Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion

  1. General:

    This section and Appendix B of the Handbook include information concerning policies and procedures that govern processes of decision-making concerning such important issues as reappointment, tenure, and promotion of Faculty within the Regional Campus System.  In the event that anything in this section conflicts with the University policies and procedures on reappointment, tenure and promotion, the current and applicable University policies will govern.  Faculty seeking reappointment, tenure and promotion (RTP) are advised to review the guidelines and other materials circulated annually by the Provost and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs.  Faculty members are also advised to seek out assistance from senior Faculty in their discipline for help in designing their vita and organizing and submitting their documentation on the electronic system supported by the University.  

    There are no more important decisions made concerning the relationships between the University and its Faculty than those related to promotion to higher rank, tenure with its implication of the right of a Faculty member to continuous appointment to a professional position of specified locus in the University, and reappointment for probationary Faculty.  

    Reappointment, tenure, and promotion at the Trumbull Campus follows the Kent Campus procedures with some important differences.  First, promotion and tenure decisions provide for an advisory and recommendatory role for the faculty advisory group at the individual campus and for the Campus Dean.  The procedure recognizes that Regional Campus Faculty hold membership in an academic department/academic unit while discharging their responsibilities and holding tenure within the Regional Campus System and rank within the department/academic unit.

    Criteria for consideration of RTP, as well as minimal expectations of performance and years in rank, are described in detail or referenced in the original appointment letter, in the relevant University policies, and in materials circulated annually at the onset of the review process. Additional and more specific criteria may be found in academic unit handbooks and the handbooks of the Regional Campuses.

    All regular, full-time probationary, tenure-track Faculty are eligible at certain times for tenure review according to years of service and rank differentiations.  Academic units will notify prospective candidates by the end of the Spring Semester of the previous academic year of their nomination for promotion eligibility.  The procedures are described in the materials distributed in August by the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and other documents which have been developed by the academic units and the colleges and further elaborated in the respective academic unit handbooks.  Faculty members should consult their academic unit handbooks for such procedures.  University criteria and guidelines have also been developed which must be observed. 

    Although Faculty members are encouraged to stand for both promotion and tenure at the same time, tenure and promotion are two distinct personnel actions requiring separate procedures, timetables and guidelines.

    The University establishes a timetable for personnel actions for Faculty.  This varies from year to year and is specified in the document published each August by the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs.  Faculty seeking reappointment, tenure, or promotion should consult the schedule in this document upon publication.  As a practical matter, preparation of materials and consultation with the unit administrator and the Campus Dean should begin with nomination the preceding spring.

  2. Tenure Review:

    In August the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs notifies unit administrators and Campus Deans of Faculty who are eligible for tenure review.  Once Faculty are notified of their eligibility by the academic unit and Campus Dean, they prepare a file of evidence in support of their review. The file must include a recent peer evaluation of teaching. The file is uploaded to the electronic system supported by the University.  Candidates are strongly advised to meet personally with their unit administrator at this time concerning the contents of the file.  The candidate and the unit administrator must jointly submit the Certification of File Completeness

    1. All tenured Faculty assigned to the Campus Personnel Action Committee will read each of the files and make appropriate notes for a recommendation to be written at a later time.
    2. A meeting of the Campus Personnel Action Committee will be announced by the Chair of the Trumbull Faculty Council, who will be the presiding officer during all discussions.  Each of the candidates will be presented for discussion by the FC Chair.  The discussion of the committee will focus on the efforts of the candidate in all areas of review, with the understanding that teaching carries more weight for regional campus Faculty through the various administrative levels of review and assessment.
    3. Each member of the Personnel Action Committee will complete an evaluation form for each candidate.  The Chair will prepare a summary evaluation and recommendation to be forwarded to the Trumbull Campus Dean and College Dean.  The Faculty Council Chair will also notify the candidate of the committee’s recommendation.
    4. The Trumbull Campus Dean will then review the materials for each candidate and with consideration of the recommendation of the Faculty Council Chair and the members of the Personnel Action Committee will make an independent recommendation to the College Dean.

    For complete guidelines, Faculty should consult the timetable for Regional Campus Faculty, which is published by the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs annually.

  3. Promotion Review:

    The Campus Dean, upon receipt of documents from the office of the Provost and the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs which initiates the promotion process, identifies those Faculty eligible for promotion review and notifies appropriate unit administrators and Regional Campus Deans.  The academic unit’s Faculty Advisory Committee will formalize the list of potential candidates for promotion by simple majority vote.  The unit administrator then notifies the candidate that he/she has been nominated for promotion.  This notification will take place during the Spring Semester, for consideration of promotion during the following academic year.  This nomination does not confer favor or approval of the candidate, but only serves as notification.  Faculty also may self-nominate or be nominated by other Faculty.  Individual Faculty members have the right to remove their names from candidacy.  All Faculty nominees have the responsibility of providing all information pertinent to the nomination.

    Although promotion may be granted at any time, as recognition of outstanding performance, there are conventional expectations of years of service.  Promotion sought prior to the conventional expectation to a particular rank is considered early promotion.  Early promotion is unusual and is granted only under compelling and/or extraordinary circumstances.

    Only documented evidence of scholarship, teaching, and service since appointment will be used in assessing a faculty member’s eligibility for promotion. Moreover, greater consideration will be given to the scholarship of teaching and service activities as opposed to other scholarship when evaluating faculty whose letter of appointment indicates their primary responsibility is delivery of undergraduate instruction. Tenure-track faculty members must obtain a minimum of one peer evaluation of their teaching each year until they are promoted to the Associate Professor level. Associate Professors are required to have one recent peer evaluation of their teaching prior to seeking promotion to Full Professor. These peer evaluations must consist of direct in class observation and evaluation of the candidate’s teaching and a review of the faculty member’s syllabus for the class.

    Once the candidate’s file is complete, the candidate and the unit administrator must jointly submit the Certification of File Completeness

    The process for the review of those candidates to be considered for promotion is the same as for tenure and reappointment, with the following exceptions:

    1. Candidates for promotion will be assessed by those who hold the rank for which they are applying or a higher one.
    2. The Faculty discussion about those who have applied for promotion will be limited to those who hold the rank or higher. 
    3. Promotion review to Professor requires that five letters from outside reviewers be added to the promotion file. These letters are solicited by the unit administrator from names submitted by the candidate.  The unit administrator may also solicit evaluations from external reviewers other than those named by the candidate but must inform the candidate of the persons contacted. The letters are included in the candidate’s promotion file.  The Campus Dean should ask for approval of the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs to augment the Promotion Committee to bring the voting membership to four.
    4. The Faculty Council Chair, regardless of his/her rank, will summarize the recommendations from the Faculty who evaluated the candidates.
  4. Reappointment Review:

    Annual review of probationary, tenure-track Faculty for reappointment shall be undertaken each year until consideration for tenure.  Annual review is often undertaken at approximately the same time as tenure and promotion decisions, but specific timetables are established annually for each type of review and distributed by the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs. 

    As with tenure and promotion reviews, the candidate prepares evidence in support of a favorable recommendation which is presented to the unit administrator. Included in the file must be a recent peer evaluation of teaching. The candidate and the unit administrator jointly submit for Certification of File Completeness.  Probationary Faculty members are encouraged to meet personally with their unit administrators concerning the contents of their files.

    Each tenured member of the Trumbull Campus Personnel Action Committee reviews the files of the candidate and makes an independent written evaluation for or against the candidate.  The Personnel Action Committee (chosen by the Faculty Council Chair) meets to discuss the evaluations of each candidate.  The written evaluations and votes are collected by the Faculty Council Chair, who tabulates the votes and writes a letter of recommendation to the Campus Dean and notifies each candidate in writing of the committee’s recommendations.

  5. Appendix B: Guidelines for Weighting Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Criteria

    An overview of the evaluation process for reappointment, tenure and promotion for tenure-track Faculty is discussed in the Trumbull Faculty Handbook.  Complete guidelines are published by the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs annually.  Additional material can be found in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The aim of this appendix is to provide more specific weighting criteria for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.

    Reappointment, tenure and promotion evaluations for Tenure-Track (TT) Faculty members are guided by the following general principles, which reflect the mission of the Trumbull Campus: 

    1. Teaching.  Because teaching is the primary mission of the Trumbull Campus, the goal     for a successful candidate for reappointment, tenure and promotion is to demonstrate excellence in teaching.  Teaching excellence may include pedagogical research related to the discipline and disseminated for peer review.  Performance in teaching may be evaluated in multiple ways, including, but not limited to, effective course design and teaching materials, a pattern of positive comments on student evaluations, supportive peer evaluations, ongoing efforts to reflect upon and improve the act of teaching, and positive SSI scores.  When reviewing files for reappointment, tenure, and promotion, reviewers are advised to consider how and in what ways the shift to online SSIs can impact the assessment of a Faculty member’s teaching; specifically the submission rate and time spent in assessing instruction may both diminish when students’ evaluations of instruction are performed online and outside of the classroom rather than in the classroom and on paper. 
    2. Research, Scholarship and/or Creative Activity.  Because active engagement with the discipline is necessary to remain current in teaching, a successful candidate for reappointment must demonstrate excellence in research, scholarship and/or creative activity, appropriate to the discipline and which is disseminated for peer review.  In the early years of reappointment, the candidate must at least demonstrate a pathway for the development of appropriate scholarship. By the time of the tenure review, the candidate is to have his/her scholarship reviewed/performed/exhibited at the appropriate level of impact (e.g., international, national, regional) for the discipline.  Note that the “appropriate level” refers to the level of impact rather than to geography.  For example, an artistic performance or exhibition could have a regional or national impact even though it is held locally.  All candidates are to provide support for the case that their work is of an appropriate level for the discipline. 
    3. University Service/Citizenship. University service/citizenship is expected of all tenure-track Faculty members.  By the time of tenure review, the candidate is expected to demonstrate a pattern of increasing service contributions, including some form of leadership (e.g., committee chair or campus representative) or a variety of lesser but noteworthy contributions. Faculty members are encouraged to contribute to all levels of service: campus, department, college and university.
      In addition, service activities which are not necessarily tied to one's special field of knowledge but which make significant positive contributions to the advancement of the educational, scholarly and governance goals and missions of the university, college, campus, unit, or community are considered university citizenship.  Because of the mission of the Regional Campuses, Faculty members have a special responsibility to engage in teaching and university service/citizenship; indeed, greater consideration may be given to these areas in the evaluation of Faculty whose appointment is at a Regional Campus. However, evidence of research/creative activity (e.g., publications, performances, exhibitions of creative arts) may be required for successful tenure and promotion decisions.

    On the Trumbull Campus, a candidate’s performance in each category--teaching; research, scholarship and creative activity; and university service/citizenship—will be evaluated using the following ranks: excellent, significant, satisfactory, and deficient. 

    Because of the differences of publication, presentation, performance, and/or exhibition venues in different disciplines it is inappropriate to quantify absolutely the scale noted above.  Based on the standards of the relevant discipline, the testimony provided by the candidate’s file and peer reviewers, and the discussions during the Trumbull Campus Personnel Action Committee meetings, each member of the review Committee must necessarily apply his/her own professional judgment in the review to make a final written recommendation.  When all the evaluations are summarized, a recommendation regarding a candidate’s whole performance, viewed as a unified, integrated record of a teacher-scholar and university citizen should emerge.

    Candidates standing for reappointment, tenure and promotion are strongly encouraged to acknowledge these facts as they prepare their files and to explain fully why they think their accomplishments should be considered excellent, significant, or satisfactory given their discipline, their year in the review process, and how they addressed issues raised in the previous year’s review. In a reappointment decision, evaluators are required to make a final written recommendation of “yes,” “yes with reservations,” or “no.”  For tenure decisions, only final written recommendations of “yes” or “no” are possible.  The minimum performance required for an unreserved positive ballot recommendation for a candidate’s reappointment or tenure can be illustrated by the following table:

    Teaching

    Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

    University Service/Citizenship

    Excellent

    Satisfactory

    Satisfactory

    Significant

    Significant

    Satisfactory

    Significant

    Satisfactory

    Excellent

     

    The above provided table does not attempt to identify every possible combination of performance leading to specific ballot recommendations, as that would be inconsistent with the intent of University policy.  Instead, it is consistent with and intended to signal general principles which reflect the mission and values of the Trumbull Campus.  “Deficient” does not appear in the table because deficiency in any area signals that a “yes with reservation” or a “no” reappointment ballot recommendation is warranted.  In the case of tenure, it signals that a negative recommendation is indicated.  Finally, it should be reemphasized that this table makes no attempt to quantify absolutely what constitutes excellent, significant, satisfactory, or deficient performance. 

    Tenure-track librarians, whose primary appointment is not as a classroom instructor, should consult the appropriate University Libraries documentation for the criteria used in assessing the performance of librarians.