University Tenure and Promotion Committee Practices, Expectations, and Guidelines

Originally Issued: May 2012
Revised: August 2013
Revised: July 1, 2014
Revised:  August 25, 2016
Revised:  February 20, 2017
Revised:  June 15, 2017

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

I.    Introduction

Tenure and Promotion are important steps in a professor’s professional career. Policy IV.04, the Promotion of Faculty policy, generally describes the promotion process and the minimum criteria to be considered for promotion.  Policy IV.05, the Continuation of Appointments (Tenure) policy, generally describes the tenure process and the minimum criteria to be considered for tenure.  The President has assigned the implementation and interpretation of Policies IV.04 and IV.05 to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.  This document is meant to explain the promotion and tenure procedures and criteria in greater detail, for the benefit of both the University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee (UFTPC) and the University faculty community as a whole.

Each faculty member will be provided with a copy of this document at the new faculty orientation, and it will also be issued again to each applicant for promotion and/or tenure.  Each year, during the period between the announcements of the most recent promotions and/or tenure and the time for submission of new applications for promotion and/or tenure, the Provost will coordinate a voluntary meeting for all interested faculty in which the promotion and/or tenure process will be discussed.

II.   Promotion and/or Tenure Eligibility

Applicants for promotion must meet the criteria listed in the Promotion of Faculty policy in order to be considered for promotion.

Applicants for tenure must meet the criteria listed in the Continuation of Appointments (Tenure) policy in order to be considered for tenure.

III. University Faculty Tenure and Promotions Committee (UFTPC) Responsibilities

Orientation
The Provost will convene and charge the Committee with its duties based on dates listed in the Timeline for Promotion and/or Tenure Process listed below, absent unusual circumstances.  During this meeting, the Provost will: (i) discuss the role of faculty committee members, (ii) describe the promotion and/or tenure process to the Committee, (iii) stress the objectivity of the promotion and/or tenure process, and (iv) stress the confidentiality of the promotion and/or tenure process.

In addition, the Provost will inform each member of their duty to educate the members from other colleges about the details of portfolios outside the other members’ area of expertise, based only on information provided in the applicant’s portfolio.  The Provost will ask that each College Dean (or his/her designee) address the Committee in an effort to educate the members from other Colleges about the details and particularities of typical portfolios from their Colleges, including description of elements present in a portfolio  worthy of promotion and/or tenure.  Athens State University has a small faculty community.  As such, faculty members often know one another on a personal basis, developing long relationships with one another.  It is critical, however, that the Committee evaluate each applicant for promotion and/or tenure on an objective basis, without advantage or disadvantage given such personal knowledge.  Evaluations will be based only on what is presented in the portfolio.

Impartiality and Confidentiality
Likewise, it is important that the Committee’s discussions about the merits of each applicant remain confidential to protect the integrity of the promotion and/or tenure process.  While the promotion and/or tenure process should be transparent, members of the committee will not discuss the details of anything said during executive sessions of the Committee or regarding individual portfolios.   Doing so is considered unethical, unprofessional and compromises the integrity of the Committee’s work.  Service on the committee indicates a pledge to conduct an impartial, confidential and non-biased review of the applicant’s submissions.  Failure to honor this pledge will result in the immediate removal from the committee and a five year suspension from serving on the committee.  The Provost, in consultation with the appropriate Dean, will remove the committee member and appoint a replacement. Although unsuccessful applicants will need feedback concerning how they might improve their portfolio, such feedback will be provided by the College Dean and Provost at a later time.

IV. Mid-Tenure Review Procedures

  1. By the end of September, the College Dean shall conduct an election within the respective Colleges to select three faculty members to serve on a College mid-tenure Review Committee. If there are eligible librarian applicants, the Provost, in consultation with the Library Director, will appoint a librarian to serve on the mid-tenure review committee. The librarian must hold a rank equal to or higher than the library applicant(s).  The library appointee will only participate in the review of librarian applicants through the approved tenure process.  Each member must be tenured in order to serve on the Committee.
  1. By the end of January the applicant shall prepare and make available a folder of evidence which must include the following.

a.  A current curriculum vitae.
bCopies of the annual evaluations.
c.  Two letters of support from Athens State University colleagues.

  1. By the end of February the Department Chair (or Library Director, in the case of library applicant(s) will evaluate the applicant’s progress toward tenure, taking into consideration evidence of teaching, scholarship, and professional service as stated in the Athens State University promotion policy.  The Department Chair or Library Director, as applicable, will conclude one of the following options and produce a written summary of findings.

a.  The applicant’s progress toward tenure is satisfactory.
b.  The applicant’s progress toward tenure is satisfactory, but the evaluator has specific reservations and/or recommendations. The applicant will receive concrete, written suggestions for improvements necessary to ensure smooth progress toward tenure.  Clear mechanisms shall be specified to assess, at least annually, the effectiveness of the applicant’s response to these suggestions.
c.  The applicant’s progress toward tenure is unsatisfactory. The applicant will receive concrete, written suggestions for improvements necessary to ensure continued progress toward tenure. Clear mechanisms shall be specified to assess, at least annually, the effectiveness of the applicant’s response to these suggestions.

  1. The summary of findings produced by the Department Chair or Library Director, as applicable, will be forwarded to the College mid-tenure review committee. By the end of March, the committee will evaluate the applicant’s progress using the same standards used by the Department Chair or Library Director, as applicable, listed in step 3. The mid-tenure review committee will produce a written summary of findings for each applicant.  This summary of findings will be forwarded to the applicant’s Department Chair.
  1. By the end of April the Department Chair or Library Director, as applicable, shall be responsible for communicating the combined summaries of findings, in writing, to the applicant and retaining a copy on file.
  1. The mid-tenure review process should fully respect academic freedom. Nothing in these guidelines is intended to alter the existing rules in other institutional documents regarding tenure. Additionally, information contained in the summary of findings of the mid-tenure review committee and/or the Department Chair or the Library Director, as applicable, should not be interpreted as a decision regarding tenure.  That is, a favorable mid-tenure review is not a guarantee of a favorable tenure decision.
  1. If the Department Chair is the faculty member being reviewed, the College Dean shall take the place of the Department chair in the above description in this paragraph. If the Library Director is the faculty member being reviewed, the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs shall take the place of the Department chair in the above description in this paragraph.

V.   Timeline for Tenure and/or Promotion

The following timeline will apply to the promotion and/or tenure process, absent unusual circumstances:

  1. In April of the academic year preceding the review year, the Provost in conjunction with the College Deans or Library Director will notify eligible applicants by letter.
  1. By the end of the spring semester in the academic year preceding the review year, the Elections Committee shall conduct an election within each College to select two faculty members to serve on a University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee (UFTPC). In addition, after this election each College Dean shall select one faculty member from within the College to serve on the Committee. If there are eligible librarian applicants, the Elections Committee shall conduct an election with the Library to select a librarian to serve on the UFTPC.  The librarian must hold a rank equal to or higher than the library applicant(s).  The library appointee will only participate in the review of librarian applicants through the approved promotion and/or tenure process.
  1. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall convene the first meeting of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee. The Committee’s initial agenda shall be to elect a Chair and to review the basic policies and procedures for promotion and/or tenure.
  1. By September 1st of the review year faculty members shall complete an application for promotion and/or tenure form and submit the application to their College Dean or Library Director.
  1. By September 15th the College Dean or Library Director must provide each applicant for promotion and/or with current copies of any evaluations that will be used by the Committee in order to aid the applicant in the preparation of a digital portfolio.The UFTPC Chair must provide each applicant with current copies of any rubrics or specific methods of evaluation that will be   used by the Committee to aid the applicant in the preparation of the portfolio.  Any rubrics or specific methods of evaluation, or changes to rubrics or methods of evaluation used by the Committee may be reviewed by the Faculty Senate.  In addition, the UFTPC Chair may distribute LiveText visitor pass codes of previous successful candidates (with permission) who presented excellent portfolios. Applicants will submit their digital portfolios in LiveText format to the UFTPC and their College Deans or Library Director by October 1st. The digital portfolio shall consist of a copy of the application for promotion and/or tenure; vita; supporting documentation as to teaching effectiveness and advising, research/scholarship, and service; or in the case of library faculty applicants, supporting documentation addressing the criteria for promotion and/or tenure of librarians; any letters of support from other faculty/students; syllabi of courses taught since hiring; annual performance reviews by the Department chairs or the Library Director since hiring; and any additional support at the nominee’s discretion.  It is the nominee’s responsibility to provide evidence of merit. Additional documentation may be retained in the applicant’s office for viewing if requested or in the applicant’s digital portfolio.   It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the Chair of the UFTPC the password to access the portfolio.
  1. The University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee shall review each portfolio (review will be based only on what is presented in the portfolio). A subcommittee of the UFTPC, consisting of the Chair, the librarian representative, and one UFPTC member from each College, shall be responsible for reviewing the portfolio of any librarian applicants.In addition to members meeting to discuss portfolios, each committee member will: Submit their scores with their names to the chair of the committee.After the chair calculates the Mean, SD, and Range for each applicant, members will reconvene to discuss the results and to openly discuss any large discrepancies.Members should feel free to candidly discuss portfolios without fear of repercussion or contention.The Committee and the subcommittee, if appropriate, will provide individual College Deans and/or the Library Director, as applicable, with a written evaluation of each applicant by November 15th.It should be noted that only members who are full professors are eligible to rate all applicants.  Associate professors on the committee will rate the assistant professor applicants’ portfolios.
  1. It is the responsibility of the College Deans and/or the Library Director, as applicable, to review their own College applicants’ digital portfolios and the evaluations by the University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee by December 1st.  A written evaluation of each applicant shall be completed by the College Dean and/or Library Director, as applicable.  The portfolios and evaluations shall be then sent to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  1. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall review the applicant’s digital portfolio and evaluations by the College Deans and/or the Library Director and the University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee, following the guidelines of academic rank criteria. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs may consult with the College Deans and/or Library Director and/or the University Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee during this review. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall forward portfolios and evaluations for applicants undergoing promotion and/ or tenure review to the President and shall make a recommendation regarding promotion and/or tenure in writing to the President by the end of December.
  1. The President may review the digital portfolios and recommendations, and consult with the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and/or College Deans and/or Library Director , as applicable, as necessary. Final approval of all promotions and/or tenure shall be made by the President by February 1st.   The President shall notify each applicant of the final decision in writing.
  1. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the College Deans and the Library Director, as applicable, will solicit and participate in meetings with unsuccessful applicants concerning suggestions for how these applicants might improve their performance and portfolios for a greater chance of success in the future.Applicants not successful in the tenure process shall be granted an additional academic year extension of service on a non-tenured track. The applicant may request an extension or the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs or College Dean and/or Library Director, as applicable, may request the extension prior to the completion of the faculty member’s tenure-track appointment.

VI.   Portfolios

All applicants should refer to the appropriate Reviewer Summary Evaluation rubric and the Portfolio Development Information document prior to portfolio development.
All applicants should remember that professionals from other disciplines review their portfolios.  To help them understand and evaluate credentials and achievements, applicants should organize their information and explain the professional significance of important details based on the guidelines that follow.

While librarians have full faculty status, the difference in their professional duties necessitates distinct promotion and/or tenure eligibility and criteria from that used for other faculty members.  In addition to teaching effectiveness, library faculty will be evaluated based on the quality of professional effectiveness. A librarian who successfully meets the minimum requirements for promotion and/or tenure eligibility will be evaluated based on the quality of professional performance and service appropriate for each rank.

Applicants will submit their portfolios electronically via LiveText, and provide a visitor’s passcode in order for the Committee, College Deans, Library Director, and Provost to access their portfolios.  Applicants must follow all instructions of the Committee, College Dean, Library Director, or Provost in connection with the mechanics of submitting a portfolio.

It is recommended that applicants ask a mentor/colleague for assistance with creating or proofreading the portfolio once the applicant has developed it for clarity, etc.  To be considered a complete representation of performance and merit for promotion and/or tenure, artifacts and information provided should begin from date of hire through the term submitted.  Applicants for full professor or senior librarian should include only artifacts and information since attaining the rank of associate professor or associate librarian at Athens State University.

Portfolio Guidelines
Throughout the portfolio, focus upon meritorious publications, activities, and presentations at regional or national association meetings.  It is not recommended that applicants list attendance at required Athens State University faculty meetings and training that are part of their employment duties.

Portfolios should be well-organized and easy to review with supporting documents organized into conceptually related categories and submitted as attachments.  Attachments should document major activities and accomplishments.  Please limit the number of pictures, scanned articles, and other documents that are not significant in supporting performance and achievements.

Sample contents of an applicant’s portfolio include, but are not limited to:

  • a copy of the Application for Promotion and/or Tenure
  • curriculum vita
  • course evaluations
  • advising lists
  • research/scholarship excerpts
  • a list of committee service
  • any letters of support from other faculty/students
  • syllabi of courses taught since hiring or promotion to associate professor/associate librarian
  • any additional support at the applicant’s discretion.

Each section normally would present a narrative introduction and a summary of major points.  It should emphasize recent and current professional activities, development, and goals.  Artifacts to support performance and activities should be included as attachments to the section.  Applicants for full professor or senior librarian should emphasize achievements and activities occurring after their promotion to associate professor or associate librarian.  These activities should represent high quality in all areas and represent current/ongoing efforts.

Portfolio Format and Content

Minimum portfolio requirements include the following:

Introduction
The first section should be an introduction to the portfolio that summarizes the applicant’s academic preparation (including degrees, majors, universities, and dates), career overview, and teaching experience. An updated CV should be attached along with a brief statement of the applicant’s teaching philosophy and a summary of important professional activities and achievements.

Teaching Effectiveness
The Teaching Effectiveness section should include subsections for:

  • Teaching Philosophy,
  • Courses/Students taught emphasizing breadth and depth and volume of teaching expertise
  • Teaching Quality, and
  • Academic Preparation.

Each of these should be supported with attachments such as detailed statement of teaching philosophy, course enrollment data, course preparations per term/year, leadership role as course anchor/lead, sample syllabi from previous and current years that demonstrate improved course organization and delivery, assignment instructions, exams, grade distributions, student evaluations, supervisor evaluations, self-evaluations, and descriptions of practices that demonstrate quality and high expectations. Other artifacts may be required as well.

Applicants should demonstrate continued improvement in their teaching methods by developing well-written syllabi and writing clear instructions for assignments. There normally would be demonstrated growth and depth in the course syllabi over time. They should also learn and apply a reasonable amount of current teaching technology in their classrooms for both campus and online delivery formats.  Librarians should address their instructional role (embedded librarian, instructor of record, etc.).

Expectations and grading criteria should be clear. Assignments and exams should be graded and posted in reasonable lengths of time. Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness should come from the artifacts listed above as well as annual performance evaluations from department chairs and/or deans or library director (at the discretion of the applicant), and letters from colleagues who are familiar with his or her teaching methods. Applicants for full professor or senior librarian should summarize and provide supporting documents for accomplishments after earning the associate professor or associate librarian rank.

Research and Scholarly Activities
Applicants should continue to develop their knowledge and skills in their professional discipline. And this development should help professors become more effective teachers and mentors. The Research and Scholarly/Creative Activities section is intended to be a presentation of work and effort in the discipline. It would be helpful if scholarly activities were linked to teaching effectiveness.

This section might include research such as publications, presentations, regional or national conference attendance, appropriate professional development activities, relevant continuing education (e.g., CEU for CPA, work in P-12 schools for recency requirements, etc.) and activities related to improving teaching and other activities. Publications should be separated in terms of professionally defined levels of quality—such as books, chapters in edited books, articles in peer reviewed journals, or articles in local and state professional newsletters.  Important details, such as authors, title, journal name, volume, issue, and pages should be provided (see APA or other acceptable formats). Copies of the most recent articles or the most important articles can be attached. For books, attach a copy of a sample chapter.

The most recognized type of scholarly activity is publication of professional books, chapters in scholarly books, and presentation of research findings in articles in refereed journals or presentations at regional, state, or national association meetings. Grants that apply discipline-related knowledge are an appropriate documentation.  Professional development includes attending lectures and workshops, keeping professional licenses current, doing required recency hours in P-12 schools.  Evidence for Research and Scholarly/Creative Activities include lists or samples of recent publications, presentations at professional meetings, copies of licenses and certifications, and workshops attended.

Similarly, presentations normally would be separated in terms of levels of professional quality such as presentations at national or international professional meetings, presentations at state meetings, and presentations at local professional meetings. Again, important details about each presentation should be provided in an appropriate format (see APA Publication Manual).

Institutional Service
Active participation on University committees and engagement in university activities should be documented in this section.  Willingness to assume leadership roles on committees is highly valued.  Committees that produce a documented outcome that enhances services to students or the university are also highly valued.  Simply being a member of a committee is not the important criteria here; active participation is desired.

Applicants should actively participate on at least three university committees and be willing to assume leadership roles on at least one committee. Applicants should attend graduations, honors ceremonies, Fiddler’s convention, and other university sponsored meetings and workshops. Applicants should be willing to assist with recruitment and planning various university-sponsored events. Active participation is the primary criterion for this area and applicants should support their reports with letters describing their contributions from committee chairs, organizers, or supervisors.  An applicant’s prior work on faculty committees, especially in those situations where faculty members have been required by the administration to serve on such committees (such as hiring and recruitment committees) to the exclusion of other activities, will be valued.  However, membership on committees alone is not the criteria; being an active member who helps produce a documented outcome that enhances services to students or the university is desired.  Applicants for full professor or senior librarian should summarize and provide supporting documents for accomplishments after earning the associate professor or associate librarian rank.

Professional and Community Service
Professional and Community service can be summarized but do not present excessive details about attendance or minor activities such as teaching a Sunday school class. Focus upon leadership activities and explain your role in these activities. Examples of professional service would include activities that serve the profession of the applicant such as serving in leadership positions in professional organizations, working in P-12 schools, or serving on school or advisory boards.  Community service involves activities that serve the community such as writing or contributing to newspaper articles, membership in civic organizations, consulting with local organizations or agencies, and outreach activities.

Applicants should demonstrate a history of professional involvement at the local, state, regional, or national level. Examples of such involvement would include consulting with local organizations and agencies, presenting lectures and workshops for schools or professional organizations, participating in professional development P-12 schools, and serving in leadership roles with professional organizations or schools (e.g. serving on local school boards or advisory boards). Applicants could also be involved in local community activities such as outreach organizations or civic clubs. Through this involvement, they should set a positive example and promote Athens State University as a quality educational institution. These activities should reflect a level of leadership that goes beyond passive attendance. Applicants for full professor should summarize and provide supporting documents for accomplishments after earning the associate professor rank.

Additional sections could be added if an applicant wants to summarize administrative, support, or personal activities and achievements that do not fit into any of the previous seven sections. Most applicants will not need to add this section.

Student Advising and Involvement (Teaching Faculty Only)
This section should demonstrate the applicant’s willingness to assist students in reaching their academic and career goals. Applicants should be available to students at least ten hours a week and be willing to assist them with various academic, career, and personal issues. If issues are beyond the professor’s expertise, authority, or role they should refer students to the appropriate university department and follow up to be sure the students’ issues were resolved satisfactorily. Evidence of student advising should come from advisee lists, letters of appreciation from advisees, and other documents including support from department chair, school dean, the vice president for enrollment management, and the vice president of academic affairs.  Applicants for full professor should summarize and provide supporting documents for accomplishments after earning the associate professor rank. Sponsoring student clubs and honor societies are highly valued and should also be documented in this section.

Professional Effectiveness (Library Faculty Only)
Applicants should provide evidence of professional effectiveness including proficiency in areas of responsibility (reference, cataloging, circulation, acquisitions, collection development, etc.), innovations and leadership in improving library operations, proficiency in technology appropriate to the position, positive assessment of interpersonal skills and work ethic, evidence of continuing professional development.

VII. Promotion/Tenure  Criteria – Evaluation

Each committee member will use the Suggested Format for Reviewer’s Evaluation Form that is based on a 100 point scale to score each applicant’s contributions and achievements. Scores above 80 should reflect achievement and leadership. After each committee member has submitted his or her scores for each applicant, these scores will be averaged to determine each applicant’s mean score. To be recommended as highly qualified for promotion and/or tenure, applicants for Associate Professor normally must earn mean scores greater than 80 and standard deviations less than 10—reflecting general agreement among committee members.  To be recommended for promotion to full professor, average scores normally should be greater than 85 and standard deviations less than 10.  The committees’ recommendations will be submitted in their final report to the Provost and the college dean/library director for the respective applicant.

VII. Appeal and Review of Tenure and/or Promotion Decision

TENURE
Applicants not successful in the tenure process have the right to proceed with the filing of a grievance as outlined in the Athens State University Employee Grievance Procedure.

PROMOTION
Appeal of promotion decisions are not grievances subject to appeal and review under the Athens State University Employee Grievance Procedure.