Academic Tenure Policy

06 Jul 2016 15:24

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The “1940 Statement of Principles,” which is widely cited as the basis for academic tenure,
reads as follows:

The purpose of this statement is to promote public understanding and support
of academic freedom and tenure and agreement upon procedures to assure
them in colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education are
conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the
individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends
upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.

Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching
and research. Freedom in 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. It carries with it duties correlative with rights.

Tenure is a means to certain ends; specifically: (1) Freedom of teaching and
research and of extra-mural activities, and (2) A sufficient degree of economic
security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability.
Freedom and economic security, hence tenure, are indispensable to the success
of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.

According to these principles, the scope of academic freedom is limited to the search for and
exposition of truth for the benefit of professors and students in teaching and research in
serving the common good. These principles also protect against scrutiny of private life
beyond the duties associated with faculty membership.

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is committed to honoring the 1940 Statement of Principles. The scope of academic freedom as expressed in the 1940 Statement of Principles, however, does not include the right to violate Faculty Responsibilities and Ethics.

Furthermore, according to these principles, tenured status confers “a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability.” Tenure is not guaranteed employment for life; tenure is not absolute security. Tenured status is not leave to perform at a level inferior to the standard required to be granted tenure. Tenure is not a license to breach Faculty Responsibilities and Ethics or to ignore the demands of continued excellent performance.

Tenured status provides men and women of ability sufficient economic security to allow them to pursue excellence without undue concern about continued employment.

Tenure may be revoked for cause pursuant to appropriate due process (see “Review of
Tenured Faculty Members,” and "Abrogation of Tenure,").

Tenure further does not protect against termination due to lack of need for services, or due
to financial exigency (see “Exigency Policy,” infra., pp. 32-33).

The guarantee of due process associated with tenured status assists USAO to recruit
exceptionally qualified faculty on a national level.

With the foregoing in mind, tenure is an arrangement under which faculty appointments by
the Board of Regents of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma are expected to
continue until retirement.

Tenure shall not apply to administrative positions, but a tenured faculty member appointed to an administrative position shall retain tenure as a faculty member.

Criteria for Tenure

Only full-time members of the faculty appointed to a tenure-track position are eligible for
consideration for tenure. A faculty member may withdraw from a tenure-track position at
any time. Serving in a non-tenure-track position means only that reappointment is formally
on a year-to-year basis.

For those appointed to a tenure-track position, the criteria for tenure are as follows:

A. A terminal degree in the appropriate academic discipline and a minimum of 60 graduate hours. Normally, this degree will be the earned doctorate.

B. A faculty member may apply for tenure during the faculty member’s final probationary year as listed below. The probationary period applies to all tenure-track appointments and will not be changed except by mutual agreement of the faculty member and USAO through specific action of the Board of Regents.

Probationary Periods for Tenure Consideration:

The Division Chair shall discuss tenure requirements with eligible faculty members and
review annually the faculty member’s preparation for tenure application.

Rank at Original Appointment: Probationary Period

Instructor 6 years (application begins in fall of 6th year)
Assistant Professor 5 years (application begins in fall of 5th year)
Associate Professor 4 years (application begins in fall of 4th year)
Professor 3 years (application begins in fall of 3rd year)

A probationary year consists of full-time service to the University during the fall and
spring trimesters. Time spent on leave of absence does not apply to the probationary
period, nor does time served in non-tenure track appointments.

C. The faculty member bears the burden to provide evidence that his or her contribution
is significant to the continuing mission and program of the University, and to provide
evidence through a tenure dossier file of successful performance at the academic rank
currently held and promise of continuing successful performance. The candidate's
tenure dossier file must demonstrate substantial accomplishment in the three faculty
function areas of teaching and advising; research, creative or scholarly development;
and university and professional development and service, including positive
contributions to the special assigned mission of USAO. (See pp. 2-4 supra.)
The candidate should also have an exemplary record regarding Faculty Responsibilities
and Ethics (supra. pp. 14-16). The primary criterion for tenure approval, however, is
teaching excellence.

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