Faculty Handbook

Promotion Procedures & Forms

  • Purpose

    The promotion forms are intended to facilitate and systematize promotion recommendation procedures on a university-wide basis. Although the unit promotion committee chairperson is the principal administrative agent who uses most of these forms, uniform procedural integrity cannot be achieved unless careful adherence to their contextual provisions is respected at all administrative levels. If non-substantive errors are made in the record-keeping portion of the procedures (such as failure to initial action taken, misreporting of the number of peers, etc.) or if further clarification is required, these errors may be corrected or clarifications made at any level of review without impacting the timeline for review.

  • Procedures

    These procedures are designed for normal use in an academic unit when a candidate for tenure is not the unit chairperson. If a unit chairperson is a tenure candidate, he/she shall be omitted from the administrative chain, and the dean/director shall perform all tenure duties normally performed by the unit chairperson. If the director is a tenure candidate, then the person to whom he/she reports at the next higher administrative level.

    Under these procedures, a consideration for promotion should progress as follows for tenure or tenure-track faculty:

    1. Early in the fall term, the unit chairperson shall determine whether any member of the unit will complete the requisite number of years of appropriate professional experience by the end of that academic year and wishes to be considered for promotion, utilizing Form P6. If so, the unit chairperson shall complete Form P2 and shall call a meeting no later than September 15 of all unit peers (as defined in Academic Tenure) who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate. The unit chairperson shall compile a list of unit peers qualified to vote and make this list available where appropriate. This body of unit peers shall vote to determine whether it wishes to act as a committee of the whole or to establish a unit promotion committee to conduct the promotion procedures. Whether consisting of all qualified unit peers, of a smaller number of qualified unit peers acting as a separate committee, or of qualified unit peers and others as provided in paragraph 2 below, the promotion committee shall consist of no fewer than five persons, except in units where the total number of full-time faculty members is five or fewer, or where there are no unit peers who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate, in which case the committee may consist of three persons.
    2. In the event that there be fewer than five individuals in the unit who meet the definition of unit peers who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate, the unit promotion committee must be expanded to include either individuals outside the unit who do meet the above criteria, or members of the unit who do not meet all those criteria, and who shall be considered peers for all purposes of this process. Members of the unit who do not meet the above criteria should normally be selected before individuals outside the unit. The selection of these additional members of the promotion committee shall be done by those members of the unit who do meet all stated criteria, in consultation with the  unit chairperson, at the meeting stipulated in paragraph 1 above. In the event that there be no unit peers who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate, the unit chairperson, in consultation with the dean of the college, the candidate, and the entire unit faculty, shall select a promotion committee of no fewer than three appropriate members of the University faculty, including at least one-third of its members from the candidate's unit and at least one-third of its members from the University faculty who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate.
    3. Even when there are five or more unit peers who meet all the required criteria for membership on the promotion committee, it may be desirable to incorporate into that committee either non-unit members or members of the unit who do not meet all required criteria. It may also be desirable to incorporate (using some objective criterion) into the plenum of peers voting at the meeting discussed in paragraph 9. below, members of the unit who do not meet all required criteria. This flexibility shall be left to the professional judgment of those members of the unit who do meet all required criteria, acting in consultation with the unit chairperson. This decision shall be made at the meeting stipulated in paragraph 1 above.
    4. Once constituted, the promotion committee shall elect its own chairperson who shall not be the unit chairperson.
    5. The unit chairperson shall not vote with the unit peers and shall not be counted in determining the plenum on which a majority is to be determined, but may submit material to the faculty member's promotion dossier in response to Form P8, and may participate in the meeting at which the recommendation of the peers is determined, as provided in paragraph 9 below.
    6. After the unit promotion committee has been established and its chairperson selected, responsibility for directing the process transfers to the chairperson of the unit promotion committee. This committee is an agent of the unit peers, gathering and summarizing information.
    7. The chairperson of the unit promotion committee shall ensure that the candidate's promotion dossier is properly assembled and shall send the letters listed on Forms P7 through P13, as appropriate, enclosing copies of Forms P4 and P14, and ensure that responses to these letters are included in the dossier. Forms P7, P8, P9, P10, P11, P12, and P13 may be sent via electronic mail; however, if electronic mail is used, recipients must be advised that their responses cannot be received by electronic mail but must be supplied on paper with original signature. When all appropriate materials have been gathered into the dossier, the chairperson of the unit promotion committee, in consultation with the members of the committee, shall prepare a report synthesizing the materials in the dossier using the format supplied in Form P14. The consultation with the members of the committee may take place informally; a meeting is not required.
    8. No evaluation and/or recommendation shall be submitted by peers (either within or without one's unit) or administrators who are members of the candidate's immediate family. ("Members of the family" shall include spouse, domestic partner, cohabitant, child, stepchild, grandchild, parent, stepparent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent, great grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepsibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin (that is, a child of an aunt or uncle).
    9. The chairperson of the promotion committee will then send the letters inviting the peers (Form P15) and the unit chairperson and other members of the unit to review the dossier, and scheduling a meeting for a discussion of the merits of the candidate and a secret ballot which will determine which type of recommendation the peers wish to make concerning the promotion of the candidate. (Form P15 and other notifications may be sent by electronic mail.) At the unit meeting, the qualifications of the candidate should be candidly and professionally discussed. The candidate will not be present at this meeting. The unit chairperson and all non-peer members of the unit may participate in the initial phases of this discussion, sharing with the peers their professional judgment concerning the materials submitted to the dossier. At an agreed upon point, the unit chairperson and non-peers shall withdraw from the meeting, after which discussion may continue. Then, the chairperson of the unit promotion committee shall conduct the vote by secret ballot, utilizing the ballot provided at the bottom of Form P16. In this vote, peers who, for compelling professional (such as leave-of-absence or attendance at professional meetings) or personal (such as hospitalization, being snow-bound) reasons cannot be physically present at the meeting may submit to the chairperson of the promotion committee an absentee vote. This privilege should not be lightly invoked, and shall not be extended to peers who are able to be physically present, inasmuch as participation in the discussion of the merits of the candidate is a significant element in the decision-making process. Should a peer who cannot be present at the meeting due to compelling professional or personal reasons believe that his/her absence destroys his/her ability to render a professional judgment, he/she may so inform the chairperson of the promotion committee in writing, in which case the absent peer shall not vote and shall not be counted in determining the plenum on which a majority is to be determined. Following the vote, each peer present shall complete an anonymous evaluation, utilizing the top portion of Form P16, giving reasons for his/her vote. Voting is not a choice, but an obligation. Failure to vote counts as a negative vote.
    10. The chairperson of the promotion committee shall then summarize the discussion held at the meeting and compile the results of the evaluations on the upper portions of Form P16. Under the direction of the chairperson of the promotion committee, and with no person other than he/she and the typist having access to the forms, all the written comments on the upper portions of Form P16 shall be typed on another sheet of paper and included as part of this compilation. The forms containing handwritten comments shall then be detached from the ballots on the lower part of Form P16 and shall be destroyed. Copies of this summary and compilation shall be sent to the candidate with Form P17, and shall be included with the ballots and the results of the vote in the promotion dossier. The chairperson of the promotion committee shall then initiate Form P18 and transmit the entire dossier to the unit chairperson by November 21.
    11. When the unit chairperson receives the promotion dossier with the recommendation (as expressed in their vote) of the unit peers from the unit promotion committee, he/she shall record his/her recommendation on Form P18. If his/her recommendation agrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall transmit the complete promotion dossier to the dean. If his/her recommendation disagrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall write a letter to the unit peers explaining why he/she disagrees with their vote, transmit a copy of the letter to the faculty member being considered for promotion and to the administrator to whom the faculty member immediately reports, if other than the unit chairperson, add a copy of the letter to the promotion dossier, and transmit the complete promotion dossier to the dean by January 10.
    12. When the Board has taken action, the unit chairperson shall return to the candidate the portion of the promotion dossier which can be reassembled, such as publications, computer programs, and slides. The unit chairperson shall file the remainder of the dossier in the unit files and retain it for a period of five years from the time of Board action.


      Under these procedures, a consideration for promotion should progress as follows for Lecturer rank faculty:
    13. Three-Year Contract Periods. A Lecturer is evaluated annually by the unit chairperson in the same manner as other faculty members in the unit. Lecturers are hired on a three-year contract. However, just as in the case of tenure-track faculty, and only for just cause, the contract can be cancelled with 30-day notice. Early in the spring semester of the first year of the contract period (as well as annually thereafter), a lecturer turns in a dossier for evaluation by the faculty. The dossier should be compiled and be consistent with Form P3. Notification to submit the dossier should be made by the chair by January 15 and the dossier should be submitted by February 15. The tenured faculty of the unit provide comments as appropriate to their Agreement on Responsibilities using Form LP (progress evaluation) to the chairperson. If an unsatisfactory progress evaluation results, the faculty member is put on probation. The chairperson counsels the faculty member in regards to the evaluation. In the second year of the three-year contract, the tenured faculty evaluate and in addition comment on renewal of the 3-year contract. If the recommendation of the faculty is “renew contract,” at that time, and if the unit chairperson and dean are in agreement, a new three-year contract is generated by Academic Affairs. If the recommendation of the faculty is “unsatisfactory” and “do not renew contract” and this was a probationary year, along with affirmation by the chairperson and dean, the contact is not renewed and the faculty member has one year to seek alternative employment, otherwise, they are put on probation. If progress during year-three is a probationary year and is unsatisfactory, the faculty member is terminated at the end of that term. The faculty member is evaluated and counseled by the unit chairperson following each faculty evaluation. Any two successive “unsatisfactory progress” ratings results in non-renewal of a 3-year contract.
    14. Promotion Consideration: Form L2 should be completed as the first step in promotion consideration by the unit chair.  Lecturers are eligible for consideration for promotion to Senior Lecturer in the second semester of the fifth year  of service as Lecturer. The promotion committee includes all tenured faculty, and any Senior or Master Lecturers with a minimum of three years of service at Tennessee Tech. Up to two years prior service can be granted at the time of hire. Senior Lecturers are eligible for consideration for promotion to Master Lecturer in the second semester of the fifth year of service as Senior Lecturer. The promotion committee includes all tenured faculty, and any Master Lecturers with a minimum of three years of service at Tennessee Tech. Eligibility for promotion consideration is determined with  Form L2. The promotion dossier should be compiled and be consistent with Form P3. Notification to submit the dossier should be made by the chairperson by January 15 and the dossier should be submitted by February 15, if promotion consideration is desired. After the first eligibility of promotion is communicated to the candidate, it is up to them in the future to notify the chairperson they wish to be considered for promotion. The above listed unit faculty provide comments as appropriate to their Agreement on Responsibilities using Form LP (Promotion Evaluation) and make their recommendation to the chairperson. The chairperson then makes a recommendation concerning promotion to the dean by March 1.
    15. Promotion Committee Composition: For promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer, the promotion committee includes all tenured faculty, and any Senior or Master Lecturers with a minimum of three years of service at Tennessee Tech. For promotion from Senior Lecturer to Master Lecturer, the promotion committee includes all tenured faculty, and any Master Lecturers with a minimum of three years of service at Tennessee Tech.  In the event that there be fewer than five individuals in the unit who meet the definition above for committee composition, the promotion committee must be expanded to include either individuals outside the unit who do meet the above criteria, or members of the unit who do not meet all those criteria, and who shall be considered peers for all purposes of this process. Members of the unit who do not meet the above criteria should normally be selected before individuals outside the unit. The selection of these additional members of the promotion committee shall be done by those members of the unit who do meet all stated criteria, in consultation with the unit chairperson, at a specially called faculty meeting. In the event that there be no unit peers who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate, the unit chairperson, in consultation with the dean of the college, the candidate, and the entire unit faculty, shall select a promotion committee of no fewer than three appropriate members of the University faculty, including at least one-third of its members from the candidate's unit and at least one-third of its members from the University faculty who hold rank equal to or higher than that for which the faculty member is a candidate.

  • Forms

    • Form P1 or Form L1 PROCEDURES FOR PROMOTION RECOMMENDATION FLOW AND CHECK-OFF LIST: This form serves as a check-off list, assuring uniform procedural integrity at all levels of evaluation. It is initiated by the unit chairperson. The person responsible for any given step should, in the spaces provided, initial and date that step at its completion.
    • Form P2, Form L2, or Form I2 PROMOTION CONSIDERATION CHECK-OFF LIST: This form will be completed by the unit chairperson early in the fall term for all faculty members eligible for consideration. Space is provided at the end for the unit chairperson's signature and the date on which the check-off list is completed. Form L2 should be used for Lecturer rank faculty. Form I2 should be used for Instructor rank faculty.
    • Form P3 PROMOTION DATA SHEET: This form ensures considerable uniformity in the gathering of information. The uniformity in format enables the unit peers, the unit chairperson, the dean of the college and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to focus on specific factors when comparison of two or more faculty members is necessary. It is suggested that the unit chairperson as a routine matter have such a form completed for everyone in the unit who is a potential candidate for promotion, and that the unit chairperson and the faculty member review this form each year as part of each faculty member's annual evaluation when he/she brings up to date the Agreement on Responsibilities (Form P4).
    • Form P4 AGREEMENT ON RESPONSIBILITIES: This form outlines the various responsibilities of the faculty member as mutually agreed upon by the faculty member and administrator to whom he/she immediately reports. Since this form sets forth those areas in which the faculty member expects to be evaluated, the relative weights must be taken into account by the unit peers, the unit chairperson, the dean of the college, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Faculty members truly outstanding in one area but less active or successful in other areas may well be contributing more to the University than those adequate in all areas but outstanding in none.  Any faculty member whose duties require an unusual amount of professional activity not adequately covered in Form P4, or librarians who are judged on performance of professional responsibilities, should prepare a document which will describe the expected performance to allow clear evaluation in relation to assigned and expected responsibilities. This form (P4) provides useful supportive data, and copies of all such forms for the last four years or from the date of initial employment, whichever is the shorter period, must be part of the faculty member's dossier.
    • Form P5 FACULTY ANNUAL REPORT: This report is to be compiled for each academic year. The Promotion Data Sheet (Form P3) requires that this report for the four preceding years or from the date of initial employment be included in the candidate's dossier. The required format of the Faculty Annual Report is defined by each academic unit. Every faculty member is expected to prepare and file a Faculty Annual Report for each calendar year he/she is employed at this University.
    • Form P6 FORM LETTER TO FACULTY MEMBER ELIGIBLE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR PROMOTION: This is the first step taken by the  unit chairperson after determining that a faculty member meets the requirements to be considered for promotion. It requests the compilation of the faculty member's promotion dossier which subsequently will be available to his/her unit peers for reference. The promotion dossier for each faculty member will include a Data Sheet (Form P3), Agreements on Responsibilities (Form P4) for the past four years or from the date of initial employment, whichever is the shorter period, Faculty Annual Reports (Form P5) for the past four years or from the date of initial employment, whichever is the shorter period, student evaluations (using an approved University instrument) for at least one term each year (in all classes) for each of the previous four years or since initial appointment, whichever is the shorter period, and grade distributions (showing the course average against the students' average) for the terms in which the submitted student evaluations are conducted. The faculty member is also invited to submit a list of individuals from outside the unit who will be solicited for evaluations to be added to his/her dossier (use Forms P10 to P13 as appropriate). The promotion dossier may include other relevant materials supplied by the faculty member.
    • Form L6 FORM LETTER TO LECTURER ELIGIBLE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR PROMOTION: This is the first step taken by the unit chairperson after determining that a lecturer meets the requirements to be considered for promotion. It requests the compilation of the faculty member's promotion dossier which subsequently will be available to his/her unit peers for reference. The promotion dossier for each faculty member will include a Data Sheet (Use Form P3), Agreements on Responsibilities (Use Form P4) for the past four years or from the date of initial employment, whichever is the shorter period, Faculty Annual Reports (Form P5) for the past four years or from the date of initial employment, whichever is the shorter period, student evaluations (using an approved University instrument) for all classes for each of the previous four years or since initial appointment, whichever is the shorter period, and grade distributions (showing the course average against the students' average) for the terms in which the submitted student evaluations are conducted. The promotion dossier may include other relevant materials supplied by the faculty member.
    • Form P6a FORM LETTER FROM FACULTY MEMBER WISHING TO BE CONSIDERED FOR PROMOTION: This form notifies the unit chairperson when a faculty member wants to be considered for promotion.
    • Form L6a FORM LETTER FROM LECTURER WISHING TO BE CONSIDERED FOR PROMOTION: This form notifies the unit chairperson that a lecturer who was previously eligible for promotion consideration, wants to be considered for promotion at this time
    • Form P7 FORM LETTER TO PEER EVALUATOR REQUESTING INFORMATION FOR A FACULTY MEMBER'S PROMOTION DOSSIER: This form requests information which may be added to the dossier and must be sent to each unit peer.
    • Form P8 FORM LETTER TO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE UNIT: This form requests that the unit chairperson submit relevant information that may be available at the unit or college level that may be significant to the promotion decision of the peers. It requests information only, not evaluation.
    • Form P9 FORM LETTER TO THE ADMINISTRATOR TO WHOM THE FACULTY MEMBER IMMEDIATELY REPORTS: Since some faculty members report immediately to an administrator, such as a Director of a Center of Excellence, other than their unit chairperson, this form is to be used to request submissions to the promotion dossier from that administrator.
    • Form P10 FORM LETTER TO A NON-PEER EVALUATOR REQUESTING INFORMATION FOR A FACULTY MEMBER'S PROMOTION DOSSIER: This form is included for the convenience of the chairperson of the promotion committee in soliciting material from evaluators suggested by the candidate. It may be used for non-peer unit faculty members and non-unit evaluators (except for the off-campus evaluators required for promotion to the rank of full professor). Use of these evaluators is not explicitly required by the Policy. For off-campus evaluators required for the rank of full professor, use Form P11.
    • Form P11 FORM LETTER TO OFF-CAMPUS EVALUATOR OF CANDIDATE FOR PROMOTION TO RANK OF FULL PROFESSOR: This form letter will be used only for the faculty member being considered for the rank of full professor. Faculty will provide the names of 6-8 potential external reviewers, mutually agreed upon by the faculty member and the unit chairperson, along with their contact information and the nature of how they know the individual providing the review. The unite promotion committee will select 4-6 as reviewers. The evaluators must be at universities or appropriate institutions other than Tennessee Technological University At least four such evaluations must be included in the dossier. The faculty member under review may request, in writing, that more than 4 letters be sent for external review.
    • Form P12 FORM LETTER TO FORMER STUDENT: This is not explicitly required by the Policy for candidates for promotion.
    • Form P13 FORM LETTER TO ADVISEE: Candidates for promotion must submit a list of advisees who will be invited by the chair of the promotion committee to submit letters to be included in the candidate's dossier.
    • Form P14 AREAS AND CRITERIA TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN EVALUATING A PEER FOR PROMOTION: This form summarizes the areas and criteria to be considered when making a promotion recommendation. A copy is to be included with all letters to all evaluators. This form also contains instructions to the promotion committee chair concerning the required Committee Summary of the Dossier.
    • Form P15 FORM LETTER TO UNIT PEER EVALUATOR SCHEDULING A VOTE: The vote is to be conducted by secret ballot. The entire contents of the promotion dossier are available for inspection by the unit peers. Since the Policy on Faculty Promotion, Tennessee Technological University, states "Recommendations for ... promotion ... shall devolve from the professional judgment of the peers in the academic unit," this step may be the most significant one in the procedures for promotion recommendation. The chairperson of the promotion committee will send this form letter to all unit peers.
    • Form L15 FORM LETTER TO UNIT PEER EVALUATOR SCHEDULING A VOTE: The vote is to be conducted by secret ballot. The entire contents of the promotion dossier are available for inspection by the unit peers. Since the Policy on Faculty Promotion, Tennessee Technological University, states "Recommendations for ... promotion ... shall devolve from the professional judgment of the peers in the academic unit," this step may be the most significant one in the procedures for promotion recommendation. The chairperson of the unit will send this form letter to all unit peers.
    • Form P16 PEER EVALUATION OF FACULTY FOR PROMOTION CONSIDERATION.
    • Form LP PEER EVALUATION OF LECTURER RANK FACULTY. This form is used to both evaluate lecturer rank faculty as well as make promotion recommendations.
    • Form P17 FORM LETTER TRANSMITTING THE REPORT OF THE UNIT PROMOTION COMMITTEE AND THE VOTE OF THE UNIT PEERS TO THE FACULTY MEMBER WHO IS BEING CONSIDERED FOR PROMOTION.
    • Form L17 FORM LETTER TRANSMITTING THE VOTE OF THE UNIT PEERS TO THE LECTURER WHO IS BEING CONSIDERED FOR PROMOTION. A memo from the unit chairperson should accompany this form addressed to the Dean and include information supporting their promotion recommendation.
    • Form P18 PROMOTION COVER SHEET: The chairperson of the promotion committee initiates this form after the unit peers have voted. Form P18 should be the first document in the faculty member's dossier and should be dated and initialed at each step. The chairperson of the promotion committee places this form in the promotion dossier and transmits the entire promotion dossier to the unit chairperson.
    • Form L18 PROMOTION COVER SHEET: The chairperson of the unit initiates this form after the unit peers have voted. Form L18 should be the first document in the faculty member's dossier and should be dated and initialed at each step. The chairperson of the unit places this form in the promotion dossier and transmits the entire promotion dossier to the Dean.
    • PROMOTION DOSSIER CHECKLIST: This form is used to organize the promotion dossier for Instructors and Professorial rank faculty in a uniform way. Lecturer rank faculty should use Form P3 for dossier organization.
    • TENURE AND PROMOTION COMBINED DOSSIER CHECKLIST: This form is used to organize a combined dossier for both tenure and promotion.

  • Dean Guidelines

    1. The dean shall review the dossier (see Form P1, Item 4) and make a recommendation on the Promotion Cover Sheet (Form P18, Item 3). Committees at the college level are not authorized by these procedures.
    2. If the dean disagrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall write a letter to the unit peers explaining the reason(s) for his/her disagreement. He/she shall also forward a copy of the letter to the candidate for promotion, to the unit chairperson, and to the administrator to whom the faculty member immediately reports if this is not the chairperson, and he/she shall include a copy of the letter in the promotion dossier.
    3. The dean shall forward the unabridged dossier to the Vice President for Academic Affairs by February 15 (see Form P1, Item 4).
    4. The dean shall perform all promotion recommendation duties normally performed by the unit chairperson if the chairperson is a candidate for promotion. (See the description of procedures above.)

  • Provost Guidelines

    1. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall review the dossier (see Form P1, Item 5) and make a recommendation on the Promotion Cover Sheet (Form P18, Item 3). Committees at the university level are not authorized by these procedures.
    2. If the Vice President for Academic Affairs disagrees with the recommendation as expressed in the vote of the unit peers, he/she shall write a letter to the unit peers explaining the reason(s) for his/her disagreement. He/she shall also forward a copy of the letter to the candidate for promotion, to the unit chairperson, to the administrator to whom the faculty member immediately reports, if this is not the chairperson, and to the dean, and he/she shall include a copy of the letter in the promotion dossier.
    3. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall forward the complete dossier with his/her recommendation to the President by March 15 (see Form P1, Item 5).



 

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