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Academic Promotion and Tenure

Probationary, tenure-track faculty members at the 11 colleges and universities which make up the North Dakota University System are evaluated each year for renewal of their appointment and, typically in their sixth year, considered for promotion and tenure. The three major categories in which the faculty member is judged are 1) research and scholarship, including grantsmanship; 2) teaching; and 3) service.

Under policies of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, a faculty member who is denied renewal of a probationary appointment, or denied promotion and tenure, may appeal that decision to a Standing Committee on Faculty Rights (SCFR). That committee is comprised of three or five faculty members. Grounds for appeal include alleged violation of applicable policies or inadequate consideration, or that the decision violates academic freedom, rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, or the faculty member's employment contract.

After hearing testimony and reviewing exhibits in a hearing which is open or closed to the public, according to the wishes of the faculty member, the SCFR issues its recommendation to the college or university president, i.e. that the non-renewal of a probationary appointment, or denial of promotion and tenure, be affirmed or reversed, and the reasoning for that recommendation. The president of the institution makes the final decision.

Leo Wilking has successfully represented faculty members in multiple SCFR hearings at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota in which he has participated. In two of those hearings, the University provost conceded the validity of the faculty member's position even before the hearing was concluded. In four other hearings, the SCFR voted by a 5-0 or 4-1 majority to recommend that the faculty member receive a renewal of the probationary appointment, or receive promotion and tenure, or be allowed to reapply for promotion and tenure.

A SCFR hearing determines whether a faculty member will be allowed to continue work at the institution in question and, in some cases, whether that faculty member will be able to continue in the academic world. Identifying the critical issues at a SCFR hearing, and marshaling the necessary evidence, requires experience and expertise. Mr. Wilking has that experience and expertise and has proved it time and again at North Dakota's two flagship universities .

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Wilking Law Firm

Wilking Law Firm
3003 32nd Avenue S.
Suite 240
Fargo, ND 58103
Phone: 701-356-6823
Fax: 701-478-7621
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Fargo, ND, 58108-3085