Board of Trustees policy governs tenure at the University of Tennessee. Board policy requires each campus to implement the board tenure policy and allows each campus to adopt more specific provisions with respect to certain tenure matters. The following sections describe implementation of the board tenure policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
3.11.1 Definition of Tenure
Tenure is a principle that entitles a faculty member to continuation of his or her annual appointment until relinquishment or forfeiture of tenure or until termination of tenure for adequate cause, financial exigency, or academic program discontinuance. The burden of proof that tenure should be awarded rests with the faculty member. Tenure at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is acquired only by positive action of the Board of Trustees, or by the President, as delegated by the Board, and is awarded in a particular department, school, college, or other academic unit. The award of tenure shifts the burden of proof concerning the faculty member’s continuing appointment from the faculty member to the university.
3.11.2 Eligibility for Tenure Consideration
Eligibility for tenure consideration will be subject to the following minimum standards:
- regular, full‑time, tenure‑track faculty appointments at the academic rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor are eligible for tenure consideration
- temporary, term, and part‑time appointments are not eligible for tenure consideration
- faculty members pursuing degrees at the campus where they are appointed are not eligible for tenure consideration
At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, an assistant professor normally will not be considered for tenure until he or she is also eligible for promotion to the rank of associate professor.
No faculty member will be appointed initially with tenure except by positive action of the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the president and after review by the tenured faculty and department head, dean, and chief academic officer.
3.11.3 Tenure upon Initial Appointment
No faculty member shall be granted tenure upon initial appointment except by positive action of the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the president, which shall include documentation of compliance with all tenure review and recommendation procedures stated in 3.11.4 and 3.11.5 of this handbook. The Board of Trustees will grant tenure upon initial appointment only if (1) the proposed appointee holds tenure at another higher education institution and the Board determines that the president has documented that the proposed appointee cannot be successfully recruited to the University without being granted tenure upon initial appointment; or (2) the Board of Trustees determines that the president has documented other exceptional circumstances warranting the grant of tenure upon initial appointment.
3.11.4 Probationary Period
22.214.171.124 Length of the Probationary Period
A tenure‑track faculty member must serve a probationary period prior to being considered for tenure.
Except as otherwise provided in Board policy, the probationary period will be six years. The faculty member will apply for tenure during the sixth year, and if tenure is not granted, the faculty member will be permitted to serve a seventh year as a terminal year. If a faculty member begins employment after July 1 and before January 1, the remaining term of the faculty member’s initial appointment will count as the first year of the probationary period, so that what is treated as the first year of a faculty member’s probationary period will not be shorter than six months. The provision of a probationary period and any statement in an appointment letter or otherwise regarding the probationary period and the year of mandatory tenure consideration do not guarantee retention of the faculty member for the full probationary period.
A faculty member may request an early consideration for tenure before the sixth year of his or her probationary period but no sooner than the next regular tenure cycle after completion of the first year of the probationary period. The request for early consideration is initiated in the department that will be the locus of tenure, if tenure is granted, after discussion with the department head. If the department head approves, the head will write a memo to the dean, justifying the request and asking for approval. Upon review of the request, the dean will indicate approval or disapproval in a letter to the chief academic officer. For colleges without departments, the request begins with the dean. The chief academic officer will review the request and make the final determination whether early consideration is warranted, based on a review of the applicant’s credentials and all applicable criteria. If the chief academic officer denies the request, the faculty member cannot apply for early consideration. The decision of the chief academic officer is final and not appealable to the chancellor.
A faculty member whose application for early consideration is denied will be permitted to reapply one additional time. If the initial application is submitted before the fifth year of the probationary period, the applicant cannot reapply until one full academic year after the unsuccessful attempt. If the initial application is submitted in the fifth year, the reapplication must be submitted at the beginning of the sixth year of the probationary period. New external letters of assessment are required for a reapplication. If tenure is not granted upon reapplication, the faculty member will be permitted to serve one year after the reapplication is denied as a terminal year.
126.96.36.199 Extension of Probationary Period
For good cause that is either related to procedural error or results from a significant disruption of University operations that has impeded the faculty member’s opportunity to conduct required research or other scholarly activity, teaching, and/or service, the university and a tenure-track faculty member may agree in writing to extend a six-year probationary period for a maximum of two additional years (not including any extension granted due to the coronavirus crisis as authorized by the Board’s March 27, 2020 action). The proposed extension must be approved in advance by the chief academic officer, the chancellor, and the vice president for academic affairs.
188.8.131.52 Suspension of Probationary Period
The chief academic officer will decide whether the probationary period will be suspended when the following circumstances occur:
- the faculty member accepts a part‑time faculty position
- the faculty member accepts an administrative position, or
- the faculty member is granted a leave of absence or modified duties assignment under the UT Knoxville Faculty and Family Care Policy
In general, the chief academic officer will not approve suspension for work that advances the faculty member’s record in teaching, research, or service. Probationary faculty should not be encouraged to engage in administrative work. The chief academic officer shall give the faculty member written notice of the decision concerning suspension of the probationary period.
184.108.40.206 Notice of Non‑renewal
Notice that a tenure‑track faculty member’s appointment will not be renewed for the next year will be made in writing by the chief academic officer, upon the recommendation of the department head and dean, according to the following schedule:
- In the first year of the probationary period, not later than March 1 for an academic year appointment and no less than three months in advance for any other term of appointment;
- In the second year of the probationary period, not later than December 15 for an academic year appointment and no less than six months in advance for any other term of appointment; and
- In the third and subsequent years of the probationary period, not less than 12 months in advance.
These notice requirements relate only to service in a probationary period with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Credit for prior service with another campus or institution will not be considered in determining the required notice. Notice of non‑renewal will be effective upon personal delivery or upon mailing, postage prepaid, to the faculty member’s residential address of record at the university.
220.127.116.11 Annual Retention Review
An annual retention review of tenure-track faculty is conducted by the department head in consultation with the tenured faculty during the fall semester (and at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the University of Tennessee Space Institute, coincident with the annual performance and planning review process described in Section 3.8.1). The regular and thorough assessment of tenure-track faculty is an important step in the professional development of those faculty members. The annual retention review process is designed to ensure that a tenure-track faculty member receives clear and timely feedback from the tenured faculty and the department head about his or her contribution to the department, development, and prospects for advancement. Accordingly, the tenured faculty plays an important role in the retention process and is responsible for providing the faculty member with a clear, thoughtful, and professional consideration of both (a) the faculty member’s ability to sustain a level of activity that comports with the department’s expectations for faculty members at the rank of the faculty member under review and (b) the faculty member’s progress toward promotion and tenure in the context of the Faculty Handbook, his or her appointment, and departmental bylaws.
- Departmental Procedures for the Retention Review
- Schedule: Each tenure-track faculty member will first be reviewed in the fall of his or her second year of appointment and in each subsequent year of the probationary period leading up to (but not including) the year of tenure consideration. Each tenure-track faculty member will undergo an Enhanced Tenure-Track review (ETTR) in the academic year following the midpoint in his or her probationary period (typically, the faculty member’s fourth year of employment), as stipulated in section 18.104.22.168, below.
- Mentor: Working with the probationary faculty member, the department head assigns a faculty mentor or a mentoring committee for each tenure-track faculty member. The mentor should be a senior member of the same department or another unit, who can serve as a model and as a source of information for the tenure-track faculty member. Department heads should not serve as mentors for faculty within their own departments. The mentor or mentoring committee may participate in the annual retention review in a manner to be determined in collegiate and/or departmental bylaws.
- Preparation for Retention Review: Except in the year of the ETTR, the faculty member prepares and submits to the department head (for distribution to the tenured faculty) a written summary of his or her accomplishments in teaching, research / scholarship / creative activity, and service for the previous academic year in accordance with departmental bylaws. The department head requests this summary in writing from each tenure-track faculty member on behalf of the tenured faculty at least two weeks before it is needed for the review. The Faculty Activity Report submitted to the department head for the APPR may serve as the summary required under this paragraph. Faculty members may be required or permitted to submit other materials in accordance with collegiate and/or departmental bylaws. The department head will make the materials prepared and submitted in accordance with this paragraph 11.4.5a(3) available to the tenured faculty in advance of the meeting on retention.
- Review by the tenured faculty: The tenured faculty will review the summary submitted by the faculty member and solicit input from the faculty member’s mentor or mentoring committee. The tenured faculty then will construct a narrative in accord with 22.214.171.124a(3), above. The review and narrative should specifically address (among other things) the faculty member’s establishment and development of teaching methods and tools, program of disciplinary research / scholarship / creative activity, and record of institutional, disciplinary, and professional service, as well as progress toward promotion (where applicable) and tenure. The tenured faculty’s review and narrative will rely on and include documented and substantiated information available to the tenured faculty at the time of the review and will not be based on rumor or speculation.
- The vote of the tenured faculty: The tenured faculty will take a formal anonymous retention vote and will write a report to the department head that will contain the tally of the anonymous vote; a list of the participating tenured faculty members; suggestions for enhancing the faculty member’s progress toward the grant of tenure; and the majority and minority report, if applicable. In the years before any enhanced retention review, this vote will focus primarily (but not exclusively) on the tenure-track faculty member’s ability to sustain a level of teaching, research / scholarship / creative activity, and service that comports with the unit’s expectations for faculty members at the rank of the faculty member under review. Beginning in the year in which the tenure-track faculty member is subject to ETTR, the tenured faculty’s vote will focus primarily (and increasingly, in succeeding years) on the tenure-track faculty member’s ability to meet the requirements for tenure in the department, college, campus, and University. The tenured faculty will share the report with the faculty member and the department head.
- The department head’s review: The department head conducts an independent retention review based upon the faculty member’s written summary, the written narrative and vote of the tenured faculty, and a scheduled meeting with the faculty member. In conducting his or her independent retention review, the department head also may have other consultations with the tenured faculty as needed.
- If the retention decision is positive, the department head will convey the outcome to the faculty member in writing and in a timely manner. The department head will also advise the faculty member as to the time remaining in the probationary period and as to how the quality of his or her performance is likely to be assessed by the tenured faculty and the head in the context of tenure consideration. The department head will ensure that the written report includes express guidance to the faculty member on ways to improve performance.
- If the retention review results in a recommendation by the department head not to retain the tenure-track faculty member, the department head includes in the report specific reasons for that decision.
- Dissemination of the Retention Review Report: The department head will provide to the faculty member a copy of the finalized Retention Review Report, including the department head’s retention report and recommendation. The department head will furnish to the tenured faculty a copy of the department head’s retention report and recommendation.
- Dissenting statements: Any member of the tenured faculty may submit a dissenting statement to the department head. A copy of the dissenting statement will be furnished to the faculty member under review. The dissenting statement will be attached to the Retention Review Report.
- Faculty member’s review and response to the Retention Review Report: The faculty member reviews the Retention Review Report. The faculty member’s signature indicates that she or he has read the entire evaluation, but the signature does not necessarily imply agreement with its findings. The faculty member under review has the right to submit a written response to the vote and narrative of the tenured faculty, to the report and recommendation of the department head, and/or to any dissenting statements. The faculty member will be allowed 14 calendar days from the date of receipt from the head of the finalized Retention Review Report and its complete set of attachments to submit any written response. If no response is received after 14 calendar days of the date of receipt, the faculty member relinquishes the right to respond. For good cause, and upon approval by the chief academic officer, the response time may be extended once for an additional 14 days.
- Dean’s Review of the Retention Review Report
- The dean’s review and recommendation: The dean makes an independent review and recommendation on retention after reviewing the Retention Review Report. The dean will prepare a statement summarizing his or her recommendation when it differs from that of the department head or tenured faculty or stating any other concerns the dean might wish to record, as appropriate.
- Transmission of the dean’s recommendation and statement: The dean will indicate his or her recommendation for retention or non-retention on the Retention Review Report, attach his or her statement, if any, and forward the Retention Review Report with its complete set of attachments to the chief academic officer. The dean will send a copy of his or her recommendation and statement, if any, to the department head and the faculty member.
- Faculty member’s and department head’s right to respond: The faculty member and / or the department head have the right to submit to the chief academic officer a written response to the dean’s retention recommendation or any accompanying statement. Any response by the faculty member should be copied to the dean and the department head. Similarly, any response by the department head should be copied to the dean and the faculty member. The faculty member and the department head will be allowed 14 calendar days from the date of receipt of the dean’s recommendation to submit any written response. If no response is received after 14 calendar days from the date of receipt, the faculty member or department head, as applicable, relinquishes the right to respond.
- Chief Academic Officer’s Review of Recommendations for Retention
- The chief academic officer’s review. The chief academic officer will review the retention recommendation, make the final decision on retention, and indicate his or her decision on retention on the Retention Review Report. The chief academic officer sends a copy of the fully executed Retention Review Report to the faculty member with copies to the dean and department head.
- Notification in cases of non-retention. If the chief academic officer decides that the faculty member will not be retained, he or she will give the faculty member written notice of non-renewal in accordance with the notice requirements described in Section 126.96.36.199 above. The faculty member is entitled to a statement in writing of the reasons for the non-renewal decision. This statement, together with any subsequent correspondence concerning the reasons, is a part of the official record.
188.8.131.52 Enhanced Tenure-Track Review
For each tenure-track faculty member, the department and department head will conduct an enhanced review to assess and inform the faculty member of his or her progress toward the grant of tenure during the third or fourth year of the probationary period, which may be extended past the fourth year of the probationary period for any faculty member who has been granted an extension of the probationary period (with the year to be determined by the department head after consultation with the faculty member and, if applicable, the faculty member’s mentor).
For the ETTR, the faculty member will, with the guidance and counsel of the department head, prepare and submit to the department head (for distribution to the tenured faculty) a file on her or his cumulative performance, reflecting her or his degree of progress in satisfying the requirements for tenure in teaching, research / scholarship / creative activity, and service. The file (which will be prepared by the faculty member as a preliminary draft of the faculty member’s file in support of a tenure dossier) will contain: the faculty member’s Faculty Activity Reports for each previous APPR, computer-tabulated teaching evaluations, and annual retention reports compiled during the faculty member’s probationary period; copies of research / scholarship / creative activity published or otherwise completed during the probationary period; teaching materials; evidence of research / scholarship / creative activity work in progress; a statement prepared by the faculty member describing other research / scholarship / creative activity in progress but not included in the file; a summary of service to the department, college, University, and other relevant constituencies; and any other materials that the department head requests or the faculty member desires to make available to the tenured faculty.
The tenured departmental faculty will confer regarding the faculty member’s performance and will then write a report to the department head that will contain a list of the participating tenured faculty members; suggestions for enhancing the faculty member’s progress toward the grant of tenure; the majority and minority report, if applicable; and the summary anonymous vote on whether the faculty member is progressing satisfactorily toward the grant of tenure. The department head will present and discuss the tenured faculty’s report, as well as his or her own written assessment, with the faculty member. Copies of the ETTR documents will be given to the faculty member. A favorable ETTR does not commit the tenured departmental faculty, the department, or the college to a subsequent recommendation for the grant of tenure.
184.108.40.206 Right to Appeal
The faculty member may appeal the outcome of the retention review or the ETTR under the general appeals procedures outlined in Chapter 5 of the Faculty Handbook. According to Board Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure, the final decision on an appeal of the outcome of a retention review or ETTR lies with the chancellor and is not appealable to the president.
3.11.5 Criteria for Tenure
Tenure is awarded after a thorough review, which culminates in the university acknowledging a reasonable presumption of the faculty member’s professional excellence and the likelihood that excellence will contribute substantially over a considerable period of time to the mission and anticipated needs of the academic unit in which tenure is granted. Professional excellence is reflected in the faculty member’s teaching (which includes advising and mentoring), research, and service or other creative work in the discipline, participation in professional organizations, willingness to contribute to the common life of the university, and effective work with colleagues and students, including the faculty member’s ability to interact appropriately with colleagues and students.
More specifically, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture tenure is granted on the basis of a demonstrated record of achievement and the promise of continued excellence. A decision not to award tenure is not necessarily a judgment of incompetence. Not all competent persons meet the high standards necessary for tenure, nor are all those who meet such standards automatically fitted to serve needs of the university’s programs. Faculty at UTK and UTIA are expected to become good, solid teachers who work enthusiastically with students, try new approaches to pedagogy, and contribute to the development of departmental programs. Faculty must also establish an independent record of accomplishment in scholarly work, normed to the standards of the discipline, which can be documented and validated by peers. In most cases, tenure‑track faculty should be encouraged to develop first as teachers and scholars, leaving serious involvement in service until after a sound academic record is established.
It is the responsibility of departments and colleges to define professional excellence in terms of their respective disciplines. Each college may establish a statement of criteria and expectations, which elaborates on the general criteria found in this handbook and is consistent with the mission of the college and the professional responsibilities normally carried out by faculty members in the college. Each department shall establish more specific criteria for tenure in that unit that are consistent with but may be more restrictive than the criteria stated in this handbook and any criteria established by the college and campus. Departmental criteria for tenure shall not be required if more specific criteria have been established by the applicable college, and the dean and chief academic officer have approved application of the college criteria in lieu of departmental criteria. College criteria for tenure shall be effective upon approval by the chief academic officer and will be published in the bylaws of the college. Departmental criteria for tenure shall be effective upon approval by the dean and chief academic officer and will be published in the bylaws of the department.
Deans will ensure that copies of the current collegiate and departmental bylaws are on file in the office of the chief academic officer. The chief academic officer will maintain a master set of approved statements of criteria and expectations and will ensure that faculty members are informed about the criteria and expectations that have been developed for their respective colleges (as applicable) and departments as stated in collegiate and departmental bylaws.
3.11.6 Procedures for Consideration and Grant of Tenure
The University’s procedures for consideration and grant of tenure are contained in Appendix A of the Board Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure.
Each department, school, or college must adopt bylaws concerning tenure consideration consistent with the procedures outlined in the University’s tenure policies, this handbook, and all superseding bylaws. Such bylaws must—at a minimum—require these fundamental components:
- A requirement for external reviews;
- A requirement for the peer review of teaching;
- The required contents of the tenure dossier to be submitted by the candidate;
- A requirement for a meeting of the tenured faculty to debate and discuss the tenure candidacy;
- The manner of taking and recording a formal anonymously cast vote of the tenured faculty on whether the candidate should be recommended for tenure;
- The minimum number of votes necessary to constitute a positive recommendation;
- A method for ensuring two levels of faculty review of every tenure dossier before a positive tenure recommendation is considered by the campus administrators (e.g. for small colleges without departments or divisions, a supra-college committee comprised of two faculty members from affect colleges will review the dossier and make a recommendation regarding tenure to the campus administration.)
220.127.116.11 Promotion and Tenure Review Procedures
- Required review materials. Although the substance of the materials required for adequate review of a faculty member’s activities in teaching, research/creative achievement/scholarship, and service will vary with the academic discipline, the following elements are required to be presented in any tenure and / or promotion process:
1) Summary sheet. A standard form is provided by the office of the chief academic officer to record basic data of the candidate’s employment, eligibility for tenure and/or promotion review, and a summary of required votes and administrative recommendations.
2) The dossier. The dossier is divided into sections that contain information about the primary criteria by which candidates are assessed. It is used for review at the departmental, collegiate, and campus levels. A description of the materials required for each section and the order of their assembly is given in the appropriate appendix to this handbook. The following is a list of the sections and a brief summary of their contents:
- Factual information about the candidate and tenure and/or promotion criteria. This section includes information on educational and employment history, a statement of the candidate’s responsibilities, tenure and / or promotion criteria statements, and certification of competence to communicate in English;
- Factual information about the candidate’s teaching: The material in this section documents the candidate’s teaching ability and effectiveness. It includes the candidate’s self-assessment of instructional practices, summaries of student satisfaction surveys, and peer reviews of teaching. Dossiers of applicants for tenure are required to have two peer reviews of teaching that have been completed during the probationary period. Applicants for promotion only are required to have one peer review of teaching that has been completed since the last promotion. Dossiers lacking peer reviews, student satisfaction summaries, and the applicant’s self-assessment of instructional practices will not be considered for promotion and tenure;
- Factual information about the candidate’s research / scholarship, creative activity: The material in this section documents the candidate’s achievements in research / scholarship / creative activity (according to the terms of the candidate’s appointment);
- Factual information about the candidate’s service: The material in this section documents the candidate’s activities and achievements in institutional, disciplinary, and/or professional service;
- Faculty member’s review and signature statement. Each faculty member shall sign a statement certifying that he/she has reviewed sections a through d of the dossier for accuracy and completeness prior to the beginning of the review process. Once the candidate has signed and submitted this statement, additional factual information for sections b, c, and d may be added by administrators only. See 18.104.22.168.A5) below;
- External letters of assessment. The department head manages the process of obtaining required letters of assessment from external evaluators. The head may designate responsibility for obtaining the letters to another tenured member of the department, such as the chair of a departmental tenure and promotion committee. External evaluators are charged with assessing the candidate’s research/scholarship/creative activity only;
(1) Qualifications of external evaluators. External evaluators should be distinguished individuals in the candidate’s field who are in a position to provide an authoritative and objective assessment of the candidate’s research record and to comment on its significance in the discipline. Whenever possible, letters should be solicited from individuals at peer or aspirational institutions. If individuals at non-peer institutions are solicited for letters, the department head must explain the reasons for the choice of these individuals (including, without limitation, evidence of the reviewer’s exemplary experience and standing in the candidate’s field). Evaluators will normally hold the rank of professor and must have attained at least the rank to which the candidate aspires. Evaluators may not be former advisors, post-doctoral supervisors, close personal friends of the candidate, or others whose relationship with the candidate could reduce objectivity. If the evaluator has had a collaborative scholarly or research relationship with the candidate, the nature of that collaboration and the relative contributions of the candidate must be clearly described by the evaluator. Questions concerning the eligibility of potential evaluators should be referred to the office of the dean and, where appropriate (e.g., where the department is a college or where the dean is uncertain about how to resolve the matter), the chief academic officer well in advance of making a request to the individuals in question. Each evaluator will be asked to state expressly in his or her review letter the nature of any association with the candidate.
(2) Solicitation of the letters. The head or designate initiates the process of obtaining external letters of assessment far enough in advance of the review process that letters are in the dossier and available to peer review committees and administrators at all levels of review. In no case should the candidate directly solicit the external letters of assessment or contact prospective or actual external evaluators. The following process may be followed:
i. The department head or designate, in consultation with departmental faculty, assembles a list of potential external evaluators;
ii. The department head or designate requests the names of potential evaluators from the candidate;
iii. The department head or designate also requests names of individuals the candidate wants excluded and the reasons for the exclusions;
iv. The department head or designate will normally solicit 8-10 letters. No more than half of the letters solicited may come from the list suggested by the candidate;
v. The department head or designate will send to the external evaluators information and documentation for use in preparing the external assessment including the candidate’s curriculum vitae, appropriate supporting materials concerning the candidate’s research or creative activity, and the departmental and collegiate statements of criteria for promotion and/or tenure;
vi. The dossier will include a log documenting all requests for letters from external evaluators. The log documents the dates on which each external letter was requested and entered into the dossier. The log will also indicate which evaluators come from the candidate’s list and which are from the list of the department head or designate. All requests should be entered regardless of whether a response was obtained;
vii. The dossier will typically include no fewer than five letters from external evaluators. In the event that a dossier has fewer than five letters from external evaluators, the department head must discuss the reasons with the dean and/or chief academic officer. The dean or the chief academic officer may ask the department head to solicit additional letters in order to meet the typical required minimum number of external assessments;
viii. All letters solicited and received must be included in the dossier unless the chief academic officer approves their removal from the review process.
(3) Form for submission of letters. Letters from external evaluators must be submitted on institutional letterhead and carry the evaluator’s signature. These letters, or their images, may be submitted via regular mail, e-mail, or facsimile. If multiple versions of a letter are received, then all versions should be retained in the candidate’s dossier.
(4) Brief biography of evaluators. The department head or designate is responsible for providing and including in the candidate’s dossier a brief biographical statement about the credentials and qualifications of each external evaluator; special attention should be given to documenting the evaluator’s standing in his or her discipline as part of the biographical statement.
(5) Right of the Faculty Member to Review External Letters: External letters of assessment will be made available to the candidate upon the candidate’s written request to the department head.
g. Evaluative Materials. The department head furnishes previous evaluative reports.
(1) For candidates for promotion only—that is, for candidates who already hold tenure at the University—the Annual Performance and Planning Review (APPR) evaluative materials since the most recent promotion or tenure action will typically be included.
(2) For candidates for tenure only or for tenure and promotion, in addition to the APPR materials listed above, materials from annual retention reviews during the probationary period will be included in the dossier.
3) The curriculum vitae. The curriculum vitae is used to provide background for the department head’s request for external assessments and for general reference at all levels of review. One copy of the curriculum vitae accompanies the dossier to all peer committees and administrators.
4) Supporting materials. Supporting materials, such as sample publications, videos, recordings, and/or other appropriate forms of documentation, must be made available for review in the department and the college, in accord with departmental and collegiate bylaws.
5) Changes in Informational Sections of the Dossier: In the event that additional material is submitted for inclusion either by the department head or other administrator, all peer review committees and administrators who have completed their review of a candidate shall be informed about additions that are made to the original materials subsequent to their review. All peer review committees and administrators who are informed about these submissions will have the opportunity to reconsider their recommendation. The candidate for tenure and/or promotion will also be invited to review the additional material and respond to it.
B. Roles in assembly of the dossier
1) Candidate: The candidate provides accurate factual information for sections a through d, above; reviews and certifies that the information in a through d is complete and accurate by signing the statement that constitutes section e; and provides the department head with a list of potential external reviewers and those to be excluded from review.
2) Department head: The department head provides the material for sections f and g; is responsible for ensuring that the required number of peer reviews of teaching have been done and included in the dossier; may provide a selection of student comments taken from end-of-course surveys; and ensures that the dossier is in the proper form.
3) Dean: Each collegiate dean shall ensure that faculty members in his or her college are informed about the dossier’s required contents and standard form.
4) Chief Academic Officer: The chief academic officer shall be responsible for ensuring that tenure and promotion workshops to inform faculty members, review committees, and academic administrators about dossier preparation and review procedures are conducted annually.
C. Distribution of the dossier: At least one set of review materials must be available for review in the department and the college. Materials forwarded to the chief academic officer for campus review consist of the original and two copies of the dossier and two copies of the curriculum vitae. Other documentation will be requested as needed by the chief academic officer. Instructions for the preparation of the dossier can be found in the appropriate appendix to this handbook.
D. Principles Governing the Review. The procedures for promotion and for tenure are the same. Careful professional judgment of the accomplishments, productivity, and potential of each candidate is expected at each level of review. All levels of review are also concerned with procedural adequacy and equity. All peer review committees and administrators shall limit deliberations to the review of the content of the complete dossier, curriculum vitae, supporting materials, and attachments as forwarded.
Consultation among different levels of review should take place when there is a need to clarify differences that arise during the review process or there are conflicting statements at the different levels of review.
E. Levels of Review. The promotion and tenure review process has several sequential stages and levels. The review includes peer review by the department, review by the department head, review by the college or intercollegiate promotion and tenure committee, review by the dean, and review by the campus. Each stage of review produces an evaluative statement or recommendation assessing the candidate’s case for tenure and/or promotion. The statements and any responses become part of the dossier.
1) Departmental Review. Initial peer review (e.g., at the department level) will focus on criteria for promotion and/or tenure within the discipline as set forth in departmental and collegiate bylaws and this handbook.
a. Departmental procedures: Each department will develop and state in bylaws detailed review procedures, supplemental to and consistent with general university procedures. These procedures should be made known to prospective and current faculty members, as well as the general university community, and should reflect the organizational arrangements of each department.
b. Departmental review committees. Departmental faculty members constitute the departmental review committees according to the following rules.
(1) When conducting the initial departmental review, only tenured faculty members make recommendations about candidates for tenure;
(2) When conducting the initial departmental review, only faculty members of higher rank than the candidate make recommendations about promotion;
(3) In unusual circumstances, e.g., insufficient numbers of tenured and higher-ranked faculty members within a department, exceptions may be permitted by the chief academic officer upon request from the department head and dean;
(4) When a candidate has not received a unanimous committee vote, the statement must include a discussion of the reasons for the divergent opinions.
c. Departmental subcommittees. Departments may form subcommittees of the departmental review committee to review the candidate’s file and present the case to the departmental review committee. The subcommittee shall consist of members of the departmental review committee selected according to departmental bylaws. The bylaws of the department shall determine the size of the subcommittee, but in no case should a subcommittee consist of fewer than three members. In no instance will the subcommittee make a recommendation to the review committee on tenure and/or promotion of the candidate; rather, the subcommittee presents an objective summary of the factual and evaluative material found in the dossier.
d. Role of the department head in departmental review. Department heads may attend the discussion of a tenure and/or promotion candidate by the departmental review committee; however, since the department head has an independent review to make, the department head shall not participate in the discussion except to clarify issues and assure that proper procedure is followed.
e. Faculty vote on the candidate. Tenured faculty with the appropriate rank will participate in a formal vote upon the candidate according to departmental bylaws. All votes will be anonymous. Ballots must have space for written comments on the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses along with space for recording the vote.
f. Statement from the faculty. A representative of the departmental review committee, selected according to departmental bylaws, shall prepare a written summary of the faculty discussion. The written summary of the discussion and the vote of the review committee constitute the faculty recommendation and are transmitted to the department head. This written recommendation must be made available to the candidate and to the departmental review committee at the same time it is sent to the department head so that they may (if they wish) prepare a dissenting statement. This recommendation, the vote, and any dissenting statements become part of the dossier.
g. The department head’s review. The vote of the tenured faculty is advisory to the department head. The department head conducts an independent review of the candidate’s case for tenure and/or promotion. The department head prepares a letter that addresses the candidate’s employment history and responsibilities as they relate to the departmental and collegiate criteria for the rank being sought by the candidate. The department head’s letter will also provide an independent recommendation and summary explanation for the recommendation based on the department head’s review and evaluation of materials in the dossier. If the head’s recommendation differs from the recommendation of the tenured faculty, the summary must explain the reasons for the differing judgment. The department head’s letter must be made available to the candidate and to the departmental review committee at the same time it is sent to the dean so that they may (if they wish) prepare a dissenting statement. The department head’s letter, together with any dissenting statements, becomes part of the dossier.
h. Dissenting statements. Faculty members may individually or collectively submit dissenting statements to the faculty recommendation or to the department head’s recommendation. Dissenting reports should be based on an evaluation of the record and should be submitted to the department head before the dossier is forwarded to the dean or to the dean before the deadline for dossiers to be submitted to the dean’s office for review by the collegiate or intercollegiate tenure and promotion committee. Dissenting statements must become part of the dossier and must be available to the candidate at the same time they are sent to the department head, the departmental review committee, the college review committee, the dean, and the chief academic officer.
i. Right of the faculty member to respond. The faculty member may prepare a written response to the recommendation and vote of the faculty and/or to the department head’s recommendation and/or to any dissenting statements. The faculty member’s response becomes part of the dossier and must be available to the department head, the departmental review committee, the college or intercollegiate review committee, the dean, and the chief academic officer.
2) College Review. Reviews at the college level bring broader faculty and administrative judgments to bear and also monitor general standards of quality, equity, and adequacy of procedures used. Collegiate reviews are based on criteria for promotion and/or tenure as set forth in departmental and collegiate bylaws and this handbook.
a. The college or intercollegiate review committee. College review committees shall consist of members of the faculty selected by procedures outlined in collegiate bylaws. A faculty member serving on the college review committee shall recuse himself or herself from the discussion of a colleague from his or her department in the college review committee and shall not participate in the college review committee vote on that faculty member.
(1) A college with a small number of departments will provide for the constitution of the college review committee in the collegiate bylaws in a manner suitable to the context.
(2) Colleges without departments, including the University Libraries, will form an intercollegiate review committee. The composition of the committee will be determined by the colleges and their faculty.
(3) The college or intercollegiate review committee shall prepare a summary of its recommendation for each candidate along with a record of the committee vote and submit these documents to the dean. The committee summary and vote become part of the dossier. This written recommendation must be made available to the candidate at the same time it is sent to the dean so that the candidate has an opportunity to respond to the recommendation.
b. The dean’s review. The recommendation of the college or intercollegiate review committee is advisory to the dean. The dean of the college shall prepare a letter providing an independent recommendation and summary explanation for the recommendation based on his or her review and evaluation of the materials in the dossier and provide it to the faculty member at the same time it is included in the dossier. The dean’s letter becomes part of the dossier.
c. Right of the faculty member to respond. The faculty member may prepare a written response to the recommendation and vote of the college or intercollegiate review committee and/or the dean’s recommendation. The faculty member’s response becomes part of the dossier and must be available to the chief academic officer.
3) Campus Review. Review at the campus level will involve similar but less detailed evaluations and, in addition, will provide an essential campus-wide perspective. Campus-level review is based on criteria for promotion and/or tenure as set forth in departmental and collegiate bylaws and this handbook.
a. Review by the chief academic officer. The chief academic officer will review each dossier and prepare a letter providing an independent recommendation and summary explanation for the recommendation based on his or her review and evaluation of the materials in the dossier and provide it to the faculty member at the same time it is included in the dossier. The chief academic officer’s letter becomes part of the dossier.
(1) Right of the faculty member to respond. The faculty member may prepare a written response to the chief academic officer’s recommendation. The faculty member’s response becomes part of the dossier and must be available to the chancellor.
b. Review by the chancellor: All tenure recommendations of the chief academic officer, whether positive or negative, shall be reviewed by the chancellor. After making an independent judgment on the tenure candidacy, the chancellor shall forward only positive recommendations, with a summary explanation for the recommendation, to the president, with a copy provided to the tenure candidate at the same time.
4) President’s action or recommendation: The president acts only on the chancellor’s positive recommendation for tenure. If the president concurs in the positive recommendation, he or she shall grant tenure if he or she is authorized to do so, and the chancellor shall give the faculty member written notice of the effective date of tenure. If only the Board is authorized to grant tenure, the president shall submit the recommendation to grant tenure, and summary explanation for the recommendation, to the Board of Trustees. If the president does not concur in the positive recommendation of the chancellor, the chancellor shall give the faculty member written notice that tenure will not be awarded.
5) Action by the Board of Trustees when required: Only the Board of Trustees is authorized to grant tenure in certain cases specified in Article III.B of the Board Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure. In those cases, the Board of Trustees acts only on the president’s positive recommendation for tenure. After positive action by the Board of Trustees to grant tenure, the president shall give the faculty member written notice of the effective date of tenure.
3.11.7 Location of Tenure
Tenure at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is granted in a particular academic unit (e.g. department, school) in a position appropriate to the faculty member’s qualifications. Reorganizations that result in the merger or splitting of academic units do not affect the tenure or probationary status of the faculty involved. Tenured faculty members in such reorganization will have tenure in the new unit or program to which they are assigned.
If a tenured faculty member voluntarily transfers from one University of Tennessee campus to another, his or her tenure status is not transferred. However, a review by the responsible administrators in consultation with the tenured faculty of the receiving department may result in an immediate recommendation to the Board of Trustees that tenure at the new campus be granted to the transferred individual; on the other hand, a new probationary period in the receiving unit may be established. There shall be no involuntary transfer of faculty members between campuses.
Voluntary transfers of tenure between departments at UTK do not require board approval but must be approved by the responsible campus administrator in consultation with the tenured faculty of the receiving unit, with notice to the board of trustees. In any event, prior to the effective date of the transfer all conditions relating to tenure must be documented and accepted, in writing, by the transferring faculty member. If a tenure‑track faculty member transfers from one existing department to another, a new probationary period must be established and documented under the same guidelines that would be followed if the faculty member came from another institution. All conditions relating to the new probationary period must be documented and accepted, in writing, by the transferring faculty member.
If a tenured faculty member accepts a part‑time faculty position at UTK or an administrative position with UTK or university‑wide administration, neither of which can carry tenure, the faculty member retains tenure in the full‑time faculty position he or she vacated.
3.11.8 Termination of Tenure
22.214.171.124 Grounds for Termination
- Relinquishment or forfeiture of tenure. A tenured faculty member relinquishes tenure upon resignation or retirement from the university. A tenured faculty member forfeits tenure upon taking an unauthorized leave of absence or failing to resume the duties of his or her position following an approved leave of absence. Forfeiture results in automatic termination of employment. The chief academic officer shall give the faculty member written notice of the forfeiture of tenure and termination of employment. The faculty member may appeal this action under the general appeals procedures outlined in Chapter 5.
- Extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances warranting termination of tenure may involve either financial exigency or academic program discontinuance. In the case of financial exigency, the criteria and procedures outlined in the board approved UT Knoxville Financial Exigency Plan shall be followed. In the case of academic program discontinuance, the termination of tenured faculty may take place only after consultation with the faculty through appropriate committees of the department, the college, and the Faculty Senate.If termination of tenured faculty positions becomes necessary because of financial exigency or academic program discontinuance, the campus administration shall attempt to place each displaced tenured faculty member in another suitable position. This does not require that a faculty member be placed in a position for which he or she is not qualified, that a new position be created where no need exists, or that a faculty member (tenured or non‑tenured) in another department be terminated in order to provide a vacancy for a displaced tenured faculty member. The position of any tenured faculty member displaced because of financial exigency or academic program discontinuance shall not be filled within three years, unless the displaced faculty member has been offered reinstatement in writing and a reasonable time in which to accept or decline the offer.
Tenured faculty given notice of termination because of financial exigency may appeal termination in accordance with the provisions of the UT Knoxville Financial Exigency Plan. Tenured faculty given notice of termination because of academic program discontinuance may appeal termination in accordance with the general appeal procedures outlined in Chapter 5.
- Adequate Cause. Adequate cause for terminating a tenured faculty member means the following:
- Unsatisfactory Performance in Teaching, Research, or Service, which includes the following and similar types of unsatisfactory performance:
- failure to demonstrate professional competence in teaching, research, or service;
- failure to perform satisfactorily the duties or responsibilities of the faculty position, including but not limited to failure to comply with a lawful directive of the department head, dean, or chief academic officer with respect to the faculty member’s duties or responsibilities;
- inability to perform an essential function of the faculty position, given reasonable accommodation, if requested;
- loss of professional licensure if licensure is required for the performance of the faculty member’s duties;
- loss of appointment (or substantive alteration of the faculty member’s work) with an affiliated entity unless approved in advance by the chief academic officer (or designee) (for example, loss of employment with an affiliated medical practice group or loss of “joint faculty” support from Oak Ridge National Laboratory);
- as specified in Appendix D, paragraph 3, of the Board Policies on Academic Freedom, Responsibility and Tenure, cessation of employment with an external entity / primary employer if tenure was granted contingent upon remaining employed by the external entity / primary employer; or
- dishonesty or other serious violation of professional ethics or responsibility in teaching, research, or service; or serious violation of professional responsibility in relations with students, employees, or members of the community.
- Misconduct, which includes the following and similar types of misconduct:
- failure or persistent neglect to comply with university policies, procedures, rules, or other regulations, including but not limited to violation of the university’s policies against discrimination and harassment;
- falsification of a university record, including but not limited to information concerning the faculty member’s qualifications for a position or promotion;
- theft or misappropriation of university funds, property, services, or other resources;
- admission of guilt or conviction of (1) a felony, or (ii) a non‑felony directly related to the fitness of a faculty member to engage in teaching, research, service, or administration; or
- any misconduct directly related to the fitness of the faculty member to engage in teaching, research, service, or administration.
- Unsatisfactory Performance in Teaching, Research, or Service, which includes the following and similar types of unsatisfactory performance: