Guidelines for Collge- and University-Level Promotion and Tenure Procedures

Policy Memorandum No. 33

Recommended by the Commission on Faculty Affairs
Approved by University Council: April 19, 1986
Approved by the President: April 19, 1986
Effective: September 1, 1982

After lengthy study and discussion at two separate meetings, the University Council, on recommendation of the Commission on Faculty Affairs, approved the attached guidelines for college-level and University-level promotion and tenure procedures, to be implemented beginning with the 1982-83 academic year. In approving these guidelines, Council members emphasized that they are, indeed, "guidelines" or recommended procedures and not requirements. The guidelines are intended to provide helpful procedures and suggested direction, but departures from the guidelines may be appropriate under certain circumstances. The guidelines provide that tenured faculty members of the rank of associate professor or higher are eligible for membership on University-level committees to provide flexibility for the appointment of minority and women faculty members. Greater flexibility is provided in the selection procedures for college-level committees, and collegiate faculty are expected to determine what is best for their particular college, given the general guidelines.

Following is the Resolution on guidelines for collge- and university-level promotion and tenure procedures, as approved by the University Council:

WHEREAS, VPI&SU is committed to the continuing development of high-quality programs, and

WHEREAS, faculty and administrators must assume co-equal responsibility for the quality of programs, and

WHEREAS, promotion and tenure descisions are crucial to quality programs throughout the University

BE IT RESOLVED that the following guidelines for collge-level promotion and tenure procedures be implemented beginning with the 1982-83 academic year:

  1. Ideally, the college committee is composed of tenured full professors so that faculty members are not put in a position of setting standards which may apply to them. However, all tenured faculty are eligible for selection and all who are selected should hold voting privileges.

  2. As far as possible, each discipline or group of related disciplines within the college (often identified as departments(1) should be represented on the committee. However, because too large a committee makes evaluative discussions unwieldy, the size of the committee should be limited to approximately 12 members.

  3. Some significant element of faculty choice should be a part of the committee selection procedure. Four acceptable methods are as follows:

    1. elected by the college faculty, or

    2. appointed by an elected College Executive Committee, or

    3. a combination of elected and appointed (by the dean or College Executive Committee) representatives, or

    4. an elected slate significantly larger than the required committee size, thus allowing the dean or College Executive Committee to appoint the committee from the elected slate.

  4. The possibility of department heads serving on college committees may be handled by one of the following methods:

    1. Department heads may serve on the college committee if elected by the faculty or appointed by the dean; however, they should not have voting privileges, or

    2. Department heads serving on College Committees should enjoy the rights of full participation, but their collective vote should not be weighted greater than the faculty representatives.

  5. The college dean should chair the committee but not have voting privileges.

  6. Administrative officers other than deans and heads should exercise their right to participate in promotion and tenure procedures through the academic department in which they hold their academic rank.

  7. When the recommendations for promotion and tenure made by the department committee and the department head differ, the College Committee should have the opportunity to consider both recommendations, which should be in writing as a part of the dossier. The College Committee also may ask the department head, the candidate, and/or a representative(s) of the department committee to appear before the College Committee to present additional information or clarification of recommendations.

  8. If the recommendations of the dean and College Committee differ, each should make a written recommendation to the University Committee. Both the dean of the college and a representative(s) of the College Committee should have the opportunity to appear before the University Committee to present their differing views.

  9. If a department recommendation is rejected by both the College Committee and the dean of the college, the normal process of review is concluded.

  10. The division on any ballot should not become a part of the candidate's dossier.

  11. This procedure does not address appeals.


1 Department is used in this document to mean both departments and divisions.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following guidelines for University-level promotion and tenure procedures be implemented beginning with the 1982-83 academic year:

  1. The University Committee should consist of the college deans and tenured faculty members of the rank of associate professor or higher, one from each college, with the exception of the College of Arts and Sciences, which should be represented by two. The selection of the faculty members should be based on demonstrated professional excellence.

  2. All members of the Committee should hold voting privileges. Irrespective of the size of the Committee, the faculty should always have at least a majority of the potential votes.

  3. Some significant element of faculty choice should be a part of the selection procedure; therefore, each college faculty, by means deemed suitable by them, should nominate two faculty members for each vacancy, from which the Provost will select one.

  4. The faculty members of the Committee should hold rotating terms of two years.

  5. The Provost should chair the Committee but not hold voting privileges.

  6. All voting within the Committee should be by written secret ballot; the division of any ballot must remain confidential.

  7. This procedure does not address appeals.

President's Policy Memorandum