Faculty Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure In Nursing Education

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 Nursing Education and Faculty Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure

Faculty Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure In Nursing Education

Faculty Appointment In Nursing Educational Institutes, Appointment Tracks In Nursing Education, The Appointment Process In Nursing Institutes, Tenure and Promotion In Nursing Education, What Is Tenure, Promotion In Nursing Education.

Faculty Appointment In Nursing Educational Institutes

    Faculty are appointed by the governing body of the college or university and are responsible, in cooperation with the administration of the institution, for teaching, scholarship, and service (Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, 1996). 

    Faculty are appointed to fulfill various responsibilities to meet the mission and goals of the college or university and the school of nursing and, according to their degrees and experience, are promoted and tenured on the basis of achievement of specified criteria. 

    Faculty may hold appointments in more than one unit of the institution, including other academic units or service units. Criteria for promotion and tenure are based on the institution's overall mission and thus vary among institutions.

Appointment Tracks In Nursing Education

    Faculty may be appointed to a variety of full-time or part-time positions within tracks. The tracks may include tenure, clinical, research scientist, or lecturer/instructor. Within each track, faculty have the possibility for promotion through ranks: assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. 

   Each rank has its own criteria for teaching, scholarship, and service, and for promotion within the rank. Appointment in the tenure track may lead to tenure after a successful probationary period, often of seven years' length. The awarding of tenure results in a permanent position at the school of nursing. 

    Reappointment and review of continued service in tenured positions are based on the evaluation of teaching, research, service components of the faculty role, and is terminated post-tenure review. Non tenure track positions require reappointment at specific intervals (eg, yearly or every 3 to 5 years).

    The tenure track is established for faculty whose primary responsibilities are teaching and research. A doctoral degree or near completion of the degree is required for appointment to the tenure track at most schools of nursing. 

    A promise of excellence and the ability to be promoted to senior ranks is required for a tenure track appointment. Faculty appointment to this rank is considered tenure probationary until tenure is obtained after an extensive review process, generally concluding in the seventh year of appointment.

    The clinical track, which does not have the protection of tenure, has been developed at many institutions as an educator track, clinical educator track, or educator practitioner track, depending on the primary focus of assigned responsibilities. Appointment to this track is based on teaching and service (clinical skills or clinical joint appointments). 

    Because this track allows for possible promotion through the ranks of assistant, associate, and full professor, a doctoral degree is often required for appointment to a clinical track. 

    Although research is not the focus of this track, clinical or educational scholarly dissemination is required for promotions in this track. The increased use of clinical faculty is a growing trend as universities and colleges reduce their reliance on tenure.

    The research scientist track is for faculty whose primary responsibility is funded research and research dissemination through publications and presentations. 

    Although research scientists may have responsibilities for working with students; serving on dissertation committees; teaching in the area of their expertise; or providing service to the school, campus, or profession, their time is protected for research through their securing of research grants from external agencies. 

    Appointment is based on evidence of or promise of a funded program of research. A doctoral degree and at least beginning research experience are prerequisites for appointment to this track. Each school of nursing defines the criteria for appointment and promotion to ranks (assistant, associate, and full professor). 

    These criteria specify the responsibilities associated with teaching, scholarship, and service. Schools of nursing also develop temporary positions to which faculty can be appointed. 

    Visiting positions may be appointed at any rank and designate someone who has a limited appointment (1 or 2 years), who is on leave from another institution, who is employed on a temporary basis, or who may be under consideration for a permanent position within the school. The lecturer (sometimes called instructor) position is considered to be a pre rank position. 

    It is used for faculty who lack the necessary credentials (usually a terminal degree) for appointment to a ranked position. Some institutions have an additional level within this track (Senior Lecturer), allowing for at least a small avenue for advancement in this track.

    Adjunct faculty are courtesy appointments for individuals whose primary employment is outside the school of nursing but who have responsibility as clinical preceptors or working with students on research projects. Adjunct faculty may be appointed at any appropriate rank. 

    Emeritus is an honorific title that may be conferred on faculty who are retired after significant service to an institution. Faculty with emeritus status may be granted specific privileges, such as use of the library, or computing services, or an office and secretarial support. Students may be employed in limited teaching positions. 

    These appointments, such as teaching assistant and associate instructor, are temporary and usually part-time. Student employees are responsible only for teaching or assisting faculty with teaching. They do not have the same level of responsibility as full- or part-time faculty. 

    Teaching assistants must be assigned to work with a faculty member who assumes responsibility for the quality of their work. Student employees with teaching responsibilities often receive a level of tuition waiver as part of their compensation.

The Appointment Process In Nursing Institutes

    The appointment process in universities and colleges is somewhat different from positions in nursing service, and nurses who are applying for teaching positions in schools of nursing should understand the differences. A search and screen committee, appointed by the dean or another university administrator, manages the interview process. 

    Interested applicants submit an application and resume that are screened by this committee. Potential candidates are invited for an interview with the search committee, faculty and administrators at the school of nursing, and others at the college or university as appropriate.

    Depending on the requirements of the position for which they are applying, applicants may be asked to make a presentation of their research or to demonstrate their teaching skills. At the time of appointment, the applicant's records are reviewed by the APT committee, or other appropriate committee, which recommends a hiring rank to the dean.

Tenure and Promotion In Nursing Education

What Is Tenure

    Tenure to the university is a reciprocal responsibility on the part of both the university and the faculty. The faculty member is expected to remain competent and productive: maintaining high standards of teaching, research, service, and professional conduct. 

    Tenure also assumes that the faculty member is promotable at the time of tenure, and typically promotion to the next level and tenure occurs at the same time. Tenure, then, provides the faculty member the protection of academic freedom. 

    Academic freedom has been affirmed since 1940 by more than 200 institutions of higher education. It guarantees protection against efforts by government, university administration, students, and even public opinion to restrain faculties' free expression in teaching or the free exercise of their research interests (American Association of University Professors (AAUP), 1989). 

    On the other hand, academic freedom does not give faculty unbounded rights. For example, an individual faculty member does not have the right to alter the curriculum, the sequence of courses, or the content of established courses, or to subject students to discussions that are irrelevant to the course. 

    Tenure can be withdrawn for reasons of financial requirement on the part of the university and for unprofessional faculty behavior. Finally, tenure does not highlight faculty from participating in performance review. Many institutions have instituted a post-tenure review process.

    Tenure is granted after an extensive review, using published criteria, of the evidence submitted by the faculty member (a curriculum vitae and dossier). Most institutions affirm excellence through the use of additional reviewers from external peer institutions. 

    The tenure or promotion review is typically held in the faculty member's sixth year, with tenure granted in the seventh year for successful candidates. Unsuccessful candidates are usually given a 1-year notice of non-reappointment (often referred to as “up or out”). 

    At appointment, faculty with a record of significant achievement may be granted a specific number of years toward tenure, thus shortening the time for the tenure review. Faculty who has achieved tenure at a comparably ranked institution may be hired with tenure already conferred.

    The tenure process is specific to each school of nursing and institution, and faculty who are appointed to a tenure track position should familiarize themselves with the criteria and process before appointment. Although the tenure and promotion process may seem mysterious, there are clear and specified criteria. 

    The current attitude is to employ faculty who show high promise for attaining tenure and being promoted and to provide support and mentoring that will facilitate developing their into successful and fully capable members of the academic community. 

    Although at one time tenure was an unquestioned right of faculty, critics are now questioning its true benefit, and some institutions of higher education have abandoned the notion altogether.

Promotion In Nursing Education

    Promotion refers to advancement in rank. As with the tenure review process, faculty must submit evidence of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and/or service, as well as other criteria established by the school and be judged by a committee of peers, external reviewers, school and university administrators, and governing bodies. 

    Criteria and processes for promotion, like those for tenure, are established by faculty committees and are made public. Faculty should familiarize themselves with promotion criteria and processes at the time of appointment and establish a relationship with the primary APT committee and the department chair, whose role it is to inform faculty about APT policies and procedures. 

    As noted earlier, an expectation of senior faculty is to guide and mentor junior faculty through the tenure and promotion process. Some schools of nursing assign mentors at the time of appointment. If a mentor is not assigned, the newly appointed faculty member should seek one.

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