Post-Tenure Review: Draft Document for the Steering Committee-October 6, 2005

Note: I have tried to incorporate comments made from the Deans at AU, the AAUP Statement on PTR, and what various universities around the country have proposed. (Rich Penaskovic)

I. Introduction:

A.     At Auburn University post-tenure review (hereafter as PTR) refers to the various practices that add a systematic and comprehensive structure on to existing evaluation processes for tenured faculty and tenured administrators.

B.     The following principles shall guide Auburn University’s PTR policy and all procedures developed shall be in accord with these principles.

1.                          PTR focuses on the quality of the individual faculty member’s work rather than on programmatic direction.


2.                          PTR is not a dismissal policy. We already have such a policy. The Faculty Handbook contains a section on dismissal in section 16 on “Personnel Policies” which reads, “Adequate cause for a dismissal shall be related, directly and substantially, to the fitness of faculty members in their professional capacities as teachers, researchers, or outreach specialists.” Incompetent faculty should be dismissed through procedures that keep the burden of proof on the institution and that ensure due process.


3.                          Post-tenure review ensures the protection of academic freedom as defined in the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles. It should not be used to shift the burden of proof from the administration of Auburn University (viz., to show cause why a tenured faculty member should be dismissed) to the individual faculty member (viz., to show cause why he/she should be retained). 


4.             Post-tenure review should be established on a trial basis and, if continued, should be evaluated frequently in regard to its effectiveness in supporting faculty development and in redressing problems of faculty performance and in the time and cost of the effort required. Post-tenure review should be subject to a cost-benefit analysis which demonstrates that institutional resources can fully and adequately support a system for post-tenure review without damage to other aspects of the academic program and to the recognition of faculty merit. The effectiveness of such a system heavily depends on the application of these standards and on the ability of Auburn University to sustain and support faculty development.


5. PTR should be flexible enough so that different expectations in                                                                   different disciplines and changing expectations at different stages of faculty careers are acknowledged.

6. The basic standard for appraisal should be this: whether the faculty member under review discharges with professional competence the duties associated with her/his position, and not whether the faculty member meets the current standards for the awarding of tenure as those might have changed since the initial granting of tenure.         

II. Purpose:


The purpose of post-tenure review will be threefold: 1. to enhance the performance of tenured faculty members who voluntarily wish to be reviewed (so as to qualify for a merit raise over and above the usual ones given) 2. to require that tenured faculty whose annual performance is “Needs Improvement” two times over a six year period to undergo a post-tenure review, and 3. to enhance public trust in AU by ensuring that the faculty community holds its members accountable to high professional standards.  The heart and soul of post-tenure review will be annual performance evaluations. This requires all department heads/chairs to conduct annual evaluations of faculty. Faculty who are budgeted 50% in two units shall designate one unit as the locus for the evaluation.

A.     The Faculty Handbook already calls for certain standardization in regard to the annual evaluations. Each unit head/chair is required to give every faculty member a written evaluation annually, which faculty sign.

B.     This provision must be enforced uniformly across campus by the unit head/chair under the supervision of the respective Dean. Unit heads/chairs who fail to give annual written evaluations of each faculty member shall be reported to the Provost who bears ultimate responsibility for these evaluations. 

III. Who is subject to PTR?


All tenured faculty members (and administrators with tenure) are eligible for review when they have been tenured for at least six years, have not been otherwise reviewed for promotion or similar purposes for at least five years, and do not have an agreed upon retirement date within three years of the proposed review. However, any faculty member who has received at least four satisfactory annual reviews in the six year cycle will be exempt from the cycle’s PTR, unless they wish to be evaluated so as to receive a merit raise over and above the usual ones given.  Faculty shall not be eligible for or subject to review under this policy more frequently than once every five years. In other words, faculty shall undergo a post-tenure review in either of the following circumstances:

1.                          Faculty members may request a review in order to receive a special merit raise . Nine month faculty are eligible for a merit raise of $5,000. Those on 12 month appointment shall receive a one time raise of $6,600. These special merit raises will be increased every year based on the average percentage increase in faculty salaries that year.

2.                          Faculty are eligible for these special merit raises only once every six years.

3.                          Faculty are required to undergo a PTR if their written annual evaluations identify a substantial and continuing deficiency in the faculty member’s performance two times in a six year period of time. This means that any system of PTR which gets developed over the coming year cannot be implemented immediately, and that faculty who might be subject to PTR needs the opportunity to improve their performance in the light of new accountability expectations. Unit heads and deans are to be charged with identifying those individuals who might be subject to PTR and to provide support with a view to obviating in advance the need for PTR. 

4.             Tenured administrators will be subject to PTR if their written annual     evaluations identify a substantial and continuing deficiency in their performance two times in a six year period. Tenured administrators will be evaluated in the departments in which they have tenure in accordance with their appointment, e.g., a part-time associate dean on 50% administrative and 50% faculty appointment will be evaluated proportionately both in regard to their administrative responsibilities as well as their faculty responsibilities.


IV. Criteria:

A.     The criteria should reflect the overall mission of the tenure/promotion unit and be sufficiently flexible to accommodate faculty with differing responsibilities and particular strengths who contribute to the mission of Auburn University in highly unique ways.

B.     The tenure/promotion unit will ensure that the criteria governing tenured administrators/faculty review do not infringe on the accepted standards of academic freedom of faculty, including the freedom to pursue new or unpopular lines of inquiry. The review ought to be carried out without bias or prejudice by factors such as age, color, disability, ethnicity, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


V. Procedures for Review:


    1. Those faculty who receive a superior rating over a six year period are eligible for a raise over and above the ones usually given. The Dean of the school or college will make this determination based on the recommendation of the individual unit heads or chairs.

     2. Those faculty receiving an evaluation of “Needs Improvement” or “below expectations” must meet with the unit head or with members of their primary unit to pinpoint the causes of the unsatisfactory evaluation and to plan and implement a written Performance Improvement Agreement (hereafter as PIA) to remedy their problems.

         3. Faculty members may appeal an unsatisfactory evaluation to the primary unit head and/or dean. If an appeal is invoked, no action will be initiated to begin a PIA until this appeals process takes place. The appeals process should ordinarily be completed within four to six weeks.

         4. Reviews shall be conducted by a minimum of three tenured faculty members drawn from outside the department of the individual undergoing review. A faculty member under review may formally object to the service of a faculty member in a review capacity. Up to four such objections will be honored if made to the tenure/promotion unit head. Every effort will be made to keep these formal objections confidential.

         5. Review procedures may include such items as:

                     a. A review of both the qualitative and quantitative evidence of the faculty member’s performance over the previous six years, including annual reviews by the unit head, a current C.V., and any contribution that the faculty member or the peer-review committee deem relevant to the review.

                     b. Discussion with the faculty member about his/her contributions to the profession, to the university, or to the tenure/promotion unit, if either the faculty member of the PTR committee so desire.

                     c. Careful consideration of a faculty member’s contribution’s contribution to governance, administration, interdisciplinary programs, or to other schools or colleges outside the tenure/promotion unit.


VI. PTR Appeals Committee (hereafter as PTRA).

          A faculty member may appeal in writing a PTR Committee decision/action within 15 days after the appeal to the unit head/chair or Dean to the PTR Appeals Committee.

         The PTRA Committee consists of seven faculty elected by the University Senate for two-year staggered terms. The Executive Committee of the University Senate shall nominate faculty members at the rank of professor with tenure as candidates for election to the PTRA Committee. The Committee shall elect its chair annually and no more than two members shall be from any one college or school. The Faculty Records Office of the Provost will provide staff assistance to this Committee.



VII. Outcomes:

         An overall performance rating for the six year review period will be determined using the following four levels: 1. Extraordinary Performance, 2. Strong Performance, 3. Satisfactory Performance, and 4. Unsatisfactory Performance.


Excellent Performance: The unit or department, school or college will acknowledge publicly faculty whose performance is deemed extraordinary, i.e., six year records that stand out form the rank group. In addition faculty receiving a rating of Extraordinary will receive a one-time monetary supplement of $5,000.


Strong/Good Performance: The unit or department, school or college will take into consideration the PTR outcome in awarding merit and fully satisfactory raises at the next available opportunity.


Satisfactory Performance: The unit or department, school or college will consider the PTR review outcome in awarding fully satisfactory performance raises at the next available opportunity.


Needs Improvement: If a faculty member has two or more “unsatisfactory performance” evaluations in a six year period the unit head in consultation with the peer committee and the faculty member under review will draft a PIA. A timetable of two years will be provided to accomplish the goals of the plan with annual monitoring by the unit head and peer review committee to measure progress.


VIII. Sanctions:


If the PIA has not produced the desired results, sanctions shall be imposed. These include: reassignment of duties, loss of eligibility for campus travel funds or sabbaticals, or salary freeze. An appropriate faculty committee shall recommend sanctions. Dismissal for cause is not part of the PTR. The consequences of continued satisfactory performance are outlined in The Faculty Handbook. The unit head and the dean have the responsibility of documenting a case of continued unsatisfactory performance and/or failure to achieve the goals of the development plan resulting from a PTR.


IX. Assessment of PTR:

            The Provost, in consultation with faculty and campus administrators, shall report to the President the effectiveness of the PTR process after two years of implementation. Serious problems shall be remedied at this time.


X. Examples of Overall Evaluation:

            A. Nadine’s assigned load is 60% teaching, 20% research, and 20% service. She receives a Needs Improvement” in research, an extraordinary performance in teaching, and a good performance in service. Her weighted overall evaluation comes to (.6) *(4) + (.2) * (1) + (.2) * (3) = 2.4 + .2 +  .6= 3.2 for a “strong/good” overall on her annual review.


            B. Bruce’s department does a lot of research and his assigned load is 50% research, 30% teaching, and 20% service. He receives a “Needs improvement” in research, unsatisfactory in teaching, and unsatisfactory in service. His weighted annual evaluation is (.5) * (1) + (.3) * (1) + (.2) * (1) = .5 +  .3 + .2 = 1.0. His overall performance would be “needs improvement.” If he has another review like this in a six year period, then a PTR would be triggered for him.