In its Policies on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure (Board Policy BT0006), the Board of Trustees has recognized and affirmed the importance of tenure in protecting academic freedom and thus promoting the University’s principal mission of discovery and dissemination of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. The Board has also recognized its fiduciary responsibility to students, parents, and all citizens of Tennessee to ensure that faculty members effectively serve the needs of students and the University throughout their careers. To implement these principles, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), with the approval of the President and the Board, has established these procedures under which every tenured faculty member shall receive a comprehensive performance review no less often than every six years.
II. Post-Tenure Review (PTR) Period
Except as otherwise provided in these procedures, each tenured faculty member must undergo some form of comprehensive performance review no less often than every six years. The Post-Tenure Review (PTR) shall not substitute for the Annual Performance and Planning Review in the year a faculty member is scheduled for PTR.
The dean(s) of each college or unit shall develop, and submit to the chief academic officer for approval, an initial plan for staggering PTR to avoid excessive administrative burden at any given time. The initial staggering plan may be revised with the approval of the chief academic officer (Chancellor of UTIA) if later developments require changes in order to avoid excessive administrative burden. The PTR period begins at the granting of tenure, and, except as otherwise provided by the staggering plan, a faculty member’s PTR will occur no less often than every six years thereafter unless one of the following circumstances results in a different timetable:
- Suspension of PTR period: A faculty member’s PTR period is suspended during any year in which the faculty member is granted a leave of absence or a modified duties assignment, such as a temporary assignment that differs from the primary, regular appointment.
- Restarting of PTR period due to alternative comprehensive review: A comprehensive review of a faculty member’s performance restarts the faculty member’s PTR period under the following circumstances:
- If a tenured faculty member undergoes a successful promotion review or a promotion is in progress during the year scheduled for PTR, the promotion review fulfills the PTR requirement and the PTR period is modified to require PTR six years after the promotion review. Since promotions are effective July 1 of each year, the next PTR review must be conducted beginning with the review period that is initiated 5.5 years after the promotion (e.g., promotion on July 1, 2019, results in a PTR beginning in December 2024 and completed in March 2025).
- If a tenured faculty member undergoes an Enhanced Post-Tenure Performance Review (EPPR) (generally triggered by annual performance review rating(s)) and is either rated as meeting expectations or successfully completes the terms of the EPPR improvement plan, the EPPR process fulfills the PTR requirement and the PTR cycle is modified to begin with the date of the EPPR Committee’s report.
- Start of the PTR period upon conclusion of an administrative appointment: Full-time administrators and faculty members with a majority administrative appointment (more than 50 percent, as determined by the chief academic officer) are not subject to PTR; faculty members holding a less- than-majority administrative appointment (50 percent or less, as determined by the chief academic officer) are subject to PTR regarding their faculty duties based on expectations consistent with their faculty duty allocation. When a full-time or majority-time administrator leaves his or her administrative position to assume a tenured faculty position, the faculty member’s initial PTR shall occur within six years after leaving the administrative post.
- A faculty member’s scheduled PTR may be waived if the faculty member submits a written and binding commitment to retire no later than one year after the year in which the PTR was scheduled.
- A faculty member’s scheduled PTR may be otherwise deferred or modified only for good cause approved by the chief academic officer.
III. Annual Schedule for Post-Tenure Review (PTR)
All Post-Tenure Reviews (PTR) will be conducted and completed during the spring semester according to the following schedule:
- The chief academic officer shall appoint all PTR Committees as set forth in Section IV below no later than December 1 prior to the spring semester in which the review will occur.
- Each PTR Committee shall be provided with the materials required by Section V below no later than December 31.
- Each PTR Committee shall submit its report required by Section VII below no later than March 31.
- Extensions of these deadlines will be granted only for good cause approved by the chief academic officer.
IV. Appointment and Composition of Post-Tenure Review (PTR) Committee
All Post-Tenure Reviews (PTR) must be conducted by a committee established for the sole purpose of PTR. Each PTR Committee shall include three members, appointed by the chief academic officer after consultation with the faculty member under review and her or his department head. The chief academic officer shall avoid choosing PTR Committee members who have an obvious or apparent conflict of interest. Faculty members who hold administrative appointments at 50 percent or greater, as determined by the chief academic officer, are not eligible to serve. In addition to these general principles of inclusion, the composition of the PTR Committee must meet the following requirements:
- Each PTR Committee member must be a tenured, full-time faculty member who is at the same or higher academic rank and whose locus of tenure is at the same campus as the faculty member being reviewed
- One, and only one, PTR Committee member must hold an appointment in the same department as the faculty member being reviewed, unless there is no such faculty member eligible to serve.
- The committee chair will be chosen by the chief academic officer from among the members of the committee who are not from the same department as the faculty member being reviewed.
- The three-member PTR Committee for a given faculty member under review is selected from a standing pool of UTIA faculty of full professorial rank serving a three-year term selected by the deans and appointed by the chief academic officer. The pool shall include at least one member from each department. The PTR Committee will include one departmental representative and balanced representation of the responsibilities (e.g., teaching, research, Extension, clinical practice) associated with the faculty member’s appointment. For example, a faculty member with a majority research appointment will have at least one PTR Committee member appointed who also has a majority research appointment.
The chief academic officer will provide a written charge to members of PTR Committees. The charge will include the following elements:
- Purpose of PTR, as described in Part I of this document;
- Scope of PTR, as described in Part VI of this document;
- Process of PTR, as described in Part VII of this document;
- Obligation to provide a fair and objective review;
- Obligation to keep confidential the committee’s deliberations and findings; and
- Any other instructions that the chief academic officer deems necessary to carry out the review.
These elements will be discussed with the pool of faculty members serving on PTR Committees to promote consistency and clarity of the charge, the responsibilities, and the outcomes of the reviews.
Meetings of the PTR Committees shall follow Robert’s Rules of Order. The chair is responsible for organizing and running the meetings. The chair shall ensure committee members have access to all pertinent review documents and will liaise with the chief academic officer, including transmitting committee findings in writing.
V. Materials to be Reviewed by Post-Tenure Review (PTR) Committee
The Post-Tenure Review (PTR) Committee must review the following documents:
- Annual review materials for each year since the last review or for the last six years in cases where this is the first review, including the following for the time frame spanning the previous six years (to be supplied by the department head):
- Two Annual Performance Review documents for each year of the review period submitted by faculty—one Annual Expectations Form and one Faculty Annual Report for each year;
- Any and all evaluation narratives written by the department head, as well as the Faculty Annual Review Report Form with final performance ratings for each year;
- Any and all responses by the faculty member, deans, and chief academic officer for each Annual Performance Review; and
- Any student and peer evaluation of teaching.
- Copies of the appropriate department’s and college’s performance criteria for faculty according to rank, as published in the bylaws of the respective units (to be supplied by the department head);
- A current curriculum vitae of the faculty member under review (to be supplied by the faculty member);
- A narrative, not to exceed two pages of 12-point text, prepared by the faculty member describing the faculty member’s milestone achievements and accomplishments since the last review as well as goals for the next review period (to be supplied by the faculty member);
- A copy of the narrative submitted as a part of the faculty member’s previous PTR (to be supplied by the faculty member);
- External reviews when deemed necessary by the PTR Committee, or the dean of the faculty member’s majority appointment, or when requested by the faculty member undergoing PTR.
- Letters from no more than three external reviewers may be considered by the PTR Committee;
- Requests for external letters by faculty undergoing PTR must be made in writing to the committee chair at the time their materials are submitted to the PTR Committee;
- The chief academic officer, or their designee, shall request the external reviews, in conformity with the following requirements:
- One reviewer will be chosen from a list provided by the faculty member undergoing PTR;
- One or more reviewers will be chosen from a list provided by the tenured faculty in the department of the faculty member undergoing PTR;
- Reviewers shall be selected in accord with the Manual for Faculty Evaluation, Part IV;
- Each member of the PTR Committees will record the time devoted to the review process.
VI. Criteria for Post-Tenure Review (PTR)
The Post-Tenure Review (PTR) process must assess the faculty member’s continuing professional growth and productivity in the areas of teaching, research (including scholarly, creative, and artistic work), service, and/or clinical care pertinent to his or her faculty responsibilities. The criteria for assessing the faculty member’s performance must be consistent with established expectations of the department, school/college, and campus and provide sufficient flexibility to consider changes in academic responsibilities and/or expectations. The expectations for faculty performance may differ by college, department, and even among subdisciplines within a department or program. Those expectations may be commonly held standards in the discipline or subdiscipline. Those expectations may be stated explicitly in the faculty member’s own past annual performance reviews, work assignments, goals or other planning tools (however identified), as well as department or college bylaws, the Faculty Handbook, this policy, and in other generally applicable policies and procedures (for example, fiscal, human resources, safety, research, or information technology policies and procedures).
VII. Post-Tenure Review (PTR) Committee’s Conclusions and Report
The Post-Tenure Review (PTR) Committee is charged to assess the faculty member’s performance during the review period and to conclude whether the faculty member’s performance satisfies the expectations for the faculty member’s discipline and academic rank. The PTR Committee’s voting must be conducted by anonymous ballots. Voting is to be done in person as part of a committee’s deliberations; neither proxies or in absentia votes are allowed. All conclusions and recommendations shall be adopted upon the vote of a simple majority of the PTR Committee. No member of the PTR Committee may abstain or recuse himself or herself from voting. Based on the judgment of its members, the PTR Committee must conclude either
- That the faculty member’s performance satisfies the expectations for the faculty member’s discipline and academic rank, or
- That the faculty member’s performance does not satisfy the expectations for the faculty member’s discipline and academic rank.
The committee must report its conclusions and recommendations in writing using a standard format prepared by the chief academic officer, including (1) an enumeration of the anonymously cast vote, (2) the supporting reasons for its conclusion, (3) a dissenting explanation for any conclusion that is not adopted unanimously if a dissenting member chooses to provide one, (4) identification of any incongruences observed between the faculty member’s performance and his or her annual evaluations, (5) a statement of any additional concerns identified or actions recommended, (6) if applicable, an identification of areas of extraordinary contribution and/or performance, and (7) a summary of the time spent by the PTR Committee in conducting the report and developing the report and recommendation.
The detailed PTR Committee report shall be provided to the faculty member, department head, appropriate deans, and chief academic officer. The department head will write a response indicating support or dissent with the PTR Committee report and send it to the faculty member, appropriate deans, and the chief academic officer. Following the receipt of the department head letter, the appropriate deans will write a response indicating support or dissent with the PTR Committee report and the department head, and send it to the faculty member, the department head, and the chief academic officer.
Upon receipt of the report and each subsequent response by department heads and deans, faculty members, department heads, and deans must have the opportunity to provide a written response to the PTR Committee report. The chief academic officer shall either accept or reject the PTR Committee’s determination that the faculty member’s performance satisfies or does not satisfy the expectations for the faculty member’s discipline and academic rank after considering the responses of the department head and the dean(s). If the PTR Committee report is not unanimous, the chief academic officer shall provide the supporting reasons for his or her determination. If the chief academic officer does not concur in a determination, then he or she shall provide the supporting reasons for the non-concurrence. The chief academic officer’s determination—and any written responses of the faculty member, department head/chair, and the dean—will be maintained with the PTR Committee report in the chief academic officer’s office, and submitted electronically to the University of Tennessee Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success, with copies provided to the dean(s) and the department head.
VII. Further Actions
If, as a result of Post-Tenure Review (PTR), the chief academic officer concludes that the faculty member’s performance has not satisfied the expectations for the faculty member’s discipline and rank, a PTR improvement plan must be developed. A peer review committee to develop the improvement plan will be appointed as specified in Section 3 of Board Policy BT0006, Appendix E. This committee will be provided the review materials submitted as outlined in Section V above and the results of the PTR Review as outlined in Section VII above. This peer review committee will be charged with the development of an improvement plan, following the procedures and timeline as detailed in Board Policy BT0006, Appendix E, as included in Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook.
If, as a result of PTR, the chief academic officer concludes that deficiencies exist in the departmental annual performance review process (including failure of department heads to conduct rigorous annual performance reviews) or other incongruences are observed between the PTR performance review and rankings assigned through the annual performance review process, the chief academic officer must develop a process for addressing the issues. Any such process developed by the chief academic officer will have no bearing on the requirement that a PTR improvement plan be developed for a faculty member who has not satisfied expectations for rank.
All documents related to the PTR process will be submitted electronically to the University of Tennessee Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success.
The faculty member under review may appeal the chief academic officer’s determination regarding the outcome of Post-Tenure Review (PTR) within thirty days of notification of that outcome. The procedure for appeal is described in Chapter 5 of the Faculty Handbook, except that a final decision on the appeal shall be made within ninety days of the faculty member’s appeal, and the final decision of the Chancellor on an appeal shall not be appealable to the President.
X. Annual Report to the Board of Trustees
The chief academic officer shall prepare an annual assessment report of campus Post-Tenure Review (PTR) processes, procedures, and outcomes for submission by the Chancellor to the Board of Trustees, through the President, no later than June 1 of each year. The report shall include a description of any deficiencies identified in departmental annual performance review processes and the plan for addressing the issues.
The annual report will also include a summary of the time and resources devoted to PTRs conducted during the year. A public version of the report will be produced that protects individual identities of PTR results. The public version will be made available to all faculty.