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2 The Role of Faculty and Staff

Revised May 8, 2017


The term faculty member, as used in this handbook and as defined in Texas Education Code Chapter 51.917, refers to a person who is employed to teach at least one class at Tarleton State University for academic credit.  A faculty member may be classified as tenured, tenure-track, fixed-term, or adjunct faculty.

Tenured faculty members have been awarded tenure by the university and are entitled to continue in their positions unless dismissed for good cause or financial exigency (see System Policy 12.01). Tenure-track faculty members are in tenure-accruing positions but have not yet completed the probationary period and have not been granted tenure.

Fixed-Term faculty positions are full-time appointments that bring excellence to the university through high quality professionals in teaching, and/or scholarly/creative activity, and/or service. (see

Adjunct faculty are hired to teach at Tarleton on a temporary and part-time basis. Generally, they are appointed for a period of one semester; adjunct appointments cannot extend employment beyond one academic year. Part-time adjunct faculty members teaching courses for credit must meet the same requirements for professional and scholarly preparation as their full-time counterparts teaching in the same discipline. The title or academic rank of an adjunct faculty member depends on his or her qualifications. Adjunct faculty are considered temporary employees and may be dismissed at any point during a semester for non-performance of duties.

The term graduate assistant should be used only for graduate students. Graduate assistants may be designated as teaching or non-teaching, graduate laboratory assistant, graduate assistant special and graduate assistant research.

The graduate faculty is composed of those faculty designated by their departments and approved by the Graduate Council to teach graduate courses as described in the Graduate Faculty section of this chapter.

The normal teaching load for faculty is addressed in Rule 12.03.99.T1, Faculty Academic Workload and Reporting Requirements. The teaching load for an individual faculty member will vary based on a number of factors, including: level of courses, class size, class environment (laboratory, seminar, clinical, etc.), and other criteria established by the university.

The title Distinguished may be conferred on a faculty member holding the rank of professor on recommendation of the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs (provost) with the approval of the president, in recognition of unquestioned excellence accompanied by substantial evidence of scholarly/creative productivity in a long and distinguished career of teaching and service.

The title Emeritus is conferred on recommendation of the president with the approval of the Board of Regents in recognition of faithful and distinguished service to the university. Members of the faculty with the rank of professor or associate professor, and administrative officers in major positions, upon retirement, may be considered for emeritus appointment. Such appointments are honorary and without stipend or responsibilities (See System Regulation 31.08.01, Granting of Emeritus/Emerita Status).

Faculty Hiring Process

The process for hiring faculty members is outlined and controlled by SAP 33.99.01.T1, Hiring Faculty and Non-Faculty. It is the policy of Tarleton to provide employment, training, levels of compensation, transfer and promotion opportunities, demotion, layoffs, terminations, and other employment actions without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability status, or status as a veteran, including disabled veterans and Vietnam era veterans. Further discussion regarding Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action is contained in Chapter 5. (See Tarleton Rule 08.01.01.T1, Affirmative Action Plan)

 English Proficiency

The Texas Education Code (Chapter 51.917) requires all faculty members, including teaching assistants, who teach a course offered for academic credit, be proficient in the use of the English language as determined by a satisfactory grade on the "Test of Spoken English" of the Educational Testing Service or a similar test approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. State law requires that if the results of this screening process reveal a deficiency in English skills, the individual will be required to engage in an individualized communications skills program. (see System Policy 12.05, Training for English Proficiency)

Terms of Employment

All university employees receive an annual notification of the terms and conditions of appointment for the next fiscal year following approval of the budget by the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System (system). The notice contains the rank or title of the employee, tenure status of faculty members, inclusive dates of employment, any special conditions, and the annual salary for each individual.

Unless specified otherwise, all appointments are on a year-to-year basis, subject to review and renewal if mutually satisfactory and in accordance with the statement on tenure. Designation as department head is on a year-to-year basis, subject to renewal as often as mutually desirable. All faculty are employed for nine months unless specifically stated otherwise. All administrative appointments are on an annual basis. All university administrators serve at the pleasure of the president. (See System Policy 12.01, Academic Freedom, Responsibility and Tenure)

Notice of Non-Reappointment

The Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure policy (System Policy 12.01) requires that tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty must be notified of non-reappointment or of intention not to reappoint.

The Graduate Faculty

The Graduate Faculty comprises the core teachers and scholars of Tarleton’s graduate programs. Faculty members may serve on the graduate faculty as recommended by the department head, affirmed by the college dean, and approved by the Graduate Council, as outlined in the Graduate Council By-Laws. (see Graduate Council ByLaws)

Salaries and Faculty Achievement Grants

Faculty Salary Floors

The faculty salary floors have been established to ensure a minimum level of salary for faculty by rank for nine-month appointments. Tarleton’s Comprehensive Pay Plan contains the current salary minimums for faculty positions. (See the Complete Pay Plan on the Compensation page of the Employee Services web site (

When a faculty member is promoted, a promotion differential, as set by the Division of Academic Affairs, is added to the current salary.

Administrative Salaries

When a faculty member is hired or appointed to an administrative position, the amount of the administrative differential must be agreed upon and stated in the letter of offer. The administrative differential is based on the size and complexity of the unit.

When an administrator relinquishes his or her administrative duties and is reassigned to full-time teaching, an adjustment of salary may be required. Generally, when an administrator returns to full-time teaching, he/she will return to a 9-month appointment. At the time the individual returns to full-time teaching, one of the following options will apply:

  • His or her monthly salary will be reduced by the amount of the monthly administrative differential;
  • There will be no reduction in salary, but no raise will be considered until the faculty member’s monthly salary is judged to be appropriate based on comparable salaries in the department.

Normally, the first option applies to administrators returning to full-time teaching after serving less than five years, and the second option to administrators returning to full-time teaching after serving ten years or more.

Merit Raises for Faculty

Teaching, scholarship, and service are the criteria applied in determining eligibility for merit increases in salary. Department heads initiate the process with recommendations based on annual performance reviews of each faculty member. Proposed salary actions are then reviewed and approved by the dean and the Academic Affairs Office. (See Tarleton Rule 31.01.08.T1, Merit Salary Increase and Tarleton SAP 12.99.99.T0.01, Performance Development and Evaluation of Faculty)

 Faculty Merit Plus Program

The Merit Plus program allows full-time faculty members to initiate proposals for mid-year merit raises. This process is in addition to the normal merit process.

As resources are available, the provost will set aside a sum of money for Merit Plus raises.

Full-time faculty members of all ranks will receive full and fair consideration. Tenure is not a criterion for selection. Applicants must be in at least their fifth year of service at Tarleton. Department heads, division directors, deans, and others with part-time or full-time administrative appointments are not eligible to apply for Merit Plus raises.

Receipt of a Merit Plus raise will not affect the receipt of future merit raises through normal administrative channels.

Faculty Achievement Grants

Faculty Achievement Grants are awarded to recognize continued superior performance by faculty who have been tenured for at least five years. Only faculty members with full-time teaching appointments are eligible to apply for these grants. Applications will be evaluated based on the traditional areas of teaching, research, and service. A recipient of a grant is not eligible to reapply for three years.

The Faculty Achievement Grant may be used for travel, equipment, the funding of released time, the hiring of student help, and other similar purposes. Faculty achievement grants are awarded annually as resources are available.

See SAP XX.XXX.XX for further details.

Faculty Development Grant

Faculty Development Grants are awarded to full-time, permanent faculty members to enable attendance at conferences, retreats, workshops, or other activities considered professional development by the Faculty Development Committee (FDC). Those in administrative positions (department heads and above) or temporary positions are not eligible to apply for funds.  Grants are designed to cover up to 75% of actual expenses and assist faculty in funding travel to professional development activities. Visit Faculty Research, Grant Services page for more information.

Faculty Development Leave Program

The purpose of this program is to provide a program of leaves of absence that would enable faculty members to engage in study, research, writing, and similar projects. In effect, the program is designed to improve higher education by providing opportunities for professional growth, thereby increasing the value of the recipient’s sustained contribution. Thus, faculty development leaves are part of a plan of compensation for faculty. Faculty development leaves may be granted to persons employed by Tarleton, who are full-time, tenured faculty or equivalent. Faculty duties include teaching, research, administration (who have no more than ¼ release time for administration) and/or professional services.

Faculty development leave applications are submitted to the faculty member’s department head, which are then forwarded for further review and approval. (See Tarleton SAP 12.99.01.T0.01, Faculty Development Leave Program)

Teaching Load and Released Time

Rule 12.03.99.T1 delineates the expected academic workload for full-time faculty. Occasionally, however, the need arises for the department head to assign teaching duties above those which are normally assigned. The determination of overload conditions is made by the academic department head. Summer teaching opportunities are based on student demand for particular courses and budgetary constraints. Department heads will coordinate with faculty regarding possible summer teaching appointments. 

When illness, injury, or other personal circumstances render a faculty member unable to teach his or her classes, that faculty member's colleagues are normally expected as a professional courtesy to assume responsibility for the classes. If, however, the absence is extensive, or the nature of the course or absence creates a special hardship, the faculty member who assumes responsibility for the course or courses may be compensated. The actual time period will be determined in each case by recommendation from the department head and approved through normal administrative channels. The compensation will be based on the amount normally paid for an overload and will be prorated to include the full period of time involved.

Faculty members may receive released time for duties exceeding normal responsibilities with regard to teaching, scholarship, and service.  Released time for faculty assuming administrative roles will be negotiated upon initial appointment to the post. 

The university confers a limited number of positions of University Scholar to encourage exceptional scholarly and creative activity by faculty. Released time is granted to these individuals. Tarleton also supports and encourages its faculty who seek to complete a terminal degree through various workload accommodations (see Rule 12.03.99.T1, Faculty Academic Workload and Reporting Requirements).

Complaint and Appeal Process for Faculty

Each system employee has the right under the statutes of Texas to present complaints concerning wages, hours of work, or conditions of work. The complaint may be presented individually or through a representative provided such representative does not claim the right to strike. No retaliatory action of any kind including a reprimand may be taken against a complainant or other person providing testimony. Such retaliatory action will be regarded as a separate and distinct cause for complaint. An employee may be disciplined for the bad faith filing of a complaint.

Faculty and administrators at all levels should strive to maintain open lines of communication with peers, supervisors, and subordinates. In so doing, most problems can be resolved informally by mutual consent before they ever reach the formal complaint stage.

If informal discussions and procedure do not resolve the grievance, the faculty member may elect to pursue a formal procedure in accordance with Tarleton SAP 32.01.01.T0.01, Complaint and Appeal Procedures for Faculty Members.