Retention, Promotion and Tenure Policy for Non-Library Faculty

  1. Introduction.  These rules are supplemental to and in accordance with the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees Policy (hereinafter Board Policy) 405.1 and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Promotion and Tenure Guidelines. In these rules “untenured faculty member” means a tenure-track faculty member who does not have tenure.
  1. Rank and Tenure Recommendations on Initial Appointment.
  1. Appointments to tenure-track positions may be made with primary teaching responsibilities in designated subject matter areas.  A person so appointed may teach courses in subject matter areas other than those designated, but only as the person’s responsibilities in the designated areas allow, as determined by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  Persons wishing to be released permanently from these primary teaching responsibilities may do so as the Law School’s hiring needs permit and subsequent to an affirmative vote of the faculty.
  1. Applicants with prior teaching experience on a law faculty or other substantial relevant experience may be hired with tenure or at a rank above that of Assistant Professor if the Promotion and Tenure Committee so votes, the dean recommends and the University approves.  For early tenure review, see VI.A.3.
  1. Untenured Faculty–Annual Review.
  1. Untenured  faculty are reviewed annually by the Promotion and Tenure Committee (“PTC”), which submits a recommendation on reappointment to the Dean.
  1. Untenured  faculty must be reviewed in a timely fashion so that if the PTC votes not to reappoint, and the Dean agrees, the faculty member will be notified by the dates set out in  Board Policy 405.1, IV.B.
  1. To be approved for reappointment, an untenured faculty member must demonstrate satisfactory progress towards meeting the teaching, scholarship and service requirements for promotion and tenure.
  1. By September 1 of an untenured  faculty member’s first semester of the first year of service, the Dean or Dean’s Designee shall ensure that the faculty member has a copy of all Board of Trustees, University and Law School policies and procedures relating to promotion and tenure.
  1. During an untenured faculty member’s first semester of the first year of service, the Dean or Dean’s Designee shall appoint a Mentor Committee comprised of three mentors for the faculty member, one of whom shall be the Associate Dean for Faculty Development.  The responsibility of the mentors will be to meet regularly with the faculty member (at least once a semester), and to advise and mentor the faculty member with respect to promotion and tenure requirements while the faculty member is on the tenure track.  At all times, an untenured faculty member should have three mentors.  The Dean shall fill any vacancy on a Mentor Committee.
  1. Untenured Faculty–Mid-Tenure Review.  During the third year of service, an untenured faculty member must undergo a mid-tenure review.  The faculty member may submit to the PTC by October 1 any materials eligible to be submitted in an application for tenure and promotion.  The PTC must review the faculty member’s materials and provide to the faculty member a written report reflecting the opinion of the PTC by March 31.  The chair of the PTC will meet with the faculty member and answer questions about the report.  The chair of the PTC will then submit the report with a cover letter to the Dean by May 15.


V. Non-tenure-track Faculty  – Annual Review.

A. Non-tenure-track faculty are reviewed annually by the PTC, which submits a recommendation on renewal of their contract to the Dean.

B. Non-tenure-track faculty must be reviewed in a timely fashion so that if the PTC votes not to recommend renewal of the contract, and the Dean agrees, the faculty member will be notified by the dates set out in Board Policy 405.1.IV.B.

C. To be recommended for reappointment, a non-tenure-track faculty member must demonstrate satisfactory performance in teaching and other assigned responsibilities.

D. By September 1 of a non-tenure-track faculty member’s first semester of the first year of service, the Dean or Dean’s Designee shall ensure that the faculty member has a copy of all Board of Trustees, University and Law School policies and procedures relating to retention and promotion.

E. In reviewing non-tenure-track candidates for renewal of contracts, the PTC shall consider the faculty members’ student evaluations, evaluations of class visitations by members of the PTC or persons designated by the PTC, and the faculty members’ performance of other assigned responsibilities.  The faculty members shall be informed of these reviews and given the opportunity to submit materials they believe will be helpful to consideration of their performances.

VI. Untenured Faculty–Promotion and Tenure.

  1. Promotion and Tenure Periods
  1. An Assistant Professor is eligible to apply for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor after four or five years of service.  If the applicant applies during the fifth year of service, tenure will be effective at the beginning of the sixth year of service.  If the applicant applies during the sixth year of service, tenure will be effective at the beginning of the seventh year of service.  If tenure is not awarded prior to the seventh appointment in a tenure-track position, the seventh appointment shall be a terminal appointment.
  1. An Associate Professor is eligible to apply for Professor at the beginning of the third year after tenure is effective.  For example, if an Associate Professor received tenure effective at the beginning of the sixth year of service, the applicant could apply for Professor during the eighth year of service, to be effective at the beginning of the ninth  year of service.  Similarly, if an Associate Professor received tenure effective at the beginning of the seventh year of service, the applicant could apply for Professor during the ninth year of service, to be effective at the beginning of the tenth year of service.
  1. Persons who were tenured, or who were tenure-track at another law school immediately prior to their hiring by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, may be eligible to apply for early promotion and/or tenure.  The terms for an early tenure review must be approved by the PTC and written into the faculty member’s letter of appointment.
  1. Untenured faculty not undergoing early tenure review pursuant to VI.A.3 above shall receive a reduced teaching load of three courses or the equivalent during two of their first three years of service.


  1. Voting on Promotion and Tenure.  Faculty members eligible to vote on the promotion of an applicant are those faculty members who already hold a higher rank or the rank sought by the applicant.  Faculty members eligible to vote on the tenure of an applicant are those faculty members with tenure.  Each member of the PTC should have read at least one article written by the applicant before voting on the applicant’s tenure application.  What a faculty member teaches is irrelevant to the issue of voting.  For example, a tenured faculty member teaching in the clinic would have the right to vote on any teaching faculty member seeking tenure.  Voting on promotion and tenure is by secret ballot.  The vote totals are confidential except with respect to PTC members, the applicant, the dean, and the university administration.
  1. Procedure for Promotion and Tenure–Law School.
  1. The Dean or Dean’s Designee shall send a letter to each faculty member who is tenure-track or not a full professor by September 1 of each year, advising them of the promotion and tenure standards and relevant timelines and informing them of the academic years during which they will be eligible to apply for promotion or tenure.  Faculty members who intend to apply for promotion or tenure should so indicate in writing to the Dean and the PTC Chair by September 15.
  1. By September 15, the PTC Chair shall designate a meeting date for the PTC, not before November 15, and inform all applicants of the date and the deadline by which their applications must be submitted to the committee.  The deadline for the submission of applications must allow PTC committee members at least five business days to review materials before the PTC meeting.  Beginning no later than September 15, the PTC Chair will designate PTC members to visit classes and review publications.
  1. The PTC shall present its recommendation in a letter to the Dean.  All members of the PTC who were present at the meeting and eligible to vote on the applicant shall sign the letter.  Significant minority opinions of any member of the PTC present at the meeting and eligible to vote on the applicant may be identified in the letter but need not be attributed to individual members.  Separate minority reports may be written and submitted as attachments to the PTC’s letter; a minority report must be signed by the members of the PTC who endorse it.  Such minority reports must be submitted by PTC members present at the meeting and eligible to vote on the applicant.
  1. The PTC Chair shall transmit the letter and any attachments to the Dean and the applicant by December 15.
  1. After receiving the PTC’s recommendation, the applicant has five business days to submit a rebuttal (see VI.C.9) to the Chair and the Dean.
  1. After reviewing the applicant’s application dossier, the PTC’s letter, any attachments, and any rebuttal, the Dean will make an independent recommendation to the provost.
  1. If the Dean’s recommendation is positive, the Dean shall inform the applicant.  If there is no existing rebuttal, the Dean will forward to the Provost his or her recommendation, the applicant’s completed application forms, statement, curriculum vitae, letters of evaluation (annual reviews, peer reviews, and letters from external evaluators, when appropriate), and the recommendation of the PTC.  The Dean shall retain the remainder of the applicant’s dossier until the review process is complete.  The Provost or Chancellor may request and review the complete dossier.
  1. If the Dean’s recommendation is negative, the dean shall meet with the faculty member to review the recommendation.  After meeting with the Dean, the applicant has five business days to submit a rebuttal to the the Dean and the Provost (see VI.C.9).  If there is a rebuttal at either stage, the Dean will forward the rebuttal with the summary materials to the provost.
  1. The applicant may submit no more than one rebuttal, after either the recommendation of the PTC or of the Dean.  The rebuttal is directed to the next administrator in the review process.  The applicant may submit a rebuttal even if the recommendation is positive, to correct errors, critique perceived misinterpretations, or provide context.  The rebuttal shall be in the form of a letter, but may include limited supporting materials relevant to earlier recommendations.  The supporting materials, if any, shall be forwarded with the rebuttal.
  1. Procedure for Promotion and Tenure–University.  The procedure for university review of promotion and tenure applications is set out in the UALR Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.  The applicant may appeal the decision of the Dean or Provost, as set out in the UALR Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.
  1. Throughout the entire process, confidentiality of information must be maintained.


  1. Criteria for Promotion to Associate Professor and Tenure.
  1. General.  Individual accomplishments and potential for continued value to the University are required for promotion and tenure.  The granting of promotion and tenure requires documented evidence of sustained achievement, as well as evidence of potential for sustained future accomplishment over an entire career.  A successful applicant for promotion and tenure must have a distinguished record of academic achievement that is the foundation for a national or international reputation.  A successful applicant must adhere to standards of academic integrity, and not engage in professional conduct that raises a substantial question as to the candidate’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer.
  1. Teaching.  The required standard for promotion and tenure is teaching of high quality.  The tenured professor of law should be a teacher of intellectual power and imagination with the ability to engage students.


  1. Criteria for Evaluation

(1)     Mastery of subjects taught
(2)     Coverage of theory, policies, and unclear areas as well as black letter rules
(3)    Rigor of teaching
(4)    Logical organization
(5)    Relevance of course content
(6)    Modeling of professional skills, values and roles, and professionalism
(7)    Methods of engaging students
(8)    Availability to students outside of class
(9)    Instructional objectives for courses taught
(10)  Methods of assessment
(11)  Fairness towards and respect for students
(12)  Responses to comments and observations in previous reviews

 

  1. Evaluation by the PTC.
  1. At least one PTC member, not a mentor, shall visit one class session of each course taught by an untenured faculty member each semester, and submit a written report to the PTC, which shall be considered by the PTC.   To the extent practical the visits should be unannounced.  Within one week of visiting the class, the viewer shall meet with the faculty member being reviewed and share the general content of the review and suggestions for improving teaching.
  1. Beginning in the second year of service, an untenured faculty member shall prepare a teaching portfolio, which shall be submitted to the PTC by a date each fall semester to be determined by the chair of the PTC.  The PTC shall consider the portfolio contents in evaluating applicants for reappointment, promotion and tenure.  The following materials should be included in the portfolio:
  • Statement of teaching philosophy and pedagogical strategies for each course taught. (Required.)
  • Teaching history, including teaching loads, summary of courses taught and modes of instruction in each course.  (Required.)
  • Assessment methods of student learning and instructional effectiveness.  (Required.)
  • Summary of law review note advising, independent study advising, and moot court or trial team coaching.  (Required.)
  • Professional development activities related to teaching.  (Required.)
  • Curriculum design, development and administration.  (Optional.)
  • Materials from individual courses–syllabi, handouts, quizzes, exams, TWEN sites,  lecture captures, etc.  (Optional.)
  • Self-evaluations.  (Optional.)
  • Teaching awards.  (Optional.)
  • Applicant’s response to student course evaluations. (Optional.)
  1. The PTC shall annually review and discuss the teaching portfolio of every applicant for reappointment, promotion and tenure, as well as review student course evaluations and peer evaluations of teaching beginning in the applicant’s second year of service.  Once an applicant receives tenure, the PTC  shall review the teaching portfolio and visit classes during the year when considering the applicant’s application for promotion to full professor, and may do so in prior years.
  1. Scholarship.  The required qualitative standard for promotion and tenure is scholarship of high quality.  Far more than in the case of either teaching or service, scholarship is a self-initiated and self-sustained activity.  Thus it is appropriate for the PTC to assess scholarship in terms of both past performance and future promise as indicated by the applicant’s past achievements and present interest in research.
  1. Quantity of scholarship for promotion and tenure.  The minimum requirement for the mid-tenure review is one law review article or equivalent that meets the Law School’s definition of scholarship.  The minimum requirement for promotion to associate professor and tenure is a total of three articles published or accepted for publication and meeting the Law School’s definition of scholarship.  The minimum requirement for promotion to full professor is two additional articles or equivalents published or accepted for publication and meeting the Law School’s definition of scholarship.
  1. Criteria for evaluation and general definition.
  • General Definition. Scholarship is defined as a systematic, focused attention on a question, problem or idea, characterized by expertise, originality, analysis and significance.  Scholarship results in publications that are shared with appropriate audiences, including lawyers, judges, government officials, legal academics, and law students.
  • Publication Requirement and Examples.  To qualify as scholarship that may be considered for promotion and/or tenure, a faculty member must produce a published work or work accepted for publication that meets the criteria set out in section VI.F.3(b)(3).  Examples of works that may qualify as scholarship, subject to standard section VI.F.3(b)(3), include:
    1. articles that are of a length that reflect an appropriate development of the ideas, theories, or perspective espoused and are accepted for publication in law reviews or peer-reviewed scholarly journals;
    2. books accepted for publication;
    3. chapters of books accepted for publication that are equivalent to a law review article as described in section VI.F.3(b)(2)(a);
    4. scholarly book reviews accepted for publication – book reviews must be more than a description of the book and an assessment of it as a work.  The book review must engage an idea or ideas presented in the book in a scholarly manner that satisfies the requirements of section VI.F.3(b)(3);
    5. other non-traditional scholarship will be considered, but may require more rigorous compliance with section VI.F.3(b)(3);
    6. for purposes of promotion to full professor, co-authored articles may be considered, but will be evaluated based on the contributions made by the applicant seeking promotion to full professor.  Co-authored articles will not be considered for tenure or promotion to associate professor.
  1. Criteria to be Applied to Evaluation of Scholarship for Purposes of Promotion and/or Tenure. In assessing scholarly publications for purposes of promotion and tenure, factors to be considered include:
    1. thoroughness of research and analysis – scholarship generally should reflect a thorough understanding of the work of other scholars in the same area and consider positions contrary to that of the author;
    2. scope and depth of subject covered;
    3. difficulty and complexity of the subject matter;
    4. originality or other significant contribution to the subject matter;
    5. clarity of expression;
    6. actual or likely impact of the work – impact may be judged by citation of the work in court cases, other scholarly works, and teaching materials;
    7. length of article – applicants should take notice that articles under 25 published pages, or 12,500 words (including footnotes but generally excluding appendices and attachments), in length are typically insufficient.
  1. Additional Criteria.  Criteria that may be considered positively in addition to that listed in b above include the placement and its status as the lead article in the issue.
  1. Additional Publications.  Other publications that do not meet the requirements of section VI.F.3(b)(2) or the criteria in section VI.F.3(b)(3) above, such as co-authored articles (with the exception set out in section VI.F.3(b)(2)(f) above), and scholarly essays, may be considered during the promotion and tenure process, but will not satisfy the requirements for scholarly writing for purposes of promotion and/or  tenure.
  1. Scholarship Distinguished from Service.  Scholarship generally does not include legal briefs, drafts of legislation, CLE materials, op-ed articles, legal and other magazine articles, non-scholarly book reviews, and other written materials produced to educate the bench, bar and public.  Such written materials shall be considered in determining whether a faculty member has met his or her service requirements.  Faculty members are encouraged to transform these types of written materials into scholarly publications that would satisfy the criteria above.

c.   Review of scholarship.  Publications to be considered by the PTC in satisfaction of the scholarship requirement shall be reviewed as follows:

(1) The Associate Dean for Faculty Development, with the assistance of the other faculty mentors for the applicant for promotion or tenure, shall arrange for at least two external reviews of each publication that satisfies Sec. VI.F.3.b.(3).(g) or which in the untenured faculty member’s opinion otherwise satisfies Sec. VI.F.3.b.(3).  The Associate Dean for Faculty Development shall solicit names of possible external reviewers from all members of the PTC.  The Dean must approve all persons requested to serve as external reviewers.

(2) The applicant may suggest external reviewers to the applicant’s Mentor Committee.  However, the committee need not seek reviews from persons suggested by the applicant.  Reviewers suggested by the applicant should be persons with whom the applicant has no personal or professional relationship, or if the applicant has a personal or professional relationship with the suggested reviewer, the nature of the relationship shall be disclosed.

(3) Within thirty days of the date of publication of an article, publications to be considered by external reviewers shall be submitted to the Associate Dean for Faculty Development.  As soon as possible after submission of each publication, the Associate Dean for Faculty Development shall arrange for review of the publication by the external reviewers.  In the event that an article has been accepted for publication but has not been published by September 15 of the year an applicant seeks promotion or tenure, the Associate Dean for Faculty Development shall arrange for review of the publication by the external reviewers.

(4) All members of the PTC shall be familiar with each item of scholarship submitted for promotion or tenure purposes before voting.

(5)  Two internal faculty reviewers shall be appointed by the PTC Chair to review each article submitted for consideration.  The reviewers shall submit written reviews to the PTC and the applicant.  Reviewers must be faculty members who are eligible to vote on the applicant’s application.

4.  Service.  The standard for promotion to Associate Professor and tenure is service of high quality to the University, the legal profession and the public.  The successful applicant for tenure will have demonstrated a capacity for and interest in contributing to the intellectual life of the institution and to the continuation and improvement of the programs of the Law School and the University through engagement in such activities.  Evaluations by those served may be considered by the PTC in its evaluation of the quality of service of an applicant.

a. Service to the university may include but is not limited to:

(1) Serving on or chairing law school and university committees;

(2) Advising student organizations;

(3) Academic advising;

(4) Presenting at or attending faculty colloquia; and

(5) Attending law school functions.

  1. Service to the legal profession may include but is not limited to the following uncompensated activities:

(1) Serving on or chairing committees of courts or professional associations;

(2) Planning or presenting at conferences or symposia;

(3) Editing professional publications;

(4) CLE writing and presenting;

(5) Reviewing manuscripts;

(6) Writing amicus briefs;

(7) Service on boards of organizations;

(8) Legislative drafting or testimony;

(9) Government service; and

(10) Serving as a mediator or arbitrator.

  1. Service to the public may include but is not limited to the following uncompensated activities:

(1) Legislative drafting;

(2) Government service;

(3) Speaking to and writing for nonlegal groups;

(4) Pro bono legal service;

(5) Editing non-legal professional publications;

(6) Writing for nonscholarly publications such as blogs and popular magazines; and

(7) Service on boards of nonprofit or community organizations or similar entities.

  1. Criteria for evaluation.  The following factors are relevant when evaluating service:
  1. Quantity of service;
  2. Carrying out assigned duties; and
  3. Willingness to accept additional responsibility or leadership.
  1. Promotion to Full Professor.  The successful applicant for promotion to full professor should have continued growth in scholarship beyond that at the time of tenure.  The applicant should have become a mature and productive scholar.  A steady pattern of publication is expected.  A successful applicant will be an excellent teacher who engages and challenges students and expects a high standard of performance, while displaying mastery of the subject area and skillful command of teaching techniques.  A successful applicant will have performed distinguished service.  Promotion to full professor implies recognition in the broader academic and legal community, beyond UALR and Arkansas, whether in scholarship, teaching, or service.


VII. Non-tenure-track Faculty – Promotion

A. Promotion Periods

1. A non-tenure-track Assistant Professor is eligible to apply for promotion to Associate Professor after four years of service.

2. A non-tenure track Associate Professor is eligible to apply for Professor after six years of service.

B. Other.  The pertinent provisions of the following subsections of Section VI also apply to the promotion of non-tenure-track faculty: B.  Voting on Promotion and Tenure; C.  Procedure for Promotion and Tenure-Law School; D. Procedure for Promotion and Tenure – University; and E. Throughout the entire process, confidentiality of information must be maintained.


VIII. Effective Date.  This policy shall be in effect for all faculty members who commence employment at the Law School in a permanent faculty position after April 30, 2012.