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

    Forms are available via the Provost's website:

    www.tntech.edu/provost/tenure_and_promotion_documents.php

  • 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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