Biblically Centered Education
Tenure Section 8.32 Dept: Provost's Office Revised: August 1st, 2014

Meaning of Tenure

Tenure is an expression of mutual confidence and expectation that continuing service of the faculty is appropriate and desirable, from the standpoints of both the faculty member and the institution, and that this service is expected to continue unless adequate cause to warrant termination would subsequently arise (as described in Section 8.21). Tenure is granted by the Board of Trustees, on the basis of a formal application from a faculty member who has completed a probationary period within this university and of positive recommendations through the prescribed faculty and administrative review processes. To the faculty member, tenure provides a reasonable assurance of continuing faculty service, continuing exercise of the opportunity and responsibility of academic freedom, and an accompanying degree of financial stability. To the institution, tenure provides a reasonable assurance of responsible, mature leadership, and continuity in the faculty. Tenure is an affirmation that the faculty member has shown evidence of personal and professional development during the pre-tenure probationary period, aspires to continue this development, accepts and embraces the mission, the doctrinal statement and the standards of Biola University with no mental reservation, and accepts the responsibility to work in spirit and in deed for the support of its mission and standards.

Tenure Track Appointments

At the time of initial appointment to three-quarter time or higher academic year position or to minimum 75 percent academic year position, each faculty member is designated as being on either tenure track or non-tenure track. Subsequent transfer from one track to the other is made only by agreement of the individual, the department chairperson, the school dean, and the Provost. Faculty members holding an appointment less than three-quarter time are not eligible for the tenure track, whether on single semester or academic year contracts.

Criteria for determining whether a person or position is placed on the tenure track or non-tenure track include, but need not be limited to, the following factors: whether or not the position is a temporary replacement for a regular faculty member on-leave; the immediate and longer range interests and qualifications of the individual; the immediate and longer range needs of the institution in the disciplinary or sub-disciplinary area; the longer range expectations of the individual and the institution with respect to the appointment; the number of existing persons and positions in comparison to the limit as stated in the following paragraphBecause of this last-listed factor, the individual and the institution may desire a longer-term relationship even when a tenure or tenure-track position is not available. For this reason, a multi-year contract, for two or three years at a time, may be considered for a person in a non-tenure track position who has successfully completed five years of full time faculty service here. Relevant information is included in this handbook in Section 8.4-Evaluation, Section 8.21-Contracts, Non-renewal and Termination, and Section 8.5-Grievance Procedures.

Limitation on Tenure and Tenure Track Appointments

Tenure and tenure track appointments are limited to approximately 70 percent of the full time academic year faculty positions in the budget. The application of this limit to the university as a whole, to the schools, and to departments is to be monitored and controlled by the Provost in consultation with the school deans. This limitation was first specified in 1988 and will not affect faculty members under contract at such time who are either tenured or on tenure track. It is anticipated that two or more years will be required to achieve full implementation of this limitation.

Eligibility for Tenure

A faculty member is eligible to apply for tenure during the fifth year of full or three-quarter time service on the tenure track, exclusive of any leaves of absence. If tenure is granted, it becomes effective at the beginning of the sixth year of full or three-quarter time service.

If a faculty member on the non-tenure track desires to seek tenure, he or she may seek transfer to the tenure track. If this request is granted, the faculty member will be eligible for a tenure appointment at the end of three (3) additional years of service.

Criteria for Tenure

Decisions on tenure are based upon the same criteria, as are decisions on promotion across rank and advancement within rank, described in Section 8.3. Briefly, the criteria fall into three general areas of teaching, scholarly activity, and other contributions to the goals of the university. Underlying all of these areas are the foundation areas of involvement in the spiritual and personal maturing of students, an active commitment to the processes of integration of faith and learning, and the need for growth and development in one’s own spiritual life. In addition, if the faculty member was initially appointed without the terminal degree in the subject area of appointment, he or she must have an appropriate terminal degree or its equivalent as evaluated by the faculty personnel committee before tenure is granted.

Procedure for Tenure Decisions

The procedure for applying for, and being considered for, tenure is the same as that for promotion across rank and advancement within rank, with the exception that the Board of Trustees makes the final decision on the granting of tenure (as described in Section 8.41). Additionally, as part of the tenure review process, each candidate will (1) complete a Doctrinal Response form and (2) submit documentation demonstrating an understanding of the integration of his/her discipline with scriptural revelation.

The candidate will send the completed Doctrinal Response form to the dean of Talbot School of Theology who will forward it to the qualified faculty member he has appointed to be reviewer for that academic year. A written response from the reviewer will become part of the candidate’s application file. If the initial reading by the reviewer reveals doctrinal discrepancies or related underlying conceptual difficulties with the university’s Doctrinal Statement or Explanatory Notes, the reviewer will conduct a personal interview with the tenure candidate. The department chairperson or the school/division dean will be in attendance during this interview. Following the interview, the reviewer will provide the FPC/SPC with a written statement indicating his/her recommendation. This statement will become part of the candidate’s application.

Integration materials should be submitted to the department chairperson/coordinator and the FPC/SPC for review, a written report of which would be included in the candidate’s application. Integration can be demonstrated and supported by a variety of methods such as one or more published or unpublished papers, a video of a class presentation, etc.

The UPC acts upon the tenure review process and forwards its recommendations through the normal process. Further steps include a review by the Provost, the President, and the Board, each of whom holds a personal interview with the candidate.

On-Going Evaluation

See Section 8.4 for discussion of the evaluation of all faculty members, including those on the tenure track and on the non-tenure track, and those with and without tenure.


See Section 8.21 for discussion of the non-renewal and termination of faculty contracts, including the differences that apply to those persons with and without tenure.

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