Promotion and tenure: administrative procedures for implementing the Regents policy on faculty tenure

Procedures for Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty

This document was revised in 2011 as a result of revisions made to the Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure (pdf) (hereafter tenure regulations) in June, 2011.  The Procedures document is mandated by the tenure regulations.  It is meant to provide more details about the requirements in the tenure regulations and to specify procedures that must (obligatory) or should (preferred) be followed to implement the tenure regulations.

The Procedures is an important document for all faculty in tenure-track and tenured lines. Probationary faculty are provided with detailed information about their rights and responsibilities in the tenure and promotion process, including the annual reviews and extensions of the probationary period due to parental or caregiver responsibilities or personal illness and/or injury. Tenured faculty are provided with information about voting on cases, understanding the processes of annual reviews and tenure and promotion decisions, hiring outside faculty with tenure, as well as the annual review of tenured faculty. The Procedures are also important for chairs and heads of units, deans, chancellors, and provosts, as well as those in collegiate, campus, and central administration positions to understand the review processes at each level of the university.

There are a number of important changes in the Procedures.  These changes are described in this presentation (pdf).  The changes are also highlighted in the FAQs that follow this description.

It is the responsibility of the unit, collegiate or campus, and central administrators to ensure that the voting tenured faculty and the probationary faculty, as well as administrators, follow all of the requirements and processes described in both the tenure regulations and the Procedures.  Both of these documents have significant weight in the tenure and promotion process.  Failure to follow these requirements and procedures may result in significant and material procedural errors that would require a re-review of a case after a tenure or promotion denial.

 

 

In addition to the Regents Policy on Faculty Tenure, candidates for promotion and/or tenure are governed by a new set of administrative procedures described below. These procedures apply to probationary faculty and to tenured associate professors in their promotion to the rank of professor.

Procedures for Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty (2012)

Download PDF: Overview of changes to Procedures for Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty (2012)

 

 

FAQs for the Procedures for Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty (2012)

When does the new Procedures document go into effect?

February 1, 2012. It replaces the 2007 version of the Procedures.

How does the implementation of the new Procedures affect ongoing cases for promotion and tenure?

Promotion and tenure cases that are in process in 2011-2012 began under the 2007 version of the Procedures.  By the February 1, 2012 implementation date, most units have had their initial votes.  Some colleges and campuses will provide a second level of review after February 1.  The Procedures for these votes have not changed. Rather, there are clarifications about the review process for colleges on the Twin Cities campus that not subdivided into departments. The processes at the provostal level have not changed but there are some clarifications about the second level of review (college or campus) and the third level of review (provost).

 

How does the implementation of the new Procedures affect the annual review of probationary faculty?

If the annual reviews for 2011-2012 were completed prior to February 1, 2012, then units would have used the 2007 version of the Procedures.  If the annual reviews for this year will take place after February 1, 2012, then the unit must use the new Procedures.  Most of the processes described are unchanged; a few are clarified further from the 2007 version.

 

What is new in the 2012 version of the Procedures?

There are a number of new additions to the Procedures that will affect the ways in which units conduct their promotion and tenure processes.

 

Are there new processes for hiring tenured faculty from the outside in Section V?

This section is based on the current practice since 2008 that was based on a memo from the Provost’s office.  Units that intend to hire a faculty member with tenure must assemble a mini dossier and obtain outside letters as specified in Section V.  There must be a review at the unit, collegiate or campus, and provostal levels.  The case is finally presented to the Board of Regents.  Section V provides the specific details of the required processes.

This section also describes the need for a letter of resignation from the previous institution before tenure at the University of Minnesota can be conferred.  A faculty member may not hold two tenured positions simultaneously, even if one is without pay.  If a faculty member is on leave from a tenured position at another university, she or he can only hold a visiting position at the University of Minnesota until she or he tenders a resignation from the other institution. Section V provides the specific details of the required processes.

 

Are there new processes for the annual review of tenured faculty (post-tenure review)?

Section VI of the Procedures expands on the processes for conducting the annual review of tenured faculty that are described in Subsection 7a of the tenure regulations. One of the most important additions is the description of what are goals and expectations for performance for tenured faculty. There are also specific steps provided for balancing the goals and expectations for research, teaching, and service responsibilities for those faculty members who need more flexibility in their commitments.  Other language has been incorporated from the 1998 document on post-tenure review by the Faculty Senate. This document will be archived and the Procedures will be the primary document for post-tenure review along with Subsection 7a of the tenure regulations.  Section VI also describes how to use the goals and expectations for performance in the annual review process.

 

Section VI has added some processes not included in Subsection 7a of the tenure regulations. For example, it requires that a faculty member write a progress report to address the performance improvement plan devised by the unit head and the elected, tenured faculty committee.  In the section on special peer review (the elaboration of Subsection 7a.3 of the tenure regulations), there are time limits specified for actions such as the faculty member under review to respond to requests from the special review panel and for the faculty member to name his or her choice of one faculty member for the special review panel.

 

What is the purpose of the required four-year review for associate professors?

Currently, tenured associate professors are reviewed annually for merit and performance.  Some units take this opportunity to give feedback about that faculty member’s progress toward meeting the requirements for promotion to the rank of professor. However, this practice is not consistent across the university.  The rationale for this additional requirement is to ensure that tenured associate professors get periodic feedback so that they can achieve the highest academic rank.  The Procedures do not describe a specific process for accomplishing the review.  A university form for this review is available here.

 

What is the rationale for the four-year interval for the review of tenured associate professors?

Several years ago, the Provost’s office measured the time in rank as an associate professor for faculty at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities who had become full professors.  The mean length of time in rank as an associate professor was eight years. Based on these data, a midpoint value of four years was chosen.

 

Are there changes in the processes underlying the extension of the probationary period as described in subsection 5.5 of the tenure regulations?

There is a new term in the Procedures called the continuation year. It refers to the year of the extension.  When a faculty member is granted an extension in a particular year (e.g. year 3 of the probationary period), the following year is called the continuation year (e.g. year 3 of the probationary period is repeated).

 

It is now clarified that each probationary faculty member must have an annual review even during the year of the extension. In most cases, the probationary faculty member is still working full time. If the probationary period is extended because the faculty member has been granted an unpaid leave, then an annual review may be postponed for the year of the actual leave.

 

The term “stop the tenure clock” has been removed from the Procedures. Instead, the document always uses the term “extend the probationary period.”  The use of the term “stop the tenure clock” has caused confusion for many faculty members because it causes individuals to think in terms of when the request for an extension was made.  The date that an extension was granted during the academic year is not important.  What is important is the fact that the entire probationary period is extended one year.  It is also important for all tenured faculty in the unit to understand that the year following the grant of the extension is the continuation year, which is explained above.

There is now a new University of Minnesota Form 12, Appraisal of Probationary Faculty, that will allow everyone to understand better which year is the extension of the probationary period throughout the entire probationary period.

 

What else is changed in the Procedures regarding the extension of the probationary period?

To be consistent with the changes in subsection 5.5 of the tenure regulations (2011) regarding the extension of the probationary period, the Procedures have been modified in the following ways:

What is new in the Procedures regarding dual or joint appointments?

The new Procedures require that if a faculty member is hired with a dual or joint appointment in two units, that a memorandum of understanding be drawn up during the first probationary year to determine how the annual reviews and final tenure and promotion decision be handled.  In some cases, the dual appointment is one primary and one secondary, in which the secondary appointment comes with no salary or expectations for teaching or research to be done in the second unit.  In other cases, the faculty member’s appointment will be split between two units with percentages of effort that need to be specified regarding teaching and research responsibilities.

 

For faculty members with single appointments whose work is truly interdisciplinary in nature, a memorandum of understanding must be drawn up by the fourth probationary year to determine how the remaining annual reviews and final promotion and tenure decision may be made.

 

These memoranda of understanding (MOU) must specify which faculty members from a second unit may be added to the voting faculty of the first unit for discussion and voting on the promotion and tenure and annual reviews of the candidate.  The MOUs can be amended over time and should reflect the current status of the faculty member.

 


 

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