University of Iowa Operations Manual


(Amended 9/93; 2/15/95; 2/01; 1/02) 

(Excerpt from):

a. Statement on Tenure and Academic Vitality at The University of Iowa. (Regents 2/14/74) 

(2) The Basic Premises. The basic assumptions on which The University of Iowa proposes to function over the next several years are: First, tenure will continue as a cornerstone of the University's relationship with faculty members. Tenure is not only consistent with academic vitality but essential to it. Second, consistent with the University's educational needs and as permitted by its resources, faculty members in probationary status will be given the opportunity to acquire tenure if their performance merits tenure. No system of tenure quotas is contemplated. Third, the University must provide mechanisms by which a varied group of new faculty members come to the University so that the institution may continuously revitalize itself. Fourth, the University will retain the flexibility to adjust its educational programs to meet the changing needs of students and society, and to take into account advances in the world's knowledge base. In the process of making such adjustments, every effort will be made to plan well in advance and the faculty will play a major role in defining institutional needs in the process of departmental, collegiate, and University decision-making. 

Tenure is not a very well understood concept. If a university is to perform its function effectively, it is essential that faculty members in their teaching and research feel free to express new ideas and divergent viewpoints. In the process of teaching and research, accepted "truths" often must be challenged and questioned. A good university must create an atmosphere which, in a positive way, encourages faculty members to express new ideas and divergent viewpoints and to make inquiries unbounded by present norms. Such an atmosphere currently exists at The University of Iowa; and tenure has contributed substantially to the creation of this atmosphere and to its continuance. Put simply, free inquiry and expression are essential to the maintenance of excellence; tenure is essential to free inquiry and expression; The University of Iowa's consistent goal is excellence; and the tenure system must continue if the University is to recruit and maintain a distinguished faculty. While tenure would be an integral part of the University's relationship with the faculty without regard to the competitive situation, it also is important to note that the outstanding universities throughout the country have tenure systems and that The University of Iowa's competitive position as it attempts to recruit and to retain outstanding faculty members would be damaged beyond repair if tenure were abandoned or seriously weakened.