Promotion and Tenure Procedures, Department of Geology
To articulate the standards and procedures for promotion and/or tenure for the Department of Geology.
Faculty and Unclassified Academic Staff within the Department of Geology.
Scope and Purpose. The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank are among the most important and far- reaching decisions made by the Department because an excellent faculty is an essential component of any outstanding institution of higher learning. Promotion and tenure decisions also have a profound effect on the lives and careers of faculty. Recommendations concerning promotion and tenure must be made carefully, based upon a thorough examination of the candidate’s record and the impartial application of these criteria and procedures, established in compliance with the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR) Article VI.
It is the purpose of this document to promote the rigorous and fair evaluation of faculty performance during the promotion and tenure process by (a) establishing criteria that express the Department’s expectations for meeting University standards in terms of disciplinary practices; (b) providing procedures for the initial evaluation of teaching, scholarship, and service (c) preserving and enhancing the participatory rights of candidates, including the basic right to be informed about critical stages of the process and to have an opportunity to respond to negative evaluations; and (d) clarifying the responsibilities, roles, and relationships of the participants in the promotion and tenure review process.
Each level of review, including the initial review, the intermediate review, and the University level review, conducts an independent evaluation of a candidate’s record of performance and makes independent recommendations to the next review level. Later stages of review neither affirm nor reverse earlier recommendations, which remain part of the record for consideration by the Chancellor. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the review process to exercise his/her own judgment to evaluate a faculty member’s teaching, scholarship, and service based upon the entirety of the data and information in the record. No single source of information, such as peer review letters, shall be considered a conclusive indicator of quality.
Academic Freedom. All faculty members, regardless of rank, are entitled to academic freedom in relation to teaching and scholarship, and the right as citizens to speak on matters of public concern. Likewise, all faculty members, regardless of rank, bear the obligation to exercise their academic freedom responsibly and in accordance with the accepted standards of their academic disciplines.
Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest. Consideration and evaluation of a faculty member’s record is a confidential personnel matter. Only those persons eligible to vote on promotion and tenure may participate in or observe deliberations or have access to the personnel file (except that clerical staff may assist in the preparation of documents under conditions that assure confidentiality).
No person shall participate in any aspect of the promotion and tenure process concerning a candidate when participation would create a clear conflict of interest or compromise the impartiality of an evaluation or recommendation.
If a candidate believes that there is a conflict of interest, the candidate may petition to have that person recuse him/herself. If a committee member does not recuse him/herself, a decision about whether that person has a conflict of interest shall be made by a majority of the other committee members.
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’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 Geology, candidates are expected to take part in the teaching loads at all levels: general introductory courses, basic courses for undergraduate and graduate majors, and advanced specialty courses. This balance may be adjusted to meet the needs of particular subdisciplines. In addition, some basic geology courses are considered to fulfill the introductory course requirement. Teaching loads for regular, untenured tenure-track faculty members in the Department are normally two courses per year; teaching loads for regular, tenured faculty members is two to three courses per year.
To evaluate teaching, the Department looks at the student evaluations of teaching and examines both the numerical scores as well as any written comments. Scores are considered in the context of course level, Department and College means, and how many times the candidate has taught a particular course. In general, lower level courses with large enrollments have lower scores associated with them. The Department expects courses to rank near average levels or above. If scores are initially low, the Department looks for improvement with time. The Department also has a student identified who solicits comments from as many students as possible and submits a report (usually oral) to the committee.
The Department solicits peer-teaching evaluations every semester. This is done via email from the chair of the Departmental committee to individual faculty. A copy of the review request is also sent to the faculty member being evaluated. The review can take the form of classroom visit(s), examination of materials used in the class, discussion of teaching methodology, and/or other observation as appropriate.
The committee also considers related materials provided by the candidate as part of the promotion and/or tenure package (course materials and other documents that address teaching).
To evaluate undergraduate and graduate advising, the Department looks at the number of students advised at each level. For undergraduate students, this includes both academic and research advisement. There is no strict numeric for the number receiving academic advisement – the Department expects the candidate to participate in the normal advising rotation of the Department. Some information is also gleaned from the candidate’s annual report to the Department. For graduate advising, the Department examines the number of students supervised as well as the number of graduate committees on which the candidate serves. Again, there is no strict numerical expectation. This is because different candidates have different manners in working with students, some work and advise heavily in laboratory or field settings, and some fields may draw many or relatively few students. The main expectation is that the candidate directly advises sufficient students (at any level) to establish and maintain an active scholarly program.
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.
The Department follows these standards using the evaluation procedure described above.
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.
The Department follows these standards using the evaluation procedure described above.
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 Geology faculty members are expected to maintain an active research program and to seek external funding to support their research and that of their graduate students.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor, the record must demonstrate a successfully developing scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as the quality and quantity of publications or creative activities, external reviews of the candidate’s work by respected scholars or practitioners in the field, the candidate’s regional, national, or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly agenda.
In the Department, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor. Assistant Professors are expected to initiate a viable research program, publish (depending on the nature of team projects) solid research papers regularly in major peer-reviewed journals, and to have developed budding national recognition for their work, with some awareness of their work by the international community. Although there is no strictly enforced number of publications, it is typical that to obtain this level of recognition the candidate will produce, on average, two or more publications per year in high quality outlets.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate an established scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as a substantial and ongoing pattern of publication or creative activity, external reviews of the candidate’s work by eminent scholars or practitioners in the field, the candidate’s national or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly career.
In the Department, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards also apply for the promotion to the rank of professor: In general, it is expected that a candidate for promotion to full professor will have a clearly definable, nationally or internationally recognized research program as judged by peers from outside the University. To attain such recognition in the field of geology, a candidate normally will have contributed articles regularly to the principal refereed journals for the previous several years and typically will have received external funding. Although there is no strictly enforced number of publications, it is typical that to obtain this level of recognition the candidate will produce, on average, two or more publications per year in high quality outlets. External funding should be sufficient to maintain the research effort.
Service. Service is an important responsibility of all faculty members that contributes to the University’s performance of its larger mission. Although the nature of service activities will depend on a candidate’s particular interests and abilities, service contributions are an essential part of being a good citizen of the University. The Department accepts and values scholarly service to the discipline or profession, service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level.
In the Department, a broader range of service opportunities is commonly available to faculty with increasing experience and time in rank. Faculty members are expected to share normal service duties within the Department by chairing or serving on appropriate committees. In addition they are encouraged to participate in professional organizations, to serve as reviewers for professional journals and funding agencies, and to perform professional service through other means appropriate for the specialty. At the Assistant Professor level, University service need not include a significant component outside the Department. External service, especially to the profession or nation, is highly desirable and the opportunity to participate in such is accepted as an independent assessment of academic stature. Other factors affect the opportunity for external service, and expectations of individual faculty members differ depending upon other responsibilities and duties.
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.
The Department follows these standards using the evaluation procedure described above.
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.
The Department follows these standards using the evaluation procedure described above.
Unclassified Academic Staff. In the case of unclassified academic staff, comparable professional responsibilities, as defined by the Department and the standards of our discipline, will be evaluated. Under the University standards for unclassified academic staff, those standards must be commensurate with the standards for faculty members. These professional responsibilities include: research, service, and/or teaching in units that support the academic mission. The Department accepts service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level. Promotion emphasizes research and service.
In the Department, Unclassified Academic Staff are expected to contribute to all aspects of its mission. The relative proportion of research, teaching, and service for Unclassified Academic Staff is variable, but no less than 10% in any category. Expectations for promotion are the same as those of regular faculty adjusted to reflect the relative proportion of research, teaching, and service of the individual appointee.
In the Department the expectations for promotion to the associate rank are the same as those of promotion to Associate Professor adjusted to reflect the relative proportion of research, teaching, and service of the individual appointee.
In the Department, the expectations for promotion to the associate rank are the same as those of promotion to Professor adjusted to reflect the relative proportion of research, teaching, and service of the individual appointee.
Rating for Performance. Using the criteria described above, the candidate’s performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service will be rated using the terms “excellent,” “very good,” “good,” “marginal,” or “poor,” defined as follows:
- “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 conducts the initial review of the candidate pursuant to the procedures and requirements of section 5 of Article VI of the FSRR in connection with the candidate’s responsibility in the department.
Promotion and Tenure Committee. The Department review committee shall evaluate the candidate’s teaching, research, and service. In the Department the initial review committee is made up of 5 (full) professors. After the chair of the Department selects a chair for the committee, selection of other members is done by the Department chair in consultation with the committee chair. The committee membership is as diverse in specialty as possible. The recommendation shall be forwarded for consideration to a committee of the whole consisting of all faculty members holding the appropriate academic rank in the Department.
Appropriate rank means the same level or above that the candidate is seeking. This committee is only full professors for candidates for that rank, but can consist of full and associate for candidates for the rank of associate professor. The committee of the whole determines final ranking and recommendation that is then forwarded to the chair. This is the only recommendation forwarded to the chair.
No students or untenured faculty members, except unclassified academic staff with the rank equivalent to or higher than associate professor, shall serve on the promotion and tenure committee or 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.
The promotion and tenure committee shall receive the form and accompanying materials from the candidate and finish compiling the record of the candidate’s teaching, scholarship, and service in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines.
The Department 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 promotion and tenure committee shall inform prospective reviewers of the extent to which the candidate will have access to the review. The College's confidentiality policy regarding soliciting external reviewers for the promotion and tenure review process is as follows:
"As a part of the promotion and/or tenure review process, we are soliciting assessments of Professor
’s research contributions from academic colleagues and distinguished professionals. These letters will become part of the candidate's promotion and tenure dossier and are treated as confidential by the University to the extent we are permitted to do so by law."
Recommendations. Upon completion of the record, the committee conducting the initial review shall evaluate the candidate’s record of teaching, scholarship, and service in light of the applicable standards and criteria and make recommendations in accordance with the voting procedures detailed below. The committee recommendation shall be forwarded for consideration to a committee of the whole consisting of all faculty members holding the appropriate academic rank.
In the Department, voting procedures are as follows: The review committee discusses the material. If there is clear consensus on ranking, then that ranking is adopted. If there is not consensus, then the committee takes a secret ballot. Majority results are forwarded to the committee of the whole. The record is discussed and another secret ballot is taken. Only the ranking and recommendation of the committee of the whole is forwarded to the chair.
The review 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 chair shall communicate the recommendations of the initial review, and his or her concurrence or disagreement with the recommendation, to the candidate and provide the candidate with a copy of the summary evaluation section of the promotion and tenure form. Negative recommendations shall be communicated in writing and, if the review will not be forwarded automatically, the chair shall inform the candidate that he or she may request that the record be forwarded for further review.
Favorable recommendations, together with the record of the initial review, shall be forwarded to the College Committee on Appointments Promotion, and Tenure conducting the intermediate review. Negative recommendations resulting from an initial review shall go forward for intermediate review only if it is the candidate’s mandatory review year or if the candidate requests it.
The candidate may submit a written response to a negative recommendation by the Department, or to a final rating of teaching, research, or service below the level of “good” included in the evaluation section of the recommendation. The written response is sent separately by the candidate to CCAPT.
A request for information by CCAPT and/or UCPT shall be sent to the Department chair who shall immediately provide a copy to the candidate and inform the promotion and tenure committee. The chair and/or committee shall prepare the Department’s response in accordance with the initial review procedures.
The candidate shall be afforded an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the Department’s response and/or to submit his/her own documentation or comment to the CCAPT and/or UCPT as applicable.
Department of Geology
University of Kansas
Lindley Hall 120
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.
09/04/2015: Made updates to boiler plate text and correct SPPT approval date.
10/04/2012: Approved by the Faculty Senate Committee on Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure.
05/02/2012: Approved by the faculty of the Department of Geology.