Promotion and Tenure Rules


It is the desire of this law school to secure and hold a faculty of high quality by establishing standards of professional competence and integrity, and the adoption of these rules is with that purpose in mind.  These rules are in accordance with and supplemental to University of Arkansas  Board of Trustees policy 405.1.


The tenure-track positions at the School of Law are assistant professor, associate professor, professor, and distinguished professor.  Candidates for initial appointment to those positions should hold the J.D. (or LL.B.) degree and have the post-graduate professional experience expected for the particular position.  Appointments to tenure-track positions may be made with primary teaching responsibilities in designated subject matter areas.  Persons so appointed may teach courses in subject matter areas other than those designated only as her/his responsibilities in the designated subject matter areas allow.  Usually, candidates for tenure-track positions are first screened by the law school’s Faculty Recruitment Committee, and then selected candidates are brought to the law school campus for interviews with the faculty.  Recommendations to offer tenure-track positions are made by the faculty to the Dean, who in turn makes hiring recommendations to the University.  Prior teaching at another law school may call for the initial academic rank to be that of associate professor or above.  In exceptional circumstances, especially at the rank of professor or distinguished professor, a recommendation of immediate tenure may be made.  As an institution dedicated to educating future lawyers, the School of Law also recognizes that it is desirable to have faculty members of quality professional practice experience.  Quality  practice and  other professional experience beyond  the  J. D. degree will be considered in recommending the rank of the initial appointment to the University.  If the law faculty votes to recommend an initial appointment to the Dean and the Dean determines that a rank above assistant professor or an early tenure recommendation may be appropriate, the Dean will convene the Committee on Promotion and Tenure to consider such matters before recommendations are made to the University.


In order to achieve the purpose of this policy, as stated in paragraph I, the following factors shall be considered by the Committee on Promotion and Tenure in making recommendations to the Dean of the law school as to renewal of contracts, granting tenure, and promotion in rank.

A. Teaching Effectiveness.  This shall include preparation, knowledge of the subject matter, ability to communicate and to stimulate students to learn, control of the classroom, quality of lecture and discussion, promptness and regularity of attendance, and availability and assistance to students outside the classroom.

B. Contribution to the Law School.  This shall include service to the law school beyond regular teaching responsibilities, such as: work on committees, participation in faculty meetings, direction of and participation in special programs and institutes, cooperation with other faculty members, counseling students, and advising student organizations.

C. Scholarship.  This shall include research and writing which makes such original or otherwise substantial contribution to legal scholarship as would merit favorable recognition by scholars or other legal professionals, such as: the writing of books and articles; participation in research projects or the work of scholarly associations; preparation of briefs, reports, memoranda, legislation, or other documents in connection with consultative or clinical work; completion of requirements of advanced law studies.

D. Contributions to the University, the Community and the Profession.  This shall include service on University committees, participation in University educational programs, and participation in the work of community organizations and bar associations or other professional organizations.


Individual accomplishments and potential for continued value to the School of Law and the University are required for promotion and tenure.  No minimum period of service is required for promotion or tenure.  However, if tenure is not awarded prior to the seventh appointment in a tenure-track position, the seventh appointment must be a terminal appointment.

The School of Law recognizes, however, that potential faculty candidates and appointed tenure-track faculty members have a legitimate interest in approximate time frames for promotion and tenure.  The School of Law also recognizes that since it competes for quality law faculty members with other law schools accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools, its time frames for promotion and tenure must be within the standards applied generally  in legal education.  With those standards as guidelines, faculty at the School of Law are typically considered for promotion from assistant to associate professor in the fourth year of appointment, to be effective with the fifth appointment contract.  Promotion from associate professor to full professor is typically considered in the third year of rank as associate professor, to be effective with the next appointment.  The School of Law has often recommended tenure in the fourth year of service, to be effective with the fifth contract.

The Committee on Promotion and Tenure makes four basic types of recommendations to the Dean which differ qualitatively.  These are:  (a) renewal of periodic contracts, (b) promotion to associate professor, (c) promotion to full professor, and (d) tenure recommendations.

A. Renewal of Periodic Contracts.  The Committee shall evaluate the performance of the faculty member under the tenure criteria, with due consideration for the faculty member’s level of experience.  In each successive renewal, the Committee will look for definite and increasing signs of merit and future promise in making recommendations on renewal decisions.

B. Promotion to Associate Professor.  Promotion to a higher rank is earned by quality performance in the areas of the substantive criteria.  The Committee recognizes that beginning professors generally face a challenge of mastering their assigned courses and of demonstrating  teaching of high quality.  Therefore, it is expected that teaching effectiveness and contribution to the law school will be particularly emphasized.  At the same time, performance with respect to the other tenure criteria will be actively evaluated.  Ordinarily, by the time of entrance into the promotion zone, candidates should have become engaged in research projects or a single relatively narrow inquiry to the point that the candidate’s competence can be established by some writing of demonstrable quality.  The Committee will look for signs of development and future promise in the work of the faculty member under consideration.

C. Promotion to Full Professor.  In order to merit promotion to full professor, the faculty member must have demonstrated superior classroom teaching that is thoughtful, provocative, and effective.  The faculty member should have shown expert knowledge in his or her field and the ability to guide students to learn the law.  In addition, the faculty member shall have made contributions to the law school that show an identification with its goals and a willingness to work with its faculty.  Original or otherwise substantial contribution to scholarship should ordinarily be shown.  Quality will count more than quantity.  The following factors may help in judging scholarship:

  1. The degree of complexity or uniqueness of the research and the publication efforts;
  2. The nature and quality of the publication in which the work appeared;
  3. The degree to which the work is the faculty member’s own;
  4. The recognition or criticism by outside experts of work, if any;
  5. The form of the published materials (casebooks, textbooks, law review articles,  teaching materials).

D. Tenure Recommendation.  When a promotion or renewal decision also involves the granting of tenure under the University rules, the Committee will weigh the foregoing substantive criteria and look for a demonstrated high quality performance, including  improvement in performance and future promise, in these areas.

In addition, the Committee shall weigh the candidate’s potential for future contributions to the program of the law school, and, where applicable, the probability that the candidate will meet the criteria for promotion to full professor in the foreseeable course of events.  When a candidate who was initially appointed at the rank of associate professor or full professor is reviewed for tenure, the Committee shall also consider whether or not the candidate has met the criteria for promotion of an incumbent to the rank held by the candidate.


The Promotion and Tenure Committee of the School of  Law shall consist of all tenured members of the law faculty.  Each year the Promotion and Tenure Committee shall review the performance of untenured members of the law faculty under the substantive criteria and applicable University regulations and shall make recommendations to the Dean of the School of Law concerning renewal of periodic contracts.  In reviewing candidates for renewal of contracts, the Committee shall  review the summaries of the faculty member’s student evaluations, hear evaluations of class visitations by members of the Committee or persons designated by the Committee, and review the performance during the year in service and scholarship in accordance with substantive criteria II (B) through (D).  Faculty members shall be informed of this review and given the opportunity to submit materials which they believe will be helpful to consideration of their performance under the substantive criteria.

The Committee shall also make recommendations concerning candidates for promotion and candidates for tenure.  At the time the Committee considers a candidate for promotion or tenure, the Committee shall conduct a review of the candidate’s qualifications under the substantive criteria.  This shall include review of the summaries of the faculty member’s student evaluations, review of material concerning class visitations, review of the faculty member’s written publications, review of materials submitted by the faculty member concerning service to the law school, the University, and the legal profession, a conference with the faculty member if requested, interviews or correspondence with any person suggested by the faculty member or selected by the Committee, and review of any other information or materials submitted by the faculty member.

The Committee shall keep a written record of its actions.  The faculty members reviewed by the Committee shall be notified in writing of the outcome of each review.  In addition, informal conferences with the Dean and/or the chairperson of the Promotion and Tenure Committee concerning the Committee’s review may be held with the faculty member.  The Committee’s review and recommendation to the Dean may be used by the Dean as part of the annual review of the working status of each faculty member reviewed pursuant to Board policy 405.1.

A. Publications submitted for promotion and tenure purposes shall be reviewed as follows:

  1. Publications to be considered for promotion or tenure shall be submitted to the Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee by September 15 of the academic year in which the promotion or tenure decision is to be made.
  2. The publications shall be assigned by the Chair for reading and evaluation by at least three members of the promotion and tenure committee.
  3. Publications to be considered for promotion and tenure also shall be reviewed by at least one faculty member of another ABA approved law school (“outside reviewer”) .
    1. The outside reviewer shall be knowledgeable in the subject matter of the publications to be evaluated.
    2. The outside reviewer shall evaluate a publication according to the substantive criteria contained in III, above.

B. Publications shall be submitted for outside review pursuant to the following procedures:

  1. Promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor: At least one article shall be submitted to at least one outside reviewer.
  2. Tenure: At least two articles shall be submitted to at least one outside reviewer per article.
  3. Promotion from Associate to Professor: At least three articles shall be submitted to at least one outside reviewer per article.

C. Any outside review obtained in connection with a promotion and tenure decision may be retained and relied on for any subsequent promotion or tenure decision. For example, if an article is reviewed by an outside reviewer for promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, that review may be used to satisfy the outside review requirements for tenure or promotion to Professor or both.

A. The Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee

  1. shall inform the candidate of the names of the outsider reviewer(s), and
  2. shall provide the candidate copies of all evaluations of that candidate’s publications prior to the meeting at which that candidate will be considered for promotion or tenure.

B. The failure of an outside reviewer to provide a written evaluation prior to the committee meeting in which the candidate’s application for promotion and tenure will be considered shall not delay or prejudice the Committee’s consideration of the candidate’s application.


A. Grounds and procedures for Recommending Revocation of Tenure and Dismissal.

  1. Grounds.  A member of the tenured faculty may be recommended for dismissal for serious failure to maintain professional standards or for personal conduct which renders the tenured faculty member unfit for continued employment as a faculty member.  Serious failure to maintain professional standards consists of persistent and clear deficiency by a tenured faculty member in meeting the substantive criteria for promotion and tenure defined as Part II herein.
  2. Procedures.  When the Dean determines that good cause exists for recommendations for dismissal of a member of the tenured faculty, he shall confer with the tenured faculty member involved in an effort to resolve the matter.  If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the Dean shall refer it to the Law School Committee on Promotion and Tenure for a recommendation.  If a recommendation for revocation of tenure and dismissal is made by the Committee, the Dean shall report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate University administrator for action.  When the Committee on Promotion and Tenure acts under this section, it shall afford, if requested by the tenured faculty member in question, a hearing which shall include a notice of hearing, a statement of charges, the opportunity to be heard and furnish other evidence, and the right to counsel.  Nothing herein shall denigrate the rights that a faculty member has or would have under University-wide tenure policy.

Original of this policy approved by Law School Promotion and Tenure Committee October 15, 1980
Policy amended October 3, 1986
Policy amended April 16, 1996
Policy amended October 12, 2000