Revision in Promotion and Tenure Policies

Policy Memorandum No. 10

Recommended by: Commission on Faculty Affairs: November 29, 1978
Approved by University Council: February 5, 1979
Approved by the President: February 5, 1979
Effective: These changes will be effective for all faculty whose appointments with the University commence on or after July 1, 1979.

The Commission on Faculty Affairs on October 25 and November 8, 1978, discussed proposed changes in the FACULTY HANDBOOK on "Promotion and Tenure" and "Guidelines for the Calculation of Prior Service." On November 29, 1978, the Commission gave approval to the final version of these recommended changes, which establish a maximum probationary period of seven years for all faculty ranks (i.e., the maximum period for Associate Professors would be raised from four to seven years and that for Professors from three to seven years). This change also would allow prior service at another institution at a rank below Assistant Professor to be excepted from "prior service calculations," provided such service occurred before the terminal degree was awarded. The proposal was approved unanimously by the Commission on Faculty Affairs, and subsequently the Faculty Senate also approved it unanimously. The changes represent a refinement of promotion and tenure policies and a clarification of the policy relating to calculation of prior service.

The changes, which are specified below, will be effective for all faculty whose appointments with Virginia Tech commence on or after July 1, 1979. Other faculty members who wish to have their standing relative to tenure consideration reviewed in the light of these changes may request such review by the Provost during the period July 1 to October 1, 1979, on the recommendation of their Department Head and Dean. The status of faculty members undergoing mandatory tenure review in 1978-79 cannot be affected by these changes.

The following paragraphs from the FACULTY HANDBOOK (on page 24 under "Promotion and Tenure") will be eliminated:

The initial appointment for Assistant Professors, and for Associate Professors and Professors employed without tenure is ordinarily for a period of not less than 2 years. Multiple-year appointments may be subsequently recommended. Instructors without tenure are appointed for one-year terms. The tenure decision normally is made in the year preceding the end of a probationary period of employment. The probationary periods, are as follows:

Professor - 3 years
Assistant Professor - 7 years
Associate Professor - 4 years
Instructor - 7 years

In some cases, tenure may be granted earlier. Only permanent full-time service in any of the above ranks will count toward tenure. Ordinarily a faculty member on leave (with or without pay) will not gain credit toward tenure for the period.

Faculty members will be notified in writing by the University Provost when they obtain tenure.

Appropriate service at other accredited 4-year colleges and universities will be credited against the above maximum time limits for the tenure probationary period in the following manner:

Professor - usually no credit
Associate Professor - usually no credit
Assistant Professor - year-for-year credit up to a maximum of three years' credit

In place of those paragraphs, the following new language will be added:

The initial appointment for Assistant Professors, and for Associate Professors and Professors employed without tenure, is ordinarily for a period of not less than two years. Multiple-year appointments may be subsequently recommended. Instructors without tenure are ordinarily appointed for one-year terms. The maximum total period for probationary appointments is seven years. Decision as to tenure, if not made earlier, is made in the sixth year of the probationary appointment.

Only full-time service in the rank of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor will count toward the probationary period and only in units of full years. An academic year in which a faculty member is on leave for at least one quarter will not count toward the probationary period unless there is a specific exception made by the Provost. Up to three years of appropriate service at other accredited four-year colleges and universities will be credited toward the maximum seven-year probationary period, as specified in the next section.

Faculty members will be notified in writing by the University Provost when they are granted tenure.

The following paragraph from the FACULTY HANDBOOK (on page 25) will be eliminated:

Guidelines for the Calculation of Prior Service

New members of the faculty are notified by their department heads of their standing regarding the tenure system at the time of their initial appointment to a department and college of the University. Excepting temporary appointments with finite terms (including, most especially, lecturers and persons of faculty rank appointed expressly on sponsored research contracts), the faculty appointees are given clear notice of when their terms or probationary appointments will be considered for renewal and/or when consideration for tenure will be given. In this latter calculation, AAUP standards for assessing prior service will be observed. This is to say that up to three years of prior service (assuming this service to have been full time in an accredited four-year American college or university) will be granted. Exceptions to this rule may be granted only at the request of faculty members whose credentials are being reviewed and only under the following conditions: (1) the prior service appointment was held before the faculty member completed the terminal degree; and there was a significant gap between the prior appointment and appointment to the faculty at VPI&SU (ordinarily this gap must measure at least two years and must have been filled with full-time study culminating in the awarding of the terminal degree); or (2) the prior service was clearly in a discipline or field significantly different from the discipline to which the VPI&SU appointee is named. Faculty members shall declare their decision relating to the relevant exception at the time of their initial appointments and the exception will be subject to the approval of the Dean and the University Provost.

In place of that paragraph, the following new language will be added:

New members of the faculty are notified by their department heads of their standing regarding the tenure system at the time of their initial appointment to a department and college of the University. Excepting temporary appointments with limited terms (including, most especially, lecturers, research associates, and visiting professors), the faculty appointees are given clear notice of when their appointments will be considered for renewal and when consideration for tenure will be given.

In this latter calculation, up to three years of appropriate full-time service in another accredited four-year American college or university will ordinarily be credited toward probationary service. Exceptions will be made at the request of the affected faculty members only under the following conditions: (1) the prior service appointment, at an institution other than VPI&SU, was held before the faculty member completed the terminal degree and was at the rank of instructor, lecturer, or other rank below assistant professor; or (2) the prior service was in a discipline or field significantly different from the discipline in which the appointment is made at VPI&SU. Faculty members shall request in writing the relevant exception at the time of their initial appointments and the exception will be subject to the approval of the Dean and University Provost.


President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm10