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4.14 / Probationary Period

Time Limit:
The Regents tenure policy defines the time limit for the probationary period in Section 4.13 of this manual. The following University regulations apply to the probationary period as defined in Kansas Board of Regents policy:
  1. At the time of initial probationary appointment, agreement between the appointee and the institution must be reached on the prior service, if any, to be applied against the probationary period. This agreement shall be contained in the initial letter offering the position and in the initial appointment letter.
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  3. When a probationary period is interrupted by a leave of absence other than a scholarly leave, such leave will not be counted toward eligibility for tenure. A scholarly leave will count toward tenure unless the faculty member and the university agree in writing to the contrary at the time the leave is granted. If a faculty member takes a part-time administrative or other nonacademic appointment during the probationary period, that time is counted toward eligibility for tenure if he/she maintains at least a half-time (.5 FTE) academic appointment and is not counted if the academic appointment is less than half-time.
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  5. If a faculty member terminates and subsequently returns to the university, rules for tenure consideration will apply as they do for previous service at other institutions of higher education.

  6. During the probationary period a teacher will have the academic freedom that all other members of the faculty have. 
Annual Evaluation of Nontenured Faculty:
All faculty members holding half-time or more appointments who have not attained tenure will be evaluated at least once a year. Faculty members will have the opportunity to present documentation of performance for the purpose of this evaluation. The evaluation will be recorded by the department chair on official University forms provided by the Office of Academic Affairs to department chairs. In addition to reviewing the faculty member's performance during the preceding year, these annual reviews will also contain a section on "progress toward tenure" in which the faculty member's overall performance at WSU will be evaluated in the context of the tenure review which will occur at the end of the probationary period. All annual reviews should be submitted for tenure and promotion consideration: however, these annual reviews do not constitute a definitive review for tenure. The chair will review with the faculty member the results of the evaluation and transmit them to the dean. Copies will be retained by the faculty member, the department, the college/school/University Libraries dean's office and the Office of Academic Affairs.

In order to ensure as consistent a review process as possible prior to tenure decision, the annual review of probationary members of a department is to be conducted exclusively by the tenured members of the department or the elected tenure committee of the department. The chair of the department will be present. Abstentions will not be registered except when a faculty member declares he/she has a conflict of interest concerning a case. The chair of the committee of tenured members records the evaluation and the vote of the group. The department chair shall provide a separate evaluation and recommendation. The vote count, evaluations, and recommendation will be shared with the person being reviewed, who shall be afforded the opportunity to submit a written rebuttal to the evaluations. In departments in which two or fewer members are tenured, an ad hoc review committee, consisting of tenured faculty members who might be involved in the ultimate tenure decision, shall be appointed by the dean of the appropriate college/school/University Libraries. Untenured chairs shall not participate in their own reviews.

The annual evaluation is an important activity for which faculty members should be well prepared. It is a cumulative record of performance that in the case of probationary faculty shows progress toward consideration for continuous tenure.

Early Consideration for Tenure:
Within the usual probationary period, a faculty member who believes he/she demonstrates exceptional merit may be afforded one opportunity to stand for tenure prior to mandatory review. In such cases, the faculty member, in consultation with the chair and the dean, shall determine the advisability of early nomination according to the following criteria of eligibility:

  1. The faculty member shall hold the rank of assistant professor or above.
  2. The faculty member without prior higher education service shall have completed two years of full-time service at Wichita State University before early review may be undertaken at the departmental level.
Should the faculty member decide to stand for early tenure review, the following conditions shall apply:
  1. The tenure review shall be conducted under the standard deadlines, policies, and procedures governing tenure considerations at that time.
  2. A faculty member who is unsuccessful in the early application for tenure shall have the right to continue on probationary status and stand for mandatory tenure review without prejudice.
Initial Appointment with Tenure:
In exceptional circumstances an individual may be awarded tenure at the time of initial appointment. Individuals being considered for appointment to an administrative position can be granted tenure at the time of appointment only on the basis of their scholarly and academic credentials. Review for the award of tenure with initial appointment shall be initiated by the tenured faculty of the relevant academic department in accord with college/school/University Libraries and University guidelines in force at the time.

Department faculty recommendations for award of tenure with initial appointment shall be forwarded for action through the chair to the dean and the Provost and Senior Vice President. In such cases where additional consultation is deemed desirable, the dean or Provost and Senior Vice President may convene the college/school/University Libraries or University-level committees to effect an ad hoc tenure review panel.

The Provost and Senior Vice President shall convey the recommendations to the President who shall review the recommendations and make the final decision. The President shall notify the individual in writing of the final decision.

Revision Date:
September 29, 1998
October 13, 2009
February 1, 2013

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