This policy was approved by the Washington University Faculty Senate, as amended, at its meeting in May, 1974, and as further amended at a later meeting in March 1975. Subsequently it was approved by the Administration and, on October 3, 1975, by the Board of Trustees. The final document is the product of six years of effort, initiated by former chancellor Thomas H. Eliot, by, primarily, members of the Washington University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the Faculty Senate Council, the Board of Trustees, and Academic Administrators.
Sections XI.B and XI.C of this policy were further amended and approved by the Washington University Faculty Senate at its meeting on May 6, 1980, and were subsequently approved, as amended, by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on October 10, 1980. Sections II.B, II.D, and XII also were amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on May 15, 1984, and were subsequently approved, with a memorandum of understanding concerning Section XII, by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on May 3, 1985.
Section IV.B of this policy was amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on December 3, 1986, and approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on May 8, 1987. Section III.B was added and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on May 9, 1988, and was subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on December 2, 1988. Sections II.B, II.D, and XII.B were amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on April 24, 1989, and were subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on October 13, 1989.
Sections III.A, IV.B.1, footnote 3, and IV.B.2 were amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on November 6, 1992, and approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on December 4, 1992. Sections III.A, C, and D, IV.B.3, VI.B.1.e, and XI.B.1 were amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on April 23, 1993, and subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting on May 7, 1993.
Section X of this policy was amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on December 16, 1996, and approved by the Board of Trustees on May 2, 1997.
Section IV.B.2 of this policy was amended and approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting on May 2, 2005, and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 7, 2005.
Section IV.B.2 of this policy was amended and approved by the Faculty Senate on June 23, 2008, and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 3, 2008.Sections III.A and IV.B.1, footnote 3 of this policy were amended and approved, and a new Section III.C was added and approved, by the Faculty Senate on January 21, 2009, and approved by the Board of Trustees on March 7, 2009.
Academic freedom is the particular freedom 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, when such judgment is necessary, on the basis of legitimate intellectual and professional criteria, not personal beliefs, political views, religious or other individual preferences, except as these may demonstrably affect intellectual and professional achievement.Procedures for arriving at professional, personnel, and academic decisions affecting faculty members shall assure fair consideration of the substance of the decision. Procedures of each decision-making body in the University that are consistent with this policy statement need not be uniform. Maximum departmental autonomy and wide intellectual and procedural latitude are too important to be unnecessarily restricted. What is required of such procedures is that they be basically fair. Academic freedom may be violated if it can be shown that unfair procedures have contributed significantly to a substantial professional, personnel, or academic decision adverse to the person complaining.
Because academic freedom traditionally has included the faculty member’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 the institution, on the other. If such conflicts become acute, and the faculty member’s attention to his/her obligations as a citizen and moral agent precludes the fulfillment of his/her academic obligations, the faculty member cannot escape the responsibility of that choice, but should either request a leave of absence or resign his/her academic position.
Since faculty members are free to engage in political activities, they may request leaves of absence for the duration of an election campaign or other political activity when such activity might interfere with full-time duties and responsibilities to the University. The terms of such leaves of absence shall be set forth in writing, and the leave shall not affect unfavorably the tenure status of a faculty member, except that time spent on such leave shall not count as probationary period service unless otherwise agreed to.
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 students’ beliefs or the possible uses to which they may put the knowledge to be gained in a course. A faculty member may not use the authority inherent in the instructional role to sexually harass, to discriminate against by reason of sex, sexual orientation, color, race, handicap, religion, or national origin, or to compel the student to make particular personal choices as to political action or his/her own role in society. Evaluation of students and award of credit must be based on academic performance professionally judged and not on matters irrelevant to that performance, such as personality, race, religion, politics, sex, sexual orientation, or personal beliefs.
It is a faculty member’s position, based on mastery of his/her subject and his/her own scholarship, which entitles the faculty member to freedom in the presentation of his/her subject. Thus, it is improper for a faculty member persistently to intrude material which has no relation to his/her subject, or to fail to present the subject matter of his/her course as approved generally by the faculty in its collective responsibility for the curriculum. This is not to be narrowly construed as a restriction on the free presentation of his/her subject.
Membership in the academic community imposes on faculty members (as well as on students, 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 of ideas on and off the campus. Those who seek to call attention to grievances must not do so in ways that significantly impede the functions of the University. Activities related to the University or the University community may not be carried out in ways which injure, discriminate against by reason of sex, sexual orientation, color, race, handicap, religion, or national origin, or sexually harass individuals, damage property, or interfere with the rights of others.
An appointment to the academic staff is made in response to a need recognized in the programs of teaching and research in the University and for which budget provision has been made.
With the exception of special appointments clearly limited to a brief association with the University, reappointments of retired faculty members on special conditions, grants of academic rank as a courtesy to persons not regular members of the University faculty (for example, to some staff members at the Central Institute for the Deaf, at City Hospitals, and at the Missouri Botanical Garden), and the annual Research appointments in the School of Medicine (see footnote 3, page H 45), all full-time appointments to the rank of instructor or higher are of five kinds: (1) probationary appointments,1 (2) appointments with continuous tenure, (3) appointments to research professorships which comply with the requirements of Part B of this Section III, (4) appointments to the Clinician Track at the School of Medicine in accordance with the School’s “Guidelines for Full-time Faculty Appointments & Promotion,” dated October 7, 1992, and any subsequent amendments, consistent with this Policy, and enacted pursuant to Section IV of the Guidelines, and (5) professor of practice appointments at schools other than the School of Medicine which comply with the requirements of Part C of this Section III.Appointments are initiated by the person having immediate administrative responsibility, after appropriate consultation with the faculty involved. The department chair or other administrator having direct concern is charged with the responsibility of ascertaining faculty judgment about the appointment, searching for the person best qualified for the position, and making supporting recommendations to the faculty member’s school dean and the appropriate administrative officer of another school which may be concerned academically with the appointment. The method of search and appointment shall be such that candidates are not excluded on any basis other than professional considerations, as described in Section V.A. The dean presents the candidate to the chancellor (or the provost or other official, as designated by the chancellor) with recommendations and appropriate concurrences. The chancellor (or the provost or other official, as designated by the chancellor) makes the appointment when the recommendations are approved.
1A contract term during the probationary period may run for a time period which is less than the probationary period. The initial contract, for example, may be for one year while the probationary period is for seven years. Termination taking effect before the end of a contract term must comply with Section VI.B.3. Terminations at the end of a contract term but before the end of the probationary period must comply with the notice provisions of Section IV.B.4 and the procedural provisions of Section VI.B.1.
A faculty member’s relationship to the University with respect to salary, rank, tenure,2 full-time or part-time, nine months’ or twelve months’ service, and any other pertinent terms of the appointment shall be stated clearly in writing, and a written copy of the terms shall be in the possession of both the faculty member and the University before the appointment is consummated. A letter offering appointment may be written by the dean, or, in those schools which are departmentalized, by the department chair with the endorsement of the dean. The chancellor (or the provost or other official, as designated by the chancellor) shall send the formal letter of appointment upon recommendation of the dean. Any subsequent extensions or modifications of an appointment, any special understanding, or any notices either party is required to provide, shall be stated or confirmed in writing with copies to the faculty member and the University.
2If the initial appointment is to carry with it the grant of tenure, the normal tenure-granting process shall precede the appointment.
Tenure can be gained only by full-time faculty members with the academic rank of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor.3
3The fact that additional words of title may be used does not impair the academic rank of the faculty member, except as follows: (1) Research Professorships as defined in Section III.B are governed by the provisions of that section. (2) At the School of Medicine, the term “Research” in an academic title signifies a limited responsibility and less than full academic role, and carries with it an annual appointment status. An individual with the “Research” designation can have this designation removed and be placed in the academic tenure track if full academic responsibilities are assumed. (3) The designation “Clinical” within an academic appointment in the School of Medicine indicates that the appointment is part-time. Note that the titles Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor are used in the School of Medicine for faculty members on the Clinician Track who have neither probationary appointments toward tenure nor appointments with tenure, but rather appointments pursuant to renewable contracts. (4) At schools other than the School of Medicine, the titles Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor may be followed by “of Practice” for faculty members who have neither probationary appointments toward tenure nor appointments with tenure, but rather appointments pursuant to renewable contracts.
Each individual school or college may specify a probationary period not to exceed ten years; if a school or college does not specify a probationary period, the period shall be seven years. Prior tenure-track (or equivalent) academic service at another institution of higher education ordinarily will be credited toward the probationary period at Washington University. It may be mutually agreed in writing between the incoming faculty member and the University, however, that some or all of the prior academic service not be counted toward the probationary period at Washington University, even though the total probationary period in the academic profession is thereby extended beyond the normal probationary period of the University’s school or college.
The probationary period shall commence upon the initial full-time appointment to an academic rank specified in IV.B.1 except that in the School of Medicine, the probationary period shall (1) begin upon appointment to a rank not lower than assistant professor and (2) not apply to faculty members on the clinician track.
Except as provided in Section II.A and the next paragraph of this Policy, time spent on leave of absence shall count as probationary period service, unless the individual and University agree to the contrary at the time leave is granted.
The faculty member on appointment for a probationary period may find that child-rearing responsibilities, health or family-related problems, or other personal circumstances prevent him/her from devoting full time to responsibilities as a member of the faculty. When this occurs, the faculty member shall have the opportunity to apply to the appropriate administrative officers for a part-time leave of absence. The agreement for part-time leave of absence shall be in writing and shall cover the period of the part-time leave, the conditions with respect to returning to full-time service, salary, the faculty member’s responsibilities while on part-time leave, and other relevant factors. The faculty member and the appropriate administrative officers shall receive a copy of the agreement. Any time which the faculty member spends on part-time leave of absence shall not count toward the probationary period.In addition to such part-time leave, each school may establish other policies designed to ameliorate conflicts between professional responsibilities and family responsibilities or other exceptional personal circumstances. Such policies may entail suspension of the tenure probationary period and/or partial reassignment of faculty duties without recourse to part time leave. Requests for such arrangements must be initiated by the faculty member. Agreements for such arrangements shall be in writing and shall cover the period of the arrangement, the conditions on which the arrangement is granted, the faculty member’s salary and responsibilities during the arrangement, and other relevant factors. The faculty member and the appropriate administrative officers shall receive a copy of the agreement. Limits on the number and length of suspensions of the tenure probationary period pursuant to this paragraph shall be established by each School in its policy.
Regardless of the stated term or other provisions of any appointments, written notice that an appointment for a probationary period is not to be renewed shall be given to the faculty member in advance of the expiration of his/her appointment, as follows: (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 three months 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 six months in advance of its termination; (3) at least twelve months before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years of service at the University. The University normally shall notify faculty members of the terms and conditions of their renewals by March 31, but in no case shall such information be given later than April 15.
The requirements for written notice of nonrenewal shall apply as well to anyone with an academic appointment other than as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, except that different notice requirements may be agreed to in writing between such a faculty member and the University.
If the minimum notice date is not met for the last year of probationary service, the faculty member shall be given tenure.
Appointments, promotions, and the granting of tenure shall be based on professional criteria, such as teaching performance, research and creative ability, professional competence and leadership, University and departmental service, professional service to the community, and also institutional criteria, such as the budgetary, teaching, and research requirements of the University. The relative emphasis given to each of these in arriving at a decision may vary with the school or college, and with the person, rank, and position under consideration.
The status of each faculty member on appointment for a probationary period shall be reviewed annually in a conference with his/her immediate administrative officer. This review shall include an evaluation of the faculty member’s performance to date, his/her salary and academic rank, and his/her prospects for future employment including tenure at the University. Each school shall have written procedures in regard to the nature and scope of this review, and these procedures shall be made known to the faculty member when he/she first is employed by the University.
A faculty member may terminate his/her appointment effective at the end of an academic year, provided that he/she gives notice in writing at the earliest possible opportunity, but not later than May 15, or 30 days after receiving notification of the terms of his/her appointment for the coming year, whichever occurs later. The faculty member may request a waiver of this requirement of notice in case of hardship or in a situation in which he/she would otherwise be denied substantial professional advancement or other opportunity.
At Washington University, tenure, once gained, is maintained continuously and can be lost only by reason of one of the following conditions:
If a decision is made not to, for reasons of financial exigency, continue the appointment of a faculty member with tenure, no one shall be hired to fulfill substantially the same duties within a period of four years, unless the released faculty member has been offered reappointment to his/her former rank with tenure and afforded a reasonable time within which to accept or reject it. A faculty member whose appointment is not continued under these provisions shall receive compensation at least equal to his/her annual salary for at least one year from the date of the expiration of his/her terminal contract. During this period the University shall make every effort to provide to the faculty members involved those academic services which the University customarily provides to members of its faculty in similar disciplines. In determining the compensation to be given a tenured faculty member whose appointment is not continued, both the age and length of service at the University of the faculty member shall be considered.
The faculty must have an important role in decisions relating to the reduction of academic programs. The claim that termination of faculty members is necessary because of financial exigency must be demonstrably bona fide. The financial exigency may be University-wide or it may relate to a single, large program that is causing a substantial drain on the resources of the University or is threatening to do so. Financial exigency, whether University-wide or related to a single, large program, shall for a reasonable period of time preclude substantial expansion of academic programs elsewhere in the University, except in extraordinary circumstances (e.g., expansion financed by resources which could not have been used to retain the released faculty members).
As particular program reductions are considered, rights under academic tenure shall be protected. The service of a tenured professor shall not be terminated in favor of retaining in the same program someone without tenure. Particular reductions shall follow consultation with the concerned departments, or other units of academic concentration, on the short- and long-term viability of programs to be reduced. If such reductions are made, care should be taken to see that affirmative action obligations are followed.
The advice of the Senate Council shall be sought in the reaching of any decision which would lead to the termination of faculty members with tenure, and the Senate Council shall be given all relevant information and shall have the right to confer with the chancellor and to communicate its views to the Board of Trustees before such a decision becomes final.If a decision is made under the provisions of this section not to continue the appointment of a tenured faculty member, the faculty member shall have the right to a hearing before the Academic Freedom and Tenure Hearing Committee5 where the bona fides of the circumstances, the adequacy of the University’s attempt to find an acceptable alternative position, and the adequacy of the proposed terminal compensation may be examined. Ultimate decision of all controverted issues rests with the Washington University Board of Trustees.
5Hereinafter referred to as the Hearing Committee. See Section XI of this Policy.
All members of the faculty, whether tenured or not, are entitled to academic freedom, including the due process right of basically fair procedures.
This Policy applies to administrative personnel who hold academic rank in relation to their capacity as faculty members.
If a faculty member on appointment for a probationary period or other nontenured appointment alleges that considerations which violated his/her academic freedom significantly contributed to a decision not to reappoint him/her, or if any faculty member alleges that considerations which violated his/her academic freedom significantly contributed to adverse decisions concerning such matters as salary, promotion, assignment of teaching duties, assignment of space or other facilities, termination of appointment, or penalties brought to bear against him/her for claimed improper conduct, the faculty member may petition the Advisory Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom6 for redress. The petition shall set forth in detail the facts which form the basis of the grievance, against whom the grievance is directed, and on what grounds the grievance is alleged to be a violation of academic freedom. The Advisory Committee shall decide whether the facts alleged in the petition merit a detailed investigation.
If the action complained of is a decision not to reappoint a faculty member on appointment for a probationary period, the allegation he/she presents to the Advisory Committee shall constitute the faculty member’s agreement to the presentation, for the consideration of the Advisory Committee and later, if necessary, the Hearing Committee, of such reasons and evidence as the University may allege in support of its decision.
The Advisory Committee shall attempt to settle the matter by informal methods, after making sure that the faculty member has exhausted all available remedies within his/her department, school, and central administration.
If in the opinion of the Advisory Committee such a settlement is not possible or is not appropriate, the Advisory Committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the petitioner and to the appropriate administrative officer.
If the difficulty is unresolved at this stage, and if the Advisory Committee so recommends, the matter shall be heard by the Hearing Committee in the manner set forth in this section and in Section IX of this Policy. The faculty member making the complaint is responsible for stating the grounds upon which he/she bases his/her allegation, and the burden of proof shall rest upon the faculty member. The Chair of the Hearing Committee may require a further elaboration of the charges by the complainant and may decline to hold the hearing unless the complainant complies. The Hearing Committee shall decide whether the case presented by the complainant requires a response from the University; and if it does, it is incumbent upon the appropriate administrative officer, whether department chair, dean, or other, to come forward with evidence in support of the decision about which the complaint is raised. Upon completing its deliberations, the Hearing Committee shall communicate its findings to the faculty member, the appropriate administrative officers, and the chancellor.
In the case of a faculty member on appointment for a probationary period who alleges that considerations which violated his/her academic freedom have significantly contributed to the decision not to reappoint him/her, the process outlined above may be used by him/her whether or not the Advisory Committee recommends a formal hearing before the Hearing Committee.
6Hereinafter referred to as the Advisory Committee. See Section X of this Policy.
The faculty member who is charged shall have the right to be heard by the Academic Freedom and Tenure Hearing Committee under the procedures of Section IX before the termination can be effective. The burden of proof that adequate cause exists rests with the University and shall be satisfied only by clear and convincing evidence in the record considered as a whole.
A member of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Hearing Committee shall remove him/herself from the case, either at the request of a party or on his/her own initiative, if he/she deems him/herself disqualified for bias or interest. Each party shall have the right to challenge a maximum of two proposed Hearing Committee members without stated cause.7 The Hearing Committee shall follow the procedures outlined in the following subsections, but it may adopt additional procedures not inconsistent with those of this Policy.
7For the replacement of Hearing Committee members with alternates, see Section XI.E.
The Advisory Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom shall consist of the five members-at-large of the Senate Council elected by the general faculty. The Advisory Committee shall carry out the tasks assigned to it under this Policy.If a member of the Advisory Committee is unable to participate in a review of a particular matter for what ever reason, the Executive Committee of the Senate Council shall select an alternate on the basis of a drawing by lot from among the pool of former members-at-large of the Senate Council whose terms ended within the past five years and who continue to be full-time Washington University faculty members and are able and willing to serve.
Not more than one member of any department or non-departmentalized school shall serve as a regular member or an alternate on the Hearing Committee at the same time.
The Hearing Committee shall discharge the functions assigned to it under the provisions of this Policy, and it shall from time to time review this Statement of Policy and recommend appropriate changes in it.
If by reason of disqualification of regular Hearing Committee members and alternates under Subsection E, above, the number of regular Hearing Committee members and alternates remaining to hear the particular matter falls below five, the Hearing Committee shall be disqualified from hearing the matter. In this event, the Senate Council shall name a seven-member ad hoc hearing committee under the following framework: (1) the Senate Council shall start with the four remaining members of the Hearing Committee; (2) the three new members of the ad hoc hearing committee shall be selected on the basis of their objectivity, competence, and the regard in which they are held in the academic community; (3) the seven-member ad hoc hearing committee shall name its own chair and proceed as this Policy has provided for the regular Hearing Committee; (4) if by reason of challenges (or otherwise) a member or members of the ad hoc committee are unable to sit on the case, the Senate Council shall fill the vacated spot or spots in the manner outlined in (2) of this paragraph.
It shall be the responsibility of the Senate Council to receive and act upon complaints from within the University community that a member of the faculty may have violated the responsibilities set forth in Section II of this Policy.8 If it appears that the alleged violation is serious enough to warrant some response, the Senate Council shall by majority vote request the Advisory Committee to investigate the matter. The Advisory Committee shall report its findings to the Senate Council, and the Senate Council shall by majority vote recommend the appropriate action. The faculty member involved in any such action shall have all of the guarantees provided by this Policy.
8This responsibility is concurrent with that of the administration of the University and does not displace normal administrative responsibility for dealing with the failure of the faculty member to carry out his/her duties and responsibilities.
The Board of Trustees of Washington University, on October 3, 1975, gave approval to adopt the Washington University Policy on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure. The effective date, as determined by the Board of Trustees at the March 5, 1976 meeting, is August 30, 1976. This Policy supersedes the “Statement of Policy on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure” of October 8, 1953, and all other statements of policy and practice that are not consistent with it.