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4 Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Evaluation

Faculty Rank, Promotion, Tenure, and Evaluation

Faculty members at Tarleton State University are classified as tenured, tenure-track, fixed-term, or adjunct faculty. All faculty members hold an academic rank.  (see Chart of Faculty Classifications and Ranks).

Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Member

Tenure-Track Faculty Tenure-accruing positions
  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Professor
 Tenured Faculty
Awarded tenure by the University
  • Associate Professor
  • Professor

 Fixed-Term Faculty Member

Professional Track Teaching Faculty Not eligible for tenure
  • Professional Assistant Professor
  • Professional Associate Professor
  • Professional Full Professor
Professional Track Research Faculty Not eligible for tenure
  • Research Assistant Professor
  • Research Associate Professor
  • Research Full Professor
Non-Terminally Degreed Faculty Not eligible for tenure
  • Lecturer
  • Instructor
  • Senior Instructor
Visiting Faculty Not eligible for tenure Annual, limited term
  • Visiting Assistant Professor
  • Visiting Associate Professor
  • Visiting Professor

 Adjunct Faculty Member

Adjunct Faculty

Not eligible for tenure

Temporary or part-time position

  • Lecturer
  • Instructor
  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Professor

Processes for promotion and tenure of tenure-track and tenured faculty are articulated in SAP 12.02.99T0.01 Procedures for Implementing Tenure.  Specific criteria for promotion and tenure are located on the websites of each academic college.  Processes related to performance development and evaluation of faculty are detailed in SAP 12.99.99.T0.01 Performance Development and Evaluation of Faculty.

Description of ranks and processes for promotion and evaluation of fixed-term faculty are articulated in SAP 12.07.99.T0.01 Fixed-Term Faculty Appointments.

Tenure-Track Faculty: Rank and Promotion

For the regularly appointed, full-time tenure-track faculty, there are three levels of faculty appointment:

Assistant Professor

Tenure-track faculty members at the assistant professor rank will hold the earned doctorate or other terminal degree approved by the university and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve. In addition, they will demonstrate ability in the discipline and show clear promise of teaching excellence in evaluations conducted by their peers, department head, and college dean, demonstrate continuing contributions with scholarly and creative activities beyond that required for completion of the terminal degree, and document yearly progress of professional achievement in teaching, scholarship, and service.

Associate Professor

Those appointed to the rank of associate professor will demonstrate teaching excellence, scholarly/creative attainment, and professional achievement both within and outside the university. They will hold the earned doctorate or terminal degree approved by the university and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as appropriate to the academic area they serve and normally will have completed at least six years of college teaching and pertinent professional experience. Typically, at least four years of the college teaching experience will have been at Tarleton.

Professor

Those appointed to the rank of professor, the highest academic rank, will demonstrate superior academic and professional achievement. This rank can be earned only by faculty members who have demonstrated continual growth within a cumulative record of teaching effectiveness, scholarly and creative activities, and professional service both within and outside the university. In addition, faculty members at this rank will hold the earned doctorate or other terminal degree approved by the university and recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as appropriate to the academic area they serve.  Typically, a faculty member must serve five years in the rank of associate professor at Tarleton to be eligible for promotion to the rank of professor. 

Criteria for Promotion and Tenure

Tarleton State University is a comprehensive university whose diverse programs and constituencies require a dynamic and vital faculty. Strengthening and preserving the quality of faculty through the awarding of tenure (a commitment the university makes to the individual faculty member) and promotion in rank (recognizing a faculty member’s academic achievement in both the university setting and academic profession) are among the principal actions the university performs.

When awarding tenure and promotion, Tarleton, as a learning-centered institution, will weigh a faculty member's professional and scholarly expertise against present and future needs of the university, with the number of faculty in each rank being a legitimate matter of concern. Promotion opportunities will follow the university’s growth pattern, coming more slowly when enrollments stabilize or decline.

General Criteria

Admission to the tenured faculty and promotion in rank are not due any faculty member by right. They are privileges the university recommends for deserving members. The academic profession has always been protective of its standards and its collective reputation.

The university recommends tenure or academic rank promotions to faculty who make continuing contributions in three areas: teaching, scholarly/creative activities, and professional service, subject to college-specific criteria. It is important that the faculty have a common understanding about the criteria’s meanings and relative applicability. As a faculty member progresses upward through the academic ranks, progressively more is expected. Promotions do not automatically follow years of service at Tarleton State University.

Criteria for Promotion for Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty

Promotion to Associate Professor

Decisions regarding promotion to the associate professor rank are made concurrently with tenure. Application for tenure and promotion to the associate professor rank occurs in the next-to-last year of the tenure track. Individuals seeking tenure and promotion to associate professor should exhibit evidence that their teaching and scholarly and creative activities have kept abreast of their profession’s current outlook in subject matter and methodology. The candidate also should have documented evidence of excellent contributions to the department, college, university, and profession as outlined in the academic college guidelines. (See SAP 12.02.99.T0.01 Procedures for Implementing Tenure).

Promotion to Professor

Individuals seeking promotion to the rank of professor, the highest academic rank, should have compiled evidence of significant contribution to the profession and the university. The university expects faculty seeking promotion to professor to have maintained all of the qualities and conditions required for tenure and promotion to associate professor and to offer evidence of continued contributions since the last promotion (See SAP 12.02.99.T0.01 Procedures for Implementing Tenure). Typically, individuals submit application materials in accordance with SAP 12.02.99.T0.01 (listed above) during the fall of the fifth year in rank as associate professor, with at least three years in rank at Tarleton. 

Special Criteria for Tenure

Tarleton’s tenure policies are in accordance with those adopted by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. As stated by the board, "Tenure means the entitlement of faculty members to continue in their academic positions unless dismissed for good cause" (See System Policy 12.01 Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure).

Tenure for Faculty with Joint Appointments

Faculty members who hold joint appointments with other state, federal, or private agencies or with two or more parts of The Texas A&M University System may be entitled to tenure, depending on the nature of their duties and the terms of their appointment’s written agreement.

Faculty with Administrative Assignments

The university considers administrative personnel who hold academic rank in addition to their administrative titles (such as department heads and deans) to be faculty members, but administrative assignments are not subject to tenure. A faculty member who has a part-time administrative assignment is subject to the same standards for teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and service as any other candidate for promotion or tenure. Although the university can consider administrative duties and production, they are not a substitute for tenure and promotion standards.

Process for Promotion and Tenure

The office of the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs initiates the tenure and promotion process, distributing the review process schedule. A faculty member becomes a candidate for promotion or tenure by formally submitting his or her dossier to his or her department head for consideration.  (See SAP 12.02.99.T0.01 Procedures for Implementing Tenure for tenure and promotion guidelines)

Annual Faculty Evaluations

To assure continuous assessment and feedback of acceptable progression toward tenure and promotion or post tenure review, annual evaluations of teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and service will be as comprehensive and consistent as possible. Tarleton recognizes and respects the uniqueness within each discipline; therefore, each college has established guidelines for promotion and tenure or post tenure review within each area. For annual evaluations, faculty are advised to review these faculty-approved guidelines for documentation of progress toward expectations for teaching, scholarly and creative activities, and service.

Performance Development and Evaluation of All Faculty

Performance development is an ongoing process and based upon objective criteria that are directly related to the identified job standards and established goals. Evaluations occur at specified times, however, they may occur more frequently. Annual evaluations will be conducted by the supervisor or designee. Notification of annual evaluation will be sent to the faculty members prior to the start of the review period (See SAP 12.99.99.T0.01 Performance Development and Evaluation of Faculty).

Post-tenure reviews are conducted every five years for tenured faculty to gauge the productivity of the individual and encourage a high level of sustained performance.  For additional post-tenure review information see

System Policy 12.06, Post-Tenure Review of Faculty and Teaching Effectiveness as well as SAP 12.99.99.T0.01 referenced above.

Resolution of Performance Issues of Tenured, Tenure-Track, or Fixed Term Faculty

When a department head or other immediate supervisor believes that a faculty member is performing at levels below professional standards, he or she should communicate those concerns to the faculty member. The department head or other immediate supervisor and faculty member should resolve the issue immediately, if possible, or should develop a plan for resolving the matter, because a particularly serious or ongoing problem might threaten the faculty member’s continued employment at Tarleton. Tarleton SAP 12.01.00.T0.01 explains the procedures that must be followed for nonrenewal or dismissal of non-tenured, tenured, or fixed-term faculty members (See https://www.tarleton.edu/policy/documents/12_01_99_t0_01.pdf

At any stage during efforts to resolve a problem in performance, the faculty member may appeal using the university’s complaint and appeal process (see Tarleton SAP 32.01.01.T0.01, Complaint and Appeal Procedures for Faculty Members).

Post-Retirement Service

Tarleton may employ retired faculty who wish to return to work on a part-time or full-time basis. (See System Policy 31.07.01 Retirement and Employment After Retirement)