The Association’s existing policy on post-tenure review, approved by Committee A and adopted by the Council in November 1983, is as follows:

The Association believes that periodic formal institutional evaluation of each post-probationary faculty member would bring scant benefit, would incur unacceptable costs, not only in money and time but also in dampening of creativity and of collegial relationships, and would threaten academic freedom.

The Association emphasizes that no procedure for evaluation of faculty should be used to weaken or undermine the principles of academic freedom and tenure. The Association cautions particularly against allowing any general system of evaluation to be used as grounds for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions. The imposition of such sanctions is governed by other established procedures, enunciated in the 1940 Statement of Principle on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings that provide the necessary safeguards of academic due process. By the mid-1990s, new forms of post-tenure review were appearing: a significant number of legislatures, governing boards, and university administrators were making such reviews mandatory; others were in various stages of consideration. For this reason it has become necessary not only to reaffirm the principles of the 1983 statement, but also to provide standards that can be used to assess the review process when it is being considered or implemented. This report accordingly offers practical recommendations for faculty at institutions where post-tenure review is being considered or has been put into effect.

The principles guiding this document are these: Post-tenure review ought to be aimed not at accountability, but at faculty development. Post-tenure review must be developed and carried out by faculty. Post-tenure review must not be a reevaluation of tenure, nor may it be used to shift the burden of proof from an institution’s administration (to show cause for dismissal) to the individual faculty member (to show cause why he or she should be retained). Post-tenure review must be conducted according to standards that protect academic freedom and the quality of education.

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