Reappointment, tenure and promotion criteria and the criteria and processes relating to other faculty personnel actions

  1. Overview

    The university’s policy and procedures regarding Faculty reappointment, tenure and promotion (RTP) are contained in the University Policy Register sections 3342-6-16 (for reappointment), 3342-6-14 (for tenure), and 3342-6-15 (for promotion). Each academic year, RTP guidelines for Kent and Regional Campus Faculty are distributed by the Office of the Provost.  

    In response to a detailed letter of request, Candidates for Reappointment, Tenure or Promotion submit to the Chair a file of evidence in accord with University Policy, the departmental criteria as outlined in this Handbook, and guidance from the Chair.  The contents of the file should be designed to facilitate evaluation and may contain supplementary material that is not mandated by University or Departmental policy, but which the Chair and candidate agree is helpful.  RTP files are evaluated by the Department’s Ad Hoc RTP Committee, which makes a recommendation, determined by vote, to the Chair.

  2. Reappointment

    The Chair ensures that two (2) peer evaluations of teaching are performed each year for each probationary Faculty member.   A written report of the evaluation is submitted to the Chair for placement in the Faculty member’s reappointment file. After the Ad Hoc RTP Committee makes reappointment recommendations, the Chair independently assesses the accomplishments of each probationary Faculty member and forwards that recommendation, and the committee's recommendation, to the Dean.  The Chair informs probationary Faculty of the committee's recommendation and provides a copy of the Chair’s recommendation to the Dean.  Probationary Faculty members who are not to be reappointed must be notified according to the schedule established in the CBA.  For Faculty members whose appointment is in the Regional Campuses, recommendations on reappointment from the Chair are forwarded to the Dean and the appropriate Regional Campus Dean.

    For probationary Faculty, reappointment is contingent upon demonstration of adequate progress toward the criteria for tenure.  Moreover, the Faculty member must have established and articulated short and long term plans for achieving these goals.  For Faculty members following the traditional tenure clock for Assistant Professors, the review after completion of three (3) full years in the probationary period at Kent State University is particularly critical. 

    After completion of the third year of the probationary period, assessments of a candidate for reappointment should consider the record of achievement in the areas of Scholarship, Teaching, and University Citizenship, with reference to progress towards the levels displayed in Tables 2, 3 and 4 that are used for Promotion and Tenure. These standards and tools should be used for developmental assistance and projection of future success in achieving tenure and promotion.   In weighing against such performance levels, it is to be clearly acknowledged that an early-career Faculty will not normally have had time to build up a career profile that meets all criteria for Tenure and Promotion. 

    Specific concerns expressed by the Ad Hoc RTP Committee and/or the Chair during this stage of the probationary period should be addressed by the candidate in subsequent reappointment reviews. Finally, the overall evaluation of a candidate for reappointment must include consideration of the Faculty member's personal integrity and professional behavior as recognized by the University community.  A sound ethical approach to all aspects of teaching, research, publication, and the academic profession is expected of all who seek, and judge, reappointment in the Department.  A candidate who fails to demonstrate likely success in the tenure process will be notified promptly that she/he will not be reappointed.

    In the event that concerns about a candidate’s performance are raised during the reappointment process, the Ad Hoc RTP Committee and the Chair shall provide detailed, prescriptive comments to serve as constructive feedback.  If such concerns arise during a review that occurs after completion of three (3) full years in the probationary period, the Chair, in consultation with the FAC, will advise and work with the candidate on a suitable, positive plan for realignment with the Department’s tenure and promotion expectations; however, the candidate is solely responsible for her/his success in implementing this plan.

    From time to time, personal and/or family circumstances may arise that require an untenured Faculty member to need to request that her/his probationary period be extended.  Upon request, a Faculty member may be granted an extension of the probationary period, which has been traditionally called “tolling” or “stopping the tenure clock.”  The University policy and procedures governing modification of the Faculty probationary period is included in the University Policy Register (Section 3342-6-13).

    For Faculty members whose appointment is in the Regional Campuses, recommendations on reappointment from the Chair are forwarded to the Dean and the appropriate Regional Campus Dean.  Department criteria are used to assess Department Faculty who are assigned to the Regional Campuses; however, due to differences in the missions of the Kent and Regional Campuses and differences in the nature of Faculty appointments on the Kent and Regional Campuses, the weighting of the categories of scholarship, teaching and University citizenship for Regional Campus Faculty in the Department is established by the Regional Campus to which the Faculty members is assigned.  Thus, the Kent Campus Ad Hoc RTP Committee and Chair will provide recommendations based on the Department criteria, as weighted by the Regional Campus.

    To this end, Regional Campus Faculty should ensure that a copy of their particular campus handbook weighting of criteria are included with the Reappointment, Tenure, and/or Promotion materials submitted to the Department for evaluation.

  3. Tenure and Promotion

    Tenure and promotion are separate decisions.  The granting of tenure is a decision that plays a crucial role in determining the quality of university Faculty and the national and international status of the University.  The awarding of tenure must be based on convincing documented evidence that the Faculty member has achieved a significant body of scholarship that has had an impact on her/his discipline, excellence as a teacher, and has provided effective service.  The candidate is also expected to continue and sustain, over the long term, a program of high quality teaching, scholarship and citizenship relevant to the mission of the candidate’s academic unit(s) and to the mission of the University.  Tenure considerations can include evaluation of accomplishments before arrival at Kent State University to examine consistency, as well as grant proposals submitted but not funded, proposals pending, papers “in review” or “in press,” graduate students currently advised, and any other materials that may reflect on the candidate’s potential for a long-term successful career.  The tenure decision is based on all of the evidence available to determine the candidate’s potential to pursue a productive career.

    On the other hand, promotion is recognition based on a candidate’s accomplishments completed during the review period and promotion decisions are based on papers published, grants received and graduate students graduated during the review period, as well as teaching evaluations and service to the University.   

    Many factors and criteria, both subjective and objective, are considered in recommending a Faculty member for tenure and advancement in academic rank. The overall evaluation of a candidate for tenure and promotion shall include consideration of the Faculty member's personal integrity and professional behavior as recognized by the University community.  A sound ethical approach to all aspects of teaching, research, publication, and the academic profession are expected of all who seek, and judge, tenure and promotion in the Department.

    1. Criteria for Tenure and Promotion

      When making recommendations on tenure and promotion, the Ad Hoc RTP Committee and the Chair shall evaluate Faculty performance in Scholarship, Teaching and University Citizenship.  For those three areas, Tables 2, 3, and 4 provide characterizations of a range of performance levels for tenure and promotion.  The final evaluations in each of Scholarship, Teaching and University Citizenship should be expressed as one of those levels.

      Promotion to Associate Professor is recognition for establishing a career likely to achieve national/international prominence.  This would normally be characterized by an “excellent” rating in either Scholarship or Teaching with at least a “very good” rating in the other category. University Citizenship must meet the Departmental obligations as outlined in Table 4. 

      Promotion to Professor is recognition for an established national/international prominence in scholarship that clearly shows a strong impact on the field as evidenced by citations, and other recognition.  The rating must be “excellent” in Scholarship, and normally this will involve sustained extramural grant support for the Faculty’s research.    A truly outstanding performance in publishing or grantsmanship can outweigh the need for strong performance in the other.     Normally the Teaching rating should be “very good” but a truly outstanding performance in Scholarship can outweigh this. University Citizenship must meet the Departmental obligations as outlined in Table 4.  

    2. Scholarship

      Scholarship is an essential and critical component of University activity, and the three areas most valued by the Physics Department are peer-reviewed publications, extramural grants, and external recognition. These terms are characterized more specifically in footnotes to Table 2.   The originality, quality, impact and value of the work must be assessed.  To assist this process, the candidate shall submit the names of at least five (5) experts in her/his field who are considered capable of judging the candidate's work.  A brief vita (typically one paragraph) of each such reference should be provided at the same time.   The candidate’s file should contain ample descriptive evidence of his/her scholarly activity.  A Faculty member's specific area of specialization may be a factor in the number and size of grants received and in the scope and time required for research and the resulting publications. A Faculty’s activity or accomplishment in scholarship often translates into one or more forms of external recognition by peers.  Such recognition is separately valued and weighed because it adds positively to the national and international reputation of the department and university.  Specific characterizations occur in the footnote to Table 2.

      i)Kent Campus Faculty

      All Faculty of the department are expected to seek excellence in scholarly activity.   Typical characterizations of four levels of performance are provided in Table 2.    For each level, the listed characterizations are meant to convey a clear sense of standards; they are not meant to be an exhaustive list or a mandatory check-list.    It is recognized that individual cases can bring accomplishments in areas that can’t be listed ahead of time.   Likewise, individual cases can sometimes display exceptionally high levels of accomplishment in some matters that outweigh lesser accomplishments in other matters.[1]  As footnotes to Table 2, characterizations are given for the key terms: publications, grants, proposals, and recognition to indicate in more depth the standards that are intended.

       

      [1] E.g., it can happen that a scientific idea, thought by all to be of small importance, and published without peer-review, is subsequently found to be of supreme importance by the whole field; more so than most peer-reviewed papers.  It is appropriate to recognize this as an important publication.  It can also happen that a research grant award is so large and prestigious that it overshadows a below average publication record while the grant proposal and the supporting research were developed.

       

      The Department particularly values a publishing record, of both quality and quantity, in refereed journals, as well as significant extramural funding of a Faculty’s scholarly program. All Faculty members in the Department are expected to produce records of scholarship that reflect their disciplinary focus, and the attributes of an individual Faculty member’s scholarly activity will vary across sub-areas.    Of particular importance for promotion to Professor is demonstrated impact upon the field as evidenced by citations.

      Performance Level

      Characterization

      Typical Indicators

      Excellent

      Nationally/Internationally recognized research program

      Sustained record of publications1 and grant2 support, invited Natn/Intn conference presentations, significant external academic recognition3.

      Very Good

      Emerging nationally

      recognized research program

      Record of publications, 1 grant award, sustained record of external grant proposals4, some Natn/Intn conference presentations, some external recognition.

      Good

      Active research program

      Some publications, some external proposals, some external presentations.

      Weak

      Limited or no research program

      Occasional or no publications or meeting presentations, no grants, no external proposals.

      Table 2. Kent Campus:  Characterizations of Performance Levels for Evaluations of Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion.

      Note: definitions in footnotes below refer to the meaning of “publications,” “grants,” “proposals,” and “recognition” throughout Table 2.

      [1] Publications include: papers published in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters published with editorial standards that include peer-review, and patents granted.  Quality of the journal or publishing house will weigh into the evaluation.  Papers of exceptional impact, quality, and those appearing in a major review journal are given particular consideration. 

      2 Grants refers to extramural funding of a physics project that significantly reflects the Faculty’s role, typically at a co-principal investigator level, with the funds providing comprehensive support for the Faculty’s role in the project.  Ingredients that will be weighed include graduate student support, postdoctoral support, travel, Faculty summer salary, research instrumentation, and potential for renewal.

      3 Recognitions include citations of peer-reviewed publications; invited or keynote presentations at international/national conferences; awards, prizes and honors; election to office in academic/professional societies; membership of editorial boards; membership on advisory or program committees of national/international conferences or review panels of federal funding agencies, etc.

      4Proposals refer to principal investigator (or co-principal investigator) of one or more proposals submitted for grants to support a Faculty’s research and scholarship.  Weighting will depend on the number and potential of the grant proposals.  Higher weight is given to external proposals that request stipend support for dissertation students carrying out part of the program.

       

      ii) Regional Campus Faculty:

      Departmental criteria are used to assess the scholarship of Department Faculty who are assigned to the Regional Campuses; however, due to differences in the missions of the Kent and Regional Campuses, resources that may be available for research, and differences in the nature of Faculty appointments on the Kent and Regional Campuses, the weighting of the categories of scholarship, teaching and University citizenship for Regional Campus Faculty in the Department of Physics is established by the Regional Campus to which the Faculty member is assigned.  Thus, the Kent Campus Ad Hoc RTP Committee and Chair will provide recommendations based on the Departmental criteria, as weighted by the Regional Campus.

      To this end, Regional Campus Faculty should ensure that a copy of their particular campus handbook weighting of criteria are included with the Reappointment, Tenure, and/or Promotion materials submitted to the Department for evaluation.

       

      iii) Quality of Publication Journals

      In assessing performance in the area of publication, the quality of journals must be taken into account.   Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, the impact factor, whether they are refereed or not, their relative quality among the journals that cater to the subfield, and the nature of the scholarship being reported. For example, the journals Nature and Science have high impact factors that reflect a readership that caters to several large but specifically limited sub-areas of science.   A very small proportion of physics papers are suitable for publication there; for many sub-areas of physics the top journals are others.   In evaluation of Faculty scholarship in a particular sub-area, it is more relevant to determine the quality of journals that cater to that sub-area.   If the paper is published in the top ranks of those area-specific journals, then the journal quality is high.  

      The comparison of short letter-size papers with full-length comprehensive papers also has a number of considerations, besides impact factor and sub-area journal quality, that must be weighed to get a true picture. Not all research results are appropriate to the short letter rapid communication format; nor are all appropriate to a full length comprehensive exposition.   Research on a new system with a well-established technique can often be best communicated in a letter journal, while a newly formulated technique often needs a full-length comprehensive exposition to make a publishable and appropriate case.  Again, the key consideration is: given the nature of the material, is the paper published in the top ranks of the context-specific journals.

    3. Teaching

      Typical characterizations of five levels of performance are provided in Table 3.    For each level, the listed characterizations are meant to convey a clear sense of standards; they are not meant to be an exhaustive list or a mandatory check-list.  It is recognized that individual cases can bring accomplishments in areas that can’t be listed ahead of time.   Likewise, individual cases can sometimes display exceptionally high levels of accomplishment in some matters that outweigh lesser accomplishments in other matters.[1]

      Course revision is defined as making a substantial modification to a course such as developing several new laboratory exercises, addition of distance learning options, effecting major change of course curriculum/format, etc.  Other information such as written comments from students and/or Faculty within and beyond the Department or College shall be considered when available.  Peer reviews and summaries of Student Surveys of Instruction (including all student comments) must be submitted as part of a candidate’s file for reappointment, tenure and promotion.  Copies of representative syllabi, examinations, and other relevant teaching material should also be available for review.  Documentation related to graduate student, undergraduate student, and post-doctoral student training should be included in materials provided by a candidate for reappointment, tenure and promotion.  Faculty members are expected to mentor graduate students (particularly at the doctoral level) and/or postdoctoral students.  Evaluation of teaching will account for differences in missions and expectations across campuses. 

       

       

      [1] E.g., it can happen that, through contacts made via  internship of  several students at an area company, an instructor/mentor is invited by the company to give informal scientific advice  to regular employees, and thereby a strong working relationship is set up which leads to a stronger future internship program.   It is appropriate to recognize this as an important and innovative teaching/mentoring achievement even though it was not an official course during the evaluation period.   It can also happen that an instructional grant award is so large and prestigious that it overshadows below average student evaluations for the period.  

       

      Table 3. Kent CampusCharacterizations of Performance Levels for Evaluation of Teaching for Tenure and Promotion

      Performance Level

      Characterization

             Typical Indicators

      Excellent

      Innovative teacher; provides leadership in instructional program/curricular

      development

      Develop or lead major revision of courses or labs;  excellent supervision of undergrads in Honors theses or Individual Investigations etc.,  as well as excellent research supervision of graduate students; teaching awards or other instructional recognition; excellent student and peer reviews; PhD or MS graduations; instructional grant support.

      Very Good

      Innovative teacher

      Revise courses or labs; very good student and peer reviews; effective research supervision of grad students; instructional grant proposal.

      Good

      Meets obligations well

      Good student and peer reviews;  contributes to curricular revisions

      Fair

      Substandard teacher

      Fair student and peer reviews

      Poor

      Substandard, ineffective teacher

      Poor student and peer reviews; complaints





















      Departmental criteria are used to assess the teaching of Department Faculty who are assigned to the Regional Campuses; however, due to differences in the missions of the Kent and Regional Campuses, resources that may be available for research, and differences in the nature of Faculty appointments on the Kent and Regional Campuses, the weighting of the categories of scholarship, teaching and University citizenship for Regional Campus Faculty in the Department of Physics is established by the Regional Campus to which the Faculty member is assigned.  Thus, the Kent Campus Ad Hoc RTP Committee and Chair will provide recommendations based on the Departmental criteria, as weighted by the Regional Campus.

      To this end, Regional Campus Faculty should ensure that a copy of their particular campus handbook weighting of criteria are included with the Reappointment, Tenure, and/or Promotion materials submitted to the Department for evaluation.



       

       

       

    4. University Citizenship

      A Faculty member's contributions as a University citizen include service to the Department, the Campus, the College, and the University.  The Department expects each Faculty to accept shared responsibility for the maintenance and development of Departmental programs and to productively carry out associated administrative tasks that may be assigned.

      Typical characterizations of three levels of performance are provided in Table 4.    For each level, the listed characterizations are meant to convey a clear sense of standards; they are not meant to be an exhaustive list or a mandatory check-list.    It is recognized that individual cases can bring accomplishments in areas that can’t be listed ahead of time.   Likewise, individual cases can sometimes display exceptionally high levels of accomplishment in some matters that outweigh lesser accomplishments in other matters.[1]  

      Those items of citizenship involving committee service or administrative assignments should be evaluated as to (1) whether the committee chairmanship was effective, (2) whether service on the committee was productive, and (3) the importance of the service to the mission of the unit served.  Less tangible components of citizenship include active participation in department events such as Faculty and graduate student recruitment, seminars, department meetings and seminars, etc.

      Being an active and useful citizen of the Department, Campus, College and University is expected and valued; however, service of any magnitude cannot be considered more important than a candidate's research and other scholarly activity and instructional responsibilities.  If the performance levels in scholarship and teaching are satisfied, the minimum criteria in University Citizenship for promotion and tenure is “meets obligations”.

       

      [1] E.g., it can happen that, a research grant award contains a significant public service component that brings prestige to the Department and University.   It is appropriate to not confine the evaluation to simply research.     It can also happen that a role in University service is so productive and highly thought of that it overshadows a minimal record in other possible citizenship.

       

      Table 4. Kent CampusCharacterizations of Performance Levels for Evaluation of University Citizenship for Tenure and Promotion

      Performance Level

                                Typical Indicators

      Exceeds obligations

      Significant role in Department, College, or University affairs as evidenced by productive service on committees, and  some of: active participation in significant events, effectively chairing committees, effective completion of administrative assignments, significant public outreach, external grant support for Departmental facilities or infrastructure, excellence in undergraduate advising.

      Meets obligations

      Adequate role in Department, College, or University affairs as evidenced by service on committees, and some of:  effective chairing of committees, effective completion of administrative assignments, public outreach, external proposal for Departmental facilities or infrastructure.

      Does not meet obligations

      Rarely participates in Department, College, or University affairs,  ineffective in committees or administrative assignments, does not actively participate in departmental/campus events

      Other components of service are also considered (including public outreach and public and professional service) in reappointment, tenure and promotion decisions and may differ in their importance among Faculty members depending on each Faculty member’s duties and responsibilities within the Department. 

      Departmental criteria are used to assess the University citizenship of Department Faculty who are assigned to the Regional Campuses; however, due to differences in the missions of the Kent and Regional Campuses, resources that may be available for research, and differences in the nature of Faculty appointments on the Kent and Regional Campuses, the weighting of the categories of scholarship, teaching and University citizenship for Regional Campus Faculty in the Department of Physics is established by the Regional Campus to which the Faculty member is assigned.  Thus, the Kent Campus Ad Hoc RTP Committee and Chair will provide recommendations based on the Departmental criteria, as weighted by the Regional Campus.

      To this end, Regional Campus Faculty should ensure that a copy of their particular campus handbook weighting of criteria are included with the Reappointment, Tenure, and/or Promotion materials submitted to the Department for evaluation.