Tenure serves the best interests of the faculty and the University by protecting faculty members from dismissal except for reasons set forth by policies of the IHL Board of Trustees. In our society we regard the acquisition of knowledge to be of paramount importance; and society, through enlightened self-interest, provides the University as a place for teaching and learning. Tenure in universities provides protection that scholars require and serves society’s aspirations that scholars should have freedom of expression.
Tenure: is defined by the IHL Board of Trustees as continuing employment that may be granted to a faculty member after a probationary period upon nomination by the President for election by the IHL Board of Trustees. Faculty are tenured to a department/division, unless otherwise designated by the IHL Board of Trustees. For the University it is a safeguard of academic freedom and a reflection of the quality of education offered. For the faculty member it is a privilege granted by the University to faculty who have demonstrated their value to the academic quality of the institution over an extended period of time.
Eligibility for Tenure
All faculty employed in a position designated as tenure-track at the time of initial appointment to rank at the assistant professor level or higher who have satisfied the minimum requirement for years of service in a probationary appointment shall be considered for tenure.
In accordance with IHL Board of Trustees policy, probationary appointments are for one year, or for other stated periods, subject to renewal.
Length of Probationary Period
The probationary period in a tenure-track position is six years. Upon written agreement between the institution and the faculty member at the time of initial appointment to rank, credit up to a maximum of five years toward fulfillment of the minimum probationary period may be allowed for service in rank at other institutions of higher education. In special cases, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, upon the recommendation of the college or school dean, may grant credit for exemplary service not in rank. Such credit shall be awarded only to individuals who possess exceptional professional qualifications and achievements and is not to be construed as exempting such individuals from other institutional policies and procedures governing the awarding of tenure. Faculty members who transfer from one institution to another within the Mississippi system are subject to the same probationary period in a given institution as any other faculty member who is new to the system. At the time of initial employment by the Board, a faculty member or an administrative employee whose preceding employment included faculty rank at the assistant professor level or higher and tenure may be granted tenure only if so recommended by the President and approved by the IHL Board of Trustees. In extraordinary circumstances, (e.g., extended medical leave, educational leave), faculty may submit a request for a suspension of the length of the probationary period. Requests shall be submitted to the college or school dean for approval by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Once the probationary period has been completed, a faculty member, if reappointed, may be considered for tenure. For tenure to be awarded, the President must make a recommendation to the IHL Board of Trustees in writing. The award of tenure is not vested until notice of the award is given in writing by the President, after approval by the IHL Board of Trustees, and the written notice is actually received by the faculty member.
Notice of Non-Renewal of Tenure Track Faculty
The notice that a probationary appointment is not to be renewed shall be furnished in writing by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs to the faculty member according to the following schedule: (1) not later than March 1 for faculty in the first year of service at the institution, (2) not later than December 1 for faculty in the second year of service at the institution, (3) not later than September 1 for faculty who have completed two or more years of service at the institution. This schedule of notification does not apply to persons holding temporary or part-time positions, or persons with courtesy appointments, such as adjunct appointments.
Criteria for Awarding Tenure
Decisions in favor of awarding tenure are made in recognition of accomplishments in response to the following criteria: teaching, scholarship, and service, as well as the appropriate academic background for a tenure appointment. Evaluation shall be based on all three areas although it is realized that differences in emphasis may exist, depending on the academic discipline. Each of the criteria is defined below.
Delta State University is primarily a teaching institution. Therefore, effective teaching and efforts to support an environment where teaching and learning are nurtured are considered essential requirements for tenure consideration. Effective teachers demonstrate qualities which may include the following: high academic standards, concern for learning, a thorough knowledge of the subject, good organization of subject matter and course syllabi, incorporation of research in instructional settings, excellent communication skills, respect toward students, fairness in examinations and grading, and willingness to experiment with new teaching methods. Contributions to the teaching, learning, and academic support environment include, but are not limited to, developing and implementing new courses and programs, developing instructional materials, participating in faculty development initiatives, using new technologies and methodologies for accessing information, and incorporating new strategies for enhancing student learning.
Delta State University recognizes the important contributions that scholarship makes in the advancement of a profession or discipline and as an important component of the teaching/learning process. Scholarly inquiry and learning vary by discipline and are reflected in, but are not limited to, the following: dissemination of research and scholarly findings through books, journal articles, monographs, and presentations at professional meetings; presentation of creative achievements through exhibitions, performances, and publications; development of new research methodologies; grants or contracts that support scholarly and creative activity; honors and awards for significant scholarly and creative activity, and participation as an editor and/or referee in support of scholarly and creative publications.
Delta State recognizes the importance of service as a part of its mission. The service component is based on performance in three areas: service to the faculty member’s academic profession, service to the University, and public service to the community that is related to the faculty member’s academic discipline. Efforts to advance accreditation-related initiatives, such as the Quality Enhancement Plan, shall be considered as service to the University.
Department/Division Tenure and Promotion Committee
Each academic department/division in the University shall have a standing tenure and promotion committee. This committee shall consist of at least three persons. All of the tenured faculty members of the department/division, excluding the department/division chair, shall serve on the committee. If there are not enough tenured faculty members within the division/department to meet this criterion, the tenured faculty, in consultation with the department/division chair, shall appoint tenured faculty to the committee to meet the required criterion of at least three persons. The committee members may come from tenured faculty within the same college or school or from tenured faculty in the same discipline outside the University. Department/division chairs shall notify tenure candidates of the non-departmental appointees to the committee reviewing their application prior to the initiation of their review. Any concerns of the candidate regarding non-departmental appointees shall be forwarded to the chair of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee, who shall meet with the departmental tenure and promotion committee to seek resolution. In the absence of agreement, the Provost will mediate a resolution. The department/division tenure and promotion committee shall have the responsibility for reviewing portfolios of candidates for tenure and making recommendations, with reasons, as to whether tenure should be granted. The committee shall also be responsible, with assistance from the department/division chair and tenure-track faculty, for recommending tenure and promotion procedures and for recommending guidelines for the portfolio to be used by candidates from that department/division for tenure or promotion consideration.
University Tenure and Promotion Committee
Guideline for Recommending Further Consideration of an Applicant
Tenure and Promotions Appeals Committee
The University shall have a standing tenure and promotions appeals committee. The Tenure and Promotions Appeals Committee shall consist of three tenured faculty members at the rank of Professor. No two members of the committee shall be from the same college or school, nor shall they be members of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee. The members shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate as a standing committee at the beginning of the academic year and shall serve one-year terms. Committee members shall not hear appeals from members of their respective academic department/division. If a member of the committee cannot hear a particular appeal, the Faculty Senate Chair shall appoint a temporary replacement.
Consideration for tenure shall not be deferred beyond the sixth full year of service in the probationary period. Department/division chairs shall notify faculty in writing of their eligibility for tenure consideration by October 1 of the sixth year of service. By the end of six years in the probationary period in a tenure-track position a faculty member shall be awarded tenure or given a terminal contract for the seventh year.
Pre-Tenure and Pre-Promotion Review
By October 1 of the first year of the appointment, a faculty who received years of credit toward tenure or promotion at the time of hiring shall receive written notification from the college/school dean with copy to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs stating if and when a pre-tenure and/or pre-promotion portfolio is to be submitted. Department/division chairs shall notify faculty in writing of their responsibility to submit a portfolio for pre-tenure and pre-promotion review by October 1 of the academic year in which the portfolio is to be submitted.
By February 1 of a faculty member’s second year and fourth year in a probationary appointment at the University, the faculty member shall submit his/her portfolio to the chair of the department/division. By February 4, the chair of the department/division shall forward the portfolio to the chair of the department/division’s tenure/promotion committee. This committee shall review the portfolio and make written recommendations and shall, by March 1, forward the portfolio and the committee’s written recommendations to the department/division chair. The department/division chair shall review the portfolio and make written recommendations, and shall, by March 15, forward the portfolio, the chair’s recommendations, and the department/division tenure and promotion committee’s recommendation to the dean. The dean shall review the portfolio and make written recommendations and shall, by April 7, forward the portfolio and all written recommendations to the faculty member. Copies of all written recommendations to date shall be retained in the dean’s office and in the department/division office. In cases in which minimal progress is made between the second year and fourth year, as determined by the committee, the department/division chair, or the dean, the faculty member shall, in consultation with the department/division chair, develop and have on file in the dean’s office, by May 1, a plan of action for improvement. This pre-tenure and pre-promotion review process shall serve as a mentoring function for the faculty member to identify strengths and weaknesses, not as a vote on tenure/promotion consideration.
Faculty who are eligible for tenure consideration shall compile and maintain a portfolio that provides evidence of their accomplishments in response to all three criteria used to make tenure decisions. These include teaching, scholarship, and service. Unless otherwise specified in the faculty member’s contract, the primary emphasis among the three criteria shall be teaching. Evaluation shall be based on all three areas, although it is realized that differences in emphasis may exist, depending on the academic discipline and the nature of the faculty member’s assignment. Ultimately, the portfolio must demonstrate an excellent record of faculty productivity, through performance on the three criteria, which improves the academic quality of the University. Guidelines and suggestions for portfolios are available through the department/division chair.
A candidate applying for tenure must submit for review, no later than December 1 of the year in which the candidate is being considered for tenure, his/her portfolio to the department/division chair, who then forwards it by December 5 to the department/division tenure and promotion committee. The department/division chair forwards a list of tenure and promotion candidates for his/her department/division to the College or School dean, University Tenure & Promotion Committee chair, and the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs by December 1. The department/division tenure and promotion committee shall meet and make its recommendation (with reasons) as to whether tenure should be granted to the candidate and forward the portfolio and recommendation to the department/division chair by February 1. The department/division tenure and promotion committee will send a copy of the recommendation letter to the candidate. The department/division chair shall review the portfolio and make a recommendation (with reasons) regarding the award of tenure and shall transmit to the appropriate college or school dean the portfolio and both recommendations by February 15. The department/division chair will send a copy of his/her recommendation to the candidate. The college or school dean shall review the portfolio and make a recommendation (with reasons). If the dean’s recommendation for tenure is in disagreement with the recommendation of the department/division committee, it shall be the responsibility of the dean to meet with the department/division committee to inform the members of such and provide an explanation. The dean will send a copy of his/her recommendation to the candidate. By March 1, the dean shall send the portfolio and the recommendations from the department/division tenure and promotion committee, the department/division chair, and the dean to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. The dean shall send a copy of all recommendations to the chair of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee.
The University Tenure & Promotion Committee shall schedule a meeting during the first two weeks of March to review the recommendations for compliance with IHL Board, University, and department/division policies and procedures. The committee chair shall contact all tenure candidates to identify any potential grievance and/or concern. In the event procedural problems and/or concerns are discovered, the chair of the University Tenure & Promotion Committee shall meet with the appropriate college or school dean to seek resolution. Annotation of any unresolved procedural problems shall be forwarded by the chair of the University Tenure & Promotion Committee to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs as soon as possible after the meeting of the University Tenure & Promotion Committee and no later than March 15th. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall review each candidate’s portfolio and make a recommendation (with reasons) regarding the award of tenure and shall forward the portfolio and the tenure recommendations to the President by April 1, citing any unresolved procedural problems and/or concerns from the University Tenure & Promotion Committee. If the recommendation regarding tenure from the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs or the President is in disagreement with any of the previous recommendations, it shall be the responsibility of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs or the President to inform the candidate, the department/division tenure and promotion committee chair, the department/division chair, the dean, and the chair of the University Tenure & Promotion Committee and provide an explanation. The recommendations for tenure, submitted by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and approved by the President, shall be transmitted to the IHL Board of Trustees for confirmation at its May meeting. Upon Board approval, successful candidates shall be notified in writing by June 1 by the President.
Candidates who are not recommended for tenure shall be notified in writing by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs by April 15. Faculty members who wish to appeal must refer the case to the University Tenure and Promotions Appeals Committee by May 1. This committee shall hold a hearing within fifteen days to review the decision and submit a recommendation to the President, who shall make a final determination within seven days and notify the candidate of such in writing. Faculty who wish to appeal the final decision of the President to the IHL Board of Trustees have thirty days to do so effective from the date of notification by the President and should follow the procedures outlined in section 403.0105 of the Policies of the IHL Board of Trustees.