Appointment Considerations

Submitted by admin on Wed, 01/29/2020 - 13:08

Modified Tenure Criteria and Agreements

University policy permits the creation of modified tenure criteria (APT Policy Section II). Situations that may necessitate modified tenure criteria include, but are not limited to, candidates who:

  • Engage in emerging scholarship that spans more than one discipline, or has a non-traditional approach to an established discipline;
  • Work in multiple traditional disciplines; or
  • Are involved in scholarship outside that of the dominant model of their tenure homes.

Any exceptional arrangement that requires a modification of criteria for tenure and/or promotion shall be specified in a written agreement from the time of appointment up to the third-year review for untenured candidates, or at any time following the award of tenure, and shall be approved by the faculty and administrator of the first-level Unit, by the Dean of the school or college, and by the Provost (APT Policy Section II).

In cases where there is an agreement for modified criteria for tenure and/or promotion, Units should consider identifying alternative venues and forms of dissemination of products of scholarship that would be acceptable alongside more traditional dissemination in their criteria for tenure and promotion. Examples might include:

  • Research or scholarly essays published in refereed journals or books, or accepted for publication in journals or books outside one’s discipline;
  • Peer-reviewed handbooks;
  • Cross-disciplinary analysis of extant literature;
  • Popularizations or applications of scholarly research and theory in journals; and/or
  • Computer programs or other media products.

In reviewing candidates with agreements for modified criteria, APT review committees should include a professor knowledgeable in other discipline(s), from on or off campus, to serve in an advisory capacity to both the Advisory Subcommittee and the Unit (First Level) APT Review Committee. The Unit may wish to have this professor present at the APT Review Committee meeting, in a non-voting capacity, in order to provide context for the candidate’s work. The Chair of the Advisory Subcommittee for the candidate should ensure that some of the external evaluators are from scholars who conduct research in the other discipline(s), or of a similar nature to that of the candidate. Faculty involved in the third-year review and the Department (First Level) APT Review Committee should be provided with the agreement as part of their deliberations. Additionally, the executed agreement must be signed and dated by the candidate and included in materials for external evaluators, as well as in the APT Dossier for review at all levels.

If the candidate holds a joint appointment between tenure granting Units, all Units in which the candidate holds appointments must agree upon and use the modified tenure and/or promotion criteria for the review.

Information about Joint Appointments

New joint appointments should include a copy of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two participating Units.  This MOU should also be sent to the candidate.  Ordinarily, the memo specifies the:

  • Tenure home;
  • Division of responsibility and workload expectations (e.g., service, teaching) for the line and, where appropriate, arrangements for allocation of DRIF money, lab and office space; and
  • Rights and obligations of the secondary Unit(s) and conditions under which line responsibility might be renegotiated (e.g., if Units disagree about promotion and/or tenure); and arrangements for reviewing renewal of contract and promotion (if appropriate).

Review of newly hired joint appointments as well as promotions for candidates with joint appointments:  In joint appointments, the tenure home Unit (Department or College) is referenced here as primary, usually the Unit with the greatest fraction of the appointment line.  It is the prerogative of the primary Unit to grant tenure.  However, because the rank held by an individual must be consistent across Units, the primary Unit needs to consider advisory input from the secondary Unit (e.g., an Institute, other academic Unit) as part of the APT review.  The tenure home Unit may wish to have a representative from the secondary Unit present at the APT Review Committee meeting, in a non-voting capacity, in order to provide context for the candidate’s work.  The following scenarios reflect three different kinds of joint appointment.

Appointment split between two independent tenure granting Units (Departments, Schools, Colleges)

At the inception of the review, the Chair (or Directors) of the primary and secondary Units are encouraged to coordinate the timing of the review process to obtain timely input from the secondary Unit. They are also encouraged to draw up a mutual letter that solicits evaluation of the candidate. Ordinarily, this letter should be signed by both APT Chairs. The two Units may wish to form a joint review committee consisting of members of both Units, which then delivers the report to the respective Units for a decision. The below table provides an overview of the process.

Outline of the Joint Appointment / Review Process

  1. Two Tenure Granting Units meet to decide on external evaluators.
    1. Letters are sent under joint signature of APT Review Committee Chairs;
    1. A joint advisory subcommittee or separate advisory subcommittee may be appointed.
  2. Secondary Unit performs review.
    1. Secondary Unit APT Review Committee votes and writes a report;
    1. Secondary Unit administrator writes a letter;
    1. Material is forwarded to the Primary Unit.
  3. Primary Unit Completes review.
    1. The APT Review Committee considers its own material and the material supplied by the Secondary Unit committee;
    1. Primary Unit votes and writes a report;
    1. Primary Unit administrator writes a letter.
  4. Primary College review.
    1. Primary College evaluates Dossier containing Primary and Secondary Units’ reviews;
    1. College APT Review Committee votes and writes report;
    1. Dean writes letter;
    1. Material is submitted for evaluation by the Campus APT Review Committee.

The secondary Unit should conduct a complete review and make its recommendation before the case is considered by the primary Unit.  The secondary Unit’s recommendation is for promotion to a higher rank, not tenure, because the secondary Unit is not the individual’s tenure home.  The APT report of the secondary Unit’s review committee and its votes, as well as the recommendation of the administrator in the secondary Unit, should be forwarded to the primary Unit for consideration in its APT process.  Thus, the secondary Unit’s review becomes part of the promotion dossier.

The primary Unit votes based on its own review and the material furnished by the secondary Unit.  If the recommendations of the two Units disagree, the Chair of the primary Unit’s APT Review Committee should provide a written list of questions to the administrator of the secondary Unit and the spokesperson for the secondary Unit’s APT Review Committee, and invite them to meet with the primary Unit to discuss the case. The primary Unit incorporates its input (from faculty and Unit administrator) into the dossier, to forward it to higher levels of review.

The APT Review Committee for the College wherein the primary Unit resides evaluates the entire Dossier that includes material from the primary and secondary Units’ reviews. This College APT Review Committee votes and writes a report, the Dean writes a letter, and the Dossier is submitted for evaluation by the Campus APT Review Committee. When disagreements arise between voting Units, the Committee should inform and invite the APT Review Committee Chairs and administrators to discuss the case.

Appointment split between tenure home
and a “permanent” (non-affiliate) appointment in a secondary Unit.

If a candidate holds a permanent appointment (i.e., with an Institute) in a secondary Unit that is neither a secondary Department nor a non-departmentalized School, the director’s recommendation will be informed by advice from the relevant (at rank) faculty in the Unit. The format of the advice will be determined by the tenure granting Unit’s plan of organization.  If the input is in the form of a vote, the vote may not include input from those eligible to vote on the candidate at the Department level elsewhere. The director’s advisory letter should be available to faculty in the primary Unit before they vote.

Appointment split between tenure home
and a temporary (affiliate) appointment in a secondary Unit.

The secondary Unit Chair/Director writes an evaluative letter to the primary Unit Chair, which is available to the primary Unit faculty before they vote.  Faculty in the temporary Unit do not vote.

Appointments to senior faculty ranks

New faculty appointments to the ranks of Professor and Principal Agent carry tenure and must be reviewed under the University APT process.  New faculty appointments to the ranks of Associate Professor and Senior Agent may be with or without tenure.  New appointments to the ranks of Associate Professor and Senior Agent with tenure require review under the University APT process.  New appointments to these ranks without tenure may proceed for review and approval by the President based on a recommendation from the Provost, unless questions arise, in which case the President may direct that the proposed appointment undergo an unofficial tenure review by University APT review committees prior to presidential consideration.  No offer of appointment to the rank of Associate Professor, Professor, Senior Agent or Principal Agent (regardless of tenure status) is valid in the absence of presidential approval. New faculty appointments to the rank of Assistant Professor and Agent are not handled under the University APT process.

New appointments may be submitted at any time, however, for an Academic Year start date (August 23 for 9-month appointments), dossiers should be submitted to the Office of Faculty Affairs by no later than June 1.[1] All requests for new appointments must be accompanied by a separate memo that provides the information on the New Faculty Appointment Information Form (see Appendix), required for presidential approval of the appointment.

Dossiers for new appointments differ slightly from dossiers of candidates being promoted from within. They lack a Summary of Professional Achievements and Personal Statement, and may lack teaching evaluations (peer or student). Additionally, the dossier for a new appointment is not required to include a teaching portfolio, though the creation of a teaching portfolio is recommended. Such dossiers should, however, contain as much information as possible on the candidate’s performance or potential performance as a teacher, mentor and advisor, as well as on the candidate’s scholarship. External letters of evaluation should be solicited from reviewers suggested by the candidate and from reviewers suggested by the Department. For tenure cases, it is essential that the question of tenure be addressed, both in the APT reports and in external letters. Letters soliciting recommendations for a new tenured appointment should pose the question of whether the candidate merits tenure.

As there is generally no campus level committee review for a new appointment to Associate Professor or Senior Agent without tenure, this type of dossier includes only letters from the Dean, the Department Chair, and external evaluators, along with the candidate’s CV and other supporting documents, if they exist. Based on these documents, the Provost will make a recommendation to the President regarding the appointment.

Expedited Appointments

In cases where a Unit has identified a potential faculty hire it has reason to believe is highly competitive/regarded and warrants an expedited review (sometimes referred to as a “target of opportunity” appointment), the review process can be streamlined. It is anticipated that there would be relatively few appointments of this nature. To qualify for this streamlined process, candidates would be nominated by both the Chair and the Dean and approved by the Provost’s Office. Such candidates normally would hold tenure and the comparable rank at another institution. The streamlined process could also be used for scholars considered for administrative positions. In requesting an expedited tenure review process, the request should include measures of impact of the candidate’s research, scholarship, and/or creative activities as appropriate to their field(s) (e.g., citations, h-index, reviews of performances, etc.).

Appointments at this level for consideration of tenure could substitute three evaluative letters from the search process for the three external reviewers nominated by the candidate, and the candidate’s CV submitted in connection with the search may be used, and need not be signed. The review process would proceed as follows: (1) the first-level review would take place per current practice in that Unit; (2) a review by a three-person ad-hoc committee formed by the Dean (composed of current College APT Review Committee members); (3) a review by the College Dean; and (4) a review by the Provost and final decision by the President. For non-departmentalized Colleges, the review at the campus level should include a review by an ad-hoc committee formed by the Provost with a minimum of three persons drawn from members of the current University APT Review Committee.


[1] For faculty with 12-month appointments intended to start July 1, dossiers should be submitted to the Office of Faculty Affairs by no later than April 15.


Last Updated:
04.20.2022