- University Policy: 102.13 > 6 Procedures for Review for Reappointment, Promotion, and the Conferral of Permanent Tenure for Faculty Members in Professorial Ranks
- Academic Personnel Procedures Handbook, see: VI. Academic Personnel Review Process > C. Review for Reappointment, Promotion, and Conferral of Permanent Tenure
- Academic Affairs Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to these university guidelines, particular college guidelines are described below.
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is committed to a review process that is anti-racist and equitable.
Faculty members are reviewed by the department review committee, the chair, the college review committee, the dean, and the provost. Each of these reviews is independent, the file includes the following items:
- Faculty dossier (includes the candidate’s CV and their self-assessment, at a minimum)
- External reviews, with Record of External Letters (not required for reappointment)
- The Department Review Committee Recommendation
- The Chair Determination
- The College Review Recommendation
- The Dean’s Determination
The College offers workshops every spring for those faculty members who are being reviewed in the next fall. These workshops discuss the review process and provide guidelines for writing the self-assessment and updating and formatting the CV. Chairs and members of the DRC are recommended to sit in on these workshops, when they first take on the role of reviewer, in order to hear the message that the faculty receives.
The Department is responsible for providing appropriate guidance to the faculty member as they prepare the RPT dossier. Since the department chair is one of the evaluators in this process, the chair is the point person on all aspects of the process. However, some departments provide mentoring support for faculty, either by identifying a single individual or having a standing committee, and this practice is encouraged. In addition, the university’s ADVANCE Faculty Affairs and Diversity Office provides support for faculty as they prepare their dossiers.
The Chair is responsible for ensuring that all required documents are uploaded by the deadline published by the Dean’s Office. For consistency sake and for ease of review beyond the department, chairs should follow the sample college template.
All faculty members are evaluated in three areas of performance: research/scholarly and creative activity, teaching, and professional service (includes service to the institution, the profession, and the public). These three areas are not necessarily discrete categories, but often overlap. In addition, evaluation of faculty productivity should take into account both quantitative and qualitative measures. See College Criteria to be used in making Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Decisions.
Because the RPT review is the review of a career, determining whether the faculty member’s contributions to date merit the awarding of reappointment, or tenure and/or promotion, the contributions that a faculty member has made in positions previous to his/her appointment at UNC Charlotte must be considered.
Normally, university expectations are that a faculty member must have received their terminal degree a full five years prior to the P&T review. Given this expectation, if a faculty member is interested in being considered for tenure and promotion to associate professor prior to the mandatory sixth year review, the department chair should inform the dean no later than the spring semester prior to the review.
While the faculty member is responsible for compiling the dossier and documenting materials, the Department Chair and the Department Review Committee have a joint responsibility for the following:
- Providing appropriate guidance to the faculty member, regarding the review. Normally, this means that the chair and the faculty member meet very early in the spring semester. At that time, chair provides this information to the faculty member:
- A description of the process, including a timeline.
- The department and college criteria for the review (clearly, these criteria should have been part of the discussion during annual reviews, etc.).
- A list of the materials that the faculty member must provide and the date that each of these are due.
- The appropriate faculty member or committee that will support the faculty member during this process, in addition to the chair, if that is the department process.
- Other supporting materials, including the dates of the college workshops and the Advance Office contact information.
- Requesting an evaluative letter from the chair/director of any secondary unit, for which the faculty member has made scholarly, teaching, or professional contributions. This is a required document for those faculty members who have contractual obligations in the secondary unit. If a faculty member contributes to another unit in any of the areas of evaluation, but does not have a contractual obligation, the faculty member is encouraged to solicit an evaluative letter as well. This letter must be part of the file from the point of initial review.
- Covering the cost of any scholarly products that are sent to the external reviewers.
II. External Letters
Office of the Provost
- The college requires six letters. This is three letters more than the university requires.
- Reviewers must be at a rank above the faculty member being reviewed.
- These should be solicited in mid- to late spring.
- The chair should ask the faculty member to submit six names. The chair will independently identify six names as well. The final list should ideally contain three from each list. 2/4 is ok, with two from the faculty member’s list. 1/5 is strongly discouraged.
- The chair and a member of the DRC will meet with the dean or their designee in the spring to review the list. This conversation is helpful to the dean, as it introduces the faculty member and the portfolio. It also is helpful to the DRC member who may or may not have been involved in this evaluation process before, or who has not served for a while. It is an opportunity for both the department chair and the dean to ask and answer questions about the process.
- The final list of reviewers should insure that all aspects of the faculty member’s research can be assessed.
- The letter requesting the letter should say that the review should only concern research and that the reviewer should not provide an opinion about whether the person should be promoted and tenured. (See sample)
- The final template provided to the Dean’s Office should only include reviewers who have agreed to provide a letter. If someone who has agreed does not provide a letter, this should be noted on the form.
- The faculty member is provided the opportunity to exclude reviewers they believe cannot offer an unbiased review (a box on the form).
- Reviewers must have the ability to provide an objective evaluation. Chairs and department faculty should be careful to exclude reviewers who might be unable to be fully objective. For example, a dissertation director or co-author both would be considered to be “too close” to the candidate.
- Since North Carolina is an open record state, faculty members are able to see the external reviewer letters. The practice in CLAS is that the faculty member has this opportunity at the end of the review process. Consequently, if the faculty member’s final review is positive, the faculty member may view the file, with the external letters, after the process is completed. The faculty member should make an appointment to review the file in the Dean’s Office. However, in order insure confidentiality, copies of the external reviewer letters will not be made. However, if a faculty member receives a negative recommendation from either the chair or the dean, the faculty member has the opportunity, at that point in the process, to write a rebuttal and therefore will receive a copy of the entire file.
III. The Department
At the unit level, the unit committee and the chair evaluate the faculty member’s contributions as a teacher and scholar within the context of the unit’s goals. These evaluators bring to their evaluations both intrinsic knowledge of the departmental academic environment and the workings of the field nationally and internationally. These reviews are the most substantive, for the reviewers are situated within the field itself. The objective of procedures at the unit level should be to create sufficient confidence in its evaluation process that its recommendations are accepted at higher levels of review.
The DRC and Chair letters together do the following:
- Provide a context in which to discuss the faculty member’s contributions. This context should include the faculty member’s workload, the department mission, the state of the discipline, and the department culture and work environment.
- Answer any questions that may be raised in the faculty member’s articulation of his/her contributions and/or in the external letters (in the cases of tenure and/or promotion applications).
- Include some discussion regarding the candidate’s intellectual contribution to the scholarship of the candidate’s area(s) of expertise. Candidates often provide such a statement, but DRCs and chairs do so less often, relying instead on discussing the topic area being studied, the quality of the journals or publishing houses, the journal impact factor, the prestige of the granting agency or on the global statements of the external reviewers (e.g., “this has great impact on the field.”). These are all important markers, but there should also be an explanation of the intellectual contribution the candidate is making. E.g., they have provided new ways of investigating the subject, close methodological checking of the field’s claims, nuanced interpretations of the subject matter that have taken the field in a new direction, etc. It is important to explain to the reader what the candidate’s scholarly contribution has been.
- When reviewing the candidate’s teaching, offer more evidence than just the student evaluations. We all agree that student evaluations provide at best an incomplete picture of a faculty member’s teaching. The DRC’s and chair’s evaluations of a candidate’s teaching should incorporate the full range of data available, e.g., peer reviews of teaching, the candidate’s teaching materials, their self-assessment, students mentored, teaching workshops attended, new courses developed, pedagogical articles written, etc. “The Elements of the Candidate Dossier” instructs the faculty member to include a broad range of evidence to support their discussion of teaching contributions.
DRC LETTER (From the Academic Budget and Personnel Procedures Handbook)
“Recommendation of the Department Review Committee. The analysis of strengths and weaknesses and the resulting recommendation prepared by the Department Review Committee should be addressed to the Department Chair. It should indicate the vote of the committee on the recommendation and be signed by all members to indicate that they have reviewed the full recommendation document. Significant minority opinions should be identified but need not be attributed to individual members of the committee. Separate minority recommendations may be written and submitted as an attachment to the recommendation of the committee.
Section 6.3.2 of the Tenure Document requires that the permanently tenured faculty members in the department, other than those who will participate in the review process at another level, who are at or above the rank for which a candidate is under consideration, shall be provided an opportunity to review the candidate’s review file and provide advice to the DRC. Every department is encouraged to develop a published process by which peer faculty may independently view a candidate’s review file and contribute feedback to the DRC. All persons who have access to a candidate’s review file shall treat the information as confidential personnel information as provided in section 5.2 of the Tenure Document.”
The following provides College implementation of the Handbook guidelines:
- The DRC membership should include at least three faculty members.
- The process for inviting faculty members at rank, who are not otherwise participants in the review process, to review should be described. The letter should also indicate how/whether the DRC has incorporated any of this input.
- If the file includes a letter, describing the faculty member’s contributions to a secondary unity, the DRC letter should address these contributions.
- Votes are one of four categories: “yes,” “no,” “abstain,” or “absent.” Abstention is the vote when there is a conflict of interest. The DRC vote must be recorded. If there is a split recommendation, the minority argument must be fully presented, either in a letter that all members can sign (as it accurately reflects the discussion) or in a separate letter. The report of the vote must be anonymous.
- A signature page should be included, signifying that the letter accurately reports the committee’s deliberations and assessment.
- The letter is an argument. It should not simply list the various things that the faculty member has done, i.e., no “string of pearls.” There must be an evaluative discussion.
- The letter should describe impact; in other words, the letter should evaluate, not simply describe.
- The DRC should address any questions that might be raised in the file. For example, if one or more of the external reviewers offers a negative point of view that the DRC does not agree with, this perspective must be answered and explained.
- The DRC should not identify any of the external reviewers by name, institution, or any other identifier.
- If the faculty member’s record shows that they have not fully met the criteria, but the DRC is making a positive recommendation, the discrepancy must be fully addressed.
- The tone of the letter should be professional and constructive, if weaknesses are noted.
- See the guidelines for the DRC letter.
- See sample chair letter.
- If the chair disagrees with the DRC (either a unanimous or minority opinion), the chair should address this discrepancy.
IV. College And University
At the college level, the perspective is different because the college committee and the dean evaluate the faculty member’s contributions in light of the department guidelines and college mission. This means that the reviewers look, first, at the role of the unit in achieving college goals, and second, at the role of the faculty member in the unit’s level of participation. They examine the unit letters and the external letters for evidence that the faculty member actively participates in the instructional and scholarly work of the field. Because the faculty member and the college reviewers are members of the same college, the reviews provide local expertise in regards to broad disciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions, both in scholarship and in teaching. However, this level of review normally cannot speak with authority to the faculty member’s role in knowledge creation or instructional responsibilities in his/her field. This level is responsible for holding the department true to its evaluative criteria, as expressed in its RPT guidelines.
(From the Academic Budget and Personnel Procedures Handbook)
“Recommendation of the College Review Committee. The analysis of strengths and weaknesses and the resulting recommendation prepared by the College Review Committee should be addressed to the Dean. It should indicate the vote of the
committee on the recommendation and be signed by all members to indicate that they have reviewed the full recommendation document. Significant minority opinions should be identified but need not be attributed to individual members of the committee. Separate minority recommendations may be written and submitted as an attachment to the recommendation of the committee.”
The review at the university level takes the broadest perspective on the file. The Provost may or may not be a member of the faculty member’s field, and they may or may not be in the faculty member’s college. They look for the faculty member’s positive impact on the unit and college goals. They particularly rely on the unit letters and the external letters to provide evidence for impact upon the discipline. They look to the department faculty letters to provide insight into the specifics of the faculty member’s intellectual contributions in teaching and scholarship, and evidence that the faculty member is making a difference in the field–impact. They value the administrator letters for their discussions of the faculty member’s contributions to the larger mission of the department, college, and university. They expect to see both qualitative and quantitative evidence for the assertions in the file. The Provost looks for justification and evidence for the recommendations offered at each level.
V. Negative Determinations
If the chair or dean provides a negative determination, the candidate may provide a rebuttal. For the process and timeline, see:
- University Policy 102.13 > 2 Academic Freedom and Responsibility of Faculty
- Academic Personnel Procedures Handbook
Guidelines for Chairs & Review Committees (October 2020)