Troy University
SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation
3.7.4 The institution ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom. (Academic freedom)
 
X Compliance   Partial Compliance   Non-Compliance

Narrative:  

Troy University is in compliance with this Comprehensive Standard.

Troy University affirms and is guided by the 1971 “Statement of Academic Freedom and Responsibility” formulated by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (Faculty Handbook, 72). This statement, which is provided below, explains the concept of academic freedom as it pertains to a classroom environment and to activities outside the classroom.

Academic freedom is the right of members of the academic community freely to study, discuss, investigate, teach, conduct research, publish or administer as appropriate to their respective roles and responsibilities. It is the responsibility of administrators to protect and assure these rights within the governing framework of the institution. The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his subject, but he should be careful to present the various scholarly views related to his subject and to avoid introducing into his teaching controversial or other matter which has no direct relation to his subject. The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results there from, subject to the adequate performance of his other academic duties.

The Faculty Handbook also establishes that it is the faculty member’s responsibility to carry out his/her duties in a professional, ethical, and collegial manner that supports the mission of Troy University. The University requires faculty members to recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them, to understand the nature of an institution of higher learning, and to appreciate its unique characteristics and its philosophy and objectives.

Troy University’s policies on academic freedom are stated in several places in the Faculty Handbook and are designed not only to protect but also to encourage the exercise of academic freedom (43-44, 60-61). The free exchange of ideas and respect for individual opinions and values must be guarded as an important academic freedom. Only with such freedom can the University profit from the collective minds of its members.

The severance policies of Troy University protect the University but at the same time safeguard the academic freedom of the faculty. The University subscribes to the concept of academic responsibility on the part of both the individual faculty member and the institution. All members of the faculty and staff must create a proper academic climate, must fulfill those reasonable duties assigned to them, and must be loyal to the institution (Faculty Handbook, 60-61). With respect to academic freedom, University administrators also have responsibilities as demonstrated in the Faculty Handbook.

Administrators must protect, defend and promote academic freedom, must assure that members of the academic community fulfill their responsibilities and, in addition, must recognize that they have special responsibilities for which they are held accountable – namely, the marshalling of human, physical, and financial resources in order to realize institutional goals.

The University provides contracts and letters of appointment that inform the faculty of the terms and conditions of employment. The contracts provide rank and position, salary (annual and monthly), and terms of employment. Other employment assignments expected of faculty include student advisement, committee work, community service, and research. The requirements are stated in the Faculty Handbook (60-72). In recruiting new faculty members, the University conforms to the equal employment opportunity policies (Faculty Handbook, 37-60) Appendices B and C of the Faculty Handbook.

All initial appointments, unless explicitly stated otherwise, are probationary and are for one year only. The precise terms and conditions of every new appointment are clearly stated in the initial contract. All appointments of ranked faculty are made by the Chancellor on the recommendation of the department chair, the college dean, and the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost. The rank offered to new faculty members must be in accord with the requirements of that rank. Definition of academic ranks and titles are set forth in the Faculty Handbook (31-33). Unranked faculty, including adjunct faculty, also have employment guidelines and enjoy the same academic freedom as full-time faculty members (Faculty Handbook, 34).

Troy University’s promotion and tenure policies are detailed in the Faculty Handbook (40-54). Requirements for promotion and tenure rest with the individual faculty member and are guided by the following criteria: teaching effectiveness, length of teaching experience, service to the University, research and creative work, professional activities, and service to the community. Tenure-track appointments are given to faculty members whose scholarly and professional qualifications indicate that they are potentially permanent faculty members once they have completed the probationary period necessary for earning tenure. Non-tenure-track appointments are given to faculty members who fill positions that do not lead to tenure. Faculty members are informed in writing regarding their appointment, rank and track. The meaning of tenure, date of tenure, criteria for tenure, and procedures for tenure review are printed in the Faculty Handbook (43-45).

The University Promotion and Tenure Committee make recommendations regarding promotion and tenure. This committee is composed of one elected faculty member from each academic division who is a full professor and/or tenured and two faculty members appointed by the Chancellor. Members serve staggered three-year terms. This committee recommends or does not recommend tenure and promotion (Faculty Handbook, 28).

Policies and procedures relating to severance, including non-reappointment, resignation, termination, financial exigency on the part of the University, and changes in the educational program are clearly spelled out in the Faculty Handbook (52-56). The faculty has recourse through hearings, and hearing procedures are delineated in the Faculty Handbook (54-60). Wide latitude, consistent with academic freedom and due process, is given the department chair, assistant dean, and the dean as they carry out the severance process. Approval of the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost is required as part of the severance process.

The probationary period, which precedes the granting of tenure, gives the individual faculty time to demonstrate his/her ability and also permits the University to observe and evaluate one on the basis of performance in a faculty position. During this, a non-tenured faculty member has the same academic freedom as a tenured faculty member; non-reappointment (see section 3.8.1 of Faculty Handbook) is not based on reasons which involve a violation of academic freedom (Faculty Handbook P. 43).

The Faculty Personnel Advisory Committee and the Faculty Advisory Council are the two University standing committees that deal with severance and review, and these committees are discussed in Section “Organization and Administration” of the Faculty Handbook.

Troy University has adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom. These procedures are clearly outlined in policy documents that are disseminated to the academic community.

 

Supporting Documentation Location
Faculty Handbook, 2005 Edition http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/Faculty-Handbook-2005-Edition.pdf

 

Last Updated: 08/22/2008