Faculty Handbook: Post–Tenure Review

Tenure serves both the individual and the institution, and by serving the institution it especially serves the citizens of the State of Oregon. With the award of tenure, the University commits itself to a faculty member in a unique way, and the faculty member acquires a vested interest in the well being of the institution. Tenure is awarded only after an extensive probationary period, during which the highest standards of scholarship, teaching, and service must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of local peers as well as nationally/internationally recognized experts. The granting of tenure is not a license for lifetime employment but an acknowledgment of the likelihood of continued excellence, and post–tenure review can assure that this high level of performance is sustained.

The University recognizes that faculty renewal, development and improvement are of critical importance in its pursuit of excellence. To that end, the University provides for post–tenure review of its faculty to identify and help underachieving faculty fulfill the potential that was recognized upon hiring and reaffirmed upon the award of tenure. If the review process identifies areas in which a faculty member is not fulfilling the expectations of his or her position, a professional development plan will be drafted and implemented. Thus, the process provides effective evaluation, useful feedback, appropriate intervention, and timely and affirmative assistance to ensure that every faculty member maintains a record of professional development and accomplishment during the various phases of his or her career.

The review and evaluation process must uphold the highest standards of academic freedom. Faculty must be encouraged to take risks, to ask inconvenient questions, and to challenge prevailing views, in research and scholarly pursuits as well as in teaching, without the fear of suffering the consequences of failure in the review process. It is the responsibility of administrators to promote and secure the academic freedom of all faculty in their units, as well it is the responsibility of senior and tenured faculty to protect the academic freedom of junior and untenured faculty.

The written reviews, attachments, and professional development plans produced as part of the PTR process are to be regarded as confidential according to the OSU policy on faculty employment records.

Faculty members who are dissatisfied with the outcome or the process of the review should attempt resolution through informal means involving the unit head and the unit–level peer committee. If no resolution is achieved, the faculty member may institute formal grievance procedures.

Initiation of Post Tenure Review:

A post-tenure review (PTR) is to be performed if (i) requested by a faculty member (ii) requested by the unit head or supervisor after one negative review or (iii) a faculty member receives two consecutive negative periodic reviews of faculty (PROF). A negative PROF is defined as receiving unsatisfactory assessment of one or more areas identified in the position description (e.g., teaching, scholarship, service, outreach).   A negative PROF must always be followed by either a PTR in the same or following year, or a PROF in the following year to determine if sufficient progress has been made to overcome the deficiencies identified in the first PROF.

The faculty member will prepare a dossier in accordance with the OSU Promotion and Tenure Guidelines, with the exception that outside review letters will not be required, and will not ordinarily be requested. If a faculty member or unit head requests outside review, up to five reviewers will be selected, following the process used in promotion and tenure procedures.

Members of the PTR committee shall be elected by the unit faculty who are at or above the rank of the faculty member being reviewed.   In addition, a representative from outside the unit shall be included.  The external committee member shall be selected by the unit PTR committee from a list who are tenured faculty members at or above the rank of the faculty being reviewed.  The list (at least three such faculty members) shall be provided by the faculty member being reviewed.

Consequences of the Post Tenure Review:

The result of the PTR will be a written report to the unit head or supervisor and will be included in the personnel file of the faculty being reviewed.  If the PTR is initiated by a negative PROF, the report will address both the positive and the negative aspects of the PROF and assess their validity.  If the committee confirms unsatisfactory performance in any aspect of the position description, a plan for improvement shall be developed jointly by the faculty being reviewed and the unit head in consultation with the PTR committee.  The plan should provide detailed actions, sufficient resources as are available and measureable goals to achieve satisfactory performance within a maximum of three years. Such resources might include support for scholarly professional activities (travel, time released from teaching, equipment, clerical or technical support, graduate assistants, laboratory or other workspace, etc.) or a program for the improvement of teaching. A copy of the development plan will be sent to the Dean of the College or to the appropriate academic supervisor.  A PTR will be performed at the end of the plan period again with a written report submitted to the unit head or supervisor.

In the event of an unsatisfactory PTR and failure to achieve the goals of the plan for improvement , the unit head (in consultation with the peer committee) may recommend redistribution of effort, reassignment within the unit, reduction in salary, or the imposition of sanctions, including, but not limited to: reduction in rank, reassignment within the institution, or termination of appointment in accordance with OAR 580–21–320 to 580–21–385. Any recommendation for sanctions made by the academic unit must be reviewed by a standing faculty committee elected for that purpose at the level of the college. The review committee shall forward the results of its review and the unit’s recommendation to the Dean or corresponding academic supervisor, and to the Provost. The Provost may determine whether to take appropriate action under procedures specified in OAR 580–21–320 through 580–21–385.

Until a faculty member has been given adequate opportunity to achieve the improvements specified in the plan for improvement  (given the availability of the resources necessary to effect the improvements), and until a full faculty review of any recommendations for sanctions has taken place as specified in these procedures, no action based on post–tenure review will be taken by the University under OAR 580–21–330. This policy is not intended to limit the ability of the University to pursue the imposition of sanctions for cause unrelated to the post–tenure review process in accordance with OAR 580–21–330.

Review of the Post–Tenure Review Process:

The Faculty Senate will periodically review the effectiveness of the post–tenure review process.