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Definition of Faculty

Definition of Faculty

The faculty are employed by the Board of Governors upon the recommendation of the President.  Faculty fall into one of the following classifications: 

Tenured:  those faculty members who have attained the tenure status by official action of the President or the Board of Governors.

Tenure-Track:  those faculty members who have been appointed by the President on a full-time basis and have been designated by the President as being in a tenure-track position.

Temporary:  those faculty who have not been appointed in a tenure-track or tenured status.  Their appointment may be full-time or part-time.

a.  Distinction on the Basis of Full-Time/Part-Time

To be classified as full-time faculty, an individual must meet as a minimum the following conditions of employment as determined by the President:

  1. Employment is in a specific position as delineated on a current and approved State expenditure schedule(s) as contrasted to casual or part-time help.
  2. Employment for faculty is on a full academic year (at least nine months) contract basis for at least six semester credit hours teaching per semester or the equivalent in research, public service, and/or administrative responsibilities, and expressly designated on a Faculty Appointment Notice as “full-time.”

Part-time faculty appointments are limited by Human Resource and IRS regulations, generally set at nine (9) credit hours per semester.  Each department has an approved policy and process for the oversight and evaluation of part-time faculty members.

It is the responsibility of the department, under the guidance of the respective Department Chair/School Director, Dean and the Provost/VPAA, to ensure that this policy and process is maintained.

 Term:  Those faculty members who have been appointed as instructional faculty for a specified term of semesters or years as defined in the appointment agreement.  The appointment may be full-time or part-time.  While a full-time term faculty member is eligible to receive reappointment to additional terms, no single term may exceed three years.  No number of term appointments shall create any presumption of a right to appointment as tenure-track or tenured faculty.  Such full-time appointments will not exceed ten percent of the total number of full-time faculty at the institution.

b.  Tenure-Track Status

When a full-time faculty member is appointed on other than a temporary or tenured basis, the appointment is tenure-track.  During the tenure-track period, the terms and conditions of every appointment will be stated in writing with a copy of the agreement furnished the individual concerned.  Generally, the appointment letter may be expected between June 10 and June 30 each year.

In order to aid and to evaluate tenure-track status faculty, the Provost/VPAA or any academic administrator with supervisory responsibility may conduct classroom observations.

The maximum period of tenure-track status shall normally not exceed seven years.  Before completing the sixth year of a probationary appointment, any non-tenured faculty shall be given written notice of tenure or offered a one-year written terminal contract of employment.  Generally, any applications for tenure prior to the sixth year of service will be premature and will not be granted. Under special circumstances, if requested by the faculty member and approved, a full-time tenure-track appointment may be converted to a part-time tenure-track appointment for a specified time period, normally not to exceed one calendar year. At the conclusion of the approved time period or extension thereof, the faculty member will return to a full-time tenure-track appointment or, if the faculty member chooses not to return to a full-time tenure-track appointment, the faculty member’s employment will cease. Time spent in a part-time tenure-track appointment will not normally apply to the calculation of the years of service for the purposes of tenure or promotion, nor will it result in any de facto award of tenure.


Upon a written request by a tenure-track faculty member, and following review initially by the Department Chair/School Director and the Dean, the Provost/VPAA may approve a suspension in the seven-year tenure track period.  Upon approval, the tenure clock shall be tolled for one year.  Generally, the circumstances for which a suspension of the tenure-clock may be granted would be:

  1. significant responsibilities with respect to elder or dependent care obligations,
  2. disability,
  3. chronic illness,
  4. childbirth or adoption, or
  5. circumstances beyond the control of the faculty member when those circumstances significantly impede progress toward achieving tenure. Where a leave of absence or extension of the probationary period is granted, the individual’s tenure track time frame shall be extended by the same period as the leave or extension.  There is a very strong presumption against the approval of more than one request, but if the faculty member’s initial employment is after the beginning of the Fall Semester but prior to the start of the Spring Semester, the faculty member may also request that the initial semester of service not be counted as a year of service for tenure or promotion purposes.  If a suspension of the tenure clock is granted prior to the pre-tenure review, the tolling of the tenure clock also tolls the timeframe for pre-tenure review.

Non-retention of Faculty

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 period.  During this tenure-track period, notices of non-reappointment may be issued for any reason that is not arbitrary, capricious, or without factual basis.  Any documented recommendations of administrators relating to the decision for non-retention or dismissal shall be provided promptly to the faculty member upon written request.

After the decision regarding retention has been made by the Provost/VPAA, she or he shall notify the tenure-track faculty of the decision as soon as practicable.  In cases of non-retention of faculty who began service at the start of the fall term, formal notification shall be given:

  1. not later than March 1 of the first academic year of service
  2. not later than December 15 of the second academic year of service, and
  3. at least one-year before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years of service with the University.

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.

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.

Following receipt of the notice of non-retention decision, the tenure-track faculty member may appeal such non-retention decision by following the grievance procedures.

c.  Temporary Status

All full-time appointments to the faculty that are neither tenured nor tenure-track shall be classified as temporary.  All temporary appointments shall be appointments only for the periods and for the purposes specified, with no additional interest or right obtained by the person appointed by virtue of such appointment. The employment of part-time faculty is made pursuant to the approval and supervision of the Provost/VPAA, with the advice and recommendations of the respective department and Dean.  Each Dean and the Provost/VPAA review the qualifications and experience of prospective adjunct faculty.  The appropriate balance in each department between the number of courses taught by full-time faculty and part-time faculty is also assessed.  Department Chairs/School Directors, under the direction of the respective College Dean, are responsible to ensure that adjuncts receive information regarding duties, responsibilities, and curricular issues.  Deans provide an annual assessment of the teaching performance for adjunct faculty either directly or through the Department Chair/School Director.  Graduate faculty adjuncts must work through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

All part-time faculty appointments are for a written, contractually agreed upon defined period of employment, with no credit toward “seniority,” academic tenure, or other regular employment, unless otherwise expressly specified.  A salary scale is used for adjuncts, which differentiates on the basis of highest degree held.

If the status of a faculty member changes from temporary to tenure-track, the time spent at the institution may, at the discretion of the Provost/VPAA, be counted as part of the probationary period.

Faculty who hold temporary appointments, which may be part-time or full-time, are not subject to consideration for tenure, regardless of the number, nature, or time accumulated in such appointments.

Temporary full-time faculty appointments may be used if one or more of the following conditions prevail.

  1. The position is funded by a grant, contract, or other source that is not a part of the regular and on-going source of operational funding.
  2. The appointment is for temporary replacement of an individual on sabbatical or leave of absence.  Such appointments outside tenure-track status may not exceed three years, and are subject to annual renewal.
  3. The appointment is for the purpose of filling an essential teaching post immediately, pending a permanent appointment through a regular search and screening process.  Such appointments outside tenure-track status may not exceed three years and are subject to annual renewal.
  4. The position is temporary to meet transient instructional needs, to maintain sufficient instructional flexibility in order to respond to changing demand for courses taught, or to meet other institutional needs.  Such appointment outside tenure-track status may not exceed six years and is subject to annual renewal.
  5. The appointee is granted a primary appointment as an administrator or to perform other non-instructional duties, with a secondary appointment that is instructional in character. Any faculty rank or teaching would be considered temporary and renewable on an annual basis.  The appointee must be notified in writing of the status of any faculty rank.
  6. Shepherd University will employ visiting faculty at all ranks on a temporary  These positions will usually be filled at the assistant professor level on the basis of a year-to-year contract with a general maximum of three years per individual filling a visiting position.  Visiting faculty will not participate in the third-year tenure review process, but will be evaluated during the annual review process in the same manner as all other full-time faculty members.  Visiting faculty will be eligible for insurance and other fringe benefits provided to full-time members of the faculty as part of the State benefits program.  A visiting faculty member may apply for a probationary position or tenure-earning position for which he or she is qualified, if a search for such a position is conducted by the university.  A visiting faculty member will not, however, receive special consideration for such a position apart from consideration given to all applicants.