Promotion and Tenure Toolkit

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  1. Introduction
    1. About this Document
    2. Overview of the Promotion & Tenure Process
    3. Key Dates & Deadlines
    4. Administrative & Policy Resources
  2. Promotion and Tenure Criteria
    1. Teaching
    2. Research
    3. Service
    4. Other Considerations
    5. When Content Requirements Can't Be Met
    6. Lecturer
  3. Roles & Responsibilities
    1. General Considerations Unrelated to Dossier Preparation
    2. Candidate
    3. Chair
    4. Review Committee
    5. Department Faculty
    6. Promotion and Tenure Council
    7. Dean
    8. Provost and President
  4. Procedures
    1. Establishing Deadlines and Organizing the Process
    2. Developing a List of Candidates
    3. Gathering Information, Candidate's Role
    4. Gathering Information, Departmental Role
    5. Evaluation, Faculty Role
    6. Evaluation, Chair Role
    7. Assembly of the Dossier, Chair or Designee
    8. New Appointments to Higher Ranks
  5. Appendix
    1. Attachments
      1. Promotion and Tenure Graphic Timeline
      2. Determining Assistant- and Research-Assistant-Professor's 2nd and 6th Year
    2. Templates
      1. External Evaluation Solicitation, Assistant-to-Associate
      2. External Evaluation Solicitation, Associate-to-Full
      3. External Evaluation Solicitation, Research-Assistant-to- Research-Associate
      4. External Evaluation Solicitation, Research-Associate-to-Research-Full
      5. Curriculum Vitae Template, with Embedded Instructions
      6. Self-Advocacy Statement Template, with Embedded Instructions
      7. Table of Dossier Contents Template
      8. Checklist for P&T Recommendation

I. Introduction

Ia. About this Document

This document is intended to provide information and resources to all participants in the Promotion and/or Tenure process in the College of Engineering.

Policies and guidelines governing the Promotion and Tenure (P&T) process are established at many different levels within the hierarchy of the University of Washington, from individual department-level criteria to the university-wide criteria described in the University of Washington Faculty Code. This multiplicity of policies and guidelines can be a confusing landscape to navigate. This toolkit describes a comprehensive process, citing resources and reference material for each step. This toolkit also describes the broader principles governing the promotion and tenure process, citing best practices and common pitfalls.

This document is divided into several sections:

  • The introductory section describes the purpose of this document, provides a broad overview (the "30,000 foot view") of the Standards and Criteria for Promotion, P&T process, describes important deadlines and recommended begin dates, and points the reader to additional administrative and policy resources for further reading.
  • The Standards section describes the performance standards and metrics considered in evaluating candidates for promotion and tenure within the College of Engineering.
  • The Roles and Responsibilities section describes the P&T process from the vantage points of different process constituents, from the candidate to the Provost.
  • The Procedures section provides important information about specific aspects of the process. This section also cites source policy and recommendations in the University of Washington Faculty Code, the College of Engineering web pages and elsewhere.
  • The Appendix contains templates and instructional documents to provide more perspective on the promotion and tenure review. The Attachments section includes boilerplate letters and instructional documents which illustrate some detail of the promotion and tenure process.

Ib. Overview of the Promotion and Tenure Process

The following overview describes the Promotion and Tenure Process in very broad terms. Participants' roles, special exceptions, and further considerations are described in much greater detail in the subsequent sections of this document.

Mentoring of junior faculty is a significant responsibility of the Chair and all senior faculty.  Each department should have procedures established to assure that they carry out this responsibility consistently and successfully.

Department-Level Data Gathering

The Chair assembles a list of candidates for promotion and/or tenure. Candidates are generally identified through self-selection, nomination by another faculty member, or because they are compelled to participate in the promotion and/or tenure process in accordance with UW Faculty Code and College of Engineering policy.

The Chair (or other faculty, depending upon department policy) may appoint a review committee to evaluate one or more candidates. (Practices vary by department. For example, some departments create a single review committee to evaluate all candidates. Others may create a separate review committee for each candidate. Still others do not create a review committee for any candidate.) In cases where no review committee is appointed, the Chair performs most of the functions of the Department Review Committee.

Once candidates for promotion and tenure have been identified, the Chair convenes a meeting with each candidate. Attendees include the Chair, the Department Review Committee (if any), the Candidate, and any administrative personnel involved in the promotion and/or tenure process. The purpose of this meeting is to describe the process, identify roles, and launch the departmental data gathering and evaluation process.

The Department Review Committee (or Chair, in cases where no review committee has been formed) establishes and communicates to all parties involved the deadlines and milestones for the data gathering and evaluation process, and to ensure that the dossier is delivered to the College by the appropriate deadline.

The candidate prepares a curriculum vitae, which follows the format of Appendix B5 (DOC), a self advocacy statement, which follows the format of Appendix B6 (DOC), and any other supporting documentation, and assembles these, along with his or her three most significant publications. If the candidate conducts research in multiple and substantially different areas, s/he may identify those research areas and provide the three most significant publications in each area. (Separate groups of three publications will then be provided to different reviewers, but in all cases a total of only three will be provided.) The candidate also develops a list of individuals to be excluded as potential reviewers. The candidate delivers this list to the Department Review Committee (or Chair, if no Department Review Committee is established).

The Department Review Committee (or Chair, if no Department Review Committee is established) independently generates a list of external reviewers, then merges that list with the candidate's exclusion list to create a final list of external reviewers. Note the distinction between A and B letter requirements.

A summary of external reviewers (including an explanation of why they were selected) is prepared and added to the dossier.

The Department Review Committee, Chair, or designee of the Chair (responsibility for this task varies by department) solicits written evaluations from the selected external reviewers. A copy of the solicitation letter is added to the dossier. All responses to the written solicitation are collected and added to the dossier.

Department-Level Evaluation

If a Review Committee has been appointed, its members prepare a written report on the candidate's qualifications for promotion and/or tenure. The Departmental Review Committee Chair provides this report to the Candidate, who responds in writing within 7 days. This report, and the Candidate's response, is added to the dossier. If no Review Committee was formed, this step is omitted from the process.

Faculty members who are superior in rank to the candidate meet to discuss the candidate's qualifications for promotion and/or tenure, and conduct a vote to recommend promotion and/or tenure. If a Departmental Review Committee was formed, a representative of the Department Review Committee delivers the report on the candidate's qualifications to the attendees.

The Chair of the Department prepares a written summary of the faculty deliberations. The Chair provides this summary to the Candidate, who responds in writing within 7 days. This summary, and the candidate's response, are mandatory; they are both added to the dossier.

In cases where a majority of faculty members vote to deny promotion and the case in question is not a mandatory one, the Candidate must also decide, within 7 days of receipt of the Chair's summary, whether to continue the process. The Candidate must provide this decision to the Chair in writing. If the candidate decides to discontinue the process, the promotion and tenure materials are kept on file (separate from the faculty member's personnel file) by the department and no further action is taken. This rule does not apply to mandatory promotion and tenure cases, which always proceed to further levels of review.

The Chair adds a copy of the Department Review Criteria to the Dossier.

Assembly of Dossier

The Chair (or designee) prepares a table of contents for the completed dossier and successively numbers all pages of the document.

Departments are responsible for preparing dossiers that provide the required information in the standard format. Dossiers must be complete and meticulous. The College of Engineering's Human Resources (CoE HR) staff will review all dossiers against a checklist to determine whether the dossier meets all requirements. If there are significant deficiencies, the dossier will be returned to the Department for revision - even if the delay will prove highly detrimental to the candidate.

Because the CoE HR staff are not engineering faculty, they cannot be expected to identify every kind of deficiency that might be present in a dossier. For example, CoE HR staff cannot be expected to determine whether letters listed as Class A letters are in fact Class A letters. Consequently, the departments bear ultimate responsibility for the dossier: they cannot rely on the staff review. If a dossier is passed from the CoE HR staff to the Council on Promotion and Tenure, and the Council encounters an incidental problem, the Council may choose to proceed with its deliberations. But when the Council encounters a significant problem, deliberations will cease and the dossier will be returned to the department for revision.

The original dossier is copied. A file copy is retained in the department (separate from the faculty member's regular personnel file). The remaining original and thirteen bound copies are forwarded to the College of Engineering's Human Resources (CoE HR) office.

College-Level Actions

From this point on, the CoE HR office manages distribution of dossiers to the P&T Council, and tracks the progress of each case through all subsequent levels of review.

The Promotion and Tenure Council reviews the dossier, discusses the candidate's qualifications for promotion and/or tenure, and conducts a vote to recommend promotion and/or tenure. The P&T Council may interview the department Chair as part of the deliberation process. The deliberation process and vote are documented in a confidential memo which is submitted to the Dean.

The Dean reviews the dossier, report of the Chair, and report of the Promotion and Tenure Council. In considering the candidate's qualifications for promotion, the Dean may solicit the opinions and advice of other parties. The Dean documents his or her independent evaluation and recommendation in a memo to the Provost.

In cases where the Dean's recommendation is to deny Promotion and/or Tenure, the Dean will meet with the Department Chair and Candidate to share his/her expectations and discuss the likely outcome of the review process (e.g., denial of promotion and/or tenure, extension, or some other outcome). The Dean summarizes this discussion in writing after the meeting.

The Dean's Memo, P&T Council Memo, and Dossier are forwarded to the University's Academic Human Resources office.

University-Level Actions

The University's Academic Human Resources office coordinates review of the dossier by the Vice Provost of Academic Personnel and the Provost.

The Vice Provost of Academic Personnel or the Provost may request additional information (e.g. the Candidate's performance evaluations from prior years) from the Department or the College.

Once the promotion packet has been reviewed, and a decision reached, the Provost sends a letter to the Dean reporting on his/her decision. The Dean then notifies the Chair and Candidate of the outcome.

If the decision is positive, the candidate will also receive a letter from the President during Spring quarter. If the decision is negative, the Dean will provide a letter to the candidate describing the decision, and any further actions or outcomes resulting from the decision (e.g. option to resubmit the dossier during the following year, granting a final year of employment, or some other action.)

Ic. Key Dates and Deadlines

On or Around February 15 : College of Engineering Human Resources Office generates a list of faculty members who will be in their mandatory promotion year as of the following Academic Year. This list is distributed to Chairs, Chair's Assistants and Administrators. Departments may also wish to poll faculty for non-mandatory cases at this time as well.

March - September: Candidates and Departments begin the information gathering process, including dossier preparation, identification of external evaluators, and solicitation and receipt of evaluation letters.

September - October: Review Committee report finalized and faculty vote conducted for mandatory cases. Chair completes confidential memo to Dean for all mandatory cases. Departments generate list of non-mandatory cases to be put forward for promotion.

Early Autumn Quarter: Dossiers for mandatory cases are due to the College of Engineering Human Resources office.

Mid-Late October: Final list of names of anticipated non-mandatory cases is due to the College of Engineering.

October - November: Review Committee report finalized and faculty vote conducted for non-mandatory cases. Chair completes confidential memo to Dean for all non-mandatory cases.

Late Autumn Quarter: Dossiers for non-mandatory cases are due to the College of Engineering Human Resources office.

December 15: Dossiers for mandatory cases (including Dean's recommendation) are due to the Provost, via Academic Human Resources.

Early Winter Quarter: Affiliate promotion cases are due to the College of Engineering Human Resources office.

February 1: Dossiers for non-mandatory cases (including Dean's recommendation) are due to the Provost, via Academic Human Resources.

March 1: Dossiers for affiliate promotion cases (including Dean's recommendation) are due to the Provost, via Academic Human Resources.

NOTE: Review of new appointments to the rank of Associate Professor, Professor, Research Associate Professor or Research Professor may occur at any time during the Academic Year.

Id. Administrative and Policy Resources:

Promotion and Tenure cases are reviewed in succession at the Department level, College level, and the University level. Department-level policies and administrative resources are beyond the scope of this document; Chairs should ensure that these policies and administrative resources are clearly identified and available to the faculty.

Administrative Resources:

College Level:   University Level:
College of Engineering
Human Resources Office
371 Loew Hall, Box 352180

Promotion & Tenure (MyCoE)
Council on Promotion and Tenure (MyCoE)
  University of Washington
Academic Human Resources
85 Gerberding Hall, Box 351270

Policy and Procedure Resources:

University of Washington Faculty Code

Academic Human Resources Web Site

MyCoE - College of Engineering Web Pages for Faculty and Staff

Other Resources:


II. Promotion and Tenure Criteria

The goal of the College of Engineering is to promote excellence among its faculty. Accordingly, excellence is the principal requirement for rank advancement and tenure, and achieving promotion is its recognition. Though evaluating excellence in teaching is a difficult matter, this section focuses only on the challenging task of identifying excellence in scholarship, which we take to include research.

According to standards established by the University of Washington Faculty Code (Vol 2, Section 24-34):

  • Appointment to the rank of associate professor requires a record of substantial success in both teaching and research, except that in unusual cases an outstanding record in one of these activities may be considered sufficient, and
  • Appointment to the rank of professor requires outstanding, mature scholarship as evidenced by accomplishments in teaching, and in research as evaluated in terms of national or international recognition.

Finally, excellence implies a sustained commitment to high quality scholarship. It is, therefore, an ironical fact of academe that one criterion to be applied when evaluating a candidate for promotion is the assessment that he/she will continue to be a productive scholar even without the inducement of a promotion. This is especially important in the case of tenure, but it is to be applied to all promotion cases.

To summarize, when departments consider a candidate for promotion, they should apply the criteria and standards of the best departments in the discipline. Evidence of impact and influence should be identified as should instances of distinction based on peer evaluation. External letters of recommendation should be sought from leaders of the field capable of independently assessing the candidate’s accomplishments by these standards. And, finally, the department should assess the likelihood the candidate will continue to be a productive scholar after the promotion. The rationale section of the case should interpret the candidate’s record in the context of the forgoing points.

A final point must be emphasized. A promotion case is to be based on excellence. Since programmatic justifications, such as "this candidate should be tenured because he/she is the only one who can teach such-and-such course," are not part of the definition of excellence, they should not be used to support weak promotion cases. In view of the expectations, outlined in the Promotion and Tenure Process Section, that departmental decision should rarely be overturned by subsequent levels of the process. Such a temptation must be avoided.

IIa. Teaching Criteria and Standards

Both the University Faculty Code and the College of Engineering’s review of the promotion and tenure standards affirm that teaching and research scholarship are the primary activities around which faculty members should build their careers. While teaching and University service can often benefit the program and goals of Research Faculty and are not necessarily discouraged, these activities are neither sufficient nor necessary for promotion of Research Faculty. Therefore, the evaluation of accomplishment and potential in these areas is central to all reviews of a faculty member’s performance. Criteria and standards for the research scholarship component of such reviews were originally approved at the College Faculty meeting in Spring Quarter 1993. The purpose of this document is to define the policy of the College with respect to teaching, and to provide a means for insuring a proper balance between the roles of teaching and research in faculty reviews.

As in the case of the overall tenure and promotion process, the criteria and standards presented here are intended to encourage people to do their jobs well, and to acknowledge accomplishments appropriate to university faculty. The intent is to foster the view that the accumulation of a strong teaching portfolio in a constructive process is similar to building a strong research record.

The educational mission of the University is such that there are two primary components to each faculty member’s teaching efforts: (i) classroom instruction; and, (ii) individual instruction in the forms of student advising, independent study and special projects. The primary focus of the standards and criteria to follow is on classroom teaching, but this should not be interpreted as a disregard for individual instruction. The nature of individual instruction is such that issues of quality and quantity are often related to research productivity and are, therefore, difficult to evaluate in isolation. It is expected that a complete record of teaching performance will include independent study, special project, thesis, and dissertation advising data, and that information relevant to demonstrating the quality of the training received by individual students in these contexts will be included as appropriate. Teaching Standards In this section we give a broad outline of College teaching standards. To simplify the discussion, we refer to "courses" as the expression of teaching activity, but we mean this to include more personal interaction with students in an advising capacity as well.

The essential teaching standard supported by this document is that of "effective teaching." However, we do not attempt to establish a rigid definition of what constitutes effective teaching. It is no easier to define with any useful precision what effective teaching means than it is to define effective research. Ultimately, the judgment of the people performing the evaluations (at the department, College Council on Promotion and Tenure, Dean, and Provost levels) must provide the applicable interpretation.

We embrace the view that responsible faculty members will be engaged in an ongoing effort to improve their teaching performance through improvements in the presentations of individual courses, through modernization’s of the curricula of those courses and teaching methods for them, and through the introduction of appropriate new courses. The demonstration of consistently effective teaching is a necessary condition for promotion and tenure. Broadly stated, such demonstration is made by the accumulation of a consistent record of effectiveness in individual classes. Effective teaching requires a process of continual curricular modification and innovation. While the overall contribution of this process improves the quality of instruction and is decidedly positive; it inevitably involves occasional missteps and corrections. Thus, it is normal and expected that the teaching record of any faculty member will include a small percentage of outliers, representing relatively unsuccessful efforts. Such outliers, when viewed against a backdrop of effective teaching created by the overall record, are not a cause for concern. Outstanding teaching combined with acceptable research scholarship is sufficient for promotion and tenure. Outstanding teaching is indicated by national and international leadership in and recognition for curriculum development or other scholarly activities, as well as outstanding classroom presentation.

Measures of Teaching Effectiveness

While promotion and tenure decisions represent perhaps the most important faculty reviews, all faculty members are subject to ongoing reviews throughout their careers. In this section we present a set of measures by which teaching effectiveness should be evaluated as a component of such reviews. We do not mean our list to be exhaustive. It may be common for additional measures to be used based on the individual nature of faculty teaching activities. However, the measures presented here form a base common to all teaching evaluations.

Student Course Evaluations Student course evaluations are an important source of data for the teaching evaluation procedure. Student evaluations are, by their nature, limited to an evaluation of classroom performance. Because many factors outside the instructor’s control, such as class size, can have a significant effect on student evaluation ratings, responsible interpretation of student evaluation ratings must consider such factors. Similarly, because evaluations for an individual course can be affected by factors not relevant to the teaching evaluation process, a single course evaluation cannot provide reliable information. Despite these limitations, student evaluations of a number of courses, when viewed as a whole, can provide useful information: the larger the number of evaluations provided, the more accurate the picture of teaching effectiveness is likely to be.

When taken in this context, a portfolio of student evaluations, each of which is well above College norms for courses with similar characteristics, is strong evidence of outstanding classroom performance. At the same time, a portfolio in which the evaluations are consistently at the bottom of results for the College is cause for concern. We expect that most portfolios will contain the balance of some relatively high and some relatively low results. While placing an individual portfolio in the spectrum between outstanding and inadequate ultimately can be done only on a case by case basis, such mixed portfolios should in general be considered to indicate adequate classroom performance.

  1. Peer Reviews of Teaching: Peer reviews of teaching are another important source of information. By reviewing course materials, peer reviewers are in a position to evaluate efforts to modernize curricula and teaching methods, as well as the overall organization of a course. Peer reviewers may also evaluate classroom performance, either firsthand, through class visitations, or indirectly, through examination of the instructor’s teaching materials and portfolio of student evaluations. Because proper interpretation of student evaluations requires familiarity with the material, mechanics, and other aspects of each individual course, peer evaluations are also an opportunity to provide such informed interpretation in a consistent way. Thus, it is appropriate for peer evaluations to comment on all aspects of teaching performance.
  2. Evaluation by Trained Professionals: Evaluation by trained professionals such as the staff members of the Office for the Advancement of Engineering Teaching & Learning (OAETL), or the UW Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) can be very helpful in providing a faculty member with information regarding their effectiveness in particular courses, and for providing resources and specific suggestions for improvement. Although the results of such an evaluation are confidential, the faculty member’s response to particular suggestions could form an integral part of self-evaluation, as described next.
  3. Self Evaluation: Self evaluation is the final source of information. The individual instructor is in the best position to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an individual offering of a course, and to suggest approaches to improving future offerings.

Teaching Review Procedures

As with the evaluation of research records, evaluation of teaching effectiveness is inherently a subjective process that cannot be reduced to simple quantitative measures. Nonetheless, such evaluations must be performed. In this section we describe a set of procedures intended to ensure that faculty receive periodic feedback on their teaching performance, and that sufficient information on teaching effectiveness is maintained to allow evaluations to be made fairly.

Because student evaluations are useful only when viewed in significant numbers, and because the overhead of obtaining reviews is very low, student evaluations should be obtained for every course (with the exception of courses in which the instructor has primarily an organizational role (e.g., graduate seminar courses), except in rare circumstances. Obtaining a substantial record of evaluations is essential to the promotion and tenure process. Acquiring regular feedback on classroom performance is important for all instructors. Thus, this provision is appropriate for all faculty ranks.

To provide the context in which faculty may interpret the student evaluations of their courses, the College and Departments will maintain summary data of the results of evaluations College-wide, and historically in each particular course. Note that we do not believe it is desirable or possible to establish rigid individual goals relative to this summary data: the summary data are intended as an aid, not a hurdle.

Just as regular feedback on classroom performance is important to all faculty, so is peer evaluation. Thus, all faculty should receive peer evaluations of their teaching performance each year they are involved in any teaching effort. When these evaluations are performed, they should consider all courses taught during the year. However, classroom visitations may be done for only a subset of courses.

Due to the confidential nature of external evaluations by an instructional specialist, the information gained is directly useful to the instructor alone for self-assessment. Each faculty member, therefore, must make his or her own decision regarding the frequency of participation in such activities. To the degree subjecting oneself to external reviews reflects intentional efforts to improve one’s instructional effectiveness, a teaching portfolio will be strengthened by a record showing use of such reviews.

Self-evaluation of teaching is critical to any future improvement. No later than shortly after the completion of each course, all faculty should spend time evaluating the successes and failures of the course, as well as the feedback provided by the student evaluations. Since the teaching efforts of individual faculty members are important components of their promotion and tenure cases, and since teaching is not normally documented in a formally reviewed, archival form, faculty who may eventually be considered for promotion or tenure should prepare short (less than one page) written evaluations for each course taught. (These written statements should be prepared as part of the self-examination that takes place immediately after each course is offered.) A suggested model for the reports is that the faculty member summarize what was done in terms of improvement, innovation, updating, and so on, along with an evaluation of what was effective and what was less effective, and how the course could be improved in the future. These reports should be included as part of the material available to peer evaluation of teaching committees, as well as in the promotion packet should promotion eventually be recommended by the department.

Each candidate for promotion and tenure should prepare a summary statement describing his/her teaching work in the large context (rather than concentrating on individual courses). The candidate’s efforts with respect to graduate student advising should be described and discussed. This document would be provided with the promotion packet submitted to the College.

As part of self-evaluation, it is the faculty member’s and the department’s joint responsibility to ensure that the faculty member’s teaching performance meets College standards. This involves both monitoring their performance and, especially when it is deemed inadequate, taking active steps to improve it. Such steps might include seeking advice from the department chair or other faculty, and seeking the help of the Center for Instructional Development and Research (CIDR) or the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT). Such actions should be seen as positive steps, reflecting a serious interest in improving teaching performance.

IIb. Research Criteria and Standards

All promotions in the College of Engineering must meet the test of excellence, but the diversity of the departments means that there will be some differences between promotion cases for a given rank. This is inevitable for several reasons. There is the obvious problem of comparing accomplishments in one area of engineering with those from another. But there are also publication differences among the fields, with some disciplines having a tradition of publishing full length archival articles, while others have the tradition of short announcements of results followed by full publications, and still others place great importance on conference publication. And there are other points of difference, such as the availability of funding, ratio of masters to doctoral students and to post-doctoral, and the relative balance between applied and theoretical work that influence the career development of faculty in the College.

Though there are differences between fields, the criteria for evaluation and the measures of success in scholarship are consistent within a field. Accordingly, in the College of Engineering:

"Excellence in scholarship" is defined with respect to the criteria used and standards applied by the best departments in the candidate’s field. Thus, a candidate’s career accomplishments are compared to those of his/her peers.

Accepting that there are differences among the fields represented in the College of Engineering, and acknowledging the uniqueness of creativity and the individuality of scholarship, it is still possible to find commonality in the accomplishments of outstanding faculty: specifically, their scholarship is significant. The achievements most easily recognized as important are those in which one’s peers provide critical evaluation. For example, peer reviewed publications, peer reviewed grants, and prizes are generally more indicative of high quality in an absolute sense than contributions that have not been comparatively assessed. Similarly, when one’s ideas and research have significant impact or influence on the directions of the field, high quality is usually indicated. Thus, although publication is fundamental to scholarship, it is the effect that a candidate’s publication have had on his/her field that is critical to promotion, not their number or volume.

Also, supervision of students or individuals on post-doctoral appointments is considered a scholarly activity for all faculty, whether on a tenure-track, tenured, or research faculty position. Therefore, supervision of students and/or post-docs is normally expected of all faculty. However, in unusual cases, an outstanding record of scholarship with less emphasis on primary supervision of students and/or post-docs may be sufficient for promotion. This statement applies to both Research and tenure-track faculty.

IIc. Service Criteria and Standards

Service is work performed primarily in the role of a representative of the department, College, University, or other professional organization, rather than for the individual credit of the faculty member. A faculty member’s primary service responsibilities are those duties agreed to at the departmental level. Such duties may include membership on department, College, and University committees, as well as involvement in organizations outside the University and other forms of academic and professional administration.

While it is the responsibility of every faculty member to share equitably in service duties during their career, it is common and acceptable for departments to shield new faculty from these duties until they have established their research and teaching programs. Thus, in considering a promotion case from Assistant to Associate Professor, service is of secondary importance: no substantial record of service is expected, but a strong service record will be acknowledged as an important contribution to the University, department and profession. No promotion case at any level, however, can be built with service as its central pillar.

Because service is essential to the University and to the larger communities in which we are involved, promotion to Full Professor will normally require the demonstration of satisfactory service contributions. Once again, the definition of "satisfactory" must be left imprecise, but we expect that it corresponds roughly to the competent execution of the faculty member’s fair share of the various committee and other administrative tasks required for the Department and College to operate. As with the other components of promotion cases, outstanding service at this level will be taken into account when comparing research and teaching accomplishments to candidates with weaker service records. Also, particularly heavy service loads will be taken into account in short term reviews such as those involved in merit evaluation. However, while inadequate service may on its own be enough to postpone or prevent promotion to Full Professor, outstanding service on its own will in no case be sufficient grounds for promotion.

IId. Other Considerations

  1. Variations over time in a candidate’s evidence of productivity. Faculty careers inevitably have periods of higher and lower productivity. Furthermore, many faculty seem to make an effort to generate publications or other indicators of productivity at a greater rate in the period immediately prior to an evaluation for tenure or promotion. The Council recognizes this pattern as normal, though not universal, and does its best neither to give extra weight to an upward trajectory in productivity nor to discount such activity as being driven by factors that will become less compelling after tenure or a promotion has been awarded. Thus, the Council strives to evaluate a candidate’s overall record without regard to the timing of the accomplishments. That said, it is within the Council’s purview to explore the reasons for a pattern of activity that seems particularly unusual (e.g., evidence of productivity occurring over a very short period, whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the period being considered).
  2. Evaluating candidates whose careers include time at another institution. When evaluating faculty for promotion or tenure who have spent a significant amount of their career at an institution other than UW, the Council attempts to consider the totality of the candidate’s accomplishments in the context of his or her total career. Thus, if the candidate spent time at a peer institution, the Council would normally evaluate the record using the same criteria and metrics as they would apply to a candidate who had spent the same total career time entirely at the UW. On the other hand, if the candidate’s prior position had substantially different demands and rewarded substantially different kinds of accomplishments, the Council would take that into account. In the latter case, discussion of the differences is needed in the dossier.
  3. Importance of time in rank prior to promotion. The Faculty Code allows any faculty member to request consideration for promotion and/or tenure (if in a tenure-track position) after any amount of time in the current rank and specifies the time at which consideration of promotion to Associate Professor is mandatory. Correspondingly, the P&T Council is prepared to consider a case brought before it at any point in an individual’s career. Nevertheless, the Council considers that a five-year period (the typical length for a candidate whose consideration for promotion to Associate Professor is mandatory) is normative for a faculty member to develop a strong record in support of his/her promotion. Faculty being considered for promotion and tenure after a shorter time in rank are expected to present an unassailably strong case, with abundant promise of a high level of sustained productivity. Early promotion is defined as being considered for promotion/tenure with less than five full years in their current grade. This applies to both assistant professor to associate professor and associate professor to professor promotions. Where appropriate time spent at other institutions can be included when determining whether or not a candidate has been in the current grade for five years.
  4. Documenting all relevant information. The Council evaluates the material provided to it in the dossier. Information that is potentially relevant to the case and that does not fit neatly or objectively into one of the specified categories in the dossier can be included in either the Chair’s letter or the candidate’s self-advocacy statement. Such information might include, for instance, documentation of recruiting of the candidate by other prestigious universities or a special role that the candidate plays in some aspect of departmental or university affairs. Unless such material is of a particularly sensitive nature, it should normally be dealt with transparently and should be part of the record presented to the faculty prior to the departmental vote. If such information is not part of the dossier but is conveyed in some other way, the Council will normally consider it to be hearsay and will not take it into account.
  5. Collegiality and good citizenship. Collegiality and good citizenship should not be primary components of the review. Within limits, faculty must be free to pursue their interests and career goals in the style they choose. On the other hand, as part of their service to the university community, faculty must behave in a professional manner. If a candidate has exhibited a pattern of behavior infringing on the rights of others or counterproductive to the goals of the department / COE / University, that behavior can be a factor in the evaluation of the quality and quantity of the candidate’s record of service. However, in such cases, transparency is paramount. As with the items mentioned in the previous section, it is incumbent on the faculty to discuss such issues openly when considering the candidate’s record, for the candidate to have the opportunity to respond, and for both parts of that exchange to be documented in the dossier.
  6. Evaluating candidates in the context of their department and appointment. When being considered for promotion and/or tenure, the total contribution of every faculty member is considered in the context of the obligations placed on the faculty member. Across departments, and sometimes for different faculty in a given department (e.g., research faculty vs. tenure-track faculty), these obligations can vary widely, particularly with regard to classroom teaching and departmental service. The Faculty Code makes it clear that teaching, research, and service are required of all tenure-track faculty, and that research and some professional service contribution (though not necessarily to the UW) are required of Research Faculty. In its deliberations, the Council follows the Code. It is the responsibility of the candidate and/or the department to document the obligations placed on him/her so that the record can be evaluated in the proper context.
  7. Adequacy of departmental or university support. The Council recognizes that not all candidates receive the level of departmental or University support that is desirable for career advancement. The shortcomings might be related, for example, to provision of laboratory space, experimental or computing equipment, or less tangible matters such as appropriate mentoring. While those matters might have a significant impact on the candidate’s success at the University, the Council is not in a position to evaluate how the candidate’s career might have differed had those issues not arisen, or had they been addressed earlier. When appropriate, the Council will acknowledge such issues in its letter to the Dean, and it might take those issues into account in a vote to delay consideration of the granting of tenure, but it will not attempt to take the issues into account in a vote to promote or not promote. Such external issues fall under the purview of the Administration. Correspondingly, faculty members who will be candidates for promotion at some future date should be pro-active in making appropriate choices to deal with such issues in a timely manner, so as to not hinder their career advancement.

IIe. When Content Requirements Can't Be Met

Some requirements of the dossier may not be applicable to every promotion. For example:

  • A research-track faculty member might not teach classes in the course of his duties, and therefore may have no course evaluations to submit.
  • An affiliate faculty member whose principal employment lies in a non-academic environment may not publish her research findings. (In fact, specific dossier requirements have been created for affiliate promotions.
  • A Senior Lecturer might not conduct research, and therefore may not have any sponsored research activities to report.

Where a specific dossier requirement does not apply to a particular candidate's role, a brief explanation why no material is presented in the corresponding section is generally sufficient. Candidates or chairs are encouraged to contact their department's representative on the P&T council for further guidance.

IIf. College of Engineering Guidelines for Promotion to Senior and Principal Lecturer

This section describes promotion guidelines concerning teaching, service, and scholarly activities for:

  • Lecturers seeking promotion to Senior Lecturer.
  • Senior Lecturers seeking promotion to Principal Lecturer.
  • Faculty seeking guidance in evaluating faculty readiness for promotion and in evaluating such promotions.

Faculty seeking promotion to Senior or Principal Lecturer will have dossiers that vary widely depending on opportunities in their department, the College of Engineering, and UW, but their dossiers should be formatted following the guidelines provided by the College of Engineering Council on Promotion and Tenure.

Given the nature of lecturer positions, it is important to note that the activities described here should be grounded in a sustained record of teaching excellence related to the lecturer’s current duties within the lecturer’s home unit and the College of Engineering. In the context of diverse lecturer profiles and experiences, the general guidelines described here should be applied as uniformly as possible across all promotion cases.

As noted in Section 24-34 B2-B3 of UW Faculty Handbook, Senior lecturer and Principal lecturer are instructional titles that may be conferred on persons who have special instructional roles and who have extensive training, competence, and experience in their discipline. The Principal lecturer is an instructional title that may be conferred on persons whose excellence in instruction is recognized through appropriate awards, distinctions, or major contributions to their field. The focus of promotion to Senior or Principal Lecturer is on teaching and service, though some discussion of scholarship is included here.

Guidelines for Promotion to Senior Lecturer

The University of Washington Faculty Code specifies the following qualifications for appointment to Senior Lecturer and accordingly the same qualifications would apply to those seeking promotion to this rank: “Senior lecturer and senior artist in residence are instructional titles that may be conferred on persons who have special instructional roles and who have extensive training, competence, and experience in their discipline” [Section 24-34, B2]. Instructional title promotions to Senior Lecturer should emphasize teaching, curriculum development, and service.

Teaching and Curriculum Development

Lecturers seeking promotion to Senior Lecturer should have demonstrated sustained success in teaching. Their contributions in educational innovation must be highly significant and recognized by students, colleagues, and peers. Further, lecturers should have a sustained record of mentoring and advising students.

Service and Scholarship

Service to the department is expected and should benefit the institution. Scholarship is not an explicit expectation of lecturer roles yet COE pays attention to the quality of a lecturer’s scholarly activities, evidence of having achieved a reputation, visibility in the field, and demonstrated potential for further pedagogical and scholarly growth. Participation in conferences or other interactions outside the university is encouraged but not required.

Guidelines for Promotion to Principal Lecturer

The University of Washington Faculty Code specifies the following qualifications for appointment to Principal Lecturer and accordingly the same qualifications would apply to those seeking promotion to this rank: “Principal lecturer is an instructional title that may be conferred on persons whose excellence in instruction is demonstrated by exemplary success in curricular design and implementation, student mentoring, and service and leadership to the department, school/college, University, and field” [Section 24-34, B3].

Teaching and Curriculum Development

The key to promotion to Principal Lecturer is having demonstrated sustained success in teaching and a sustained record of contributions to the teaching mission of the UW through university-wide teaching programs, central involvement in unit-level teaching issues, and/or engagement in discipline-level curriculum development. Contributions in educational innovation must be significant and recognized both nationally and internationally as judged by students, colleagues, and peers within and outside the university. The university expects consistently high quality teaching from Senior Lecturers seeking promotion to Principal Lecturer. This alone, however, is not sufficient for consideration for promotion to Principal Lecturer.

The promotion case must provide evidence of the faculty member’s sustained excellence in instruction by the faculty member’s department, college, university, and/or discipline.

Service and Scholarship

Service to the department, college or university, and/or discipline may serve as evidence of a faculty member’s contribution beyond the classroom. Using the faculty code description of the Principal Lecturer position, these contributions are both distinctions (in the sense of distinctive contributions) and major contributions to service and leadership to the department, college, university, and/or discipline. The promotion file should build a case for sustained, substantive contributions to service at the department, university, and/or discipline or other national level.

Service that indicates contributions at the department level may focus on curriculum development, coordination, and/or oversight or other types of issues.

Scholarship is not an explicit expectation of lecturer roles. However, through scholarship, faculty members can make contributions to the teaching and research at the department, college, university, and/or discipline.

III. Roles and Responsibilities

IIIa. General Observations Unrelated to Dossier Preparation

  • The Chair, and the department as a whole, should identify issues and help the candidate address them, starting from the time the candidate joins the faculty. Candor is critical. If this is done, then the evaluation at the time of a promotion or tenure decision will be much easier and fairer.
  • Mentoring of junior faculty is a significant responsibility of the Chair and all senior faculty. Each department should have procedures established to assure that they carry out this responsibility consistently and successfully.
  • Summaries of the committee and departmental discussion/decision should be written documents that convey all the key points that were raised. However, in the interest of maintaining confidentiality, it is preferable not to quote extensively from the discussion, and external letters of evaluation should not be quoted at all.

IIIb. Candidate

  • Notifies Chair of intent to pursue promotion and/or tenure (non-mandatory cases only).
  • Prepares the curriculum vitae, self-advocacy statement, other supporting documentation, and copies of three most significant publications according to guidelines in this document.
  • Provides Review Committee (or Chair, if no review committee) with list of reviewers to exclude due to conflict of interest.
  • Reviews and responds in writing to Review Committee Report, if any.
  • Reviews and responds in writing to Chair's Summary of Faculty Deliberations.

IIIc. Chair

  • Ensures that he/she and the department faculty are familiar with the rules and guidelines for promotion and tenure.
  • Assembles list of mandatory and non-mandatory candidates for Promotion and/or Tenure.
  • Provides list of non-mandatory candidates to the College of Engineering.
  • Convenes introductory meeting with Candidate, Review Committee (if any), and Administrative Personnel involved in P&T processes.
  • Oversees data gathering and department evaluation process.
  • Organizes faculty deliberations and faculty vote.
  • Provides written summary of faculty deliberation to candidate and solicits candidate response.
  • Writes memo to Dean summarizing the faculty evaluation and providing an independent assessment of the candidate's qualifications for promotion/tenure.
  • Assures that the dossier is completed in accordance with P&T Council guidelines, and that the original and copies are submitted in a timely fashion to the College of Engineering.
  • Completes the dossier by successively numbering all pages and generating a table of contents.
  • In cases where no department review committee exists, performs all duties of review committee except the generation of committee report.

IIId. Departmental Review Committee (or Chair if no Review Committee)

  • Vets the candidate CV.
  • Manages communication with (and concurrence from) joint appointing department, if any.
  • Independently establishes a list of external reviewers, and chooses reviewers based on this list and the Candidate's list of reviewers to exclude.
  • Generates the summary of external reviewers and adds it to the dossier.
  • Solicits written evaluations from external reviewers. A copy of this solicitation letter is added to the dossier.
  • Gathers responses from external evaluators, assesses whether letters qualify as "A" or "B" letters, and adds these to the dossier accordingly.
  • Generates a report of the candidates' qualifications for promotion and/or tenure, delivers this report to the Candidate, and solicits a Candidate response within 7 days of delivery. A copy of this report, and the candidate response.
  • Delivers report on candidate qualifications to the attendees of the meeting to review and vote on Candidate's promotion and/or tenure.
  • Delivers dossier to the Chair.

IIIe. Department Faculty

  • Depending upon department policy, may nominate or appoint members of the Review Committee.
  • Depending upon department policy, may generate list of external reviewers.
  • Department Faculty who are superior in rank to the Candidate meet to discuss the Candidate's qualifications and vote whether to recommend Candidate for promotion and/or Tenure.
  • May serve additional roles and functions, depending upon departmental policy.

IIIf. Promotion and Tenure Council

  • Reviews the dossier.
  • Reviews the Chair's memo.
  • Discusses the Candidate's qualifications for promotion and/or tenure, and conducts a vote to recommend promotion and/or tenure.
  • May interview the department Chair as part of the deliberation process.
  • Prepares a confidential memo which summarizes deliberation and vote, and submits this memo to the Dean.

IIIg. Dean

  • Reviews the dossier.
  • Reviews the Chair's memo.
  • Reviews the memo of the Council on Promotion and Tenure.
  • May solicit the opinions and advice of other parties.
  • Prepares as a memo a confidential assessment and recommendation to the Provost.
  • In cases where the Dean's recommendation is to deny Promotion and/or Tenure, meets with the Department Chair and Candidate to share his/her expectations and discuss the likely outcome of the review process (e.g., denial of promotion and/or tenure, extension, or some other outcome). This meeting is summarized in a confidential memo to the Chair and Candidate.
  • Notifies Chair and Candidate of the final decision of the Provost and any further actions or outcomes of this decision.

IIIh. Provost and President

  • Reviews the dossier.
  • Reviews the Chair's memo.
  • Reviews the memo of the Council on Promotion and Tenure.
  • Reviews the Dean's memo.
  • May request additional information (e.g. the Candidate's performance evaluations from prior years) from the Department or the College.
  • Notifies the Dean of his/her decision with regard to promotion and/or tenure.


IV. Procedures

IVa. Establishing Deadlines and Organizing the Process

The Chair is ultimately responsible for organizing and overseeing the overall department-level processes, including data gathering, evaluation, and submitting the final dossier to the College. In many Departments, elements of this responsibility are delegated to the Department Review Committee, and/or shared with others, such as an Administrator or Chair's Assistant. Because of variations in the distribution of responsibility, it is difficult to describe the role of the above-named participants definitively in this document. Departments are encouraged to document their specific processes and to share these processes with candidates at the beginning of each new promotion and tenure process.

An initial meeting with all P&T candidates should include the following elements:

  • Department P&T Review Criteria
  • A timeline, including milestones and intermediate deadlines for Data Gathering, Evaluation, and Dossier Submission.
  • A list of participants in the P&T process, including a Review Committee Roster, and a description of the role of each participant.
  • A list of relevant College and University policies and resources.

IVb. Developing the List of Promotion Candidates (Chair Role)

Candidates (faculty members for whom some personnel action will be evaluated by the Promotion and Tenure Council, Dean and Provost) fall into one of the following four categories.

(1) Mandatory cases consist of Assistant Professors and/or Research Assistant Professors who have entered into their mandatory promotion year. The period of time between a faculty member's appointment and mandatory year is usually (but not always) six years. This period of time is often called the "tenure clock," a phrase which can be misleading when applied to Research Assistant Professors, who cannot attain tenure. The policy which dictates this duration is located in the UW Faculty Code, Chapter 24, Section 24-41 (see section B for policy on Assistant Professors and Section G for policy on Research Assistant Professors).

There are several circumstances which can extend a faculty member's tenure clock beyond a period of six years. In some cases, the extension of the tenure clock happens automatically, and in some cases the extension must be requested. These exceptional circumstances are described below.

The faculty member's appointment began after the half-way point of the Academic Year. Assistant Professors who begin an appointment on or after December 17 and Research Assistant Professors who begin their appointment on or after January 2nd will have this first partial appointment year automatically waived. Their tenure clock will automatically begin with the following Academic Year.

The faculty member took six months or more of medical or family leave in a given Academic Year, OR the faculty member became a parent, OR other family care responsibilities have interrupted a faculty member's dedication to teaching or scholarship. In any of these cases, the faculty member may request extension of his or her tenure clock. More information on the underlying policy can be found here.

An Assistant Professor worked less than 90% Full-Time-Equivalent (FTE). Assistant Professors who work greater than 50% FTE and less than 90% FTE will have their tenure clock automatically extended an additional one to three years. More information on the underlying policy can be found here (see the "Additional Information" in the "Appointment Details" section). This rule also applies to research-track faculty.

Circumstances beyond the faculty member's control interrupted or delayed the faculty member's ability to focus on teaching or scholarship. Circumstances can vary. A common example of one such circumstance is a construction delay that caused the faculty member's primary research lab to open late. Such extensions must be requested in writing prior to the faculty member's mandatory year. Extension requests are submitted by the Chair to the Provost, via the Dean's office. For more information, please contact the College of Engineering Human Resources office.

During Winter Quarter, the College's Human Resources office distributes to departments a list of faculty members who appear to be entering their mandatory year during the following Academic Year. Departments are asked to compare this list to their own records. This should allow sufficient time for departments to notify faculty members and/or resolve any tenure-clock concerns prior to the following Academic Year.

(2) Non-mandatory cases consist of faculty members who wish to be considered for promotion voluntarily. Note that this category includes promotion of:

  • Assistant Professors or Research Assistant Professors who have not yet reached their mandatory year
  • Associate and Research Associate Professors;
  • Affiliate faculty; and
  • Senior Lecturer and Lecturer Full Time, competitive recruitment (Note that the annual Lecturer Full Time (0115) title is not considered promotable by Academic HR, and so is not included in this list. Current Lecturers (0115) could be hired into a Senior Lecturer position if they applied through a national search. This would be considered a new position rather than a promotion.)

Practices for identifying non-mandatory cases vary by department, but usually involve a call for nominations (including self-nominations) by the department Chair. Each faculty member below the rank of Professor must be considered each year for promotion unless the faculty member chooses not to submit his/her name for consideration.

(3) New appointments to a higher-than-entry-level rank consist of faculty members hired into the rank of Associate Professor, Professor, Research Associate Professor or Research Professor. New appointments to these ranks will be voted on in the departments, first by the voting faculty regarding the new faculty appointment, then by those faculty senior in rank and tenure (e.g., Full Professors would vote on appointments of new hire Full Professors; Full and Associate Professors would vote on appointments of new hire Associate Professors). The department Chair will send a detailed memo to the Dean requesting to hire for the permanent appointment and providing justification for the hire.  Included with the Chair's memo will be the offer details, CV, and application documents. This will not include any “A” letters, only the letters of recommendation that were included with the application packet. The Dean will send the department Chair memo, offer details, CV and application documents to the P&T council via email requesting the councils review and recommendation. The P&T council will review and vote on the candidate via email and then send their recommendation to Dean. The Dean will make the final hiring decision.

Occasionally, cases involving a new hire from a lower rank professorial track from another academic institution is hired into the College of Engineering at a higher rank. This individual may be going up for promotion at their current university.  This is an opportune time to recruit high-quality candidates, who would surely be promoted at their current university and place them in a higher rank (i.e. assistant professor to associate professor, or associate professor to full professor). The dean will follow the same process, gathering advice and council from departments and the P&T Council.  In rare occasions, and at the discretion of the dean,  “A” letters from the department may be requested if the dean feels these are necessary to fully evaluate the case. Ultimately the Dean will make the final decision on the potential new hire and determine if an offer will be extended. 

For faculty being recruited from other institutions or industry who need to establish their research and teaching portfolio before being considered for tenure, a potential offer will be extended for the job class code falling under the Associate/Full Professor tenure track. (Job class codes 0109 or 0108) These titles are used for those with professional experience rather than academic experience. These positions are 6-year terms which allow for teaching experience before a mandatory review for tenure is conducted in the 5th year of the appointment.

(4) Tenure reviews and track adjustments are also subject to formal review. Typical examples of these include a faculty member without tenure for reasons of funding who is being considered for tenure when a new funding line becomes available; a faculty member appointed at a higher rank to the special "Associate or Full Professor Without Tenure 3-Year" title who is reviewed for tenure considerations during his/her second year of appointment; or a faculty member has elected to "jump tracks" from a tenure-track to research track appointment or vice-versa. When a track change is considered, the department Chair is encouraged to contact the College's Human Resources office. See the section of this document entitled Administrative and Policy Resources for contact information.

IVc. Gathering Information (Candidate Role)

(1) The candidate assembles his/her portion of the dossier. See the sections below for a comprehensive list of sections and subsections of the dossier which are the candidate's responsibility to provide.

General biographical information

Biographical information is to be presented in the suggested form of the template in Appendix B5.

Self-advocacy statement

The candidate’s self-advocacy statement should be five pages or less and include separate sections on the candidate’s teaching, research, and service activities. Each of these three sections should include a discussion of goals, direction, and impact. Please refer to Appendix B6.

The candidate should also assess her/his own performance, how s/he has responded to performance recommendations from mentors, and a frank assessment of the quality of mentorship provided to her/him by the department.

The statement should include discussion of the candidate's contributions to collaborations, including publications and funded projects.

The statement should address the candidate's impact beyond the academy (e.g., technology transfer to industry, or standards adopted by a government agency or a standards organization based on candidate's work).

The statement should reference what the candidate considers to be his or her three most influential publications written to date, including a short explanation of the impact and importance of each publication. (Note: copies of these publications should appear at the end of the dossier, and not in this section.)

The candidate is encouraged to summarize citation analyses of his or her research publications as part of the self-advocacy statement.

The candidate is encouraged to solicit feedback (e.g., from colleagues, and/or the Department Chair) on the quality and impact of the self-advocacy statement.

All other supporting information

This section is to include offers of positions elsewhere, acceptance letters for publications not yet in print, letters of approval for proposals not yet funded, and any other information that does not fall into the preceding categories and that is relevant to the candidate’s case for promotion and/or tenure.  

Three most significant publications

A copy of the candidate’s three most significant publications must be included in the dossier. These can be photocopies and can be chosen by the candidate. If the candidate wishes to identify different sets of publications that are most significant in different areas of his/her research, all those publications can be included here. However, the candidate should choose a total of only three to discuss in the self-advocacy section.

(2) The candidate generates a list of reviewers to exclude. This list is provided to the Department Review Committee or Department Chair if no Review Committee exists.

IVd. Gathering Information (Department Role)

This section describes activities most commonly delegated to a departmental Review Committee. If no departmental Review Committee exists, these tasks may be completed by an individual faculty delegate, a staff member, or the Chair. Consult department policy for more information.

(1) The Review Committee generates a list of external reviewers. With the exception of providing a list of reviewers to exclude, the candidate should not participate in the process of identifying and selecting external reviewers.

Reviewers should be grouped into two classes: Category A and Category B letters. Category A letters are the gold standard which provide objective reviews from the most respected and irrefutable sources.  Category A reviewers must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be a recognized leader in the candidate’s specialty field
  2. Be currently active in this field
  3. Be independent, having no mutual career interdependencies with the candidate

A case of promotion requires a minimum of 5 letters, at least 4 of which are Category A. New appointments to higher-than-entry-level rank also require at least 5 letters, but only 3 letters need be "A".

Category B letters do not meet all the criteria listed above.  They are not required in the dossier, but may provide useful supplementary information.  For example, a B letter from a close collaborator might clarify roles, when it is unclear who has been responsible for the research.  At times, a B letter from a funding agency program director or society officer may provide useful perspective.  As with Category A letters, a justification for the inclusion of Category B letters should appear in section 14.

No more than 3 Category B letters should be solicited for the dossier. If upon receipt of what was expected to be a Category A letter, it is clear that there is a connection between the letter writer and the candidate that disqualifies the letter from being an "A", it can be included as an extra Category B letter.

When considering who to include on the list of potential reviewers, the following issues should be considered to ensure that there will be a sufficient number of category A reviewers.

1. Relationship to Candidate.  The relationship of the reviewer to the candidate is closely scrutinized.  The Department must independently propose reviewers to ensure that the candidate's work is rigorously evaluated by individuals who do not have a vested interest in the candidate's success.

2. Review Content.  It is important to gather reviews that are highly detailed and point to specific accomplishments of the candidate (e.g., impact of papers, comparisons to known peers and so on).  Letters of a general nature that simply reiterate the dossier content are given less weight.  It is highly desirable for the reviewer to make a definitive recommendation on the case, even if it is only within the context of their own institution or organization.

3. Breadth.  For a candidate who works in several areas, it is important to solicit input from reviewers who are knowledgeable in each of these areas.

4. Stature of the Reviewer.  Letter writers should be full professors, unless a compelling case can be made to include others, and should be individuals with outstanding research credentials, preferably from top departments.

(2) Using the Review Committee's list of potential reviewers in conjunction with the exclusion list provided by the candidate, the Review Committee prepares a final list of external reviewers and solicits their feedback on the candidate's qualifications (see IVd., 1).  A sample letter of solicitation is added to the dossier.

Sample request letters for Assistant to Associate Professor, Research Assistant to Research Associate Professor, Associate Professor to Full Professor and Research Associate to Research Full Professor can be obtained from the College website. These letters should be followed closely, but the letters can also be individualized to request specific kinds of information, if desired. Consider stating why the reviewer was selected (i.e. which are of specialization) without restricting his/her freedom to comment on the whole package. Departments should not contact a letter writer ahead of the formal request for a letter for any reason.

While it is difficult to determine an exact number of external reviewers needed to make a strong promotion and/or tenure case, having too few could be problematic if not all the reviewers give strong and unambiguous support. Although a minimum of five (with at least 4 letters being Category A) letters must be provided, six or seven reviews are common. Regardless of the number, it is important that all areas of a candidate's work are evaluated.

When bringing a candidate through the promotion and tenure process a second time, departments should obtain letters from the same set of reviewers who were asked the first time or provide a justification for the change. Additional letters can be obtained, again with a reason why the addition was warranted.

(3) The Review Committee prepares a Summary of External Reviewers. This is added to the Dossier in Section 14.

Summary of external reviewers

All of the information below should be collected into this one section:

  • A description of the procedure used to select reviewers; For each reviewer, is the reviewer Category A or B?
  • The motivation for the choice of each reviewer, i.e. what particular area of the candidate’s research or career was the reviewer selected to evaluate. The reviewers should provide a full coverage of the candidate's research areas, and it should be made clear who is an expert in which area.
  • The candidate's role in the selection of reviewers;
  • Relationship of each reviewer to the candidate;
  • If the reviewer failed to provide a letter, why does the Review Committee think was the reason;
  • A summary of the reviewer's qualifications; do not include the reviewers' full CVs.
  • Documentation of any conversations with reviewers.

(4) The Review Committee assembles all letters of external evaluation and adds them to the dossier. Please organize the letters such that all Category A letters precede the Category B letters.

(5) The Review Committee prepares a report of the candidate's qualifications for promotion and/or tenure, and solicits the candidate's written response. The summary, and the candidate's written response, are added to the dossier. Because external evaluations are solicited with the promise of confidentiality, these evaluations should not be quoted extensively in the Review Committee report. The candidate should respond to the report in writing within 7 days. If no Review Committee has been formed, this step is omitted.

IVe. Evaluation (Faculty Role)

(1) Faculty members who are superior in rank to the candidate meet to discuss the candidate's qualifications for promotion and/or tenure, and conduct a vote to recommend promotion and/or tenure. If a Review Committee was formed, a representative of the Review Committee delivers the report on the candidate's qualifications to the attendees.

The discussion prior to the departmental vote should be frank and not skirt difficult issues. The goal is to make the best decision for the department; supporting the colleague is important, but can be done regardless of the decision.

Regarding Tenure:

In the College of Engineering, all recommendations for promotion to Associate Professor will be considered at the same time as Tenure recommendation.

  • A faculty member has tenure if he/she has held the full-time rank of Assistant Professor for seven years and has not received a termination notice.
  • Assistant Professors must be reviewed in the sixth year of a tenure-track appointment. Normally this is in the last year of the second three-year appointment. Fifth-year reviews, which result in denials of tenure and non-re-appointments effective at the end of the sixth year, are permissible. Fifth-year negative tenure reviews are to be forwarded only in exceptional circumstances where it is very clear that one additional year, the sixth, would not change the candidate’s record sufficiently to justify continuing the appointment for one more year. Should a negative fifth year decision be deemed appropriate, full documentation should be provided.
  • Associate Professors initially hired without tenure on three year appointments must be reviewed by the end of the second year of the appointment for tenure purposes.

In the case of a tenure decision, possible tenure recommendations are:

Grant tenure
A favorable tenure recommendation will usually include a recommendation for promotion to Associate Professor.
Deny tenure
Should tenure be denied in the mandatory year, reconsideration in the terminal year will not be allowed.
Postpone decision
Only in the mandatory year can a decision be made to postpone tenure consideration until the terminal year of the appointment.


Regarding Promotion of Research Faculty:

Research Faculty promotions must meet all criteria and procedures that apply to regular faculty promotion, except that evaluation of teaching is not required unless the candidate’s contributions to the department’s activities have included teaching. Evaluation of research faculty promotions will place primary emphasis upon research. Research faculty are not tenurable and are subject to periods of appointment that vary with rank. (See Handbook, Volume II, Chapter 24, Section 24-34.B.2)

(2) The Chair of the Department prepares a written summary of the faculty deliberations. The Chair provides this summary to the Candidate, who responds in writing within 7 days. This summary, and the candidate's response, are added to the dossier.

In cases where a majority of faculty members vote to deny promotion and the case in question is not a mandatory one, the Candidate must also decide, within 7 days of receipt of the Chair's summary, whether to discontinue the process. The Candidate must provide this decision to the Chair in writing. If the candidate decides to discontinue the process, the promotion and tenure materials are kept on file (separate from the faculty member's personnel file) by the department and no further action is taken. This rule does not apply to mandatory promotion and tenure cases, which always proceed to further levels of review.

IVf. Evaluation and Completion of Dossier (Chair Role)

The Chair is encouraged to get help where it would be useful and communicate with his/her departmental P&T representative. The purpose of these discussions is not to identify ways to gloss over problems, but rather to provide the most useful, fair package for the subsequent review process. The Chair is also encouraged to have a third-party proof-read the document.

The Chair’s letter of recommendation

The Chair’s letter must review the timeline of the candidate’s faculty position (e.g., date of appointment, extensions of the tenure time table, whether the promotion is mandatory or non-mandatory). The Chair’s letter must also report the results of the department faculty vote and specify quorum rules. To help standardize reporting procedures for promotion and tenure decisions, the vote is to be recorded in the following format:

            YES................ ##
            NO................. ##
            ABSENT............. ##
            ELIGIBLE............## *
            * must equal sum of total eligible

Note: All Associate Professors and Professors superior in rank to the candidate and not formally on leave are eligible to vote in tenure considerations. Emeritus faculty are eligible to vote only if they are here on a current appointment.

The Chair's letter should summarize, insofar as possible, the basis or reasoning for the affirmative and negative faculty votes. The nature and content of faculty discussion in the promotion and tenure meeting must be a part of the record along with a clear statement about the department’s criteria for tenure and promotion. In addition, the Chair’s letter must offer an independent assessment of the candidate and of his/her role in the present and future development of the academic unit. The Chair’s letter should include the following:

  1. A description and critical evaluation should be given of the candidate’s teaching, research, and service to the College, University, or the State (see guidelines in the Faculty Code, Chapter 25, Executive order No. 45, the Standards and Criteria for Promotion , Teaching and Service Procedures, Criteria, and Standards).
  2. A statement of the candidate’s special competence, together with an analysis of the external evaluators’ comments relating to the candidate’s standing, reputation, and scholarly achievements. Because the reviewers’ letters are part of the dossier, there is no need for long sections of direct quoting from the letters. Rather, a summary of how the reviewer’s comments were interpreted by the faculty and the chair is of most value.
  3. A complete and precise description of the candidate’s role in the development of the department curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate level, and his/her place in its future development. This is optional for research faculty.
  4. A description of the program of research the candidate is following and his/her plans for the future.
  5. A comment on the quality of the journals and conference proceedings in which the candidate has published. The most respected journals or conferences in the candidate’s field should be specifically mentioned. For candidates working in multiple research areas, please identify which publication venues pertain to which areas of research.
  6. If the Chair believes that the documentation required on the candidate’s teaching record does not fully reflect the contributions of the candidate, the Chair may include comments from graduate and undergraduate students to support the candidate’s teaching record.
  7. If a previous recommendation for promotion has been denied, a summary of the changes in the candidate’s status since that time should be provided, with respect to the above items.  
  8. Any comments from the discussion of the candidate that could have led to a "no" or "abstain" vote.
  9. If it is not described in the Summary of External Reviewers, the Chair should describe the process used to select external evaluators.



(2) If the Candidate holds a joint or adjunct appointment elsewhere on the UW campus, the Chair will request a letter from the Chair of the joint/adjunct department, if required. This letter is added to the dossier.

Concurrence of adjunct appointment; and/or joint appointment

If the candidate holds an adjunct position in another department, a letter from the Chair of the appropriate department, including the results of a faculty vote if required by that department, is needed. The parent department initiating the recommendation for tenure and/or promotion is responsible for ensuring that this letter is included in the candidate’s dossier.

In addition, if the candidate holds a joint appointment within the College or within another College or School of the University, the results of a vote of that faculty and the Chair’s recommendation must be reported in a separate letter by the Chair of the second unit. The parent department initiating the recommendation for tenure and/or promotion is responsible for ensuring that this letter is included in the candidate’s dossier. 

(3) The Chair adds a copy of the Department Review Criteria to the Dossier.

IVg. Assembly of the Dossier (Chair or Designee)

(1) All elements of the dossier are collected and assembled in the order indicated in the table of contents.

(2) All pages of the dossier are numbered consecutively.

(3) A Table of Contents is prepared, citing page numbers for relevant sections. See the Appendix section of this document for a table of contents template.

(4) Please check with the College of Engineering Human Resources staff to have them approve that all the materials described above are in the dossier.

(5) Twelve copies of the original dossier are made. Submit 3 unbound dossiers (original and 2 copies) and 10 bound dossiers (comb binding or three-ring binding is suggested.) The original should be clearly marked and differentiated from the photocopies.

(6) A single file copy is retained in the department (separate from the faculty member's regular personnel file).

(7) The original and remaining 12 copies are forwarded to the College of Engineering's Human Resources Office. See the Administrative and Policy Resources section for the address of this office.

IVh. New Appointments to Higher Ranks »