Academic Leadership Toolkit

Promotion and Tenure Process


promotion and tenure flowchart


  • Promotion of tenure-track faculty to a higher rank is based on evidence of meritorious performance in teaching, research or other creative activity, and service, in relation to unit and university criteria for promotion.
  • Awarding tenure confirms that peers and administrators’ confidence in the professional abilities and judgement of the candidate is so high that a very special privilege should be conferred — academic freedom and membership in our intellectual community.

Authority and Responsibility:

  • Promotion and tenure is, first and foremost, a peer-review process in which unit colleagues evaluate candidates’ qualifications and determine whether they are ready to be put forward for promotion and/or tenure.
  • Department chairs are responsible for ensuring that the process through the department level occurs according to university guidelines.
  • Deans are responsible for ensuring that the process through the college level occurs according to university guidelines.
  • The Office of Faculty Development and Advancement coordinates the entire process, including hosting annual workshops for faculty and staff, issuing an annual letter providing directions, troubleshooting problems, and convening the University Curriculum Committee.
  • The President (and Provost, as the President’s designee) make final decisions regarding the promotion and/or tenure of each candidate.

Common Pitfalls:

  • Misunderstandings about how decisions to put forth an eBinder occur; faculty committees at the department level should evaluate all potential candidates every spring semester and recommend that candidates either do or do not go forward. However, once the process has begun, only the candidate can decide to withdraw their eBinder.
  • Department chairs waiting too long to request letters from external reviewers; this should be done by May of the year the candidate is going up for promotion and/or tenure.
  • Underestimating the number of letters needed from external reviewers; although the minimum number is three (3) letters, it is strongly advised that a minimum of (5) five letters be solicited.
  • Failing to address important issues in the chair’s letter regarding either anomalies in the candidate’s evidence of performance or in the department-level discussion and vote.