Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure

Academe, March/April 2007 | Go to article overview
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Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure

The Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure set forth, in language suitable for use by an institution of higher education, rules that derive from the chief provisions and interpretations of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and of the 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings. The Recommended Institutional Regulations were first formulated by Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure in 1957. A revised and expanded text, approved by Committee A in 1968, reflected the development of Association standards and procedures. Texts with further revisions were approved by Committee A in 1972, 1976, 1982, 1990, 1999, 2005, and 2006.

The current text is based upon the Association's continuing experience in evaluating regulations actually in force at particular institutions. It is also based upon further definition of the standards and procedures of the Association over the years. The Association will be glad to assist in interpretation of the regulations or to consult about their incorporation in, or adaptation to, the rules of a particular college or university.


These regulations are designed to enable the [named institution] to protect academic freedom and tenure and to ensure academic due process. The principles implicit in these regulations are for the benefit of all who are involved with or are affected by the policies and programs of the institution. A college or university is a marketplace of ideas, and it cannot fulfill its purposes of transmitting, evaluating, and extending knowledge if it requires conformity with any orthodoxy of content and method. In the words of the United States Supreme Court, "Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die."


a. The terms and conditions of every appointment to the faculty will be stated or confirmed in writing, and a copy of the appointment document will be supplied to the faculty member. Any subsequent extensions or modifications of an appointment, and any special understandings, or any notices incumbent upon either party to provide, will be stated or confirmed in writing and a copy will be given to the faculty member.

b. With the exception of special appointments clearly limited to a brief association with the institution, and reappointments of retired faculty members on special conditions, all full-time faculty appointments are of two kinds: (1) probationary appointments; (2) appointments with continuous tenure.

c. Except for faculty members who have tenure status, every person with a teaching or research appointment of any kind will be informed each year in writing of the renewal of the appointment and of all matters relative to eligibility for the acquisition of tenure.


a. Probationary appointments may be for one year, or for other stated periods, subject to renewal. The total period of full-time service prior to the acquisition of continuous tenure will not exceed ___ years,1 including all previous full-time service with the rank of instructor or higher in other institutions of higher learning, except that the probationary period may extend to as much as four years, even if the total full-time service in the profession thereby exceeds seven years; the terms of such extension will be stated in writing at the time of initial appointment.2 Scholarly leave of absence for one year or less will count as part of the probationary period as if it were prior service at another institution, unless the individual and the institution agree in writing to an exception to this provision at the time the leave is granted.

b. The faculty member will be advised, at the time of initial appointment, of the substantive standards and procedures generally employed in decisions affecting renewal and tenure.

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