Tenure serves the best interests of the Library Services faculty and the University by protecting Library Services faculty members from dismissal except for reasons set forth by policies of the IHL Board of Trustees. In our society we regard the acquisition of knowledge to be of paramount importance; and society, through enlightened self-interest, provides the University as a place for teaching and learning. Tenure in universities provides protection that scholars require and serves society’s aspirations that scholars should have freedom of expression.
Tenure is defined by the IHL Board of Trustees as continuing employment that may be granted to a Library Services faculty member after a probationary period upon nomination by the President for election by the IHL Board of Trustees. Library Services faculty are tenured to Library Services, unless otherwise designated by the IHL Board of Trustees. For the University it is a safeguard of academic freedom and a reflection of the quality of education offered. For the Library Services faculty member it is a privilege granted by the University to Library Services faculty who have demonstrated their value to the academic quality of the institution over an extended period of time.
All Library Services faculty employed in a position designated as tenure-track at the time of initial appointment to rank at the assistant professor level or higher who have satisfied the minimum requirement for years of service in a probationary appointment shall be considered for tenure.
In accordance with IHL Board of Trustees policy, probationary appointments are for one year, or for other stated periods, subject to renewal.
Length of Probationary Period
The probationary period in a tenure-track position is six years. Upon written agreement between the institution and the Library Services faculty member at the time of initial appointment to rank, credit up to a maximum of five years toward fulfillment of the minimum probationary period may be allowed for service in rank at other institutions of higher education. In special cases, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, upon the recommendation of the college or school dean, may grant credit for exemplary service not in rank. Such credit shall be awarded only to individuals who possess exceptional professional qualifications and achievements and is not to be construed as exempting such individuals from other institutional policies and procedures governing the awarding of tenure. Library Services faculty members who transfer from one institution to another within the Mississippi system are subject to the same probationary period in a given institution as any other Library Services faculty member who is new to the system. At the time of initial employment by the IHL Board of Trustees, a Library Services faculty member or an administrative employee whose preceding employment included faculty rank at the assistant professor level or higher and tenure may be granted tenure only if so recommended by the Dean of Library Services, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President and approved by the IHL Board of Trustees. In extraordinary circumstances, (e.g. extended medical leave, educational leave) Library Services faculty may submit a request for a suspension of the length of the six-year probationary period. Requests shall be submitted to the Dean of Library Services for approval by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Once the probationary period has been completed, a Library Services faculty member, if reappointed, may be considered for tenure. For tenure to be awarded, the President must make a recommendation to the IHL Board of Trustees in writing. The award of tenure is not vested until notice of the award is given in writing by the President, after approval by the IHL Board of Trustees, and the written notice is actually received by the Library Services faculty member.
Notice of Non-Renewal of Tenure Track Library Services Faculty
The notice that a probationary appointment is not to be renewed shall be furnished in writing by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs to the Library Services faculty member according to the following schedule: (1) not later than March 1 for Library Services faculty in the first year of service at the institution, (2) not later than December 1 for Library Services faculty in the second year of service at the institution, (3) not later than September 1 for Library Services faculty who have completed two or more years of service at the institution. This schedule of notification does not apply to persons holding temporary or part-time positions, or persons with courtesy appointments, such as adjunct appointments.
Criteria for Awarding Tenure
A terminal (i.e. Master of Library Science) degree in the library field or in some instances a graduate degree in a related scholarly field. Decisions in favor of awarding tenure are made in recognition of accomplishments in response to the following criteria: professional competency, scholarship, and service, as well as the appropriate academic background for a tenure appointment. Each of the criteria is defined below.
Professional Competency Defined
Delta State University is primarily a teaching institution. However, most individuals who hold appointments as Library Services faculty do not engage in teaching semester-length formal courses. Thus, for Library Services faculty, professional competency is essential for tenure consideration. Effective Library Services faculty demonstrate qualities which may include, but are not limited to, the following: high academic standards, concern for learning, a thorough knowledge of the subject, excellent organizational skills, excellent communication skills, service ethic, respect for Library Services patrons, innovation in professional practice, and continuing professional development and education. Contributions to Library Services include, but are not limited to, instruction in accessing information and technology, collection development, reference and user services, access and control of information and equipment, leadership and supervision of personnel, providing instructional support services, development of instructional aids and research sources, and preservation or conservation activities.
Delta State University recognizes the important contributions that scholarship makes in the advancement of Library Services. Scholarly inquiry and learning in Library Services are reflected in, but not limited to, the following: dissemination of research and scholarly findings through books, journal articles, monographs, abstracts, reviews, indexes, and presentations at professional meetings, workshops, and training sessions; presentation of creative achievements through exhibitions, performances, and publications; development of new research methodologies, studies, and surveys; compilation of bibliographies, collection research guides, and pathfinders; identification and evaluation of scholarly resources that are appropriate for the educational mission; production of instructional multimedia materials; obtainment of grants or contracts that support scholarly and creative activity; achievement of honors and awards for significant scholarly and creative activity, and participation as an editor and/or referee in support of scholarly and creative publications.
Delta State recognizes the importance of service as a part of its mission. The service component is based on performance in three areas: service to the Library Services faculty member’s profession, service to the University, and public service to the community that is related to the nature of the Library Services faculty member’s assignment. Efforts to advance accreditation-related initiatives, such as the Quality Enhancement Plan, shall be considered as service to the University. Evaluation shall be based on all three areas, although it is realized that differences in emphasis may exist depending on the nature of the individual’s assignment.
Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee
Library Services shall have a standing tenure and promotion committee. This Committee shall consist of at least three persons. All of the tenured faculty members of Library Services, excluding the Dean of Library Services, shall serve on the Committee. The Committee shall elect a chair each year. If there are not at least three tenured faculty members within Library Services to meet this criterion, the tenured faculty, in consultation with the Dean of Library Services, shall appoint to the Committee faculty who are from the same discipline, and are tenured at another university. Tenure candidates shall receive notification of the non-departmental appointees to the Committee who shall be reviewing their application prior to the initiation of their review. Any concerns of the candidate regarding non-departmental appointees shall be forwarded to the Chair of the University Tenure and Promotion (T & P) Committee, who shall meet with the departmental tenure and promotion committee to seek resolution. In the absence of agreement, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will mediate a resolution. The Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee shall have the responsibility for reviewing portfolios of candidates for tenure and making recommendations, with reasons, as to whether tenure should be granted. The Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee shall also be responsible, with assistance from the Dean of Library Services and tenure-track faculty, for recommending tenure procedures and for recommending guidelines for the portfolio to be used by candidates from Library Services for tenure and promotion consideration.
University Tenure and Promotion Committee
Guideline for Recommending Further Consideration of an Applicant
Tenure and Promotions Appeals Committee
The University shall have a standing tenure and promotions appeals committee. The Tenure and Promotions Appeals Committee shall consist of three tenured faculty members at the rank of Professor. No two members of the Committee shall be from the same college or school, nor shall they be members of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee. The members shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate as a standing committee at the beginning of the academic year and shall serve one-year terms. Committee members shall not hear appeals from members of their respective academic department/division. If a member of the Committee cannot hear a particular appeal, the Faculty Senate President shall appoint a temporary replacement.
Except under extraordinary circumstances as described in the “Length of Probationary Period” paragraph above, consideration for tenure shall not be deferred beyond the sixth full year of service. The Dean of Library Services shall notify Library Services faculty in writing of their eligibility for tenure consideration by October 1 of the sixth full year of service. By the end of six years in a tenure-track position, a Library Services faculty member shall be awarded tenure or given a terminal contract for the seventh year.
Pre-Tenure Review and Pre-Promotion Review
By February 1 of a Library Services faculty member’s second year and fourth year in a probationary appointment at the University, the Library Services faculty member shall submit his/her portfolio to the Chair of the Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee. This Committee shall review the portfolio and make written recommendations and shall, by March 1, forward the portfolio and the committee’s written recommendation to the Dean of Library Services. The Dean of Library Services shall review the portfolio and make written recommendations and shall, by April 1, forward the portfolio and all written recommendations to the Library Services faculty member. Copies of all written recommendations to date shall be retained in the dean’s office. In cases in which minimal progress is made between the second year and fourth year, as determined by the committee or the Dean of Library Services, the Library Services faculty member shall, in consultation with the Dean of Library Services, develop and have on file in the Dean of Library Services’ office, by May 1, a plan of action for improvement. This pre-tenure and pre-promotion review process shall serve as a mentoring function for the Library Services faculty member to identify strengths and weaknesses, not as a vote on tenure/promotion consideration.
Library Services faculty who are eligible for tenure consideration shall compile and maintain a portfolio that provides evidence of their accomplishments in response to all three criteria used to make tenure decisions. These include: professional competency, scholarship, and service. Unless otherwise specified in the Library Services faculty member’s contract, the primary emphasis among the three criteria shall be professional competency. Evaluation shall be based on all three areas, although it is realized that differences in emphasis may exist, depending on the nature of the Library Services faculty member’s assignment. Ultimately, the portfolio must demonstrate an excellent record of Library Services faculty productivity, through performance on the three criteria: professional competency, scholarship, and service. Guidelines and suggestions for portfolios are available through the Dean of Library Services.
A candidate applying for tenure must submit for review no later than December 1 of the year in which the candidate is being considered for tenure, his/her portfolio to the Chair of the Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee. The chair also submits a list of tenure and promotion candidates for Library Services to the dean, University T & P Committee chair, and the Provost/VPAA by December 1. The Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee shall meet and make its recommendation (with reasons) as to whether tenure should be granted to the candidate and forward the portfolio and recommendation to the Dean of Library Services by February 1. The Chair of the Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee will send a copy of the recommendation letter to the candidate. The Dean of Library Services shall also review the portfolio and make a recommendation (with reasons). If the Dean of Library Services’ recommendation for tenure is in disagreement with the recommendation of the Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee, it shall be the responsibility of the Dean of Library Services to inform them of such and provide an explanation. By March 1, the dean shall send the portfolio and the recommendations from the Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee and the Dean of Library Services to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. The dean shall send a copy of all recommendations to the chair of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee. The University T & P Committee shall schedule a meeting during the first two weeks of March to review the recommendations for compliance with IHL Board, University, and Library Services policies and procedures. The committee chair shall contact all tenure candidates to identify any potential grievance and/or concern. In the event procedural problems and/or concerns are discovered, the chair of the University T & P Committee shall meet with the Dean of Library Services to seek resolution. Annotation of any unresolved procedural problems shall be forwarded by the chair of the University T & P Committee to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs as soon as possible after the meeting of the University T & P Committee and no later than the fourth Friday in March. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall review each candidate’s portfolio and make a recommendation (with reasons) regarding the award of tenure and shall forward the portfolio and the tenure recommendations to the President by April 1, citing any unresolved procedural problems and/or concerns from the University T & P Committee. If the recommendations regarding tenure from the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs’ or the President is in disagreement with any of the previous recommendations, it shall be the responsibility of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs or the President to inform the candidate, the Library Services Tenure and Promotion Committee, the dean, and the chair of the University T & P Committee and provide an explanation. The recommendations for tenure submitted by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and approved by the President shall be transmitted to the IHL Board of Trustees for confirmation at its May meeting. Upon Board approval, successful candidates shall be notified in writing by June 1 by the President.
AppealCandidates who are not recommended for tenure shall be notified in writing by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs by April 15. Library Services faculty members who wish to appeal must refer the case to the University Tenure and Promotions Appeals Committee by May 1. This committee shall hold a hearing within fifteen days to review the decision and submit a recommendation to the President, who shall make a final determination within seven days and notify the candidate of such in writing. Library Services faculty who wish to appeal the final decision of the President to the IHL Board of Trustees have thirty days to do so effective from the date of notification by the President and should follow the procedures outlined in section 403.0104 of the Policies of the IHL Board of Trustees.