Faculty Tenure and Tenure Density Policies



Basic rules governing tenure in the University of Wisconsin System are found in Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Additional policies are found in the first five chapters of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, Rules of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Administrative code provisions are amplified in the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Faculty Personnel Rules. Copies of the administrative code and the UW-L Faculty Personnel Rules may be obtained in the departmental, dean's and vice chancellor's offices.

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UW-La Crosse Tenure Density Policy

University policy provides that when potential tenure positions exist, appointments to the teaching staff shall be made on a probationary faculty basis. To provide flexibility, each department is required to maintain a five-year staffing plan based on agreed upon guides and gauges. Objectives should be structured to maintain between 50 and 80 percent of the positions as tenured. (The tenure density policy, revised by the Faculty Senate on November 15, 1984, provides a more detailed explanation. That policy is reprinted as follows:)

Prologue: The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has since March of 1975 been guided in matters of tenure density by a policy designed and put into place by administrative officers of the University. In the spring of 1979, the UW-L Faculty Senate agreed to call upon its Promotion, Tenure, and Salary Committee to work with appropriate administrative staff to devise tenure density guidelines which were proposed and approved as of Nov. 29, 1979. Subsequently, in the fall of 1984, the Promotion, Tenure, and Salary Committee was charged with reviewing and updating the Tenure Density Policy. The Committee, following study of the matter, now proposes the following revised Tenure Density Policy.

Statement of Policy

It shall be the policy at UW-La Crosse that, with certain limited exceptions, appointments to the teaching staff shall be made on a probationary faculty basis. The goal of such a policy is to preserve the system which protects academic freedom. It is recognized that it will be necessary for departments to limit the proportion of tenured teaching appointments.

Maintenance of a Staffing Plan

The department chairperson, in consultation with the tenured members of the department and with the approval of the appropriate dean and the Provost/Vice Chancellor, shall maintain a staffing plan for his/her department for a five-year period beyond each current year. The purpose of this plan is to provide flexibility in staffing the department to accommodate anticipated changes in the program of departmental offerings and predicted fluctuations in the departmental workload. The staffing plan shall adhere to such University guides as weighted student contact periods and other staffing gauges, as may be accepted by the Faculty Senate. The data base used for planning shall include a history of previous student-contact periods and departmental staffing based on the tenure-density-quota guidelines up to and including the previous year.

Probationary Appointments

Appointments to the teaching staff of a department will normally be made as probationary faculty as provided for in U.W.S. 3.04, Wis. Adm. Code. Temporary appointments as fixed-term academic staff may be used in some instances at the request of the department and with the approval of the dean. Years of service on an academic staff appointment may be credited toward the probationary period if that person is subsequently appointed to a faculty position.

Responsibility for Implementation

It shall be the responsibility of the department to determine which positions within a department shall be tenured or filled with probationary faculty appointments. Such determination shall be communicated to the appropriate academic dean and the Provost/Vice Chancellor. Upon their confirmation, it shall become a part of the departmental plan. It shall be the responsibility of the Chancellor to state reasons if a departmental staffing decision based on the approved departmental staffing plan is overruled.

Tenure Density Objectives and Implementation Guides

1. Planning objectives should seek to maintain at least 50 percent but no more than 80 percent of the maximum number of positions each year of a department's five-year staffing plan as tenured positions.

2. Flexibility to exceed the 80 percent tenure maximum within a given department may be permitted for temporary periods of time on the basis of but not limited to the following considerations:

a. when there are imminent departmental retirements in the offing,

b. when there is a clear and ongoing programmatic need for the affected position,

c. when there has been either a positive or stable enrollment trend within the affected department over the past years,

d. when the professional merit of the tenure candidate is demonstrably superior, or

e. when the UW-L affirmative action objectives would be advanced.

The decision-making process to recommend or not recommend tenure would otherwise remain exactly the same as it is for ordinary tenure decisions within departments when the 80-percent rule is not an issue.

3. Although no university-wide tenure density quota is fixed, an individual department may set such a quote as a guide in its five-year staffing plan.

4. Tenured faculty on extended leave beyond two years may be included in the departmental staffing plan upon the annual renewal of their leave by the department, but need not be included in the departmental staffing plan nor be counted in the quota used as a reason for nonrenewal of a probationary faculty appointment.

5. Tenured faculty on leave from a department to administrative positions shall retain their tenure in the department, but need not be included in the departmental staffing plan nor be counted in the quota used as a reason for nonrenewal of a probationary faculty appointment.

6. Departmental staffing plans may include provisions for complying with goals of affirmative action plans, and such provisions may be used as reasons for nonrenewal of probationary appointments providing that such rules were in effect prior to the year in which the nonrenewal decision was made.

7. Departments shall design staffing plans with a view toward having them in readiness for use in each succeeding academic year. Each department plan shall summarize changes in departmental staffing which will follow from implementation of the plan. Revised staffing plans shall be communicated to members of departments and to the appropriate administrative officers. Continuity during any interim period shall be provided by tenure density planning under administrative guidance.