Tenure is a permanent commitment by the College and by the faculty member until retirement or resignation. The significance of tenure to the faculty lies in the establishment of a climate where freedom of teaching, research, and extramural activity are possible. Tenure’s significance to the institution lies in its provision of a core of able professionals who have the freedom to pursue the search for truth and its free exposition.

Saint Mary’s College generally endorses the policy recommendations of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP as amended). College policy, however, in certain instances may differ from the detailed procedures described in AAUP publications, in those instances, College policy takes precedence. The material in this section is an interpretation of the following AAUP statements as they apply to the granting of tenure to the faculty at Saint Mary's College: “Academic Freedom and Tenure: 1940 Statement of Principles and Interpretive Comments,” and “1976 Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” AAUP Policy Documents and Reports.


Tenure is granted after a probationary period at Saint Mary’s College which will not exceed seven (7) years of full-time equivalent teaching. Faculty members who have taught at other institutions may negotiate a reduction of their probationary period. The terms of this reduction appear in the faculty member’s initial letter of appointment. The probationary period ordinarily will not be shortened by more than two (2) years. Customarily, the College does not grant tenure before the completion of the probationary period.

Part-time faculty in tenure-track positions receive probationary credit in relation to the number of full-time equivalent hours they teach. Thus, the maximum tenure probationary period for a part-time faculty member who teaches one-half time is fourteen (14) years.

During the midpoint of the probationary period, a review of the faculty member’s performance is conducted by the Rank and Tenure Committee. This review is based on information provided by the individual, the Department Chair, and tenured members of the department. The faculty member is informed in writing of the results of this review.


Assistant professors applying for tenure are also applying for promotion to Associate Professor; either both are granted or neither is granted. Promotion is granted in recognition of a faculty member’s performance at the time of consideration; tenure is granted in recognition of the promise of future excellence in teaching, a solid trajectory promising continued recognition of scholarly and creative work, and ongoing service within and/or beyond the College community.


Tenured appointments are terminated only under exceptional circumstances.


Tenure ceases upon retirement. Saint Mary's grants the title of emeritus/emerita to an individual in recognition of service of significant length and effectiveness to the educational goals of the College. This rank is ordinarily granted upon retirement to a person who has spent ten (10) or more years at the College. The request for the designation of emeritus/emerita may originate with the faculty member, the Department Chair, or the Provost. In any case, the status may be granted only by the President, at the recommendation of the Provost.

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