Promotion and Tenure Procedures, Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science
To articulate the standards and procedures for promotion and/or tenure for the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science.
Faculty within the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science 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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science’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.
Promotion and Tenure Standards
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science’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.
In the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, each faculty member is expected to teach four courses (or their equivalent) per year and receive acceptable performance evaluations. Faculty members are expected to teach courses in accordance with the needs, requirements, and expectations of the Department. These ideally include a number of introductory, advanced, and specialty courses and seminars in the faculty member's area of specialization. Teaching responsibilities include:
- Responsibly meeting with classes and preparation of course materials.
- Keeping abreast of developments related to the individual's specific specialties.
- Communicating information and knowledge in the faculty member's specialties to students and professionals in the field.
- Preparing relevant and fair exams.
- Being available and prepared to advise students in curricula, scholarship, and professional, and applied interests.
- Being polite, courteous, and respectful towards students and colleagues.
The quality of lectures and in-class performance is evaluated using the University’s “Student Survey of Teaching” and peer evaluations by faculty (by invitation and consent only). Ideally, peer evaluations should be done multiple times for multiple courses. In addition, the quality may be judged by supporting material such as the following (by invitation and consent only):
- Video tapes of lectures.
- Student evaluations (e.g., at midsemester) that complement the “Student Survey of Teaching.
- Evidence of assistance and mentoring from the Center for Teaching Excellence.
Student advising is expected from every faculty member and includes the counseling of undergraduate majors and graduate students. While the Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Committee serves as advising coordinator for undergraduate majors, individual faculty members carry out career advising for Geography and Atmospheric Science majors and other undergraduates. Successful undergraduate advising is judged by the availability of individuals to advise on an equitable basis.
Graduate students are advised by their thesis and dissertation mentors. Graduate advising also is judged on the basis of willingness to assist students. Naturally, the professional success of graduates is one of the best indicators of the quality of advising and instruction.
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.
To meet University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor, the Department uses the departmental expectations described above. Candidates for tenure and promotion to associate professor are expected to serve on graduate committees and serve as thesis committee chair for an appropriate number of graduate students (considering factors such as administrative duties and subdisciplinary focus), especially at the M.A. and/or M.S. level.
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.
To meet University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the Department uses the departmental expectations described above. In addition to serving on and chairing M.A. and/or M.S. committees, candidates for the rank of Professor are expected to serve as dissertation committee chair for an appropriate number of doctoral students (considering factors such as administrative duties and subdisciplinary focus), provided that the student’s dissertation topic is offered within the candidate’s area of research emphasis.
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 the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, scholarship is defined as investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of the world’s physical and social variety. Such research may include critical evaluations and artistic creations, and is expected to culminate in some combination of books, refereed journal articles and book chapters, conference proceedings papers, maps, geodatabases, grants, and other similar works.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor: On average productivity should be equivalent to one-to-two major publications per year in refereed journals or books. Faculty are expected to exhibit leadership roles in their research programs as demonstrated through primary investigator status on grants, single-authored/first-authored publications and maps, geodatabases, and/or coauthored papers led by a student. For collaborative projects, faculty are expected to supply evidence that coauthorship and co-PI roles are of an equivalent leadership status.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards also apply for the promotion to the rank of professor: On average productivity should be equivalent to one to two major publications per year in refereed journals or books. Faculty are expected to exhibit leadership roles in their research programs as demonstrated through primary investigator status on grants, single-authored/first-authored publications and maps, geodatabases and/or coauthored papers led by a student. For collaborative projects, faculty members are expected to supply evidence that coauthorship and co- PI roles are of an equivalent leadership status. Furthermore, a candidate must demonstrate recognition for his/her research at an international level.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science 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.
In the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science service includes, but is not limited to, a record of substantial engagement in any or all of the following activities: membership in departmental, college, and university committees; an active role in professional organizations, including committee membership; invited presentations; public outreach (e.g., community presentations, unpaid professional consultation); organizing conferences; reviews of research articles, grant proposals, and book manuscripts for journals, publishers, and funding agencies, respectively; membership on editorial boards; and/or editing of a journal. This record shall reflect a sustained and constructive effort that contributes to advancing the mission of the Department, College, University, and/or the discipline.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science, the following service expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor: The above departmental criteria are used.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science, the following service expectations to meet University standards apply for promotion to the rank of professor: The above departmental criteria are used but the record should reflect a leadership capacity or expanded scope of effort demonstrating initiative and a national or international reputation.
Ratings 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:
- “Excellent” means that the candidate substantially exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Very Good” means the candidate exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Good” means the candidate meets expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “Marginal” means the candidate falls below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
- “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.
Promotion and Tenure Procedures
The Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science 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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science.
Promotion and Tenure Committee. The Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science review committee shall evaluate the candidate’s teaching/advising, research, and service. In the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, the chair and associate chair in consultation with the candidate and based on a recommendation from the Faculty Affairs Committee will appoint a three person tenured committee to review the materials for accuracy and completeness, and to prepare an evaluation to present to the full faculty (minus candidate); this is then voted upon by all tenured faculty in Geography and Atmospheric Science. In the case of promotion to full professor, at least one full professor should be on the committee. The votes are tallied according to guidelines provided by the University and College Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure and sent forward to the College. The Chair cannot be a member of the review committee.
The recommendation of the review committee shall be forwarded for consideration to a committee of the whole consisting of all faculty members of equal or higher rank than the rank for which the candidate is being considered in the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science.
No students or untenured faculty members, except unclassified academic staff with the rank equivalent to or higher than associate professor, shall serve on the review committee or committee of the whole or vote on any recommendation concerning promotion and/or tenure.
Initiation of Review. 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 unit administrators and the dean. 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, the unit shall consider the qualifications of all 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.
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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science.
The review 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 Chair, with assistance from the review 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. For College specific requirements and guidelines, please refer to “Section B. Process for Obtaining Evaluation Letters from External Reviewers” within the College’s posted policy for promotion and tenure.
When soliciting external reviews of a candidate’s scholarship, the Chair 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 review committee compiles information pertaining to the candidate and provides information to the committee of the whole concerning strengths and weaknesses of the candidate.
In the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, voting procedures are as follows: The committee of the whole votes by secret ballot on each major category listed in the recommendation form as well as on whether to recommend or not recommend promotion and/or tenure. These votes are counted and tallied by the Chair in order to arrive at the final recommendation. A simple majority of votes is required.
The 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 recommendations of the committee of the whole. The Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science 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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science, 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 of Geography and Atmospheric Science Chair who shall immediately provide a copy to the candidate and inform the review committee. The Chair and/or committee shall prepare the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science’s response in accordance with the initial review procedures.
The candidate shall be afforded an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science’s response and/or to submit his/her own documentation or comment to the CCAPT and/or UCPT as applicable.
Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science
University of Kansas
Lindley Hall 213
1475 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
02/10/2022: Converted from PDF to live text page.
06/15/2017: Converted to policy PDF page.
06/12/2017: Approved by Dean of CLAS. Updated FSRR 6.5.1.
10/20/2015: Name changed throughout document from Geography to Geography and Atmospheric Science per Board of Regents approval of name change on October 10, 2015.
09/04/2015: Made updates to boiler plate text and corrected SPPT approval date from 3/1/12 to 5/23/12.
11/01/2013: Revision to PT Committee Section.
05/23/2012: Approved by The Faculty Senate Committee on Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure.
05/04/2012: Approved by the Department of Geography.