A dossier serves as a basis for decisions regarding retention, tenure, and/or promotion. The primary responsibility for preparing a dossier to be considered by a faculty committee on retention, promotion, progress review, or tenure rests with the candidate, but the departmental chairperson shall offer assistance. The dossier shall include all evidence and support material deemed by the candidate to be necessary for the review and shall include any material required by departmental and divisional policies as well as a clear description of any special duties stated in the initial or subsequent appointment letter(s). Dossiers are required to be prepared as follows:

  • By tenure-track faculty for retention annually and during the mandatory tenure decision year;
  • By any faculty at the rank of assistant or associate professor when seeking promotion; and
  • By renewable-contract faculty at any rank during the terminal year of their appointment, if they are seeking and the dean is considering them for reappointment. Divisions and units may require additional dossier review for renewable contract faculty.

No material submitted by a candidate shall be removed from the dossier prior to a final decision regarding the candidate’s retention, tenure, and/or promotion in that year’s review.

For tenured/tenure-track faculty, the dossier of a candidate for promotion or tenure must include external evaluations of the candidate’s scholarly and creative contributions to their discipline. For renewable contract faculty in professor ranks, the dossier of a candidate for promotion may require external evaluations, as determined by the academic division’s rules. The candidate suggests in a timely fashion the names of several experts in the candidate’s field who might provide external evaluations. The departmental chairperson requests evaluation statements from at least two of those persons, but is not limited to names furnished by the candidate. In seeking objective reviews of a candidate’s research record, an “arm’s-length” policy is critical in selecting reviewers. External reviewers should not be assistant professors, nor individuals who have published with the candidate, nor the candidate’s terminal degree advisor(s). Exceptions should be documented and rare. These evaluative statements shall be sent to the departmental chairperson, who must put them in the dossier. External reviews must have been written within the past two years to be included in a dossier, unless otherwise noted by a college-specific policy approved by the Provost. All external letters received by the time of the review by the departmental committee must be included. Letters received after this time will not be considered. Efforts should be made to protect the identity of the external evaluators. Additionally, access to external review letters should be limited to appropriate faculty and administrators involved in the review process.

A. Dossiers for Retention and Reappointment of Renewable Contract Faculty

Dossiers for renewable contract faculty for retention and reappointment at the same rank are prepared according to guidelines established by the academic division. Procedures for reappointment for renewable contract faculty are described in Chapter 2, Section III. B. Instructors must prepare dossiers for retention (if required by the academic unit) and reappointment. The candidate submits a dossier to the departmental chairperson (or appropriate administrative official in divisions without departments), who may add information the departmental chairperson/administrative official considers relevant. In the event information is added, the departmental chairperson/administrative official informs the candidate, who has the opportunity to add explanatory or rebuttal material. No dossier is required for promotion to senior instructor, as that promotion is automatic in the seventh year in rank as instructor.

B. Dossiers for Tenure and Promotion

Dossiers for promotion to associate professor and professor (including renewable contract faculty) and for tenure are due October 1 unless, with the approval of the Provost, a division selects a different date. The candidate submits a dossier to the departmental chairperson (or appropriate administrative official in divisions without departments), who may add information the departmental chairperson/administrative official considers relevant. In the event information is added, the departmental chairperson/administrative official informs the candidate, who has the opportunity to add explanatory or rebuttal material. The dossier is then transmitted by the departmental chairperson/administrative official to the departmental faculty committee.

Generally, no new evidence is added to the dossier after it has been transmitted to the departmental committee. In extremely unusual circumstances, when new evidence becomes available that seems to the dean to be significant, the dean may reconvene the departmental and divisional committees and ask these committees and the departmental chairperson to assess the new evidence.

Dossiers generally are reviewed by one or more faculty committees, the departmental chairperson (or appropriate administrative official in divisions without departments), the dean, and the Provost (see Sections VIII, IX, and X). The reviews of faculty committees, the departmental chairperson, and the dean each result in written recommendations that are attached to the dossier and are considered at subsequent stages of the review process. Each such recommendation shall include a discussion of the evidence in the dossier concerning whether the candidate’s performance satisfies the pertinent set of criteria and standards.

The candidate is given a copy of each such recommendation and has an opportunity to supply an 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.

Those performing the review at each stage shall have access to the complete dossier of the candidate and to copies of the formal written recommendations made at each prior stage of the review. In addition, they shall rely on their professional judgment in making evaluations and recommendations. Since the dossiers contain confidential and sensitive material, access to them shall be limited to persons formally involved in the review process.

Any material in the dossier submitted by the candidate that is not retained in the digital evaluation platform shall be returned to the candidate at the end of the review process.