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Article 7. The Tenure Track

Section 7.1 Academic Positions, Eligibility and Personnel Actions
Section 7.2 Appointment as, or Promotion to, Assistant Professor
Section 7.3 Reappointment as Assistant Professor
Section 7.4 Appointment as, or Promotion to, Associate Professor
Section 7.5 Reappointment as Associate Professor
Section 7.6 Appointment as, or Promotion to, Professor
Section 7.7 Probationary Period
Section 7.8 Mini – Tenure Review
Section 7.9 Limits on Probationary Appointments
Section 7.10 The Award of Tenure
Section 7.11 The Award of Tenure for Department Chairs and Deans
Section 7.12 Initial Appointments with Tenure

Section 7.1 Academic Positions, Eligibility and Personnel Actions. Academic positions in the Tenure Track shall be at the ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor. Individuals appointed in the Tenure Track will be full-time faculty members academically- salaried faculty members employed by UMMS, UMMHC or by an approved agency such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. All personnel actions for faculty members in the Tenure Track shall be based upon evaluation of performance in the full range of academic endeavors: (1) research, creative or scholarly activity; (2) education; and (3) service (including patient care where relevant). Additionally, all personnel actions must be consistent, where applicable, with the provisions of Section 4.2 regarding affirmative action and Section 4.3 regarding program plans.

Section 7.2 Appointment as, or Promotion to, Assistant Professor. Normally, appointment or promotion to the rank of Assistant Professor in the Tenure Track shall require:

  1. Completion of the terminal degree and formal training in the relevant academic field, and:
    1. for those clinically trained in medical disciplines, evidence that s/he has completed all necessary training to be eligible for board certification;
    2. for those trained in basic science, 2 years of postdoctoral research;
    3. for those prepared in nursing, 2 years of teaching at the university or college level, or
    4. relevant experience and achievement other than university or college teaching sufficient to qualify for appointment as an Assistant Professor in a university school of nursing for others not included in i. ii or iii., equivalent previous professional experience, achievement, responsibility and strength of professional development, and:
  2. Evidence of prior experience in the areas of education, research/scholarly activity or professional/academic service that would qualify as ‘entry’ level achievement as listed in Section 6, Table 3. It is recognized that junior faculty will vary considerably as to their level of prior experience in each of these categories.

Section 7.3 Reappointment as Assistant Professor. Reappointment as Assistant Professor in the Tenure Track shall require:

  1. high quality performance in:
    1. the conduct of research, creative or scholarly activity, sufficient to have generated aregional or national reputation among peers in that field, and, in addition, sufficient for continual updating of course content and other instructional and professional activities so as to reflect current developments in the faculty member's academic field; and
    2. the fulfillment of assigned educational responsibilities, and
    3. the requested service to the department, school, hospital, campus or University and broader communities, and
  2. evidence of continuing achievement and growth since the initial appointment; and
  3. reasonable assurance of continuing professional development consistent with the ability to reach the level for eventual promotion to Associate Professor.

Section 7.4 Appointment as, or Promotion to, Associate Professor. Normally appointment or promotion to the rank of Associate Professor in the Tenure Track shall require:

  1. considerable academic or professional experience beyond the level which would warrant appointment and reappointment as Assistant Professor, including:
    1. 6 years of service at the level of Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, or another academic institution; or
    2. an equivalency of previous professional experience, achievement, responsibility and stage of professional development;
    3. for others not included in i. or ii., sufficient experience and to qualify for an Associate Professorship in a university department in the individual's academic field and
  2. an increasing record of high quality peer-reviewed publications resulting from research/creative/scholarly activity, sufficient to have generated at least national recognition by scholars or professionals in his/her field; and
  3. an academic record, beyond that required for the rank of Assistant Professor that demonstrates an 'established' level of academic achievement in the area of research/scholarly activity and in a second area (e.g. either education or professional/academic service) with at least an 'entry' level of achievement in the third area. A description of the types of activities that are evaluated for promotion and the description of activities that would qualify as having achieved 'established' level of activity in the various academic missions are listed in Section 6, Tables 2 and 5, respectively.

Section 7.5 Reappointment as Associate Professor. Reappointment at the rank of Associate Professor in the Tenure Track shall require:

  1. High quality performance in the fulfillment of responsibilities outlined in Section 7.4;
  2. Evidence of continuing growth and achievement since the previous appointment;
  3. Continuing professional development consistent with the ability to reach the level for eventual promotion to Professor.

Section 7.6 Appointment as, or Promotion to, Professor. Normally, appointment or promotion to the rank of Professor in the Tenure Track shall require:

  1. 12 years of professional experience beyond the time when the faculty member would have qualified for an initial appointment at the Assistant Professor level, and
  2. evidence of 'senior' level achievement in research/scholarly activity and in at least one additional area (e.g. education or professional/academic service) and at least an 'established" level of achievement in the third area (see Section 6, Tables 5 and 6, for a description of the types of activities that would qualify as having achieved 'senior' and ' established' levels of achievement), and
  3. promise of continuing professional development and achievement.

Section 7.7 Probationary Period. All appointments and reappointments within the Tenure Track, but without the award of tenure, are probationary and appointments can be terminated with the same notice period provided to other non tenured faculty (see Section 10.7b). The probationary period of normally no more than 8 years is an opportunity for the faculty member to demonstrate the qualifications for reappointment, promotion, and the award of tenure. During the probationary period, the faculty member should have access to information on the substantive and procedural standards employed in decisions affecting reappointment, promotion, and the award of tenure. In addition, the faculty member shall receive from the Department Chair, or the Dean (in schools without departments), an annual evaluation of performance.

Section 7.8 Mini – Tenure Review. All individuals on the tenure track shall undergo a mini- tenure review during the fifth year of their tenure probationary period. Those faculty who had received less than four (4) years credit toward tenure may opt to undergo a mini-tenure review prior to the beginning of their tenure decision year. This review shall be carried out by the chair and the tenured faculty in the candidate’s department if the department has five or more tenured faculty. If the department has fewer than five tenured faculty members, the department chair, in consultation with the candidate, shall appoint tenured faculty from other departments so as to provide at least five reviewers. The candidate would then provide the review team with a file containing his/her current curriculum vitae, documentation of teaching contributions and any available documentation of service that the candidate feels would be relevant. The department committee (plus any tenured faculty from other departments who have been added to this committee) shall review these materials and provide a written assessment of the accomplishments of the faculty member to date, including suggestions for improvement that might facilitate success in the final tenure process. A copy of this assessment shall be forwarded to the Chancellor's designee for academic affairs. The departmental chair shall then meet with the candidate to review the assessment and to provide constructive suggestions for change as needed. The nature of this assessment, whether positive or negative, shall not affect the final outcome of the formal tenure review process. Rather it shall inform the candidate and the chair, providing feedback on the pace and quality of the candidate’s progress.

Section 7.9 Limits on Probationary Appointments. No academic appointment without tenure shall carry with it any assurance, explicit or implicit, of reappointment, promotion, or the eventual award of tenure. The only exception shall be that a faculty member in his/her tenure decision year, having been denied tenure, shall be entitled to a terminal contract (1 year in the case of faculty employed by UMMS or by an approved foundation such as the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute) beyond the Tenure Decision Year. In circumstances where continued employment of a clinical faculty member (e.g. a faculty member employed by UMMHC) who has been denied tenure is deemed to be of exceptional importance to the success of programs in the Medical School or Clinical System, such individual may be transferred to the non-tenure track. The continued employment of this individual beyond the terminal period will be contingent on the continued availability of funding and will require approval of the Department Chair, the Department Personnel Action Committee, the Chancellor, and where relevant, the CEO of UMMHC. The award of tenure must be based on a positive recommendation in accordance with procedures and standards established in Articles 10 and 11.

Section 7.10 The Award of Tenure. The award of tenure can be made only by the President with the concurrence of the Board of Trustees. Except in unusual circumstances, consideration of a candidate for tenure shall be based on the following:

  1. Convincing evidence of, and potential for continuing excellence in research, creative or scholarly activity and at least one of the following two areas: (1) education and (2) professional/academic service, with a minimum of strength in the third area, such as to demonstrate the possession of qualities appropriate to a member of the faculty occupying a permanent position; and
  2. Compelling assurance of continuing development and achievement leading to considerable further contributions to the school, the campus and the University.

Section 7.11 The Award of Tenure for Department Chairs and Deans. For Department Chairs or Deans who are recommended for appointment with tenure, the Chancellor shall consult with the Tenure Committee as to the credentials of the candidate for tenure, recognizing that the credentials of a prospective department chair or dean may differ from those of other tenure candidates who have been intensively involved in research. In such cases the Tenure Committee may consider the overall suitability of the candidate for tenure, including evidence of excellence in two of the three missions (e.g. research/scholarly activity, education and service/administration) and strength in the third mission. If, upon appropriate tenure review, a prospective Department Chair or Dean recommended for appointment with tenure is not awarded tenure, s/he may elect to either receive a terminal one year contract, or transfer from the Tenure Track to the Non-Tenure Track.

Section 7.12  Initial Appointments with Tenure. The criteria for an initial appointment with tenure shall be those established for the rank involved and those for the award of tenure as outlined above. Normally the award of tenure at the time of initial appointment shall be limited to those who already hold tenure at another institution. For faculty who are recommended for tenure at the time of their initial appointment, the Tenure Committee shall be convened at the time an offer is made and two of the tenured members of the Search Committee shall be selected by the Tenure Committee to serve as internal ad hoc members of Committee; the requirement for an external ad hoc Tenure Committee member may then be waived. If, upon appropriate tenure review, a faculty member recommended for initial appointment with tenure is not awarded tenure, s/he may elect to either receive a terminal one year contract, or transfer from the Tenure Track to the Non-Tenure Track.