TENURE2.15 Tenure2.15.1 General Statement2.15.2 Tenure Eligibility2.15.3 Tenure by Faculty Rank
“Institutions of higher education exist for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. Achievement of the common good depends, in part, upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. Academic freedom is essential to these purposes and applies to both teaching and other scholarly activities. Freedom in research and scholarship is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom, in its teaching aspect, is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. Tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically (1) freedom of teaching and scholarly activities and of extramural activities and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to individuals of ability. Freedom and economic security, hence tenure, are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.”
By granting faculty a right of continuing employment, UAB meets its responsibilities to ensure that UAB faculty remain free to pursue truth and to propagate knowledge, through both teaching and scholarship, without undue or inappropriate interference from external forces. The awarding of tenure is a serious and significant step for both the faculty member and UAB. It is not awarded merely on the basis of time in service. Tenure is awarded to individual faculty members upon evidence of the capacity and likelihood for continued intellectual, scholarly, and professional vitality; upon evidence of the ability and willingness to perform assigned duties; and upon evidence of a sense of responsibility and dedication to make the continuing exemplary performance of duties a reasonable expectation. Protected from arbitrary dismissal and from transient political and ideological currents, the individual faculty member assumes a responsibility to make a continuing effort to achieve the expectations upon which the award of tenure was based. The following is definitional language taken from the University of Alabama Board of Trustees Rule 301 “Tenure” and it applies to UAB:
The definition of tenure used in each institutional policy should recognize that tenure is an affirmative commitment by the Board of Trustees to a faculty member, generally offered after a probationary period of employment, of a right to continuing employment except upon dismissal for cause, retirement, resignation, bona fide financial exigency of the institution or division in which tenure is held, or major curtailment or formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction.
Absent of cause for termination as defined in this handbook, tenure at UAB is a grant of continuing appointment at least at the same faculty rank. Promotion of a tenured faculty member indicates continuation of tenure at the new rank. The services of a faculty member with tenure shall be terminated only for cause or in cases of bona fide financial exigency, bona fide financial crisis, or academic program/unit closure at UAB. The requirement of showing of cause does not apply in cases of voluntary retirement or retirement due to disability. As with any freedom, academic freedom carries with it duties correlative with rights. Tenure at UAB should be regarded as a most valuable possession, signifying a long-term commitment of resources by UAB, matched by the sincere commitment by the faculty member to continued professional growth and achievement. (Return to top)2.15.2 Tenure Eligibility Tenure may be awarded to individuals appointed to the faculty as described in this Handbook. Eligibility for tenure consideration is limited to faculty appointments of 50 percent or greater. Tenure may not be awarded to non-tenure-earning faculty.Administrative appointments do not carry tenure, but an administrator who holds a tenured academic appointment retains that tenured appointment, and an administrator who holds a tenure-earning appointment on the faculty may be awarded tenure in accordance with procedures and criteria of UAB and the appropriate department, school, or library.(Return to Top)2.15.3 Tenure by Faculty RankTenure may be conferred at any time but only upon appointees holding the ranks of Associate Professor or Professor and only in accordance with policies stipulated for the awarding of tenure.Tenure may be awarded to someone initially appointed at a rank below Associate Professor only after promotion to the rank of Associate Professor or higher, and provided the original search which resulted in recruitment of the individual solicited candidates for a tenure-earning or tenured position.Initial appointments to the tenure-earning faculty at the ranks of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor must be under the rules of earning tenure, and the initial appointment must be for at least two years unless a shorter period is designated in writing. Such appointments shall be renewable for specified duration of time through procedures stated in this Handbook, unless specific exception is written into the letter of appointment.Appointments or promotions to the faculty at the rank of Professor usually carry tenure unless specific exception is written into the letter of appointment. (Return to top)