EA. Academic Freedom and Tenure (BP)

The Board recognizes that institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good. The common good depends upon an uninhibited search for truth and its open expression. Hence, it is essential that each faculty member be free to pursue scholarly inquiry without undue restriction, and to voice and publish individual conclusions concerning the significance of evidence that he or she considers relevant.

The concept of academic tenure or continuing appointment recognizes the professional status of the college teacher and assures that his/her employment may be terminated only for good cause. Tenure does not exist because of peculiar solicitude for the human beings who staff academic institutions. Rather, it exists so that the college may have the benefit of their competent and honest judgment.

Tenure may be obtained only after a period of probationary service. After tenure is granted, the burden of proof must lie upon the institutional executive or Board that wishes to dismiss a teacher.

The College’s statement of policy concerning tenure is designed to accomplish the following purposes:

  1. To assist the administration by providing sound standards for the original selection of faculty members.
  2. To result in the retention, encouragement, and promotion of the most able and most promising staff members.
  3. To assure the faculty of security of tenure in accordance with the terms set forth in this policy of tenure.
  4. To assure the faculty of freedom of teaching, of research, and of opinion.
  5. To provide appropriate procedures for establishing justification of termination of tenure, so that faculty members may be guaranteed adequate notice and a fair hearing of complaints bearing on their security of tenure.

Policies and procedures regarding the customary types of appointments, admission to tenure, grounds for termination of continuing appointment, procedures for termination of continuing appointment, due process, and notice of intention to terminate or non-renew have been adopted by the Board and are published in the current Faculty Handbook and Policy and Procedures Manual.  Professional rank and tenure at South Plains College may only be granted by action of the Board of Regents.

A policy on tenure necessitates both interpretation and administration. The effective administration of the Tenure Policy is the responsibility of the President. The continuous study of pertinent problems and the interpretation of the Tenure Policy and its application to individual situations is the responsibility of the President, the faculty, and the Board of Regents.

Therefore, the Academic Council will constitute a Standing Committee on Tenure and Privilege. The President shall be an ex officio member of this committee. Any member of the faculty, the College President, the Board of Regents may refer matters pertaining to tenure and privilege to this committee.

Revised: 3/10/05