Skip to content

Promotion and Tenure

In the Tickle College of Engineering, faculty are either tenure-track/tenured or non-tenure track (NTT). Separate guidelines for evaluation, promotion, and tenure (where relevant) apply to these faculty. The following sections address the promotion and tenure processes and guidelines applicable to these two categories of faculty. Review the Office of the Provost’s resources for evaluation, tenure, and promotion.

Tenured and Tenure-track Faculty

Probationary Faculty (typical process)

Most tenure-track faculty are considered for promotion and tenure after a probationary period that is specified in the faculty member’s letter of appointment.  The university and the college have standard guidelines for this promotion and tenure process.  The university policies and procedures are documented in the Manual for Faculty Evaluation while the college policies, procedures, and guidelines are documented in the Tickle College of Engineering Criteria for Promotion & Tenure.

The dossier must be submitted to the college by December 8. Review the calendar for the promotion and tenure process.

Preparation of dossier:  The instructions for the preparation of the dossier for promotion and tenure are provided in the Manual for Faculty Evaluation and the Tickle College of Engineering Criteria for Promotion & Tenure.  Electronic templates for the dossier for 2017-2018 are available here.

Early Consideration for Tenure and/or Promotion

Current university-wide policy governing tenure and/or promotion consideration “earlier or later than that specified in the faculty member’s letter of appointment” or for “promotion after fewer than the normal number of years in rank” requires three levels of approval. Since all letters of appointment for tenure-track assistant professors establish a seven-year probationary period with tenure consideration “not later than” the end of the sixth year of the probationary period, this policy applies to any assistant professor standing for tenure before the sixth year. It also applies to any individual standing for promotion to full professor before the fifth year after promotion to associate rank.

Units are encouraged to begin discussion of “early consideration” of tenure at the retention review in the fall semester of the year prior to the anticipated P&T review. Under normal circumstances, the department’s request for approval of early consideration for both P&T and promotion only should arrive in the college office no later than June 30 of the year in which the review is to begin. Although the college will consider requests received after this date, department heads are reminded that the approval process should be completed before they solicit external letters.

Process:

  • Department head recommends early tenure consideration to tenured faculty.
  • Tenured faculty meet to discuss recommendation and indicate approval/disapproval.
  • Department head/director sends written recommendation and candidate’s CV to the college.
  • Dean reviews request. Only approved requests will be sent to the provost for final approval.
  • Upon approval by the provost, a written record will be attached to the summary sheet of the dossier.

Guidelines for Faculty Appointment with Tenure (Expedited Tenure)

Appointment with tenure is appropriate for outstanding individuals with superior relevant professional qualifications.  Eligible candidates may currently hold an administrative position, an academic position in another university, or a nonacademic position in a relevant technical field.

The college has guidelines for faculty appointments with tenure, which are summarized below.

In these cases, the expectation is that the vetting and evaluation of the candidate during the hiring process substitutes for the regular tenure procedure. During the hiring process, the tenured faculty in the hiring unit should have ample opportunity and information to evaluate the candidate, to vote on whether expedited tenure is appropriate, and to make a recommendation to the other decision makers in the tenure process.

When an expedited tenure decision is deemed desirable, the process for tenure consideration must include all points of evaluation that occur during the regular process, i.e., all of the department, college, and campus points of decision making remain intact. However, the decisions are usually made based upon an “expedited dossier” and in a shorter time period.

In the absence of a fully developed dossier, an “expedited dossier” should be assembled and forwarded to the chief academic officer either at the time of the Request to Make an Offer or shortly thereafter.

The expedited dossier typically includes the following materials:

  • The candidate’s CV (following the recommendations provided in Section IV.B of the Guidelines)
  • A completed Summary Sheet:  Recommendations for Promotion and Tenure (as described in the university’s Manual for Faculty Evaluation)
  • A memo from the tenured faculty members in the hiring unit (either department or college) summarizing their evaluation of the candidate and the tenure vote.
  • Memoranda and votes from departmental and college P&T committees, where appropriate.
  • Letters of recommendation from 3-5 outside reviewers/references that resulted from the search/hiring process.
  • Endorsement letters from the dean and the department head (where applicable).

This dossier is submitted to the chief academic officer for review and recommendation to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in the event of a positive decision.


Non-Tenure Track Faculty: Lecturers, Research Faculty, and Professors of Practice

The university and the college have guidelines for the promotion of non-tenure track faculty.  Many relevant university policies and procedures are documented in the Manual for Faculty Evaluation.

The university’s Faculty Handbook and Manual for Faculty Evaluation are being updated (as of Fall 2017) to use the same guidelines for all non-tenure track promotions – i.e., for both teaching-intensive positions as well as research-intensive positions. Generally speaking, promotions for teaching-intensive positions will be based on similar expectations as for the teaching part of tenure-track positions; promotions for research-intensive positions will be based on similar expectations regarding the research part of tenure-track positions.

Teaching-intensive Positions (e.g., Lecturers, Professors of Practice)

Additional guidelines are available in the following:

Review the calendar for the teaching-intensive promotion process.

For Research-intensive Positions (e.g., research professors)

The College has guidelines for research faculty promotion, available in the following:

Review the calendar for the research-intensive promotion process

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.