Office of the Provost

The University of Michigan Faculty Handbook

6.A General Principles

The University of Michigan believes that tenure is an essential part of the guarantee of academic freedom that is necessary for University-based intellectual life to flourish. The grant of indeterminate tenure to faculty members represents an enormous investment of University—and societal—resources, and those who receive this investment do so only after rigorous review which establishes that their scholarship, research, teaching, and service meet the highest standards and are congruent with the needs of the University.

Tenure is awarded only to faculty with appointments in the instructional track. Faculty on the clinical and research tracks are not eligible for tenure. Faculty members must hold their tenured positions in full recognition of the responsibilities they owe the University, as well as the responsibilities the University owes them.

Tenure for the instructional faculty at the University is defined and governed by bylaws 5.08 and 5.09. On the Ann Arbor campus, the administrative supervision of these bylaws rests in the Office of the Provost. At the UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn campuses, the chancellors oversee the tenure process on their respective campuses. However, procedures for review for tenure are among the most unit-specific of all the procedures affecting faculty members. Those who come to the University without tenure must recognize that the tenure procedures of their department, school or college, or other unit are the crucial starting point in this process. Accordingly, faculty should familiarize themselves with those procedures and obtain a copy of their unit’s written tenure guidelines from the dean. Some general principles and procedures, set forth below, do apply. (SPG 201.13) See also section 5.B “Criteria for Appointment and Promotion of Instructional Faculty.”

Excellence: Faculty members are awarded tenure because they have distinguished themselves as scholars and teachers and show evidence that they will continue contributing at a very high level to scholarship, research, teaching, and service at the University of Michigan.

The Privilege and Responsibilities of Tenure: Faculty members who come to the University without tenure are not automatically entitled to tenure or to a review for tenure. Those who are offered tenured positions at the University, however, are entitled to its protections immediately upon arrival and must also assume the responsibilities of tenure. These responsibilities include the obligation to maintain high standards of teaching, scholarship, research, service, and professional conduct and to perform their responsibilities in accordance with University and other applicable policies and procedures.

The Protection of Tenure: The University safeguards academic freedom through its policy that no person who has been awarded tenure by the Regents or who has been employed by the University for a total of ten years at the rank of a full-time instructor or higher may, thereafter, be dismissed, demoted or recommended for terminal appointment without adequate cause and an opportunity for a review in accordance with bylaw 5.09, except pursuant to the Program Discontinuance Guidelines. See section 5.J “Status of Academic Appointments When Academic Programs are Discontinued,” and SPG 601.02.

Authority: Tenure is awarded only by the Board of Regents upon recommendation by the appropriate dean (and executive committee when applicable), by the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs (Ann Arbor campus only), by the chancellor (UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint campuses only), and by the president. A decision to award tenure is not official unless and until it has been approved by the Board of Regents (bylaw 5.08). The authority for periodic reviews and tenure reviews resides with the individual schools, colleges, and departments.

Faculty Handbook: Tenure: