Tenure Appeals

Policy Statement

Drexel University procedures for appeals in the cases involving decisions of non-recommendation of a member of the faculty under consideration for tenure.

I. Preamble

Members of the Drexel University faculty ("faculty") who have not been recommended for tenure may appeal the decision. Such appeals are heard by the Drexel University ("University") Tenure Appeals Committee ("Appeals Committee"). This process provides the Appellant the right of appeal outside of regular administrative channels and is conducive to the high morale necessary for the pursuit of educational objectives. A major responsibility of the University is to recruit and retain the most highly qualified faculty within its means, and in the pursuit of that excellence, the institution should be accorded the widest latitude in the discharge of these responsibilities consistent with the faculty rights of academic freedom and standards of fairness.

The policy and procedures described herein have been developed with the objectives of protecting the integrity of Departments and Colleges/Schools to determine their own goals and to choose their colleagues in order to promote the excellence of the University while at the same time protecting individual faculty members from arbitrary decisions. Further, the policy and procedures recognize the rights and responsibilities of tenured faculty and the need to protect individuals in the University community and elsewhere whose comments were made confidentially and in good faith. Appeals should be resolved in the most expeditious manner consistent with the attainment of these objectives.

II. Definitions, Applications, Restrictions

  • A formal appeal comprises a written statement by a member of the full-time tenure-track faculty regarding receipt of written notification from the Office of the Provost of a decision not to recommend the granting of tenure. A formal appeal must specify all bases and the remedy sought.
  • Before the filing of a formal written appeal, an oral appeal to the Provost may be pursued. Such an oral appeal does not preclude the right to present a formal written appeal. Any resolution forthcoming at any point in this procedure satisfactory to the Appellant and the administration shall be reduced to writing and signed by the Appellant and the Provost.
  • The granting of tenure is a right vested exclusively with the Board of Trustees. Therefore, all decisions involving tenure appointments made under this Policy shall constitute recommendations to appropriate administrative bodies. The burden of proof in the presentation of a tenure appeal at all stages rests with the Appellant. While the appeal is in progress, the Appellant is still on notice of termination of employment and the terminal contract remains in effect.
  • Retaliation against any individual who, in good faith, participates in an appeal proceeding is prohibited.
  • This Policy does not apply to appeals for (1) the dismissal of a tenured faculty member, (2) the dismissal of a non-tenured tenure track faculty member during the term of a current appointment, or (3) the non-reappointment of a non-tenured faculty member.

III. Initiation of the Tenure Appeals Process

  1. An appeal must be filed no later than four weeks after receipt of written notification from the Office of the Provost of a decision not to recommend tenure. Within this specified time, the Appellant must notify the University President in writing that they are appealing the decision, with a copy to the Provost, Dean (or equivalent), and Department Head (or equivalent). The President will charge the Office of the Provost to convene the Appeals Committee.
  2. The time periods set forth in this chapter may be extended for good cause by the person with whom the appeal is filed upon notification and consent of the Provost.

IV. The Appeals Committee

A. Operation of the Appeals Committee

  1. The Office of the Provost shall convene the Appeals Committee by presenting a copy of the appeal to the Chair of the Appeals Committee.
  2. Once convened, the Appeals Committee shall seek out the information it needs, consistent with University policies and procedures, to make its recommendation. and shall gather information specific to the case of the Appellant from the Appellant, the Department, the administration, and others, as appropriate. All persons contacted by the Appeals Committee as part of its investigation are encouraged to cooperate fully. Information requested by the Appeals Committee that is consistent with University policies and procedures shall be provided in a timely manner and shall be kept confidential.
  3. Appeals that are not sufficiently specific will be denied without further review or consideration. Issues not raised in the appeal will not be considered by the Appeals Committee.
  4. The Appellant shall have the right to discuss their appeal in person before the Appeals Committee.
  5. The Appeals Committee shall not set or question University, College/School or Departmental policies or procedures, nor evaluate the decisions made by the various committees considering the case for tenure. Rather the Appeals Committee should focus on the propriety of the process that was followed and whether or not the policies and procedures were properly and fairly applied. In this connection, the Appeals Committee shall have wide latitude in what information specific to the case of the Appellant it wishes to consider.
  6. The deliberations of the Appeals Committee are confidential and held in closed session. The privacy of the Appeals Committee, as well as the Appellant and others, shall be protected during hearings and deliberations and thereafter.
  7. The Appeals Committee shall proceed under its own rules, not as a judicial proceeding. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.

B. Composition of the Appeals Committee

  1. The Appeals Committee shall consist of nine tenured members of the faculty.
  2. Three faculty members shall be appointed by the University President, three selected or elected by the University Faculty Senate, and three elected at large by the Faculty. These faculty members serve staggered three-year terms (see Section IV-C-1). In addition to the faculty members elected at large, three additional faculty members shall be elected each year to serve as a pool of alternates for that year to provide for possible replacement(s).
  3. The Appeals Committee shall elect a voting chair ("Chair") among their number. They shall be a distinguished member of the University faculty of professorial rank not serving in a deanship or other administrative post. In addition to their duties as Chair while the Appeals Committee is sitting, they shall make recommendations to the President and to the Senate calculated to improve the effectiveness of the Tenure Appeals Process, and shall be available to advise faculty and administration on procedures (see Section VII).
  4. Any member of the University faculty may suggest names of qualified faculty members to appropriate parties for appointment to the Appeals Committee.

C. Terms of Office

  1. Each of the nine Appeals Committee members shall have a three-year term of office, staggered so that each year one triad (one appointee of the University President, one appointee of the University Faculty Senate and one elected by the Faculty) shall be replaced.
  2. An Appeals Committee member shall not be appointed to serve consecutive full terms. At least one year shall elapse before reappointment.
  3. The Chair shall be elected by the Appeals Committee to serve for one year. They may succeed themselves without limit.
  4. The Appeals Committee shall be selected by June 15th. Its members shall elect the Chair by July 1.
  5. The Appeals Committee shall normally be ready to consider appeals beginning immediately.
  6. Once an Appeals Committee has begun to consider an appeal, all members of the Committee remain on the Committee considering that appeal until that appeal is decided, even though a term of office may have expired, and no newly-elected or appointed member may participate in that appeal.
  7. Unexpired vacancies on the Appeals Committee shall be filled by the same party that appointed the original member, except in the case of a faculty member elected at large. In that case, a replacement shall be chosen from the faculty pool of alternates.

D. Disqualifications

  1. An Appeals Committee member from the same Department as the Appellant shall be disqualified.
  2. An Appeals Committee member may also disqualify themselves from a particular case.
  3. The Appellant may disqualify for cause up to two Appeals Committee members prior to the beginning of the deliberations.
  4. An ad-hoc Appeals Committee member shall be appointed to replace the one(s) disqualified. They shall be appointed by the same party that appointed the disqualified member, except in the case of a faculty member elected at large. In this case, a replacement shall be chosen from the faculty pool of alternates by the Chair. In the event that the Chair is disqualified, an interim Chair shall be elected by the Appeals Committee members prior to the start of deliberations.
  5. Once the deliberations have begun, no disqualifications shall be permitted.

E. Recommendations of the Appeals Committee

After consideration:

  • The Appeals Committee may find, after reviewing the appeal, that there are no sufficient bases for hearing the appeal.
  • The Appeals Committee may find that the Appellant's claim that University, College or Department policies or procedures were not properly applied is unsubstantiated and recommend that the appeal be denied.
    • The Appeals Committee may find that the Appellant's claim has merit. If so, the Appeals Committee shall recommend that the case be returned to the level at which it considers the appeal merits reconsideration, together with guidelines as to what the Appeals Committee considers to have been defective.

An Appeals Committee recommendation requires an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Committee.

The recommendation of the Appeals Committee shall be forwarded with appropriate documentation to the University President and Provost. Every effort shall be made to review each case expeditiously.

After the Appeals Committee has delivered its recommendation to the President (with a copy to the Provost) the Chair shall advise the Appellant in writing:

  • that it has made its recommendation, and
  • what its recommendation is, and
  • the date the recommendation was delivered to the President and the Provost.

The Appeals Committee shall not provide its full report to the Appellant, at this time, and the contents of the report and recommendations to the President shall remain confidential until the President makes a final decision in the appeal.

V. Final Decision

The President shall consider the recommendation of the Appeals Committee and the record as a whole, and may take any action that they deem appropriate, including, but not limited to, accepting the recommendation, rejecting the recommendation, investigating the matter, or returning the matter to the Appeals Committee for further consideration, in accordance with Section IV-A.

Once a final decision has been made in the matter, the President shall:

  • Deliver the decision, as well as a copy of the Appeals Committee's full report, to the Appellant; and
  • Deliver the decision to the Chair, who shall then communicate the decision to the other members of the Appeals Committee.

The decision of the University President constitutes the last step of the appeal process and is final within the University community.

VI. Time Specifications

Every attempt shall be made to address and resolve tenure appeals in the most expeditious manner. Time periods specified in this Policy may be adjusted in the interest of reaching a final decision that is in accord with the purposes of this Policy

VII. Appeals Committee Annual Report

Annually, the Chair shall submit to the Senate, the Provost and the President a final report summarizing its decisions (but preserving the confidentiality of its proceedings) and making suggestions, if any, for improvement of the appeals process.