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,” infra., pp. 29-30 and "Abrogation of Tenure," infra., pp. 31-32). Tenure further does not protect against termination due to lack of need for services, or due to financial exigency (see “Exigency Policy,” infra., pp. 36-38).
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:
Instructor Assistant Professor Associate Professor Professor
6 years (application begins in fall of 6th year) 5 years (application begins in fall of 5th year) 4 years (application begins in fall of 4th year) 3 years (application begins in fall of 3rd year)
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 (pp. 16-18). The primary criterion for tenure approval, however, is teaching excellence.
Procedures for Tenure
During the final probationary year, the faculty member will submit a tenure dossier folder to her or his Division Chair who will forward it by November 1 to all tenured faculty members in the Division. Division members will meet no later than November 15 to discuss the application for tenure. In a secret written ballot, tenured Division members will vote either "yes" or "no" and give written reasons supporting that vote. A Division faculty member who is currently serving on the Promotion and Tenure Committee, however, will not vote on the application at the Division level. The ballots will be submitted to the Division Chair no later than November 15. A vote given without reasons will not be counted.
The faculty member whose request for tenure is being considered will not be present during a Division discussion and vote.
The Division Chair will insure and maintain the confidentiality of every ballot and keep the original ballots in a secure place.
The Division Chair will prepare a written report of the Division faculty's vote and reasons given by the tenured Division Faculty. The Division Chair will also prepare her or his separate written recommendation supported by reasons. The Division Chair will forward the dossier, together with his or her written report of the tenured Divisional faculty's recommendation and Division Chair's separate written recommendation, with reasons, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs by December 1.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will provide the dossier and all recommendations to the Chair of the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee by December 5.
The Promotion and Tenure Committee shall meet and vote on the tenure application. This committee's recommendation, with written reasons supporting the vote, together with all previous recommendations and the candidate's tenure dossier folder, shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs no later than January 15. A faculty member whose application for tenure is being considered will not be present during the committee's discussion and vote.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall prepare and submit her or his separate written recommendation, together with all other recommendations and the dossier, to the President by February 1.
The President shall make a recommendation to the Board of Regents at the April meeting. The applicant will receive notification, in writing, of the Regents' decision within 15 days. If approved, tenure will become effective the following fall trimester.
An applicant not recommended for tenure at any stage of consideration will be so notified by the Division Chair or the Vice President for Academic Affairs before the dossier and recommendations are forwarded to the next stage. The notice will be in writing and will include reasons related to the criteria for tenure. The applicant may add a written response to a negative recommendation before the recommendation is forwarded.
An applicant may, at any stage in the procedure, submit a written request to the division chair or Vice President for Academic Affairs withdrawing a tenure application from further consideration. To preclude an official denial of tenure from attaching to the candidate’s record, the written withdrawal must include a resignation effective at the close of the spring trimester of the final probationary year.
When President’s recommendation to be submitted to the Board of Regents is to deny tenure, the President shall so notify the candidate by March 1.
An applicant not recommended for tenure may submit a written request for a hearing to the Chair of the Academic Personnel Committee within 21 calendar days after receipt of notification of the negative recommendation. This committee will not review the substantive decision, but will review and determine only whether required procedures have been followed. The Committee will report its findings to the VPAA
Except for a request for a hearing before the Academic Personnel Committee, time is not of the essence at any stage of the foregoing “Procedures for Tenure.”
Regardless of whether the faculty member requests a hearing before the Academic Personnel Committee, the faculty member may request a hearing before the Board of Regents to be conducted at its April meeting. The request for that hearing must be submitted to the President by March 31.
If the Board of Regents denies tenure, the faculty member shall be notified by registered mail. A faculty member denied tenure shall not be employed by USAO beyond the close of the spring trimester of that final probationary year.
Review of Tenured Faculty Members
The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma recognizes the need for a review of tenured faculty members to ensure continued professional development and accountability. Tenured faculty members must comply with all procedures associated with annual faculty evaluations (supra., pp. 18-19). Additionally, after every third year following the original granting of tenure by the Board of Regents, tenured faculty members will be formally reviewed for performance.
Procedure for Post-Tenure Review
By April 1 of the academic year preceding theyear of the tenure review, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the faculty member in writing of the upcoming tenure review.
The faculty member will prepare a brief Post-Tenure Review Summary. This Tenure Review Summary is to be supported by three Annual Reports and Administrative Reviews over the previous three years. The Tenure Review Summary will be presented to the Division Chair for Division consideration by October 1. In a secret written ballot, tenured Division members will vote either "yes" or "no" and give written reasons supporting that vote. A Division faculty member who is currently serving on the Promotion and Tenure Committee, however, will not vote on the application at the Division level. The ballots will be submitted to the Division Chair no later than October 15. A vote given without reasons will not be counted.
The faculty member whose post-tenure review is being considered will not be present during a division discussion and vote.
The Division Chair will insure and maintain the confidentiality of every ballot and keep the original ballots in a secure place.
The Division Chair will prepare a written report of the Division faculty's vote and reasons given by Division Faculty. The Division Chair will also prepare her or his separate written recommendation supported by reasons. The Division Chair will forward the dossier, together with his or her written report of the Divisional faculty's recommendation and Division Chair's separate written recommendation, with reasons, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs by November 1.
The Tenure Review Summary, the Division recommendation, and the Division Chair’s recommendation will be considered by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will prepare a separate written recommendation. If all recommendations are favorable, the Vice President will forward the Tenure Review Summary, the Division recommendation, the Division Chair’s recommendation and the Vice President’s recommendation to the President of the University by December 1.
If a negative recommendation occurs at any point during the procedure, such a recommendation will be referred to the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee for review and consideration. The Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee will meet and review the recommendations then report its findings and conclusions to the Vice President for Academic Affairs by January 15.
The President of the University will forward the Tenure Review Summary, the President's recommendation, and all other recommendations to the Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents will act upon the tenure review recommendation at the February meeting.
If action by the Board of Regents is positive, the faculty member will be notified in writing of a satisfactory review.
If action by the Board of Regents is negative, the faculty member will be informed in writing of the reasons and support for the action. This notice serves to initiate a second tenure review the following academic year that will follow the same procedures for the initial tenure review with a Tenure Review Summary presented to the Division Chair by October 1.
If the second tenure review results in a negative action by the Board of Regents, the faculty member will be notified of the University’s intention to terminate employment at the end of the Spring trimester in effect at the time of the February review by the Board of Regents.
Procedure for Appeal
A faculty member who receives notice of intention to terminate employment as a result of the foregoing tenure review proceedings may request a hearing before the Board of Regents. The request must be in writing and be submitted to the President of the University within 21 calendar days after notification of the formal action of the Board of Regents adopting the intention to terminate employment of the faculty member at the end of the aforementioned Spring trimester. Failure to request a hearing is a waiver of the right to a hearing. The faculty member may be accompanied by an attorney at the hearing.
For submitting a request for a hearing before the Board of Regents, time is of the essence. For all other events in the procedure for tenure review, time is not of the essence.