Professorial Rank & Tenure

(excerpts from Faculty Policy Manual, Section 4.25)

Northwest Nazarene University subscribes to the concept of tenure. Tenure is a principle that entitles a faculty member to continuation of his or her annual appointment until voluntary or involuntary termination. The burden of proof that tenure should be awarded rests with the faculty member. The award of tenure shifts the burden of proof concerning the faculty member’s continuing appointment from the faculty member to the University. This tenure system is designed for the benefit and protection of both the individual and the institution. The mutual acceptance of such a relationship follows the satisfactory conclusion of carefully prescribed evaluation procedures. The probationary period gives the University an opportunity to observe and evaluate the quality of service of the faculty member. Likewise, it gives the faculty member an opportunity to observe and evaluate his or her own suitability to the institution.

The College Dean, Committee on Rank and Tenure, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the President, and the Board of Trustees, are charged with the responsibility of judging the qualifications of the faculty member for tenure. The faculty member accepts the responsibility of assessing his or her own suitability to the mission, aims, and purposes of the University. Although this mutual evaluation occurs at each contract renewal, it becomes critical at the time of tenure consideration. A faculty member who successfully completes both the probationary period and the evaluation procedures that precede appointment to tenure, who finds the distinctive characteristics and expectations of the University acceptable, and who receives the necessary prescribed recommendations and final approval of the Board of Trustees shall be granted tenure.

Tenure is not automatic and no statement either expressed or implied shall imply that recommendation for or approval of tenure is automatic. Tenure is given only by the vote of the Board of Trustees.

For the purposes of rank and tenure, terminal degrees are to include doctoral degrees and M.F.A. The following faculty ranks are approved for use:

Assistant Professor: The rank of assistant professor is approved for those persons having an earned terminal degree, or a master’s degree plus an additional nine semester hours of graduate credit, and evidence of abilities specific to their assignment.

Professor: The rank of professor is approved for those persons having an earned terminal degree. They must have evidence of expertise specific to their assignment with a minimum of ten years of post-secondary experience, seven of which must be at the associate and/or assistant professor level. Professors will demonstrate continuing professional growth and leadership in their field, a record of scholarship in the appropriate field, and service to the University, church, and community. Persons with exceptional experience outside the academic setting may be considered for the rank of professor in the hiring process.

Additional Academic Designations: The following additional academic designations are considered faculty, but not eligible for tenure or promotion in the faculty rank system:

  • Administrative Faculty: The University administrative officers, as defined by the Faculty Constitution, are considered faculty.
  • Instructor: An instructor is a person having a master’s degree or its equivalent from an approved institution. The applicant must evidence the qualities necessary to their assignment.
  • LecturerA lecturer is a person having at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • RegistrarThe registrar at NNU is considered a faculty position.
  • Visiting Faculty: A person meeting the criteria for rank, but at NNU for only a specific time frame may be given this faculty rank.