Revised May 2010
Submitted for Approval May 2010
Tenure Policy for the Department of Physics
The Department of Physics has developed the following
written policy for use in evaluating candidates for tenure. The department reserves
the right to change this policy from time to time in accordance with the needs
of the department. The policy is not to be construed as creating any contractual
right to tenure. No one should construe performance appraisals or reappointment
as a guarantee of a positive tenure decision. The criteria and procedures set
forth in The
Reynolda Campus Faculty Handbook and the policies and procedures established
by the Board of Trustees, as amended from time to time, necessarily take precedence
over any departmental provisions.
Prior to Tenure-Decision Year
- The department chair will reach a clear understanding
with each tenure-track faculty member concerning the presumed academic year
in which he or she will be reviewed for tenure. This understanding will be committed
to writing and will be kept in the faculty member's file in the departmental
office and in the Offices of the Dean and the Provost. Any change in the presumed
year will also be committed to writing, with copies sent to the same offices.
- Each tenure-track faculty member will be given a copy
of this policy at the time of arrival. Any changes in this policy will be distributed
to all tenure-track faculty at the time the changes are made.
- All junior tenure track faculty will receive a written annual review of their
performance and progress towards tenure. This evaluation is separate and distinct
from the annual merit evaluation process.
- Each written review must state explicitly how the junior faculty member's
performance for the preceding year met or did not meet the department's and
college's standards for promotion and tenure in each category: teaching, research, and
service. The annual review should place the faculty member's annual performance in
the broader context of progress towards tenure.
- If the faculty member is not meeting expectations in a particular area, the reason(s)
must be detailed in the written evaluation.
- Chairs will meet with and discuss annual evaluations with Junior Faculty members.
- The annual evaluation must be signed by both the faculty member and the
Department Chair before submission to the Associate Dean for Faculty Development.
Junior faculty will be reviewed four times prior to preparation and submission of the Tenure and Promotion Dossier in the sixth year.
- Annual reviews (formerly two-sentence reviews) will no longer be prepared and
submitted at the end of the academic year.
- 2nd and 4th year reviews carried out during the fall of the 2nd and 4th years of
appointment will serve as annual reviews of the preceding year and will accompany
chairs' recommendations for re-appointment.
- During the fall of the 3rd and 5th years of employment, chairs will provide a two sentence evaluation of the preceding year prepared in accordance with the guidelines
- No annual review need be submitted during the fall of the 6th year unless the tenure
clock has been extended for any reason.
- Tenure track faculty will ordinarily be reviewed for
tenure in their sixth year of service (or in such year as stated in their original
letter of appointment). Tenure reviews before the sixth year will be very rare.
If a faculty member is denied tenure then he or she will automatically receive
a nonrenewable appointment for one more year.
- At the beginning of the tenure review year, the department
chair will discuss with each candidate the procedures that will be followed
by the department in conducting the tenure review.
Compiling the Dossier
- The department chair will be responsible for assuring
compilation of the candidate's dossier and for seeing that all steps are followed
according to schedule. The dossier shall consist of any and all materials that
reasonably relate to the candidate's qualifications for tenure, as defined in
the department's criteria. It will include both materials collected by the department
chair and materials submitted by the candidate.
- The department chair will ask the candidate to supply
a complete and up-to-date curriculum vitae. The candidate and the department
chair will discuss what additional materials the candidate wishes to submit
and the timetable for their submission. A fairly comprehensive guide of the material that would constitute an appropriate dossier is given in the document entitled "Materials to be included in the Tenure and Promotion Dossier " (Word document), which is available online under the Physics Resources webpage, and is available from the department chair.
- Full-time tenured faculty in the department are given
an opportunity to provide a confidential evaluation of the candidate's qualifications
- The candidate will be allowed, upon request, to inspect
the contents of his or her dossier, with the exception of confidential evaluations,
whether internal or external.
The Departmental Decision
- The completed dossier will be made available to all
faculty in the department who will participate in the decision well in advance.
Participants will be all tenured faculty, regardless of rank. The department
chair will make arrangements to obtain the input of tenured faculty on leave
of absence or serving as overseas director.
- The candidate's qualifications for tenure will be discussed
in at least one meeting of the tenured faculty before a decision is reached.
The department chair will let tenured faculty know in advance when these meetings
will take place.
- The department will proceed by the "consultative" method.
Each tenured faculty member will be asked to provide his or her opinion of the
candidate's qualifications for tenure. The department chair will tally the results
and will inform members of the tenured faculty of the outcome.
- The department chair will give the candidate written
notice, not to exceed two sentences, of the outcome of the department's deliberations
and the nature of his or her recommendation to the Dean and Provost. (The candidate
will not be told the numerical vote or the opinion of any individual faculty
- The department chair will make his or her recommendation
to the Dean and the Provost by February 1. In addition to his or her recommendation,
the chair will inform the administration of any division of opinion within the
department. If a substantial part of the department holds an opinion different
from that of the chair, the chair will ask a representative of that opinion
to provide a "dissenting view" to accompany the chair's own recommendation.
- Departmental evaluation by faculty is guided by principles
that apply throughout the College. See pages VI - 3 and VI - 4 of The Reynolda
Campus Faculty Handbook (1991 ed.).
- The three criteria of teaching, professional activity,
and service are ranked by the department in that order of priority. Emphasis
is on quality teaching and demonstrated willingness to work closely with individual
students, followed by professional activity indicated by scholarly achievement;
a lesser, though not inconsequential, emphasis is upon participatory service
to the University, the community, and the profession.
- In conjunction with all the above criteria, and apart
from them, the department considers as extremely important the faculty member's
personal integrity, sympathy with and concern for colleagues, students, and
others, and compatibility with the stated purposes of the College and University.
- The criterion of teaching includes both primary teaching,
defined as the offering of formal instruction by teaching regularly-scheduled
courses, and secondary teaching, which includes academic advising, informal
exchanges with students and colleagues within the department, overseeing students'
research projects, the maintenance of library orders within assigned fields,
advising student organizations, etc.
- For the purpose of evaluating teaching, the department
will ordinarily draw upon the following five sources of information: (a) documentary
materials from courses taught; (b) the candidate's own statement on teaching;
(c) the perception of students; (d) student evaluations; and (e) the perception
of other faculty within the department.
- The department views the mark of professional development
to be publication of scholarly research, but adheres to no rigid quantitative
formula regarding the number and types of publications required for promotion
or tenure. It is expected, however, that to be recommended for tenure, an assistant
professor would have had published (or accepted for publication) several articles
or book chapters, or, perhaps, a book. These publications would normally be
in refereed journals or by respected academic publishers. Minor work, such as
book reviews, or incomplete work, such as working papers, are considered evidence
of professional activity, but are not alone sufficient for tenure or promotion.
For evaluation of a candidate's published work, the department relies on the
judgment both of its own members and sometimes of outside evaluators.
- Other recognized forms of professional activity include
presenting papers at professional meetings; serving on editorial boards of scholarly
journals; holding offices in professional organizations; obtaining external
grants to support one's research; and participating in workshops and seminars.
While these kinds of activities enhance one's qualifications for tenure, they
are not sufficient in the absence of the kind of publications described in paragraph
- The "service" criterion encompasses service to the
department, the University, and the community at large, and might best be viewed
as citizenship. It includes departmental committee work and administrative responsibilities,
as well as participation in faculty meetings, committee work of the undergraduate
and graduate faculties, other university events such as convocations, and support
of voluntary organizations that enhance the common life of the University. Simple
cooperativeness and some competence generally suffice in this area. A candidate's
record of service is usually maintained on forms submitted annually to the Office
of Institutional Research.
College Tenure and Promotion Advisory Panel
The College tenure and promotion panel shall be an advisory panel convened by the Dean of the College to assist him/her in the evaluation of candidates recommended to the administration for tenure and/or promotion. Because of their familiarity with the tenure/promotion procedures and expectations, the panel shall consist of department Chairs, one from each of the 5 divisions within the College. One function of the panel will be to review the tenure and promotion guidelines to ensure that departmental procedures are clearly outlined and have been followed in the evaluation process. The panel will evaluate the candidate's qualifications for tenure and/or promotion from the perspective of a broad range of criteria which include the candidate's teaching, scholarship, service within the College (University), and collegiality (see the Faculty Handbook guidelines listed below). The panel's evaluation forwarded to the Dean is advisory in nature and does not constitute a formal recommendation. All deliberations of the panel shall be confidential and will not be available to the candidate for review.
Composition of the Panel
- Department Chairs are eligible to serve on the panel if they meet both of the following criteria:
- They do not have a candidate in their department who is under consideration, and
- they are not close personal or professional friends with any candidate.
- The Chair of Chairs will serve on the panel, if eligible. If not, then the previous Chair of Chairs will serve, if eligible. Otherwise an eligible Department Chair chosen by the entire group of Department Chairs will serve in this position.
- There will be one Department Chair from each division. These Department Chairs should be chosen by the Department Chairs in the Division who are eligible to participate. If no Department Chair is eligible to serve in a division, an eligible Department Chair from any department will be identified by the entire group of Department Chairs.
- The panel will meet and designate one of the members of the panel to serve as Chair.
Review Evaluation Process
- The initial task for the panel is to insure that the proper process, determined by departmental and College guidelines, was followed. The candidate should have received a copy of tenure/promotion guidelines at the time of initial appointment. Annual evaluations and two-year reappointment evaluations that the candidate has received should be consistent with recommendation from the department. The Department Chair will confirm that the appropriate process was followed.
- The candidate should have been given access to all materials in the dossier with the exception of confidential letters and other materials specified as confidential.
- The Department Chair should provide a summary of the evaluation decision derived from written evaluation sheets from each member of the department. These individual evaluation sheets in which faculty members identified reasons for their votes should be kept on file in department until the tenure process is completed and any issues resolved.
- Dossiers should contain at least three external reviews from qualified individuals who have no conflict of interest. The credentials of the reviewers and their lack of direct relationship with the candidate should be provided.
- Each panel member will read the dossiers and evaluate the candidate on the consistency and improvement in the quality of teaching, programmatic research, and service contribution to the work of the department and University. Panel members will examine the strength of the outside review letters, and evaluate any dissenting letters relative to overall departmental vote.
- Each member of the panel will submit one written assessment to the Dean of the College summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.
Wake Forest Faculty Handbook Tenure/Promotion Guidelines
"The criteria currently in effect, in the order of their importance, are (1) the quality of teaching, including advising of students, (2) professional achievement and growth (amount and quality of research and publication, active participation in appropriate professional organizations, keeping abreast of developments in one's discipline, earning the respect of one's professional colleagues regionally and nationally), and (3) public service (contributions to the welfare of the College and University community as, for example, through participation in faculty governance and academic policy-making, advising and guiding student organizations, engaging in activities beyond teaching and professional endeavors that tend to enhance the intellectual climate of the institution; and, secondarily, contributions to the extra-University community, particularly in ways that make use of the professional expertise of the faculty member). In conjunction with all the above criteria, and apart from them, the College considers as extremely important the faculty member's personal integrity, sympathy with and concern for colleagues, students, and others, and compatibility with the stated purposes of the College and University." p. 57.
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