Office of the Provost

Academic Policies

Tenure and Promotion

Last modified: 05.31.06

Tenure and Promotion Policy (for those appointed before
January 1, 2005)

Tenure is a guarantee of employment to faculty members up to retirement or voluntary resignation, subject to withdrawal for compelling reasons only. Tenure is granted by Drexel in the belief that by so doing, the professional development of the faculty is enhanced through greater freedom in teaching, research, and extramural activities.

  1. Tenure is granted to Drexel faculty after an initial probationary period of employment. The probationary period will not exceed a total of seven full-time years of employment in the assistant professor, associate professor, and/or professor rank at Drexel. Full-time service in any of these three ranks in other institutions of higher education may be credited toward the Drexel probationary period (up to a maximum credit of three years), at the election of the faculty member in accordance with the procedures set forth in these rules under “Election to Waive Prior Service Credit.” Part-time service and service in any rank below assistant professor, whether at Drexel or another institution, will not be credited toward the probationary period.
  2. The Board of Trustees, upon recommendation of the president, may grant tenure prior to the end of the maximum Drexel probationary period
  3. Termination of employment of tenured faculty members at Drexel will be undertaken for compelling reasons only. Such reasons include incapacitation or grave misconduct. Dismissal proceedings for tenured faculty members will be carried out under the standards approved by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association of University Professors at their annual meeting in 1958. These standards have been set fourth in the AAUP Bulletin (Spring, 1964).


Early in the fall term of each academic year, the assistant vice president will prepare a list of faculty members who must be considered for tenure in the current academic year. The names of those faculty members will be verified by the deans and returned to the provost.

The provost will approve the addition of other faculty members to the list for tenure review, at the written request of the faculty member or an appropriate member of the administration. It is understood that in this case a recommendation as to either tenure or termination will be made.

Recommendations for the granting of tenure initiate in the academic department. The department head, with the advice and guidance of his/her faculty, prepares a written recommendation with full justification. This recommendation is reviewed by the academic dean, the provost and the president. If approved at these levels, the recommendation is presented to the board of trustees for final approval.

When a tenure committee is established by an academic department, formal procedures must be followed. General orderliness of record is important regarding dates and attendance of meetings, evidence considered, votes taken, manner of voting and outcome.

The reports early in the process are critically important as being closest to the evidence and to persons best technically equipped to judge that evidence. The candidate’s case for tenure, the faculty committee's report, the student committee's report, (if appropriate and separate), and the department head’s report should fully report findings and the evidence considered in arriving at those findings. The department head should be fully informed regarding the tenure committee findings prior to making his/her own report.

Misunderstandings, misconceptions, and disagreements must be confronted at the level at which they occur. In the case of contradictory findings, it is the responsibility of the later reviewer to assure the consistency of the information evaluated in arriving at the recommendation.

The decision between tenure and a terminal contract is based on the estimated probability that the person being considered is or will become an outstanding faculty member. This judgment is made with full consideration of his/her teaching, scholarship and service to Drexel. If the estimated probability is high, tenure should be recommended; otherwise a terminal contract should be recommended.

The tenure rules allow up to three years of credit at the election of the faculty member toward the seven-year probationary period for service in the professorial rank at another institution of higher education. When such credit has been established, the probationary time at Drexel is reduced by the amount of credit, so that it could be as short as four years.

Those appointed initially at a date other than September 1 are special cases. Their first year of service at Drexel counting toward the seven year probationary period will be stated in their initial contract.

The precise terms and conditions of every appointment must be stated in writing and be in the possession of both the University and the individual before the appointment is consummated.

Election to Waive Prior Service Credit

Beginning September 1, 1978 all full-time non-tenured faculty, other than those on terminal contract or those who have asked for early tenure review shall have the privilege of electing to waive any or all prior service credit allowable under these tenure rules. This waiver shall be in a form acceptable to the president, shall be noted on the faculty member’s contract, and, once made, shall not be revocable. The election must be made on or before October 16, 1978 for all present faculty, and on or before October 16 of the first year of employment for full-time non-tenured faculty newly hired in subsequent years.

The election could be in the following language:

I acknowledge that within the meaning of Drexel's tenure rules I have years of prior service at the professional rank at other higher institutions, that I hereby elect to waive______ years of this service, and, in so doing, recognize that my tenure review year shall be ___________________, and that this election is not revocable. I intend to be legally bound hereby.

DECEMBER 10, 1996

The following supplements are the minimum requirements of the University's Tenure Policy:

Effective with the beginning of the 1996-97 academic year, the following procedures will govern the awarding of promotion and tenure. Tenure-track faculty at Drexel University are hired with the assumption that if they meet stated departmental, college and university criteria for tenure during their period of probationary service then they will be awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor no later than the beginning of their seventh year at the university. This is subject to review by the Council of Deans and by the Faculty Senate and must be approved by the President. All are in keeping with the general guidelines of the AAUP regarding promotion and tenure.

  1. All tenure-track faculty whose assignments began on or after July 1, 1994 are to be hired on annual contracts during their period of probationary service. Their contracts will be renewed twice upon recommendation of their department chair, unless their performance is unsatisfactory in which case they will be notified that their appointments will end in accordance with standard AAUP guidelines.

  2. During the third year of service (less for those faculty who are hired with one or more years of prior service credit), all tenure-track faculty undergo a formal mid-term review. This procedure will be conducted by the Department Chair in consultation with department tenure committees or their equivalents. Specific procedures may differ from department to department, but all procedures must be approved by department chairs, by College Deans, by School Directors, and by the Provost. These reviews are internal (external referees are optional) and will take place during the fall quarter and will be completed no later than March 30 of each academic year. Individuals reviewed will be given a copy of the final departmental report and will acknowledge receipt and add comments if desired, within fifteen (15) days after receiving the report. Copies of the review will be kept in the departmental office and in the office of the College Dean. The midterm review file, including the report of the departmental committee, the department head's report, the Dean's report, the School' s Director's report, and the candidate's response, shall be forwarded to the tenure review committee.

    The University will provide a positive approach in helping new faculty to achieve tenure. To this end, a formal mentoring procedure will be used for all new faculty. Upon entering a new department, faculty will be assigned a senior faculty member who will serve as an adviser/mentor for the duration of the junior faculty's probation years. Senior faculty who serve in these mentoring posts. will receive service credit for this service.

  3. At the end of the mid-term review, the faculty member under review will receive a written statement from her/his Department Chair indicating one of the following: (a) she/he appears to be making satisfactory progress toward promotion and tenure and, subject to University policies regarding tenure-track faculty in their period of probationary service, her/his contract will be renewed annually, with formal promotion and tenure considerations occurring in her/his sixth year; or (b) she/he appears to be progressing toward promotion and tenure with qualifications in which appropriate actions must be taken to remedy deficiencies in the individual's performance (i.e. teaching effectiveness, research productivity). These remedies include but are not limited to mentoring by senior faculty, attending teaching effectiveness workshops, or receiving guidance in preparing research proposals. In such cases, the burden of responsibility for performance improvement is on the individual, but the members of the department who approved the continuation of annual appointments with qualifications must be willing to assist the tenure-track member improve her/his performance; or (c) she/he is not making satisfactory progress toward promotion and tenure. In such cases, the individual will be given a terminal contract for the fourth year.

  4. Since the mid-term review is an internal departmental review based on performance prior to the third year of service only, a faculty member who is reviewed mid-term and advised she/he is making satisfactory progress ((3)(a)) or progress with qualifications ((3)(b)) must understand that she/he must demonstrate substantial additional progress toward tenure in the period of probationary service following the mid-term review. In addition, tenure candidates should be aware that the granting of tenure is dependent upon the candidate meeting the criteria for tenure, as well as the candidate's successful completion of the internal and external peer review process in the sixth year of probationary service. In order to prepare for this process, all prospective tenure candidates are required to attend at least one promotion and tenure workshop prior to the beginning of her/his fifth year of probationary service. These workshops will be held annually (during the spring quarter) and will be organized by the Office of the Provost. Candidates can attend more than one workshop if they choose. Department Chairs, School Directors, and Deans will attend all workshops. The workshops will provide guidance on assembling a dossier, discussing the peer review process, and the responsibilities of candidates and evaluators during the promotion and tenure cycle.

  5. All Department Chairs and School Directors are required to submit their tenure and promotion procedures and criteria to their College Dean and the Provost for review and approval. While it is understood that specific criteria and procedures may differ slightly depending upon the nature and function of the unit, each must be consistent with general University guidelines and standards. Departments and Schools must submit their criteria and policies for review on or before October 31, 1996 and at any time after that time when they are altered in any way.

  6. A calendar for promotion and tenure will be sent to all faculty, Department Chairs, College Deans, and School Directors, on or before June 30 of each year, beginning in June, 1997. The following calendar is proposed for 1997-98, and it is agreed that a similar schedule will be used in subsequent years:

    September 1: Candidates must turn in their promotion and tenure dossiers to their Department Chairs.

    November 29: Department reviews must be completed and the results communicated in writing to the candidates (this includes the report of the department personnel committee or its equivalent and the Department Chair).

    December 13: The candidate must acknowledge receipt of the department report, noting any objections in writing. This acknowledgment becomes part of the official record. The dossier is then sent to the College Dean within three days after the candidate has acknowledged receipt.

    January 24: College reviews must be completed and the results communicated in writing to the candidate (this includes the report of the College committee and the College Dean).

    February 7: The candidate must acknowledge receipt of the College report, noting any objections in writing. This acknowledgment becomes part of the official record. The dossier is sent to the Provost within three (3) days after the candidate has acknowledged receipt.

    February 14 to March 7: The Provost will meet with all candidates, consult with the President, and render judgments as to whether tenure and promotion has been approved before March 11.

    March 14: Candidates will be sent a copy of the Provost's report (as endorsed by the President).

    April 4: Candidates whose tenure has been approved must submit to the Provost an abbreviated resume of her/his teaching, research and service record for consideration by the Drexel University Board of Trustees. The Provost will prepare forms to be completed by candidates at the time they are recommended for tenure by the Provost.

    On or before May 15: Candidates will be notified in writing of the actions of the Board of Trustees with regard to their candidacy.

NOTE 1: All dossiers should be regarded as confidential, except, of course, for those who are involved in the evaluative process and as may otherwise be required by law.

NOTE 2: Probationary faculty who are hired with prior-service credit must have that credit approved by the Dean, the School Director, the Provost, and the President at the time of their hire. The processes outlined above apply to faculty with prior-service credit, except that the mid-term review will occur in a different year, depending upon the number of years of prior-service credit. In cases where individuals are hired with three or more years of prior-service credit, there will be no third year review.

NOTE 3: It is assumed that candidates for promotion to the rank of professor will have served no less than four years in rank as associate professors. Any exceptions to this policy must be communicated to and approved by the Provost on or before June 30 of the calendar year during which an individual with less than four years in rank is to be considered for promotion to the rank of professor.

NOTE 4: It is assumed that promotion to the rank of associate professor will accompany the awarding of tenure. Any exceptions to this policy must be communicated to and approved by the Provost on or before November 1 of the year in which the individual is being considered.

NOTE 5: The current appeals procedure for tenure candidates will remain in force after these new procedures and policies have been adopted. Any change in the appeals process must be reviewed by the appropriate University officials before they are implemented.