Information for Faculty

Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Recommendations

  1. The Department of Sociology will conduct an annual review of untenured faculty on regular appointments. The purpose of this review is to assess the progress of untenured faculty toward tenure and promotion. Procedures are as follows:
    1. The review will be conducted by the eligible tenured faculty in the Department of Sociology. Only the eligible tenured faculty will vote in these proceedings. (Note: The eligible tenured faculty are those tenured faculty of the Department of Sociology who are subject to the annual merit evaluations in the Department of Sociology. This would exclude some persons on administrative or joint appointments.) The eligible tenured faculty, by a majority vote, may include other tenured faculty of the Department of Sociology in these proceedings.
    2. The eligible tenured faculty will have access the annual updates of cumulative faculty records, curriculum vitae, and to the annual evaluations of performance conducted by the Personnel Committee of the Department.
    3. During the course of the academic year, the activities of each faculty member shall be documented when possible by placing information in the faculty member's file. This departmental documentation is primarily the responsibility of the faculty member. All faculty members are to submit to the Chair a written summary of their activities in the current academic year. The college annual addition to the cumulative faculty record shall normally serve this purpose and shall be requested at the time of the annual review.
    4. The Department Chair shall normally preside at these meetings. If the Chair is unavailable or unable to preside, the eligible tenured faculty shall elect one of their number to preside.
    5. The information gathered and any evaluations made at these meetings shall be transmitted by the Chair verbally and in writing to the non-tenured faculty member.
    6. The non-tenured faculty member shall have the right to request, within thirty days of receipt of the written evaluation, a meeting with the eligible tenured faculty or their designated representatives to address perceived inaccuracies and points of disagreement.
    7. A copy of the annual evaluation shall be placed in the faculty member's file, together with any written reaction to the evaluation submitted by the non-tenured faculty member.
    8. At the conclusion of the annual evaluation, the Department shall recommend to the Dean reappointment, non-reappointment, or a terminal appointment for the non-tenured faculty member for the following academic year consistent with university requirements for notification.
    9. In cases of exceptional achievement possibly meriting early promotion, the annual review will result in the activation of a fact-finding committee and of the promotion and tenure procedures described below. However, the usual pattern for non-tenured assistant professors will be to activate the promotion process in the mandatory year.
    10. The annual departmental review during the non-tenured faculty member's third year toward tenure shall be especially extensive. Although the Department cannot commit itself to a recommendation of tenure at this stage, its review shall include an explicit statement of how well the candidate is meeting the Department's expectations for progress toward tenure. The Department will forward a copy of its third-year evaluation to the Dean, along with any written statements by the candidate.
  2. The Department of Sociology will conduct an annual review of Associate Professors. The procedures will be as follows:
    1. Once a year, the eligible tenured professors of the Department will meet to review the activities and performance of Associate Professors. (Note: The eligible tenured professors eligible for participation in this meeting will be those tenured full professors subject to the annual merit evaluation in the Department of Sociology. This would exclude some persons on administrative or joint appointments.) The eligible tenured professors, by a majority vote, may include other tenured full professors of the Department of Sociology in this meeting.
    2. The meeting will be chaired by the Department Chair. Or, when the Chair is not a full professor or for other reasons unable to preside, the eligible tenured professors shall elect a full professor to chair the meeting.
    3. The results of the meeting may include the decision to activate a fact-finding committee to prepare materials relevant to promotion to the rank of Professor. In that case the procedures on promotions described below will be activated.
    4. Upon the request of the associate professor under review the results of the review shall be transmitted by the Chair in writing to the associate professor and placed in the faculty member's file, together with any reaction by the faculty member.
  3. If the relevant faculty body determines that promotion and/or tenure of a faculty member should be actively considered, then a fact-finding committee will be established to prepare information relevant to the promotion and/or tenure of that faculty member. The fact-finding committee will consist of two faculty members and one graduate student selected by the appropriate faculty decision-making body and one faculty member selected by the candidate for promotion and/or tenure. The relevant faculty decision-making body will consist of all eligible tenured faculty in case of promoting with tenure to the rank of associate professor, appointing a new associate professor with tenure, or tenuring a previously appointed associate professor. The decision-making body will consist of all eligible tenured full professors in the case of a promotion to the rank of full professor, appointing a new full professor with tenure, or tenuring a previously appointed full professor. (Note: The faculty members eligible to participate in these decisions are those who are subject to the annual merit evaluation in the Department of Sociology. This eliminates some persons on joint appointments.)
  4. The fact-finding committee will collect information relevant to the candidate's performance in the areas of teaching, research, and service. The committee will assemble the information and prepare a written summary of the information. The written summary and documentation will be made available to the relevant decision-making body (i.e., tenured professors, associate and full professors, or full professors as appropriate.) The report of the fact-finding committee will be made without a recommendation for action but will be presented in a way that permits the relevant faculty body to make an informed decision. The information collected by the fact-finding committee will include the following:
    1. Current curriculum vitae of the candidate
    2. Copies of the candidate's publications
    3. Descriptions, outlines, and other materials describing the candidates teaching.
    4. A statement prepared by the candidate outlining the candidate's intellectual concerns and research interests and showing how these are expressed in a coherent program of teaching and research, including research priorities for the future.
    5. Student evaluations of the candidate's teaching and advising, including both course evaluations and the results of a survey of students conducted by the fact-finding committee.
    6. Peer evaluations of the candidate's teaching based on interviews with the candidate, examination of teaching materials submitted by the candidate, and visits to the candidate's classes by at least one member of the fact-finding committee.
    7. Evaluations of service activities, where appropriate, by peers and/or recipients of services. This element is especially important for candidates engaged in Extension activities.
    8. External evaluations of scholarship on the form of letters from referees at other institutions. The referees should be established scholars well regarded in their fields. The candidate for promotion and/or tenure may suggest names of outside referees, but the actual selection of referees shall be made by the relevant decision-making body and the fact-finding committee. The external referees will be asked to provide objective assessments of the scholarly work of the candidate. The external referees will be provided with the candidate's curriculum vitae, publications and other writing, and other information deemed appropriate by the fact-finding committee. Whenever feasible, letters from external reviewers will be solicited in the winter semester for delivery in the succeeding fall semester. The letters shall be solicited with the understanding that, insofar as possible, access to them shall be limited to persons involved in the promotion and/or tenure decision. The candidate will not have access to the letters. The letters will assess the candidate's scholarship, national visibility, comparative standing in the field, promise of future contributions, and other indications of scholarly achievement. Signed, but unsolicited, letters of evaluation received by the committee may be used in the evaluation process at the committee's discretion. If such letters are used in the evaluation process, they shall be made available to the candidate. Unsigned letters of evaluation may not be used in the evaluation process.
  5. After receiving the written report of the fact-finding committee, the relevant decision-making body (eligible tenured faculty, tenured associate and full professors, or tenured full professors, as appropriate) will meet to decide if the proposed promotion and/or tenure action should be recommended. Voting in this meeting shall be by secret ballot. The student member of the fact-finding committee may attend this meeting and participate in the discussion but will leave the meeting before a vote is taken. A simple majority vote will determine the outcome. In exceptional cases proxy votes may cast for those absent from the meeting provided that they have clearly expressed their preferences in writing to the Department Chair in advance of the meeting. The relevant decision-making body shall have access to all of the documentation used by the fact-finding committee to prepare its report.
  6. The Chair shall promptly report the results of the vote to the candidate in writing. From the date of the initial vote, the candidate will have seven days in which to appeal a negative decision in writing to the Chair of the Department. From the date the appeal is received, the relevant decision-making body will have seven days in which to respond to an appeal. The original decision may then be either upheld or reversed by secret ballot of the relevant decision-making body.
  7. In the case of positive votes, the results including the vote count will be reported to the Dean and the Promotion, Tenure, and Membership Committee of the College of Arts and Science. A committee of those concurring in the outcome will assist the Department Chair in preparing a written report summarizing the basis for the decision. The report shall include documentation for the recommendation including all of the letters solicited from external referees. The process of selecting referees will be explained, and brief descriptions of the referees will be included. The Department Chair shall forward the department's recommendation on promotion to the Dean, along with a separate "chair's recommendation." In almost all cases, the Chair's recommendation will be consistent with the Department's recommendation.
  8. The candidate for tenure and/or promotion shall have the right to a hearing or reconsideration by the faculty decision-making body. The candidate shall also have the right to appeal a negative decision to the Promotion, Tenure, and Membership Committee of the College of Arts and Science and the Dean. Further appeals are governed by relevant campus and university documents.
  9. Standards for the promotion to the rank of Associate Professor: Candidates for promotion to the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology shall have established a record of demonstrable achievement in the three areas of teaching, research, and service. In teaching, they should have made significant contributions to the instructional program of the Department at the undergraduate or graduate levels. And, they should show promise of continued and even enhanced contributions in the future. In research, they should have established a coherent research program which has already produced important work recognized by scholars in their fields. The expectations are concerned more with quality and promise than with the sheer number or volume of publications. Although a specific, quantitative standard cannot be established, it is expected that candidates for promotion to the rank of associate professor will have published a number of substantial, refereed articles in high-quality social science journals or a book based on solid, sociological work and accepted by a reputable publisher. In the area of service it is expected that the candidate will have demonstrated willingness and ability to carry on advising and committee work in the Department. Service to the discipline in the form of committee, administrative, and editorial work in encouraged. Also, for all candidates, service to the larger society through voluntary associations, assistance with the work of public agencies, membership on boards, etc., are encouraged. In the case of candidates with funding from the Extension Division, substantial contributions to service in the larger community and the state are expected.
  10. Standards for promotion to the rank of Professor: Candidates for the rank of Professor should also show achievements and continued promise in the three areas of teaching, research, and service. They should have established solid reputations for effective teaching at the graduate or undergraduate level. In research, the candidate should have established a national reputation based on a substantial and sustained pattern of scholarly publication. Quality is more important than quantity of publication; but the quantity should be substantially greater than that expected for promotion to the associate rank. In service, a sustained pattern of effective advising and committee work in the Department is expected. Service to the discipline through editorial, committee, and administrative work is encouraged. Likewise, service to the larger society through voluntary associations, assistance to public agencies, memberships on boards, and the like are encouraged. Service expectations for those in Extension will be larger.