Academic Due Process for Non-Tenure-Track Full-Time Faculty Members

The following brief statement, approved by AAUP Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure on October 30, pulls together existing AAUP policies on academic due process for non-tenure-track full-time faculty members after seven years of service.

Academic Due Process for Non-Tenure-Track Full-Time Faculty Members* after Seven Years of Service

Since its founding in 1915, the AAUP has stressed the necessity of indefinite tenure for the protection of academic freedom. Retention of tenure is in turn protected through academic due process. Since, under AAUP-supported principles, all faculty members should have academic freedom, long-serving full-time faculty members on renewable term appointments should be afforded the same procedural protections against involuntary separation as tenured faculty members. Indeed, long-standing AAUP policy on full-time appointments with a stated term—whatever the length of the term and regardless of whether the appointment is defined as probationary for tenure—holds that, after seven years of service, full-time faculty members must be afforded the due-process protections of tenure before their services can be terminated, whether the termination occurs in the midst of an appointment or at the end of it through nonrenewal.

The source of the above policy is the joint 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, formulated by the AAUP and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), which provides that, “[a]fter the expiration of a probationary period, teachers or investigators should have permanent or continuous tenure, and their service should be terminated only for adequate cause, except in the case of retirement for age, or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies.” The 1940 Statement further provides that the probationary period should not exceed “the normal maximum of seven years.” The opening sentence of the Association’s derivative Statement on Procedural Standards in the Renewal or Nonrenewal of Faculty Appointments puts it more succinctly: “Except for special appointments clearly designated at the outset as involving only a brief association with the institution, all full-time faculty appointments are either with continuous tenure or probationary for tenure.”

The AAUP regards “special appointments clearly designated at the outset as involving only a brief association with the institution” as appointments that are designed to address transient programmatic needs or to provide temporary replacement for faculty members who are on leave or who cannot otherwise fulfill their responsibilities. Core or introductory courses, often assigned to faculty members on term appointments, are not transient programmatic needs, and


* The Association considers a teacher who is classified as part time by his or her institution, but who in fact nonetheless teaches the equivalent of a full-time load or otherwise performs responsibilities equivalent to those of a full-time faculty member at that institution, to be entitled

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