Principles Governing the Analysis of Tenure Lines in a Department
(For cases other than Declared Financial Exigency or Program Discontinuance)
Ken Bladh, Provost - (September 1, 2002)
1. The Educational Policy Committee shall "review all proposed changes in the total number of faculty members in a department or program to determine the effect of the proposed change on the educational program and to submit recommendations as may seem appropriate." (Faculty Manual - Bylaw, page 5)
2. Departmental and institutional curricular needs should be evaluated, in consultation with EPC, before filling any tenure-track position (new or vacant).
3. A department seeking to fill a full-time faculty vacancy or add a full-time faculty position, in most cases, will be required to have completed a self-study and undergone an external review within the previous 5 years. An external peer review not only supplements the departmental analysis, it shares the strengths of a program with the broader academic community and helps us build our reputation as a significant institution.
- The self-study must include a campus survey that analyzes the curricular impacts of any proposed changes in faculty positions or course offerings.
- The self-study must include a tentative departmental teaching schedule based on the proposed staffing model and that includes specific courses and estimated numbers of students served.
- The consequences of filling or not filling the vacant position must be analyzed in the context of institutional curricular priorities.
- Departmental participation in general education and/or areas studies programs must also be analyzed, although typically as secondary contributions.
- If the curriculum or number of teaching faculty at peer institutions informs a departmental analysis of the appropriate size of Wittenberg majors or staffing levels, other professional expectations (publication, student research supervision, governance participation) of faculty here and at peer institutions should be factored in the comparison.
- The number of students served must also influence the number of faculty in a department.
- An increase or reduction in the number of tenure lines in a department because of changes in class enrollments should occur only after the change in demand (number of students served) seems likely to continue. A pattern would be defined typically over 4 to 5 years.
4. A tenure line could be added to a department, otherwise not qualified for one, as part of an institutional initiative to attract a larger pool of applicants and matriculants from a desired target group (for greater student diversity, improved academic climate, specific programs).
5. An opportune time for reducing the number of tenure lines in a department is when an existing faculty position becomes vacant (retirement, death, resignation, dismissal).
- Vacancies provide the department and provost an opportunity to examine departmental mission relative to institutional priorities and consider changes in mission or curriculum.
- Any changes would influence the decision to fill or not fill the vacancy and suggest the most appropriate disciplinary expertise for the new person if the vacancy is filled.
6. Visiting, adjunct and overload appointments are appropriate solutions for temporary staffing needs caused by sabbatical leaves or temporary increases in demand for departmental courses.
- These appointments provide an opportunity for the institution to evaluate the need for a increase in the number of tenure-track lines in the department.
- This analysis would include departmental and institutional components.
7. An instructional staffing mix, that includes visiting, adjunct, and overload appointments and phased retirements, provides the preferred way of maintaining the current tenure system and some degree of staffing flexibility.
- Probationary faculty members in tenure-track appointments are candidates for staff reductions, typically after visiting and adjunct faculty members.
- EPC and the provost can consider individual departmental or program needs so that some visiting and adjunct appointments are maintained when probationary, visiting and adjunct faculty members are not renewed in other departments.
8. An annual sum of visiting and adjunct appointments greater than 1 FTE is not prima facie evidence for an additional tenure-track line. The institution has not set a limit for the fraction of annual FTE in a department held by visiting and adjunct appointments. The overall mandate that staffing choices not negatively affect the academic program guides these decisions.