Promotion and Tenure Procedures for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
To serve as the official statement of procedures for matters related to promotion and tenure for faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Tenured and tenure-track faculty members within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
This is the official statement of procedures for matters related to promotion and tenure for faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. University rules officially govern policies related to promotion and tenure. Nothing contained herein is intended to substitute for University policies and procedures that may be found in Article VI of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR) concerning promotion and tenure. This document has been adopted by a vote of the College Academic Committee (CAC).
The intent of this document is to ensure that procedures are articulated clearly, resulting in an impartial application of standards and procedures, and that recommendations are made carefully, based on a thorough examination of the complete record of a candidate. This document sets certain common practices that the College and its units shall follow in the nomination and review of candidates for promotion and/or tenure.
The review of candidates for promotion and or tenure at the intermediate review level resides with the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (CCAPT). Members are elected to the CCAPT in accordance with the Bylaws of the College Assembly.
The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank are among the most important and far-reaching decisions made by the University 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 clearly articulated standards pursuant to prescribed procedures.
The purpose of these procedures is to promote the rigorous and fair evaluation of faculty performance during the promotion and tenure process by (a) Establishing College-wide standards and procedures for the evaluation of teaching/advising (or professional performance), scholarship, and service; (b) Creating a mechanism for the approval of written criteria and procedures by the unit(s); (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 so as to promote more effective interaction among them.
The University of Kansas subscribes to the 1940 American Association of University Professors (AAUP) statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure and/or any amendments or revisions to that statement adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents. Pursuant to the policies and statement, 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. Tenured faculty members may be dismissed only for adequate cause, in cases of program discontinuance, or under extraordinary circumstances caused by financial exigency.
Although procedures governing promotion are very nearly identical to those governing tenure, the two are not the same thing. As a general rule, promotion to the rank of Associate Professor should carry a simultaneous recommendation for tenure.
Pursuant to Board of Regents policy, the probationary period for tenure-track faculty members may not exceed seven years. Under this policy, if a faculty member does not receive tenure, the seventh year becomes the terminal year. Consideration of tenure must therefore occur no later than the sixth year, which constitutes the “mandatory review year.“ In cases of mandatory reviews resulting in the denial of tenure, no further reviews for tenure shall occur.
Candidates who apply for promotion and tenure prior to their mandatory review year are held to the same standards of achievement as those who have completed the full probationary period. Promotion in academic rank is not given for the completion of a particular number of years of service.
Promotion to full professor is based on substantial additional achievement since the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor. Faculty members with tenure are expected to continue to engage in substantial productive activity in the areas of teaching/advising (or professional performance), scholarship, and service. Although there may be some variation, continuing productivity should prepare most faculty members for promotion to full professor within six years of their promotion to the rank of associate professor.
In some unusual situations, the personal circumstances may qualify the faculty member for certain types of leave or reduction in appointment that extend the tenure clock. The types of leave and circumstances that provide a basis for an application and approval of an extension of the probationary period for one year include: (1) family medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or (2) birth, foster placement, or adoption of a child. Other circumstances include (3) non-scholarly leave without pay, (4) a part-time appointment, and (5) other unexpected special and extenuating circumstances that justify an extension of the tenure clock for a maximum of one year. http://policy.ku.edu/provost/interruption-of-tenure-clock.
Prior to the beginning of the spring semester, the Provost shall notify all faculty whose mandatory review year will be the following academic year, with copies provided to department chairs, deans, and/or heads of their administrative units. Upon receipt of this notice or if a faculty member requests it prior to the mandatory review year, the unit shall initiate procedures for evaluating the candidate for the award of tenure or tenure and promotion in rank.
At or before the beginning of the spring semester, each unit 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 unit determines that those qualifications may warrant promotion in rank or if the faculty member requests it, the unit shall initiate procedures for reviewing the faculty member for promotion to full professor.
The unit is responsible for designating a committee for the initial review and where possible, unit level procedures shall be followed concerning the formation of the initial review committee. In units without sufficient faculty members at the appropriate rank to form an initial review committee, the unit administrator shall consult with the contact associate dean or dean to determine appropriate actions including, but not limited to, appointing faculty members from outside the unit to serve on the committee. Additionally, in cases where the unit administrator is a candidate for promotion, the divisional associate dean serves the role of chairperson or director for concurrence or non-concurrence with the recommendation of the unit’s initial review committee.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to complete the appropriate portions of the promotion and tenure form and to provide necessary documents and information in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines, with assistance from the unit conducting the initial review. The committee responsible for the initial review at the unit level shall receive the form and accompanying materials from the candidate and finish compiling the entire record of the candidate’s teaching/advising, research, and service contributions in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines. The committee shall follow the approved written procedures for initial review. Consideration and evaluation of a faculty member’s entire record is a confidential personnel matter. The record compiled for purposes of evaluation and all recommendations made pursuant to the process should be treated accordingly.
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/advising (or professional performance), 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.
A recommendation for promotion and tenure should be based upon the most careful scrutiny and rigorous and fair evaluation of the candidate’s entire record of teaching/advising, scholarship, and service. Equally important is the preparation and organization of the promotion recommendation and supporting documentation. It is crucial that a candidate’s consideration for promotion and tenure not be compromised by the poor preparation or organization of the promotion recommendation “packet” that is forwarded to the College by the unit.
Accordingly, in addition to Article VI of the FSRR, units shall conform to the following College guidelines:
Each unit should submit to the College dean’s office a concise statement (as approved in the unit’s bylaws) that specifies the expectations and standards with respect to academic performance that would be sufficient for a recommendation for tenure and promotion applicable to a probationary faculty member in the academic area. This statement should be submitted to the dean for endorsement. The statement should be endorsed by the unit’s faculty members prior to submission to the dean. In some fields, scholarly activity cannot be measured in terms of books or articles published, grants received, etc. In such cases, it would be beneficial for the unit to provide background information on normal expectations at peer institutions.
Unit criteria and procedures for promotion and tenure shall be posted through the Policy Library and distributed to all faculty members. Faculty members should also receive a copy of the College’s guidelines along with the unit’s statement.
A key part of the promotion and tenure (P&T) review process involves the solicitation of evaluation letters from external reviewers – referred to as “reviewers.” These evaluation letters provide a crucial and unbiased reflection and assessment of the standing and impact of the candidate in their field of study.
The process is initiated each year in early February (and no later than March 1st) with two types of communications from the dean’s office:
- For mandatory promotion from the rank of assistant professor to associate professor, a letter automatically will be sent to the chair/director of the primary unit: one for each candidate who will undergo the P&T process for that year (a copy will also go to the chair/director of other units in which in the faculty member also has a joint appointment).
- A letter also will be sent to each chair/director that requests the unit begin the process for anyone who plans to voluntarily initiate review for promotion from the rank of assistant professor to associate professor (early consideration) and for anyone who plans to voluntarily initiate review for promotion from the rank of associate professor to professor.
Units may contact the dean’s office before this letter is sent if they wish to begin the process earlier.
At the unit level, the process will be led by the primary unit’s chair/director or the chair of the unit’s P&T committee (depending on the policy of that unit) – referred to as the “chair/director or P&T chair.” The unit in which a candidate being considered for promotion and/or tenure is referred to as the “primary unit.” Any other unit(s) in which a candidate has a joint appointment is/are referred to as the “secondary unit(s).”
Timeline and Key Details
Step 1: Identification of reviewers
The identification of reviewers requires two separate lists. The candidate creates their list first and sends the completed list to the chair/director or P&T chair. Once the candidate list is received, the unit creates their list; this ordering prevents the same name from appearing on both lists.
In most cases, the initial unit and candidate lists each include six names; however, in some cases particularly in which reviewer commitments may be challenging to secure, the unit and candidate may agree at the start of the process to provide initial lists with a number of reviewers greater than six. The exact number chosen is up to the candidate and the unit but must be identical in both lists (see below for further details).
Candidate list of reviewers:
- The chair/director or P&T chair of the candidate’s primary unit shall ask the candidate to provide a ranked list of potential reviewers including contact information. The list must include six potential reviewers unless a greater number was agreed upon at the start of the process, in which case the ranked list must include the agreed upon number of potential reviewers. As noted above, the number of reviewers in the candidate list must be identical to the number in the unit list.
- The candidate may seek guidance from internal or external experts to create their list, but they must not initiate contact with potential reviewers, including efforts to determine if a reviewer would be willing to be contacted and/or provide an evaluation letter. The candidate can consult with colleagues at KU including their promotion and tenure committee about possible names for their list; however, candidates must not ask anyone, including members of their promotion and tenure committee, about the likely composition of the unit’s list of reviewers prior to the candidate’s list being composed or about the actual composition of the unit list after it is composed.
- The candidate may supply the names of no more than two individuals who should not be contacted for a review; no explanation is required.
Unit list of reviewers:
- The chair/director or P&T chair of the candidate’s primary unit shall compile an additional ranked list of potential reviewers. As noted above, the list must include six potential reviewers unless a greater number was agreed upon at the start of the process, in which case the ranked list must include the agreed upon number of potential reviewers. As noted above, the number of reviewers in the unit list must be identical to the number in the candidate list.
- In the case of a candidate on a joint appointment, only one set of reviewers should be generated and eventually approved by the dean’s office. The primary unit is responsible for all aspects of the process, but should consult with the chair(s)/director(s) and/or P&T chair(s) of the secondary unit(s) regarding the selection of reviewers. If all agree, the units may work together in creating the list.
- The unit list must not include any names that appear in the candidate list of reviewers or the “do not contact list” provided. Beyond use of the candidate list of reviewers and the “do not contact list,” the unit’s selection of reviewers must be done without consulting the candidate; however, other internal or external experts can be consulted to ensure the most appropriate list.
Step 2: Submission of reviewer list
The list of twelve reviewers [six from the candidate and six from the unit] shall be provided to the dean’s office for review no later than April 15th. Units are welcome to submit their lists earlier than the April 15th deadline and may also include lists longer than 12 (with the requirement that the number from the candidate and the unit is the same); both strategies may be particularly useful in cases in which targeted reviewers are likely to receive many other requests. Each list should be prioritized in the order in which each reviewer will be contacted.
- For all reviewers listed, the unit generates a 1-2 paragraph statement of appropriateness of the reviewer for evaluating this candidate. This statement of appropriateness must include current appointment and contact information, field of study (with an explanation of relevance if different from that of the candidate), scholarly and/or creative accomplishments, and other indicators of the standing, reputation, and impact in the candidate’s field of study. The strength of this statement will be particularly important in cases where the reviewer is below the rank of professor, employed outside of academia, or at an institution not generally considered as a peer or aspirational peer of the University of Kansas in that field of study (see the section below on Requirements and Exceptions for External Reviewers).
- The candidate is not informed of the final selection for referees and will not have access to the obtained evaluation letters (see confidentiality statement below).
A response to the list will be provided from the dean’s office within fourteen calendar days. In the case that a reviewer is deemed unacceptable, a rationale will be provided and additional names will be requested until two lists of at least six reviewers are approved. This final approval of both lists must be completed within an additional fourteen calendar days and no later than May 15th. If any of the above dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next business day.
Step 3: Inviting reviewers and securing commitments
Following approval of the list of reviewers, the top three names from each list are contacted by e-mail by the chair/director or P&T chair and invited to provide an evaluation letter. A request must be made to the dean’s office if a change in the order of reviewer contact is desired. There should be no more than six requests active at any one time (see below for details). The unit has the option to include a more formal invitation letter as an attachment, but a more formal invitation letter isn’t required if the items outlined below are addressed in the body of the e-mail.
The invitation must request that the reviewer accept or decline the invitation within seven days and must also inform the reviewer of the deadline for receipt of the evaluation letter if the invitation is accepted. This latter deadline is up to the discretion of the chair/director or P&T chair and may be shortened to accommodate deadlines at later stages of the process, but consistency across years is important to preserve equity and fairness in the process across candidates.
The invitation must include the points below:
- The invitation must identify the candidate, unit(s) in which the candidate is under consideration, and specifies the level of promotion (e.g., assistant to associate professor with tenure).
- The invitation must include the candidate’s CV and a copy of the unit’s standards for P&T as attachments.
- The invitation may include attachments chosen by the candidate that represent their work (e.g., representative journal articles) and/or indicate materials that will be provided to the reviewer in another manner (e.g., provision of a book through postal mail or access to a creative work with a web link). The candidate may seek guidance from members of their P&T committee in selecting materials that best reflect their work.
- The invitation must include the College Confidentiality Statement: “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.”
- The invitation must indicate the dates of any approved leave(s) or approved reduction(s) in appointment [e.g., any leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) including that related to birth, foster placement, or adoption of a child] during the period since appointment to the candidate’s current rank. Reviewers must be directed to not consider any period of time approved for leave (as well as any stoppage of the promotion and tenure clock) in their evaluation of the candidate’s record and accomplishments, and to allow for a reasonable period for the candidate to re-establish scholarly/creative output following leaves. Note: This section does not apply to leaves granted to facilitate professional development including research and/or teaching fellowships.
- In the case of promotion from the rank of associate professor to the rank of professor, the invitation must specify the candidate’s date of appointment to associate professor and shall direct reviewers to focus their evaluation letter on accomplishments that have occurred since the appointment to associate professor. Accomplishments that occurred at another institution should be included in this focus if they occurred after the date of appointment to associate professor. Accomplishments prior to the appointment to associate professor should be considered and discussed as part of a larger body of sustained productivity, but cannot be the primary basis for a positive evaluation. Possible language: “We ask that you provide a clear evaluation specific to the scholarship and/or creative works in the period under consideration since appointment to associate professor from mm/dd/yyyy to mm/dd/yyyy, although you should feel free to consider and discuss work that has occurred prior to this period as it relates to the scholarly (and/or creative) productivity, reputation and impact of the candidate.”
- In the event that the candidate has scholarly and/or creative works in a language other than English, the invitation may ask the reviewer to provide guidance, if able, that could benefit individuals evaluating the candidate who are not able to evaluate these materials based on the language in which they appear.
The invitation also must request the reviewer’s CV and direct the reviewer to address a series of key questions including:
- The length and capacity of the reviewer’s familiarity with the candidate, addressing any potential conflicts or biases;
- The quality of the candidate’s work as reflected in the CV and materials provided for the reviewer’s evaluation;
- The significance of the candidate’s work to the relevant discipline(s) and/or profession(s);
- The pattern of productivity reflected in the candidate’s record, and the extent to which the candidate’s record reflects a sustainable program of scholarly and/or creative activities;
- The level of state, regional, national and/or international stature of the candidate as a result of their body of work;
- Any special distinction(s) achieved by the candidate;
- An assessment of the candidate’s contributions in their area of scholarship and/or creative work as compared to that of others at a similar stage in their careers, as well as the extent to which the reviewer believes the candidate meets the standards for promotion and tenure as indicated in the unit procedures provided.
Note: Some units may prefer and are permitted to utilize a two-step process for inviting reviewers and securing commitments, beginning with an invitation e-mail that provides more limited information (e.g., a CV but not reprints). Reviewers who agree to provide an evaluation letter would then be sent a second e-mail that provides the remaining detail and resources to the reviewer.
Step 4. Contacting new reviewers
If any of the selected reviewers decline the invitation to provide an evaluation or accept but then subsequently withdraw their offer to provide a review, the next approved reviewer on the list is contacted until the full number of required reviewers is reached. As noted above, a request must be made to the dean’s office if a change in the order of reviewer contact is desired. Also noted above, there should be no more than six requests active at any one time. If a potential reviewer fails to respond positively within seven days, the chair/director or chair of the P&T committee has the option (but is not required) to proceed to the next name on the approved list. In this case, the chair/director or chair of the P&T committee must immediately contact the nonresponsive reviewer and indicate that their evaluation letter is no longer required. The unit shall maintain copies of all mail and/or e-mail solicitation communications with reviewers and the reviewer’s CV.
In some cases, the list of names from the unit and/or the candidate list will be exhausted before six commitments have been obtained. When this event occurs, a list of at least three additional reviewers must be generated by the candidate and/or the unit depending on the list that was exhausted. At this stage, it is possible that one of the candidate’s new selections could be a current alternate on the unit list. In this case, that name will remain on both lists and be used in whichever list his/her name comes up first and then removed from the other list. New selections for the unit should not include a name already on the candidate list. The remainder of the procedure must follow the steps outlined above (with the exception of the deadline dates).
Step 5. Concluding the process
The process will continue until at least six evaluation letters are received (three each from the unit’s list and the candidate’s list). The following materials must be submitted as part of the candidate’s dossier:
- A list including the name of each reviewer contacted, the statement of appropriateness for each, and results from each contact including the date (e.g., declined on mm/dd/yyyy; no response to second e-mail sent on mm/dd/yyyy), if the reviewer never responded, and the reason provided (if any) for a declination.
It is possible that a reviewer who declines an invitation or is nonresponsive past the seven day deadline may nonetheless submit an evaluation letter, resulting in the receipt of seven or more evaluation letters. All evaluation letters beyond six that arrive by the deadline for submission of the candidate’s completed dossier to the unit must be included in the candidate’s dossier. After the deadline, if additional evaluation letters [beyond six] arrive, they should be discarded (shredded) without reading. In exceptional cases, the number may be less than six, but four is the minimum acceptable number for adequate external review. In cases in which a unit would like to move forward with fewer than six letters, a request including a rationale for the number of letters should be made via e-mail to the dean’s office. Once approved, the justification should also be submitted with the completed dossier.
Requirements and Exceptions for External Reviewers
Reviewers must meet the requirements for selection as outlined below:
- A reviewer must be established as a major contributor in a field relevant to the candidate’s scholarship and/or creative works with a level of experience and accomplishment that allows for a rigorous review. Exceptions will not be granted.
- For promotion (and tenure) to associate professor, a reviewer must hold the academic rank of associate professor or professor (including professor emeritus in all references to professor as a potential reviewer throughout this document) and at least 50% of the reviewers in the initial list from both the unit and the candidate must be at the rank of professor. Exceptions will be made only in well-documented cases where there is an insufficient number or lack of diversity of experts in that field of study at the rank of professor to reach the 50% threshold indicated in the initial lists. For promotion to professor, all reviewers must be at the rank of professor. Exceptions will be made only in well-documented cases where there is an insufficient number or lack of diversity of experts in that field of study at this rank. For both promotion levels, individuals who are not at an academic institution (e.g., in industry or a research foundation), and therefore do not hold the academic ranks listed above, will be considered in cases where a clear case can be made in line with Requirement #1 above.
- Hold an academic appointment at an institution generally considered as a peer or aspirational peer of the University of Kansas in that field of study. Exceptions will be made only based on evidence provided in the statement of reviewer appropriateness that indicates: a) the unit(s) within the institution that the reviewer is appointed has comparable or more rigorous standards for faculty productivity and promotion than the unit(s) at KU in which the candidate is appointed; and/or b) the reviewer has established a distinguished career that would place that individual (nationally and internationally) among the top scholars and/or creative artists in their field of study.
- Must have neither the existence nor the appearance of a conflict of interest that would call into question the unbiased nature of the evaluation. Reviewers must not include:
- Direct supervisors or mentors in any official capacity (including committee members for milestone projects) at any stage of the candidate’s training;
- Anyone the candidate has directly supervised or mentored in any official capacity (including committee members for milestone projects) at any stage of the reviewer’s training;
- Individuals who have held a tenure track position in the same unit (full or partial appointment) as the candidate with any temporal overlap at any point in the career of the candidate;
- Co-author or co-editorship on any publication (book or journal article), creative work, or grant application at any point in the career of the applicant;
- Family (through birth, adoption or marriage) or past/current romantic involvement.
In the case of the co-authorship or co-editorship requirement, exceptions will be considered only in cases where a clear argument can be made that the connection between the candidate and the reviewer presents no real or perceived conflict of interest.
Please note, the College has identified several relationships that do not represent a conflict and in no way can be used to eliminate a potential reviewer from consideration. These include:
- Co-authors on a manuscript with an extremely large number of authors (including but not limited to position papers from professional organizations and mega-multi-authored research reports) in which there was negligible contact and/or mentoring between the candidate and the potential reviewer;
- Co-presenters in a research symposium, panel, or exhibition;
- Editor/chapter contributor relationship, series editor/volume editor relationship, or authorship on separate chapters in an edited book (co-editorship would be a conflict);
- An editor/board member (or board membership for both) relationship on a journal editorial board;
- A reviewer/contributor relationship on a creative work
If the candidate is unsure about a conflict, they should consult with their chair/director or P&T chair. If the candidate chooses to go forward with the inclusion of that individual on their list, the potential issue should be addressed when they provide the name and contact information of that reviewer. In some cases, a conflict of interest is determined after an evaluation letter has been solicited. In this case, the evaluation letter must be included and the nature of the conflict must be clearly stated in the materials forwarded for subsequent stages of review.
Once a candidacy for promotion or tenure is initiated, each CLAS unit in which the candidate is appointed must evaluate the candidacy before it is forwarded to the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (CCAPT).
The primary unit is responsible for all administrative protocols pertinent to the process. The review for tenure/promotion is conducted in consultation with the secondary unit in compliance with relevant College and University policies.
A candidate who holds a joint appointment prepares only one set of promotion and tenure materials, presenting their records of teaching/advising, research, service, and, if applicable, professional performance. The candidate submits their materials to their primary unit, which is responsible for sharing their materials, and the external evaluation letters, with all other units in which the candidate holds appointments.
Each CLAS unit in which the candidate is appointed must provide a separate initial-level evaluation of the candidate’s performance and submit that evaluation to the CLAS Dean’s Office for consideration by CCAPT. Each non-CLAS unit in which the candidate is appointed completes its own independent evaluation and submits that evaluation to another office for intermediate review (e.g., a non-CLAS dean’s office, or the Office of Research) or submits it directly to the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure.
The Provost Office policy “Guidelines for Joint Appointments” is located at https://policy.ku.edu/provost/joint-appts-guidelines.
In the event that a candidate withdraws from the non-mandatory promotion process, the following guidelines will be followed regarding the disposition of external letters of support:
- If the candidate desires that these letters be used in the following year, then the unit committee on promotion and tenure should write to the external referees, inform them of the situation, and request permission to retain the letters for use the following year. Under this option, all letters received must be retained for subsequent review and used no later than the following year after receipt of such letters. Only if an external referee is not agreeable to future use may a letter be discarded.
- The rule of confidentiality applies to all letters, including those not used, at all stages of the review process.
- If the candidate desires new letters, whether from previously or newly selected external referees, the letters should be solicited according to the guidelines of the CCAPT. “Old letters” shall be destroyed or returned to the external referee.
The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank acknowledges meritorious performance in the areas of teaching/advising, scholarship, and service. The standards set forth in Section 2 (Promotion and Tenure Standards) of Article VI of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR) and written criteria adopted pursuant to it shall be the controlling standards and criteria for evaluating candidates for promotion and tenure.
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 expectation of the discipline. Teaching/advising 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.
Teaching is a primary function of the University, which strives to provide an outstanding education for its students. The evaluation of teaching should be developed using multiple sources of information and evidence about the intellectual aspects of teaching and student learning. 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; and other accepted methods of evaluation, which may include external evaluations.
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.
In addition to the sort of data acquired by routine student evaluations, units may consider securing letters from its alumni over the past three to five years. Such letters shall not be sent to the candidate but to the unit chair/director, and all responses should be included in the tenure and promotion materials. Units shall devise an appropriate procedure for a constructive peer review of teaching, and the results of such reviews shall be included in the tenure and promotion materials sent to the College.
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.
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.
Scholarship is an essential component of the University’s mission as a center of learning, and the award of tenure and/or promotion in rank must be based on a record of accomplishment reflecting a sustainable program of scholarly activity. Evaluation of scholarship must be undertaken in light of the expectations of the discipline. As used throughout these guidelines and the promotion and tenure process, 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. Individual scholarship as well as collaborative and/or interdisciplinary scholarship are valued at every rank. In the case of co- authorship, the substantive contribution must be clearly documented and considered within the context of the discipline(s) the work resides in. While the nature of scholarship varies among disciplines, the College and the University adhere to a consistently high standard of quality in its scholarly activities to which all faculty members, regardless of discipline, are held.
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. The record must demonstrate clear evidence of developing a research program that goes well beyond research completed for the Ph.D. or terminal degree, that has already resulted in products of high quality (as demonstrated in part by publication in sources of high quality that use critical standards for review) or creative activities, and that exhibits promise of continuing productivity. It should also be noted that research includes appropriate forms of creative activity and artistic production.
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. The record must show clear evidence of a well-established research program that has already demonstrated its quality, which promises continuing productivity, that has established the faculty member’s national contributions and reputation in the field, and that is confirmed as such by distinguished, independent, external reviewers.
Service is also 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 form of accepted and valued service varies greatly among the disciplines represented in the College, and may include scholarly service to the discipline or profession, service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level. As a consequence of the varied nature of service, it is the responsibility of each unit in the College to articulate clearly how it values various types of service.
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.
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. The CCAPT assumes that what constitutes very good performance for a candidate for promotion to professor is beyond the expectations of what is required for a candidate being considered for tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor. Units shall advise their candidates of this distinction well in advance.
4. Professional Performance.
In the case of unclassified academic staff, professional performance, as defined by the unit and the expectations of the discipline, may be evaluated instead of or in addition to teaching, research, and/or service. The weight given to each area of responsibility shall be determined by the particular responsibilities of the candidate and his/her job description defined at the time of initial hire. Each administrative unit with unclassified academic staff shall establish standards of performance, commensurate with the standards established in these regulations, to evaluate unclassified academic staff for promotion in rank. Throughout these guidelines, references to areas of performance should be understood to include professional performance and its evaluation as appropriate to the positions and responsibilities of unclassified academic staff.
The Provost’s guidelines and standardized form for the promotion and/or tenure process can be found on the Provost’s Office website (http://facultydevelopment.ku.edu/promotionandtenure). Units shall prepare promotion and tenure materials so that the relevant information is available to the CCAPT in a clear and concise form. Upon completion of the record, the committee conducting the initial review shall evaluate the candidate’s record of, teaching/advising, scholarship, and service in light of the applicable standards and criteria and make recommendations concerning the award of tenure and/or promotion in rank.
Each unit in the College shall adopt written criteria, consistent with the University promotion and tenure standards set forth in Section 2 of Article VI of the FSRR, for evaluating a faculty member’s, teaching/advising, research/scholarship, and service. Units that include non-teaching faculty shall include criteria for the evaluation of professional performance. Each unit shall articulate the criteria of disciplinary expectations for meeting University promotion and tenure standards for teaching/advising (or professional performance), scholarship, and service, including their relative weights.
The criteria shall provide for the evaluation of teaching/advising (or professional performance), scholarship, and service as “excellent,” “very good,” “good,” “marginal,” or “poor” defined as follows:
- “Excellent” means that the candidate substantially exceeds disciplinary and unit expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Very Good” means the candidate exceeds disciplinary and unit expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Good” means the candidate meets disciplinary and unit expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Marginal” means the candidate falls below disciplinary and unit expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Poor” means the candidate falls significantly below disciplinary and unit expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
Absent exceptional circumstances, successful candidates for promotion and tenure will meet disciplinary expectations in all categories, and strong candidates are likely to exceed normal expectations in one or more categories.
Recommendations concerning the award of tenure and/or promotion in rank shall be based upon the record of a candidate’s teaching/advising, (or professional performance), scholarship, and service, which shall be compiled and evaluated pursuant to the criteria, procedures, and guidelines set forth in Article VI of the FSRR and adopted pursuant to its provisions. Responsibility for the initial review, intermediate review, and University level review lies with the unit, the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (CCAPT), and the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure (UCPT) respectively. The Bylaws of the College Assembly charge the CCAPT with the responsibility to evaluate candidates for the award of tenure or promotion in rank.
The Provost’s guidelines on promotion and tenure shall provide for a summary evaluation section to be prepared by the committee at each level (initial, intermediate, and University level reviews) and shared with the candidate upon completion of the initial review and intermediate review. As outlined in Section 22.214.171.124 of the FSRR, the evaluation section shall include:
- the recommendation of the committee (at each level), its rating of the candidate in the areas of, teaching/advising (or professional performance), scholarship, and service, and a statement of the reasons for the evaluation and recommendation;
- if the initial or intermediate procedures provide for the faculty holding the necessary rank to vote as a committee of the whole, whether the committee of the whole concurred in the recommendations; and,
- the concurrence or nonconcurrence of the unit chairperson/director and the dean of the College in the recommendation.
1. Initial Review Level:
The head of the administrative unit shall indicate separately in writing whether he/she concurs in or disagrees with the recommendations of the committee and/or faculty at the initial review level. The head of the unit shall provide in writing the recommendations of the initial review to the candidate. If a chair, dean or head of administrative unit does not concur with the unit’s positive recommendation or concurs with a negative recommendation, that individual shall include a written rationale based on unit criteria that will be included with the written recommendations provided to candidates. If a negative review will not be forwarded automatically to the next level of review, the chair, dean, or head of administrative unit 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 committee conducting the intermediate review, if one is to be conducted, or to the Provost for University Committee on Promotion and Tenure (UCPT) review, if not. Negative recommendations resulting from an initial review shall go forward for intermediate or UCPT review only if it is the candidate’s mandatory review year or if the candidate requests it.
The candidate and the department or other administrative unit may provide additional information or materials in response to a request for information from the intermediate review committee. Specifically, the candidate may submit a written response to a negative recommendation at the initial review level, or to a final rating of teaching/advising, research or service below the level of “good” included in the evaluation summary section of the recommendation. This written response should be submitted to the CCAPT within one week of the due date of the dossier at the College.
2. Intermediate Review Level:
The intermediate review by the CCAPT shall be initiated upon receipt of a recommendation and record from the initial review unit. The CCAPT shall evaluate the candidate’s research, teaching (or professional performance), and service on the basis of the entire record compiled during the initial review and in light of the applicable standards and criteria and shall make recommendations concerning the award of tenure and/or promotion in rank. No additional information or new material may be submitted as part of the record except in the case of an external evaluation letter received after the initial (unit) review and/or in response to a request for more information from the CCAPT.
Request for information (RFI): If the CCAPT determines that additional information would assist it in the evaluation of a candidate’s record, and ultimately in its recommendation about granting or denying promotion and/or tenure, the CCAPT may request additional information from the unit and the candidate.
- Mandatory RFI: If the preliminary vote of the CCAPT reflects a negative recommendation, a request for information is required.
- Optional RFI: After the review of each case, any member of the CCAPT can request the triggering of a RFI even if the preliminary vote reflects a positive recommendation. The individual (and others, if they choose) provides a rationale for the request and after any discussion on the issue, the CCAPT will vote. A simple majority of more than 50% in support will trigger the RFI. Given that an optional RFI can only occur in cases in which a preliminary vote reflects a positive recommendation, a request will only be made if additional information could reasonably be expected to result in a significant change from the preliminary to the final vote. An optional RFI will not occur if the preliminary vote is strongly positive.
- A RFI will include:
- a rationale based on the factors and/or discussion that triggered the review;
- the preliminary recommendation of the CCAPT (negative or positive);
- the information sought formulated in the form of specific questions.
- The anonymity of the external letter writers must be maintained in the RFI.
RFI Procedure and Timeline:
- The chair of the CCAPT will lead the committee in the articulation of the rationale for the RFI and in determining the content of the questions to be asked. A rough draft of the questions for the RFI will be created before the committee can move on to the discussion of the next candidate. The committee may review all questions at the end of the meeting.
- After the meeting, the chair of the CCAPT will create a document that communicates the rationale for the RFI, lists the questions to be asked, and provides all other relevant details about the process. This document will be created and shared with members of the CCAPT within two business days of the meeting; members have an additional business day to share any feedback, at which point the chair of the CCAPT proceeds in communicating the RFI.
- The finalized RFI shall be sent to the chair or director of the unit and to the candidate. This document will outline the process and provide a detailed calendar of dates for responses based on the following timeline:
- Within four (4) business days from the communication of the RFI, the chair of the unit review committee will prepare and submit a letter that responds to all relevant aspects of the RFI. This letter will be sent to the chair/director of the unit, to the chair of the CCAPT, and to the candidate at this time.
- Within six (6) business days from the communication of the RFI, the chair/director will prepare and submit a letter that responds to all relevant aspects of the RFI to the chair of the CCAPT and to the candidate. This letter may, if the chair/director wishes, simply endorse the letter submitted by the chair of the unit review committee.
- Within ten (10) business days from the communication of the RFI, the candidate will prepare and submit a letter that responds to all relevant aspects of the RFI to the CCAPT. This letter may, if the candidate wishes, simply endorse the letter submitted by the chair of the unit review committee and/or the letter submitted by the unit chair/director.
- The letters from the chair of the unit review committee and from the unit chair/director that are forwarded to the candidate will maintain the anonymity of the external letter writers.
- Additional Details of the RFI Responses: While preparing any of the three letters previously mentioned, a unit (initial level) review committee, chair/director, or candidate
- may refer to any answers provided in the letters previously prepared in the RFI process and/or address any aspect of the content of the answers provided;
- may confer with each other to obtain any support needed in the preparation of their letters;
- is expected to answer questions in the RFI that are specific to their purview but also may provide answers to any other questions in the RFI.
- Under exceptional circumstances, a unit review committee, chair/director, or candidate may request extended time to complete a letter. A request for an extension is sent to the associate dean of administrative affairs and will include:
- an explanation of the unusual circumstances requiring an extension, including but not limited to: illness, multiple RFIs to be addressed, a professional, administrative, or personal conflict;
- the exact number of additional business days being requested.
- The associate dean for administrative affairs will deny, approve, or alter the additional time requested.
In conducting an intermediate review, the CCAPT undertakes an independent review of a candidate’s record and makes its own recommendations concerning the award of tenure or promotion in rank. The intermediate review of CCAPT neither affirms nor reverses the recommendations of the initial review, which remain part of the record that will be forwarded to the Chancellor for final decision.
The dean of the College indicates separately in writing whether he or she concurs in or disagrees with the recommendations of the CCAPT.
The dean of the College shall provide in writing the recommendations of the committee. If the dean or head of administrative unit does not concur with the unit’s positive recommendation or concurs with a negative recommendation, that individual shall include a written rationale based on unit criteria that will be included with the written recommendations provided to candidates. If a negative review will not be forwarded automatically to the next level of review, the dean 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 initial and intermediate review, shall be forwarded to the Provost for consideration by the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure (UCPT). Negative recommendations resulting from an intermediate review shall go forward for UCPT review only if it is the candidate’s mandatory review year or if the candidate requests it.
3. University Level Review:
For detailed information about the Review by the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure, see Section 7 of Article VI of the FSRR. The University Committee on Promotion and Tenure (UCPT) shall evaluate a candidate’s teaching/advising, scholarship, and service on the basis of the record compiled during the initial and intermediate reviews, in light of the applicable standards and criteria, and will make recommendations concerning the award of tenure or promotion in rank. No new material may be submitted as part of the record except as follows:
- The candidate may submit a written response to a negative recommendation resulting from the intermediate review or to a final rating of teaching/advising, research, or service below the level of “good” included in the evaluation summary section.
- The candidate and the unit may provide additional information or materials in response to a request for information from the UCPT.
If the UCPT determines that additional information would assist it in the evaluation of a candidate’s record, the UCPT may request additional information from the initial or intermediate review levels. If a preliminary vote of UCPT reflects a negative recommendation or a recommendation that differs from the recommendation of the intermediate review, a request for information is required.
A request for information shall be sent to the dean of the College, who shall immediately provide a copy to the candidate and inform the initial and intermediate review committees. A request for information shall specify the information sought and the reasons for the request. If the request is based upon a negative preliminary vote, the request for information shall notify the candidate of this fact and specify the reasons for the negative recommendation.
The unit conducting the initial review shall be given an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the response, including the preparation of a separate response if the intermediate review recommendation differs from the recommendation on initial review. The candidate shall be afforded an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the response and/or to submit his/her own documentation or comments to UCPT.
According to sections 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 of the FSRR, the Provost indicates separately in writing whether he/she concurs in or disagrees with the recommendations of UCPT. The Provost communicates the recommendations of the University level review to the candidate in writing. If UCPT or the Provost makes a negative recommendation, the written notification shall state the reasons for the recommendation and notify the candidate of his/her right to respond or appeal pursuant to section 6.7.5 of Article VI of the FSRR. Notification of a negative recommendation from either the UCPT or the Provost shall be communicated to the candidate by the first Friday in March of the academic year in which the candidate is being considered for award of tenure and/or promotion in rank.
A candidate may file either a written response to be included in the record or may appeal a negative recommendation of the UCPT to the Faculty Rights Board (FRB). The College in conducting its intermediate review has no specific responsibilities relating to appeals. Since appeals are to relate to errors that undermine the evaluation process, not to the merits of promotion and tenure recommendation, units should exercise due diligence to avoid such errors. Appeals of a negative decision to the FRB must occur within ten (10) days of the first Friday in March of the academic year in which the candidate is being considered for award of tenure and/or promotion in rank. Recommendations from the FRB shall be forwarded to the Chancellor by April 15th. If the committee cannot agree on a recommendation by that date, they will so inform the Chancellor and forward all materials of the appeal for his/her consideration.
If the UCPT and Provost recommend the candidate favorably for promotion and/or tenure, the entire record of review, including the recommendation of the initial, intermediate and university level reviews, and either a candidate’s response or Faculty Rights Board recommendation, shall be forwarded to the Chancellor for decision. If the candidate has received a negative recommendation from either UCPT or the Provost, UCPT shall retain the record of review until whichever of the following occurs first: (1) the candidate files either a timely response to a negative recommendation at the university level or an appeal; (2) the time for filing either a response to a negative recommendation at the university level or appeal has expired; or (3) April 15 of the year in which the candidate received a negative recommendation. If an appeal is filed, the recommendations and record of review will be forwarded to the Faculty Rights Board. If no appeal is filed, the recommendations and record of review, including the response, if any, shall be forwarded to the Chancellor for decision.
The Provost shall officially notify the faculty member in writing of the Chancellor’s decision. Under State law and Board of Regents policy, final authority to make decisions concerning promotion, tenure, and non-reappointment rests with the Chancellor and no further administrative review is permitted within the University or to the Board of Regents. The Chancellor’s decision is the final agency action of the University of Kansas.
The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank becomes effective with the faculty member’s next regular appointment (i.e. academic or fiscal year).
Notification of the denial of tenure during the mandatory review year constitutes a notice of nonreappointment for purposes of section 184.108.40.206 of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations.
4. All Levels of Review - Reminders:
A process whereby required written feedback to each candidate as well as an opportunity for each candidate to respond to a negative recommendation, must be accommodated at each level of review. Specifically:
- Written feedback to all candidates on the recommendation of the review committee, ratings, and rationale for rating at each level of review (initial, intermediate, and University) is required.
- Opportunity for the candidate to respond to a negative recommendation at each level. The candidate’s response will be included with the dossier forwarded to the committee at the next level or, if the negative recommendation was from UCPT and the Provost, to the Chancellor.
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.
- Members of the faculty who are themselves candidates for promotion and/or tenure shall not serve on departmental or College promotion committees during the year of their candidacy. In cases were an Associate Professor serving as unit administrator is being considered for promotion, the administrative unit will work in consultation with the dean to determine a replacement including, but not limited to, another faculty member holding the appropriate rank or the contact associate dean to fulfill the administrator’s responsibilities at the unit level.
- A faculty member who is a spouse or partner of an individual being considered for tenure and/or promotion shall not serve on a departmental committee, CCAPT, or UCPT during that year.
- No students or untenured faculty members, except unclassified academic staff with the rank equivalent to or higher than associate professor, shall serve on departmental or College promotion and tenure committees or vote on any recommendation concerning promotion and tenure.
- Specifically, membership on the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure will be restricted to associate and full professors.
- Members of the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure shall recuse themselves from any deliberations or voting when the candidate for promotion and/or tenure is from the CCAPT member’s unit.
- No person shall serve simultaneously on more than one committee (department, College, or University) considering promotion and tenure, except when all faculty holding the necessary rank serve as a committee of the whole for the department, College, or other administrative unit.
- In cases were a faculty member has collaborated with the chairperson/director of the unit in the production of scholarly work, the administrative unit will work in consultation with the dean to determine a chairperson replacement. Since the chairperson/director has an independent responsibility to evaluate a candidate, they should not serve in the evaluative role as chair/director of the unit. Another faculty member holding the appropriate rank in the unit or the contact associate dean will serve to fulfill the administrator’s responsibilities at the unit level.
- Department chairpersons/program directors having an independent responsibility to evaluate a candidate shall not serve as members of the CCAPT or of the UCPT.
- If a candidate believes that there is a conflict of interest, the candidate may petition to have that person recuse him/herself. Procedures at the unit and CCAPT levels shall establish a means whereby, 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.
Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Dean's Office
University of Kansas
200 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
12/15/2021: Revion of section III.C, on joint appointments, to conform with current practice.
01/20/2021: Minor revisions to the Request for Information procedures for the intermediate review level.
05/03/2019: Major revisions to the Request for Information procedures for the intermediate review level.
05/03/2019: Converted policy to live text.
06/26/2017: Converted policy to PDF page.
06/22/2017: Updated to reflect FSRR changes.
03/01/2017: SPPT Reviewed and approved CLAS P&T policy changes.
02/14/2017: CAC review and approval on revision to Section B on the Process for Obtaining Evaluation Letters from External Reviewers to ensure procedural clarity.
11/08/2016: CAC review and approval on updating language to acknowledge the value of multi- and transdisciplinary multi-investigator projects in promotion and tenure reviews as a requirement for the KUMC Cancer Center renewal grant.
02/05/2016: Added the following to conflict of interest section. Approved by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
- In cases were a faculty member has collaborated with the chairperson/director of the unit in the production of scholarly work, the administrative unit will work in consultation with the Dean to determine a chairperson replacement. Since the chairperson/director has an independent responsibility to evaluate a candidate, they should not serve in the evaluative role as chair/director of the unit. Another faculty member holding the appropriate rank in the unit or the contact Associate Dean will serve to fulfill the administrator’s responsibilities at the unit level.
09/29/2015: Fixed links to open in new window.
09/28/2015: Guidelines modified to incorporate changes to the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations in regard to materials to be submitted and feedback at all levels of review.
09/11/2012: College Academic Council revised the lingo regarding the formation of Initial Review Committees.
05/11/2010: Guidelines modified to incorporate changes to Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR), Article VI on promotion and tenure criteria and procedures. Review by the Standards and Procedures on Promotion and Tenure (SPPT) Committee (April 5, 2010) and final approval by the College Academic Council on May 11, 2010.
10/31/2008: Approved by Erin Spiridigliozzi.