Faculty Handbook

Tenure Procedures & Forms

 

  • Purpose

    The forms are intended to facilitate and systematize tenure recommendation procedures on a university-wide basis. Although the unit tenure committee chairperson is the principal administrative agent who uses most of these forms, uniform procedural integrity cannot be achieved unless careful adherence to their contextual provisions is respected at all administrative levels. If non-substantive errors are made in the record-keeping portion of the procedures (such as failure to initial action taken, misreporting of the number of peers, etc.) or if further clarification is required, these errors may be corrected or clarifications made at any level of review without impacting the timeline for review.

  • Procedures

    These procedures are designed for normal use in an academic unit when a candidate for tenure is not the unit chairperson.  If a unit chairperson is a tenure candidate, he/she shall be omitted from the administrative chain, and the dean/director shall perform all tenure duties normally performed by the unit chairperson. If the director is a tenure candidate, then the person to whom he/she reports at the next higher administrative level.  

    Under these procedures, a consideration for tenure should progress as follows:

    1. Beginning with the appointment of the faculty member to a tenure-track position, the unit chairperson shall generate and retain copies of the following documents: Agreements on Responsibilities (Form T4) for each year, Faculty Annual Reports (Form T5) for each year, student evaluations (using an approved University instrument), and grade distributions (showing the course average against the students' average) for every course the faculty member teaches during each of the previous five years or since initial employment, whichever is shorter. 
    2. Early in the fall term, the unit chairperson shall determine whether any member of the unit meets the minimum qualifications for tenure by completing Form T2, and initiate the tenure process by sending to the candidate(s) the letter listed under Form T6 before September 1. The unit chairperson shall then call a meeting no later than September 15 of the tenured unit peers (as defined in the Faculty Tenure policy). The unit chairperson shall compile a list of unit peers qualified to vote and make this list available where appropriate. This body of unit peers shall vote to determine whether it wishes to act as a committee of the whole or to establish a unit tenure committee to conduct the tenure procedures. Whether consisting of all qualified unit peers, of a smaller number of qualified unit peers acting as a separate committee, or of qualified unit peers and/or others as provided in paragraph C., the tenure committee shall consist of no fewer than five persons, except in units where the total number of full-time faculty members is five or fewer, or where there are no tenured members of the unit, in which case the committee may consist of three persons. 
    3. In the event that there be fewer individuals in the unit than the minimum number in paragraph B. who meet the definition of unit peers (as defined in the Faculty Tenure, policy), the unit tenure committee must be expanded to include individuals outside the unit who are tenured University faculty or tenured members of the unit who do not meet the above criteria and who shall be considered peers for all purposes of this process. The selection of these additional members of the tenure committee shall be done by those members of the unit who meet all stated criteria in consultation with the unit chairperson at the meeting stipulated in paragraph B. In the event that there be no tenured unit peers, the unit chairperson, in consultation with the dean, the candidate, and the entire unit faculty, shall select a tenure committee of no fewer than three appropriate tenured members of the University faculty.
    4. Even when there are five or more unit peers who meet all the required criteria for membership on the tenure committee, it may be desirable to incorporate into that committee either non-unit members or tenured members of the unit who do not meet all required criteria. This flexibility shall be left to the professional judgment of those members of the unit who do meet all required criteria, acting in consultation with the unit chairperson. However, all members of the committee must be tenured members of the faculty. This decision shall be made at the meeting stipulated in paragraph B.
    5. Once constituted, the tenure committee shall elect its own chairperson, who shall not be the unit chairperson.
    6. The unit chairperson shall not vote with the unit peers and shall not be counted in determining the plenum on which a majority is to be determined, but may submit material to the faculty member's tenure dossier in response to Form T8, and may participate in the meeting at which the recommendation of the peers is determined, as provided in paragraph J.
    7. After the unit tenure committee has been established and its chairperson selected, responsibility for directing the process transfers to the chairperson of the unit tenure committee. This committee is an agent of the tenured members of the unit faculty, gathering and summarizing information. The unit tenure committee does not make a recommendation or conduct a vote, unless the unit peers are acting as a committee of the whole.
    8. The chairperson of the unit tenure committee shall ensure that the candidate's tenure dossier is properly assembled and shall send the letters listed on Forms T7 through T12, as appropriate, enclosing copies of Forms T4 and T13, and ensure that responses to these letters are included in the dossier. Forms T7,  T8,  T9,  T10,  T11, and T12 may be sent via electronic mail; however, if electronic mail is used, recipients must be advised that their responses cannot be received by electronic mail but must be supplied on paper with original signature. When all appropriate materials have been gathered into the dossier, the chairperson of the unit tenure committee, in consultation with the members of the committee, shall prepare a report synthesizing the materials in the dossier using the format supplied in Form T13.
    9. No evaluation and/or recommendation shall be submitted by peers (either within or without one's unit) or administrators who are members of the candidate's immediate family. ("Members of the family" is here defined as spouse, parent, grandparent, son, daughter, sibling, parent-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law.) Members of the candidate's immediate family will not be counted in the plenum of unit peers. 
    10. The chairperson of the tenure committee will then send the letters inviting the peers (Form T14) and the unit chairperson to review the dossier, and schedule a meeting for a discussion of the merits of the candidate and a vote by secret ballot which will determine which type of recommendation the peers wish to make concerning the tenure status of the candidate. (Form T14 and other notifications may be sent by electronic mail.) At the unit meeting, the qualifications of the candidate, should be candidly and professionally discussed. The candidate will not be present at this meeting. The unit chairperson may participate in the initial phases of this discussion, sharing with the peers his or her professional judgment concerning the materials submitted to the dossier in response to Form T8. At an agreed upon point, the unit chairperson shall withdraw from the meeting, after which discussion may continue. Then, the chairperson of the unit tenure committee shall conduct the vote by secret ballot utilizing the ballot provided at the bottom of Form T16. In this vote, peers who, for compelling professional (such as leave of absence or attendance at professional meetings) or personal (such as hospitalization, being snow-bound) reasons cannot be physically present at the meeting may submit to the chairperson of the tenure committee an absentee vote. This privilege should not be lightly invoked, and shall not be extended to peers who are able to be physically present, inasmuch as participation in the discussion of the merits of the candidate is a significant element in the decision making process. Should a peer who cannot be present at the meeting, due to compelling professional or personal reasons, believe that his/her absence destroys his/her ability to render a professional judgment, he/she may so inform the chairperson of the tenure committee in writing, in which case the absent peer shall not vote and shall not be counted in determining the plenum on which a majority is to be determined. Following the vote, each peer present shall complete an anonymous evaluation, utilizing the top portion of Form T16, giving reasons for his or her vote. Voting is not a choice, but an obligation. Failure to vote counts as a negative vote.
    11. The chairperson of the tenure committee shall then summarize the discussion held at the meeting and compile the results of the evaluations on the upper portions of Form T16. Under the direction of the chairperson of the tenure committee, and with no other person than he/she and the typist having access to the forms, all the written comments on the upper portions of Form T16 shall be typed on another sheet of paper and included as part of this compilation. The forms containing handwritten comments shall then be detached from the ballots on the lower part of Form T16 and shall be destroyed. Copies of this summary and compilation shall be sent to the candidate with Form T17, and shall be included with the ballots and the results of the vote in the tenure dossier. The chairperson of the tenure committee shall then initiate Form T18 and transmit the entire dossier to the unit chairperson by November 21.
    12. When the unit chairperson receives the tenure dossier with the recommendation (as expressed in their vote) of the unit peers from the unit tenure committee, he/she shall record his/her recommendation on Form T18. If his/her recommendation agrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall transmit the complete tenure dossier to the dean. If his/her recommendation disagrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall write a letter to the unit peers explaining why he/she disagrees with their vote, transmit a copy of the letter to the faculty member being considered for tenure and to the administrator to whom the faculty member immediately reports, if other than the unit chairperson, add a copy of the letter to the tenure dossier, and transmit the complete tenure dossier to the dean by January 10.
    13. When the Board has taken action, the unit chairperson shall return to the candidate the portion of the tenure dossier which can be reassembled, such as publications, computer programs, and slides. The unit chairperson shall file the remainder of the dossier in the unit files and retain it for a period of five years from the time of Board action.

  • Forms

    • Form T1 PROCEDURES FOR TENURE RECOMMENDATION: FLOW AND CHECK-OFF LIST: This form serves as a check-off list, assuring uniform procedural integrity at all levels of evaluation. The person responsible for any given step should, in the spaces provided, initial and date that step at its completion.
    • Form T2 TENURE CONSIDERATION CHECK-OFF LIST: This form will be completed by the unit chairperson early in the fall term for all non-tenured faculty members eligible for consideration. Space is provided at the end for the chairperson's signature and the date on which the check-off list is completed.
    • Form T3 TENURE DATA SHEET: This form ensures considerable uniformity in the gathering of information. The uniformity in format enables the unit peers, the unit chairperson, the dean of the college and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to focus on specific factors when comparison of two or more faculty members is necessary. It is suggested that the unit chairperson as a routine matter have such a form completed for everyone in the unit, especially for potential tenure candidates, and that the unit chairperson and the faculty member review this form each year as part of each faculty member's annual evaluation when they bring up to date the Agreement on Responsibilities (Form T4).
    • Form T4 AGREEMENT ON RESPONSIBILITIES: This form outlines the various responsibilities of the faculty member as mutually agreed upon by the faculty member and administrator to whom he/she immediately reports. Since this form sets forth those areas in which the faculty member expects to be evaluated, the relative weights must be taken into account by the unit peers, the unit chairperson, the dean of the college, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Faculty members truly outstanding in one area, but less active or successful in other areas, may well be contributing more to the University than those adequate in all areas but outstanding in none.
      Any faculty member whose duties require an unusual amount of professional activity not adequately covered in Form T4, or librarians who are judged on performance of professional responsibilities, should prepare a document which will describe the expected performance to allow clear evaluation in relation to assigned and expected responsibilities. This form (T4) provides useful supportive data, and copies of all such forms from the date of initial employment must be part of the faculty member's dossier.
    • Form T5 FACULTY ANNUAL REPORT: This report is to be compiled for each academic year. The Tenure Data Sheet (Form T3) requires that this report for the five preceding years, or from the date of initial employment, be included in the candidate's dossier. The required format of the Faculty Annual Report is defined by each academic unit. Every faculty member is expected to prepare and fill out a Faculty Annual Report each year he/she is employed at this University.
    • Form T6 and T6a FORM LETTER TO FACULTY MEMBER ELIGIBLE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR TENURE: This is the first step taken by the unit chairperson after determining that a faculty member meets the requirements to be considered for tenure. If a faculty member is beginning their fifth year of service, Form 6a is utilized. If a faculty member is beginning their sixth year of service, Form T6 is utilized. If tenure consideration proceeds, it requests the compilation and release of the faculty member's tenure dossier, which subsequently will be available to his/her tenured peers for reference. The tenure dossier for each faculty member will include a Data Sheet (Form T3), Agreements on Responsibilities (Form T4) for each year since the faculty member was employed, Faculty Annual Reports (Form T5) for each year in which the faculty member has taught, student evaluations (using an approved University instrument), and grade distributions (showing the course average against the students' average) for every course the faculty member has taught during every term for the previous five years. The faculty member is also invited to submit a list of individuals from outside the unit who will be solicited for evaluations to be added to his/her dossier (use Form T10). The tenure dossier may include other relevant materials supplied by the faculty member. The tenure dossier should be organized according to the Tenure Dossier Checklist, which should also be placed at the beginning of the tenure dossier.
    • Form T7 FORM LETTER TO PEER EVALUATOR REQUESTING INFORMATION FOR A FACULTY MEMBER'S TENURE DOSSIER.
    • Form T8 FORM LETTER TO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE UNIT: This form requests that the unit chairperson submit relevant information that may be available at the unit or college level that may be significant to the tenure decision of the peers. It requests information only, not evaluation.
    • Form T9 FORM LETTER TO THE ADMINISTRATOR TO WHOM THE FACULTY MEMBER IMMEDIATELY REPORTS: Since some faculty members report immediately to an administrator, such as a Director of a Center of Excellence, other than their unit chairperson, this form is to be used to request submissions to the tenure dossier from that administrator.
    • Form T10 FORM LETTER TO A NON-PEER EVALUATOR REQUESTING INFORMATION FOR A FACULTY MEMBER'S TENURE DOSSIER: This form is included for the convenience of the chairperson of the tenure committee in soliciting material from evaluators suggested by the candidate. It may be used for non-unit evaluators and for non-tenured members of the unit. Use of these evaluators is not explicitly required by the Policy.
    • Form T11 FORM LETTER TO FORMER STUDENT: This is not explicitly required for tenure candidates by the Policy.
    • Form T12 FORM LETTER TO ADVISEE: Candidates for tenure must submit a list of advisees who will be invited by the chair of the tenure committee to submit letters to be included in the candidate's dossier.
    • Form T13 AREAS AND CRITERIA TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN EVALUATING A PEER FOR A TENURE RECOMMENDATION.
    • Form T14 FORM LETTER TO UNIT PEER EVALUATOR SCHEDULING A VOTE: The vote is to be conducted by secret ballot. The entire contents of the tenure dossier are available for inspection by the unit peers. Since the Policy on Academic Tenure, Tennessee Technological University, states that "recommendation for or against tenure should originate from the academic unit in which the faculty member is assigned," this step may be the most significant one in the procedures for tenure recommendation. The chairperson of the tenure committee will send this form letter to all unit peers.
    • Form T15 PEER EVALUATION OF TENURE-TRACK FACULTY.
    • Form T16 PEER EVALUATION OF A TENURE CANDIDATE.
    • Form T17 FORM LETTER TRANSMITTING THE REPORT OF THE UNIT TENURE COMMITTEE AND THE VOTE OF THE UNIT PEERS TO THE FACULTY MEMBER WHO IS BEING CONSIDERED FOR TENURE.
    • Form T18 TENURE COVER SHEET: The chairperson of the tenure committee initiates this form after the unit peers have voted. Form T18 should be the second document in the faculty member's dossier and should be dated and initialed at each step. The chairperson of the tenure committee places this form in the tenure dossier and transmits the entire tenure dossier to the unit chairperson.
    • TENURE DOSSIER CHECKLIST: This form is used to organize the tenure dossier in a uniform way.
    • TENURE AND PROMOTION COMBINED DOSSIER CHECKLIST: This form is used to organize a combined dossier for both tenure and promotion.

  • Dean Guidelines

    1. The dean shall review the dossier (see Form T1, Item 4) and make a recommendation on the Tenure Cover Sheet (Form T18, item 3). Committees at the college level are not authorized by these procedures.
    2. If the dean disagrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall write a letter to the unit peers explaining the reason(s) for his/her disagreement. He/she shall also forward a copy of the letter to the candidate for tenure, to the unit chairperson, and to the administrator to whom the faculty member immediately reports, if this is not the chairperson, and he/she shall include a copy of the letter in the tenure dossier.
    3. The dean shall forward the unabridged dossier to the Vice President for Academic Affairs by February 15 (See Form T1, item 4).
    4. The dean shall perform all tenure recommendation duties normally performed by the unit chairperson if the chairperson is a candidate for tenure. (See the description of procedures above).

  • Provost Guidelines

    1. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall review the dossier (see Form T1, item 5) and make a recommendation on the Tenure Cover Sheet (Form T18, item 3). Committees at the university level are not authorized by these procedures.
    2. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs disagrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall write a letter to the unit peers explaining the reason(s) for his/her disagreement. He/she shall also forward a copy of the letter to the candidate for tenure, to the unit chairperson, to the administrator to whom the faculty member immediately reports, if this is not the chairperson, and to the dean, and he/she shall include a copy of the letter in the tenure dossier.
    3. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall forward the complete dossier with his/her recommendation to the President by March 15 (see Form T1, item 5).

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