Recommendations concerning tenure usually begin at the departmental level. However, in divisions that have no administrative subunits, recommendations will be initiated at the divisional level. Each department has a tenure committee consisting of tenured faculty members (see Section VI). It is the responsibility of each candidate for tenure to prepare a dossier (see Section VII) to be considered by the committee and to submit the dossier to the departmental chairperson (or the dean in divisions that have no administrative subunits) by October 1. The dossier shall include all of the written recommendations and the prior letters of retention resulting from the previous progress reviews described in Section VIII. Individual divisions and departments may require the inclusion of special forms or material. A dossier must be submitted in the academic year in which a tenure decision is mandatory.
The appointment letter of each probationary faculty member sets the maximum duration of the probationary period by specifying the academic year in which a tenure decision must be made (the mandatory tenure decision time). The faculty member will be considered for tenure prior to mandatory tenure decision time if earlier consideration is guaranteed in the appointment letter or if the faculty member requests early consideration. In cases of early consideration for tenure, the recommendation can be to award tenure, to deny tenure, or to defer a decision on tenure; the faculty member can terminate the review process at any stage by asking that the dossier be withdrawn from consideration. The only possible recommendations at mandatory tenure decision time are to award tenure or to deny tenure; the faculty member can terminate the review process only by resigning.
The candidate is given a copy of each recommendation made at the departmental or divisional level and has an opportunity to supply a written explanatory or rebuttal statement. Any such statement by the candidate becomes a part of the dossier and is reviewed by the departmental/ divisional committee or departmental chairperson/dean whose recommendation elicited the candidate’s response. Following this review, the candidate is informed in writing of the results, and a copy is included in the dossier. The dossier is then forwarded for review at the next stage.
A. Departmental Tenure Recommendations
The departmental tenure committee evaluates the dossier of each candidate, applying the criteria and standards for tenure given in the Faculty Handbook, together with any additional criteria and standards imposed by the department or division. The committee, with members relying on their professional experience as faculty, makes a written recommendation concerning tenure that includes substantive discussion comparing the candidate’s performance, as shown in the dossier (including the external evaluations), to each of the criteria and standards for tenure. The committee’s written recommendation must include the actual vote totals for and against (noting all votes cast). In cases where the vote was not unanimous, the written recommendation must attempt to identify the grounds for dissent so the votes can be appropriately contextualized as the dossier proceeds through the review. Abstentions are strongly discouraged in early tenure reviews and not permitted in the mandatory tenure review. Recusals are permitted when conflicts of interest exist; however, the faculty member should provide an explanation to the committee chair and shall not participate in the committee discussion.
The next stage of the review process consists of an independent written recommendation by the departmental chairperson based on a review of the dossier (including external evaluations) and of the recommendation of the departmental tenure committee. The chairperson’s recommendation includes an independent evaluation of whether the dossier shows that the candidate has met each of the criteria and standards for tenure. The chairperson then transmits the dossier, including all recommendations, to the dean.
B. Divisional Tenure Recommendations
Each division has a tenure committee consisting of tenured faculty members (see Section VI) to review dossiers and recommendations submitted to the dean by departmental chairpersons. This committee makes an independent evaluation of each dossier, with the members relying on their professional experience as faculty, and makes a written recommendation that includes the committee’s assessment of whether the dossier (including external evaluations) contains convincing evidence that all applicable criteria and standards for tenure have been met. The committee’s written recommendation must include the actual vote totals for and against tenure (noting all votes cast). In cases where the vote was not unanimous, the written recommendation must attempt to identify the grounds for dissent so that the votes can be appropriately contextualized as the dossier proceeds through the review. Abstentions are strongly discouraged in early tenure reviews and not permitted in the mandatory tenure review. Recusals are permitted when conflicts of interest exist; however, the faculty member should provide an explanation to the committee chair and shall not participate in the committee discussion.
The next review is conducted by the dean, who makes an independent written recommendation after considering the dossier (including external evaluations) and all the preceding recommendations. The dean’s recommendation concerning tenure includes an assessment of the individual’s potential for making a continuing contribution toward meeting the University’s academic needs and thus may be based in part upon knowledge of budgetary constraints, projected enrollment patterns, and needs of the program or discipline. By February 1, the dean transmits the complete dossier, including the dean’s recommendation, to the Provost.
C. University Tenure Decision
The Provost, together with designated persons, reviews each dossier and all preceding recommendations. Following this review, a written recommendation from the Provost goes to the President, who makes the final decision, unless the President has delegated this decision-making authority to the Provost.
The Provost sends the faculty member written notice of the final tenure decision and provides copies to the departmental chairperson and dean. Formal written notice from the Provost is the only way in which tenure is awarded.
Notification of the award of tenure normally occurs between March 15 and April 15. In the case of denial of tenure, the Provost must notify the individual before the end of the academic year. Notification of denial of tenure constitutes notice that the individual’s appointment at the University terminates at the end of the next academic year.