Policy No. 216: Tenure and Promotion

Polcy Number: 216 Effective Date: 06/13/95
Policy Title: Tenure and Promotion Revised: January 1995; 05/01/06; 07/01/10
Approval Date: June 13, 1995 President’s Signature: on file

TENURE AND PROMOTION

In accordance with West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Series 9, “Academic Freedom, Professional Responsibility, and Tenure,” West Liberty University establishes the following policy to govern the eligibility for and award of tenure to faculty.

Tenure is the policy whereby faculty appointment is continued until a faculty member separates from the University. A tenured faculty member will be subject to dismissal only for adequate cause, unavoidable termination due to financial exigency, or unavoidable termination due to program discontinuance. Tenure is an earned privilege; it is not a right; it is not automatically confirmed; and tenured status carries with it duties and responsibilities which are correlative to its guarantee of freedom of teaching and research.

To be eligible for tenure, a faculty member must be admitted to the tenure track and meet certain standards after a period of probationary employment. Appointments at the level of Lecturer or Instructor are not tenure track appointments. The tenure review is based upon, but not limited to, the following general categories of evaluation. West Liberty University establishes four of the most important areas of faculty evaluation for tenure to be: teaching, professional or scholarly activity, service to the university, and professional conduct.

TEACHING:

Teaching excellence must be supported by evidence of positive support of students and others who have been responsible for evaluating the classroom performance of a tenure applicant. The applicant’s formal and informal efforts to improve his/her instructional technique(s); the applicant’s documented contributions to curriculum development and/or revision; the applicant’s record of student academic advising; the applicant’s departmental or university curriculum involvement will be considered in a tenure review of teaching excellence. It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that supporting materials are completed, included in his/her permanent record, and presented during the evaluation process.

PROFESSIONAL OR SCHOLARLY ACTIVITY:

Professional or scholarly activity must be supported by documented evidence of relevant publication since appointment to the WLU faculty, creative productions and/or showings, research activity begun or continued since appointment, presentations to professional organizations, offices in professional societies, graduate study for the doctorate, documented professional activity or expertise, or significant professional activity related to the applicant’s professional field. It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that supporting materials are completed, included in his/her permanent record, and presented during the evaluation process.

UNIVERSITY SERVICE:

Service to West Liberty University must be supported by documented evidence of participation in institutional governance by means of committee membership or leadership, service to campus organizations and activities, service to community organizations through which the applicant represents the University, or in service to community organizations through which the applicant provides services related to his/her professional field. Applicants are invited to include other pertinent material which they believe may also bear upon this category of evaluation. It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that supporting materials are completed, included in his/her permanent record, and presented during the evaluation process.

PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT:

Adherence to the institutional expectation of professional conduct, as defined by the March 23, 1970 resolution “Statement on Professional Ethics” (WLU Faculty Handbook), must be established and documented by written testimony provided by faculty, administrators, staff, students, or persons external to the University. These statements may be provided in accordance with the request of the Tenure Review Committee or by the candidate, and the candidate shall have the opportunity to review and respond to any or all such statements. The tenure applicant, by applying for tenure, grants the right to members of the Tenure Review Committee to review his/her confidential permanent record FOR THE TERM OF TENURE REVIEW ONLY and any personnel file item(s) relating to the applicant’s professional conduct may be introduced into the tenure review by members of the Tenure Review Committee. Such documents must be considered to be confidential and may not be publicly released during or after the tenure review.

TIMELINE AND PROCESS:

The timeline and process by which a faculty member will request tenure review and be considered are given below:

1. The Tenure applicant must have served five (5) years of continuous service at WLU before applying for tenure evaluation which would be conducted in the sixth probationary year of service. Partial years of service must be allocated in accordance with HEPC Series 9, section 10.6.

2. To be eligible, a faculty member must have a tenure track appointment and have achieved the rank of assistant professor before March 1 of the year in which a tenure application is submitted.

3. Tenure track faculty must submit the application for tenure IN WRITING to the appropriate department chair, with copies to the appropriate Dean and Provost, no later than MARCH 1 of their fifth tenure track contract year at West Liberty University. IF A TENURE-TRACK FACULTY MEMBER MISSES THIS DEADLINE, HE/SHE MAY NOT APPLY FOR TENURE REVIEW.

4. Tenure may be granted to a faculty member upon initial employment at the University, but this will constitute an extraordinary circumstance. Only the President of the University has the right to grant tenure upon employment. If considering such action, the President will request a Tenure Review Committee be appointed by the Faculty Senate, and the President will consult with this Committee prior to rendering a decision.

5. Non-tenure track faculty who have been granted tenure track status must submit the application for tenure IN WRITING to the appropriate department chair, with copies to the appropriate Dean and Provost, no later than MARCH 1 of the applicant’s fifth probationary contract year at WLU. Should a faculty member be admitted to the tenure track with more than five (5) years of employment at WLU, that faculty member must apply for tenure in writing no later than March 1 of the first full year in tenure track. If the faculty member misses this deadline, he/she may not apply for tenure review.

6. The applicant for tenure, after having applied by the March 1 deadline, must submit a portfolio supporting the application to the department chair no later than OCTOBER 1 of the year in which the application for tenure will be considered. The applicant is responsible to provide all materials in the portfolio and is free to include additional¬ materials which he/she feels may be pertinent. The applicant may add materials until five (5) working days prior to the Tenure Committee’s report to the department chair. All portfolio materials will be given to the department chair who will log in and transfer these in a timely fashion to the Tenure Review Committee.

7. If the tenure portfolio is not submitted by the October 1 deadline, the applicant may request, in writing, by that date that the department chair grant an extension. Extenuating circumstance must be credibly established to support the request. The department chair may grant the extension which, in no case, may extend beyond October 15.

8. Failure to meet the March 1 deadline to declare the intent to apply for tenure or failure to meet an October deadline for portfolio submission will disqualify the applicant from tenure consideration. The Provost will notify any tenure track faculty member who has missed the March 1 deadline that the seventh contract year will be a terminal contract. Such notice will be delivered to the faculty member via certified mail no later than April 1 of the contract year in which the deadline has been missed.

The Provost will notify any tenure track faculty member who has missed an October deadline that the seventh contract year will be a terminal contract. Such notice will be delivered to the faculty member via certified mail no later than November 1 of the contract year in which the deadline has been missed.

9. The department chair will name a Tenure Review Committee of a minimum of three (3) and maximum of five (5) tenured faculty, exclusive of the department chair. At least one of the committee members must be from a department other than that of the tenure track faculty member. This committee must be named before October 1 of a faculty member’s tenure review year. The department chair will notify the appropriate Dean and the Provost, in writing, of the composition of this committee and of any changes in the committee’s membership.

10. Membership of the Tenure Review Committee must be maintained at no less than three (3) throughout the evaluation period of a tenure track faculty member. Should membership decline to fewer than three (3) members, the department chair will name appropriate faculty to maintain the minimum membership. This will be done as a result of negotiation between the chair and the tenure track faculty member.

11. If the tenure track faculty member’s teaching department consists of fewer than two (2) tenured faculty, exclusive of the department chair, the department chair will appoint additional tenured faculty from departments other than that of the department of the tenure track faculty. This will be done as a result of negotiation between the chair and tenure track faculty.

12. Service on a tenure review committee is required of a tenured faculty member when this appointment is made. A faculty member may decline appointment to a tenure review committee only if a credible claim of conflict of interest may be presented, in writing, to that faculty member’s department chair, who will rule on the request and notify the tenure review department chair, in writing, within five (5) working days of receipt of the request.

13. Each department, at its option, may appoint a Tenure Advisory Committee for its newly-appointed tenure track faculty. This Committee may assist and advise the faculty member, but its assistance will be unofficial and will not constitute a required or documented portion of the WLU tenure review process. Non-tenured and probationary tenure-track faculty will be evaluated annually by the department chair, who is responsible to conduct these evaluations and transmit them, in writing, to the Provost no later than May 1 of the evaluation year.

14. A tenure applicant’s Tenure Review Committee will be convened by the applicant’s department chair on or before October 15 after the faculty member has applied for tenure. This committee is charged to review all evaluation materials submitted by the applicant, to establish the criteria by which the applicant will be evaluated, and to formally recommend whether or not tenure should be awarded.

15. The Tenure Review Committee will select its chair who is responsible to coordinate the review and to submit the committee’s formal recommendation, in writing, and the candidate’s portfolio to the department chair by December 1. The committee will detail its procedures, standards, evidence used, conclusions reached, and its recommendation to grant or deny tenure to the applicant.

16. The department chair will notify the candidate of the committee recommendation by December 5, and the candidate will have the opportunity to provide an unrebutted response to the department chair not later than January 15. The applicant’s response will be added to the portfolio.

17. The department chair will submit his/her formal recommendation, in writing, and the candidate’s portfolio to the appropriate Dean by February 1.

The department chair will notify the candidate of his/her recommendation no later than February 1, and the candidate will have the opportunity to provide an unrebutted response to the College Dean no later than February 15. The applicant’s response will be added to the portfolio.

18. The appropriate Dean will submit his/her formal recommendation, in writing, and the candidate’s portfolio to the Provost no later than March 1.

The appropriate Dean will notify the candidate of his/her recommendation no later than March 1, and the candidate will have the opportunity to provide an unrebutted response to the Vice President no later than March 15. The applicant’s response will be added to the portfolio.

19. The Provost will submit his/her formal recommendation, in writing, and the candidate’s portfolio to the President no later than April 1.

The Provost will notify the candidate of his/her recommendation no later than April 1, and the candidate will have the opportunity to provide an unrebutted response to the President no later than April 15. The applicant’s response will be added to the portfolio.

20. The President will notify the candidate, in writing, of his/her decision to grant or deny tenure by May 1. Should tenure be denied, the applicant’s right to appeal will be communicated in the President’s notice.

If the President denies tenure, the tenure track faculty member will be concurrently notified by the President that the seventh contract year will be a terminal contract.

21. Any deadline which falls on a weekend or university holiday will be extended to the next regular workday of the University.

22. The tenure review portfolio of a tenure applicant will be returned to the Provost by June 1 and will be retained in the faculty member’s permanent file.

23. Tenure review is a confidential process, and participants in this process may not publicly discuss nor release materials related to the review either during or after the conclusion of the process. Use of or reference to tenure portfolio and file materials is governed by Board of Governors Policy # 53, Access to Personnel Files.

When tenure is awarded, tenure status will take effect, along with any associated benefit(s), on the first contract day of the academic year following that in which tenure review was conducted.