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 responsibilities. Tenure applies to those faculty members who qualify for it and is a means of making the teaching and research profession attractive to persons of ability.
The Board of Governors requires that the University demonstrate evidence that the guidelines for the award of tenure be based upon a wide range of criteria such as: excellence in teaching; accessibility to students; professional and scholarly activity and recognition; significant service to the university community; experience in higher education and at the institution; possession of the doctorate; special competence, or the highest earned degree appropriate to the teaching field; publications and research; potential for 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 University according to the Board of Governors’ policy.
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 academic unit; specific academic competence of the faculty member; and preservation of opportunities for infusion of new talent. The University, while not maintaining tenure quotas, 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. Tenure may be granted only to people in positions funded by monies under the Board of Governors’ control.
Tenure shall not be granted automatically, or for years of service, but shall result from action by the President following consultation with appropriate academic units.
Tenure may be granted at the time of appointment by the President, following consultation with the Provost and the faculty of the academic department in which an individual would be assigned, or tenure may be granted at the time of appointment by direct action of the Board of Governors. In the case of tenure track appointees, tenure may be attained by faculty who hold the rank of Assistant Professor or above. Years in term of tenure track period are to be recorded on each of the faculty member’s yearly contracts.