Board of Governors Policy 19 (Sections 8-17)
TITLE: ACADEMIC FREEDOM, PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PROMOTION, AND TENURE
SECTION 8. FACULTY RESIGNATIONS.
8.1. A faculty member desiring to terminate an existing appointment during or at the end of the academic year, or to decline re-appointment, shall give notice in writing at the earliest opportunity. Professional ethics dictate due consideration of the institution's need to have a full complement of faculty throughout the academic year.
SECTION 9. TENURE.
9.1. Tenure is designed to ensure academic freedom and to provide professional stability for the experienced faculty member. It is a means of protection against the capricious dismissal of an individual who has served faithfully and well in the academic community. Continuous self-evaluation, as well as regular evaluation by peer and administrative personnel, is essential to the viability of the tenure system. Tenure should never be permitted to mask irresponsibility, mediocrity, or deliberate refusal to meet academic requirements or professional duties and responsibilities. Tenure applies to those faculty members who qualify for it and is a means of making the profession attractive to persons of ability. The baccalaureate college and the community and technical college shall each maintain, in cooperation with the faculty or duly-elected representatives of the faculty, guidelines and criteria for the award of tenure. There shall be demonstrated evidence that tenure is based upon a wide range of criteria such as: excellence in teaching; publications and research; professional and scholarly activity and recognition; accessibility to students; adherence to professional standards of conduct; effective service to the institution, college and department; significant service to the community; experience in higher education and at the institution; possession of the earned doctorate, special competence, or the highest earned degree appropriate to the teaching field; continued professional growth; and service to the people of the State of West Virginia. Ultimate authority regarding the application of guidelines and criteria relating to tenure shall rest with the President.
9.2. In making tenure decisions, careful consideration shall be given to the tenure profile of the institution, projected enrollment patterns, staffing needs of the institution, current and projected mission of each department/division, specific academic competence of the faculty member, and preservation of opportunities for infusion of new talent. The President and academic officers shall be mindful of the dangers of losing internal flexibility and institutional accountability to the citizens of the State as the result of an overly tenured faculty.
9.3. For the community and technical college, in order to be fully responsive to the changing needs of their students and clients, the goal in the appointment of faculty is to limit the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty to no more than twenty percent of full-time faculty employed by the community and technical college.
9.3.1. Full-time term faculty are eligible for reappointment, although no number of appointments shall create any presumption of the right to appointment as tenure-track or tenured faculty. A single appointment shall not exceed three years.
9.3.2. The employment standing of tenured and tenure-track faculty holding appointment at the community and technical college at the time of the implementation of this policy shall not be affected.
9.4. Tenure shall not be granted automatically, or solely because of length of service, but shall result from action by the institution, following consultation with appropriate academic units.
9.5. Tenure may be granted at the time of the appointment by the President, following consultation with appropriate academic units.
9.6. Tenure may be attained only by faculty who hold the rank of Assistant Professor or above.
9.7. A faculty member who has been granted tenure shall receive yearly renewals of appointment unless dismissed or terminated for reasons set out in Sections 12, 13, or 14 below.
SECTION 10. TENURE-TRACK STATUS.
10.1. When a full-time faculty member is appointed on other than a clinical-track, librarian-track, term, or non-tenured-track or tenured basis, the appointment shall be tenure-track.
10.2. During the tenure-track period, the terms and conditions of every reappointment shall be stated in writing, with a copy of the agreement furnished the individual concerned.
10.3. The maximum period of tenure-track status normally shall not exceed seven years. Before completing the penultimate year (the "critical year") of a tenure-track appointment, any non-tenured faculty member shall be given written notice of tenure, or offered a one-year written terminal contract of employment. During the tenure-track period, faculty members may be granted tenured appointment before the sixth year of service, such appointment to be based upon criteria established by the institution and copies provided to the Policy Commission.
10.4. During the tenure-track period, contracts shall be issued on a year-to-year basis, and appointments may be terminated at the end of the contract year. During said tenure-track period, notices of non-reappointment may be issued for any reason that is not arbitrary, capricious, or without factual basis. Any documented information relating to the decision for non-retention or dismissal shall be provided promptly to the faculty member upon request.
10.5. After the decision regarding retention or non-retention for the ensuing year has been made by the President or designee, the tenure-track faculty member shall be notified in writing of the decision:
10.5.1. By letter post-marked and mailed no later than March 1 of the first academic year of service;
10.5.2. By letter post-marked and mailed no later than December 15 of the second academic year of service; and
10.5.3. By letter post-marked and mailed at least one year before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years of service in the institution.
10.5.4. Notice of non-retention shall be mailed "Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested."
10.5.5. Failure to provide timely notice of non-retention to tenure-track faculty would lead to the offer of renewal of appointment for an additional year, but would not prejudge further continuation after that additional year.
10.6. Faculty appointed at times other than the beginning of the academic year may choose to have those periods of appointment equal to or greater than half an academic year considered as a full year for tenure purposes only. Tenure-track appointments for less than half an academic year may not be considered time in probationary status.
10.7. Following receipt of the notice of non-retention, the faculty member may appeal such non-retention decision by requesting a statement of reasons and then filing a grievance as provided in Section 15 of this policy. The request for a statement of reasons shall be in writing and mailed to the President or designee within ten working days of receipt of the notice of non-retention.
SECTION 11. FACULTY EVALUATION.
11.1. All faculty shall receive a yearly written evaluation of performance directly related to duties and responsibilities as defined by the institution.
11.2. Evaluation procedures shall be maintained and published with other faculty personnel policies and a copy sent to the Policy Commission and filed in the Central Office. Such procedures must be multidimensional and include criteria such as peer evaluations, student evaluations, and evaluations by immediate supervisors.
SECTION 12. DISMISSAL.
12.1. Causes for Dismissal: The dismissal of a faculty member shall be effected only pursuant to the procedures provided in these policies and only for one or more of the following causes:
12.1.1. Demonstrated incompetence or dishonesty in the performance of professional duties, including but not limited to academic misconduct;
12.1.2. Conduct which directly and substantially impairs the individual's fulfillment of institutional responsibilities, including but not limited to verified instances of sexual harassment, or of racial, gender-related, or other discriminatory practices;
12.1.3. Insubordination by refusal to abide by legitimate reasonable directions of administrators;
12.1.4. Physical or mental disability for which no reasonable accommodation can be made, and which makes the faculty member unable, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty and by reasonably determined medical opinion, to perform assigned duties;
12.1.5. Substantial and manifest neglect of duty; and
12.1.6. Failure to return at the end of a leave of absence.
12.2. Notice of Dismissal for Cause: The institution shall initiate proceedings by giving the faculty member a written dismissal notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, which dismissal notice shall contain:
12.2.1. Full and complete statements of the charge or charges relied upon; and
12.2.2. A description of the appeal process available to the faculty member.
12.3. Prior to giving the faculty member a written dismissal notice, the President or designee shall notify the faculty member of the intent to give the written dismissal notice, the reasons for the dismissal, and the effective date of the dismissal. The faculty member shall have an opportunity to meet with the institutional designee prior to the effective date to refute the charges.
12.4. Faculty who refuse to sign or execute an offered annual contract or notice of appointment or reappointment by the date indicated by the institution for its execution, or who fail to undertake the duties under such document at a reasonable time, shall be deemed to have abandoned their employment with the institution and any rights to tenure or future appointment. Faculty objecting to terms of such document do not waive their objections to such terms by signing or executing the document.
SECTION 13. TERMINATION BECAUSE OF REDUCTION OR DISCONTINUANCE OF AN EXISTING PROGRAM.
13.1. A tenured or tenure-track faculty member's appointment may be terminated because of the reduction or discontinuance of an existing program at the institution as a result of a review of the program, in accordance with the appropriate rule relating to review of academic programs, provided no other program or position requiring equivalent competency exists. If, within two years following the reduction or discontinuance of a program, a position becomes vacant for which the faculty member is qualified, the institution shall make every effort to extend first refusal to the faculty member so terminated.
13.1.1. Every effort should be made to reassign an individual to instructional or non-instructional duties commensurate with the faculty member's training and experience, and offers of release time or leaves of absence should be made to enable such persons to acquire capabilities in areas in which their services would be required by the institution. Faculty development programs and funds should be used to facilitate such reassignments.
13.2. Institutional policy for accommodating major reduction in, or discontinuance of, an existing program shall be developed through a collaborative assessment by representatives of administration and faculty, approved by the Board, and reported to the Policy Commission prior to implementation.
13.3. Notice of Non-retention Because of Program Reduction or Discontinuance: The institution shall initiate proceedings by giving a faculty member written notice of such non-retention by certified mail, return receipt requested.
13.4. The dates of formal notification for tenured and tenure-track faculty shall be those specified in Section 10 of this policy.
SECTION 14. TERMINATION DUE TO FINANCIAL EXIGENCY.
14.1. Termination of Employment Due to Financial Exigency: A faculty member's appointment may be terminated because of a financial exigency, as defined and determined by the Board. Institutional plans for meeting a financial exigency shall be developed through a collaborative assessment by representatives of administration and faculty, approved by the Board, and reported to the Policy Commission prior to implementation. Institutions should utilize appropriate program change policies.
14.2. Notice of Termination Due to Financial Exigency: The institution shall initiate proceedings by giving the faculty member written notice of termination by certified mail, return receipt requested, which notice shall contain:
14.2.1. A delineation of the rationale used for the determination of a financial exigency;
14.2.2. A copy of the implementation procedures used by the institution related to the financial exigency and a delineation of the rationale used for the termination of the faculty member; and
14.2.3. A description of the appeal process available to the faculty member.
14.3. To the extent financially feasible, the dates of formal notification for tenured and tenure-track faculty shall be those specified in Section 10 of this policy.
SECTION 15. FACULTY GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE.
15.1. A faculty member wishing to grieve or appeal any action of the institution or Governing Board may utilize the procedures set out in W. Va. Code §29-6A.
SECTION 16. INFORMAL PROCEDURES FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION.
16.1. The President may provide alternative procedures to those set out in West Virginia Code §29-6A for the resolution of conflicts.
SECTION 17. NOTIFICATION OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF FACULTY APPOINTMENTS
17.1. When an initial appointment is made, or when the conditions of the appointment change, it is crucial that the faculty member be fully informed of the terms and conditions of employment. Therefore, a formal contract will be utilized each year to notify faculty about their appointments.
17.1.1 The community and technical college may offer each year to their full-time term faculty contracts of up to three years duration, subject to the conditions stated in Sections 3, 4 and 9 of this policy.
17.2. The letter of appointment or contract should state the following:
17.2.1. That the appointment (to the specified position) is offered in accordance with the provisions of institutional policy, and of the institution's faculty handbook.
17.2.2. That the appointment is tenured, tenure-track, clinical-track, librarian-track, term, or Non-tenure-track as defined in this policy.
17.2.3. That the rank (in case of a tenured, clinical-track, term, or tenure-track appointment) is Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Instructor, including a clinical-track designation, as appropriate, or
17.2.4. That the rank (in case of a librarian-track appointment) is Librarian or Professor/Librarian, Associate Librarian or Associate Professor/Librarian. Assistant Librarian or Assistant Professor/Librarian, or Staff Librarian or Instructor/Librarian.
17.2.5. That the appointment is full-time (1.00 FTE or the equivalent, as determined by the institution) or part-time with the FTE identified.
17.2.6. That it is a terminal contract (whenever appropriate).
17.2.7. That it is a joint appointment with another institution (whenever appropriate), with the home institution specified.
17.2.8. The beginning and ending dates of the appointment.
17.2.9. For tenure-track appointments, the academic year in which tenure must be awarded (the "critical year").
17.2.10. The total salary for the appointment.
17.2.11. That, consistent with the provisions of this policy, employment is subject to the fulfillment of the duties and responsibilities of the position.
17.2.12. That the specific assignments of the position will be determined by the institution.
17.2.13. That any special conditions which are included in the appointment be made a part of the contract only if they are signed by the faculty member and the President.
17.2.14. That acceptance of the appointment will be specified by the faculty member's signing, dating, and returning a copy of the letter or contract to the designated representative of the institution within a reasonable time, which should be specified.
17.3. Renewal letters, or letters that simply inform the faculty member of a change in salary, need not contain all of the information listed above, but it is appropriate to refer to the earlier letter or contract.