FACULTY - TENURE SYSTEM

FACULTY - TENURE SYSTEM 03-17-08

The Board of Trustees in approving this statement of tenure policy does so in good faith with the intent to comply fully with it. It must, however, reserve the right to deviate from these terms if conditions beyond its control, such as abrupt declines in enrollment, drastic loss of income or conditions that result in the drastic curtailment or abandonment of programs or activities, make it necessary to do so.

Preamble:

The purpose of tenure is to assure the University staff academic freedom and security and to protect the best interests of the University. Tenure shall not be considered to protect any person from the loss of his/her position as a result of misconduct which constitutes cause for dismissal as specified in the Dismissal of Tenured Faculty for Cause policy.

GRANTING TENURE

Appointments in the tenure system are only at the ranks of professor, associate professor, and assistant professor.

The chairperson of the unit recommending an appointment in the tenure system shall deliver in writing to the faculty member at the time of appointment a copy of the bylaws of the unit or other policy document that specifies the unit's expectations and procedures for reappointment, promotion and tenure. (See section on Non-Tenured Faculty in the Tenure System.)

Recommendations for tenure system faculty appointments, reappointments, promotion and tenure originate in the primary academic unit (department, school or non-departmentally organized college) and are reviewed successively by the Dean, the Provost and are approved by the President. Actions involving the award of tenure are approved by the President, who makes the final recommendation to the Board of Trustees for action. When tenure is granted, it is effective upon the first day of the month after the date of approval by the Board of Trustees.

A faculty member with the rank of professor in the tenure system is granted tenure (appointment for an indefinite period without a terminal date) from the date of appointment at that rank.

An associate professor1 who has not served previously at Michigan State University usually is appointed in the tenure system for a probationary period of four years. In some cases, upon the recommendation of the unit administrator(s), dean(s), and with the prior approval of the Provost and President, the probationary period may vary in length from two to five years. If an associate professor is reappointed, tenure is granted. Individuals appointed at the rank of associate professor without tenure have the option of requesting reappointment at any point prior to the conclusion of the stipulated probationary appointment period. A negative decision on such a request shall not preclude consideration for reappointment at the time specified upon appointment.

In unusual cases, on recommendation of the unit administrator(s) and dean(s) and with the prior approval of the Provost and the President, and final approval by the Board of Trustees, a faculty member initially appointed at the rank of associate professor may be granted tenure from the date of appointment.

An assistant professor1 has not served previously at Michigan State University is appointed initially in the tenure system for a probationary period of four years and may be reappointed for an additional probationary period of three years. If at any time during these two probationary periods an assistant professor is promoted to the rank of associate professor, tenure is granted. If not promoted to the rank of associate professor at the conclusion of the second probationary period of three years, the individual is ineligible for an additional reappointment unless a special extension is approved (see below). Individuals appointed at the rank of assistant professor without tenure have the option of requesting promotion to associate professor with tenure at any point2 prior to the conclusion of the stipulated probationary appointment period. A negative decision on such a request shall not preclude consideration for reappointment at the normal time.

Extensions in the probationary appointment periods for all faculty appointed in the tenure system require approval of the Chairperson/Director, the Dean, the Provost (or designee) and the University Committee on Faculty Tenure3 tensions in probationary appointment periods are not interpretations of or deviations from the rules of tenure under section 4.8.5. of the Bylaws for Academic Governance.

OPERATING PRINCIPLES OF THE TENURE SYSTEM

  1. Probationary appointment periods for tenure purposes are calculated from August 16 of the calendar year in which the appointment is effective.
  2. A faculty member granted a leave of absence for six to twelve months will have the probationary appointment period extended appropriately. See "Implementation Practices" for additional reasons and procedures for extending the probationary appointment period.
  3. A faculty member who is not to be recommended for reappointment by the department chairperson and dean must be so notified in writing by the department chairperson by December 15 preceding the expiration of the appointment. Copies of the notification are to be sent to the dean and provost. Upon written request of the faculty member, the administrative unit making the decision shall transmit in writing the reasons for not recommending further appointment.
  4. If a faculty member is not given proper notification, as stated in 3., an extension of one year is automatic, and the faculty member shall consider this arrangement as official notification of separation from the University at the end of the one-year extension.
  5. A tenure system faculty member who is not reappointed or resigns may not be appointed in the tenure system, except as approved by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure upon written request by the faculty member, department/school and college.
  6. A Foreign National holding non-immigrant status may be appointed within the tenure system; however, he/she may not be appointed with tenure unless (a) he/she has acquired permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship or (b) he/she enters into and complies with the terms of a Faculty Tenure Policy Exemption Agreement4 approved by the Provost.
  7. Questions about the interpretation of the tenure rules are referred to the University Committee on Faculty Tenure. The Committee renders a decision and communicates it to the president, the provost or other appropriate administrative official. In every case, final decision rests with the Board of Trustees. The University Committee on Faculty Tenure also considers the resolution of tenure issues/problems arising from situations not covered in the tenure rules and proposes solutions to the Provost. As appropriate, the Provost may recommend new policies or policy revisions to appropriate academic governance bodies. Changes in the tenure rules require action by the Board of Trustees.
  8. Tenure at Michigan State University resides in the University and tenured faculty have "tenure in the university." (See "Principles of Faculty Reassignment").

1Consistent with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (Big Ten) and other peer law school policies/practices, the Law College has slightly different lengths for tenure system probationary appointment periods than those described above. An assistant professor may be promoted to the rank of associate professor without tenure after three years of college tenure system employment. An assistant or associate professor must apply for tenure at the latest after completion of ten regular semesters or five years of service at the Law College. A candidate with significant tenure system law teaching experience or exceptional public or private professional experience may be appointed as an associate professor without tenure. In unusual circumstances, an initial appointment may be made at the rank of associate professor with tenure. An appointment at the rank of full professor confers tenure upon appointment. See the Law College's Policy for the Granting of Tenure and Promotion.

2Such early reviews would occur on the normal review cycle as established by university, college and department/school procedures.

3Information on extensions of probationary appointments should originate in the primary academic unit; such information may also be obtained from the chairperson of the University Committee on Faculty Tenure, the department chairperson, the school director, the dean, or the Office of the Provost. See section on Implementation Practices.

4In those situations where the Foreign National chooses not to execute a Faculty Tenure Policy Exemption Agreement but has otherwise been endorsed by the Provost as having met all of the requirements for promotion and tenure, he/she will be placed on a fixed term appointment or have his/her appointment period extended on an annual basis, whichever is appropriate, until permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship is granted, at which time a tenure recommendation will be made to the Board of Trustees.

Enacted: 5/15/52

Amended: 11/19/59, 11/15/62, 11/21/69, 7/16/71, 4/4/86, 7/30/88, 4/3/92, 6/11/93, 5/18/07, 4/24/09