Office of the Provost





Academic Policies

Tenure and Promotion

Last modified: 06.15.06

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


Tenure is a right to continuing employment granted by the University to a faculty member upon the completion of the pretenure period. Tenure is granted by Drexel University in the belief that by so doing, the professional development of the faculty member is enhanced through greater academic freedom in teaching, research, scholarship or creative work, and service.

The contemporary concept of tenure in U.S. colleges and universities can be traced to the “Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure,” which was adopted in 1940 by the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges and where the basic principles of tenure as a system to protect the academic freedom of faculty members were first articulated.

The decision between tenure and a one-year terminal contract is based on the estimated probability that a faculty member being considered for tenure is or will become an excellent faculty member. This judgment is premised on exhaustive and collective consideration of a candidate’s expert knowledge of her/her academic field, pedagogy, publication record, research and scholarly accomplishments and/or artistic productivity, and service to Drexel University and to the world of higher education. Specifically, the decision to grant tenure is premised on collective consideration of the exhibits constituting the candidate’s comprehensive dossier as that dossier is evaluated against discipline-specific and professionally acknowledged standards of excellence. If the estimated probability of continued excellence is high, tenure should be recommended; otherwise a one-year terminal contract should be recommended.

Tenure is granted to successful candidates after an initial pretenure period of employment not to exceed a total of six tenure-track years of employment in the assistant professor, associate professor, or professor rank at Drexel University. Drexel University’s Board of Trustees, upon the recommendation of the president, has the sole authority for granting tenure to a faculty member. Attainment of tenure can only occur through specific action by the Board of Trustees.

From time to time, Drexel may elect to bring in an established previously tenured faculty member with an immediate award of tenure. Such candidates should be from universities, schools and departments that are comparable to Drexel equivalent units. Prior to the award of tenure, such candidates shall be reviewed by the tenured faculty of the department or unit to which the candidate is appointed. The review may include the assembly of a complete dossier, equivalent to that prepared for internal candidates, including, importantly, the acquisition of outside letters from recognized experts.

Tenure-track or tenured service in any rank in other institutions of higher education may be credited toward the Drexel pretenure period up to a maximum credit of three years, at the election of the faculty member and upon the recommendation of the faculty member’s College Dean or School Director. When such credit has been established, the pretenure at Drexel is reduced by the amount of credit, so that the pretenure period could be as short as four years. Faculty appointed initially at a date other than September 1(for 9 month contracts) or between July 1 or the first Monday in August (for 12 month contracts) are special cases and their first year of service at Drexel counting toward the six year pretenure period will be stated in their initial contract.

A faculty member shall have the privilege of election to waive any or all prior service credit allowable under these tenure rules. Such waiver is subject to the Provost’s approval, and once granted, shall be appended to the faculty member’s letter of appointment, and shall not be revocable. The election must be made on or before October 15th of the first year of employment or a comparable timeframe for faculty appointed at different times. The election could be in the following language:

I acknowledge that Drexel University's tenure policy mandates a pretenure period of six years of service prior to the granting of tenure and that I have years of prior service at a professional rank from other institutions of higher education. I hereby elect to waive______ years of this service and, in so doing, recognize and agree that my tenure review year shall be for the Academic Year ___________________, and that this election is not revocable. I intend to be legally bound hereby.


Part-time service, auxiliary service, and service in any non-tenure-track position, whether at Drexel University or any other institution, will not be credited toward the pretenure period. When tenure track faculty are hired with prior credit, the mid-point 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 years of prior-service credit, there will a mid-point review at the end of their first year at Drexel.

Individual extensions of the pretenure period of up to three years may be made for candidates in the event of exceptional circumstances whether individual or in the University, or part or parts thereof, which would prevent tenure award at the end of the normal period. No guarantee is implied, however, that tenure will ultimately be granted. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to, serious illness, family emergency, or extraordinary teaching or administrative assignments. Such an extension shall require tenured faculty or appropriate constituent faculty body consideration at the departmental, program, College or School level, including approval by the College Dean or School Director, by the provost, and by the faculty member. Upon written request by the faculty member within one year after each live birth or after each adoption, an extension of up to one year of the pretenure period shall be granted by the provost to any faculty member who will be the primary care giving parent.

Termination of Tenure-Track or Tenured Faculty

Termination of a faculty member shall be undertaken for compelling reasons only, such as (a) termination for adequate cause that is related directly and substantially to the fitness of faculty members in their professional capacities as teachers or researchers; (b) termination due to extraordinary budget considerations in which a condition of financial exigency (as defined in the “Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure”) is demonstrable; (c) termination due to medical disability in which there is clear and convincing medical evidence that the faculty member, even with reasonable accommodation, is no longer able to perform the essential duties of the position; (d) release of tenure by virtue of voluntary retirement or voluntary resignation. Dismissal proceedings for tenured faculty members for any of the above reasons will be carried out under the standards approved by the American Association of University Professors as outlined in the AAUP American Association of University Professors Policy Documents and Reports Ninth Edition (2001).


By resolution of the Board of Trustees*, the Office of the Provost will maintain a rolling six year analysis of the University’s staffing and tenure projections, with particular attention to the aggregate number of tenured and tenure-track appointments. The Provost will forward a report yearly to the President, on the last Friday of the month of January, containing the aggregate number of tenured and tenure-track faculty at the University.


* See “Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Trustees,” December 11, 1991.


Categories and Criteria of Evaluation for Tenure and Promotion

To encourage the thoroughness, fairness, and objectivity of the reviews in which the work and activities of candidates with a wide range of interests and abilities are evaluated, the following four categories of evaluation are affirmed by Drexel University. Though no individual is expected to demonstrate excellence in all categories, it is expected that a successful candidate will demonstrate at least a satisfactory level of accomplishment in all four categories;

(1) have expert knowledge of his or her academic field and a commitment to continuing development of this competence;

(2) have evidence of effective teaching;

(3) have a continuing program of research or other scholarship or creative activity, including production of art or artistic performance, or what is most appropriate to the particular academic discipline; and

(4) have assumed a fair share of administrative and service tasks to the program, department, School or College, and university, and to the profession at the national and/or international level.

Further, successful candidates must demonstrate excellence in (1) and either (2) in teaching or (3) in publication, research, scholarship and/or artistic productivity, as appropriate to the discipline; and whereas the candidate has exhibited excellence in (1) and (2) or (1) and (3), the candidate will have at least satisfactory performance in the other two areas in (3) in publication, research, scholarship and/or artistic productivity, as appropriate to the discipline and (4) in service or (2) in teaching and (4) in service.

The particular items listed after each category are offered mainly for illustrative purposes; the order in which they are listed is not indicative of any type of priority ranking. No item should be counted as alone necessary or sufficient for purposes of demonstrating the quality of one’s work within a particular category. Further, the lists in each category should not be construed to exhaust all of the possible items that might otherwise be included. Note especially that tenure and promotion review committees should not construe the following as check-lists.

Expert Knowledge and Commitment to Continuing Development

1. Is sought to serve on grant review panels, peer review panels, or other types of review panels

2. Is invited to serve on editorial boards in journals in their field

3. Is sought for appropriate informal and formal consultation services in industry and government

4. Is invited to serve as moderators or panel discussants at regional, national, and international meetings

5. Is awarded fellowships, awards, or other types of honorary recognition

6. Seeks ongoing active participation at conferences, seminars, or programs in their field

7. Maintains certifications and/or attends formal or informal courses or classes to increase
knowledge and expertise

8. Participates in activities that support ongoing professional development

Pedagogy

1. Effectiveness in undergraduate and/or graduate teaching in the classroom and laboratory, as applicable to the discipline

2. Contributions to the curriculum, such as substantial revisions of existing courses, and
development of new courses and techniques of teaching

3. Publications related to teaching in the candidate’s discipline, such as textbooks, aids, manuals, etc.

4. Effectiveness as an undergraduate and/or graduate adviser and/or mentor, including dissertation, thesis, or independent study advisement

Publication, Research, Scholarship and/or Artistic Productivity

1. Quantity and quality of research, artistic investigation, or scholarship, as evidenced by publications, presentations of papers (including invited presentations nationally and internationally), research reports, exhibitions, etc. Particular notice will be given to papers and articles that are invited or subject to peer review. Consideration should also be given to publications related to the advancement of pedagogical theory and method in one’s field. Notice should also be given, in appropriate disciplines, to the candidate’s success in securing external funding. Whether securing external funding is expected, and to what extent, must be made absolutely clear to every tenure track faculty member at the time of appointment.

2. Effectiveness in directing the research of students.

3. Originating, participating in, and/or directing research projects.

4. Evaluation of scholarly and/or artistic accomplishment by recognized authorities outside of Drexel where appropriate.

Service to the University, to the Profession, and to Society in General

1. Leadership and/or participation in faculty elective bodies and service on committees at program, department, college or school and University levels

2. Service to individual students and/or student organizations

3. Promotion of the University through extramural activities, such as recruitment events, alumni affairs, etc.

4. Other forms of service to the profession and society

Criteria employed in evaluating a candidate’s work shall be applied to each of the four categories of evaluation. One of the most important and challenging duties a tenure and promotion review committee has is to articulate and incorporate within their final written recommendation the criteria employed and the basis of their judgments regarding a candidate’s work, including any reliance on external reviewers. Programs, Departments and Schools or Colleges may establish their own standards and criteria for tenure provided such standards and criteria are consistent with the University-wide general standards and are communicated to all tenure-track hires at the time of the appointment.



Procedures During the Pretenure Period

Drexel University hires tenure track faculty members with the understanding that if they meet stated Program, Department, School or College and University criteria for tenure during the pretenure period, then they will be considered for tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor no later than the beginning of their sixth year at the University. The University will provide a positive approach in assisting junior faculty to achieve tenure. Each academic unit will discuss the nature of the support and guidance they will provide to the candidate at the time of appointment and ongoing.

1. The precise terms and conditions of every appointment must be stated in writing and be in the possession of both the University and the faculty member before the appointment is finalized.

2. All tenure-track faculty members are appointed on nine (9) or twelve (12) month contracts during the pretenure period.

3. The Annual Evaluation: The status of each faculty member on appointment for the pretenure period shall be reviewed annually in a conference with his/her Department Head or Program Chair or Director in the fall quarter or semester. This review shall include a written evaluation of the faculty member's performance to date, his/her salary and academic rank, and his/her prospects for future employment including tenure at the University. Each school or college shall have written procedures in regard to the nature and scope of this review, and these procedures shall be made known to the faculty member when he or she is first employed by the University. No matter what the procedure, the candidate should be allowed to express his or her view to the evaluating Department Head or Program Chair or Director, as part of an interview before the report is written, as well as by giving a written response to the written report. This written response should become part of the documentation of the faculty member. When the judgment at an annual evaluation is unconditionally** or conditionally*** positive, the Department Head or Chair or Director will recommend to the College Dean or School Director that the faculty member’s contract with the University be renewed for the following year. When the judgment is negative, the Department Head, Chair, or Director will recommend to the College Dean or School Director the following:


a. If the faculty member has continuously served the University for not more than one year at the end of the current appointment term, notice of the intention not to reappoint the faculty member beyond the current appointment term shall be given at least three months prior to the end of the current appointment term.

b. If the faculty member has continuously served the University for more than one year but not more than two years at the end of the current appointment term, notice of the intention not to reappoint the faculty member beyond the current appointment term shall be given at least six months prior to the end of the current appointment term.

c. If the faculty member has continuously served the University for more than two years at the end of the current appointment term, the faculty member shall be given a terminal appointment.2 The notice of the intention not to reappoint the faculty member beyond the terminal appointment shall be given prior to the start of the terminal appointment year.


Whether a positive or negative judgment issues, the faculty member is provided with a copy of the Department Head’s or Program Chair or Director’s report within 15 days of the annual performance review having taken place and, in any case, no later than December 1st.

4. The Mid-Point Review****: During the third year of employment (less for those faculty members who are hired with one or more years of prior service credit), all tenure-track faculty members also undergo a formal mid-point review, in addition to annual reviews. The mid-point review employs the same categories and criteria of evaluation as does the tenure review, and is conducted with appropriate rigor. The process is managed by the Department Head, Chair, or Director in consultation with the department’s or program’s tenure and promotion review committee, or in academic units without Department Heads, by the senior administrator. Specific mid-point review procedures and calendar dates may differ from department to department, between programs or between Schools and Colleges, but all procedures differing from University policy must be set down in writing and approved by the respective Department Head, Chair or Director, College Dean or School Director, and by the Provost.


**
  See Section 5.a., below, for what is meant by an “unconditional” judgment.
***
  See Section 5.b., below, for what is meant by a “conditional” judgment.
****
  Refer to the “University Midpoint Review Calendar,” pages 11-12, for relevant dates and deadlines.
 


  
The mid-point review is internal (external referees are optional*****) and takes place during the winter and spring quarters or spring semester of the third year of appointment. The, committee tasked to complete the mid-point review will complete it no later than April 1st of the candidate’s third year of service******. A final report prepared by the Department Head, Chair, or Director******* is then transmitted to the candidate, together with the Committee’s report. Individuals acknowledge receipt, add comments if desired, and return the reports to the respective administrative officer who gave the candidate the reports within seven (7) days after receiving it. A complete copy of the mid-point review file, including the report of the departmental or program tenure and promotion review committee or mid-point review committee (whichever committee it tasked to conduct the review), the Department Head, Chair, or Director’s final report, and the candidate's responses, shall be forwarded to the College Dean or School Director no later than April 15th of the third year of appointment. The College Dean or School Director shall write a response and communicate this to the candidate no later than April 30th. The candidate’s response will be completed and forwarded to the College Dean or School Director no later than May 3rd. All of these same materials, together with the College Dean or School Director’s recommendation shall be forwarded to the Office of the Provost by May 5th. It is the College Dean or School Director’s responsibility to forward a complete copy of the review file to the respective tenure and promotion review committee at the time of the candidate’s tenure review.

5. As noted, near the conclusion of the mid-point review, the faculty member under review receives a written statement from the Department Head, Chair, or Director. The report will reflect one of the following findings:

a. The candidate appears to be making satisfactory progress towards tenure and promotion. This finding is based on strong evidence that the candidate will very likely meet the standard of excellence demanded by a successful tenure review. In this case, the University’s expectation is for continued professional development at the rate demonstrated in the first portion of the pretenure period.

b. The candidate appears to be progressing towards tenure and promotion with qualifications. In such cases, it is imperative that appropriate actions by the candidate be taken to remedy deficiencies in the candidate’s performance as the candidate will be evaluated fully on the four categories of evaluation at the time of the tenure review. The mere elimination of deficiencies, however, cannot alone warrant the granting of tenure. With such findings, the burden of responsibility for performance improvement is on the candidate; however, the Department Head, Chair, or Director (or his or her designee) should provide all reasonable assistance.

c. The candidate has not made sufficient progress towards tenure and promotion as to be judged a viable candidate. In such cases, the candidate will be given a one-year terminal contract for the following academic year.


Procedure in the Year of Tenure Review

By January 31st of each year, the Provost will confirm the list of faculty members who must be considered for tenure in the following academic year and will forward those names to the respective College Deans or School Directors. The names of those faculty members will be verified by either the College Dean or School Director and returned to the Provost within 14 days.

The Provost may approve the addition of other eligible faculty members to the list for tenure review, at the written request of those faculty members and upon the recommendation of their respective College Deans or School Directors. Faculty members requesting early review should take note that, as in all tenure reviews at Drexel University, a decision either to tenure or terminate will be made.


*****
  See Section 5.a., below, for what is meant by an “unconditional” judgment.
******
  See Section 5.b., below, for what is meant by a “conditional” judgment.
*******
  Refer to the “University Midpoint Review Calendar,” pages 11-12, for relevant dates and deadlines.

Recommendations for the granting of tenure originate in an academic department, program or their equivalent; this may be a school or, in colleges without departments, the college.

All departmental, program, school or college-based tenure and promotion review committees within the university should be constituted by March 1 of each calendar year. The procedure for forming the initial tenure and promotion review committee is left to each academic unit, but is in all cases written down and available for review. Specifically, all departments, programs, schools and colleges are required to submit their tenure and promotion policies and procedures to the Office of the Provost for approval annually, that is, by January 31. While it is understood that these policies and procedures may differ depending upon the nature and function of the unit, each must be consistent with general University guidelines and standards and approved by the Office of the Provost.
When a tenure and promotion review committee is established, 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. Once the review process has begun, candidates are not permitted to have access to any of the materials reviewed by the tenure and promotion review committee. All information associated with the review (thus, materials submitted by the candidate or others for review, or generated by the review process) must be regarded as strictly confidential by persons involved in the review. However, within these guidelines of confidentiality, the overall promotion and tenure process should allow for feedback to each faculty candidate at appropriate times and through appropriate channels to ensure that misunderstandings, misconceptions, and disagreements 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. Members of promotion and tenure committees participate with the understanding that all matters related to their deliberations remain confidential. In addition, faculty candidates under review are discouraged from approaching committee members at any time concerning the disposition of their review and should understand that inquiries of this type are deemed entirely inappropriate. Confidentiality of the promotion and tenure process is to be respected forever, not just during that particular year of review. Any exceptions to the requirement of confidentiality can only be authorized by the University’s Office of the General Counsel.


Additional Guidelines for Candidates Seeking Promotion


Standards for promotion will be guided by the same four categories of evaluation for tenure. 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. 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. Whenever a candidate is being considered for promotion to full professor, he or she may be reviewed by fellow faculty at the rank of full professor only********.


******** See “Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Trustees,” December 11, 1991.

Process, Criteria, and Calendar for the Selection of External Reviewers

Following the election or appointment of a committee chair for any tenure and promotion review committee, the first order of business will be to identify and secure a sufficient number of qualified external reviewers. In the best of circumstances, external reviewers provide highly informed, candid, and comprehensive evaluations of the body of work under review. In effect, the external reviewer speaks not only (if indirectly) to the candidate, but to the University, regarding the number and quality of the elements that compose the body of work, its appropriateness within, and contribution to, the discipline or field, and to the expectation that we may reasonably hold in regard to future direction and probability of success. Accordingly, the selection of external reviewers is a matter to be taken most seriously. The following information is not intended to be exhaustive, but seeks only to establish what is minimally acceptable.

Selection Process and Calendar

There must be at least five external reviewers associated with each tenure and promotion case. The majority of external reviewers should be selected by members of the initial tenure and promotion review committee from a list of potential reviewers generated exclusively by the tenure and promotion review committee; two additional external reviewers should be selected by the tenure and promotion review committee from a list of potential reviewers generated by the candidate.

In order to ensure a more timely assembly of external reviewers who will immediately begin to review a candidate’s dossier following the September 1 submission date, all initial tenure and promotion review committees should finalize a list of at least 8 potential (some departments or programs may require more) external reviewers by April 15th (the following Tuesday for days that fall on a weekend or holiday) of the spring preceding the anticipated fall review of the candidate.

As mentioned, the slate of 8 potential reviewers will come from two sources: The initial Tenure and Promotion Committee will propose 6 external reviewers and an additional 2 reviewers will be selected by the committee from the slate of 6 reviewers proposed by the candidate. As each candidate knows January 31 of each year if he/she will be undergoing tenure review the following fall, each candidate will submit their slate of 6 potential reviewers by March 15th to the respective tenure and promotion committee.

Once 8 external reviewers have been selected by the Tenure and Promotion Committee, the Chair should then forward that list to the Office of the Provost on April 15th. The Provost will respond to the respective tenure and promotion review committee Chair within 10 days if he or she has confirmed the external slate or if he or she has determined that some potential external reviewers perhaps do not appear to meet the criteria for selection. If it is confirmed that some external reviewers do not meet the criteria, the Provost’s Office will work with the Chair to arrive at any appropriate substitutions.

Upon confirmation of the slate by the Office of the Provost, each respective Tenure and Promotion Chair should select and secure at least 5 confirmed reviewers from the slate of which at least are 3 selected by the committee’s list and at least 2 generated from the candidate’s proposed list of reviewers. All final external reviewers should submit in writing their “willingness to serve.” Committees are well advised to have secured a “willingness to serve” from more than the minimum number of external reviewers (5) needed to conduct a review.

Selection Criteria for External Reviewers

• External reviewers should be nationally or internationally acknowledged experts in their respective disciplines and/or professions; and preferably from academic or research institutions equal to or better than Drexel University for the candidate’s specific field.

• There may be cases in which an outstanding individual is affiliated with an institution of lesser caliber than Drexel or have no current institutional affiliation whatsoever. In these exceptional cases, the Committee should provide evidence supportive of the judgment that the potential reviewer is outstanding.

• For tenure review, external reviewers will, typically, be members of the professoriate who must hold tenure and, preferably, who hold the rank of “Professor,” although tenured Associate Professors may also be selected.

• External reviewers may not have served on the candidate’s dissertation proposal committee or dissertation committee.

• External reviewers should not be (or have been) co-authors of the candidate, nor should they be (or have been) co-PIs. (Current or former co-authors and co-PIs may instead write letters addressed to the committee Chair.)

Summary

The reports early in the process are critically important as being closest to the evidence and to persons best technically equipped to judge the evidence. The departmental or program committee report (if instituted), the Department Head, Chair or Director’s report, and the college or school’s committee report(s) must present clear findings and the evidence considered in arriving at those findings. 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 expert knowledge in his/her academic discipline and commitment to ongoing development of this competence, in teaching, in research, scholarship or other creative/artistic activity and in service to Drexel. If the estimated probability is high, tenure should be recommended; otherwise a terminal contract should be recommended.

Workflow and Calendar

A universal Drexel calendar for all Colleges and Schools for the Mid-Point Review and for Tenure and Promotion Review is described. The Office of the Provost shall post by June 1st of every year the tenure and promotion calendar and the mid-point calendar that will be used in advance of the next two years.

Click HERE to view University Tenure and Promotion Calendar