Promotion and Tenure Criteria

General guidelines for 3rd year review of tenure-track faculty

Faculty members in the Department of Physics are normally appointed at the rank of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Full Professor. However, initial appointments are usually at the rank of Assistant Professor. Appointments may be made at higher ranks when an individual's previous experience and qualifications merit such an appointment.

Faculty members are considered for promotion to the next higher rank based upon their accomplishments relative to defined criteria. Consideration for promotion to Associate Professor coincides with consideration for tenure. The promotion and tenure process involves both peer review by faculty committees and administrative reviews. Decisions to promote or to grant tenure, although not identical, differ more in emphasis than in kind. The granting of tenure is a critical action because it represents a serious commitment by the University to the individual and it only occurs if the criteria for promotion are satisfied. Promotion and tenure decisions represent an evaluation of the faculty member's total value to the University and their potential as evidenced by past performance and defined, proposed future activity. Promotion and tenure decisions require not only a consideration of the candidate's fulfillment of assigned responsibilities in research, teaching and service, but also a broad-scale evaluation of the individual's ability to fulfill effectively the responsibilities of membership in the university community.

Consideration for promotion and tenure normally takes place during the sixth year of employment at the University; an exception is made if, at the time of employment, an individual is granted years towards tenure. Such credit must be acknowledged in writing and the individual may withdraw part or all of the credit (in writing) prior to application for promotion and tenure.

The Chair of the Department carries out an Annual Evaluation of all faculty members, which is based on their assignments. In the case of tenure-track faculty members, the evaluation will normally indicate whether the individual is progressing satisfactorily or not towards promotion and tenure. In addition, a comprehensive 3rd year review of the progress towards promotion and tenure of all tenure-track faculty members in the Department of Physics, is carried out regardless of rank. Two committees from the Department of Physics and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science carry out the 3rd year review.

Full details of the criteria and the guidelines for promotion and tenure and the 3rd year review in the Department of Physics can be downloaded as pdf files from the links below. ( As of the date of this up-load, both items have yet to be accepted formally by a vote of the Department faculty members, but no substantial changes are anticipated.)

Copies of the "University Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure of Faculty" may be downloaded from the Office of the Provost's website: