Personnel Policies for Faculty

Appointments

Appointments to the full-time faculty are of four types: temporary, continuing non-tenure track, probationary, and tenured. Temporary appointments, which may be for one term or longer, are made primarily to replace faculty members on leave. Continuing non-tenure track appointments may be made where there is high performance by persons without terminal degrees or where other special circumstances may pertain. They also include the professional Library staff. Probationary appointments include initial appointments and all reappointments prior to the granting of tenure. Tenured appointments are normally made only after completion of a probationary period, though the awarding of tenure at the time of initial appointment is not precluded. In all instances a decision to grant tenure is based on a thorough review of professional promise and institutional needs. Such a decision can be made only by the Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of the President.

Probationary Appointments

All probationary appointments are made in consultation with the Department Chair and only with the unanimous agreement of the Division Chair (representing the division), the Department Chair, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, and the President. Such appointments are confirmed by written contracts that specify the terms and conditions.

The contractual pay period for full-time faculty is usually for the period of one year, beginning September 1 and ending August 31. Except for librarians, the teaching and scheduled responsibilities are performed during the nine months of the academic year, unless other arrangements are made on an individual basis. For full-time continuing faculty, salary letters are ordinarily issued in early June, approximately three months before the beginning of the contract period.

When the appointment of a probationary faculty member is not to be renewed, he or she is notified in writing by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. For persons in the first year of full-time appointment at Berea, notification is given no later than March 1; for those in the second year no later than December 15. Those who have taught full-time for two or more years at Berea receive notification at least twelve months before employment is to end. The letter of notification does not routinely state the reasons for non-renewal, but the faculty member may seek an explanation from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. Following that consultation the individual may ask for and receive an explanation in writing.

Tenured Appointments

A tenured appointment represents Berea College’s commitment to academic freedom, and its trust in the appointee’s promise as teacher and scholar. The granting of tenure is not automatic; it is the result of a considered judgment that the faculty member will make a significant, long-term contribution to the fulfillment of the College’s purposes. Tenure is a continuous appointment. It continues until (1) the appointee resigns or retires, or chooses to reduce teaching responsibilities below one-half of a normal teaching load, or (2) a situation develops that is demonstrably adequate cause for discontinuation of the appointment. Academic freedom is essential to the College’s success in meeting its educational obligations to its students and the larger society. A well-conceived and soundly administered tenure system is considered the best means to assure such freedom.

Ranks

The following ranks are established for the faculty: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor, and lecturer. The first four ranks apply to persons with full-time responsibilities; the minimum qualifications for each of these ranks are specified below. Persons with part-time appointments who are not affiliated with another college hold the rank of lecturer. Persons teaching temporarily at Berea, who hold academic rank elsewhere, or who have distinguished careers outside higher education, are appointed to adjunct status at the appropriate professorial rank.

Instructor Hiring at this rank requires at least the master’s degree. In most fields appointment at this level is made with the expectation that additional graduate work in one’s field will be pursued. Promotion must be earned within five years if membership on the faculty is to continue.

Assistant Professor For hiring at or promotion to this rank, the standard in most fields is the earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree. For faculty in librarianship, the appropriate master’s degree and three years of professional experience are minimum qualifications for the rank. Minimum qualifications for faculty teaching business subjects are the master’s degree, suitable professional certification, and three years of related experience.

Associate Professor Hiring at this rank requires the doctorate or a terminal degree as specified below, evidence of scholarly or creative ability, superior performance of one’s professional responsibilities, and usually a minimum of six years of full-time experience at the Assistant Professor level. For faculty in theatre, visual arts, and dance, the M.F.A. is the terminal degree. For librarians, the M.L.S. and one year of additional study in librarianship or a related field are required. For faculty in business, the suitable master’s degree, appropriate professional certification, and one additional year of graduate study are required. For Nursing faculty, please see Appointment, Promotion or Tenure for Nursing Faculty.

The standards for promotion to this rank are the same as those specified for tenure (see Tenure Review Standards), and the granting of tenure carries with it promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.

Professor Hiring at this rank requires the doctorate or other acceptable terminal degree, superior performance of one’s professional responsibilities, and normally seven years as an associate professor.

Promotion to this rank requires evidence of continuing excellence in teaching, a continuing record of peer-reviewed scholarly/creative achievement and professional growth, sustained success in mentoring students, and meaningful service to the College. Eligibility normally requires at least seven years as an Associate Professor.

The above statements describe the usual expectations for appointment at each rank, but exceptions may be made when circumstances justify. Particularly in professional and technical fields, in which formal study may be less important than unique experience and demonstrated competence, the requirement for a particular advanced degree may be waived. In these cases, the special qualifications of the faculty member must be fully documented.

Promotion Procedures

The above specifications for the various ranks are considered minimums, and promotion seldom follows as soon as they are met. Elevation in rank is never routine or automatic, but proceeds from a careful assessment of the quality of one’s overall contribution to the life of the College. The criteria for promotion are the same as those specified for tenure (see Tenure Review Standards).

Consideration for promotion normally begins with a recommendation and/or evaluative letter written by the Division Chair to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. Where this is not appropriate, for example when a Division Chair is a candidate for promotion, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty or appropriate administrator initiates the process. To provide adequate time for proper consideration, the deadline for such recommendations is March 1, for consideration the following academic year.

When a faculty member becomes a candidate for promotion, the candidate is so informed by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty and invited to submit current materials to become part of a file that will guide the Faculty Status Council in its deliberations. This file consists of the letter recommending promotion; updated materials submitted by the candidate; summary analyses from the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaires (see Appendix C) ; a current evaluation of the candidate’s effectiveness as an advisor; any materials submitted by others for previous probationary, tenure or promotion reviews; and any other information deemed pertinent by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. The file is made available to the candidate on request.

The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty shall present the question to the Faculty Status Council, and the Council considers the matter in private session. At the conclusion of the consideration, each member of the Council (including the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty) states his or her evaluation of the promotion review file materials relative to the promotion criteria, and concludes with a vote to recommend or not recommend promotion. The voting body includes the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, for a total voting group of eight persons. A recommendation for promotion requires an affirmative vote from at least six of the voting group of eight. The recommendation of the Council shall be forwarded to the President and the candidate by the Chair of the Council. The recommendation report shall indicate that promotion is or is not recommended, and include vote count, but not indicate how individual Council members voted. In addition, the entire Council provides to the President a formal, oral report of its reasoning about a case, with no further discussion to occur except questions of clarification about the oral report itself.

In the event that the candidate disagrees with a negative recommendation of the Faculty Status Council, the candidate may proceed with a request for reconsideration to the Faculty Status Council or an appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee based upon the Reconsideration Procedures or the Appeal Procedures contained in the Faculty Manual.

The President makes decisions on promotions to the rank of assistant professor. If the proposed promotion is to one of the two higher ranks, the Board of Trustees makes the decision, acting on the recommendation of the President. All promotions become effective with the beginning of the next contract year.

For librarians, the criteria and supporting materials for promotion differ somewhat from those for faculty whose duties are primarily instructional. The differences are described in Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation and Promotion of Librarians.

Consideration for Tenure

The probationary period at Berea College is limited to seven years; it may be for a lesser period by virtue of prior full-time teaching experience. If the faculty member has held a full-time appointment elsewhere, no more than three years of that experience may be credited toward tenure at Berea. The tenure review process begins midway through the sixth year counted toward tenure. When conferred by the Board of Trustees, tenure becomes effective at the beginning of the seventh year. If tenure is not conferred, the seventh year is served under terminal contract. Whenever an appointment carries the possibility of tenure, the time for tenure consideration is specified in the initial contract letter.

Tenure Review Standards

Berea College seeks to attract and retain a diverse faculty that serves the mission and Great Commitments of the College by its expertise and by its commitment to teaching, to scholarship and creative work, and to service. A candidate for a tenured appointment is expected to understand and support the College’s educational purposes, to address the curricular and related educational needs of the College, and to demonstrate achievement as well as genuine promise for continuing growth as teacher and scholar. In all instances a decision to grant tenure is based on a thorough review of professional promise and institutional needs.

Each member of the faculty brings distinct talents, background, and interests which allow outstanding contributions to the College. All faculty are reviewed in four areas, with some overlap among them. The following descriptions are intended to guide candidates, Division Chairs, the Faculty Status Council, and others involved in the mentoring and review of faculty. The goal in applying standards is distinction, and the awarding of tenure acknowledges that there is sufficient evidence in all areas of review. The examples of evidence offered below are neither exhaustive nor restrictive.

The tenure review standards are listed in order of importance, with teaching excellence being the sine qua non of retention, tenure, and advancement at Berea College, and with scholarship and/or creative work being understood as a critical component of maintaining good teaching.

1. Teaching Excellence

Berea College expects from its faculty excellence in teaching. This includes current knowledge of one’s subject and its relations to other fields of study, thorough and imaginative course design, a capacity to inform, challenge, and engage undergraduates, and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence through deliberate reflection about teaching.

Evidence of excellence in teaching may come from colleagues’ observations, the Division Chair’s evaluative letter, alumni surveys, student interviews, Instructor Evaluation Questionnaires, student self-assessments, and other indicators of student learning.

Evidence of regular, deliberate reflection about teaching may come from portfolio materials and statements, the quality of syllabi and assignments, rationales for changes in syllabi, assignments, or curricula resulting from evaluations of teaching, and willingness to explore other pedagogies to improve teaching quality.

2. Scholarship/Creative Work and Professional Growth

Berea College faculty are expected to engage in both (a) peer-reviewed scholarship, research, or creative work, and (b) activities that contribute to continuing professional growth.

Berea College understands scholarship/creative work as integral to excellent teaching, and all categories of scholarship are recognized (the scholarship of discovery, of integration, of application, of engagement, and of teaching). Part of what it means to be a scholar is to participate in a community of peers, i.e., sharing work, subjecting it to the constructive criticism of appropriate peers for the type of scholarship, and pursuing a scholarly agenda. Meeting this standard requires work that engages peers beyond the College. Evidence may include juried exhibitions; scholarly articles; presentations at international, national, regional or state conferences; critically reviewed performances; and grant applications.

Professional growth activities may include attending conferences, presentations for on-campus audiences, course and program innovation, and other contributions to the intellectual life on campus.

3. Mentoring Students

Berea College faculty are expected to support students through informed and effective academic advising and, as appropriate and possible, through other means such as labor supervision, informal consultation, and support of student activities and organizations.

Evidence may include responses from advisees, information about supervision of labor students, participation in residence life programs, advising student clubs, leading student travel, helping students pursue career and graduate school opportunities, sponsoring internships and independent studies, and arranging for special opportunities.

4. Service

Berea College faculty are expected to contribute constructively to governing and serving the College at the department, divisional, and College level.

Evidence may include engagement in meetings, discussions and decisions; willingness to serve on committees; involvement in program review and revision; participation in activities that enhance campus curricula; contributions to the mission of the College and its programs; and service to professional and community organizations.

Probationary Review and Other Evaluation

Faculty members on tenure track normally receive two comprehensive performance reviews. Conducted by the Faculty Status Council, the reviews employ the same standards used in tenure consideration and follow similar procedures. The procedures differ somewhat, however, in that (1) the Board of Trustees does not participate; (2) the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty discusses with the individual and his/her Division Chair the conclusions reached, and (3) the Faculty Status Council concludes the performance reviews by discussing its recommendations with the candidate’s Division Chair. The key points of both reviews are also confirmed by letter to the candidate, with copies to the Division Chair and the President.

Apart from these systematic evaluations, there are other ways for the faculty member to learn how his or her work is regarded. Division Chairs and Department Chairs are encouraged to meet at least once a year with division members to review candidly the individual’s performance. Any faculty person should also feel free to approach the Division Chair or Department Chairs about such matters, and to confer as well with the Dean or Curriculum and Student Learning and/or the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, whenever appropriate. In addition, student opinions may be learned directly from the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaires. See Appendix C for the policies regarding the collection, processing, and use of the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaire.

Mentoring Team

When a new tenure-track faculty member comes to Berea College, the Division Chair constitutes a mentoring team of at least two faculty members from within the division. Whenever possible, one team member will be in the same discipline as the new faculty appointee. The Division Chair is a member of the mentoring team for the new faculty member and may continue on the appointee’s mentoring team even beyond one’s term as chair. Over the course of a probationary appointment, mentoring team membership may change as a result of consultations among the faculty member, mentoring team, Division Chair, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty.

Tenure Team

Following a promising probationary review and no later than two years prior to a tenure review for a faculty member, a tenure team is constituted for the tenure candidate. The tenure candidate, mentoring team, Department Chair (where applicable), Division Chair, and Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty will establish a tenure team of three to five faculty members. The tenure team will be composed of the mentoring team and additional tenured faculty members in the candidate’s discipline or related fields inside or outside the division. The candidate’s tenure team and, where applicable, the Department Chair assist the Division Chair in developing a comprehensive, evaluative letter. This assistance may include, but not be limited to: consultation, review of scholarship and other materials related to the College’s Tenure Review Standards, classroom observations, student interviews, and review of student evaluations (IEQs) and/or alumni surveys. Once the Division Chair has drafted the letter, each member of the tenure team and Department Chair, where applicable, receive an electronic copy. Any member of the tenure team or the Department Chair, where applicable, who feels that her/his contributions are not adequately addressed in the letter is encouraged to write an additional letter and submit it to the candidate’s file.

 

Procedures: Assembly of Tenure File

In the sixth year counted toward tenure or the year designated for tenure review in a shorter probationary period, information about the candidate’s performance and promise is assembled from the sources described below. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty requests and receives the materials for a file (the Tenure Review File) which will be used by the Faculty Status Council to guide its deliberations. For the purposes of these procedures, including appeals, any reference to the term “class days” shall mean all days upon which the offices of the College are open, excluding intervening weekends, academic calendar holidays, and the entire summer break. The Tenure Review File, which is made available to the candidate and the candidate’s Division Chair, includes the following items collected in this order:

ONE: Material from various offices to be received in the Office of the Academic Vice President not less than thirty (30) class days prior to the closure date of a candidate’s Tenure Review File.

  1. From the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning, data from the candidate’s advising evaluations.
  2. Summary analyses from the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaires are received from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. See Appendix C for the policies regarding the collection, processing, and use of the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaire. These materials are placed in the Tenure Review File and copied to the Division Chair.
  3. Any other documents determined by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty to be relevant to the stated criteria for tenure are included. These materials shall include, when available, summaries of confidential interviews with students conducted by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty or the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s designate, and must include survey data collected by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty from graduates. The letter summarizing the conclusions of the probationary review (see below) and any related correspondence are also part of the Tenure Review File. These materials are placed in the Tenure Review File and copied to the Division Chair.

TWO: Material from the candidate:

The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty shall request, in writing, that the candidate submit his or her materials for the Tenure Review File. All such material shall be prepared and submitted by the candidate. An essential element is the candidate’s statement describing her or his success in teaching and plans for improvement, service as advisor to students, scholarly or creative work, professional and on-campus activities, and plans for further growth. Course syllabi, copies of examinations, completed manuscripts, and similar items should be included as well. For a period of ten (10) class days prior to submitting his or her materials the candidate is free to review all of the previously collected materials contained in the Tenure Review File. In a written statement the candidate may address the content and recommendations already collected in the Tenure Review File. The candidate is responsible for the submission of the candidate’s materials to the Office of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty not later than ten (10) class days after the deadline for the material in part ONE, above. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty will inform the candidate of this deadline at least by the start of the term in which the Tenure Review will occur.

THREE: Evaluative Letter from the Division Chair:

Upon the written request of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the candidate’s Division Chair submits an evaluative letter describing the candidate’s contributions and performance as described and ordered by the tenure criteria published in the Faculty Manual. Although the letter is informed by contributions of the tenure team and the Department Chair, where applicable, the letter presents the Division Chair’s own judgment, with a clear recommendation that tenure be granted or denied. In arriving at his or her conclusions, the Division Chair:

  • confers with the candidate’s designated tenure team, the Department Chair, and the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning
  • visits a variety of classes conducted by the candidate, including General Studies classes, where applicable
  • interviews students familiar with the candidate’s teaching and advising (Note: interviews are conducted every fall and spring term during the two [2] years immediately prior to tenure consideration)
  • reviews the candidate’s advising materials
  • reviews all material in the candidate’s file (see Section One)

The Division Chair may request that tenured faculty in the division assist in the evaluation of the tenure candidate. Such assistance may include, but not be limited to: consultation, review of scholarship and other materials related to the College’s Tenure Review Standards, classroom observations, student interviews, and review of student evaluations (IEQ) and/or alumni surveys. Names of students interviewed are made known to the tenure candidate upon request, but the students’ responses are held in confidence from the candidate.

The Division Chair is responsible for this letter and its timely submission, due five (5) class days after the deadline established above for the candidate’s materials. Once the Division Chair has drafted the letter, each member of the tenure team and the Department Chair, where applicable, receive an electronic copy. If the Department Chair or any member of the tenure team wishes to submit an additional letter, that letter is due to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty within five (5) class days of the deadline for the Division Chair’s letter, addressing the stated criteria for tenure. These written submissions, if any, from any tenure team members or the Department Chair are intended to be arguments developed from experience with the candidate. The candidate’s file is not available to members of the candidate’s tenure team or the Department Chair in preparing such a letter. If the candidate wishes, the candidate has ten (10) class days from deadline established for letters from tenure team members or the Department Chair to write a letter of reply to the Division Chair’s letter and to any letter added to the file from a member of the candidate’s tenure team or the Department Chair. The candidate’s letter of reply will be added to the Tenure Review File. After this ten (10) class day period no new materials may be added to the Tenure Review File. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty shall send a letter to the candidate and the Chair of the Faculty Status Council confirming that the Tenure Review File has been closed. This date of closure is thirty (30) class days from the submission deadline established for the Tenure Review File materials described in Part ONE, above.

Faculty Status Council Review:

When the Tenure Review File has been closed, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty shall make it available to the members of the Faculty Status Council. Once the Council members have had an opportunity to review the file, the Council meets in private session. No persons other than Council members shall be present and no recording or transcript of the Council’s deliberations shall be made. Members of the Council are free to comment only on material in the Tenure Review File.

At the conclusion of these deliberations, each member of the Council (including the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty) states his or her evaluation of the materials relative to the tenure criteria as described, ordered and published in the Faculty Manual, and concludes with a vote to recommend or not to recommend tenure. The voting body includes the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, for a total voting group of eight persons. A recommendation to recommend for tenure requires an affirmative vote from at least six of the voting group of eight. In addition, the entire Council provides to the President a formal, oral report of its reasoning about a case, with no further discussion to occur except questions of clarification about the oral report itself.

The recommendation of the Council shall be reduced to writing, signed by the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and in the case of a positive recommendation, be forwarded to the President and the candidate by the Chair of the Council. A negative recommendation is at first forwarded only to the candidate to allow time for any potential requests for a letter of explanation from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, for reconsideration by the Faculty Status Council, or appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The negative recommendation goes to the President once any request for reconsideration or appeal is concluded. The recommendation report shall indicate that tenure is or is not recommended, and include vote count, but not indicate how individual Council members voted. In addition, the entire Council provides to the President a formal, oral report of its reasoning about a case, with no further discussion to occur except questions of clarification about the oral report itself.

In the event that the candidate disagrees with a negative recommendation of the Faculty Status Council, the candidate may proceed with a request for reconsideration to the Faculty Status Council or an appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee based upon the Reconsideration Procedures or the Appeal Procedures contained in the Faculty Manual.

Consideration of a Positive Recommendation from the Faculty Status Council to the President

The Chair of the Faculty Status Council forwards a positive recommendation for the granting of tenure to the President together with the candidate’s Tenure Review File within five (5) class days after the decision by the Faculty Status Council. The President then has thirty (30) class days from the date of receipt of the recommendation to accept or reject the recommendation of the Faculty Status Council regarding a candidate’s tenure application. In the course of that thirty (30) days the President has the prerogative to ask the Faculty Status Council to complete a reconsideration of its recommendation in the case. The President’s review of the candidate’s application for tenure is limited to a consideration of the Council’s recommendation and the Tenure Review File. No additional materials or information shall be considered. In addition, the entire Council provides to the President a formal, oral report of its reasoning about a case, with no further discussion to occur except questions of clarification about the oral report itself.

If the President endorses the Faculty Status Council’s positive recommendation for tenure, the recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Trustees for action at its next regularly scheduled meeting. If approved by the Board of Trustees, a candidate’s tenure becomes effective at the beginning of the following academic year. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty will notify the candidate within five (5) class days of the Board’s action.

If the President disagrees with the positive recommendation of the Council, the President may decide not to forward the recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Such a decision ends the tenure review process and results in the candidate’s separation from employment at the end of the candidate’s existing contract. In such an event, the President will notify the candidate, the chair of the Faculty Status Council, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty in writing before March 31 of the academic year in which the tenure review has been scheduled and in any case one year before the end of the candidate’s existing contract.

Consideration of a Negative Recommendation from the Faculty Status Council to the President

If a candidate for tenure is not being recommended to the President by the Faculty Status Council, the Chair of the Council advises the candidate in writing within five (5) class days of the Faculty Status Council’s date of decision, always before February 28 of the academic year in which the tenure review has been scheduled, and in any case one year before the expiration of the candidate’s existing contract. Once the candidate has received the letter from the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, the candidate has five (5) class days to request a letter of explanation from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty has five (5) class days to respond to the candidate’s request. Upon receipt of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s letter of explanation, the candidate has a fifteen (15) class day period in which to request reconsideration of a negative recommendation on substantive grounds to the Faculty Status Council, or to make formal appeal on procedural grounds to the Faculty Appeals Committee. If no request for reconsideration or formal appeal is made, then the negative recommendation is forwarded to the President together with the candidate’s Tenure Review File by the Chair of the Faculty Status Council. If a request for reconsideration or formal appeal is made, no recommendation will be forwarded to the President until after the conclusion of the appeal process.

The President shall have thirty (30) class days from the date of receipt of the recommendation of the Faculty Status Council (following the disposition of any intervening request for reconsideration by the Faculty Status Council or appeal by the candidate before the Faculty Appeals Committee and any subsequent review of the tenure application by the Faculty Status Council) in which to accept or reject the Council recommendation regarding a candidate’s tenure application. In the course of those thirty (30) days the President has the prerogative to ask the Faculty Status Council to complete a reconsideration of its recommendation in the case. The President’s review of the candidate’s application for tenure is limited to a consideration of the Council’s recommendation and the Tenure Review File. No additional materials or information shall be considered. In addition, the entire Council provides to the President a formal, oral report of its reasoning about a case, with no further discussion to occur except questions of clarification about the oral report itself. The President may accept or reject the Council’s negative recommendation.

A decision by the President not to recommend tenure ends the tenure review process and results in the candidate’s separation from employment at the end of the candidate’s existing contract period. In such an event, the President will notify the candidate, the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty in writing before March 31 of the academic year in which the tenure review has been scheduled and in any case one year before the end of the candidate’s existing contract. If the President disagrees with the Council’s recommendation, the President may elect to recommend tenure. If so, the candidate and the Faculty Status Council are advised, in writing, of the President’s decision to recommend tenure and the tenure recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Trustees and acted upon as provided above.

Procedure for Reconsideration of the Faculty Status Council Tenure Recommendation

(The following procedures also govern reconsideration of a promotion recommendation.)

If a faculty member wishes to request reconsideration of a negative tenure recommendation on substantive grounds, the procedure shall be as follows:

Upon receipt of the letter from the Chair of the Faculty Status Council advising the tenure candidate of a negative tenure recommendation, the candidate has five (5) class days to request a letter of explanation from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty has five (5) class days to respond to the candidate’s request. Upon receipt of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s letter of explanation, the candidate has a fifteen (15) class day period in which to request reconsideration of a negative recommendation on substantive grounds to the Faculty Status Council, or to make formal appeal on procedural grounds to the Faculty Appeals Committee. A request for reconsideration must be considered and completed before any formal appeal on procedural grounds to the Faculty Appeals Committee may begin.

The request is to be directed to the Chairperson of the Faculty Status Council, with copies to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. The request must be made prior to any subsequent appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. This request must specify clearly the basis of the reconsideration request. Reconsideration must be based only on substantive grounds:

  • That the recommendation resulted from the misinterpretation or improper assessment of the Tenure Review File.

In such a reconsideration, the candidate bears the burden of proving the existence of the stated ground for reconsideration by clear and convincing evidence. The candidate must state his or her case in writing and this statement from the candidate becomes part of the Tenure Review File for consideration by the Faculty Status Council and for possible future use by the Faculty Appeals Committee and the President.

The consideration of the request for reconsideration must be held within fifteen (15) class days after the Council receives the request. Procedures to be followed during reconsideration follow.

Reconsideration Procedures Used by the Faculty Status Council

The Faculty Status Council uses these procedures when dealing with a request for reconsideration of a negative tenure recommendation. Individual faculty members who are candidates for tenure initiate requests for reconsideration in writing after receiving a negative tenure recommendation. These procedures and the related policies have been developed and adopted by Berea College. The College is bound only by its own procedures and policies, not by the policy statements of any external organization. These procedures are intended to insure fair process; the reconsideration is not expected to follow formal rules of a court of law.

  1. The Chairperson of the Council will schedule and make all arrangements for the meeting of the Council.
  2. Before the FSC begins consideration of the candidate’s request for reconsideration, the candidate is responsible for insuring that the points at issue are clearly defined in writing.
  3. No documents or other evidence may be submitted that were not previously presented to the Faculty Status Council for its consideration in making its tenure recommendation to the President, except (i) the candidate’s request letter containing the candidate’s written arguments, and (ii) the letter of explanation to the candidate from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty (if such a letter was requested). Only arguments pertinent to grounds for a request for reconsideration may be used.
  4. The entire record on reconsideration shall be in the hands of the Council Chair at least seventy-two (72) hours before the reconsideration begins. The Chair will distribute all such materials to all Council members at least forty-eight (48) hours before the start of the reconsideration by the Council.
  5. The reconsideration process is confidential and private. No persons other than the Council members shall be present and no recording or transcript of the Council’s deliberations shall be made. Members of the Council are free to comment only on material in the Tenure Review File, which includes the candidate’s request for reconsideration and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s letter of explanation to the candidate.
  6. At the conclusion of the reconsideration, each member of the Council (including the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty) states his or her evaluation of the materials in the reconsideration request and using the tenure criteria as described, ordered, and published in the Faculty Manual, votes to recommend or not to recommend tenure. The voting body includes the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, for a total voting group of eight persons. Six of eight votes are required for a positive recommendation for tenure.

Within five (5) class days of the decision, the written reconsidered recommendation of the Council, signed by the Chair, shall be forwarded to the candidate. If the Council has concluded in the process of reconsideration to recommend tenure, then the written notification sent to the candidate shall also be sent to the President. The recommendation report shall indicate that tenure is or is not recommended, following the request for reconsideration by the candidate. The report will include a vote count but not indicate how individual members voted. In addition, the entire Council provides to the President a formal, oral report of its reasoning about a case, with no further discussion to occur except questions of clarification about the oral report itself.

If, following the reconsideration process of the Faculty Status Council, the negative tenure recommendation is affirmed, then the candidate may proceed with an appeal on procedural grounds to the Faculty Appeals Committee based upon the procedures described below.

In arriving at a decision to recommend tenure or not, the President weighs the recommendation from the Faculty Status Council, and reviews the entire Tenure Review File. The President’s decision is conveyed in writing to the candidate, with copies to the Chairperson of the Faculty Appeals Committee (if an Appeal was requested), the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, and the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and the Division Chair. The decision must be made within thirty (30) class days following receipt of the final recommendation from the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and be sent to the candidate at least one year before the end of the candidate’s existing contract.

Procedure for Appeal of Faculty Status Council Tenure Recommendation

If a faculty member wishes to appeal a recommendation from the Faculty Status Council regarding promotion or tenure, the appeal shall follow the procedure described below.

A request for a formal appeal must be made in writing within fifteen (15) class days of the date of the written notice that tenure has not been recommended to the President by the Faculty Status Council. If a request for reconsideration has been made to the Faculty Status Council, the fifteen (15) class day period does not begin until that request process has been concluded and the candidate has been notified of its outcome. The request is to be directed to the Chairperson of the Faculty Appeals Committee, with copies to the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. This request must specify clearly the basis of the appeal. An appeal may be based on any of the following grounds, and only on these procedural grounds:

Four Procedural Grounds for Appeal

  1. That the procedures specified in the Berea College Faculty Manual were not followed.
  2. That the recommendation or decision resulted from incomplete or inaccurate information.
  3. That the terms of appointment have not been observed, or the provisions of a tenured appointment have been modified without the individual’s consent.
  4. That academic freedom, as defined in the Faculty Manual, has been violated.

In such an appeal, the candidate bears the burden of proving the existence of one (1) of the four (4) stated grounds for appeal by clear and convincing evidence. The candidate must state his or her case in writing using one (1) or more of the above four (4) criteria and copying the Faculty Appeals Committee, the Faculty Status Council, and the President. This statement from the candidate becomes part of the Tenure Review File for consideration by the Faculty Appeals Committee and for possible future use by the Faculty Status Council and the President.

The consideration of the appeal must be held within fifteen (15) class days after the Committee receives the petition. Procedures to be followed during appeal are printed immediately below:

Appeal Procedures Used by the Faculty Appeals Committee (FAC)

The Faculty Appeals Committee uses these procedures when dealing with appeals of tenure recommendations from the Faculty Status Council to the President. Appeals are initiated in writing by individual faculty members who are candidates for tenure. These procedures and the related policies have been developed and adopted by Berea College. The College is bound only by its own procedures and policies, not by the policy statements of any external organization. These procedures are intended to insure fair process; the appeal is not expected to follow formal rules of a court of law.

  1. The Chairperson of the Committee will schedule and make all arrangements for the meeting of the Committee.
  2. Before the FAC begins consideration of the candidate’s appeal, the candidate is responsible for insuring that the points at issue are clearly defined in writing.
  3. No documents or other evidence may be submitted that were not previously presented to the Faculty Status Council for its consideration in making its tenure recommendation to the President, except the candidate’s appeal letter and documents germane to the grounds of the appeal. The record on the appeal before the Committee shall consist of: (i) the complete Tenure Review File, (ii) the recommendation of the Faculty Status Council, and (iii) the written arguments of the candidate. Only arguments pertinent to one or more of the four (4) Grounds for Appeal may be used.
  4. The entire record on appeal shall be in hands of the Committee Chair at least seventy-two (72) hours before the appeal begins. The Chair will distribute all such materials to all Committee members at least forty-eight (48) hours before the start of the appeal by the Committee.
  5. The appeal process is confidential and private. No persons other than the Committee members shall be present and no recording or transcript of the Committee’s deliberations shall be made. Members of the Committee are free to comment only on material in the Tenure Review File, which includes the candidate’s appeal statement.
  6. When the Committee has deliberated on the candidate’s letter of appeal in conjunction with the candidate’s Tenure Review File, it shall render a decision whether or not procedural violation has occurred.

Within five (5) class days of the end of the appeal, the Committee shall report its findings and recommendations in writing to the Faculty Status Council. Copies of the report are sent to the appellant, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the Division Chair, and the Chair of the Faculty Status Council. The Faculty Appeals Committee is not empowered to overrule the Faculty Status Council’s decision to recommend or not recommend tenure. The Committee may find only that one or more of the four (4) Grounds for Appeal is/are confirmed or not confirmed. If one (1) of these Grounds is confirmed, the Committee’s conclusion mandates another, final content review by the Faculty Status Council. The final review by Faculty Status Council is of the original Tenure Review File, the candidate’s appeal letter previously considered by the Faculty Appeals Committee, and the finding letter sent to the Faculty Status Council from the Faculty Appeals Committee. The Faculty Status Council has ten (10) class days to conclude its final review. By the end of the period, the Chair of the Council must forward the Council’s recommendation to the President. There is no further review or appeal before the Faculty Appeals Committee. The authority to accept or reject any tenure recommendation from the Faculty Status Council rests only with the President of the College and the Board of Trustees.

In arriving at a decision to recommend tenure or not, the President weighs the recommendation from the Faculty Status Council, and reviews the entire Tenure Review File. The President’s decision is conveyed in writing to the candidate, with copies to the Chairperson of the Faculty Appeals Committee, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and the Division Chair. The decision must be made within thirty (30) class days following receipt of the final recommendation from the Chair of the Faculty Status Council, and be sent to the candidate at least one year before the end of the candidate’s existing contract.

Requests for Information When the Tenure or Promotion Process Has Been Concluded

At the end of the tenure or promotion process, candidates are welcome to request a meeting with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty in order to have a conversation about the quality of their work.

Retention of Records

For candidates granted tenure, the following Tenure Review File materials will be placed in the personnel file maintained by the Office of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty following the conclusion of the tenure review: all materials collected by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office, including but not limited to, instructor evaluation data (IEQ); alumni surveys; advising evaluation data; review letter by the Division Chair; copies of representative materials submitted by the candidate, including the statement and curriculum vita; all correspondence regarding the review; and all appeals materials. Personnel files for faculty no longer employed are archived.

For candidates not granted tenure, the Office of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty will hold all Tenure Review File materials (including the portfolio of materials submitted by the candidate) for 7 years. The candidate may request and have copies of any of the material assembled at any time during this period. The candidate’s portfolio will be returned to the candidate at the end of the 7-year period if the candidate supplies the Office of the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty with a forwarding address. If the candidate’s forwarding address is unknown, the portfolio will be destroyed. All other materials in the Tenure Review File will be retained in the personnel file. Personnel files for faculty no longer employed are archived.

Tenure/Promotion Decision and Appeals Procedure Chart

Procedure Chart

Tenure Review Schedule Outline

This outline is a summary and is not meant to substitute for the Procedure text itself, or to be used alone without reference to the Procedure text.

One: File assembly

  • A letter providing information, deadlines, and file closing date is sent to candidates and all persons providing materials by the start of the term in which the tenure review will occur.
  • Thirty days prior to file closing, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s Office collects:
  • From the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning, data from the candidate’s advising evaluations
  •  Summary analyses from IEQs from Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
  • Other documents collected by the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty or the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty’s designate: summaries of interviews with students; data from graduates; probationary review letter and any related correspondence.
  • Twenty days prior to file closing, the candidate submits a portfolio.
  • Fifteen days prior to file closing, an evaluative letter from Division Chair is due.
  • Optional letters from other tenure team members in response to Division Chair’s letter are due ten days before the file closes.
  • Optional letter from the candidate in response to Division Chair’s letter and/or letters from other tenure team members is due by closing date.

Two: Faculty Status Council (FSC) review

  • FSC reviews files and determines recommendations.

Three: Positive FSC recommendation (skip to Five below if recommendation is negative)

  • Recommendation and complete tenure file is sent to President by Chair of the FSC within five days of completed review.

Four: President’s review of positive FSC recommendation

  • The President has thirty days to act upon FSC recommendation, and has the prerogative to ask FSC to reconsider its positive recommendation.
  • Positive endorsement by President of FSC recommendation is sent to Board of Trustees for action at the next regularly scheduled meeting, and five days following the Board’s action the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty notifies candidate.
  • If the President overrules the FSC, the President informs the candidate of the negative decision within the thirty-day period and prior to March 31 of the academic year in which the tenure review has been scheduled. There is no appeal.

Five: Negative FSC recommendation

  • Chair of FSC notifies candidate (must be prior to February 28 of academic year in which review has been scheduled and within five days of completed review).
  • Candidate has five days to request letter of explanation from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty.
  • Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty has five days to provide letter of explanation to the candidate.
  • Candidate has fifteen days to request reconsideration by FSC or formal appeal from Faculty Appeals Committee (FAC).
  • If neither a request for reconsideration is sent, nor a formal appeal is made, then negative recommendation and complete tenure file is sent to President by Chair of the FSC (See Seven below). If a request for reconsideration is sent to the FSC chair, or formal petition of appeal is sent to FAC chair, then recommendation is not forwarded to the President.
  • Within fifteen days of a request for reconsideration, the FSC must consider the request and come to a decision and report it to the candidate and, if positive recommendation, to the President.

Six: Negative FSC reconsideration and FAC appeal

  • Candidate has fifteen days to request formal appeal by the FAC.
  • If no appeal is made, then negative recommendation and complete tenure file is sent to President by FSC chair. (See Seven below.) If an appeal is made, the FAC must consider the appeal and come to a decision within fifteen days.
  • Within five days of its decision, the Committee must report its findings to the FSC.
  • Within ten days of FAC’s report, the FSC must conduct a final review, send a recommendation and the complete tenure file to the President, and report the recommendation to the candidate.

Seven: President’s review of negative FSC recommendation

  • The President has thirty days to act upon FSC recommendation, and has the prerogative to ask FSC to reconsider its negative recommendation.
  • If the President confirms an FSC recommendation not to grant tenure, the President informs the candidate of the decision within the thirty-day period and prior to March 31 of the academic year in which the tenure review has been scheduled. There is no appeal.
  • If the President disagrees with the FSC, then the President notifies the candidate and FSC and the President’s recommendation for tenure is sent to the Board of Trustees for action at the next regularly scheduled meeting, and five days following the Board’s action the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty notifies candidate.

Department-Specific Information on Appointment, Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure

Appointment, Promotion or Tenure for Nursing Faculty

Degree requirements for eligibility for hiring, tenure and promotion for Nursing faculty are either:

  • the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with advanced practice nursing licensure or professional certification which signifies excellence in the practice of professional nursing; or
  • a doctoral degree from an accredited graduate program in nursing or related field.

In addition, for tenure Nursing faculty must meet the criteria for tenure as outlined on under Consideration for Tenure. Ongoing scholarship is expected of nurses as defined in this manual and as clarified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s statement of March 15, 1999, entitled “Defining Scholarship for the Discipline of Nursing.”

Definition of Scholarship in Nursing: Scholarship in nursing can be defined as those activities that systematically advance the teaching, research, and practice of nursing through rigorous inquiry that 1) is significant to the profession, 2) is creative, 3) can be documented, 4) can be replicated or elaborated and 5) [is] …peer-reviewed…

This policy statement has been developed to provide for high quality instruction from a diversely prepared faculty; to reflect the curricular demands of the nursing department; and to assure appropriate and flexible responses by Berea College to the staffing realities of the national nursing faculty community. The policy became effective on June 15, 1999.

Tenure and Promotion for Business Faculty

For faculty in business, the suitable master’s degree, appropriate professional certification, and one additional year of graduate study are required for tenure and promotion to the Associate Professor rank.

Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation and Promotion of Librarians

Each member of the professional library staff is expected to understand and support the College’s unique mission embodied in the Great Commitments. He or she must be able to serve the purposes of the library and the related needs of the College, and to contribute to a collegial atmosphere. Beyond these fundamental considerations, evaluation and promotion are based on the following criteria, arranged in order of importance.

  1. Excellence in performance of all assigned responsibilities as a librarian, including (a) appropriate support of library programs in bibliographic instruction, reference service, collection review and development, and special collection development, and (b) management of library operations as required.
  2. Continuing professional growth demonstrated through (a) participation in professional organizations and (b) research in a field of academic interest or accomplishment of special projects requiring substantive creativity or knowledge of current developments in library/information science or archives management.
  3. Mentoring Students. Berea College faculty are expected to support students through informed and effective academic advising and, as appropriate and possible, through other means such as labor supervision, informal consultation, and support of student activities and organizations.

    Evidence may include responses from advisees, information about supervision of labor students, participation in residence life programs, advising student clubs, leading student travel, helping students pursue career and graduate school opportunities, sponsoring internships and independent studies, and arranging for special opportunities.

  4. Service. Berea College faculty are expected to contribute constructively to governing and serving the College at the departmental, divisional and College level.

    Evidence may include engagement in meetings, discussions and decisions; willingness to serve on committees; involvement in program review and revision; participation in activities that enhance campus curricula; contributions to the mission of the College and its programs; and service to professional and community organizations.

The Promotion Procedures apply to the professional library staff as they do to other members of the College Faculty. The printed information in the individual’s file reviewed by the Faculty Status Council is somewhat different, however. It includes, but need not be limited to, the following:

  1. A letter of recommendation from the Director of Library Services, describing the individual’s performance and contributions as a librarian, scholar, and member of the College community. The letter is based in part on consultation with senior members of the library staff and members of academic divisions for which the staff member serves as library liaison. Supporting the letter are written statements summarizing the individual’s annual performance reviews since the last promotion.
  2. From the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning, a letter commenting on the faculty member’s effectiveness as an advisor to students.
  3. If the faculty member has recently taught one or more courses, an evaluative letter from the relevant Division Chair or the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning, whomever is appropriate, if that person is in a position to write such a letter. If a course has been taught at least biennially, student course evaluations are considered.
  4. Material submitted by the faculty member. An essential element is a reflective statement on the individual’s professional responsibilities and plans for continuing growth. The statement is supplemented by a description of professional activities, participation in College governance, supervision of student labor, other forms of College service, and service to the wider community. Other information, including copies of completed manuscripts or similar materials, is included at the individual’s discretion.
  5. Any other significant documents or information available to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty.

Tenure at Appointment

Tenure-at-appointment may be granted to senior academic administrators: the President, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. The Search Committee, constituted in response to a senior administrative opening, will advise candidates early in the search process of the possibility and procedures for tenure-at-appointment.

Once the candidates to be interviewed have been selected, the Search Committee will direct any requests for tenure review to the relevant division and to the Faculty Status Council (FSC). A Divisional Review Committee (DRC), consisting of appropriate tenured members, will then prepare to write an evaluation and tenure recommendation based on: the five criteria for tenure listed above; documents provided by the Search Committee (letters of recommendation, student evaluations from previous teaching appointments, records of publications and professional activities, etc.); a DRC interview with the candidate; feedback from an interview arranged by the DRC with a group of divisional students; and a talk given to a group of students and faculty. The Search Committee will convey clearly to each candidate that the talk should be directed toward students and designed to convey to students and faculty alike a sense of how the candidate would relate to students as an instructor. If a tenure review is to occur, the DRC will forward a written evaluation and tenure recommendation to the FSC. Members of the FSC—informed by an interview with the candidate, the candidate’s student talk, the DRC written evaluation and recommendation as well as the documents provided by the Search Committee—will then complete the usual tenure review process as described above in the section entitled “Consideration for Tenure.”

Both the DRC and the FSC will implement these procedures with sensitivity to the time constraints under which the Search Committee and the candidates must operate. If sufficient documentation is not available at any stage of the process, the DRC and/or FSC will work through the Search Committee to obtain additional information. A tenure review will occur only when the Search Committee indicates that a candidate seeking tenure is likely to be offered the position.

Post-Tenure Review

Two years before eligibility for sabbatical, tenured members of the faculty engage in a process with three components: (1) intentional reflection on past work and planning for the future, which concludes with a written statement; (2) peer review by three colleagues that culminates in a report from each that is sent to the faculty member and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty; (3) a summary letter from the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty and a meeting with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty.

The focus of the review is developmental, and it draws upon core values in the profession—self review and peer review. The purpose is to help faculty reflect on their work and to plan for continuing professional development as thoughtfully as possible, and to do so with the discipline that a periodic assessment provides. The review also confirms to all—faculty, students, and all stakeholders—that the faculty take seriously their charge to perform consistently at the highest level possible.¹

¹This policy, process, core ideals, and language draws, in part, from post-tenure review policies at other schools, including Denison University, Maryville College, and Earlham College.

Reviews of Full or Part-time Faculty with Continuing Non-Tenure Track Appointments

Full or part-time faculty who receive continuing non-tenure track appointments are to be reviewed on a regular schedule. The schedule for such reviews will be arranged according to the following guide:

  • For faculty teaching a full load (six courses per academic year), a review will be held once every three years; and
  • For faculty teaching less than a full load (one to five courses per academic year), a review will be held once every four years.

This review is intended to provide information useful for the individual’s professional growth as well as to Division Chairs, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, and the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning when possible reappointment is considered. A summary of each review will be available to appropriate Division Chairs, Department Chairs, the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning, and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty.

These reviews will be conducted by the appropriate Division Chair (or Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning for those without divisional appointments). The review procedures are shaped by these requirements: (1) the review employs only the first standard used for the Probationary Review process in the case of less than full-load appointments; (2) the review employs only the first and second standards in the case of full-load, continuing non-tenure track appointments; (3) the review does not require participation from the Faculty Status Council, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, or the Board of Trustees; (4) the Division Chair’s letter must contain an evaluation based on standard one (and two in the case of full-load appointments) used in probationary reviews, as well as a recommendation to reappoint or not, should such an opportunity arise; and (5) the Division Chair discusses with the individual the conclusions reached in the review. The key points of the discussion are then confirmed by letter to the candidate with a copy submitted to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty for inclusion in the reviewed individual’s personnel file.

Each Division Chair, and the Dean of Curriculum and Student Learning, should annually review a list of faculty for whom this policy is designed, and schedule reviews as required. The annual list of faculty to be reviewed should be sent to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty for information in the Fall Term of every academic year.

Grievance Procedure

A faculty member who has a grievance on a matter other than promotion or tenure follows the procedure below. The first step always is to pursue the matter at the first level at which it can be resolved. The procedure stops at the point where (a) the issue is resolved to the individual’s satisfaction, (b) the individual decides not to pursue the matter further, even if not fully satisfied, or (c) the issue is settled by decision of the President.

Grievance Procedure

Professional Competence and Dismissal for Cause

The professional performance of the faculty is the foundation of the College’s quality, and extensive efforts are made to sustain that performance on the highest possible level. Recognizing, however, that a situation could arise in which an individual’s competence or effectiveness might be called into question, the College has developed policies and procedures for dealing with such matters. The College is bound only by its policies and procedures, not by the policy statements of any external organization.

Maintaining high standards of professional performance throughout the faculty is an important responsibility of the faculty as a whole. In meeting that responsibility, individual faculty members may find it necessary in rare instances to raise the question of a colleague’s competence and effectiveness. Such a concern should be expressed to the colleague’s Division Chair, or to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty. Either of those individuals, or the President, may also initiate such a question.

The following are considered adequate cause for dismissal of tenured faculty, or of faculty under term appointment before the appointment expires:

  1. Demonstrated incompetence or dishonesty in teaching or research.
  2. Substantial, persistent and demonstrated neglect of professional responsibilities or failure to observe the terms of appointment to the faculty.
  3. Personal conduct which demonstrably hinders fulfillment of professional responsibilities.
  4. Infirmities serious enough to qualify for total disability payments under the College’s disability plan and/or social security.

Once the question of competence or effectiveness has arisen, the Division Chair, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, and the faculty member shall discuss the matter in a personal conference. At this point the matter may be terminated by mutual consent. If the matter is not terminated, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty shall present it to the Faculty Status Council and seek the advice of the members about the initiation of formal proceedings. If the Council recommends that such proceedings be begun, the members shall join with the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty in formulating a statement specifying with reasonable particularity the grounds proposed for dismissal.

If the Council advises against such proceedings, the members may suggest other possibilities for resolving the matter. After considering such advice and suggestions, the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty may still conclude that formal proceedings should be begun. If the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty goes forward in the absence of Council support, he or she alone shall formulate the statement of the grounds for dismissal.

Formal proceedings commence with a letter from the President to the faculty member. The letter shall inform the faculty member that proceedings have been initiated on the grounds specified in the statement, and that, if he or she requests, a hearing on the charges shall be conducted by the Faculty Appeals Committee. The letter shall also call the faculty member’s attention to the procedures to be followed in such a hearing, as outlined in this document.

Within five class days of receiving the President’s letter, the faculty member shall respond in writing, stating whether a hearing is desired. If no hearing be requested, the President shall then decide whether the faculty member should be dismissed. If the faculty member does request a hearing, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall move quickly to set a time and place, and inform the individual and the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty accordingly. The hearing shall be scheduled to allow the faculty member at least fifteen class days, from the day of notification of the hearing date to the date itself, to prepare a defense.

The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in Appendix B. In such a hearing the burden of proof rests with those who contend that dismissal is justified.

Within fifteen class days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Faculty Appeals Committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the President in writing. The Committee’s report shall address directly and explicitly each of the grounds specified in the statement against the faculty member. The President shall then make a decision, informing the faculty member of the disposition of the case. The Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, the Faculty Appeals Committee chairperson, and the Division Chair shall be informed as well.

The President shall also inform the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the decision. That decision is final, unless the faculty member asks that the Executive Committee review the case. Such a request must be made within ten class days of receipt of notification from the President. Beyond the Executive Committee of the Board, there is no further institutional recourse.

Any public announcement about the decision shall be issued by the President. Members of the Faculty Appeals Committee and other persons involved in the hearing shall maintain confidentiality and refrain from public comment. During the proceedings the faculty member shall be suspended only if his or her continuance threatens immediate danger to persons or property. Unless legal considerations forbid, such suspension shall be with pay.

Steps to be followed when a faculty member’s competence or effectiveness is questioned are below.

Dismissal for Cause Chart

 

Termination of Service

Resignation

Notice of intention to resign from the faculty should take the form of a letter to the President of the College. For resignation effective at the end of an academic year, notice is expected not later than March 1. If the resignation is to become effective before the end of the academic year, at least three months’ notice is required. In the event these notification requirements pose difficulty for the faculty member, the administration will consider waiving them if necessary to meet the individual’s needs. If the requirements cannot be waived without undue disruption of the College’s program, and the faculty member insists on terminating service early, such action will be considered a breach of contract.

Retirement

There is no mandatory retirement age at Berea College.

Upon the request of the faculty member, the opportunity is available to reduce gradually one’s teaching and related responsibilities as one approaches retirement. Such arrangements, which involve salary reduction, take into account individual wishes and institutional needs. Since these circumstances may vary from one person or program to another, arrangements are negotiated on an individual basis.

Tenure ends when a faculty member either (a) retires completely or (b) elects to take partial retirement with responsibilities that are one-half or less of a normal teaching load.

In order to be considered a retiree, when leaving the College the employee must be 55 years of age or older, have completed at least ten years of service to the College, and have no plans for employment elsewhere.

Faculty who retire from the College with at least ten years of service are granted emeritus or emerita status at the time of retirement.  Faculty with emeritus/a status may request to the Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty office space in the Forestry Building for a two-year period after retirement, and such periods can be renewed.

Separation Due to Institutional Circumstances

Separation of a faculty member, whether on tenure or term contract, is also possible as a result of the following circumstances:

  • Demonstrated severe financial exigencies of the College.
  • Significant reduction or discontinuation of the academic department in which the faculty member does most of his or her teaching.

Such circumstances are different from the conditions specified for dismissal for cause and, unlike the latter, do not reflect adversely on the individual’s performance. Consequently the considerations and procedures applicable to dismissal for cause do not apply.

Termination due to either of these circumstances is to be demonstrably bona fide , and to be undertaken only after every reasonable effort has been made to deal with the matter in other ways, including placement of the teacher in another suitable position within the College. If the appointment of a tenured teacher is terminated for either of these reasons, the vacated position is not to be filled for at least two years, unless the previous incumbent has been offered reappointment and declined.