Promotion and Tenure Review

Ursinus College endorses the following statement on academic tenure provided by the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges, as amended most recently in 1989 and 1990, except that specific College policy always takes precedence:

After the expiration of a probationary period, teachers or investigators should have permanent or continuous tenure, and their service should be terminated only for adequate cause, except in the case of retirement for age, or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies.

In the interpretation of this principle it is understood that the following represents acceptable academic practice:

  1. The precise terms and conditions of every appointment should be stated in writing and be in the possession of both institution and teacher before the appointment is consummated.
  2. Beginning with appointment to the rank of full-time instructor or a higher rank, the probationary period should not exceed seven years, including within this period full-time service in all institutions of higher education; but subject to the proviso that when, after a term of probationary service of more than three years in one or more institutions, a teacher is called to another institution, it may be agreed in writing that the new appointment is for a probationary period of not more than four years, even though thereby the person’s total probationary period in the academic profession is extended beyond the normal maximum of seven years. Notice should be given at least one year prior to the expiration of the probationary period if the teacher is not to be continued in service after the expiration of that period.
  3. During the probationary period a teacher should have the academic freedom that all other members of the faculty have.
  4. Termination for cause of a continuous appointment, or the dismissal for cause of a teacher previous to the expiration of a term appointment, should, if possible, be considered by both a faculty committee and the governing board of the institution. In all cases where the facts are in dispute, the accused teacher should be informed before the hearing in writing of the charges and should have the opportunity to be heard in his or her own defense by all bodies that pass judgment upon the case. The teacher should be permitted to be accompanied by an advisor of his or her own choosing who may act as counsel. There should be a full stenographic record of the hearing available to the parties concerned. In the hearing of charges of incompetence the testimony should include that of teachers and other scholars, either from the teacher’s own or from other institutions. Teachers on continuous appointment who are dismissed for reasons not involving moral turpitude should receive their salaries for at least a year from the date of notification of dismissal whether or not they are continued in their duties at the institution.
  5. Termination of a continuous appointment because of financial exigency should be demonstrably bona fide.

As a result of its commitment to academic freedom the Board of Trustees of the College has provided for the granting of tenure. Tenure ensures the freedom of faculty to teach and engage in scholarship without fear that their work must conform to prevailing political or intellectual fashions. Both faculty and students benefit from the atmosphere of free inquiry that the institution of academic tenure protects.

Tenure is a long-term commitment of employment to faculty who meet the College’s standards of excellence, who continue to work at an appropriately high level, and who meet the ethical standards of the academic community. The awarding of tenure is not automatic, nor can tenure be earned simply by meeting certain minimum requirements. The tenure review process is an integral part of the College’s pursuit of excellence, and the decision to confer tenure must have as its goal the long-term strengthening of the educational mission of the College.

Schedule and Sequence of Faculty Review and Assessment

Initial ranked faculty appointments are made without tenure, and tenure is not granted prior to the completion of a probationary period. Ordinarily, this probationary period is six years of continuous, full time service in a ranked faculty appointment. Most tenure-track faculty will have two in-depth reviews, an Initial Review and a Pre-Tenure Review, involving the Committee on Promotion and Tenure. For faculty following a standard six-year tenure trajectory, the Initial Review will be held in the second year and the Pre-Tenure Review in the fourth year.

A pre-tenure leave does not interrupt continuous, full time service. Administrative leaves (e.g., family, medical or professional leaves) may extend the tenure time line with agreement from the Dean of the College.

Faculty members appointed to a tenure track position who have prior full time service in a ranked faculty appointment at accredited colleges or universities, including Ursinus College, and who held a terminal degree during the period of that appointment may have some of that service credited toward the tenure probationary period at Ursinus.

Requests for a one-year reduction in the probationary period based on prior experience must be submitted in writing to the Dean of the College after the faculty member’s second year evaluation and before the end of his or her second full year at the College. Requests for a two- or three-year reduction in the probationary period based on prior experience must be submitted in writing to the Dean of the College after the faculty member’s first year evaluation and before the end of their first full year at the College. In consultation with the President, the Dean of the College may grant such credit after discussion with the faculty member and department chair.

Reduction of the probationary period by more than three years will not be granted except in the rarest of cases. In no case will a review of tenure for a full-time faculty member be undertaken without a minimum of two semesters of full-time appointment at Ursinus College. Reductions of more than three years in the probationary period based on prior experience must be negotiated at the time of hire.

Faculty members who are granted a reduction in the ordinary probationary period of three (or more) years are not eligible for a pre-tenure leave. Faculty members who are granted a reduction in the ordinary probationary period of two years or less retain eligibility for a pre-tenure leave. With a one-year reduction, the pre-tenure review will take place in the third year of full time service. With a two year reduction the pre-tenure review will take place in the second year of full time service. Faculty members who have been notified of reappointment at the completion of their pre-tenure review are eligible to apply for a pre-tenure leave. Typically, the leave will be taken during the following academic year. A table illustrating the timing of evaluations, leaves and tenure decisions given different probationary periods is below.

Amount of Reduction Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
No
Reduction
Annual Review Initial Review Annual Review Pre-Tenure Review Pre-Tenure Leave/Annual Review Tenure Review
1 Year Reduction Annual Review Initial Review Pre-Tenure Review Pre-Tenure Leave/Annual Review Tenure Review  
2 Year Reduction Annual Review Pre-Tenure Review Pre-Tenure Leave/Annual Review Tenure Review    
3 Year Reduction Annual Review Pre-Tenure Review Tenure Review      
4 Year Reduction Pre-Tenure Review Tenure Review        

Initial Review

The Initial Review is focused especially on teaching. It will be prepared by the department chair or an appropriate tenured faculty person appointed by the Dean of the College in the absence of a chair for submission to the Dean and Committee on Promotion and Tenure.

Timeline

September 15: Candidates undergoing Initial Review submit professional dossier to department chair.

The professional dossier should contain the following:

  • A complete curriculum vitae in a format designated by the Dean’s office;
  • A professional plan: A one-year professional plan containing statements of goals and specific annual objectives in teaching, scholarship and professional activity, and advising and service;
  • Self-evaluation: A discussion of how they have met the evaluation criteria, their strengths and weaknesses, where they need to concentrate their efforts, what progress they have made on their professional plan, and how they have addressed weaknesses identified in the previous evaluation;
  • Information derived from student evaluation forms and other evaluations of teaching.
  • Advising evaluations, if applicable;
  • Evidence of scholarly activity such as publications, scholarly papers or other manuscripts, patents, grant proposals, works of art, recordings, or reviews of professional performances.

October 1: The department chair shares the evaluation with the candidate prior to submission to the Dean. The candidate may then supply additional documentation and/or a rebuttal in the event of a disagreement with the department chair’s evaluation.

October 15: The chair’s evaluation and the candidate’s dossier, together with any additional documentation and/or rebuttal, will be made available to Dean. All materials will then be made available to the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

December 15: Candidates will be notified of the results of the Initial Review.

Pre-Tenure Review

Two years prior to the Tenure Review, faculty will have a Pre-Tenure Review. This review will be in greater depth and should relate to the faculty member’s progress toward tenure, including an assessment of teaching, scholarship and professional development, and advising and service. The department chair or an appropriate tenured faculty person appointed by the Dean of the College in the absence of a chair will form a Faculty Review Committee (FRC) to prepare the evaluation for submission to the Dean and the Committee on Promotion and Tenure. The committee will consist of the FRC chair and no fewer than two tenured faculty, if possible from within the department, approved by the Dean.

Timeline

October 15: Candidates undergoing Pre-Tenure Review submit their professional dossier to the Faculty Review Committee.

The professional dossier should contain the following:

  • A complete curriculum vitae in a format designated by the Dean’s office;
  • A professional plan: The three-year professional plan usually prepared following Initial Review and amended as needed containing statements of goals and specific annual objectives in teaching, scholarship and professional activity, and advising and service;
  • Self-evaluation: A discussion of how they have met the evaluation criteria, their strengths and weaknesses, where they need to concentrate their efforts, what progress they have made on their professional plan, and how they have addressed weaknesses identified in the previous evaluation;
  • Information derived from student evaluation forms and other evaluations of teaching.
  • Advising evaluations;
  • Evidence of scholarly activity such as publications, scholarly papers or other manuscripts, patents, grant proposals, works of art, recordings, or reviews of professional performances.

November 1: The FRC shares the evaluation with the candidate. The candidate may then supply additional documentation and/or a rebuttal in the event of a disagreement with the FRC evaluation.

November 15: The FRC evaluation and the candidate’s dossier, together with any additional documentation and/or rebuttal, will be made available to the Dean. All materials will then be made available to the Committee on Promotion and Tenure.

December 15: Candidates are notified of the results of the Pre-Tenure Review.

Tenure Review

Criteria for Consideration for Tenure

Tenure recommendations are based on the record of past evaluations and on the long-term needs of the institution. Specifically, individuals are eligible for consideration for tenure if the following qualifications are met:

  1. they hold the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor;
  2. they have fulfilled the agreed upon probationary period;
  3. they have achieved a record of success as a teacher and adviser, brought to conclusion some scholarly activity that is evaluable by appropriate professional peers, and performed adequate service to the college and demonstrated a pattern of success that can reasonably be expected to continue in the future;
  4. they have a specialization and have demonstrated competence in academic areas that are likely to be needed in the future of the College.

In preparation for tenure review, candidates shall submit the following to the Dean: (1) list of external reviewers of the professional product(s); (2) professional product(s) for review; and (3) the candidate’s professional dossier.

  1. External Reviewers:

    By May 1 of the academic year preceding the tenure review, and without making contact with any of the individuals, the candidate submits to the Dean the names of six outside evaluators (other than professional collaborators or co-authors) who are qualified to judge the quality of the candidate’s professional work. The candidate should also submit to the Dean a prospective list of materials to be reviewed.

    • The candidate should identify each name by position, title, address, email address, telephone numbers, professional or other relationship, if any, with the candidate, and a brief description of the qualifications for reviewing the candidate’s work.
    • The Dean will consult with the Faculty Review Committee (FRC) chair to construct a list of six additional persons with a strong record of accomplishment in the candidate’s field of expertise.
    • The candidate may veto two names from this list. From this combined list of at least ten names, the Dean in consultation with the Promotion and Tenure Committee, will choose four names, at least two of whom must be selected from the candidate’s list.
    • It is the responsibility of the Dean to establish contact with the selected individuals, send them the materials to be reviewed, and solicit confidential reviews from them.
  2. Professional Product:

    By September 1 of the tenure review year, the candidate must submit to the Dean the materials to be evaluated along with a resume and an explanatory cover letter that provides context to the product. Materials may include:

    • publications, manuscripts,
    • conference presentations,
    • patents, grant proposals,
    • works of art, recordings of performances or installations, or equivalent works,
    • reviews of the above, when applicable and available.
  3. Professional Dossier:
    • A complete curriculum vitae in a format designated by the Dean’s office.
    • A professional plan: individual plans should contain statements of goals and specific annual objectives in teaching, scholarship and professional achievement and advising and service.
    • Self-evaluation, which discusses how candidates have met the evaluation criteria, their strengths and weaknesses, where they need to concentrate their efforts, what progress they have made on their professional plan, and how they have addressed weaknesses identified in the previous evaluation.
    • Information derived from student evaluation forms and other evaluations of teaching.
    • Advising evaluations.
    • Publications, scholarly papers, or other evidence of scholarly activity such as manuscripts, patents, grant proposals, works of art, recordings of performances or installations, or reviews of professional performances when applicable and available.

Additionally, the Dean will solicit student opinion on a faculty member’s teaching effectiveness from current and former students when the faculty member comes up for tenure review. The Dean will publish a list of those faculty up for tenure review in the student newspaper and the alumni magazine and ask for written comments from the readers. Written comments submitted by current or former students must be signed to be considered. The name and address of the author will be withheld by the Dean upon request. Written comments will be shared with the Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Faculty Review Committee, and faculty member.

Timeline

May 1: Candidates under consideration for tenure submit a list of their items for external review and an annotated list of names of possible external reviewers to the Dean without contacting the reviewers.

June 1: FRC chair submits names of possible external reviewers to the Dean without contacting the reviewers.

September 1: Candidates submit to the Dean an updated resume and materials for external review with a brief cover letter for the reviewers.

October 15: Candidates submit their professional dossier to the FRC.

November 15: FRC chair submits recommendation to the candidate for comment. The candidate may then supply additional documentation and/or a rebuttal in the event of a disagreement with FRC recommendations.

December 1: Candidates submit professional dossier to the Dean (teaching evaluations for the fall semester to be submitted as soon as possible) with faculty review committee final recommendation and any additional documentation to the Dean.

February 28: President notifies candidates of the Board’s decision.

Promotion to Professor

Promotion to Professor is granted to those members of the faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers, scholars, and community members. Promotion is not simply a cumulative award for past service, but rather an acknowledgment of confidence in a faculty member’s abilities and commitment to the long-term well-being of the College.

Faculty with the rank of Associate Professor initiate their own applications for promotion to Professor. Consideration for promotion to Professor occurs no sooner than four years after promotion to Associate Professor. Promotion to full professor is not automatic; unsuccessful candidates are eligible to reapply.

Criteria for Promotion to Professor

Promotion is not simply a cumulative award for past service, but rather an acknowledgment of confidence in a faculty member’s abilities and commitment to the long-term well-being of the college.

  • Teaching: Sustained excellence in teaching, as demonstrated by consistently strong evaluations; continued development in teaching as indicated by the creation of new courses, major revisions of existing courses, exploration of pedagogical practices, or similar activities.
  • Scholarship: Sustained demonstration of scholarship as an Associate Professor; evidence of a positive scholarly trajectory as indicated by extending previous work into additional areas, establishing new lines of work, completing a major synthesis of an area of work or similar activities.
  • Service and Advising: A sustained record of strong service to the college as an Associate Professor, as well as effective work in leadership positions, such as chairing a department or a major committee, making major contributions to college-wide initiatives, or engaging in similar activities.

In support of the review, faculty will provide a full professional dossier. The professional dossier should contain the following:

  • A complete curriculum vitae in a format designated by the Dean’s office.
  • A professional plan: individual plans should contain statements of goals and specific annual objectives in teaching, scholarship and professional achievement, and advising and service.
  • Self-evaluation, which discusses how candidates have met the evaluation criteria, their strengths and weaknesses, where they need to concentrate their efforts, what progress they have made on their professional plan, and how they have addressed weaknesses identified, all with explicit reference to evaluations since promotion to associate professor.
  • Information derived from student evaluation forms and other evaluations of teaching since promotion to associate professor.
  • Advising evaluations since promotion to associate professor.
  • Publications, scholarly papers, or other evidence of scholarly activity completed since promotion to associate professor, such as manuscripts, patents, grant proposals, works of art, recordings of performances or installations, or reviews of professional performances, when applicable and available.

Scholarly work will be submitted to external evaluators prior to internal evaluation. The external reviewers will send their evaluations to the Dean of the College. These will be considered by the Dean and the Promotion and Tenure Committee. External reviewers will be selected following the same procedure outlined above under tenure review.

The candidate’s dossier will be submitted to a Faculty Review Committee (FRC). The review committee must consist of at least three faculty members at the rank of Professor, preferably from the candidate’s department. If a department has fewer than three faculty at the rank of Professor, the Dean (except in the case of one-person departments) will, in consultation with the department chair or senior members of the candidate’s department, appoint Professors from other departments to serve on the FRC. Candidates have the right to veto one committee member who is not from the candidate’s department. If s/he holds rank as Professor, the department chair will serve as chair of the Faculty Review Committee; if the department chair is the candidate being reviewed, the Faculty Review Committee will elect its own chair. Based on their assessment of the candidate’s strengths, the chair of the FRC will make a written report to the Dean of the College, either recommending promotion or recommending against promotion at this time. Committee members will either endorse the recommendation by signing the report or write a dissenting opinion.

The Promotion and Tenure Committee will review the candidate’s dossier, the recommendation of the Faculty Review Committee, and evaluations of scholarship from external reviewers. The President, taking into account the advice of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, determines whether or not to recommend to the Board of Trustees that the candidate be promoted. Final approval of promotion rests with the Board of Trustees.

Timeline

April 1: Dean invites Associate Professors completing their fourth year to submit materials for promotion consideration.

May 1: Candidates under consideration for promotion submit a list of their items for external review and an annotated list of names of possible external reviewers to the Dean without contacting the reviewers.

May 15: Dean will review the composition of the Faculty Review Committee

June 1: FRC chair submits names of possible external reviewers to the Dean without contacting the reviewers.

September 1: Candidates submit to the Dean an updated resume and materials for external review with a brief cover letter for the reviewers.

December 1: Candidates submit their professional dossier to the FRC (teaching evaluations for the fall semester to be submitted as soon as possible).

February 5: FRC chair submits recommendation to the candidate for comment. The candidate may then supply additional documentation and/or a rebuttal in the event of a disagreement with FRC recommendations.

February 15: Candidates submit professional dossier to the Dean with FRC final recommendation and any additional documentation to the Dean;

June 15: Candidates will be notified by the President.