The University of Texas at Arlington recognizes the time-honored practice of tenure for university faculty as an important protection of free inquiry, open intellectual and scientific debate, unfettered criticism of the accepted body of knowledge, and shared faculty governance of the institution. Academic institutions have a special need for practices that protect freedom of expression, because the core of the academic enterprise involves a continual reexamination of ideas. Academic disciplines thrive and grow through critical analysis of conventions and theories. The best way to guarantee the integrity of an academic institution is to ensure that members of the faculty are free to contribute openly to the governance of that institution.
Tenure is essential, not merely for protection of individual faculty members, but also as an assurance to society that the pursuit of truth and knowledge commands our first priority. Without freedom to question, there can be no freedom to learn. The process of reviewing faculty performance should at all times enhance, encourage and protect these principles.
In accordance with Regents' Rule 31102, the University must conduct annual reviews of all tenured faculty, as well as comprehensive periodic evaluations of all tenured faculty (no less often than every six years). Annual reviews and comprehensive periodic evaluations of tenured faculty should focus primarily on individual merit relative to the performance of assigned duties. The purpose of the annual review and comprehensive period evaluation is twofold:
to assess each tenured faculty member's performance in the context of expectations established by the university (at the departmental, program, college, and/or institutional levels), and
to support tenure and promote faculty development by providing the faculty member with guidance.
If any recommendations are made regarding the faculty member's continued employment at the University (including merit increases), then such recommendations should be consistent with the faculty member's annual review.