Promotion of Faculty

Policy Number: IV.04
Policy Level: Operating Policy

Originally Issued: May 6, 2013
Revised:  May 23, 2014
Revised:  August 25, 2016
Revised:  February 20, 2017

Policy Owner: President
Policy Implementation: Provost/VP for Academic Affairs

I.    Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy establishes the standards used for promotion of faculty members at Athens State University.  Promotion is an important step in a faculty member’s professional career. A faculty member who successfully meets the minimum requirements listed below will be evaluated for promotion on the quality of professional performance and service appropriate for each rank. Promotion in rank is granted to faculty by the President of the University.

II.    Promotion Eligibility

The first stage in the promotion evaluation will be to determine whether or not the applicant meets the minimum criteria for promotion listed below. This initial decision may be made by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs in consultation with the applicant’s College Dean, or in the case of library faculty, the Library Director, absent unusual circumstances.  Candidates who are eligible for promotion will be notified of their eligibility to apply for promotion in writing by the Provost’s office in April of the preceding academic year.

While librarians have full faculty status, the difference in their professional duties necessitates a distinct promotion eligibility and promotion process from that used for other faculty members.  A librarian who successfully meets the minimum requirements listed below will be evaluated for promotion on the quality of professional performance and service appropriate for each rank.  For promotion to any higher rank, Library faculty applicants must possess the minimum of a master’s degree in library science or a related field from an institution accredited by the American Library Association.  The Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, reaffirmed in May 2011 that the terminal professional degree for academic librarians is a master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited program.

For promotion to associate librarian, applicants must demonstrate above average performance in carrying out professional responsibilities, and considerable subject expertise in areas of librarianship with evidence of strong potential for further development as a professional librarian, teacher, and scholar.  They must also possess the appropriate terminal degree for librarians and have completed a minimum of five (5) years of full-time employment as a librarian at Athens State University.   A second master’s degree as a subject area specialist or an earned doctorate in librarianship, instructional technology, or other related field is strongly desired. The application for promotion may be submitted in the sixth (6th) year.  There is one exception.  If, at the time of hiring of the library faculty member and based on the needs of the University, the Provost may approve (upon consultation with the Library Director) for purposes of consideration for promotion to associate librarian, up to three (3) years credit for full-time librarian status at another institution.  This must be documented in the library faculty member’s letter of appointment and included in the applicant’s portfolio.

In order to be considered for promotion to the rank of associate professor, a faculty member must possess a terminal degree in his/her discipline, and must have completed five (5) years of full-time teaching at Athens State University.  A faculty member may submit an application for promotion no earlier than in the sixth (6th) year.

There are three exceptions to the foregoing.

  • First, an applicant may be considered for promotion to the rank of associate professor if he/she does not have a terminal degree in his/her discipline, where the applicant has engaged in extraordinary achievement such as, but not limited to, sustained excellence in teaching, leadership, innovation, scholarship, community service or professional accomplishment. The Provost, upon consultation with the Dean of the applicant’s college, will determine, approve, and document this extraordinary achievement.  This documentation should be included in the candidate’s portfolio.
  • Second, at the time of hiring of the faculty member and based on the need of the University for the faculty member, the Provost may approve (upon consultation with the Dean of the applicant’s college) – for purposes of consideration for promotion to associate professor – up to three (3) years credit for the faculty member’s full-time teaching at another institution. This must be documented in the faculty member’s letter of appointment and included in the candidate’s portfolio.
  • Third, a faculty member hired before October 1, 2012 who possesses a terminal degree outside of his/her discipline, but has completed five (5) years of full-time teaching at Athens State University may be eligible for promotion. The Provost, upon consultation with the Dean of the applicant’s college will determine, approve, and document this exception.

For promotion to senior librarian, applicants must demonstrate outstanding  performance in carrying out the highest level of professional responsibility, as well as above average performance in contributions to the profession, teaching, scholarly activities and service.  Demonstrated ability in providing leadership in professional and university organizations is required.  Applicants must possess either an earned doctorate in librarianship, instructional technology, information sciences or a second graduate/advanced degree as a subject area specialist and must have completed a minimum of ten (10) years of full-time employment as a librarian at Athens State University and must have been an associate librarian for four (4) years.  The application for promotion may be submitted no earlier than the eleventh (11th) year.  There is one exception.  At the time of hiring, the Provost may approve (in consultation with the Library Director), for purposes of consideration for promotion to senior librarian, up to three (3) years credit for full-time librarian status at another institution.  This must be documented in the library faculty member’s letter of appointment and included in the applicant’s promotion portfolio.

In order to be considered for promotion to the rank of full professor, a faculty member must possess a terminal degree in his/her discipline, must have completed ten (10) years of full-time teaching at Athens State University, and must have been an associate professor at Athens State University for four (4) years.  A faculty member may submit an application for promotion no earlier than in the eleventh (11th) year.

There are two exceptions to the foregoing.

  • First, at the time of hiring of the faculty member and based on the need of the University for the faculty member, the Provost may approve (upon consultation with the Dean of the applicant’s college) – for purposes of consideration for promotion to full professor – up to three (3) years credit for the faculty member’s full-time teaching at another institution. This must be documented in the faculty member’s letter of appointment and included in the candidate’s portfolio.
  • Second, a faculty member hired before October 1, 2012 who possesses a terminal degree outside of his/her discipline, but has completed ten (10) years of full-time teaching at Athens State University, and has been an associate professor at Athens State University for four (4) years may be eligible for promotion. The Provost, upon consultation with the Dean of the applicant’s college will determine, approve, and document this exception.

III.  University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee (UFTPC)

The University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee (UFTPC) is composed of nine (9) faculty members representing the University’s three colleges.  Prior to the end of the spring semester, the Elections Committee shall conduct an election within each of the three colleges to select two faculty members to serve on the Committee for the following review period.  After this election, each of the three College Deans will select one faculty member from his/her respective college to also serve on the committee.  Each committee member must be tenured and hold the rank of Associate Professor or Full Professor in order to serve on the Committee.

On determining that there are eligible faculty librarian applicants, the Elections Committee shall conduct an election within the Library to select one librarian to serve on the UFTPC.  The librarian must hold a rank equal to or higher than the faculty library applicant(s).  The library appointee will only participate in the review of librarian applicants through the approved promotion process.

The Committee elects its chairperson during its first meeting with consideration given to rotation of the position among colleges.  A faculty member cannot serve on the Committee if he/she is applying for tenure or promotion during the review year or is related to a person who is applying.

IV.  Timeline

Absent unusual circumstances, the annual promotion process will begin in April of the academic year preceding the review year, and final approval of all promotions shall be made by the President by February 1st of the review year.   Applicants will submit their digital portfolios in LiveText format to the UFTPC and their College Deans or Library Director.  Portfolio evaluations will be based only on what is presented in the portfolio.

V.  Portfolios

Portfolios should include specific sections as outlined in the University Tenure and Promotion Committee Practices, Expectations, and Guidelines.  These sections will be entered into LiveText – each with its own navigational button.

VI.  Promotion Criteria – Evaluation

Applicants eligible for promotion consideration will be evaluated according to the criteria outlined in the University Tenure and Promotion Committee Practices, Expectations, and Guidelines.  The committees’ recommendations will be submitted in their final report to the Provost and the college dean for the respective applicant.

VII.Responsibility for this Operating Policy

Policy Owner

As part of the initial approval of this policy by the President and subsequent to the original dissemination of the policy, the President remains the policy owner for the ongoing evaluation, review, and approval of this policy.  Subsequent reviews and revisions to this policy must be in accordance with approved operating policy procedures and processes.

This policy will be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed.

Responsibility for Policy Implementation

The President has assigned the responsibility of implementing this policy to Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.