Faculty Senate > Minutes April 24, 2002

Faculty Senate Committee on Promotion and Tenure

Spring 2002 REPORT

During the Spring semester there were:
5 cases from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor with tenure;
6 cases from Associate Professor to Professor;
6 external hires at a rank that needed Committee approval, 4 involving administrative appointments;
and 2 appeal cases.

In addition, there are several new hire cases still to come before Fall.

The FSCPT are quite concerned about process. The system that we have is perhaps a little cumbersome, but largely gets the job done correctly. Unfortunately, occasionally there are cases that violate the Handbook requirements for preparation. We are most concerned about violations that could introduce bias into the case-the committee is especially concerned that the solicitation of external letters be done properly. And, from a legal standpoint, we must do our best to follow procedure.

Selection of reviewers for external candidates is another area where the Committee feels that the process is less than ideal. Letters obtained during the search are routinely used-there is no special problem with that except that they seldom address the rank of the academic appointment or whether tenure is appropriate. In addition, these cases often come with few letters solicited from reviewers that are selected by the Department involved (as opposed to the candidate). Further, if the candidate is not presently in an academic institution, sometimes the letters come from similar people, and do not address the suitability for the candidate being in the academy.

There is constant discussion in the Committee about "raising the bar." The discussions this semester indicated to me that there is a perceptible change in the cases coming forward, so that the raising of the bar is happening at the Department or Dean's level. I do note that it is not a "jump" in requirements for promotion and/or tenure.

Finally, we have discussed the following situation (presented here as "hypothetical"). It is possible that a Department and School will send a case forward with unanimous support, and that the Faculty Committee (and possibly the Joint Committee) could vote to deny the promotion. The Committee reads the dossiers very carefully, and try to understand the enthusiasm at the Department and School level. Sometimes we feel that the enthusiasm comes from knowing the individual, and not from the evidence put forward. Indeed, it is for this reason that this Committee exists.

July 27, 2004