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3.1 Process for Appointment of New Faculty to Tenure‑track Positions

  1. The department head or dean, where there is no department, obtains authorization to search for a new tenure‑track faculty member after consultation regarding the needs of the program with departmental faculty, the dean, and the chief academic officer of the university. An authorization to search does not necessitate appointment, as financial conditions within the university or the inability to hire an appropriate candidate may prevent appointment.
  2. The university seeks to recruit a diverse faculty and is fully committed to affirmative action at all levels. A description of university requirements for all searches is provided in Guidelines for Conducting Academic and Staff Exempt Searches at the University of Tennessee.
  3. A thorough search and careful selection must precede any departmental recommendation of appointment. As part of this process, departmental faculty nominate potential search committee members from which the department head selects a search committee in consultation with the tenured and tenure‑track faculty. It is the department head’s responsibility to assure appropriate search committee representation in accordance with departmental bylaws and university search procedures. The search committee recommends the applicant pool and identifies candidates to be considered for interviews. The tenured and tenure‑track faculty will evaluate and vote on the candidates and make a recommendation to the department head. The head will then recommend a candidate to the dean. If the dean agrees with the recommendation, the dean will then recommend the candidate to the chief academic officer, who will then make a recommendation to the chancellor. If the head’s recommendation diverges from that of the faculty, the head must explain his or her reasons in detail to the faculty, who have the right to meet with the dean and chief academic officer about the recommendation.
  4. Following the decision to recommend appointment, the head and prospective faculty member typically discuss informally rank, salary, and other terms of employment. Such discussions inform the recommendations of the department head but do not constitute a binding commitment by the university.
  5. Notification of appointment is made by letter from the chief academic officer. This appointment letter specifies (a) rank, (b) salary and related financial conditions, (c) the academic year during which a tenure decision must be reached, (d) general duties and expectations, and (e) the home department, in the case of joint appointments. Correspondence between the department head, dean or director, and prospective faculty member concerning these matters is unofficial and not binding on the university.
  6. Written acceptance of the letter of appointment, together with execution of normal university employment forms, completes the initial appointment. The employment of tenure‑track faculty members is governed by the terms of the appointment letter, applicable provisions of the Faculty Handbook, Manual for Faculty Evaluation, and applicable provisions of university policies and procedures.

3.1.1 Terms

Generally, regular nine‑month academic year appointments begin August 1 and end July 31. Normally, faculty members on nine‑month appointments are expected to be on campus a week before the beginning of classes and through commencement in the spring. Generally, regular 12‑month appointments run July 1 through June 30.