall originate in the various academic departments, with tenured faculty and/or department heads initiating the recommendations. In cases where there are less than three tenured faculty in the department, the department head and dean shall identify tenured faculty in related fields or disciplines to participate in the tenure review process. Faculty applying for tenure must be informed in writing of the persons who will review the application.
Tenure recommendations are based primarily on various components reflected in the departmental APR, job performance level results, and demonstration of collegiality within the academic community. Each faculty member in a department completes annually an APR document to evaluate the teaching/job effectiveness, professional activity, and service appropriate to the discipline(s) offered within the department. Departmental APR expectations may vary across the University according to discipline and mission. (See “Faculty Evaluation” policy in its entirety, but pay special attention to the section beginning with “Faculty Evaluations” for information regarding components of teaching, research, service.)
Factors irrelevant to professional performance (e.g., ethnicity, race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, sexual orientation, retirement, genetic information, sex, or veteran status) are excluded from consideration unless mandated by federal or state law or by judicial order.
(See below, “Tenure Decision for Administrative Appointees,” for faculty with administrative appointments.)
A. Application for Tenure Procedure
- Faculty applying for tenure must submit to the academic department head a written letter requesting review of the collective materials demonstrating APR results, job performance, and contributions to the University mission. Faculty who are in the sixth probationary year and who do not submit tenure application materials by the designated deadline will receive a non-renewal notice that employment will end at the culmination of the following academic year.
- The tenure application and materials must be submitted by a designated date to the department head. The materials are usually due in the spring semester.
- The letter summarizing the request for tenure should not exceed two pages, single spaced (12-point font).
- Application materials must include the current resume; all APR and jobpPerformance level results; evidence of positive classroom teaching (Student Evaluations of Instruction including comments), student advising, student success, innovative teaching methods, and mentoring; evidence of scholarship and/or professional recognition appropriate to the teaching discipline; and evidence of service. (See “Faculty Evaluation”
” policy regarding expectations for evidence of teaching, scholarship, and service.)
- The applicant for tenure must understand all application materials will be made available to the tenured faculty conducting the review, the department head, the dean, and the provest. In addition to the application materials, evidence of collegiality, the applicant’s demonstration of professionalism, and collaborative contributions for the department/college/University mission will be considered throughout the review process.
- After the department head has allowed reasonable time for each tenured faculty member participating in the process to review the application letter and materials, he/she shall consult with each of those participating in the process regarding the recommendation to grant or deny tenure. All tenured faculty in the applicant’s department will be consulted in tenure decisions except in extenuating circumstances such as when a faculty member is on leave. The department head follows departmental/college procedure for oversight of the review process. At a minimum, each tenured faculty participating in the review process must be consulted by the department head for the recommendation regarding tenure.
- The department head may ask the tenured faculty within the department to meet as a group to discuss the application for tenure. Group members must designate a leader who will convene the meeting and document the consensus regarding the recommendation. Each participating member must sign the recommendation. The group leader forwards all documentation and signatures to the department head.
- The department head may consult one-on-one with each tenured faculty member regarding the tenure recommendation. The consultation may occur in lieu of a group meeting or in addition to a group meeting. The consultation date must be documented and signed by the tenured faculty and the department head. The department head’s role is to formulate the tenured faculty members’ recommendation to deny or grant tenure using information gathered from the consultations with tenured faculty who have reviewed the application materials and considered collegiality factors.
- The department head indicates in writing concurrence with or opposition to the faculty recommendation and submits both of the recommendations to the dean of the college.
- The department head must maintain a copy of the written documents forwarded to the dean. The documents provide the signature of each faculty member who participated in the review process and the department head’s signature regarding the recommendations. If a tenured faculty member cannot be contacted because of extenuating circumstances, the reason will be stated in the document.
- After the process is complete, the documentation is placed in the permanent departmental personnel file of the person being considered for tenure.
- The dean reviews the application materials and considers the tenured faculty and the department head’s recommendations. The dean may consult with an ad hoc college committee consisting of tenured faculty from each of the college departments. The dean considers all input and formulates a recommendation regarding tenure.
- The dean creates a document to summarize the process and to indicate a recommendation for or against granting tenure. The dean forwards all recommendations as well as all application materials to the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment management.
- The provost reviews application materials and recommendations forwarded from the faculty, department, and college. The provost may consult with the University academic leadership regarding the application and recommendation, and then makes the final recommendation regarding the granting of tenure or denial of tenure to the president and Enrollment management.
- After the President approves recommendations for tenure, the Office of Academic Affairs shall forward recommendations to grant tenure for consideration by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. Final authority for granting tenure shall rest with the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. Under no circumstances shall tenure status be achieved without specific action of the Board of Supervisors.
- The provost informs the applicant prior to the end of the academic year about the status of the decision to recommend or deny the granting of tenure. Faculty who are denied tenure receive a notice of terminal appointment. A faculty member who is denied tenure will terminate employment at the completion of the following academic year.
B. Tenure Decision for Administrative Appointees (June 2007)
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-M)
Academic administrators at the level of dean or higher are frequently appointed with academic rank (typically associate professor or professor) and tenure in a specific discipline. A request to offer tenure with appointment must have prior approval by the system president. In the employment of certain academic administrators such as department heads, directors, or deans where the offer of employment does not include immediate tenure, it should be stipulated that a tenure review shall be performed within one to three years by the administrator’s immediate supervisor. This evaluation should include, among other factors a review of specific provisions stipulated at time of employment. The review of a dean shall be made by the provost with input from department heads in his/her college or school, while the review of a department head shall be made by his/her dean with input from faculty within the department.
Administrators (vice presidents, deans, and directors) in non-academic areas (finance, student affairs, institutional advancement, etc.) shall not be appointed with academic rank or tenure. Exceptions to this rule may include individuals appointed to such a position after having acquired rank and tenure in an academic discipline within the same institution, or in other exceptional cases specifically approved by the Board. (Addition approved 8/30/95)
C. Notification of Tenure Decision
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-D)
At the end of the tenure review process, the result of each individual’s evaluation shall be provided to that individual. In the event tenure is to be denied, 12-month advanced written notice of termination shall be given. If tenure is to be awarded, the affected faculty member shall be informed in writing and the tenure recommendation will be submitted for Board approval and will be effective with the next appointment.
D. Early Awarding of Tenure
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-E)
In certain unusual cases, the institution may award tenure to faculty members of extraordinarily high merit prior to the end of the sixth probationary year. Any academic unit’s recommendation, with faculty input whenever possible, to award tenure before the end of the usual probationary period should be accompanied by an accounting of compelling reasons for this action. Evidence of sustained scholarly achievement and recognition at the international level is a minimum expectation for consideration of early tenure.
E. Decision Not to Grant Tenure
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-F)
If the decision is made not to grant tenure, it shall result in a terminal appointment for the subsequent year (usually the seventh year). The notice of terminal appointment shall be made to the faculty member prior to concluding the sixth year or review year, or the written notice of terminal appointment must be provided 12 months in advance.
F. Credit for Prior Service
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-G)
For the purpose of the probationary period, credit may be given for prior service at other institutions with the mutual documented consent of the individual institution, McNeese State University, and the Board. It is generally expected that the entire probationary period will be completed at McNeese.
G. Faculty Initially Appointed as Professor or Associate Professor
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-H)
Faculty members initially employed at the rank of professor may be granted tenure upon appointment or, at the discretion of the institution, may be required to serve up to the full six year probationary period. McNeese usually requires at least three (3) years probationary period for the rank of professor and usually does not exceed four (4) years. Faculty members initially employed at the rank of associate professor are required to serve a probationary period not to exceed six (6) years. Faculty initially appointed as associate professor must apply for tenure no later than during the sixth year of service. Faculty initially appointed as professor may apply during the third year and must apply for tenure no later than the fourth year of service.
H. Limitation of Tenure
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-I)
Tenure shall be limited to persons in the faculty ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Administrators shall not earn tenure except as members of an academic discipline.
I. Duration of Tenure
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-J)
Tenured faculty shall retain their status until they retire, resign, or are terminated for cause, unsatisfactory job performance, or as a result of financial exigency. Tenure shall be granted and held only within an academic discipline that is offered at the institution and assures renewed appointments only within that discipline. Tenured faculty must participate in performance level review and may be terminated for unsatisfactory performance (see Faculty Evaluation Policy).
J. Termination for Financial Exigency
See Financial Exigency section of Termination of Service Policy.
III. Policy Exceptions
Reference: http://www.ulsystem.net/assets/docs/searchable/boards/Chpt_3_XI_Tenure_2_25_2011.pdf (ULS Bylaws: PII, C3, §XI-L)
This tenure policy shall supersede all existing policies with the following exceptions:
- All persons holding tenure on the effective date of this policy shall retain their tenure.
- Any person in the employment of an affected institution on the effective date of this policy shall be eligible to earn tenure under the terms and conditions of the policy in force and in effect at the time of that person’s employment as faculty at that institution.
- This policy shall in no way affect any rights acquired by any person employed by an institution prior to the effective date of this policy.
This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council, Senior Staff, and the University Policies webpage.