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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Academic Freedom, Responsibility, & Tenure at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology : 5:02:03:10

Policy/Guideline Area

Personnel Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding academic freedom, responsibility, and tenure at Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Definitions

The following are general definitions of words and terms used in this policy which are not hereinafter specifically defined; however, the words and terms are subject to further qualification and definition in the subsequent sections of this policy.

  • Academic Tenure - a personnel status in a college of applied technology pursuant to which the appointments of full- time faculty who have been awarded tenure are continued at a college until the expiration or relinquishment of that status, subject to termination for adequate cause, for financial exigency, or for curricular reasons.
  • Adequate Cause - a basis upon which a faculty member, either with academic tenure or on a tenure-track or temporary appointment prior to the end of the specified term of the appointment, may be dismissed or terminated. The specific grounds which constitute adequate cause are set forth in Section N.
  • Financial Exigency - the formal declaration by the Tennessee Board of Regents that colleges of applied technology face an imminent financial crisis, that there is a current or projected absence of sufficient funds (appropriated or non- appropriated) for the colleges as a whole to maintain current programs and activities at a level sufficient to fulfill their educational goals and priorities, and that the budget can only be balanced by extraordinary means which include the termination of existing and continuing academic and non- academic appointments.
  • Faculty Member - a full-time employee who holds academic rank as Associate Instructor, Instructor, Senior Instructor, or Master Instructor; and, for purposes of this policy, who meets the minimum requirements for tenure in Section C and whose responsibilities primarily include instruction.
  • Probationary Employment - a period of full-time professional service by a faculty member for whom an appointment letter denotes a tenure-track appointment in which he/she does not have tenure and in which he/she is evaluated by the college for the purpose of determining his/her satisfaction of the criteria for a recommendation for tenure.
  • Temporary Appointment, Tenure-track Appointment, Tenure Appointment and Term Appointment - these four types of faculty appointments are defined in Section III.D. of this policy.

Policy/Guideline

  1. Introduction
    1. The following policy of the Tennessee Board of Regents on academic freedom, responsibility, and tenure is applicable to all colleges of applied technology governed by the Board. It should be incorporated in those personnel policy manuals by which each college normally communicates policies to its faculty.
  2. Academic Freedom and Responsibility
    1. The Board recognizes the principle of academic freedom, pursuant to which:
      1. The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, being careful not to introduce into the teaching controversial matter which has no relation to the subject;
      2. The faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his/her other academic duties; but research for pecuniary gain must be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the college; and
      3. The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a man or woman of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge the profession and the college by the faculty member's utterances. Hence, a faculty member should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he/she does not speak for the college.
    2. Academic freedom is essential to fulfill the ultimate objectives of an educational institution - the free search for and exposition of truth - and applies to both teaching and research.
    3. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth, and academic freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty member in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning.
    4. Implicit in the principle of academic freedom are the corollary responsibilities of the faculty who enjoy that freedom.
      1. Incompetence, indolence, intellectual dishonesty, serious moral dereliction, arbitrary and capricious disregard of standards of professional conduct - these and other grounds as set forth in Section III.N. may constitute adequate cause for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions against faculty members subject to the provisions of Article III.
    5. The right to academic freedom imposes upon the faculty an equal obligation to take appropriate professional action against faculty members who are derelict in discharging their professional responsibilities.
    6. Thus, academic freedom and academic responsibility are interdependent, and academic tenure is adopted as a means to protect the former while promoting the latter. While academic tenure is essential for the protection of academic freedom, all faculty members, tenured or non- tenured, have an equal right to academic freedom and bear the same academic responsibilities implicit in that freedom.
  3. Policy on Academic Tenure
    1. Academic Tenure
      1. Tenure is a personnel status pursuant to which faculty appointments in a college of applied technology are continued until retirement for age or physical or mental disability, subject to dismissal for adequate cause or unavoidable termination on account of financial exigency or curricular reasons.
      2. Tenure is awarded only by positive action by the Board, pursuant to the requirements and procedures of this policy, at a specific college.
      3. The awarding of tenure is recognition of the merit of a faculty member and of the assumption that he/she would meet the long-term staffing needs of the college. It is only awarded to those members of the faculty who have exhibited professional excellence and outstanding abilities sufficient to demonstrate that their future services and performances justify the degree of permanence afforded by academic tenure.
    2. The Tennessee Board of Regents does not award tenure in non-faculty positions.
      1. Notwithstanding the above, this section shall not be interpreted as diminishing the rights of non-faculty employees previously awarded tenure in positions at the state technical institutes or colleges of applied technology by the Board of Education, whose rights are governed by TBR Policy on Tenure in Non-Faculty Positions (5:02:03:20).
    3. Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Consideration for Academic Tenure
      1. The following statements clarify minimum eligibility requirements for consideration for academic tenure:
        1. Academic tenure may only be awarded to full-time faculty members who;
          1. Hold academic rank as Instructor, Senior Instructor, or Master Instructor;
          2. Have been employed pursuant to tenure-track appointments and have completed not less than the minimum probationary period of service; and
          3. Have been determined by the college of applied technology to meet the criteria for recommendation for tenure and have been so recommended pursuant to this policy.
      2. A faculty member holding the rank of Associate Instructor is not eligible to be awarded tenure.
        1. If an Associate Instructor is not promoted prior to the end of the probationary period, he/she will not be reviewed for tenure. All regulations concerning maximum probationary period will apply (see III.E.1).
      3. Faculty holding temporary appointments or term appointments are not eligible for tenure.
      4. Faculty members supported in whole or in part by funds available to the college on a short-term basis, such as grants, contracts, or foundation sponsored projects, shall not be eligible for tenure unless continuing support for such members can be clearly identified in the regular budget of the college upon the recommendation of tenure to the Board.
      5. No faculty member shall be eligible for tenure in an administrative position; provided that where a faculty member with tenure is appointed to an administrative position, he/she will retain tenure in a former faculty position only; and provided further that a faculty member otherwise eligible for tenure who also holds an administrative position may be awarded tenure in the faculty position only, subject to the requirements of this policy.
    4. Types of Appointments
      1. There are four types of faculty appointments: temporary appointments, tenure-track appointments, tenure appointments and term appointments.
        1. Temporary appointments are appointments for a specific purpose for a time appropriate to that purpose or for an unspecified period, which appointments may be terminated according to the terms of the appointments.
          1. Temporary appointments that are full-time should be called Interim Instructor; others should be designated Part-time Instructor.
          2. Temporary appointments ordinarily should be used to replace regular faculty on leave of absence, and faculty employed pursuant to grants or for projects funded in whole or in part by non-appropriated funds.
          3. In addition, temporary appointments may be used for faculty employed on the basis of state appropriated funds in areas where the permanent and continued need for the position has not been established, provided that such appointments shall not be in excess of three academic years.
        2. Tenure-track appointments are appointments for regular full-time faculty with academic rank. They are for faculty who are employed in a probationary period of employment preliminary to consideration for tenure.
          1. Tenure-track appointments shall not include any right to permanent or continuous employment, shall not create any manner of legal right, interest or expectancy of renewal or any other type of appointment, and shall be subject to annual renewal by the college.
        3. Tenure appointments are appointments of full-time faculty who have been awarded tenure by the Board pursuant to the provisions of this policy.
          1. Tenure appointments include the assurance of continued employment for the academic year for an indefinite period, subject to expiration, relinquishment or termination of tenure as hereinafter provided.
          2. Tenure appointments do not include assurance of continued employment at any specific salary or position.
        4. Term appointments are provided only for faculty at colleges of applied technology. They are non-tenure appointments in a traditional rank (e.g., associate instructor, instructor, etc.) for a fixed period of no more than one (1) year and may be renewed with no presumed maximum number of re-appointments.
    5. Probationary Employment
      1. Untenured faculty may be employed on annual tenure-track appointments for a maximum probationary period which may not exceed seven years. A recommendation for tenure of a faculty member following a probationary period of not less than five years may be made by the director of a college; provided that exceptions to the minimum probationary period may be made under special circumstances upon recommendation by the director and the Chancellor and approval by the Board.
      2. The minimum probationary period of five years may include credit for prior service when agreed to by the director and subject to the maximum permissible credit for prior service, pursuant to Section III.G.
      3. Employment in part-time positions or during periods of leaves of absence (except in the circumstance described in 4 below) shall not be credited toward satisfying the probationary period.
      4. Only full-time continuous service at a college will be included in determining completion of the probationary period, except where a break in service was pursuant to an approved leave of absence.
        1. The period of approved leave of absence shall be excluded from the requisite period for completion of the probationary period unless the director of the college specifies in writing prior to the leave of absence that it shall be included in the probationary period.
        2. In no case may more than one year of approved absence be included in determining completion of the probationary period.
      5. Where a faculty member is appointed to an administrative position prior to being awarded tenure at the college, if he/she maintains a significant involvement in teaching, the time or a prorated portion of the time spent in the administrative position may be credited toward completion of the probationary period. The director has final responsibility for determining what constitutes "significant involvement in teaching."
    6. Non-Renewal of Non-tenured Faculty
      1. When the tenure-track appointment of a faculty member is not to be renewed for a subsequent year, the faculty member shall receive notice of his/her non-retention for the ensuing year by April 15. Notice of non-renewal shall be effective upon personal delivery of the notice to the faculty member, or upon the date the notice is mailed, postage prepaid, to the faculty member at his/her current home address of record at the institution.
      2. When a faculty member on a tenure-track appointment completes the sixth year of the probationary period, the faculty member will either be recommended for tenure by the director or will be given notice of non-renewal of the appointment following the seventh year of service. Such notice of non-renewal will be given not later than June 30 of the sixth academic year. The faculty member's right in an instance where timely notice is not given is described in Section I.
      3. Faculty members on tenure-track appointments shall not be terminated during the annual specified term of the appointment except for reasons which would be sufficient for the termination of tenured faculty.
      4. The non-renewal or non-reappointment of any faculty member on a tenure-track appointment does not necessarily carry an implication that his/her work or conduct has been unsatisfactory. A faculty member whose tenure-track appointment is not renewed shall be given an oral statement of the reason(s) for the non-renewal by the director or his/her designated representative(s).
      5. The institution shall provide the non-renewed faculty member an opportunity to discuss his/her case. Responsibility for providing that opportunity resides with the director (or his/her designee).
    7. Credit for Prior Service
      1. Credit toward completion of the probationary period may, in the discretion of the director, be given for a maximum of three years of previous full-time service at other colleges of applied technology or similar teaching assignments, provided that the prior service is relevant to the college's own needs and criteria.
        1. Any credit for prior service which is recognized and agreed to must be confirmed in writing at the time of the initial appointment.
      2. Credit toward completion of the probationary period may, in the discretion of the director, be given for a maximum of three years of previous full-time service in a temporary faculty appointment or term appointment at the same college (see Type of Appointments, Section III.D1) or in an earlier tenure-track appointment at the same college which has been followed by a break in service.
        1. Any credit for prior service in a temporary full-time faculty appointment at the same college or in an earlier tenure-track appointment (at the same college) which has been followed by a break in service must be recognized and confirmed in writing in the appointment letter to a tenure-track position.
    8. Criteria to be Considered in Tenure Recommendations
      1. The tenure-track faculty member being considered for tenure must be assessed with respect to the following criteria:
        1. Evidence of teaching effectiveness in the occupation being taught.
        2. Evidence of an on-going commitment to remaining current in the occupation being taught.
        3. Evidence of service to the college and the community in furthering the goals of the college of applied technology.
        4. Demonstrated potential for continuous professional growth.
        5. Participation in professional activities, including membership and leadership in professional organizations supportive of the goals of vocational-technical education.
        6. Projected staffing needs in the teaching area and in the college as a whole.
        7. Ability to set and achieve clear objectives that are shared by the college.
    9. Tenure Appointments: Authority to Grant
      1. No faculty member shall be entitled to or acquire any interest in a tenure appointment at a college without a recommendation for tenure by the director of the college and an affirmative award of tenure by the Board of Regents.
      2. No other person shall have any authority to make any representation concerning tenure to any faculty member; and failure to give timely notice of non-renewal of a contract shall not result in the acquisition of a tenure appointment, but shall result in the right of the faculty member to another year of service at the college.
    10. Expiration of Tenure
      1. Tenure status shall expire upon retirement of the faculty member.
      2. Tenure shall also expire upon the event of permanent physical or mental inability of a faculty member, as established by an appropriate medical authority, to continue to perform his/her essential functions.
    11. Relinquishment of Tenure
      1. A faculty member shall relinquish or waive his/her right to tenure upon resignation from the college or upon willful failure to report for service at the designated date of the beginning of any academic term, which shall be deemed to be a resignation unless, in the opinion of the director, the faculty member has shown good cause for such failure to report.
      2. Tenure shall not be relinquished during periods of approved leaves of absence or during periods of service in administrative positions at the college.
    12. Termination of Tenure for Reasons of Financial Exigency
      1. A tenured faculty member may be terminated as a result of financial exigency subject to Board declaration that such financial conditions exist.
      2. Personnel decisions (including those pertaining to tenured faculty) that result from a declaration of financial exigency at colleges of applied technology will comply with the provisions here stated.
        1. The definition of financial exigency that applies to colleges of applied technology appears in Definitions.
      3. Financial exigency results from an imminent fiscal crisis characterizing the colleges of applied technology in the Tennessee Board of Regents System; thus, the condition of financial exigency may not be declared at a level below that of the aggregate colleges of applied technology (e.g., it may not be declared at the level of an individual college of applied technology).
        1. In light of the gravity of consequences resulting from a declaration of financial exigency, the process leading to recommendation to the Tennessee Board of Regents that financial exigency be declared must be cautious, fair, well informed, and as responsive as possible to the interests of various segments of the colleges.
      4. The responsibility for initiating the proposal for declaration of financial exigency resides with the Chancellor.
        1. Since recommending the declaration of financial exigency is an extreme measure, that responsibility requires the Chancellor to provide all appropriate assurances and documentation that available and reasonable procedures to reduce the expenditure levels of the colleges are exhausted and that no efforts have been spared to enhance revenues.
      5. If his/her review supports the conclusion that conditions warrant a declaration of financial exigency, the Chancellor shall so recommend to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
        1. That review should include significant participation by the directors of the individual college of applied technology.
        2. In addition to providing the Tennessee Board of Regents with a recommendation to declare financial exigency, the Chancellor shall also submit a statement of findings and conclusions which shall include at least the following:
          1. A description of the current fiscal condition of the colleges, including the projected amount of deficit that would result from failure to declare financial exigency.
          2. A projection of the fiscal condition that would result, in the opinion of the Chancellor, from general types of action anticipated to be taken subsequent to a declaration of financial exigency.
          3. An analysis of the reason for the current imminent fiscal crisis characterizing the institutions, specifying with appropriate documentation those identifiable factors contributing to the crisis.
          4. A statement of assurance, with supporting evidence, that available and reasonable procedures to reduce expenditure levels of the colleges are exhausted, that further retrenchment within existing policies is not compatible with the objective of assuring maximum protection for the academic programs of the colleges and the educational needs of students, and that efforts to enhance revenues have been carried out in a responsible manner.
          5. A transmittal of any advice, alternatives, or information submitted in writing by individual directors from colleges of applied technology.
      6. Should the Tennessee Board of Regents formally declare a state of financial exigency, the Chancellor shall in a reasonable time and with appropriate documentation initiate a proposed plan to allocate necessary funding reductions among the individual colleges of applied technology. The following procedures shall be followed:
        1. The Chancellor shall convene a Financial Exigency Committee, the composition of which shall be broadly representative of all personnel constituencies in colleges of applied technology.
        2. The Chancellor's proposed plan for allocating necessary funding reductions to individual colleges of applied technology shall be reviewed by the Financial Exigency Committee. The Committee shall review the amounts of proposed reductions and evaluate proposed reductions in the light of college priorities. It shall also consider the magnitude of proposed reductions in the light of factors prescribed by applicable state or federal laws regarding fair employment practices.
          1. The Chancellor shall consider any alternatives recommended by the Committee and - within thirty days - shall indicate to the Committee a final decision relative to the internal allocation of necessary funding reductions. This final plan should be communicated broadly to all personnel constituencies.
        3. The Chancellor shall submit the plan - together with any analysis he/she may deem appropriate - to the Tennessee Board of Regents as information. He/she shall also submit to the Board any written response to the plan from the Financial Exigency Committee.
      7. Following declaration by the Tennessee Board of Regents that a condition of financial exigency exists, the directors are authorized to carry out those actions, including reduction-in- force, which are included in the Chancellor's plan. Reduction-in-force under this policy may include any personnel classification, including tenured faculty members or probationary faculty members prior to the end of their terms of appointment.
        1. The procedures for termination described in this Section of the policy are in force only during a period in which the Tennessee Board of Regents has declared a condition of financial exigency.
        2. An individual selected for termination shall receive prompt written notification from the director. That notification shall include the following:
          1. A statement of the basis on which the individual was selected for termination;
          2. An indication of the data or reasons supporting the choice if it is not a clearly defined factor such as rank or tenure status;
          3. A statement of the date on which the termination is to become effective; and
          4. A copy of the declaration of financial exigency adopted by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
        3. An individual who receives notice of termination may appeal the decision under the conditions indicated in this Section. That appeal will be directed to a Hearing Committee, which shall be appointed by the Chancellor to represent broadly personnel constituencies at colleges of applied technology.
        4. The Hearing Committee shall ensure prompt hearings that are thorough and fair but need not be judicial in nature. Strict rules of procedure (e.g., confrontation, cross-examination, and formal rules of evidence) need not be required.
        5. The following conditions constitute grounds for appeal by an individual of notice of termination:
          1. That established college procedures or provisions of this policy were not followed.
          2. That appropriate criteria were not applied, including but not limited to the allegation that his/her selection constituted a violation of the individual's academic freedom or that unfounded or arbitrary assumptions of fact were made.
        6. The Hearing Committees shall not review the decision concerning the declaration of financial exigency or the Chancellor's plan for the amount of reduction to be assumed by colleges of applied technology.
        7. A recommendation will be sent from the Hearing Committee to the Chancellor recommending that he/she uphold or reverse the action of termination, and the Chancellor will inform the Hearing Committee and the individual of his/her final decision on the recommendation.
        8. The final decision of the Chancellor may be appealed to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
      8. No vacancy caused by a termination under conditions of financial exigency shall be filled for a period of three years from the time of notice of termination without first offering the position to the person terminated (faculty or non-faculty), provided that the person terminated keeps the college informed of his/her current mailing address. If the person previously terminated is offered the position and accepts, he/she will be returned in the same rank and tenure status.
      9. If the financial health of the colleges improves sufficiently, the Chancellor shall initiate a proposal for the termination of a declared state of financial exigency. The policies and procedures established by this policy shall continue in effect during the period of a state of financial exigency. At the termination of a declared state, that action by the Tennessee Board of Regents shall cause all policies, procedures, and bodies created in this policy for the sole purpose of making and implementing exigency decisions to cease to exist.
    13. Termination of Tenure for Curricular Reasons
      1. The employment of a tenured faculty member may be terminated because;
        1. A program is deleted from the curriculum;
        2. Because of substantial and continued reduction of student enrollment in a field; or
        3. Because staff reduction is warranted as a result of courses or curricula within a college being reorganized or consolidated.
          1. Responsibility for determining that one of these conditions exists resides with the director, but the Chancellor must be informed and so acknowledged before termination proceedings for curricular reasons are initiated.
      2. Upon determining that termination of one or more tenured faculty members is required for one or more of the three reasons cited above, the director shall furnish each faculty member to be terminated a written statement of the reasons for the termination.
        1. Those reasons shall address fully the curricular circumstances that warranted the termination and shall indicate the manner and the information upon which the decision of which faculty members were to be terminated was reached.
        2. The director's written statement shall also indicate that the faculty member has the opportunity to respond in writing stating any objections to the decision.
      3. If the faculty member(s) to be terminated indicate objections to the director's written statement(s) and request(s) a review, the director may appoint a faculty committee consisting of a minimum of five tenured faculty members; that committee shall conduct a hearing on the proposed termination(s).
        1. The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the director, who shall in a reasonable time inform in writing the faculty member(s) proposed for termination either that the decision for termination stands or that it has been altered.
      4. The director's decision to terminate a tenured faculty member for curricular reasons is subject to appeal to the Chancellor and the Board as provided in the policy on appeals to the Board (Policy No. 1:02:11:00).
      5. When a tenured faculty member is terminated for curricular reasons, the position will not be filled by a new appointee with the same areas of specialization as the terminated faculty member within a period of three (3) years unless the terminated faculty member has been offered, in writing, reappointment to the position at his/her previous rank and salary (with the addition of an appropriate increase which, in the opinion of the director, would constitute the raise that would have been awarded during the period that he/she was not employed).
      6. Upon determining that termination of one or more tenured faculty members is warranted for curricular reasons, the director should base his/her decision about which faculty member(s) should be terminated upon his/her assessment as to what action would lease seriously compromise the educational programs in a department or a division.
        1. Termination for curricular reasons presumes a staffing pattern in a college of applied technology which cannot be warranted either by comparison with general load practices within the college or by comparison with faculty loads in comparable colleges.
        2. In that light, the director shall also, in his/her discretion, base his/her decision on a careful assessment of the impact of the curricular reason on staffing requirements in the college of applied technology as compared to overall patterns in the college and to other colleges similar enough to warrant assessment.
      7. When a tenured faculty member is to be terminated for curricular reasons, the director will make every possible effort to relocate the tenured faculty member in another existing vacant position for which he/she is qualified. The final decision on relocation is within the discretion of the director.
    14. Termination for Adequate Cause
      1. A faculty member with tenure or a faculty member on a tenure-track appointment prior to the end of the term appointment may be terminated for adequate cause, which includes the following:
        1. Incompetence or dishonesty in teaching or research.
        2. Willful failure to perform the duties and responsibilities, for which the faculty member was employed, or refusal or continued failure to comply with the policies of the Board, the college or the department, or to carry out specific assignments, when such policies or assignments are reasonable and non- discriminatory.
        3. Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
        4. Improper use of narcotics or intoxicants, which substantially impairs the faculty member's fulfillment of his/her departmental and college duties and responsibilities.
        5. Capricious disregard of accepted standards of professional conduct.
        6. Falsification of information on an employment application or other information concerning qualifications for a position.
        7. Failure to maintain the level of professional excellence and ability demonstrated by other members of the faculty in the department or division of the college.
    15. Procedures for Termination for Adequate Cause
      1. Termination of a faculty member with a tenure appointment, or with a tenure-track or temporary appointment prior to the annual specified term of the appointment, shall be subject to the following procedures:
        1. No termination shall be effective until steps 4 through 10 below have been completed.
      2. Suspensions pending termination shall be governed by the following procedure.
        1. A faculty member may not be suspended pending completion of steps 4 through 10 unless it is determined by the institution that the faculty member's presence poses a danger to persons or property or a threat of destruction to the academic or operational processes of the institution. Reassignment of responsibilities is not considered suspension; however, the faculty member must be reassigned responsibilities for which he/she is qualified.
        2. In any case of suspension, the faculty member shall be given an opportunity at the time of the decision or immediately thereafter to contest the suspension; and, if there are disputed issues of fact or cause and effect, the faculty member shall be provided the opportunity for a hearing on the suspension as soon as possible at which time the faculty member may cross- examine his/her accuser, present witnesses on his/her behalf and be represented by an attorney. Thereafter, whether the suspension is upheld or revoked, the matter shall proceed pursuant to these procedures.
      3. Except for such simple announcements as may be required concerning the time of proceedings and similar matters, public statements and publicity about these proceedings by either the faculty member or administrative officers will be avoided so far as possible until the proceedings have been completed, including consideration by the Board.
      4. Upon a recommendation by the director or upon a decision by the director that these procedures should be undertaken in consideration of the termination of a tenured faculty member, one or more appropriate administrators shall meet privately with the faculty member for purposes of attempting to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the problems giving rise to the proposed termination proceedings.
      5. If a mutual resolution is not reached under step 4, the director shall appoint a faculty committee consisting of tenured faculty members, whose appointments should be, but are not required to be, agreed to by the faculty member. The faculty committee shall conduct an informal inquiry of the facts giving rise to the proposed termination and seek a mutually acceptable resolution. Should no such resolution be reached, the committee shall recommend to the director whether in its opinion further proceedings should be taken in pursuit of the termination. The recommendation shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by reasons for the recommendation. The committee's recommendation shall not be binding on the director.
      6. If no mutually acceptable resolution is reached through step 5 and/or if after consideration of the faculty committee's recommendation the director determines that further proceedings are warranted to consider termination, the following steps shall be taken.
        1. The faculty member shall be provided with a written statement of the specific charges alleged by the institution which constitute grounds for termination and a notice of hearing specifying the time, date, and place of the hearing. The statement and notice must be provided at least twenty (20) days prior to the date of the hearing. The faculty member shall respond to the charges in writing at least five (5) days prior to the hearing. The faculty member may waive the hearing by execution of a written waiver.
        2. A committee consisting of members of faculty or faculty and administration shall be appointed to hear the case and to determine if adequate cause for termination exists according to the procedure hereinafter described. The committee shall be appointed by the director and the officially recognized faculty senate, assembly or advisory committee, with each appointing the number of members designated by the policy of the institution. The committee may not include any member of the faculty committee referred to in 5 above. Members deeming themselves disqualified for bias or interest shall remove themselves from the case, either at the request of a party or on their own initiative. Members of the committee shall not discuss the case outside committee deliberations and shall report any ex-parte communication pertaining to the hearing to the director who shall notify all parties of the communication.
      7. The hearing committee shall elect a chairperson who shall direct the proceedings and rule on procedural matters, including the granting of reasonable extensions of time at the request of any party and upon the showing of good cause for the extension.
      8. The chairman of the hearing committee may in his/her discretion require a joint pre-hearing conference with the parties which may be held in person or by a conference telephone call. The pre-hearing conference may be for purposes which may include but is not limited to one or more of the following:
        1. Notification as to procedure for conduct of the hearing.
        2. Exchange of witness lists; documentary evidence; and affidavits.
        3. Define and clarify issues.
        4. Effect stipulations of fact.
          1. A written memorandum of the pre-hearing conference should be prepared and provided to each party.
      9. A hearing shall be conducted before the hearing committee to determine whether adequate cause for termination of the faculty member exists. The hearing shall be conducted according to the procedures below.
        1. During the hearing, the faculty member will be permitted to have an academic advisor present and may be represented by legal counsel of his/her choice.
        2. A verbatim record of the hearing will be taken and a typewritten copy will be made available to the faculty member, upon request, at the faculty member's expense.
        3. The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the institution and shall be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence and the record considered as a whole.
        4. The faculty member will be afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence. The administration will cooperate with the committee in securing witnesses and making available documentary and other evidence.
        5. The faculty member and the administration will have the right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses. Where the witnesses cannot or will not appear, but the committee determines that the interests of justice require admission of their statements, the committee will identify the witnesses, disclose their statements, and if possible, provide for interrogatories.
          1. An affidavit may be submitted in lieu of the personal appearance of a witness if the party offering the affidavit has provided a copy to the opposing party at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing and the opposing party has not objected to the admission of the affidavit in writing within (7) days after delivery of the affidavit or if the hearing officer determines that the admission of the affidavit is necessary to insure a just and fair decision.
        6. In a hearing on charges of incompetence, the testimony shall include that of qualified faculty members from the institution or other institutions of higher education.
        7. The hearing committee will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence and may admit any evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. Every possible effort will be made to obtain the most reliable evidence available.
        8. The findings of fact and the report will be based solely on the hearing record.
        9. The director and the faculty member will be provided a copy of the written committee report. The committee's written report shall specify findings of fact and shall state whether the committee has determined that adequate cause for termination exists and, if so, the specific grounds for termination found. In addition, the committee may recommend action less than dismissal. The report shall also specify any applicable policy the committee considered.
      10. After consideration of the committee's report and the record, the director shall notify the faculty member of his/her decision, which, if contrary to the committee's recommendation, shall be accompanied by a statement of the reasons.
        1. If the faculty member is terminated or suspended as a result of the director's decision, the faculty member may appeal the director's action to the Chancellor as provided in the policy on appeals (TBR Policy 1:02:11:00).
        2. Review of the appeal shall be based upon the record of hearing.
        3. If upon review of the record, the Chancellor notes objections regarding the termination and/or its proceedings, the matter will be returned to the director for reconsideration, taking into account the stated objections, and, in the discretion of the director, the case may be returned to the hearing committee for further proceedings. 

Sources

TBR Meeting, September 30, 1983; September 18, 1987; December 4, 1987; June 25, 1993; December 8, 2006; December 3, 2009.

Related Policies

Contact

Mickey Sheen
615-366-4437
mickey.sheen@tbr.edu