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 Peer Review and Confidential Formative Mentoring

Faculty members on tenure track normally receive two comprehensive interim performance reviews, generally in the 2nd and the 4th years. 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 Dean of Faculty invites the candidate to discuss 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, which offer feedback for candidates to use in improvement or development work on the way to a final summative tenure decision, 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 probationary faculty members to gather feedback from members of the College's academic leadership, as necessary. Division Chairs and Department Chairs are encouraged to meet at least once a year with division members to review the individual’s performance. Any tenure-track faculty member should also feel free to approach the Division Chair or Department Chair about such matters, in the event a meeting is not called, and to confer as well with the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success and/or the Dean of Faculty, whenever appropriate. In addition, student opinions, which provide one form of feedback and evidence used in all reviews, may be obtained directly from the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaires. See Appendix C for the policies regarding the collection, processing, and use of the Instructor Evaluation Questionnaire. And finally, all members of the teaching faculty may access mentoring facilitated by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

Peer-Review Team

When a new tenure-track faculty member comes to Berea College (at the latest by the beginning of the second semester of the first year), the Division Chair, in consultation with the new faculty member, constitutes a Peer-Review Team of not more than five faculty from Berea College, including faculty from the department, if applicable, the division, as well as outside the division if desirable. Most teams will include the Division Chair and the Department Chair. Peer-Review Team members should not be composed of faculty colleagues who are also concurrently serving in the role of Mentor (see Confidential Formative Mentoring) to the candidate. Only in rare cases, and with approval from the Dean of Faculty in consultation with the candidate, should a former Mentor serve as a Peer-Review Team member. Teams may or may not meet as a group during the course of a review period. The primary purpose of the team is to provide peer perspectives on the tenure-track faculty member’s work and development in teaching, scholarship/creative work, advising, and service, particularly in the form of concrete input for the Division Chair’s letter to the Faculty Status Council for probationary reviews. The specific role a Peer-Review Team member plays in the process (e.g., focus on teaching vs. focus on scholarship/creative work; focus on all parts undergoing review, etc.) will be determined in conversation with the probationary faculty member and the Division Chair. The Division Chair’s letter should be shared confidentially with Peer-Review Team members. Peer-Review Team members should also share their observations about a tenure-track faculty member’s work directly with that faculty colleague as they collect these observations, and they may also offer some advice in relation to that feedback. For example, after a class observation, it is always good practice to write up notes for the colleague and to sit down for a conversation about those observations. Although Peer-Review Team members are not primarily charged with mentoring, they are encouraged to provide information, feedback, context, and their own perspective on the probationary faculty member’s work directly to that faculty member in an ongoing dialogue to the degree possible. Division Chairs may take on a significant advising function. Best-practice protocols and guidelines to help guide observations and assessments are available from the Center for Teaching and Learning. Over the course of a probationary appointment, Peer-Review Team membership may change as a result of consultations among the probationary faculty member, the team, Division Chair, and/or the Dean of Faculty. 

At tenure review, the candidate’s Peer-Review 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/creative work 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 Peer-Review Team and Department Chair, where applicable, receives a copy. Any member of the Team or the Department Chair, where applicable, who feels that one’s contributions are not adequately addressed in the letter is encouraged to write an additional letter and submit it to the candidate’s file.

Confidential Formative Mentoring

Opportunities for individual or group mentoring are available to probationary faculty members upon their arrival at the College. All new faculty members, regardless of appointment type, are required to participate in an intensive two-day orientation designed to communicate not only basic information plus implicit as well as explicit institutional expectations and norms, but also to launch their work as critically reflective faculty members. Any new faculty member may then elect to participate in a year-long New Faculty Seminar led by the Director of Faculty Development/Director of the CTL, often in partnership with another faculty member. The particular focuses for each annual Seminar group emerge from participant needs and combine pedagogical learning and discussion with guidance about College culture, norms, practices, and policies. Supplemental sessions are offered for those participants on the tenure-track to introduce the review process, and among other things, these sessions provide broad timelines and recommendations for documenting work and engaging in critical self-reflection. In addition, during the first year and beyond, the Director of Faculty Development/Director of the CTL is available for individual consultations, to provide guidance and support for teaching development, and to conduct student focus groups at midterm to gather and then discuss responses to student feedback for the remainder of the course. To facilitate risk-taking and honest exploration of challenges, participants can expect confidentiality in the Seminar and all other CTL-sponsored faculty development programming and services.   

As they engage in ongoing development, improvement, and reflection processes in the second year and through the remainder of the probationary period, tenure-track faculty members are encouraged to seek additional mentoring, which is available in many forms. Like the first-year programs, such mentoring is characterized by its nature as voluntary, confidential, and developmental for the participant in order to foster, where necessary, honest self-assessment and critical self-examination and improvement efforts in a supportive context removed from the summative evaluation process. Participants are encouraged in their second year to join the annually offered faculty-led and facilitated Teaching Strategies Learning Community or another sustained development opportunity, and/or to seek mentoring through one of the CTL-sponsored mentoring programs. Research on faculty development indicates that sustained development efforts are necessary to support deep and lasting change. Scholarship on mentoring encourages those in pursuit of guidance and support to think in terms of multiple mentors for different areas of need or growth. Feedback from probationary reviews should constitute an important form of guidance for probationary faculty as they prioritize areas for ongoing growth and development in working with an individual mentor or as part of a professional development group. In working with mentors or mentoring groups, tenure-track faculty members are strongly encouraged to integrate the recommendations of their Peer-Review Team members (and from FSC, as applicable) into their conversations and work with mentors to ensure consistency of focus for guidance and development.

 

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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty not less than thirty (30) class days prior to the closure date of a candidate’s Tenure Review File.

  1. From the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, 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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty or the Dean of Faculty’s designate, and must include survey data collected by the Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty shall request, in writing, that the candidate submit one's 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 success in teaching and plans for ongoing development, 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 one's 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 Academic Affairs not later than ten (10) class days after the deadline for the material in part ONE, above. The Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Peer-Review 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 one's conclusions, the Division Chair:

  • confers with the candidate’s designated Peer-Review Team, the Department Chair, and the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success
  • 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 Peer-Review Team and the Department Chair, where applicable, receive an electronic copy. If the Department Chair or any member of the Peer-Review Team wishes to submit an additional letter, that letter is due to the Dean of 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 Peer-Review 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 Peer-Review 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 Peer-Review 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 Peer-Review 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty) states one's 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty. The Dean of Faculty has five (5) class days to respond to the candidate’s request. Upon receipt of the Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty. The Dean of Faculty has five (5) class days to respond to the candidate’s request. Upon receipt of the Dean of 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 Dean of 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 one's 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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty’s letter of explanation to the candidate.
  6. At the conclusion of the reconsideration, each member of the Council (including the Dean of Faculty) states one's 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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.

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 Dean of 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 one's 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Academic Affairs following the conclusion of the tenure review: all materials collected by the Office of Academic Affairs, 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 Academic Affairs 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 Academic Affairs 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

Tenure and Promostion Decision and Appeals 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 Office of Academic Affairs collects:
    • From the Associate Vice President and Dean of Curriculum and Student Success, data from the candidate’s advising evaluations
    •  Summary analyses from IEQs from Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
    • Other documents collected by the Dean of Faculty or the Dean of 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 Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty.
  • Dean of 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 Dean of Faculty notifies candidate.