4 Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Evaluation
In general, unless otherwise stipulated for the position, a non-tenure-track option is available to the faculty member at the time of initial appointment. When the position has been designated as non-tenure, then the non-tenure track will be mandatory. Appointments to non-tenure-track positions are for a period of one year and are awarded on a contractual basis subject to the needs and resources of the University. After three years of acceptable full-time service, multiple-year contracts can be awarded upon the recommendation of the department head with concurrence of the dean and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and approval of the President. The multiple-year contracts include due process during the contract period. Each contract is negotiated independently of prior contracts, commitments, and responsibilities. Failure to achieve a multiple-year contract does not exclude the faculty member from consideration for additional one-year contracts. Normally, a multiple-year contract will be for three years and may not be for more than five years.
The non-tenure-track faculty member may request at any non-tenure contract renewal negotiation to enter the tenure track. The request to enter the tenure track must be approved by the faculty member’s department head and dean and by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Once the request is approved, the faculty member cannot revert to the non-tenure track. Non-tenure credit toward probationary tenure service cannot exceed one year except by recommendation of the department head and dean and approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The non-tenure track is applicable to the first three ranks, lecturer, instructor, and assistant professor.
Those appointed to the rank of lecturer must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and must have achieved a high level of expertise through work experience in their field.
Non-tenure track faculty members holding the rank of instructor must show promise of teaching effectiveness and must hold at least a master's degree, with demonstrated competence in their teaching area.
Non-tenure track faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor shall have clear promise of teaching excellence, professional achievement, and scholarly/creative attainment. In addition, they shall hold the earned doctorate or terminal degree approved by the university and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve. The rank of assistant professor may be considered for a non-tenure track faculty member with a master's degree in the area of responsibility, who has completed a minimum of five years of teaching at Tarleton and has evidence of growth in the discipline, such as additional coursework or demonstration of scholarship.
Tarleton State University is a comprehensive university with diverse programs and constituencies that require a dynamic and vital faculty dedicated to excellence. To preserve and strengthen the quality of the faculty, the awarding of tenure and promotion in rank are among the principal actions taken by the University. Tenure is a commitment by the University to the individual faculty member. Promotion recognizes academic achievement not only in the University, but in the profession at large.
Statements in the following sections constitute the threshold requirements for tenure and promotion decisions, but are not the sole basis for evaluation. Final decisions relative to tenure and promotion shall also include other factors such as professionalism; collegiality; strong student, peer and departmental evaluations and documented evidence of suitability to the unique role of the individual faculty member within the department, college and university.
Tarleton State University is a learning-centered institution. In awarding tenure or promotion, the faculty member's professional and scholarly expertise will be weighed against present and future needs of the University, with the number of faculty in each rank being a legitimate matter of concern. Opportunities for promotion follow the growth pattern of the University, coming more slowly when enrollments stabilize or decline.
For the regularly appointed full-time tenure-track and tenured faculty there are four levels of academic rank:
Junior Ranks: Instructor and Assistant Professor
Senior Ranks: Associate Professor and Professor
Tenure-track faculty members in the rank of instructor must hold at least a master’s degree; be actively working toward the doctorate or terminal degree approved by the University and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve; be knowledgeable in their discipline; and demonstrate the potential for effective instruction as evaluated by their peers, department head, and college dean.
Tenure-track faculty members in the rank of assistant professor shall hold the earned doctorate or other terminal degree approved by the University and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve. In addition, they shall have demonstrated ability in the discipline and show clear promise of teaching excellence as evidenced in evaluation by peers, department head, and college dean; demonstrate continuing scholarly contribution beyond that required for completion of the terminal degree; and document yearly progress of professional achievement in teaching, scholarship, and service. See the recommendations for specific amounts of time in rank in Exhibit 1, Minimum Time in Rank for Tenure and Promotion.
Those appointed to the rank of associate professor shall have demonstrated teaching excellence, scholarly/creative attainment, and professional achievement both within and outside the University. They shall hold the earned doctorate or terminal degree approved by the University and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve and normally have completed at least seven years of college teaching and pertinent professional experience. At least five years of the college teaching experience will have been at Tarleton. See the recommendations for specific amounts of time in Exhibit 1, Minimum Time in Rank for Tenure and Promotion.
Those appointed to the rank of professor, the highest academic rank, shall have demonstrated superior academic and professional achievement. This rank can be earned only by faculty members who demonstrated continued growth in, and have a cumulative record of, teaching effectiveness, scholarly and creative activities, and professional service both within and outside the University. In addition, they shall hold the earned doctorate or other terminal degree approved by the University and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve and normally have completed ten to twelve years of successful college teaching and service.
Promotion to Assistant Professor
For promotion from instructor to assistant professor, a faculty member must have a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience at Tarleton or must have achieved a significant improvement in academic credentials, such as completion of an appropriate terminal degree.
Promotion to Associate Professor and Granting of Tenure*
For promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, a faculty member who has:
Promotion to Professor
For promotion from associate professor to professor, a faculty member must serve at least 5 years in the rank of associate professor at Tarleton.
*Faculty who are hired at the rank of Associate Professor will be considered for tenure as specified in the hiring contract.
Rare exceptions to the stated conditions for rank may be made in cases that benefit the University. These exceptions require the approval of the President upon the recommendation of the appropriate department head and dean and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Lecturers, visiting lecturers, part-time faculty members, teaching assistants and graduate students serving as teaching graduate assistants are specifically not entitled to faculty status insofar as tenure is concerned. Such appointments are awarded on a contractual basis subject to the needs and resources of the University and the qualifications of the applicants available for the position, normally for not more than one academic year per appointment. They are administered through normal administrative channels. Appointment of a person to a graduate student's committee or designation as a member of the graduate faculty does not constitute faculty status as herein defined.
Faculty members who hold joint appointments with other state, federal, or private agencies or with two or more parts of The Texas A&M University System may be entitled to tenure, depending on the nature of their duties and the terms of written agreement of their appointments.
Administrative personnel, such as department heads and deans, who hold academic rank in addition to their administrative titles, are considered faculty members for these purposes, but administrative assignments are not subject to tenure.
Admission to the tenured faculty and promotion in rank are not due any faculty member by right. They are privileges extended by the University community to deserving members. The academic profession has always been protective of its standards and its collective reputation. Rigor in applying these standards has been the best protection it could afford its membership.
Promotions in academic rank and tenure are awarded to those faculty who make continuing contributions in three general areas: teaching, scholarly/creative activities, and professional service. These three categories are not unique to Tarleton State University; most universities have established these or their equivalent. It is important that the faculty have a common understanding about the meaning of the criteria and their relative applicability. While the relative weight given to each of the three categories may differ among colleges or among academic departments within colleges, the university expectation is that applicants will provide clear evidence of professional productivity and achievement in all three categories and that the evidence provided in each category will meet or exceed the expectations of the applicant's peers at the department and college level.
In awarding tenure or promotion, the faculty member's professional and scholarly/creative expertise will be weighed against present and future needs of the University, with the number of faculty in each rank being a legitimate matter of concern. Opportunities for promotion follow the growth pattern of the University, coming more slowly when enrollments stabilize or decline.
A decision on granting tenure will not be made unless the faculty member has attained the rank of associate professor or will be promoted to associate professor concurrently with the granting of tenure. Application for promotion to associate professor includes application for tenure and must meet the provisions for years in rank as provided herein.
Statements in the following sections constitute the threshold requirements for tenure and promotion decisions but are not the sole basis for evaluation. Final decisions relative to tenure and promotion shall also include other factors, such as professionalism; collegiality; strong student, peer, and departmental evaluations; and documented evidence of suitability to the unique role of the individual faculty member within the department, college, and university.
Promotion decisions will be based primarily on prior contributions and accomplishments, whereas tenure decisions will be based on professional performance and future promise.
Promotions from one academic rank to another are based on merit in three general categories: teaching, scholarly/creative activity, and professional service. As a faculty member progresses upward through the academic ranks, progressively more is expected. Promotions do not automatically follow years of service at Tarleton State University. For promotion from lecturer to instructor, the review process should place primary emphasis on the faculty member’s teaching performance. For promotion from instructor to assistant professor, the review process should consider teaching to be of greatest importance, but the faculty member’s professional service should also be considered. When a faculty member applies for promotion to one of the senior ranks or for tenure, all three categories (teaching, scholarly/creative activity, and professional service) must be considered in the review process. Section IV of this chapter provides descriptions that may be used in assessing a faculty member’s teaching, scholarly/creative activity, and professional service.
Promotion to Instructor
To be promoted from lecturer to instructor, a faculty member must hold at least the master's degree and must have demonstrated competence in their teaching area while teaching at Tarleton.
Promotion to Assistant Professor
To be promoted from instructor to assistant professor, a tenure-track faculty member must have a minimum of five years of teaching experience at Tarleton or completed the terminal degree appropriate to the academic area served and must have demonstrated ability in the discipline and show clear promise of teaching excellence.
Promotion to Associate Professor
Decisions regarding tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor are made concurrently. Application for tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor occurs in the next-to-last year of the tenure track (normally the sixth year). Individuals seeking tenure and promotion should exhibit a competent and mature perspective over a large part of the academic discipline and offer evidence that teaching and scholarship/creative activities have kept abreast of the current outlook of the profession in subject matter and methodology. The candidate also should have documented evidence of excellent contributions to the department, college, and university beyond those required of the lower ranks, in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. The following criteria establish the minimum threshold requirements for promotion consideration:
- The candidate will have served a minimum of seven years at Tarleton at the rank of Assistant Professor or five years at the rank of Assistant Professor at Tarleton with a minimum of two years of service at the rank of Assistant Professor at another institution may be applied. Any credit for prior experience included within the seven-year probationary period shall be agreed upon in writing at the time of employment.
- The candidate must possess an appropriate terminal degree.
- The candidate must have completed at least five years of teaching since completion of the terminal degree.
- The candidate must document excellent contributions to the department, college, and University beyond those expected of the lower ranks in the areas of teaching, scholarship/creative activities, and service.
Promotion to Professor
Applications for promotion to Professor are normally submitted in the fall semester. Individuals seeking promotion to the rank of Professor, the highest academic rank, should have compiled career-long evidence of significant contribution to the profession and the university. This rank can only be earned by individuals who have demonstrated through teaching, research, and service a substantial command of their field of expertise, who exhibit a mature view of the discipline, and who have proven themselves a collegial and dedicated member of the Tarleton community. These individuals also shall have attained status as leaders in their profession and shall have achieved balance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service, with superior levels of accomplishment in all three. Faculty seeking promotion to Professor are expected to have maintained all of the qualities and conditions required for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor and to offer evidence of continued contributions since the last promotion. A faculty member must serve five years in the rank of associate professor at Tarleton before being considered for promotion to the rank of professor.
The University's tenure policies are in accordance with those adopted by the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System. As stated by the Board, "Tenure means the entitlement of faculty members to continue in their academic positions unless dismissed for good cause."
For tenure-accruing faculty, the length of probationary service, including credit at other institutions, is seven years, with a minimum of five years at Tarleton. Rare exceptions are made in cases that benefit the University; these exceptions require recommendations from the appropriate department head and dean, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Administrative Review Committee, with the concurrence of the President.
Partial years of full-time service do not count toward the probationary period.
At Tarleton, all tenure-track faculty members undergo written interim review during their first and second years of service to the University and at about the midpoint of the probationary period. These reviews are described in Periodic Review of Tenure-Track Faculty.
A faculty member who has a part-time administrative assignment (as department head, dean, associate vice president, or other appointment) is subject to the same standards for teaching, scholarly and creative contributions, and service to the University and profession as any other candidate for promotion or tenure. Although administrative duties can be taken into consideration, they are not a substitute for professional activities and scholarly and creative contributions.
Process for Promotion and Tenure
The process of tenure and promotion is initiated by the office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs upon distribution of the review process schedule. A faculty member becomes a candidate for promotion or tenure by formally submitting his or her dossier to the department head for consideration.
The dossier, prepared by the candidate with assistance by the department head as necessary, consists of the completed "Data Package for Promotion/Tenure Recommendation" with supporting information. The form is available online at www.tarleton.edu/~academicaffairs/datapacket.rtf.
To be considered for promotion from lecturer to instructor, a faculty member must complete the teaching section of the data package. For promotion from instructor to assistant professor, the faculty member must complete the teaching and service sections of the data package. For tenure and promotion to associate professor, or for promotion from associate professor to professor, the faculty member must complete the entire data package.
A summary of student evaluations for classes taught during the past three years must be included with the data package, as supporting information. The summary may include classes taught in fall semesters only or may include other classes at the faculty member's discretion. University-approved student evaluation procedures and forms will be used and the results included with the dossier. Grade distributions in the classes must be included with the student evaluations. Faculty members may choose to submit with the data package a self-conducted assessment of their classes.
Once the dossier has been submitted for consideration, it becomes the primary basis for evaluation. No further information should be added beyond that generated by the official review process unless deemed necessary by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with acknowledgement by the candidate, to allow fair and thorough evaluation.
The department head, after giving particular attention to the needs of the students served and goals of the department, from the perspective of a day-by-day association with the candidate, determines whether or not to recommend each candidate for the requested rank and tenure, if applicable. The department head evaluates each candidate relative to other candidates and other faculty in the department, as appropriate. The dossier and the department head's evaluation, with comments as appropriate, are forwarded to the dean of the college for consideration by the College Review Committee (described in Chapter 3). (Note: Evaluation for tenure or promotion is conducted by the department head or immediate supervisor. Any reference to the department head as an evaluator for tenure or promotion should be understood to include other immediate supervisors, such as director of a division. When a department head applies for tenure or promotion, the evaluation is conducted by the dean of his/her college.)
The College Review Committee, with due consideration of information and comments forwarded by the department head, evaluates each candidate with regard to the particular needs and goals of the college and University. Then, following the same procedure as the department heads, the committee prepares individual ratings and ranked recommendations for the candidates. The committee forwards the individual ratings and ranked recommendations, with optional comments as appropriate, to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for consideration by the Administrative Review Committee (described in Chapter 3). All votes for or against recommendation, plus any ratings and ranking, are by secret ballot with only the composite committee decision sent forward. The complete dossier of each candidate is also forwarded. The committee decision and the complete dossier are sent forward for all candidates.
The Administrative Review Committee recommends to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs that each candidate's request for tenure or promotion be approved or disapproved. These recommendations are based upon previous ratings and recommendations and upon college and University needs and goals. The Administrative Review Committee provides an order of ranking for all candidates favorably recommended. All formal voting is by secret ballot, with only the composite decision of the committee sent forward, along with each candidate's complete dossier.
The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, with due consideration of the needs, goals, and resources of the University, forwards a recommendation for each candidate to the President, accompanied by a summary of the respective recommendations. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs retains the dossier for the office files.
The President submits recommendations to the Chancellor and the Board of Regents for final approval. In the event the President recommends for tenure or promotion a candidate who was not recommended by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the President will inform the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, in writing, of the basis for this recommendation.
A department head applying for tenure or promotion must complete the "Data Package for Promotion/Tenure Recommendation." The completed package is forwarded to the department head's dean who evaluates the candidate in the same manner and according to the same criteria that other candidates are evaluated by their department heads. The dean must evaluate the candidate as a faculty member, giving appropriate consideration to teaching performance, scholarly and creative contributions, and service to the University. For all remaining steps in the evaluation process, the department head's application is subject to the same procedures and standards as any other applicant.
The official decision regarding the granting of tenure by the Board of Regents will be conveyed in writing to the individual faculty member as soon as possible after the Regents have voted to confer tenure. This communication will normally be provided by the President. In the same manner, a decision of nonreappointment will be provided to the faculty member as soon as that decision has been reached. This communication will be provided by the department head and may also bear the signature of other appropriate administrators. The formal notification of nonreappointment will be a simple statement to that effect and will not include any of the reasons for that decision. All issues related to nonreappointment of nontenured faculty members will be handled according to the procedures outlined in the System policy, Section 7.
An individual who receives a negative tenure decision shall not be employed by the University beyond the last year of probationary service as specified in the original tenure agreement.
The phasing out of institutional programs or financial exigencies that cause a reduction of faculty may require exceptions to the normal tenure policy. In these cases, the faculty involved will be given all notice possible and every effort will be made by the University to place the affected faculty in other available positions in the University's employment for which they are qualified.
Faculty members whose appointments are to be terminated as a result of phasing out of institutional programs or financial exigencies that cause a reduction of faculty will be entitled to a hearing before the Committee on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure, following minimum procedures as set out in the System's policy, paragraph 9.3.5.
The following procedures will be followed when financial exigency mandates faculty reductions:
- The existence of financial exigency will be established following System guidelines, and the President will notify faculty in writing of the existing financial exigency.
- In the case of financial exigency, the System's policy (section 9) will be applied where possible, but its usefulness will be limited by the need to reduce overall expenditures for faculty salaries. The hiring of new faculty members under emergency conditions should be done only when the procedure in section 9 of the System policy cannot be utilized.
- A person's value to a department will be the prime consideration in a staff reduction. Tenured faculty will have priority over non-tenured faculty unless the termination of a program would result from the loss of the non-tenured member. In the latter situation, if deemed feasible by the department head(s) involved, a tenured person may be given an opportunity to become competent in an area essential to a program and thus regain priority. In situations where all other factors are equal, decisions will be based on merit, rank, and then length of service.
- Faculty on leave will be given the same consideration as faculty on campus.
An individual may be employed after retirement where the best interest of Tarleton will be served. Employment after retirement will be on a non-tenured status. Recommendations for such employment will be forwarded through normal administrative channels to the President or designee for review and approval. These positions may not exceed a total of 10 percent of the full-time faculty positions in a college.
For more information, see System Regulation 31.07.01, Retirement and Employment after Retirement (http://www.tamus.edu/offices/policy/policies/pdf/31-07-01.pdf).
Teaching and scholarly/creative activities are closely related. Faculty members’ ability to teach well will be enhanced if they have a good comprehension of how knowledge in their field is developed. Teaching at the college level is more than preparing and delivering lesson plans from textbooks. An effective teacher establishes an environment conducive to learning; uses appropriate instruction to motivate students to think and analyze critically; communicates effectively; and instills a genuine desire to continue learning.
Evaluation of teaching effectiveness should be as comprehensive and consistent as possible. The process must include a systematic assessment of students’ opinions and of input from peers. Factors in the evaluation may include but are not limited to the level of the course; whether the course is required or an elective; the lab or lecture format of the course; examinations and projects; grading practices; and interaction outside the classroom (such as sponsoring student organizations).
Specific measures to be considered in assessing a faculty member’s teaching effectiveness include:
- Administrative evaluations
- The faculty member’s contributions to course and/or curricular developments
- Courses taught (including comments on size, level, and degree of difficulty)
- Faculty member’s responsibility for course administration or coordination (such as team-taught courses or coordination among sections)
- Development of new teaching techniques or methods
- Peer evaluations (Peer evaluations used in the tenure and promotion process should be from a minimum of three different evaluators and obtained no earlier than the fall semester of the year prior to completing data package. Two of the evaluators are selected by the faculty member. One is selected by the department head and must be so designated on the peer evaluation form. When a department head applies for tenure or promotion, two evaluators are selected by the department head and the other by a committee of full professors in the department, if possible.)
- Preparation of instruction materials by the faculty member
- Student evaluations (based on a summary of three years of student evaluations, with grade distributions)
- Thesis or research mentorship
Faculty are also encouraged to conduct self assessment of their classes. At the faculty member’s discretion, these evaluations may accompany the students’ evaluations in the data package that the faculty member prepares for tenure or promotion consideration.
Planning and Preparation
- Maintains a current perspective in field through attending professional meetings, seminars, and workshops, and through reading the current literature that relates to the course material
- Provides an appropriate syllabus for each course
- Updates lectures and materials used in classes
- Organizes courses to achieve explicit goals and to provide for individual student development
- Makes explicit to students the goals of the course and their importance, grading systems of the course (including nature and dates of tests), performance expectations, and specific assignments
- Develops new programs and courses or introduces appropriate revisions in existing programs and courses
Command of Subject
- Demonstrates command of subject in classroom and with individual students outside of class
- Presents material in an analytical way, to develop students’ critical thinking abilities
- Maintains current perspective in field; presents current ideas and developments in classes
- Presents material in a clear and organized manner
- States objectives, summarizes major points, and provides emphasis for significant ideas
- Encourages students to develop their own ideas
- Presents contrasting points of view
- Shows relationships between different topics or concepts presented in classes
- Uses a distinct speaking voice that projects adequately
- Is sensitive to the response of the class, encourages student participation, and welcomes questions and discussion
- Communicates enthusiasm about the subject, makes the course stimulating, and reflects poise and self confidence
- Demonstrates a professional attitude; avoids topics that are completely irrelevant to the course and unnecessary comments of a critical nature
- Uses class time effectively
- Demonstrates the appropriate use of technology-mediated materials in the delivery of face-to-face courses
- Demonstrates the appropriate use of distance learning course delivery technologies and technology-mediated materials in the delivery of distance learning courses
- Uses effective and comprehensive means of evaluation and keeps students informed of their progress
- Provides adequate monitoring of exams
Improvement of Teaching
- Shares teaching and testing techniques with colleagues
- Investigates and experiments with new or proven teaching techniques
- Uses student and colleague evaluations to improve teaching
- Attends workshops, meetings, and professional conferences to improve teaching
- Responds in a helpful manner to students’ requests for academic assistance
- Posts and keeps regular office hours and makes office hour schedule known to students
- Treats students with respect and courtesy
- Participates on graduate committees; serves as a member of the graduate faculty
At Tarleton State University, "scholarship/creative activity" submitted as evidence for promotion/tenure consideration is broadly defined as “scholarly activity resulting in identified products of a written, material, or performed nature that have been peer reviewed by and disseminated to the member's wider community of scholars.” Within this broad definition, it is understood that both quantitative and qualitative expectations may differ among and between departments and colleges and moreover, that periodic discussions of these expectations at department and college levels are encouraged.
In the scholarship of teaching, the scholar uses the classroom, course, or practicum site as a laboratory for developing, refining, and communicating new teaching content and methods.
More broadly, some examples of scholarship are:
- Engages in scholarly and professional work
- Publishes books, journal articles, reviews
- Writes monographs or chapters in books
- Engages in creative activity such as shows, recitals, recordings, musical composition, performances, or lighting, set, or costume design
- Engages in the development of copyrightable works that facilitate and support the instructional delivery of course content through technology-mediated instruction
- Receives recognition for achievement in discipline (honors, awards, commendation from professional academic organization, educational institution, governmental agency, or private foundation)
- Presents scholarly papers or makes comparable presentations at professional meetings
- Increases competence in discipline through attending professional meetings, workshops, seminars, or credit courses; completes additional degrees or certificates
- Conducts research, including grant writing
Services that a faculty member renders to communities, agencies, or organizations in his/her professional capacity shall be considered in assessing qualifications for advancement to the rank of assistant professor and senior ranks. A list of service activities is provided below. The list is intended to provide examples; order of items is alphabetical and not meant to suggest priority. There may be other activities that will qualify as service as well. It is expected that the level of participation and responsibilities (demonstrated by leadership roles) will be higher for senior ranks in all areas of service.
- Advising students (include number of advisees per semester)
- Assisting students in career development and employment searches
- Assisting with university-sponsored events (e.g., contests, tournaments, student recruiting, summer camps)
- Enhancing professional development. Includes activities that enhance ability to perform services, such as training to be an accreditor, advisor, or consultant; attending workshops, seminars, or meetings relevant to service activities
- Making unique contributions to the success of the university through new approaches or systems improvements of the quality of university functions
- Participating in faculty career development (e.g., faculty mentor program, search committees, faculty development workshops)
- Presenting seminars, brown-bag programs, or demonstrations
- Serving as a consultant in other disciplines and/or departments
- Serving as chair or member of university committees, taskforces, ad hoc committees
- Serving in part-time administrative position, such as department/division head, program coordinator, or associate dean
- Sponsoring student organizations
Each department or department committee may designate other specific activities that are unique to a certain field as being appropriate within this category.
Service to the Profession
- Service to the profession includes involvement in state, regional, national, and international groups within his/her field and contributions to the University. Objective data showing prestige and recognition among the practitioners of the discipline should be provided. Examples of activities and participation include:
- Attends professional conferences and workshops
- Edits professional journal or serves as referee for such journal
- Holds office or serves on committees of professional organizations
- Is a member of a professional association related to the discipline
- Serves as program chair, session moderator, or paper discussant at professional Conducts extracurricular seminars, workshops, demonstrations, or comparable creative activities (activities unrelated to regular classroom teaching)
Community and Public Service
Demonstration of citizenship and community leadership through:
- Assisting in campus and community charitable projects
- Involvement in community activities in ways that enhance the image of the university and/or makes contributions to its larger community
- Participation in other service activities, such as continuing education, external training, and improvement of business, industry, governmental, and not-for-profit organizations such as religious institutions, and public and private schools
- Serving as an officer on a professional board (not related to the faculty member’s academic discipline)
- Serving as a consultant in areas of professional expertise
- Serving on boards or committees in areas of professional expertise
Faculty evaluations are conducted by a faculty member’s immediate supervisor. For some faculty, the immediate supervisor is a division director. Academic administrators who also teach (department heads, deans, and others) are evaluated as administrators by their superiors (department heads by deans, for example). As faculty members, they are also subject to annual evaluation, the periodic review of tenure-track faculty, and the in-depth review of tenured faculty. These evaluations include assessment of teaching and scholarly and creative activity and should be conducted by the administrator’s supervisor or another mutually acceptable evaluator. Any reference to the department head as evaluator of faculty members should be understood to include other immediate supervisors.
Formal written evaluation of faculty members annually is the responsibility of department heads or immediate supervisors. Each year, the department head will hold an evaluative conference with each faculty member of the department. The criteria for promotion will be used as the basis of evaluation. During the annual evaluative conference, the department head and faculty member should develop and evaluate progress on a plan for professional growth. Together, the faculty member and department head should determine the relative emphases that the faculty member will give to various aspects of teaching, service, and scholarship. A record for both parties will be kept of the professional growth plan and the evaluation. If the evaluation reveals weaknesses or deficiencies in the faculty member’s performance, the department head will outline corrective measures that may include updating or modifying course syllabi, reviewing techniques of presentation, soliciting appropriate assistance from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or a faculty mentor, or a change of direction in scholarly and creative activities or service. A separate annual evaluation will not be conducted during a year that a faculty member is subject to periodic review of tenure-track faculty (first year, second year, and midpoint), review for promotion or tenure, or in-depth review of tenured faculty.
Tenure-track faculty members will have an in-depth evaluation by their department head during the first year, the second year, and at the midpoint of probationary service. The purpose of these reviews is to evaluate the individual’s achievements so that both the individual and the institution may benefit by improved performance. These reviews may indicate the general degree of success or lack of success that the faculty member has attained and may provide the faculty member with a preliminary view of the possible result of a tenure decision. The criteria for tenure and promotion should be used in conducting evaluations of tenure-track faculty, and student evaluations of teaching should be considered explicitly. The department head will prepare a summary of the review and will provide copies of the summary to the faculty member, the dean, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
A faculty member being considered for promotion and/or tenure will submit a completed data package and will be evaluated through the official promotion and tenure procedure. The University reviews faculty members for tenure during the next-to-last year of probationary service. See section titled Procedures for Review of Tenure.
The department head (or other immediate supervisor) is responsible for conducting periodic, in-depth evaluation of each tenured faculty member as outlined in the section below, Post-Tenure Process for Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty. A faculty member may choose to undergo the in-depth evaluation more frequently. For example, the detailed evaluation might be useful for a faculty member who anticipates applying for promotion. The in-depth evaluation of teaching, service, and scholarship will include self-evaluation by the faculty member and assessment by the department head and shall include peer evaluations, if requested by the department head and/or faculty member. (Note: The tenured and tenure-track faculty and head of each department shall develop procedures for peer evaluation and submit the policy proposal for approval through normal administrative channels.)
Criteria for the Evaluation
This evaluation will be based in general on the three major academic categories: teaching, scholarship/creative endeavors, and service. The overarching objective is the demonstration of continuing productivity relative to the faculty member’s academic assignment, to his/her own professional goals, and to the mission and goals of the University and academic department. The faculty member should show how he/she is remaining current and competent in the teaching field and the profession.
Conducting the Evaluation
The evaluation will be conducted at the departmental level. Procedures will comply with these guidelines. Other procedural details, including the committee composition and processes for peer review, are left to the department and should be formally stated in policy developed by the department head and faculty.
The evaluation will be conducted by the head of the department to which the faculty member is primarily assigned (or other immediate supervisor). Department heads will be reviewed by their deans.
In each department, the evaluation process will rotate through a five-year cycle, with approximately one-fifth of the department’s eligible tenured faculty evaluated in each year of the cycle. Selection of faculty members for evaluation in each of the five years of the cycle will be performed at the department level, according to policy developed by the department head and departmental faculty. In the sixth year the rotation will begin again with each faculty member scheduled to be evaluated five years after his/her last evaluation. Newly-tenured faculty will be included in the rotation in their sixth year of tenure. If a tenured faculty member has recently undergone review for a promotion application, that review will be considered to satisfy this requirement.
Consequently, the next in-depth evaluation will be five years from the promotion review. Tenured employees who do not teach as part of their current regular assignment are exempt from this policy until they resume teaching duties.
Department heads (or other immediate supervisors) will notify candidates to prepare for evaluation by no later than April 15 of the academic year before the year of the evaluation. Faculty members who choose to be evaluated earlier than the required five-year cycle will notify the department head by this date of their desire to be evaluated the next year. The evaluation process will be conducted in the spring semester. It must be completed and all reports filed by April 15.
Faculty Self Assessment
The faculty member undergoing evaluation will submit the following documentation to his/her department head (or other immediate supervisor):
- A self-assessment summary addressing the criteria for evaluation for the past three to five years. This document should not exceed three pages in length and should specifically identify the single achievement in which the faculty member takes the greatest pride. The self assessment may be accompanied by a portfolio or appendix that highlights contributions that the faculty member considers most significant. The appendix or portfolio should be prefaced by a synopsis or table of contents and should be organized for readability.
- A summary of student evaluations from the past two long semesters.
- A statement, developed by the faculty member in consultation with the department head, of professional goals, expected contributions, and improvement plans for the next five-year period. This statement should also indicate the general areas of interest and professional activity, in addition to classroom teaching, that the faculty member intends to emphasize.
The department head or other immediate supervisor will prepare a summary of the evaluation, including an assessment of the faculty member’s effectiveness and contributions to the department and University. Copies of the department head’s summary and the report from the peer evaluation, if one was conducted, must be given to the faculty member no later than April 1 of the year of the review. The faculty member may submit a written response to the department head’s assessment or the peer evaluation. Such response must be submitted to the department head within ten days after receiving the department head’s summary. The department head will prepare copies of the faculty member’s self assessment, the department head’s summary, the peer assessment report, and the faculty member’s written response, if any, and will distribute these copies to the faculty member, the dean of the college, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs by April 15 of the year of evaluation.
When a department head or other immediate supervisor has reason to believe that a faculty member is performing at levels below professional standards (e.g., exhibiting professional incompetence, continuing or repeated substantial neglect of professional responsibilities, moral turpitude, etc.), he/she should communicate those concerns to the faculty member. The department head and faculty member should resolve the issue immediately, if possible, or should develop a plan for resolving the matter. If a problem is particularly serious or ongoing, it may threaten the faculty member’s continued employment at Tarleton. The Texas A&M University System Policy 12.01, Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure explains the procedures that must be followed for nonrenewal of nontenured faculty members at the end of a term contract.
When the above-mentioned attempt at resolution does not solve the problem, if a department head (or other immediate supervisor) believes that good cause may exist for dismissal of a tenured faculty member or nontenured faculty member during the term of a contract, he/she should consult the System Policy on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure. The System Policy suggests what may constitute good cause for dismissal of a tenured faculty member and outlines procedures that must be followed. The System Policy requires that “… a bona fide effort … should be made to achieve a satisfactory resolution of difficulties through preliminary inquiry, discussion, or confidential mediation.” The department head must consult with his/her dean and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs before notifying a faculty member that good cause for dismissal may exist. The department head should also consult with the senior faculty in the department. After these consultations, if good cause for dismissal still appears to exist, the department head must notify the faculty member.
At any stage during efforts to resolve a problem in professionalism, the faculty member may appeal to the University Grievance Committee. The University Grievance Committee will attempt to achieve a resolution that ensures equity for the University and the faculty member, through preliminary inquiry and/or confidential mediation. The committee’s proceedings may be informal and flexible. See the Complaint and Appeal Process in Chapter 2.
Process for Tenured Faculty
If the cause for potential dismissal of a tenured faculty member can be eliminated or corrected, the department head (or other immediate supervisor) and faculty member will develop a plan for resolution of the problem. The plan must not require the use of University resources beyond those available to other faculty.
The faculty member will be given a specified and reasonable amount of time to correct the matter (usually, at least one calendar year). If the plan developed by the faculty member and department head for resolution of the problem includes increased expectations for scholarship/creative endeavors, the amount of time allowed for the faculty member to show satisfactory progress may be up to three years.. During this time, the faculty member will meet at least once every three months with his/her department head (and dean, if requested by the faculty member) to review progress. If, at the end of the specified period of time, the faculty member has not sufficiently resolved the problem, the University will initiate the dismissal process. In some cases, because of the nature or seriousness of the cause for dismissal, correction of the problem may be impossible, and the University reserves the right to begin termination proceedings immediately. The University is not obligated to provide a faculty member with a remediation program before beginning the process to dismiss for cause.
Process for Dismissal of Tenured Faculty or Nontenured Faculty During the Term of a Contract
The department head (or other immediate supervisor) will begin the dismissal process, after informing the dean, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President, by giving written notification to the faculty member that dismissal proceedings are being initiated and of the causes for dismissal. Due process provided for the dismissal of a tenured faculty member will comply with the guidelines outlined in the System Policy on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure.
The faculty member is entitled to continued employment while the University’s due process procedures are carried out. Suspension of the faculty member from normal duties during dismissal proceedings is justified only if the welfare of the faculty member or that of students, colleagues, or other employees is threatened by continuance, or if the continued presence of the faculty member would be materially and substantially disruptive of the regular operations of the University. Any such suspension should be with pay and with appropriate provisions for useful duties whenever possible.
Within 30 days of receiving notification that the University is beginning the dismissal process, a faculty member may request a hearing by the Committee on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure (CAFRT). The faculty member should direct this request to the President’s office. The President will provide information to the faculty member as to the procedural rights that the faculty member will have in the hearing. One of those rights is the right to challenge the membership of the CAFRT for cause.
The purpose of a hearing by the CAFRT is to determine whether the faculty member should be removed from his/her position. The CAFRT shall set a time for the hearing that will allow the faculty member a reasonable time in which to prepare a defense to the charges made and shall notify the faculty member of the time and place for the hearing. This notification shall include the names of the witnesses against the faculty member and the nature of the testimony of each. The CAFRT’s hearing shall be closed unless the affected faculty member requests that it be open.
Witnesses may be added to the list at a later date for good cause. The faculty member should have the right to be confronted by all adverse witnesses. Where unusual and urgent reasons move the CAFRT to withhold this right, or where the witness cannot appear, the identity of any witness and any statement made should nevertheless be disclosed to the faculty member. Subject to these safeguards, statements may, when necessary, be taken outside the hearing and reported to it.
Both the faculty member and the University have the right to be represented by an advisor, to call witnesses, to question all witnesses who testify orally, to have a full stenographic record or electronic recording of the proceedings, and to be provided access to the record of the proceedings with the right to copy such record.
The CAFRT should allow oral arguments and written briefs by the chief executive officer or designated representative and by the faculty member or designated representative. The committee should formulate explicit findings with respect to each of the grounds for removal presented and should recommend whether or not, in its judgment, there is good cause for dismissal. In cases concerning a nontenured faculty member whose term of appointment has not expired, committee deliberations and findings shall be limited to whether the decision to dismiss was based on illegal reason or the violation of academic freedom. The committee’s findings and recommendations concerning dismissal or such action as it deems appropriate should be conveyed in writing to the chief executive officer and the faculty member.