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Tenure Guidelines For Department Heads

The following questions are to be addressed in the department head’s letter that accompanies the recommendation on the candidate’s promotion and tenure request:

I. Teaching

  • How does the area, level, breadth, and extent of the candidate’s teaching fit the mission and goals of the department, college, and university?
  • Characterize the quality of the candidate’s teaching from data in the dossier section on teaching ability and effectiveness. Compare candidate’s teaching to that of departmental faculty.
  • Has there been growth in the candidate’s teaching, such as development of new courses, learning new skills related to teaching, or setting and meeting goals for instructional improvement?
  • Has the candidate contributed to the quality of instruction beyond their own teaching, such as assisting newer faculty members with their teaching programs, coordinating a large multi-section course for the department, supervising graduate teaching assistants, or participating in the graduate teaching assistant seminar?
  • Characterize the quality of the candidate’s advising. What evidence of quality is there from students? From peers? From alumni? From the candidate?

II. Original Work: Research, Scholarship, and Creative Accomplishment

  • How does the candidate’s program fit the mission and goals of the department, college, and university?
  • Summarize how this candidate has contributed to extending the scholarship in the field, referring to the dossier section on research, scholarship, and creative accomplishment. Refer to outside letters, if relevant.

III. Service

  • Summarize the impact of the candidate’s service to interdisciplinary programs, to college or university committees, and in administrative assignments for the department. Refer to the section of the dossier on service.
  • Indicate the influence of the candidate’s service rendered to the profession which is of national importance and scope.

IV. Institutional Needs

(to be addressed by the department head and the dean)

  • Discuss the way in which the competence of the candidate fits the long-range plans, priorities, and needs of the department or college.
  • Are there likely to be other pressing needs of the department or college for which another kind of competence would be more appropriate?

V. Timing

When a candidate for tenure has served fewer years than stipulated in the appointment letter, or when a candidate for promotion has served in rank fewer years than the normal time stipulated in the Faculty Handbook, the department head must explain why tenure and/or promotion is warranted at this time.


Diane Kelly
Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs