Tenure and Promotion

Reason for Policy: 

This policy outlines certain matters relating to tenure and promotion for faculty.

Entities Affected by this Policy: 

This policy outlines certain matters relating to tenure and promotion for faculty.

Responsible Office: 

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 541-346-3081

Enactment & Revision History: 

31 August 2015 - Technical revisions enacted by the university secretary

01 July 2014 - Became a University of Oregon Policy by operation of law

Former Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 580 Division 21, Sections 0100 through 0135


A. Kinds of Appointments

(1) Appointments authorized in the University are: fixed-term appointments, tenure-related appointments (annual tenure and indefinite tenure) and extendible contract appointments as permitted by subsection (1)(c) of this Section A:

(a) Fixed-term appointments:

(A) Fixed-term appointments are appointments for a specified period of time, as set forth in the notice of appointment. The faculty member thus appointed is not on the tenure track and the timely notice provisions do not apply;

(B) Fixed-term appointments may be made and are renewable at the discretion of the President;

(C) Fixed-term appointments are designed for use at the discretion of the President in such cases as, but not limited to, appointments of visiting faculty (or similar category); academic staff members whose support wholly or principally comes from gift, grant or contract funds, the cessation of which funding would eliminate the budget base for the position in question; part-time faculty; administrative staff with faculty rank; and faculty appointments during an initial probationary period where an institutional policy has been adopted or negotiated that establishes such probationary period. Fixed-term appointments offered to visiting faculty or similar category shall not exceed a total of seven years;

(D) University staffing plans shall define the characteristics, proper use and appropriate limits on use of visiting faculty or similar category.

(b) Tenure-related appointments:

(A) Annual tenure appointments are appointments given to faculty employed .50 FTE or more whom the University considers to be on the tenure track, in that, on completion of an appropriate probationary period, they will be evaluated and considered for appointment to indefinite tenure. If the initial annual tenure appointment or successive annual tenure appointments are to be terminated otherwise than for cause or for financial exigency, timely notice shall be given the faculty member;

(B) Indefinite tenure appointments are appointments given selected faculty members having an appointment of .50 FTE or more. Such appointments are made by the President in witness of the University’s formal decision that the faculty member has demonstrated such professional competence that the University will not henceforth terminate employment except for cause, financial exigency, or program or department reductions or eliminations.

(2) "Tenured" faculty, as referred to in University policies, are faculty who have been awarded indefinite tenure.

B. Eligibility for Indefinite Tenure

(1) Indefinite tenure may be awarded to faculty employed on appointments of .50 FTE or more as senior instructor, assistant professor, associate professor or professor, if otherwise qualified in accordance with University criteria and the University’s policies.

(2) When indefinite tenure is awarded, there shall be a statement in the faculty member's personal file that the tenure appointment relates only to that FTE level specified in the notice of appointment for the year indefinite tenure is to become effective. For the indefinite tenure appointment to take effect, the statement concerning indefinite tenure must be signed by the faculty member and by the University officer authorized by the President to sign such statements. Alteration in the initial commitment may be by mutual consent of the faculty member and the University or by action provided for elsewhere in the University’s policies.

(3) Standards of performance and scholarly quality shall be the same for part-time and full-time faculty members.

(4) Faculty members on a full-time tenure appointment may, by mutual agreement of the faculty member and the President or a designee, be given reduced appointments of less than 1.0 FTE under terms and conditions mutually agreed to in writing by the faculty member and the President or a designee.

(5) Indefinite tenure shall be awarded to faculty of demonstrated professional competence by the President under terms and conditions set forth in applicable institutional rules and policies.

(6) Tenure is reaffirmed as being institutional. Faculty having achieved tenure status in one Department institution cannot thereby claim tenure in other Department institutions. Probationary years of service in one Department institution may be counted toward probationary service requirements in another Department institution only with the latter's written approval.

C. Initial Appointment and Probationary Service for Faculty on Tenure-Related Appointments

(1) All faculty members on tenure-related appointments of .50 FTE or more, except as provided below, shall be appointed initially on one-year appointments.

(2) Awarding of tenure to full-time faculty, except as provided below, shall involve assessment of the faculty member's performance each year during the probationary period, and assessment of performance over not less than five consecutive years (counting the year at the end of which tenure is granted). An additional probationary year may be required by the President, following that, if the faculty member is not awarded tenure, terminal notice shall be given, except as provided elsewhere in University policies.

(3) The probationary period for regular part-time faculty employed .50 FTE or more in a tenure-related appointment shall be the same as for full-time faculty, except that it shall be calculated in terms of FTE years rather than calendar years.

(4) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the President may in special circumstances consider for tenure any probationary faculty member of the rank of assistant professor or higher, prior to completion of the normal probationary period, when, following a performance evaluation of the faculty member, a finding is made that such an early award of tenure would be to the advantage of the University. In no event will the first consideration for tenure occur later than in the fifth year.

(5) Faculty members given an initial appointment at the rank of full professor may be granted tenure on appointment, at the discretion of the President. In unusual cases, and only when specifically approved by the President, associate professors may be given tenure on initial appointment.

(6) At the time of initial appointment, a mutually acceptable written agreement shall be reached between the faculty member and the President or a designee, subject to delegation of authority under the University’s policies, as to the extent to which prior experience of the faculty member shall be credited toward the probationary period required before the faculty member may be considered for tenure. The terms of the agreement shall be included in the notice of appointment.

D. Consecutive Annual Appointments

A series of annual appointments shall be considered consecutive whether or not interrupted by one or more official leaves of absence. An official leave of absence does not count as a year of service for purposes of tenure, nor does it prejudice the staff member's right to consideration for tenure for service actually rendered.

E. Seventh Annual Appointments

A full-time faculty member on annual tenure for a sixth consecutive year shall be awarded indefinite tenure commencing the seventh consecutive year or given notice of termination effective at the end of the seventh year.

F. Appointment of Regular Part-Time Faculty Beyond the FTE Equivalent of the Sixth Consecutive Year

A faculty member on a part-time annual tenure appointment of .50 FTE or more during each full academic year for a sufficient number of years to equal six or more years of full-time service may be reappointed under one of the following conditions:

(1) With indefinite tenure at the FTE level specified in the notice of appointment for the year indefinite tenure is to become effective;

(2) With notice of termination effective at the end of the next year.

G. Exceptions

The provisions of Sections B through E of this policy and Section B of UO Policy 580.021.0300-470 shall apply to all tenure-related appointments unless in individual cases there is a specific written agreement to the contrary between the University and the faculty member. The agreement to the contrary shall be incorporated or referred to in the notice of appointment.

H. Criteria for Faculty Evaluation

(1) Criteria for faculty evaluation, developed with the participation of appropriate faculty and University councils, shall be established within the University:

(a) As a guide in evaluating faculty in connection with decisions on reappointment, promotion, and tenure;

(b) As a basis for assessing those aspects of the faculty member's performance in which improvement is desirable, whether the faculty member is tenured or nontenured, with a view to stimulating and assisting the faculty member toward improvement through the resources available under the University’s staff career support plan.

(2) The criteria shall reflect the primary functions for which the University was established, namely:

(a) Instruction;

(b) Research accomplishments and other scholarly achievements, or where relevant, other creative and artistic achievement;

(c) Professionally related public service, through which the University and its members render service to the public (i.e., individuals, agencies, or units of business, industry, government);

(d) University service, including, but not limited to, contributions made toward departmental, school or institutional governance, service to students through student welfare activities such as individual student advising, advising with student organizations or groups and similar activities.

(3) The criteria shall provide guidelines for sources and kinds of data that are appropriate as a basis for effective faculty evaluation at each administrative level (e.g., department, school, institution) and in each area (e.g., teaching, research, scholarly activity, service, etc.) where faculty evaluations are required. Specific provision shall be made for appropriate student input into the data accumulated as the basis for reappointment, promotion, and tenure decisions, and for post-tenure review. Sources of such input shall include, but need not be limited to, solicitation of student comments, student evaluations of instructors and opportunities for participation by students in personnel committee deliberations.

Original Source: 
Oregon Administrative Rule