Understanding the Tenure Appeal Process in Cases of a Negative Tenure Decision

This page is intended to be helpful to faculty who have received a negative tenure decision (i.e., denial of tenure from the President). It consists of a series of excerpts from the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA, 2021). Please refer to the PPAA, 2021 for complete details.

1 Key Resources

2 Notice of Appeal (including timeframe)

“A candidate must give notice of appeal against a denial of tenure within thirty working days of being informed of the President’s decision. The Tenure Appeal Committee shall have the power, under circumstances which it considers exceptional, to extend this time limit. The notice of appeal should be addressed to the chair of the Tenure Appeal Committee and should specify the grounds on which the appeal is based.” (PPAA, 2021, IV)

3 Grounds for Appeal

“A person who has been denied tenure shall have the right to appeal on one or more of the following grounds:

  • A significant irregularity or unfairness in the procedure followed by the tenure committee, or in the selection of its members;
  • Improper bias or motive on the part of any member of the tenure committee;
  • Improper bias or motive on the part of any person whose opinion may have materially influenced the decision of the committee;
  • The decision is unreasonable in the light of the evidence which was available or should have been available to the committee and in light of the standards that were generally applied in the division in recent years.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 23)

4 Composition of the Tenure Appeal Committee

  • “The Tenure Appeal Committee shall consist of a chair and four other members drawn from a Panel of up to eight members. The members shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the University of Toronto Faculty Association. The chair of the committee shall be appointed by the President.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 22)
  • For more concerning the membership of the Tenure Appeal Committee, see the PPAA, 2021, IV, 22.

5 Procedures

  • “The candidate and the chair of the department or head of the division concerned shall both be given an opportunity to appear and present evidence and argument to the Tenure Appeal Committee. If it is thought necessary, the Tenure Appeal Committee may request that an investigator be appointed to assist it.
  • The Tenure Appeal Committee shall have the following two options open to it, and its decision concerning these two options shall be final. It may:
    • dismiss the appeal; or
    • if it finds that any grounds in Section 23 above are substantiated, remit the case to a second tenure committee to be set up by the President for consideration of the question of tenure. In circumstances which it considers exceptional, the Tenure Appeal Committee shall have the power to direct, in general terms, the composition of the second tenure committee. The recommendation of the second tenure committee shall not be subject to further review. In cases where only technical or procedural matters are at issue, the Tenure Appeal Committee may recall the original tenure committee to reconsider its decision. Such action would require prior agreement from the appellant.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 24)

6 Second Tenure Committees

See the PPAA, IV, 24b, which relates to the remission of a case to a second tenure committee.

6.1 Composition

  • “In circumstances which it considers exceptional, the Tenure Appeal Committee shall have the power to direct, in general terms, the composition of the second tenure committee.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 24b)
  • “Subject to directions as to membership of a second tenure committee noted in  Section 24(b), the composition of the second tenure committee shall resemble that of the original tenure committee, but shall not include any member of the original committee. The only exception to the composition of the second tenure committee resembling that of a regular tenure committee shall be the requirement that the second tenure committee include at least one tenured professor from another university whose discipline is similar to that of the individual under review.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 25)
  • “In the selection of members of the second tenure committee, the candidate and the chair of the department in multi-departmental divisions, or the head of the academic division, shall identify to the President the names of any individuals who are clearly unacceptable as members of the second tenure committee. The President, in consultation with the division head, shall then select the chair and the other persons for the second tenure committee and advise the appellant and the head of the academic division of the individuals selected. If either the candidate or the chair of the academic department or head of the academic division then wishes to protest the inclusion of any member on the committee, it shall be his or her responsibility to present to the President evidence of previous involvement of that individual in the decision of the original tenure committee which would justify disqualification.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 25)

6.2 Procedures

For more information on the second tenure committee procedures, see PPAA, 2021, IV, 25.

  • “The second tenure committee shall be empowered to obtain such information and to interview such persons as it may judge to be useful to its reaching a judgment of the case. The appellant and the departmental chair or head of the academic division of which the appellant is a member shall have the right to make representation to the committee (either orally or in writing as the committee may direct). Information about the appellant to be considered shall include that which relates to the performance of the individual for the period up to the time of review by the original tenure committee. No contributions to teaching and research made subsequent to the decision of the original tenure committee shall be admissible for consideration.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 25)
  • “The chair of the second tenure committee shall report the committee’s recommendation to the President. The President will inform the candidate of the tenure decision with a statement of reasons supporting that decision.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 25)

7 Rights of Faculty Members Granted Tenure Upon Appeal

“In the event that a faculty member is granted tenure by the second tenure committee, that person shall immediately be considered for any promotion and be eligible for any merit salary increases that may have been denied him or her by reason of the tenure denial.” (PPAA, 2021, IV, 26)