University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Promotion and Tenure
Policy Number: LR 403.15
Effective Date: July 1, 2019
Revised Dates: July 1, 2019; January 2019; December 4, 2009
Most Recent Review Date: November 2018 (Faculty Senate)
1. Faculty Roles
For the university to achieve its mission, faculty must remain committed to teaching, scholarship, and service. Faculty members are expected to make contributions in each area, although some variation in emphasis is appropriate. The university recognizes that the contributions of individual faculty members to the mission of the university shift according to the faculty member’s talents, the needs of departments and colleges, and the character of diverse academic disciplines. Pursuant to faculty governance principles, faculty members, thus, need to determine responsibilities–teaching loads, scholarship agenda, and service commitments–in consultation with the chair of their department. (Note: In this policy, chair will be used to cover chair, head, and director; department will be used to cover all academic units that form a college, including department, division, and school.) It is the responsibility of chairs to mediate the needs of their departments with the university mission and trends in the department’s discipline. The grants of authority set forth in this policy exclusively delineate the categories that may be considered during the promotion and tenure process.
In addition to contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service, the university expects that faculty will adhere to the ethical standards of the university and their respective disciplines as well as manifest standards of civility, professionalism, and collegiality.
1. A. Teaching
The nature of effective teaching may vary across disciplines, but certain qualities are universal: a focus on student learning and a commitment to student success. Equally important, faculty should view themselves as role models who convey the values of their disciplines and initiate students into their professions. In the pursuit of excellence in teaching, faculty members should remain current in their disciplines and in pedagogical strategies.
The documentation of excellence in teaching takes many forms. One approach is through the preparation of a teaching portfolio. The content and format may vary by discipline and individual philosophy, but information about both teaching effort and teaching quality over time should be included. Standard products for the promotion and tenure dossier may include the following:
- Statement of teaching philosophy and pedagogical strategies;
- Teaching history including teaching loads, summary of courses taught and modes of instruction in each course;
- Materials from individual courses – syllabi, exercises, projects, exams, websites, multimedia products, video of lectures;
- Summary of advising, consultation, and supervision of students at all levels–pre-college, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral;
- Curriculum design, development, and administration;
- Measuring student learning and instructional effectiveness through course, program, and core assessment activities and outcomes;
- Professional development activities related to teaching;
- Student course evaluations compiled and interpreted to give the data contextual meaning;
- Peer evaluations;
- Self-evaluations; and
Evidence of specific curriculum design and development, where appropriate, may be included in the dossier. Faculty who are using technology, problem-based learning, service learning, multicultural learning, study abroad, or other special approaches and tools to enhance student learning are especially encouraged to present these aspects of course design (even experimental use) with an explanation of how the curriculum contributes to or extends principles of “best practice.”
1. B. Scholarship
Scholarship is defined as systematic, focused attention on a question, problem, or idea, characterized by expertise, originality, analysis, and significance. Scholarship results in products that are shared with appropriate audiences within the academy and the wider community.
Scholarship is evaluated externally; scholarship and creative activities must be reviewed by methods accepted by the appropriate discipline. Scholarship may be defined in ways that do not neatly fit into traditional categories, but application of a clear method of review to such work is essential and required within each department.
An external review of the employee’s scholarship may be required only if procedures for external review have been established in the department’s approved promotion and tenure policy. These policies should include provisions for the selection of appropriate evaluators within the candidate’s field.
Increasingly, many forms of scholarship involve collaboration. The academic unit is encouraged to recommend such collaboration within or across institutional and disciplinary lines. Candidates must be careful to document the extent and form of their contributions to collaborative work.
In this document, scholarship is a broad term that embraces a range of contributions faculty members might make to their respective disciplines: Scholarship of Discovery, Scholarship of Creativity, Scholarship of Application, Scholarship of Integration, and Scholarship of Teaching.
The Scholarship of Discovery is systematic inquiry or investigation designed to validate and refine existing knowledge and to generate new knowledge. At its core, this scholarship involves studies that use quantitative or qualitative methodologies to make significant contributions to knowledge. Primary empirical research, historical research, theory development, methodological studies, and philosophical inquiry are all representative of this form. Typically, this scholarship is documented through peer-reviewed publication of articles or books; publication in law reviews or journals; papers presented at state, regional, national, or international meetings; grant awards; or recognition by professional organizations as a scholar in a particular area.
The Scholarship of Creativity entails developing or performing original works of art, literature, music, film and theater. It may also include the creation of new forms of electronic or digital media. Typical examples are production or scenic design of plays; writing, directing, or acting in plays; choreography and dance performance; creation and exhibition of visual arts such as painting, sculpture, and photography; musical composition and performance; direction or production of film and video; creative writing; and creation of websites, virtual reality programs, and multimedia communication tools. In all cases, however, there are accepted forms of peer review to determine the quality and significance of faculty work, from juried or invitational art shows to publication. These conventional procedures must be part of the evaluation of faculty achievement.
The Scholarship of Application is the use of professional expertise or information in the process of solving social or community problems. It should not be confused with service or citizenship. Service activities typically benefit a particular group, organization, or community; the Scholarship of Application can potentially benefit many organizations. The Scholarship of Application must include a mechanism whereby the quality and influence of the contribution can be evaluated. This is most easily demonstrated when an artifact is created encompassing the work, e.g., a report, a training manual, a program evaluation, a video, or a website. Some activities include peer review; for example, the report written for a task force is reviewed by members of the task force as well as other agencies and institutions. In cases where this is not so, the department should initiate an alternative review process, such as sending the work to experts in the field to evaluate its significance, rigor, and impact. In all cases, the product of the scholarship of application must be subject to some form of peer review.
The Scholarship of Integration involves synthesis across theories or across academic fields. As academics tackle social, economic, and technical problems, a need often exists for faculty members with broad and multidisciplinary perspectives to see connections across the unique perspectives of a theory or discipline.
The Scholarship of Integration may result in a traditional academic product such as an article, book, or presentation. It also may take the form of a product or patent. As in other areas, appropriate forms of external review must be used to determine the merit of such products.
The Scholarship of Teaching is not the same as “best teaching practice.” Tenure-track faculty seeking advancement based on excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching shall engage in publication appropriate to development and evaluation of teaching, teaching technique, curriculum development and related topics, including peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, workshops, and teacher handbooks that contribute to the theoretical base of knowledge about curriculum or effective teaching and teaming. Thus, the Scholarship of Teaching is more than being an excellent teacher. It involves (1) systematic inquiry about teaching, (2) dissemination of the results, and (3) peer review or other practices according to their discipline.
1. C. Service
Faculty members are expected to provide service to the university, their profession or discipline, and the public. Service to the university is critical to the carrying out of the university’s mission. Examples of such service include, but are not limited to, membership or leadership of unit committees or task forces; advising student organizations; involvement in faculty governance; coordination of programs, labs, and technical support; and recruitment.
Service to the profession is also expected, especially as faculty members develop their careers. Professional service includes activities such as serving on committees for a professional organization; planning a conference or event; contributing to the production of a professional journal; and reviewing manuscripts, grants, programs, or textbooks.
Particularly important to a metropolitan university is service to the community. Such activity necessarily incorporates a wide variety of efforts but is defined by the application of the faculty member’s professional expertise to help the community at every level — local, state, regional, national, or international. Typical examples of community service include, but are not limited to, involvement in task forces seeking to solve community problems; consulting with governmental, business, or nonprofit-committees, bodies, or organizations; and program review, coordination, or development.
Service to the community is a form of citizenship; it should not be confused with the Scholarship of Application, which develops new solutions to problems (as opposed to the application of existing discipline-related knowledge), benefits a single or small group of organizations (as opposed to having broad application), is not disseminated to disciplines (as opposed to publication in journals or on websites), and is not externally evaluated (as opposed to the peer review of artifacts).
To assess excellence in service, faculty accomplishments may include the following:
- Administrative duties such as chair, director, and program coordinator;
- Committee/special project participation (academic unit, college, university, system; for example, assessment and recruitment projects);
- Discipline-related community involvement;
- Working in or with professional organizations;
- Relating discipline expertise to the community; and
- Development of cooperative ventures between the university and community.
1. D. Professional Performance
In the case of faculty with non-teaching appointments, evaluation may include evidence of the following: performance in the areas of professional responsibility and effectiveness in carrying out assigned duties; ability and willingness to accept additional responsibility, or leadership; cooperation in dealing with personnel at all levels; efforts at self-improvement; innovations in program implementation; development of special projects, resource tools, and/or the use of creative techniques in the performance of duties; initiative and resourcefulness in solving unit problems; ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing. Evidence used to evaluate professional performance generally includes supervisors’ evaluation, clientele evaluation, peer-evaluation, and self-evaluation.
2. Policies for Promotion and Tenure
The probationary period for tenure-track faculty may not extend beyond seven years, unless the faculty member receives approval for suspending the probationary period. During the first six years of the probationary period, a tenure-track faculty member may request his or her probationary period be suspended in accordance with the current version of the Family and Medical Leave Act. An initial appointment of one-half year (academic or fiscal) or less will not be included in the probationary period. If more than one-half of any year is spent on leave of absence without pay status, that year shall not apply toward the probationary period (Board Policy 405.1, IV.A.4). Typically, an early tenure review occurs when the faculty member has been in a tenure-track position before being hired by UA Little Rock; the terms for an early tenure-review should be written into the faculty member’s letter of appointment.
The process of tenure review, as delineated in departmental promotion and tenure documents, must be completed before the end of the probationary period, consistent with Board Policy 405.1.
Promotion to a higher rank requires qualifications or performance of the activities and accomplishments identified by the department significantly above those required at the applicant’s current rank as well as evidence of potential for continued achievement.
The applicant shall be informed of the outcome at each level of administrative review.
The rules and standards regarding promotion and tenure decisions shall not discourage faculty members from developing and expressing divergent views. Mere expressions of opinions, however strongly expressed, however controversial such opinions may be, shall not constitute cause for denial of promotion and tenure. Disagreement is essential for intellectual, academic, and social growth; however, the fair exchange of ideas must involve respectful expression of views and the consideration of multiple points of view.
Decisions on promotion and tenure shall not be based on lifestyle, political affiliations, or religious convictions. At any point, the candidate may withdraw from the review process by sending a letter to the person responsible for the next level of review. For example, if the candidate wishes to withdraw after the chair’s recommendation, he or she sends a letter to the dean. Throughout the entire process, confidentiality of information must be maintained.
The reorganization of academic departments or units within the campus, or any subset thereof, shall not in any way alter either tenure rights or rank, unless the reorganization is part of Retrenchment, initiated pursuant to, and complying in full with, Board Policy 405.5.
3. Procedures for Awarding Promotion and Tenure
The procedure for recommending promotion and tenure begins at the department level (see Board Policy 405.1, III and IV.A). (Note: If the college or school does not have departments, the promotion and tenure document for the college and school will typically establish a committee that serves the function of the department in the review process, including providing tenure-track faculty an opportunity to review recent successful tenure applications.) This evaluation of promotion and tenure applications is based on written departmental guidelines that are consistent with these rules and established by the department and approved through administrative channels. The departmental recommendation is particularly important because it evaluated the candidate’s dossier against the standards of the discipline.
Departmental promotion and tenure documents must be consistent with guidelines established in college, university, and the University of Arkansas System. These documents must also be consistent with applicable laws. When there is a conflict, the law or higher-level policy will be enforced.
The granting of tenure requires documented evidence of sustained achievement, as well as evidence of potential for sustained tenure accomplishment over an entire career.
3. A. Process before Tenure
Departmental, college, university, and system-wide written criteria for promotion and tenure decisions shall be presented to the faculty member at the beginning of employment (see Board Policy 405.1).
In preparation for promotion and tenure, the chair may assign the tenure-track faculty member with a mentor. The mentor will provide guidance on developing a research agenda and building a dossier. All faculty of the department are similarly encouraged to support tenure-track faculty by providing an opportunity to review recent successful tenure applications.
A mid-tenure review by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee (PTC), the department chair, and the employee is mandatory. The review, typically completed by May 15 at the end of the third year in rank, will follow procedures delineated in the departmental and college policies. An external review of the candidate’s scholarship may be required only if procedures for external review have been established in the department’s approved promotion and tenure policy. After the review has been completed, the PTC will send a report to the chair. The chair will meet with the faculty member to answer questions about the review and then forward the report with a cover letter to the dean.
3. B. Recommendation of the Departmental Promotion and Tenure Review Committee (PTC)
All departments shall have a promotion and tenure review committee (PTC). Only tenured faculty members and administrators who hold tenure shall serve on the PTC. Only faculty who hold a rank equal to or above the rank sought by the applicant shall participate in the promotion review process. No administrator, such as the department chair, college dean, associate dean or assistant dean, may serve on the PTC to review any case for which he or she has participated as a reviewer within that academic year.
The department’s promotion and tenure document should define a mechanism for supplementing the PTC when it has less than three members at the appropriate rank. (For example, if the PTC must vote on a candidate’s promotion to professor, the PTC would need at least three members on the committee at the rank of professor.) If there is no mechanism for adding members, the faculty of the department, in consultation with the chair, will provide the dean with a list of at least four names, from which the dean will select the remaining members. Typically, the chair of the PTC should be a member of the academic unit.
The PTC shall present its recommendation in a letter to the chair. All members of the PTC shall sign the letter. Significant minority opinions may be identified but need not be attributed to individual members of the committee. 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.
3. C. Recommendation of the Chair
After reviewing the candidate’s dossier and the PTC’s recommendation, the department chair will make an independent recommendation. As discussed, the chair shall not serve on the PTC. The chair will meet with the candidate to review the recommendation of the PTC and the recommendation of the chair. At this time, the chair provides a copy of each recommendation to the candidate. After the meeting, the chair will forward the PTC’s recommendation and any minority report(s), the chair’s recommendation, and the candidate’s dossier to the dean.
After receiving the chair’s decision, the candidate has the absolute right to initiate a rebuttal within five business days (sec III. H.). The candidate shall suffer no negative consequences for submitting a rebuttal.
3. D. Recommendation of the College Review Committee (CRC)
A college may develop written criteria, policies, and procedures for promotion and tenure through its governance structure consistent with this policy. Such criteria may include a college promotion and tenure review committee (CRC), which will advise the dean on recommendations about reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Colleges shall have procedures ensuring that a faculty member abstains from vote on a CRC if a candidate from his or her department is undergoing review and the faculty member on the CRC has served on the PTC. No faculty member may vote in the same case as a member of both the PTC and the CRC.
When a CRC exists, it reviews the candidate’s dossier, the PTC’s recommendation and any minority report(s), the chair’s recommendation and the candidate’s rebuttal (if any); it then makes an independent recommendation to the dean (who will not serve on this committee) and provides a copy to the applicant. All members of the CRC shall sign the recommendation. Significant minority opinions may be identified but need not be attributed to individual members of the committee. Separate minority reports may be written and submitted as an attachment to the report of the committee; a minority report must be signed by the members of the CRC who endorse it.
3. E. Recommendation of the Dean
If the candidate initiates a rebuttal after the chair’s decision, the dean will forward the rebuttal to the CRC (where applicable per 3.D) before it begins deliberations. After reviewing the candidate’s dossier, all recommendations (those of the PTC, department chair, and CRC), and the candidate’s rebuttal (if any), the dean will make an independent recommendation to the provost.
After receiving the dean’s decision, the candidate has five business days to initiate either a rebuttal, if he or she did not do so after the chair’s decision (see 3. H.), or an appeal (see 3. G), but not both.
If the recommendation is positive, the dean informs the candidate. If the candidate does not initiate a rebuttal, the dean forwards his or her recommendation to the provost with the candidate’s completed application forms, statement, curriculum vitae, letters of evaluation (annual reviews, peer reviews, and letters from external evaluators, when appropriate), and the recommendations of all prior review levels. The remainder of the applicant’s dossier shall be retained in the dean’s office until the review process is complete. If needed for their decisions, the provost and chancellor may request the complete dossier be forwarded.
If the recommendation is negative, the dean shall meet with the faculty member to review the recommendation.
If the candidate initiates a rebuttal after the dean’s decision, the dean forwards the candidate’s dossier and the rebuttal to the provost.
If the candidate initiates an appeal at this point, the dean forwards the appeal to the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee (FAC). The dean will provide the FAC with access to the candidate’s dossier, including the summary materials. When the FAC has completed its deliberations, the chair of the FAC forwards the committee’s findings to the provost with a copy to the dean. At this time, the dean forwards the summary materials to the provost.
3. F. Recommendation of the Provost
After reviewing the candidate’s summary materials, the rebuttal (if any) and the appeal (if any), the provost will make an independent recommendation to the chancellor and inform the candidate of the recommendation.
After receiving the provost’s decision, the candidate has five business days to initiate an appeal, if he or she did not do so after the dean’s decision (see 3. G.).
If the candidate initiates a rebuttal or appeal after the dean’s decision, the provost considers it in arriving at his or her decision.
If the candidate initiates an appeal at this point, the provost forwards the appeal and the rebuttal (if any) to the chair of the FAC. The dean will provide the FAC access to the candidate’s dossier. When the FAC has completed its deliberations, the chair of the FAC forwards the committee’s findings and summary materials to the chancellor. The chair of the FAC also provides a copy of the committee’s findings to the provost.
At this time, the provost forwards the summary materials, the rebuttal (if any), and the findings of the FAC (if any) to the chancellor.
3. G. Recommendation of the Chancellor
After reviewing the summary materials, the rebuttal (if any), and the appeal (if any), the chancellor will make an independent recommendation to the president and inform the candidate of the recommendation.
3. H. Rebuttal
The candidate may submit a rebuttal even if the decision of the chair or dean is positive. The purpose of a rebuttal is to provide the candidate with an opportunity to correct errors made in the preparation of his or her dossier, critique perceived misinterpretations of the dossier or provide context that might alter the recommendation at subsequent levels of review. The rebuttal is in letter form. However, the candidate may include limited supporting materials that bear direct relevance to earlier decisions. The supporting materials are considered part of the rebuttal and are forwarded with the letter.
The rebuttal is not an appeal; it does not prompt a reconsideration of decisions by previous reviewers. It is, rather, an opportunity to provide a supplement to the record that is considered at subsequent levels of review.
Rebuttal after Chair’s Decision. To initiate the option of rebuttal at this point, the candidate must notify the dean within five business days of receiving the chair’s decision and provide a copy of the notification to the chair. Within ten business days of receiving the chair’s decision, the candidate must submit the rebuttal to the dean. The dean forwards the rebuttal to the CRC before that committee begins deliberations. The rebuttal is also forwarded with the summary materials to each subsequent level of campus review.
Rebuttal after the Dean’s Decision. To initiate the option of rebuttal at this point, the candidate must notify the provost within five business days of receiving the dean’s decision. The candidate also provides a copy of the notification to the dean. Within ten business days of receiving the dean’s decision, the candidate must submit the rebuttal to the provost. The rebuttal will be forwarded to the chancellor with the provost’s recommendation.
3. I. Appeal to Faculty Appeals Council (FAC)
The candidate has the option of submitting one and only one appeal to the Faculty Appeals Council. The appeal may be initiated after a negative decision by either the dean or provost. If the dean’s decision is negative and the candidate does not initiate an appeal, he or she reserves the right to appeal after the provost’s decision, providing that decision is also negative.
The appeal is in letter form. However, the candidate may include limited supporting materials that bear direct relevance to earlier decisions. The supporting materials are considered part of the appeal and are forwarded with the letter.
Appeal after the Dean’s Decision. To initiate the option of appeal at this point, the candidate must notify the provost within five business days after receiving the dean’s negative decision. The candidate also provides a copy of the notification to the dean. Within ten business days of receiving the dean’s decision, the candidate must submit the appeal to the provost. The provost forwards the appeal to the chair of the Faculty Appeals Council upon completion of the FAC’s deliberations; the chair of the FAC forwards the committee’s findings to the provost.
Appeal after the Provost’s Decision. To initiate the option of appeal at this point, the candidate must notify the chancellor within five business days after receiving the provost’s negative decision. The candidate will also provide a copy of the notification to the provost. Within ten business days of receiving the provost’s decision, the candidate must submit the appeal to the chancellor. The chancellor forwards the appeal to the chair of the FAC. Upon completion of the FAC’s deliberations, the chair of the FAC forwards the committee’s findings to the chancellor.
Source: UA Little Rock Faculty Senate Minutes (November 2018; October 2018; April 2017; and January 2011)
Approved By: Andrew Rogerson, Chancellor
Originator: Faculty Senate
Custodian: Provost and Faculty Senate