The criteria of sustained excellence required for promotion and tenure as stated in the Faculty Code language approved by the Board of Trustees in May 2019 is the standard for promotion and tenure. Specifically, it states that promotion and tenure decisions should be for those who “achieved excellence in their disciplines through their contributions to research, scholarship, or creative work in the arts (hereinafter scholarship), teaching, and engagement in service, and who demonstrate the potential to continue to do so, so that the university may advance its mission of scholarship, higher education, and service to the community.” It is incumbent that schools and Departments putting candidates up for tenure or promotion demonstrate that the candidate has met this standard. The preparation of the file, the solicitation of letters, and the decision of the faculty (either a department’s decision or the school as a whole in non-departmentalized units) should be made with the goal of assessing the candidate in terms of this excellence standard.
The tenure and/or promotion process for faculty leads to major career milestones, and these decisions, albeit difficult ones, are among the most important decisions that we, as faculty and administrators, make. For this reason, it is important that the dossiers of the candidates be compiled carefully to facilitate what is a necessarily rigorous process. In particular, these dossiers must thoroughly and accurately convey evidence of accomplishments in teaching, research, and service as appropriate for the candidate’s discipline.
Thus, the dossier should be such that it allows all those involved in the review process to assess whether the candidate has met a standard of excellence in scholarship, teaching and service. Further, the dossier must demonstrate that the candidate has the strong potential to continue to be productive in those three areas. This is especially important once the dossier leaves the originating department and moves through the school’s promotion and tenure committee, to the dean, and finally to the provost. The key is to put forth dossiers that are useful within and external to the originating department, especially in the sense that they are meaningful to reviewers outside the candidate’s discipline.
Guidance from the Provost’s Office on how to construct a strong dossier and relevant dates and deadlines can be found here. Please be sure to consult with your school or department regarding the applicable review criteria in your discipline.
Please feel free to contact faculty affairs with any questions you may have regarding the tenure and promotion process.