In determining the professional credentials required for tenure and promotion, faculty at VCSU consider two areas: the terminal degree and professional experience.

The terminal degree brings significant professional credibility to the faculty member, especially in the regard of external entities, while the research and study required for this degree contribute significantly to the depth of knowledge that may inform classroom teaching, thereby benefiting both students and the university.

Professional experience likewise offers depth of knowledge and credibility, which may, in particular fields, provide equivalent value to the terminal degree, especially in the ability to provide meaningful context and application for students.

A. The Terminal Degree

As a general principle, a terminal degree is required for tenure.
  • Faculty hired without the terminal degree enter with the rank of instructor and must work with their department/division chair and the VPAA to develop an approved education plan by the end of the first year of service at VCSU; see form AA-27.
  • If a faculty member is hired with the expectation that a doctorate be completed (as noted on the initial contract), no tenure or promotion is possible without completion of the doctorate.
  • Promotion (aside from automatic promotion) is contingent on tenure.

B. Professionally Qualified

Certain fields of study or positions may be granted exceptions to the general principle described in item 1, above, rule, based on market and divisional needs. Faculty in these positions follow the Professionally Qualified path to tenure and promotion:
  • For faculty in fields where accrediting agencies recognize "Professionally Qualified" status, such as Business and CIS, a master's degree IN FIELD (e.g., MBA, Economics, MIS) is required for tenure; faculty enter at instructor rank and may be promoted at tenure to Assistant Professor based on years of quality teaching and university service.
  • A master's degree and K-12 teaching experience in certain positions may be required for tenure; faculty enter at instructor rank and may be promoted at tenure to Assistant Professor based on years of quality teaching and university service.
  • Additional qualifications, such as a terminal degree, a second master's degree, or departmentally recognized professional certifications that require significant hours of study (e.g., CPA, PMP) provide automatic promotion to Assistant Professor at any time during the probationary period and are required for promotion beyond Assistant.
  • Promotion (aside from automatic promotion) is contingent on tenure.
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C. Tenure and Promotion Plans

Individual tenure and promotion plans:
  • Each new faculty member, in collaboration with mentors, department/division chair, and evaluation committee, will develop a tenure and promotion plan to submit with the first year evaluation materials; see form AA-27.
  • The Tenure and Promotion committee will note any provisions for future promotions on the tenure form submitted to the President.
Required Form:
  • AA-27, Self-Evaluation, Tenure and Non-Tenure
Writable forms are located at X:/Institution/Offices/Academic Affairs/Academic Forms/Tenure Prom Eval/
Sponsor: Faculty Association
Reference: Approved by Academic Policy and Affairs Council and Faculty Senate in 1984
Reviewed: Winter 1996
Revised: Winter 2000
Revised: January 2011 (Revised from "Tenure Policy" to "Terminal Degrees, Tenure and Promotion." Policy and procedures for tenure, evaluation, and promotion are in policies V605.1.1, V605.1.2,and V605.1.3)