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Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President

Appendix W: Post-Tenure Review Policy

Approved by Faculty Senate on February 11, 2014


  1. Purpose, Principles, and Objectives
    1. The purpose of post-tenure review at Kansas State University is to enhance the continued professional development of tenured faculty. The process is intended to encourage intellectual vitality and professional proficiency for all members of the faculty throughout their careers, so they may more effectively fulfill the mission of the university. It is also designed to enhance public trust in the University by ensuring that the faculty community undertakes regular and rigorous efforts to hold all of its members accountable for high professional standards.

      Kansas State University recognizes that the granting of tenure for university faculty is a vital protection of free inquiry and open intellectual debate. It is expressly recognized that nothing in this policy alters or amends the University's policies regarding removal of tenured faculty members for cause (which are stipulated in the University Handbook). This policy and any actions taken under it are separate from and have no bearing on the chronic low achievement or annual evaluation policies and processes.
      1. In no case should post-tenure review be used to shift the burden of proof from the institution's administration (to show cause why a tenured faculty member should be dismissed) to the individual faculty member (to show cause why he or she should be retained).

      2. The written criteria for faculty post-tenure review should be developed and periodically reviewed by the faculty. The basic standard for appraisal should be whether the faculty member under review discharges conscientiously and with professional competence the duties appropriately associated with his or her position, not whether the faculty member meets the current standards for the award of tenure or promotion.

      3. Post-tenure review should be generally developmental and supported by available resources for professional development or a change of professional direction.

      4. Post-tenure review should be flexible enough to acknowledge different expectations in different disciplines and changing expectations at different stages of faculty careers.

      5. Except when faculty appeals procedures direct that files be available to aggrieved faculty members, the outcome of evaluations should be confidential, that is, confined to the appropriate college or university persons or bodies and the faculty member being evaluated, released otherwise only at the discretion or with the consent of the faculty member or when required by law.
  2. Procedures
    1. All tenured faculty members of the University are required to undergo a performance evaluation annually. At a minimum, the Post-Tenure Review process may be based solely upon an evaluation of the materials submitted for the previous six annual performance evaluations. Other materials may be substituted for the performance evaluation or added to the review depending on the specific policy determined by the department/unit (e.g., see department/unit expectations for materials submitted for Professorial Performance Award, promotion to full professor, or nomination packets for prestigious awards).

    2. A review is then conducted of the materials submitted. The review may be conducted by the faculty member’s academic supervisor or an appropriate advisory group as defined in the department/unit policy.

    3. The specific standards for the review are determined by the faculty in the department/unit and defined in the department/unit policy. At a minimum, the post-tenure review should assess the faculty member’s strengths and areas for improvement to determine whether he/she is making appropriate contribution to the University or whether additional plans or activities need to be developed.

    4. The faculty member shall be given a copy of the review. A face-to-face meeting between the faculty member and the reviewer(s) is encouraged. If the determination of the review suggests that a plan for additional professional development should be identified, a face-to-face meeting to discuss options and develop a plan is required. The development plan should be utilized in future annual evaluations and post-tenure reviews to review progress toward any goals set in the plan.

    5. In general, post-tenure review shall be conducted for tenured faculty every six years and shall conform to the timeline associated with the annual evaluation review as outlined in the University Handbook. The six-year post-tenure review clock shall be further defined to mean that post-tenure review will be conducted for all tenured faculty either every six years, or in the sixth year following promotion or awarding of a major university performance award. More specifically, the following events shall modify and reset the post-tenure review clock:
      • application for promotion to full professor;
      • application for the Professorial Performance Award (University Handbook C49);
      • receipt of a substantial college, university, national or international award requiring multi-year portfolio-like documentation, such as University Distinguished Professor, University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, an endowed chair or other national/international awards (see list of Faculty Awards http://www.k-state.edu/provost/resources/natlawards.html).
      The schedule for post-tenure review could also be delayed for one year to accommodate sabbatical leave, a major health issue, or another compelling reason, provided that both the faculty member and department/unit head approve the delay.

    6. Exceptions for Post-Tenure Review: If the faculty member has already been identified as not meeting minimum standards according to the policies and department procedures relating to chronic low achievement, that process will be considered to serve in lieu of post-tenure review. Those who have formally announced their retirement through a written letter to the department/unit head, or have begun phased retirement, are exempt from post-tenure review.

    7. Reviews shall be conducted within each department/unit according to the policies and procedures established by the department/unit. The outcomes of the review will be submitted to the respective Dean, who will review the materials to ensure the review is consistent with the criteria and procedures of the university and those established by the department. The dean should forward to the Provost a summary of all reviews conducted in the college.

Development and Implementation of this Policy

In establishing post-tenure review policies and conducting the post-tenure review process, departments are encouraged to review the procedures in the university handbook for the Professorial Performance Award (FS2/14/06, added PPA policies) as well as the section entitled “General Issues of Faculty Evaluations” (revisions FS 10/13/2009), and to look to the same for guidance in avoiding repetition of annual evaluation procedures. Post- tenure review should never supplant annual evaluation by infringing on the purpose of annual evaluation or the chronic low-achievement process; post-tenure review should avoid repeating or reiterating annual evaluation elements and should focus on developing faculty on a long-term basis.

In implementing the post-tenure review process, it is not likely that all departments/units will be able to process all tenured faculty members in one year. Departments/units are encouraged to begin with those who have the longest running post tenure review clock, continuing to incorporate faculty each year thereafter until all are through the process. Smaller departments/units might be able to include all tenured faculty in one year, but larger departments/units might need to process 20-25% of their faculty in the first year, and the same thereafter until all have been processed.