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Faculty Handbook – Terms and Conditions of Service

Full-time Faculty

The official TCU faculty is composed of all those engaged in full-time, continuing service to the University regardless of rank. Appointment to the faculty is confirmed by a letter and annual contract (except for faculty who hold tenure). Unless prior arrangements have been made with the dean of the college, faculty are expected to be on campus at the beginning of their contract period. Faculty appointed for a specified period of service (usually one year or one semester) are appointed as a lecturer. Appointment as a lecturer is by special contract for a fixed service period with no obligation on the part of the University to extend or renew.

Part-time Faculty

Individuals not employed full-time that are responsible for instructional activities in one of the academic divisions of the University are part-time faculty. Part-time faculty may hold a continuing appointment, a specified period appointment, or be appointed on a course-by-course basis. Faculty holding the latter type of appointment are referred to as adjunct faculty.

Adjunct Faculty

The adjunct faculty title may be conferred on those persons with appropriate academic credentials and/or experience who serve as resource persons or teach courses in various departments and programs. Adjunct faculty appointment carries with it certain privileges and may or may not involve compensation.

Postdoctoral Appointees

Individuals who hold either a research or professional doctorate and who are awarded appointments of a temporary nature for continued education and research experience are appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow or Postdoctoral Researcher. Appointees should normally be no more than one to three years beyond the receipt of the doctoral degree. Funds for these appointments are usually from external sources in the form of a grant or contract. It should be noted that these are not faculty appointments, nor are these positions on any academic or staff tracks for promotion and advancement. Postdoctoral appointees are appointed by the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on the recommendation of the dean of the school or college.

Emeritus Faculty

Emeritus rank is indicated by adding the term “Emeritus” before the rank held by the faculty at the time of retirement. Candidates for emeritus status usually will have held permanent tenure, have been associated with TCU for at least 10 years and have contributed meritorious service to the University. Candidates for Emeritus status will have met the criteria governing either teaching, research, professional service, advising, or continued professional development appropriate to their rank at the time of retirement.

With the retiree’s (candidate’s) consent, the tenured faculty of each department shall meet and review retiring faculty for the purpose of recommending emeritus status.

The subsequent procedures for nomination and appointment to emeritus status are the same as those for promotion in rank. Emeritus status does not entitle the holder to a stipend from the University, but persons holding this title are accorded full faculty status with regard to faculty social activities and faculty benefits, in the attendance at athletic events, fine arts performances, and other cultural activities on campus. Names and titles of all emeritus faculty and staff members are included in the TCU Undergraduate Catalog.

Appointments and Contracts

Appointment to the faculty is made by the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Official notification is given by letter. TCU has pledged itself to a program of equal employment opportunity and all appointments to all divisions and departments of the University will be made without regard to gender, color, religion, disability, race, national origin, or veteran status. Normally, faculty appointments are for an academic year unless otherwise indicated. Reappointment of faculty is made by contract on a year-to-year basis until such time as the faculty member may be elected to “permanent tenure” by the Board of Trustees. Faculty members holding “permanent tenure” receive an annual electronic notification concerning salary at (My Em0loyee Center).

Faculty Compensation Philosophy

TCU’s faculty compensation philosophy is driven by its mission: To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community. The University strives to recruit and retain the best faculty it can by being committed to providing competitive wages and benefits. In order to attract, motivate and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty, the University’s compensation must reflect appropriate market value and be continually re-evaluated. Faculty can anticipate wage adjustments and opportunities for growth throughout their career.

Faculty salary increases at TCU reflect merit-based performance evaluation and/or performance-related promotional adjustments. Across-the-board (cost-of-living) increases are not part of the University’s compensation policy. There currently is no obligation or contractual requirement of the University to provide for annual increases. The size of the merit pool is determined by the Cabinet and approved by the Board of Trustees as part of the annual budgeting process.

Promotional increases for faculty are a flat dollar amount that is awarded at the time of change in rank and becomes effective with the next academic year. These amounts are reviewed and adjusted periodically. Individuals who hold full-time or part-time TCU budgeted positions are eligible for merit increases, assuming employment on or before Jan. 1 and acceptable performance evaluation. Merit increases, if awarded, become effective Sept. 1.

Faculty who hold grant-funded positions are eligible for salary increases as dictated by the terms of the grant. Lecturers, one-year temporary appointments, are not eligible for merit increases; however, individuals may be reappointed at a higher salary provided the dollars are available within the position. Adjunct faculty salary increases are based on the number of years of teaching at TCU, degree held, and type of class taught.

Terms of Employment

Members of the faculty, with a few specific exceptions, are employed on the basis of a nine-month academic year, for which they receive 12 monthly paychecks. If a faculty member resigns from TCU effective at the end of any nine-month academic year, the faculty member may elect to (1) continue to receive any remaining monthly paychecks due according to his/her contract or until July 31, or (2) have any remaining monthly paychecks accelerated and paid in full at the date of termination (usually May 31). Assignments for summer work, which are not guaranteed, will be made by the appropriate dean on the recommendation of the department chair. Twelve-month faculty do not accrue vacation time as outlined here.

Faculty Orientation

New faculty members attend an orientation program provided by the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs through the Koehler Center for Instruction, Innovation, and Engagement prior to the beginning of classes in the fall and spring (as appropriate).


Except as provided for in university policy described in the tenure statement, University bylaws state that any employee may be removed, discharged, and/or suspended at any time by the chief executive officer when, in his or her judgment, the interest of the University shall require it, all without liability for damages or for future compensation resulting therefrom. However, employees who hold “permanent tenure” may be removed, discharged, and/or suspended only in accordance with provisions shown in the tenure policy.

Academic Freedom and Faculty Responsibility

TCU recognizes the principles advanced in the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and embraces the following:

A. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

B. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.

C. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.

One of the bulwarks of academic freedom, permanent tenure, has been available at TCU for decades. A revised statement on the subject, developed by a joint committee and recommended by the Faculty Senate and the administration, was approved by the Board of Trustees in the spring of 1999.

Alcohol Usage

Serving Alcohol on Campus

The consumption, sale or use of alcoholic beverages is generally prohibited on campus. However, under certain conditions, alcoholic beverages may be served at campus events. Use of alcohol at events on campus must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. All alcohol must be purchased and served under the auspices and policies of the food service contractor at TCU. Approval will be granted if:

A. participation at the event is primarily for those who meet the legal drinking age standard.

B. arrangements are made to serve appropriate alternative beverages.

C. arrangements are made to serve appropriate food at the event.

D. a process to prevent serving underage drinkers is in place.

No TCU student organization may sponsor any on-campus event that involves the use of alcohol.

Serving Alcohol Off Campus

The University prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages in instructional settings, including those remote to the campus. There may arise occasions when a faculty/staff member may wish to have alcohol served at certain functions off campus. Examples include events commemorating the completion of an academic or general University program. It is expected that participants will be of legal drinking age in the country where the event occurs. Prior approval must be received from the Vice Chancellor under whose auspices the program occurs. Except in those cases approved by the Vice Chancellor, social activities with alcohol that involve both students and faculty that are sponsored or paid by the University or a University employee are prohibited.

Alcohol and Drug Policy in International Settings

University representatives must adhere to University policies per the TCU Global policy.

Information on this page was transferred from the 2022 Faculty and Staff Handbook and then reviewed and approved by a special committee of the Faculty Senate in July 2023.