3.0 Academic Personnel Policies

  1. Academic Personnel Policies

    1. Definitions

      In this Faculty Handbook the following definitions are used:

      • Master's degree means a master's or equivalent degree in the appropriate discipline.
      • Ranked faculty means faculty members holding the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor or professor.
      • Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity means the systematic investigation in some field of knowledge undertaken to discover or establish facts or principles and the scholarly effort to interpret, integrate or synthesize research findings or the preparation and execution of creative projects. Research is defined more fully in section 1.3.5
      • Service (when used to identify one of the three basic areas of faculty responsibility) means the contribution of a faculty member to the effective functioning of the University as an institution, to the effective functioning of professional and learned societies and the contribution of professional expertise by a faculty member to the civic community. Service is defined more fully in section 1.3.6
      • Tenure means the status granted (after a probationary period, except as specified in section) to a ranked faculty member protecting him or her from arbitrary dismissal. Tenure gives the faculty member the contractual right to be reemployed for succeeding academic years until he or she resigns, retires, is dismissed for cause, is separated pursuant to a reduction in force or becomes disabled or dies, but subject to the terms and conditions of employment that exist in this Faculty Handbook and in future editions of the Faculty Handbook as amended. See section 3.6 for more information regarding tenure.
      • Terminal degree means an earned doctorate, generally recognized as a 60-hour program, in the individual's discipline or such other degree approved by the dean of academic affairs.
        A ranked faculty member with an acceptable terminal degree in one discipline, who transfers to another discipline within the University, shall be considered as having a terminal degree in the transfer discipline regardless of the designated terminal degree in the transfer discipline.
      • Thirty semester hours beyond the master's degree means thirty semester hours or equivalent quarter hours of graduate credit in an appropriate discipline earned in addition to the credit earned to qualify for the master's degree.
      • Unranked faculty means faculty members in non-tenure track positions designated by the following titles: lecturer, limited-term lecturer, visiting professor, artist-in-residence, adjunct faculty, per-course faculty, academic affiliate or emeritus faculty. For more information, see section 3.5.
      • Tenure-track faculty refers to faculty members appointed to tenure-track positions that lead to tenure upon successful completion of a probationary period and to faculty who have been awarded tenure. Refer to Section 3.4 for tenure-track positions. Appointment to a position with academic rank is not synonymous with appointment to a tenure-track position.
      • Probationary faculty refers to faculty appointed for a stated term to a tenure-track position with provisions for review and renewal at the end of the appointment term and designed to lead to a tenure decision at the end of the probationary period. Notice of non-reappointment shall be provided according to Section 3.9
      • Nonrenewal of contracts refers to a decision (a) not to offer instructors and other non-tenured faculty or part-time faculty members a contract for a subsequent term, semester or year or the denial of reappointment of probationary tenure track faculty or (b) the denial of tenure for such faculty members. The nonrenewal of such contracts is not the equivalent of "termination of employment."
      • Non-Tenure Track refers to faculty members appointed to positions that are not eligible for tenure consideration. Refer to Section 3.5 for non-tenure track positions.
      • Promotion refers to a progression within an appointment series (tenure-track, clinical and instructor) following fulfillment of criteria and review as specified in departmental promotion documents and the Faculty Handbook Refer to Sections 3.4 for specific tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty appointments. Promotion is accompanied by an increase in base salary.
      • Years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains means full-time academic years of service to Missouri State University-West Plains. In computing years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains, intersession and summer teaching shall not apply, nor shall time spent on educational leave apply. Time spent on sabbatical leave will apply in computing years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains, as well as time spent on scholarly leave, e.g. Fulbright Fellowships or National Science Foundation Fellowships.

      A fraction of a year of service (ordinarily resulting from initial appointment occurring in the middle of the academic year or from a one-semester leave of absence) shall count as the same fraction of a year in computing years of academic service for tenure and promotion eligibility and for determining the maximum length of the probationary period.

    2. Academic Responsibilities, Ethics and Freedom

      A faculty member at Missouri State University-West Plains assumes responsibility for teaching, professional activity (scholarship, research, creative activity) and university and community service, along with obligations inherent in membership in a learned profession. Essential to fulfilling these responsibilities and obligations are adherence to standards of ethical conduct and respect for academic freedom, as well as implementation of a system of tenure.

      In developing a statement of faculty responsibilities and ethical standards, Missouri State University – West Plains subscribes to the belief, long held by the learned professions, that self-regulation is preferable to any externally imposed discipline.

      Ranked faculty are full-time employees of the University during their contract periods. Faculty consulting engagements or other outside employment may benefit the University, but they must not interfere materially with faculty responsibility. Therefore, faculty are obligated to report consulting activities to the University. (See also Section 11).

      This document contains campus policy for matters related to appointment, the granting of tenure and promotion. Advancement to each higher rank carries with it the expectation of a greater contribution to the campus' mission in teaching, professional activity and service. Advancement also carries with it the expectation that the individual will accept responsibility for assuming the leadership roles upon which the concept of shared governance depends.

      Both tenure and promotion considerations involve mutual obligations. Faculty members must meet the requirements established by the Faculty Senate and campus. They must receive the approbation of their colleagues and appropriate administrative officers. The University must also fulfill its obligations.

      In a University faculty it is, therefore, desirable that the most stringent obligations be laid upon individual professors that, so far as possible, any serious breach of duties be judged by colleagues who are well acquainted with the problems and practices of a specialized field. Only in cases of the most serious violations of professional responsibilities shall the academic profession regulate itself by calling upon a group representative of the whole University to deal with faults that could have been avoided either by individual self-control or by departmental discipline. See sections 13.0 and 14.0.

      1. Responsibilities and Ethics

        The University recognizes that all faculty have responsibilities in the development of citizen scholars and that those responsibilities must be grounded in ethical standards. The University endorses the following Statement on Professional Ethics from the American Association of University professors (2009). The AAUP language specifically addresses "professors", but the standards are applicable to all faculty.

        Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

        As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. professors make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom.

        As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates, even when it leads to findings and conclusions that differ from their own. professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.

        As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although professors observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.

        As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

        1. Ethics and Intellectual Honesty

          Each faculty member is responsible for his or her own ethical conduct. There is both individual and collegial assurance that strong ethical standards are enacted and followed. However, if an individual commits a serious breach of professional conduct and fails to meet his or her responsibilities, a process is in place for peer faculty review. See sections 13 and of this handbook.

          Intellectual honesty is necessary in the performance of faculty responsibilities. Intellectual honesty is essential to the conduct of productive scholarship, research and creative activity. Intellectual honesty demands avoidance of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. Faculty who do funded research are obligated to meet standards for integrity specified by their sponsoring agencies.

          Trustworthiness of research implies avoidance of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism of research results.

          Professionalism and collegiality are essential to teaching, scholarship, research, creative activity and service activities and are evidenced in at least two important ways: maintaining high standards of professional ethics and performing as a responsible member of the University community.

          Some granting agencies impose standards on the conduct of scholarship, research and creative activity by all faculty members as a condition on the receipt of grant funds by any faculty member. They include standards for ethical treatment of both human and animal subjects. So long as receipt of such grant funds is contemplated by any faculty member, those standards must be followed by every faculty member. Remedy for a faculty member disagreeing with such standards is through collective action of the Faculty Senate.

          Finally, the scholarship, research and creative activity of a faculty member may be constrained by codes of professional ethics peculiar to his or her discipline. Adherence to discipline-specific professional codes is an appropriate subject for peer review of research performance.

          Attempts to establish detailed criteria for scholarly integrity have not led to widespread consensus. However, activities of faculty members may be constrained by codes of ethics specific to their disciplines. Adherence to discipline-specific professional codes is an appropriate subject for peer review of performance. In addition, faculty members who engage in funded scholarship, research and creative activity are obligated to meet standards for integrity specified by their sponsoring agencies.

        2. Intellectual Property

          Some teaching, scholarship, research and creative activity outcomes are consequences of faculty effort assisted by University support. They may be commercially valuable. Guidelines for equitably sharing the proceeds of intellectual property between faculty and the University are referenced in The Intellectual Property Policy which is included in the Faculty Handbook as Appendix A.

      2. Academic Freedom

        The right of faculty members to academic freedom is essential to the functioning of a university. Therefore, that right shall be protected at Missouri State University-West Plains.

        Academic freedom is the particular right of scholars, teachers and students within the University to pursue knowledge, speak, write and follow the life of the mind without unreasonable restriction. It is that freedom to be judged as scholar, teacher or student on the basis of legitimate intellectual criteria, not personal beliefs, political views, religious or other individual preferences, except as these may demonstrably affect intellectual and professional achievement.

        Each faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in publication of research results, subject to the adequate performance of his or her academic duties.

        Each faculty member is expected to conduct his or her assigned courses in a manner consistent with the course content and course credit as approved by the faculty and consistent with the scheduled class meeting times. Within these constraints he or she is entitled to freedom in the classroom in developing and discussing subjects appropriate to the course.

        Each faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession and an officer of an educational institution. When a faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, he or she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline. As a person of learning and as an educational officer, he or she should remember, however, that the public may judge one's profession and the institution by one's utterances. Hence the faculty member should strive to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show respect for the opinions of others and to indicate that he or she is not speaking for the institution.

        Each faculty member has the right to criticize and seek alteration of institutional regulations and policies through legal and existing shared governance means.

        The protection of academic freedom extends to all faculty members with fulltime or part-time appointments in the University regardless of their rank, tenure status or position title.

        At Missouri State University-West Plains, the roles of faculty cannot be separated from the responsibilities that are unique to the mission of the division/department. However, in no way will the negotiation of faculty roles within the division/department be construed to justify any intrusion into any individual faculty member's academic freedom, especially as that freedom pertains to the individual research and expression in the classroom.

        Recognizing that academic freedom is not unlimited and cognizant of the dangers to academic freedom that may arise from its misunderstanding and abuse, the University subscribes to the following principles defined in the Statement of Freedom and Responsibility approved on October 31, 1970, by the Council of the American Association of University professors with minor editorial revision (addition of sexual orientation):

        Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction and free expression on and off the campus. The expression of dissent and the attempt to produce change, therefore, may not be carried out in ways that injure individuals or damage institutional facilities or disrupt the classes of one's teachers or colleagues. Speakers on campus must not only be protected from violence, but also be given an opportunity to be heard. Those who seek to call attention to grievances must not do so in ways that significantly impede the functions of the institution. Students are entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to even-handed treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship. Faculty members may not refuse to enroll or teach students on the grounds of their beliefs or the possible uses to which they may put the knowledge to be gained in a course.

        Students should not be forced by the authority inherent in the instructional role to make particular personal choices as to political action or their own social behavior. Evaluation of students and the award of credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, whether personality, race, religion, degree of political activism, sexual orientation or personal beliefs.

        It is the mastery teachers have of their subjects and their own scholarship that entitles them to their classrooms and to freedom in the presentation of their subjects. Thus, it is improper for an instructor persistently to intrude material that has no relation to the subject or to fail to present the subject matter of the course as announced to the students and as approved by the faculty in their collective responsibility for the curriculum.

        Because academic freedom has traditionally included the instructor's full freedom as a citizen, most faculty members face no insoluble conflicts between the claims of politics, social action and conscience, on the one hand and the claims and expectations of their students, colleagues and institutions, on the other. If such conflicts become acute and attention to obligations as a citizen and moral agent precludes an instructor from fulfilling substantial academic obligations, the instructor cannot escape the responsibility of that choice, but should either request a leave of absence or resign his or her academic position.

    3. Appointment, Rank and Tenure

      1. Introduction

        The Board of Governors has the sole authority and responsibility to appoint, assign rank, promote and grant tenure to the members of the University faculty. The chancellor, after consultation with appropriate members of the academic administration and faculty, shall make recommendations to the Board of Governors concerning these personnel decisions. This rank and tenure policy shall apply to all ranked faculty members and to certain other academic employees as prescribed in this policy but who are not members of the ranked faculty.

        Certain eligibility requirements for rank and tenure prescribed in this section require 30 hours of graduate work in addition to the master's degree. Graduate work completed on the Missouri State University campus will normally be from among courses numbered 500 and above and must have the prior written approval of the dean of academic affairs before such work will be accepted. All work presented to fulfill the thirty-semester hour minimum requirement should be from an institution accredited to provide graduate degrees beyond the traditional (thirty-six hour) master's degree. Additionally, only degrees earned at regionally accredited institutions are recognized by the institution. Any exceptions must be approved by the dean of academic affairs.

      2. Initial Appointment Contract Letters

        It is the policy of Missouri State University-West Plains that all faculty of the University shall be clearly informed as to the personnel policies of the institution. These personnel policies are contained in this Faculty Handbook and additional supplemental information related to criteria and procedures used to evaluate faculty for performance, annual review of appropriate progress toward tenure, promotion and tenure will be provided by the various divisions and departments. In cases of conflict between the Faculty Handbook and this additional supplemental information, the Faculty Handbook will take precedence.

        The precise terms of every appointment shall be stated in the initial appointment contract letter. The conditions of appointment may vary in individual situations, but they must conform to policies stated in this Handbook. The conditions of employment for each faculty member including rank, salary, length of appointment, length of probationary period (including the last semester during which a tenure application can be made), credit for prior academic service or equivalent experience, terminal degree and tenure status and position responsibilities and performance expectations shall be clearly stated in writing. New faculty will also be provided with a copy of the departmental/division tenure, promotion and performance review guidelines, if any, in effect on the date of the hire. The criteria employed for tenure decisions will be those in the Faculty Handbook and in departmental guidelines at the time the initial appointment letter is given.

      3. General Criteria

        The criteria for tenure and promotion consist of training evidenced by academic degrees, experience, teaching, professional activity (scholarship, research, creative activity) and university and community service. Teaching is the prime responsibility of the campus. For tenure and promotion to a higher professional rank, evidence of effectiveness in teaching performance must be furnished. This evidence may take several forms. Student and peer evaluations are highly desirable. See sections 3.4 and 4.0 for more information concerning specific reappointment, promotion and tenure criteria and procedures.

        Effective teaching requires continual application and effort. The teacher must keep abreast of new developments in his or her field and related fields. The teacher should be enthusiastic about the particular discipline and should be able to communicate this enthusiasm to the students, thus stimulating both the teacher and the students to greater achievement. The campus prides itself on having exceptional teachers whose merit and contribution to the campus earn them a well-deserved place of honor and respect in the institution. But this criterion alone does not serve as a basis for promotion and tenure.

        Teaching is the most important responsibility of an institution of higher education. Its effectiveness must be reviewed and evaluated on a periodic basis by faculty and administration. Several approaches for assessing effectiveness are necessary for various reasons. (1) Indicators of effective teaching vary among individuals and across disciplines. (2) Some measures of effectiveness may be valid at one level of analysis and invalid at another. (3) Single methods of measuring effective teaching can be avoided by using an appropriate combination of approaches, permitting a comprehensive view of teaching.

        The Faculty Senate and the appropriate departments/divisions are responsible for preparing procedures for evaluating teaching effectiveness and for communicating these to each faculty member. Procedures should be appropriate to the type and nature of the teaching assignment. Procedures should be reviewed and approved every three years by the Faculty Senate and the dean of academic affairs.

        The evaluation procedures are to be based on the Faculty Handbook as supplemented by guidelines in other relevant campus documents and should explicitly state the factors of teaching effectiveness that may be measured and how these are to be assessed. Procedures should include student evaluations of instruction, but never as the sole means of the evaluation of teaching effectiveness. Other appropriate approaches should be included. At all levels of teaching evaluation, direct comparisons or rankings of faculty members between departments/divisions should be avoided.

        If statistical data are used in assessing teaching effectiveness, some understanding of statistical analysis is expected of those doing the assessment. The use of small differences in quantitative measures, which are not statistically significant, should be avoided as a basis for differentiating teaching effectiveness.

        In a university, profession activity including scholarship, research and creative activity serve several purposes. These are contributions to the profession and to society. A teacher's accomplishments and contributions in this regard also bring vital recognition to the University as well as to the individual. The University exists to create, preserve and transmit knowledge. The creative process—scholarly productivity—is an integral and indispensable part of the University as an educational institution. Consequently, it should be a consideration in all tenure and promotion decisions.

        The standards for measuring research productivity cannot be applied uniformly throughout the campus. In many disciplines the evidence for competence is research results submitted outside the institution for professional evaluation, review and criticism. This constitutes peer review. Publication in refereed journals and in books is the most significant measure of research productivity. Publication in in-house media and non-refereed journals is also valued but does not qualify as peer review.

        Competitive awards and grants are useful indexes of an individual's success in obtaining recognition for research. Research production can also take the form of published reports, studies and other materials. Participation in professional conferences is another outlet for publicizing and testing the results of one's research.

        In the creative and performing arts, peer review and recognition through exhibitions, concerts, prizes and awards set a similar kind of standard to the kind of recognition another faculty member will achieve through publication in a prestigious journal.

        Activities fulfilling faculty responsibility for scholarship include not only traditional scientific research and humanistic scholarship but also creative expression in the arts.

        Service is of several kinds. It includes serving productively on various committees from the departmental to the university level. Service activities also expand opportunities for learning and shape the learning environment. It includes sponsoring an active student organization, establishing opportunities for student experiences, removing barriers to learning and obtaining funding and other resources for teaching, scholarship, research and creative activity. Additional service opportunities include participating in professional organizations and in public bodies, which can bring prestige to the University and expand the professional competence of the individual. It also includes providing professional expertise to business, industry, schools, community organizations and colleagues in other University programs.

        The campus policies specified in this Faculty Handbook should be used in conjunction with departmental and division policies which may be more specific than those of the campus but which must be consistent with the campus policies.

    4. Requirements for Appointment, Tenure and Promotion of Tenure Track Faculty

      The provisions for promotion and tenure listed below for each rank represent the conditions the ranked faculty member must meet in order to be minimally eligible for consideration for a change in status. Procedures and criteria for the granting of tenure or promotion are prescribed in section 4.4. Provisions for tenure, as specified for each academic rank, may be modified by and are superseded by the provisions of section 3.7.

      1. Instructor

        Definition:

        An instructor is the lowest academic rank, requiring effectiveness in teaching, a commitment to advanced studies in the field or to research and/or creative activity appropriate to the discipline and a willingness to serve the academic unit, division and/or campus.

        Basis of Appointment:

        The master's degree is typically required with at least 18 hours in the appropriate field. Exceptions must be approved by the department/division, dean of the college, chancellor and Board of Governors. The terms for promotion and tenure should be clearly specified in the initial appointment contract letter. (See section 3.3.2)

        Tenure:

        An instructor is minimally eligible to hold tenure after completing five years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains. The tenure decision will occur at the latest during the fifth year of probationary status.

        Eligibility for Promotion:

        Eligibility for promotion can be achieved by meeting any of the following: (1) Completion of the terminal degree. (2) A master's degree in an appropriate field, completion of three years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains in the rank of instructor and demonstration of effective teaching and of achievement in at least one of the following areas: scholarship, research, creative activity or service appropriate to the discipline. (3) Effective teaching and thirty semester hours of graduate credit in an appropriate field in addition to the master's degree and three years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains in the rank of instructor.

      2. Assistant Professor

        Definition:

        An intermediate academic rank of one who has demonstrated achievement in the areas of teaching, research including scholarly publication and/or creative activity and service appropriate to the discipline and professional service appropriate to the discipline.

        Basis of Appointment:

        (1) Promotion from the instructor rank or (2) terminal degree or doctoral course work complete and dissertation in progress or (3) thirty semester hours of graduate credit in an appropriate field in addition to the master's degree and a minimum of three years of experience equivalent to academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains.

        Tenure:

        An assistant professor is minimally eligible for tenure after completing three years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains. The tenure decision will occur at the latest during the fifth year of probationary status. Tenure will continue to be held by an assistant professor who had tenure at Missouri State University-West Plains when promoted from the instructor rank.

        Eligibility for Promotion:

        Eligibility for promotion can be achieved by meeting one of the following: (1) An assistant professor with a terminal degree is minimally qualified for consideration for promotion to the associate professor rank at the end of five years of experience equivalent to academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains including at least three years in the rank of assistant professor. In addition to meeting years-of-service requirements, those seeking promotion must have demonstrated sustained effectiveness in teaching, research including scholarly publication and/or creative activity, and service as defined in Section 4.0. (2) An assistant professor with the master's degree and thirty additional semester hours of graduate credit in an appropriate field may qualify for promotion after (15) years of experience equivalent to academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains, including at least three years in the rank of assistant professor at Missouri State University-West Plains. In addition to meeting years-of-service requirements, those seeking promotion must have demonstrated sustained effectiveness in teaching, research including scholarly publication and/or creative activity, and service as defined in Section 4.0. (3) An Assistant Professor with the master’s degree and (15) years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains, including at least 5 years of effective administrative duties (i.e. dept. chair, division chair, etc.) may qualify for promotion to the Associate Professor rank.  In addition to meeting years-of-service requirements, those seeking promotion must have demonstrated sustained effectiveness in teaching and contributions to community and/or professional service as defined in Section 4.0.

      3. Associate Professor

        Definition:

        A high academic rank of one who has demonstrated a sustained record of effectiveness in teaching, research including scholarly publications and/or creative activity and service appropriate to the discipline.

        Basis of Appointment:

        (1) Promotion from the rank of assistant professor or (2) terminal degree and a minimum of five years of experience equivalent to academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains.

        Tenure:

        Individuals who are promoted to the associate professor rank retain the same tenure eligibility which they had as assistant professors. Individuals whose initial appointment is to the associate professor rank are minimally eligible for tenure at the end of two years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains. In such a case the tenure decision will occur at the latest during the third year of probation. Tenure shall continue to be held by an associate professor who had tenure at Missouri State University-West Plains when promoted from the assistant professor rank.

        Eligibility for Promotion:

        An associate professor with a terminal degree is minimally eligible for promotion to professor after five years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains in the rank of associate professor. An individual initially appointed as an Associate professor will be eligible for promotion after ten years of experience equivalent to academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains. At least two years of this service must be in the rank of associate professor at Missouri State University-West Plains. Promotion to the rank of professor will be based on exceptional performance in the areas of teaching, research including scholarly publication and/or creative activity and service.

      4. Professor

        Definition:

        The highest academic rank, the holder of which is a recognized leader who has a cumulative record of teaching effectiveness, of peer-reviewed research publications or peer-reviewed creative activities appropriate to the discipline and of substantial service appropriate to the discipline.

        Basis of Appointment:

        (1) Promotion from the associate professor rank or (2) Terminal degree and a minimum of ten years of experience equivalent to academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains.

        Tenure:

        A professor is minimally eligible for tenure following one year of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains. The tenure decision will occur at the latest during the third year of probation. Tenure shall continue to be held by a professor who had tenure at Missouri State University-West Plains when promoted from the associate professor rank.

        Tenure will be granted to a professor who is retained after four years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains. Tenure shall continue to be held by a professor who had tenure at Missouri State University-West Plains when promoted from the associate professor rank.

        1. Distinguished Professor

          Definition:

          Distinguished professor is a status that may be accorded to a professor whose achievements in teaching and service are exceptional and whose accomplishments in research, scholarship and/or creative activity are extraordinary. The status is granted for a period of one academic year and carries with it a six-hour-per-semester teaching load and an addition to base salary greater than the amount given for promotion to professor.

          Eligibility:

          To be eligible for consideration for the status of distinguished professor, a faculty member must have accomplished all of the following:

          1. A minimum of ten years of academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains.
          2. A sustained record of exceptional performance in teaching during the decade immediately preceding application.
          3. A sustained record of service to Missouri State University-West Plains through elected faculty offices including positions of leadership, through service on major campus committees or in the form of special service such as program development, fund raising or sponsorship of student organizations.
          4. A cumulative record of service to nationally recognized professional organizations such as offices held, meetings hosted and editorial responsibilities.
          5. Two scholarly books in print or one scholarly book in print and six major scholarly articles in nationally recognized and externally refereed journals or twelve major scholarly articles in nationally recognized and externally refereed journals. Also, recognition of scholarly contributions in the form of an award or prize from a nationally recognized scholarly organization external to Missouri State University-West Plains or receipt of a major extramural research grant in support of scholarly research or receipt of an extramural research fellowship of at least six months' duration.
          6. (In the creative and performing arts, equivalent standards of accomplishment must, by the nature of the disciplines involved, be less rigid. Nationally recognized standards of excellence appropriate to each discipline will serve as a basis for eligibility in lieu of scholarly contributions.)
          7. Productivity in research or creative activities should reflect a record of consistent accomplishment.
          Appointment Procedures:
          1. Any professor at Missouri State University-West Plains with ten years of service to the institution may apply for elevation to the status of distinguished professor. All applications must be sent to the dean of academic affairs by January 1 of the year preceding the academic year for which the faculty member will be considered for the status of distinguished professor. The application must include a proposal for the research, scholarship or creative activity that is to be completed during the release time, including how this activity will benefit students and support the mission of the campus.
          2. All applicants will then be provided with documentation guidelines by the dean of academic affairs.
          3. Applicants who believe that they meet the standards for elevation to the status of distinguished professor will provide supporting documentation to the Divisional Personnel Committee according to deadlines set forth in the Academic Work Calendar for that year.
          4. The Divisional Personnel Committee will review all applications and forward recommendations to the dean of academic affairs.
          5. The dean of academic affairs will review all recommendations received from the Divisional Personnel Committee and add his or her recommendations to those of the Committee before forwarding them to the chancellor.
          6. The chancellor will review all recommendations and make the final decision.
          Designation:

          Distinguished professors shall be designated by discipline, i.e., distinguished professor of Anthropology.

          Recognition:

          The status of distinguished professor is intended to provide recognition to faculty members whose academic accomplishments are extraordinary. For this reason, the dean of academic affairs will publicize the scholarly or creative accomplishments of each faculty member elevated to this status.

          Implementation:

          Full implementation of the distinguished professor program is dependent upon the availability of funds. Without additional funds specifically designated for this program, whether from within or without Missouri State University-West Plains, the number of faculty members elevated to this status would exceed the means of the campus.

          • No more than two distinguished professor designations will be awarded each academic year, assuming funds are available.
          • A faculty member can only be awarded the designation a maximum of once every five years.
          • The release time is to be used to complete the research, scholarship or creative activity as presented in the application proposal. It is recommended that release time not be used to teach overload classes.
          • Upon completion of the academic term for which the designation was awarded, the faculty member will provide a follow-up to the dean of academic affairs showing what was accomplished during the past academic year, how it benefited students and how it supported the mission of the campus.
    5. Unranked Academic Positions

      Persons who hold unranked positions are given term contracts which automatically terminate upon the expiration of the specified term. No notice of non-reappointment is given and reemployment of the employee after the conclusion of the contractual term is solely within the discretion of the University. Unranked faculty members are not eligible for tenure, educational leave or sabbatical leave. With the exception of lecturers and visiting professors, time spent in an unranked position does not count towards tenure eligibility if the individual later becomes a member of the ranked faculty. Unranked faculty must be qualified by academic or practical experiences appropriate for the responsibilities assigned. A master's degree or higher is preferred. All unranked academic positions have the same right to academic freedom accorded ranked faculty.

      1. Lecturer

        A lecturer is appointed to teach specific courses full-time on a one-year term contract. The lecturer position is repeatable at the discretion of the University without the constraint of term limits. Continuing term appointments shall not create the presumption of the right to reappointment. Individual departments also may limit the number of times an individual's contract may be issued. As a holder of an unranked academic position, a lecturer is not eligible for tenure but has the same right to academic freedom accorded to ranked faculty.

        Lecturers must be qualified by academic or practical experience appropriate for the responsibilities assigned. If a lecturer becomes a member of the ranked faculty, the length of the probationary period for tenure will be determined in accordance with section 3.7 and will be specified in the initial appointment contract letter. lecturers will be on 9-month contracts with compensation and benefits paid over a 12 month period.

      2. Limited-Term Lecturer

        A limited-term lecturer is appointed to teach specific courses full-time on a one-semester contract. The limited-term lecturer position is to be used only to replace full-time faculty members who are on leave, sabbatical or absent because of some unforeseen circumstance and is not repeatable for consecutive semesters. As a holder of an unranked academic position, a limited-term lecturer is not eligible for tenure or benefits but has the same right to academic freedom accorded ranked faculty. limited-term lecturers must be qualified by academic or practical experiences appropriate for the responsibilities assigned.

      3. Visiting Professor

        A visiting professor is an individual who holds or has held, professorial rank (assistant professor, associate professor and professor) at another institution. He or she is appointed to the rank of visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor or visiting professor. A visiting professor may serve no longer than three years. If he or she becomes a member of the ranked faculty, time spent as visiting professor at Missouri State University-West Plains will be counted toward the time required for tenure and promotion.

      4. Artist-in-Residence

        The position of artist-in-residence is offered to outstanding professional artists who render a specified service to the University. This service can include lectures, performances, demonstrations, master classes and consultations. Academic degrees are not essential to this position. An artist-in-residence is chosen on the basis of outstanding professional attainments, creative accomplishments and recognition in his or her specified field.

      5. Adjunct Faculty

        Adjunct faculty are those individuals who offer educational experiences to students of the University but who have no contract with the University. The title is honorary, although the adjunct faculty member may receive an honorarium.

      6. Per-Course Faculty

        Per-course faculty members are appointed on a semester basis only. The hours which per-course faculty are allowed to teach each semester are determined by current regulations. Consult with the office of academic affairs to determine the number of hours allowed. Per-course faculty should possess a master's degree or the equivalent professional experience in a field determined acceptable by the dean. Per-course faculty members receive no retirement or insurance benefits, assuming they teach no more than the maximum allowed. They may be allowed the use of campus facilities. Per-course faculty have only the duties associated with teaching and are not required to neither perform committee work nor assume other responsibilities required of ranked faculty.

      7. Academic Affiliate

        Academic affiliates are those individuals employed full-time by the University in non-academic positions and who are assigned to teach courses or direct research in academic departments. Academic affiliate assignments are based on the experience, training and interests of individuals that would qualify them to teach and/or direct research outside their normal assignments and upon the needs of the University to utilize their expertise in teaching responsibilities.

      8. Emeritus Status

        Appointment to emeritus faculty status is granted as a result of meritorious service to the campus, including outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, research, publications, the arts and leadership. To be eligible for the title, a faculty member must also satisfy the following three requirements: (1) completion of at least ten years of full-time academic service to Missouri State University-West Plains, (2) tenure status at Missouri State University-West Plains and (3) retirement status at Missouri State University-West Plains. Emeritus status is awarded through affirmative vote of the faculty and by favorable administrative action. Emeritus faculty, who will be listed as such in the catalog, shall be entitled to the benefits of faculty discounts at the Drago College Store, to admission to convocations, to the use of Garnett Library facilities and the Putnam Student Center, to one course per semester free of tuition and student fees, to faculty privileges for admission to athletic events and to other benefits, subject to campus policies. The educational fee waiver benefit is intended for the exclusive use of the retiree and cannot be assigned to any other family member.

    6. Tenure

      1. General Philosophy

        Universities exist to serve the common good. The primary responsibilities of the faculty at Missouri State University-West Plains are teaching, research, creative activity and service. By accepting an appointment at this University, an individual assumes a responsibility to pursue scholarly activities in each of these areas. Such pursuits necessitate free inquiry, free expression, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity and rights of others and openness to change. The rights and responsibilities exercised within the academic community must be compatible with these characteristics.

        Academic freedom is essential to the functioning of a university. It applies to teaching, research and service and involves both faculty and students. The principle of academic freedom is designed to protect the faculty member's freedom to teach and to engage in research and service. It also protects the student's freedom to learn. Faculty members are responsible for providing students with the same kind of freedom which they claim for themselves; namely, the freedom to consider conflicting views and to make their own evaluation of data, evidence and doctrines. Furthermore, faculty members have a responsibility to maintain an atmosphere conducive to intellectual inquiry and rational discussion. (See also Sections 3.2.1.1 and 3.3.)

        Tenure is a means to certain ends, specifically: (1) freedom of teaching and research and service and of extramural activities and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability. Academic freedom and economic security, hence tenure, are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.

        These statements shall not be applied in a manner which is inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 1 - 15 of this Faculty Handbook.

      2. Tenure

        Only members of the tenure track faculty are eligible for tenure. The choices that the campus makes in granting tenure are crucial to its endeavors toward academic excellence. A decision to grant tenure must reflect an assessment of high professional competence and performance measured against campus standards. Recommendations for tenure are made in accordance with the Faculty Senate and campus policies and procedures. The expectations for each individual are dependent upon the particular assignment. It is the responsibility of the applicant for tenure to provide sufficient relevant documentation as evidence in support of his or her teaching, scholarship, research, creative activity and service activities.

        Tenure is based on a thorough evaluation of the candidate's total contribution to the campus. While specific responsibilities of faculty members may vary because of special assignments or because of the particular mission of an academic unit, all evaluations for tenure shall address the manner in which each candidate has performed in teaching, professional activity (scholarship, research, creative activity) and service. Basic competence in itself is not sufficient to justify granting tenure, for such competence is a prerequisite for the initial appointment. The decision to grant tenure is inherently and inescapably judgmental and is a deliberate action indicating the person has been selected as a member of the permanent faculty because of demonstrated high-quality performance and relative merit.

        Tenure will be granted only to faculty members who apply for tenure and are approved through normal procedures (see Section 4.4). All initial appointment letters for individuals hired in tenure track faculty positions will specify the last semester during which this tenure application can be made. If a tenure application is not made by a faculty member by this specified time, the individual forfeits all expectations to tenure as specified in this Faculty Handbook. An appointment during the probationary period is only for one year. Even if the faculty member receives no notice of subsequent non-appointment, de facto tenure will not be granted. Tenure-track faculty who have not been granted tenure by the end of their sixth year of employment at Missouri State University shall not be further employed by Missouri State University-West Plains in a tenure-track position.

    7. Prior Service and the Probationary Period

      Beginning with appointment to ranked tenure track position, the probationary period Missouri State University-West Plains shall not exceed six academic years except under the following conditions:

      • A faculty member who has previously held appointments of three or more years in any ranked position at Missouri State University-West Plains but for whom a lapse of at least three consecutive years has occurred since any ranked appointment to Missouri State University-West Plains, may be required at the time of appointment to agree in writing to a probationary period of up to four years, although his or her total probationary period (the sum of previous ranked experience at Missouri State University-West Plains and current years at Missouri State University-West Plains) may thereby be extended beyond six years. Extension of the probationary period will be allowed only if credit for previous service is specified in the initial appointment letter, as well as the period of the extension of probationary period. If no credit is specified or extension described, none is given.
      • A faculty member who joins the ranked faculty and who has previously held appointments in any unranked faculty position at Missouri State University-West Plains will undergo the full probationary period unless the appropriate department head/division chair, dean of academic affairs and the chancellor agree and approve in writing at the time of initial ranked appointment to grant one or more years of credit for previous experience. Credit will be reserved for those lecturers who have been performing at a level similar to that of a tenure-track instructor. See section 4.0 for more information concerning expected performance. Such credit will be expressed in the initial ranked appointment contract letter.
      • A faculty member who joins the ranked faculty and who has previously held appointments in any unranked faculty position at Missouri State University-West Plains will undergo the full probationary period unless the appropriate department head/division chair, dean of academic affairs and the chancellor agree and approve in writing at the time of initial ranked appointment to grant one or more years of credit for previous experience. Credit will be reserved for those lecturers who have been performing at a level similar to that of a tenure-track instructor. See section 4.0 for more information concerning expected performance. Such credit will be expressed in the initial ranked appointment contract letter.

      Notwithstanding the above, at the time of initial appointment or for reason of medical condition, the probationary period may be extended for not more than two additional years, even if the otherwise maximum probationary period is exceeded. Such extension requires the recommendation of the dean of academic affairs and the agreement of the faculty member involved.

      1. Stopping the Tenure Clock

        Notwithstanding the above, the probationary period may be extended at the request of the faculty member for reason of medical condition or to accommodate important family care issues for a period not to exceed two additional years. Such extension requires the recommendation of the department/division head and the dean of academic affairs.

      2. Tenure Upon Hire

        An applicant for a position as associate or full professor may be offered tenure as a condition of initial employment only under the following circumstances: (1) the possession of academic credentials reflecting exemplary teaching and service experience, as well as excellence in research, including nationally recognized peer-reviewed publications in the applicant's academic discipline and (2) an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the Missouri State University-West Plains tenured faculty.

    8. Locus of Tenure

      Tenure is awarded only by affirmative action by the Board of Governors. The locus of tenure is in Missouri State University-West Plains. Assignment of tenured faculty will normally be to academic departments but tenured faculty may by consent be assigned to other professional duties. Tenure, once granted, remains in Missouri State University-West Plains.

    9. Non-Reappointment of Tenure Track Faculty During the Probationary Period

      Non-reappointment decisions will be reached according to procedures described in Section 4.0 Faculty Evaluations.

      Notice of non-renewal of contract or of intention not to recommend renewal of contract, shall be given in writing by the dean of academic affairs in accordance with the following standards:

      1. Not later than March 1 of the first academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year or if a one-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least 90 calendar days in advance of its termination.
      2. Not later than December 15 of the second academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year or if an initial two-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least 180 calendar days in advance of its termination.
      3. At least 365 calendar days before the expiration of an appointment after two or more academic years in the institution.
      4. A probationary appointment will generally be renewed unless timely notice as described above is given. A lapse of the timely process will not be construed to the disadvantage of a faculty member (e g., the probationary period could be extended for one year), except that in no such case will the probationary period be extended beyond seven years. Tenure does not occur de facto. Note also Section 3.6

      For more information on the Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure process see Section 4.4.