Promotion and Tenure Procedure, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
To articulate the standards and procedures for promotion and/or tenure for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Faculty and Unclassified Academic Staff within the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Scope and Purpose. The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank are among the most important and far-reaching decisions made by the department because an excellent faculty is an essential component of any outstanding institution of higher learning. Promotion and tenure decisions also have a profound effect on the lives and careers of faculty. Recommendations concerning promotion and tenure must be made carefully, based upon a thorough examination of the candidate’s record and the impartial application of these criteria and procedures, established in compliance with the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR) Article VI.
It is the purpose of this document to promote the rigorous and fair evaluation of faculty performance during the promotion and tenure process by (a) establishing criteria that express the department’s expectations for meeting University standards in terms of disciplinary practices; (b) providing procedures for the initial evaluation of teaching, scholarship, and service (c) preserving and enhancing the participatory rights of candidates, including the basic right to be informed about critical stages of the process and to have an opportunity to respond to negative evaluations; and (d) clarifying the responsibilities, roles, and relationships of the participants in the promotion and tenure review process.
Each level of review, including the initial review, the intermediate review, and the University level review, conducts an independent evaluation of a candidate’s record of performance and makes independent recommendations to the next review level. Later stages of review neither affirm nor reverse earlier recommendations, which remain part of the record for consideration by the Chancellor. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the review process to exercise his/her own judgment to evaluate a faculty member’s teaching, scholarship, and service based upon the entirety of the data and information in the record. No single source of information, such as peer review letters, shall be considered a conclusive indicator of quality.
Academic Freedom. All faculty members, regardless of rank, are entitled to academic freedom in relation to teaching and scholarship, and the right as citizens to speak on matters of public concern. Likewise, all faculty members, regardless of rank, bear the obligation to exercise their academic freedom responsibly and in accordance with the accepted standards of their academic disciplines.
Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest. Consideration and evaluation of a faculty member’s record is a confidential personnel matter. Only those persons eligible to vote on promotion and tenure may participate in or observe deliberations or have access to the personnel file (except that clerical staff may assist in the preparation of documents under conditions that assure confidentiality).
No person shall participate in any aspect of the promotion and tenure process concerning a candidate when participation would create a clear conflict of interest or compromise the impartiality of an evaluation or recommendation.
If a candidate believes that there is a conflict of interest, the candidate may petition to have that person recuse him/herself. If a committee member does not recuse him/herself, a decision about whether that person has a conflict of interest shall be made by a majority of the other committee members.
General Principles. The University strives for a consistent standard of quality against which the performance of all faculty members is measured. Nonetheless, the nature of faculty activities varies across the University and a faculty member’s record must be evaluated in light of his/her particular responsibilities and the expectations of the discipline. These criteria state the department’s expectations of performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service necessary to satisfy the University standards for promotion for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor and for promotion to full professor, or equivalent ranks.
Teaching and scholarship should normally be given primary consideration, but the particular weight to be accorded to each component of a faculty member’s activities depends upon the responsibilities of the faculty member. The College has traditionally recognized the 40-40-20 formula for weighting research, teaching, and service, except when weight is differentiated for unclassified academic staff members pursuant to their job description.
Teaching. Teaching is a primary function of the University, which strives to provide an outstanding education for its students. The evaluation of teaching includes consideration of syllabi, course materials, and other information related to a faculty member’s courses; peer and student evaluations; a candidate’s own statement of teaching philosophy and goals; public representations of teaching; and other accepted methods of evaluation, which may include external evaluations. EEB uses the University “Student Survey of Teaching” instrument, which provides opportunities for students to rate instructors numerically (e.g., scale: 1–5, with 1 being low), and also allows students to offer written comments about the quality of the course and the instructor. The department transcribes all hand-written student comments, thereby ensuring confidentiality. It is departmental policy to announce this protection to the students before distributing the evaluation forms so that they are aware of the confidentiality of their comments.
High quality teaching is serious intellectual work grounded in a deep knowledge and understanding of the field and includes the ability to convey that understanding in clear and engaging ways.
The conduct of classes is the central feature of teaching responsibilities at KU, but teaching also includes supervising student research and clinical activities, mentoring and advising students, and other teaching-related activities outside of the classroom.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate effective teaching, as reflected in such factors as command of the subject matter, the ability to communicate effectively in the classroom, a demonstrated commitment to student learning, and involvement in providing advice and support for students outside the classroom.
In the department, the following teaching expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor: The teaching expectations of faculty holding a 1.0 FTE appointment in EEB are normally considered to be two 3-credit courses per year or the equivalent. Faculty members with joint appointments in EEB and other units (e.g., the Kansas Biological Survey or the Biodiversity Institute) may have different responsibilities relative to those with full-time department appointments. All faculty members with a regular appointment are expected to receive solid, positive student evaluations; advise graduate students; undergraduate students, and/or postdoctoral associates (i.e., provide guidance in developing and implementing research and promote career planning as appropriate); and teach both graduate and undergraduate courses.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate continued effectiveness and growth as a teacher, as reflected in such factors as mastery of the subject matter, strong classroom teaching skills, an ongoing commitment to student learning, and active involvement in providing advice and support for students outside the classroom.
In the department, the following teaching expectations to meet University standards apply also for the promotion to the rank of professor: Continue high quality performance in teaching classes; receive solid; positive student evaluations; enhance contributions to graduate and undergraduate education through mentoring of students; guide research activities; service on graduate student committees; and involvement (as appropriate) in the supervision and mentoring of postdoctoral associates.
Scholarship. The concept of “scholarship” encompasses not only traditional academic research and publication, but also the creation of artistic works or performances and any other products or activities accepted by the academic discipline as reflecting scholarly effort and achievement for purposes of promotion and tenure. While the nature of scholarship varies among disciplines, the University adheres to a consistently high standard of quality in its scholarly activities to which all faculty members, regardless of discipline, are held. In EEB, scholarship is defined as research that:
(1) is innovative and addresses fundamental issues that are significant to ecology and/or evolutionary biology;
(2) is related to work in progress by other researchers in these fields;
(3) is focused and can be applied across relevant fields;
(4) is based on current, innovative, and appropriate techniques and analyses;
(5) produces results that are disseminated in high-quality, peer-reviewed publications;
(6) advances discovery while promoting teaching, training, and learning;
(7) synthesizes a body of knowledge and advances new testable hypotheses; and/or
(8) enhances the infrastructure for research and education, and for networks and partnerships.
The candidate is expected to make frequent presentations at national and international meetings, and be invited to participate in symposia, panels, workshops, and university seminar series. The candidate also should be effective in communicating his/her results and their significance to the non-scientific public. The quality of a research program also is judged by the candidate’s efforts to secure, and success at obtaining, extramural funding for his/her research activities and sufficient to support a graduate and/or post-doctoral training program.
To evaluate peer-reviewed publications objectively, the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee conducts a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the candidate’s publication record. Developing objective measures of research productivity and value can be challenging, but metrics such as the following may be generated to create a profile of a candidate’s publication record through time. The overall goal of the review is to synthesize diverse information about the scholarship of the candidate and not to make decisions based on a single aspect of the candidate’s record.
1. Publication Number
a. In the disciplines of ecology and evolutionary biology, publication number depends on the research discipline of the candidate. Some disciplines regularly expect a large number of relatively short publications punctuated by periodic longer syntheses. In other disciplines, each publication is effectively synthetic and moderate in length. Nonetheless, an overall positive trend in publication number during a candidate’s time at KU is expected.
b. Unacceptable performance in research: The lack of scholarly productivity evidenced by (1) failure to publish refereed papers at the rate of at least one peer-reviewed paper each year, averaged during a 3-year period, coupled with a lack of evidence that a larger work is in progress; or (2) protracted lack of extramural funding to provide support for individual research program and support for graduate student, postdoctoral, and undergraduate research.
2. Publication Quality
a. Metrics have been developed that provide information about the journals in which researchers publish and how often others cite their research. Such metrics have potential biases and are not intended to be used as sole factors in decision-making. These metrics include:
i. The numerical “Impact Factor” of the journal in which peer-reviewed papers are published may be obtained by determining the journal’s current Impact Factor.
ii. Citation indices may be obtained to determine how often other publications refer to those of the candidate.
b. Comments from external evaluators contribute valuable information in judging the quality of scholarly activity performed by a candidate. It is expected that prominent peers who have no direct connection to the candidate, but who are familiar with the candidate’s area of scholarship will be able to comment on the research program and productivity of the candidate.
From https://becker.wustl.edu/about/news/2007-impact-factors-now-available: “The impact factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past 2 years have been cited in the Journal Citation Reports year (e.g., 2007). The impact factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the Journal Citation Reports year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. An impact factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published one or two years ago have been cited one time.” Numerical values of the impact factor for most major journals are available on the web; for more information see JCR Help pages. The highest impact journal in the 2007 had an impact factor of 69.026, whereas the lowest impact journals had impact factors close to 0.1.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor, the record must demonstrate a successfully developing scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as the quality and quantity of publications or creative activities, external reviews of the candidate’s work by respected scholars or practitioners in the field, the candidate’s regional, national, or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly agenda.
In the department, the above scholarship expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate an established scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as a substantial and ongoing pattern of publication or creative activity, external reviews of the candidate’s work by eminent scholars or practitioners in the field, the candidate’s national or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly career.
In the department, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards also apply for the promotion to the rank of professor: EEB members considered for promotion to professor are expected to continue and expand publication quality, to develop syntheses of information and research products, and to continue applying for external support of research activities.
Service. Service is an important responsibility of all faculty members that contributes to the University’s performance of its larger mission. Although the nature of service activities will depend on a candidate’s particular interests and abilities, service contributions are an essential part of being a good citizen of the University. The department accepts and values scholarly service to the discipline or profession, service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate a pattern of service to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to the local, state, national, or international communities.
In the department, the following service expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor
Departmental service expectations of faculty members vary depending upon the stage of their career. Although less service is expected of pre-tenure faculty members, they are encouraged to participate in departmental, academic, and professional venues, as appropriate. Faculty members are expected to participate actively on the advisory and examination committees of graduate students for other colleagues in the department and University, and to assist graduate students as they seek to complete their degrees.
Other activities may include providing service to students by helping them complete their Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship (RSRS) requirements or helping them to apply for competitive funding. Additionally, EEB faculty members may be called upon to participate in graduate student activities that relate to their scientific disciplines and both national and international professional societies. Faculty members may also contribute to the advising of undergraduate students through the Undergraduate Biology Program. Other service activities should reflect a candidate’s interests and professional expertise in the academic, professional, and local communities. Usually this participation is measured by involvement in professional societies, consultant and editorial services, manuscript and proposal review, participation in panels, taskforces, etc. With the realization that some service activities involve substantial commitments of time and effort and reflect particularly well on the department and University, special consideration is given to participation in high-profile taskforces and panels sponsored by agencies such as NIH, NSF, NOAA, DOE, NASA, NSB, etc.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate a pattern of service to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to the local, state, national, or international communities.
In the department, the above service expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate an ongoing pattern of service reflecting substantial contributions to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to the local, state, national, or international communities.
In the department, the following service expectations to meet University standards apply for the promotion to the rank of professor: EEB members considered for promotion to professor are expected to increase activity at College and University levels, develop continued contributions to professional societies, and expand reviewing activities of publications and grant proposals.
Unclassified Academic Staff. In the case of unclassified academic staff, comparable professional responsibilities, as defined by the department and the standards of our discipline, will be evaluated. Under the University standards for unclassified academic staff, those standards must be commensurate with the standards for faculty members. These professional responsibilities include: research, service, and/or teaching in units that support the academic mission. The department accepts service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level. Promotion emphasizes teaching.
In the department, research expectations are: Maintain scholarly productivity, including progress writing books and collaborations with other researchers within or outside the department. Publish in peer-reviewed journals and/or give presentations at national meetings as warranted by collaborations.
Teaching is responsibilities include: Teach graduate and undergraduate courses for biology majors or non-majors.
· Prepare for and attend all class meetings. In case of absence, the lecturer must make arrangements for a substitute to teach class. Classes should not be canceled.
· Provide instruction throughout the semester, usually 3 hours/week.
· Develop assignments, administer tests, evaluate student work, provide feedback to students, and assign grades.
· Hold regular office hours for students involved in classes taught.
· Adhere to departmental, College, and University policies.
In the department, the following expectations to meet University standards apply for promotion to the associate rank: Candidates are expected to perform the above activities.
In the department, the following expectations to meet University standards apply for promotion to the senior rank: Candidates are expected to continue to perform the above activities and excel in teaching at the undergraduate level.
Rating for Performance. Using the criteria described above, the candidate’s performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service will be rated using the terms “excellent,” “very good,” “good,” “marginal,” or “poor,” defined as follows:
(a) “Excellent” means that the candidate substantially exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(b) “Very Good” means the candidate exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(c) “Good” means the candidate meets expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(d) “Marginal” means the candidate falls below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(e) “Poor” means the candidate falls significantly below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
Absent exceptional circumstances, no candidate may be recommended for promotion or tenure without meeting standards in all applicable areas of performance.
The department conducts the initial review of the candidate pursuant to the procedures and requirements of section 5 of Article VI of the FSRR in connection with the candidate’s responsibility in the department.
Promotion and Tenure Committee. The department review committee shall evaluate the candidate’s teaching, research, and service. In the department the initial review committee is the Promotion and Tenure Committee appointed by the chair. This committee examines procedures for promotion and tenure of EEB faculty members. It assists applicants in the preparation of materials, evaluates applications, and makes recommendations to EEB for tenure and promotion of faculty. The membership is composed of four tenured professors who reflect the diversity of departmental research and teaching interests.
The recommendation shall be forwarded for consideration to a committee of the whole consisting of all faculty members holding the appropriate academic rank in the department.
No students or untenured faculty members, except unclassified academic staff with the rank equivalent to or higher than associate professor, shall serve on the Promotion and Tenure Committee or committee of the whole or vote on any recommendation concerning promotion and/or tenure. Associate and full professors will participate in discussions and vote on all promotion and tenure cases, including promotion to full.
Initiation of Review. Prior to the beginning of the spring semester, the Provost notifies all faculty whose mandatory review year will be the following academic year, with copies provided to the unit administrators. Upon receipt of this notice or if a faculty member requests it prior to the mandatory review year, the department shall initiate procedures for evaluating the candidate for the award of promotion and/or tenure.
As part of the annual faculty evaluation process, the department shall consider the qualifications of all tenured faculty members below the rank of full professor, with a view toward possible promotion in rank during the following academic year. After considering a faculty member’s qualifications, if the department determines that those qualifications may warrant promotion in rank, it shall initiate procedures for reviewing the faculty member for promotion. After seven years in the rank of associate professor, a faculty member who believes he or she has the qualifications for promotion may initiate the promotion review process him/herself. In such cases the unit will treat the candidate in the same way that it treats other candidates for promotion to the rank of full professor.
Preparation of the Promotion and/or Tenure File. NOTE: Candidates who hold joint appointments prepare only one set of promotion and tenure materials for review by both units in which they hold an appointment. The initial review units (i.e., departments, centers, etc.) shall consult with each other on their evaluations and the evaluation process, but each initial review unit must provide a separate evaluation of the candidate’s performance in the unit. Please refer to the College’s Promotion and Tenure Statement for detailed instructions. It is the responsibility of the candidate to complete the appropriate portions of the form and provide necessary documents and information in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines, with assistance from the department.
The Promotion and Tenure Committee shall receive the form and accompanying materials from the candidate and finish compiling the record of the candidate’s teaching, scholarship, and service in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines.
The Promotion and Tenure Committee shall provide for the solicitation of outside reviewers to assist in the evaluation of a faculty member’s scholarship and in accordance with College procedures. Emphasis shall be placed on selecting independent reviewers in the same or related discipline who hold academic rank or a professional position equal to or greater than the rank for which the candidate is being considered. The committee shall give the candidate the opportunity to suggest individuals to be included or excluded from the list of reviewers. The committee, however, is responsible for using its judgment in the final selection of reviewers.
When soliciting external reviews of a candidate’s scholarship, the Promotion and Tenure Committee shall inform prospective reviewers of the extent to which the candidate will have access to the review. The College's confidentiality policy regarding soliciting external reviewers for the promotion and tenure review process is as follows:
"As a part of the promotion and/or tenure review process, we are soliciting assessments of Professor ____’s research contributions from academic colleagues and distinguished professionals. These letters will become part of the candidate's promotion and tenure dossier and are treated as confidential by the University to the extent we are permitted to do so by law."
Recommendations. Upon completion of the record, the committee conducting the initial review shall evaluate the candidate’s record of teaching, scholarship, and service in light of the applicable standards and criteria and make recommendations in accordance with the voting procedures detailed below. The committee recommendation shall be forwarded for consideration to a committee of the whole consisting of all faculty members holding the appropriate academic rank.
In the department, voting procedures are as follows: The Promotion and Tenure Committee rates the candidate in each area of performance and makes a recommendation on promotion and/or tenure to the committee of the whole. Votes of the Promotion and Tenure Committee are recorded for each rating and are used to develop a committee recommendation. The committee of the whole does not assign a rating for the candidate in each area of performance. By majority secret ballot vote, the committee of the whole determines its recommendation on the promotion and/or tenure of the candidate.
The Promotion and Tenure Committee shall prepare the evaluation and summary evaluation sections of the promotion and/or tenure forms. The forms and recommendations shall be forwarded to the chair, who shall indicate separately, in writing, whether he or she concurs or disagrees with the final recommendation of the committee of the whole. The department chair shall communicate the recommendations of the initial review, and his or her concurrence or disagreement with the recommendation, to the candidate and provide the candidate with a copy of the summary evaluation section of the promotion and tenure form. Negative recommendations shall be communicated in writing and, if the review will not be forwarded automatically, the chair shall inform the candidate that he or she may request that the record be forwarded for further review.
Favorable recommendations, together with the record of the initial review, shall be forwarded to the College Committee on Appointments Promotion, and Tenure conducting the intermediate review. Negative recommendations resulting from an initial review shall go forward for intermediate review only if it is the candidate’s mandatory review year or if the candidate requests it.
The candidate may submit a written response to a negative recommendation by the department, or to a final rating of teaching, research, or service below the level of “good” included in the evaluation section of the recommendation. The written response is sent separately by the candidate to CCAPT.
A request for information by CCAPT and/or UCPT shall be sent to the department chair who shall immediately provide a copy to the candidate and inform the Promotion and Tenure Committee. The chair and/or committee shall prepare the department’s response in accordance with the initial review procedures.
The candidate shall be afforded an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the department’s response and/or to submit his/her own documentation or comment to the CCAPT and/or UCPT as applicable.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
University of Kansas
1200 Sunnyside Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66045
09/14/2015: Updated link to external website in footnote
09/03/2015: Made updates to boiler plate text
10/25/2012: Approved by The Faculty Senate Committee on Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure
05/25/2012: Approved by the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology