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Academic Personnel Rights FAQs

Assistant Professors

Recommended: Mentoring Resources (outside of your department)
Must I have a “fourth-year appraisal” before I go up for tenure?

Academic personnel policies provide that “normally” an Assistant Professor “shall be appraised well in advance of possible promotion to tenure rank.” This is defined as “at least two and one-half years before the anticipated date of the promotion” Because the appraisal is like a report card, it can be very helpful for understanding how your case will be reviewed by your colleagues and CAP. Nonetheless:

  • "Early" appraisals are permissible (before the two-and-one-half years).
  • A faculty can elect to go up for tenure at any time from any step.
  • It is permissible to go up for tenure without a fourth-year appraisal. Some faculty elect to go up for a fourth-year appraisal and request simultaneous consideration of tenure.
What is early tenure?

There is no such thing as “early” tenure or an "acceleration" to tenure. It is permissible to present your case for tenure from any Assistant Professor Step (It would be an acceleration, however, to promote past Associate Professor, Step I.)

The same is true for series without tenure promoting to the Associate Professor rank.

What are my review rights if I took "time off the clock"?

If you have taken time off the clock, you have the right (according to APM-220 and other policies):

  • to have any research, service, or teaching you have done considered in your tenure case, even if it was done during your "off the clock" time.
  • to have the review considered as an "on time" review that does not 'count' the year(s) off the clock.
  • to have both your internal (departmental) and external reviewers instructed that your work should be evaluated by "the totality of accomplishment, not the rate of accomplishment."
  • to have your file "evaluated without prejudice as if the work were done in the normal period of service and so stated in the department chair’s letter." 

General Questions

My chair /department/ dean has told me I am not ready for a promotion or merit. Do I have the right to proceed with the case?

Chairs and/or Vice Chairs have a responsibility to guide their faculty in the personnel review process and to make sure faculty go up for review on time. Chairs, however, provide this as their best advice. They are not gatekeepers. You have the right to go forward with any academic personnel review, even an acceleration, even if your chair advises you otherwise. You should respond fully to your departmental letter(s) and the case will then proceed to the dean and then to CAP (if it is a CAP case).

My department / ad hoc review committee voted against my case, what are my options?

You have the right to continue with your review even if a pre-review committee (or your department) has a negative vote. You have a right to respond in detail, in writing, to the contents and conclusions of departmental review committees, external letters (if the action has them), and/or the departmental letter before it goes to the dean’s office.

My reviewers (department, committee) disagree with my choice of research subject. Is that allowed?

One of the professional rights of faculty is the right to "free inquiry, and exchange of ideas" (See APM-015, Part I; See also Academic Freedom). Faculty still have an obligation to provide evidence that they are "continuously and effectively engaged in creative activity of high quality and significance." However, "Due consideration should be given to variations among fields and specialties and to new genres and fields of inquiry." (APM-210)