This content reflects the subject matter formerly housed in the Faculty Staff Handbook.
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All material has been reviewed and approved by the Faculty Staff Handbook Committee and approved by Provost Charles F. Zukoski on March 12, 2018.
This document contains the procedural requirements and policies of the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo) concerning the appointment of faculty members, promotion from one faculty rank to another, and the granting of continuing appointment. These policies and procedures are framed within and subordinate to the Policies of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between State University of New York and the United University Professions (UUP). They are based on experience at this and other universities, suggestions from the president, the provost, the vice presidents, the deans, and the President's Review Board on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (hereafter referred to as the review board or the board) , and the Faculty Senate.
These policies are to be construed and applied in a manner consistent with the policies of the trustees and the provisions of the agreement with the UUP. It is incumbent upon individual faculty members, whether or not they exercise administrative responsibility, to be familiar with the trustees' policies and the UUP agreement, especially those articles covering appointment, promotion, and continuing appointment.
The selection, evaluation, and promotion of members of the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo has major importance for the development of the university as a center of excellence in scholarship and teaching. The definition of two different series of faculty-the professorial and the librarian series-implies a recognition of their somewhat different functions. Hence, somewhat different criteria are necessary for promotion and tenure in these two faculty series.
The basic considerations in assessing the performance of professorial faculty are mastery of subject matter, effectiveness in teaching, scholarly accomplishment, effectiveness of university service, and potential for continuing professional growth. The basic considerations in assessing the performance of library faculty are competence in librarianship, contributions to the libraries and their services, scholarly accomplishment, effectiveness of university service, and potential for continuing professional growth. The general criteria set forth below indicate the kinds and levels of attainment that candidates for appointment or promotion to the various faculty ranks should have achieved.
These criteria should be considered minimal standards for appointment to or promotion in the university. They are broad enough to cover all but the most unusual of scholarly endeavors pursued within the university. Promotion standards developed by an individual department, school, or faculty in response to the presidential directive of November 9, 1983, are for the use of that department or school and for the information of all faculty to whom they apply and all higher faculty review bodies. The directive states that information shall be gathered periodically "from the most distinguished public universities in the country concerning academic standards in use in the several disciplines." They will be received and reviewed by the provost, and submitted to the President's Review Board and the president, as a statement of a special element of the department, or school/faculty process, and as contextual guidelines regarding the evaluation of faculty members for appointment, promotion, and tenure, and must be made available to the faculty in those units. In extraordinary circumstances, full presidential approval may be granted to a set of standards developed by a school or faculty.
Additional guidelines may be found within the SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees, Articles XI and XII and in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with UUP, Articles 30 - 33. See also: Guiding Principles for Promotion & Tenure
Practice varies throughout the university regarding the use of the Instructor rank. In some scholarly areas, it has virtually disappeared; in others, it may still be useful.
This rank may be recommended for someone who has yet to complete the appropriate terminal degree and who does not have other scholarly or professional attainment. Such a person is at the beginning of an academic career, and thus must be evaluated principally on promise, as evidenced by graduate and professional study. Such evidence should strongly indicate that the candidate will complete the appropriate terminal degree, or an equivalent course of scholarly professional work, within one year of the date of appointment. The evidence must also support strongly the prediction that the individual will be a good teacher and researcher or creator. For a second one-year appointment, the person should have completed all work for the doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree, or have completed equivalent scholarly or professional work, and should be awaiting recognition of that accomplishment, e.g., conferral of the degree. In addition, the person must have a satisfactory performance record, and must continue to show high promise as a researcher or creator.
Appointment at this rank is granted to one who has received the appropriate terminal degree, or who possesses equivalent scholarly or professional attainments. A candidate for such an appointment should have high promise as a teacher/librarian and researcher or creator. For those who have had previous experience as a faculty member here or elsewhere, there should be positive evidence of teaching/librarianship ability, and completed research or creative activity beyond that involved in graduate or professional study. Candidates with prior service in the rank of Instructor/Assistant Librarian or Assistant Professor/Senior Assistant Librarian without the terminal degree or its equivalent, should have demonstrated excellent research or creative activity beyond that involved in graduate or professional study. When it is anticipated that a candidate will be seriously considered for promotion to continuing appointment during the term of appointment as Assistant Professor/Senior Assistant Librarian, i.e., the app ointment is to a "tenure track" position, the documentation supporting the candidate's initial appointment, and any renewal, should include strong evidence that qualifications in both teaching/librarianship and research or creative activity for such promotion will exist by the time a tenure decision is to be made. Recommendation for promotion to continuing appointment must be initiated no later than during the sixth year of service in this rank in the State University of New York system. If promotion is denied, notice of nonrenewal must be made in writing twelve months prior to the expiration of the term of appointment.
Candidates for the rank of Associate Professor/Associate Librarian must hold the appropriate terminal degree or have equivalent scholarly or professional attainments. They should have achievements in teaching or librarianship and research or creative activity extending well beyond those involved in the attainment of the doctoral degree or its equivalent. In all cases of proposed continuing appointment as an Associate Professor/Associate Librarian, the candidate should have demonstrated a continued high level of performance as a teacher/librarian and researcher or creator, commitment to high scholarly standards, and evidence of effective participation in university and community service. The quality of the research or creative activity of such an appointee should be unambiguous and unequivocal. This evaluation of the candidate's work should be supported by substantial evidence of peer review that has been carried out in a manner characteristic of and appropriate to the discipline. The candidate must demonstrate solid professional achievement and the potential to meet requirements for the rank of full professor. Clear and convincing evidence must be submitted to show that each candidate has the credentials to achieve continuing appointment as an Associate Professor/Associate Librarian in his or her discipline at the leading public research universities.
Candidates with no previous teaching/library experience, or whose records pose other questions of qualifications, should be given an initial term appointment at unqualified rank, or a visiting appointment. This course of action will provide an opportunity for a very careful evaluation to be made of their effectiveness as teachers or librarians before continuing appointment is recommended. Employment at this rank for more than three years must be on the basis of continuing appointment.
The criteria applicable to appointment at the rank of Professor/Librarian are those already indicated as applicable to the rank of Associate Professor/Associate Librarian. In addition, candidates for appointment at this rank should be clearly established, nationally visible, and highly regarded as scholars, and have demonstrated the ability to direct the research programs or creative activities of advanced students where this will be a part of the expected responsibilities. As in the case of appointments at all other ranks, the recommendation for an appointment at the rank of Professor/Librarian should present clear and strong evidence that first-rank performance as a teacher/librarian and researcher or creator has been shown, and can be expected to continue. Appointment or promotion to the rank of Professor/Librarian is never to be simply a reward for services already performed. Those faculty holding this rank have primary responsibility for the scholarship of the university, and their attainments as scholars in their disciplines must be of the first rank. Nothing less than excellence is acceptable here. Clear and convincing evidence must be submitted to show that each candidate has the credentials to achieve the rank of Professor/Librarian in his or her discipline at the leading public research universities.
Candidates with no previous teaching/library experience, or whose records pose other questions of qualifications, should be given an initial term appointment at unqualified rank, or a visiting appointment. This course of action will provide an opportunity for a very careful evaluation to be made of their effectiveness as teachers or librarians before continuing appointment is recommended. Employment at this rank for more than three years must be on the basis of continuing appointment.
Three distinct titles: Distinguished Professor, Distinguished Service Professor, and Distinguished Teaching Professor, are reserved for a highly select group of outstanding faculty members. Designation to these ranks is conducted in a special process administered through standing committees appointed by the president.
Units desiring to recommend a faculty member for a Distinguished rank should verify the procedures to be followed and the documentation to be gathered with the appropriate committee prior to beginning the action.
Faculty Professor is an in-house title given to individual faculty members in recognition of their broad-based qualifications, which are recognized in a number of different departments and/or programs within a school or faculty. The statements of recommendation and advisory votes should reflect general faculty-wide acceptance of the action. The specific duties and privileges of a Faculty Professor are to be decided on an individual basis.
No special action is required to grant Emeritus status. All members of the university faculty who have retired in good standing will be eligible to add the word "Emeritus" or "Emerita" to their academic or administrative title at the time of retirement.
Qualified ranks are used primarily to designate faculty members whose primary contributions will be in one area of academic activity. For example, the "Research" prefix is appropriate for faculty members whose activities are primarily in research; "Clinical" for those teaching in a clinical environment as part of an established academic program; "Adjunct" for those with appropriate professional qualifications who perform teaching or research in connection with an academic program. These positions may be full time, part time, or voluntary. The proper descriptive prefix should precede the rank, i.e., Clinical Assistant Professor, Adjunct Instructor, etc. Qualified titles, such as Artist-in-Residence, Visiting Scholar, etc., may also be used as in-house titles as appropriate, in conjunction with other qualified rank titles. Lecturer is also a qualified title used primarily for appointments restricted to teaching. These appointments do not lead to consideration for continuing appointment.
Qualified titles should not be considered honorary but must be earned. Appointment to or promotion in qualified rank should be carried out with the same care, using the same criteria and the same standards applied to unqualified academic ranks in the applicable area of academic activity or service. Schools or faculties are expected to develop procedures for the evaluation of candidates for appointment and promotion in qualified rank.
Faculty members should be regularly evaluated in three areas: teaching, research or creative activity, and service. Instead of traditional teaching, library faculty should be evaluated on the performance of the basic function of the librarian. Some member s of the faculty will excel at one or two of these areas, others will excel at all three. A balanced evaluation of a prospective faculty member will consider these differences and will also recognize the value of cross-disciplinary scholarly activity. However, certain minimal standards must be met.
Excellence in teaching/librarianship is to be valued; it cannot, however, counterbalance a lack of research or creative achievement. Similarly, excellence in research or creative activity is to be valued and recognized but will not counterbalance failure in teaching/librarianship. Service to the university and its community is also important but cannot be a full substitute for growth and achievement as a teacher/librarian and researcher or creator.
Given the complexity and variety of the university, four further general comments with regard to the evaluation of teaching/librarianship and research or creative activity are needed.
First, creative activity has been linked very closely with research here to emphasize that the creation of works of art (that phrase taken in the broadest sense) is an integral component of scholarship in a university. Creative activity in performance includes both the development of new forms or techniques, e.g., music composition, and the performance of work, for example, in theater. Since performance is part of the research and creative activity expected in these areas, its activity should be evaluated appropriately, and review bodies must look for and expect to find the same level of peer review as that expected for published research.
Second, research and creative activity may be carried out across disciplinary boundaries, and it may involve the scholarly contributions of more than one individual. In each case the activities deserve to be appraised with the same diligence as activities that are carried out within traditional disciplines or those achieved by individual faculty members. Care should be taken to recognize and evaluate the unique contributions of each researcher or creator.
Third, competence and instruction in clinical areas and librarianship are major concerns of the university. In some areas, evaluation of teaching must be an evaluation of the extent to which clinical skills are imparted. Evaluation of research and creative activity in clinical areas and librarianship must include evaluation of the development of new techniques and practices, just as evaluation in the performance areas must include that of superior or different interpretations of works in literature or the performing arts.
Fourth, creative contributions through independent effort, or through professional organizations, to the advancement of theory and practice in a field must also be evaluated.
A balanced evaluation of a faculty member must consider the performance expected in relation to the responsibilities assigned to the candidate. Thus, unusual university service may be considered in determining promotions in rank. Such service alone, however, should never be the basis for promotion. The importance, value, and quality of the candidate's research or creative activity, and the promise of continuing first-rank performance in this area, are primary considerations. One of the most important factors in distinguishing university faculty from faculty at other levels of higher education is the continual willingness to place one's ideas and works before peers for their critical judgment. Independent evaluations by scholars in the appropriate discipline(s), and public reviews, discussions, and citations of the research or works of art are appropriate for evaluation in this area.
The assessment of teaching effectiveness, whether in classroom, bedside, dental chair, library, laboratory, seminar, or tutorial, should rest upon solid evidence. This may be provided by systematic surveys of students in the classes taught by the faculty member under review, classroom observation, and assessments of theses and dissertations directed. In addition, the evaluation should consider the faculty member's involvement in undergraduate and graduate advisement, and on thesis and dissertation committees. University faculty are expected to be highly competent teachers.
Although some of the measures mentioned in the preceding paragraphs may also apply, the assessment of the quality of librarianship should be subject to a critical analysis by those persons who can best evaluate it. The relevance of library collections to academic programs, and the effectiveness of reference and information delivery, can be judged by library colleagues, professorial colleagues, and clientele. The quality of bibliographic control over the collections, and the imagination and skill with which complex problems are solved or approaches utilized, are less publicly visible, and must be judged principally by library colleagues. However, excellence in performance generally results in wide visibility.
See Article XI of the SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees
Personnel actions that lead to initial appointment, reappointment, promotion, or the granting of continuing appointment begin as recommendations at the departmental level and proceed to the school or faculty level, and then to the provost or vice president* for final approval, subject to such delegation of responsibility as the provost or vice president may make to directors or deans in accordance with the SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees, Article XI. For continuing appointment, all recommendations proceed to the level of the provost or vice president and then to the president. Final authority to approve continuing appointments rests with the chancellor upon recommendation of the president. The president has delegated authority for approval of most other academic appointments to the provost and vice president. Details will be discussed in the following sections. Procedures and standards followed by individual departments, schools, and faculties during review may supplement these policies, but in each instance they shall:
*Unless otherwise stated, "Vice President" in these policies refers to the vice president for university services.
The academic excellence of a university is established and maintained at the departmental level. It is established by the quality of appointments at the Instructor/Assistant Librarian, Assistant Professor/Senior Assistant Librarian levels, and is maintained through careful consideration of appointments or promotions to Associate Professor/Associate Librarian levels, and by the careful selection of those who receive continuing appointment. That excellence is then reaffirmed by the quality of those who are appointed at or promoted to the rank of Full Professor/Librarian.
A major responsibility for establishing and maintaining a high degree of excellence rests on the department chairs, who must recruit individuals of great promise, ensure that faculty will be regularly evaluated, and oversee efforts to assist current faculty members in improving their performance. They must also take responsibility for difficult decisions that may lead to nonrenewal of faculty members whose records of teaching and scholarship do not provide compelling reasons for continuing appointment. In this connection, department chairs should obtain and be guided by current information about the standards for promotion and tenure in their respective disciplines at the leading public research universities.
Faculty members share the responsibility for and take an active role in recruiting and evaluating members of their department or school/faculty by their advisory votes as members of personnel or ad hoc committees, or as faculty members voting by rank or status, or as members of the whole, depending upon the applicable bylaws.
Faculty members should be informed about the criteria for promotion and tenure, and department and faculty/school expectations regarding their duties and responsibilities, upon initial appointment, and at any time during the course of an appointment when responsibilities change, and at renewal of a term appointment. Such specification of responsibilities is particularly important in those instances in which a faculty member carries a heavy service obligation, e.g., as associate chair of a department, or as chair of a major university committee. In such cases, the relationship between performance in the administrative position and such personnel actions as increases in salaries or promotions in rank should be understood by all involved when the appointment is initiated. Specifications of duties should be included in letters of appointment and in any dossier presented for review.
Faculty members who have not yet achieved continuing appointment should not be asked to undertake substantial administrative tasks but should be allowed full opportunity to develop as scholars and teachers, or as librarians.
All faculty members on unqualified rank appointments should be reviewed and evaluated annually by the administrative officer of the department or comparable academic unit. The appropriate administrative officer should assess and discuss with the faculty/school members their performance on factors relevant to their particular cases. As a part of the review, the chair or other reviewing officer should consider:
(a) teaching load and other professional or academic assignment;
(b) evaluation of teaching by students and colleagues;
(c) research projects currently in progress, and current efforts to secure external support for research;
(d) work presented or published in the current or preceding academic year;
(e) undergraduate and graduate student advisement, including student research projects supervised, thesis or dissertation advisement and committee participation;
(f) department, faculty, school, or university committee assignments;
(g) academic, university, or community service;
(h) service to the profession or discipline;
(i) other significant academic and professional accomplishments; and
(j) reviews of the faculty member's artistic and/or scholarly work in appropriate publications.
The emphasis should be upon supporting and aiding the efforts of the faculty member rather than finding fault. Deficiencies in performance, however, should be made explicit. Student evaluations of teaching must be systematically conducted each year using a standard measuring instrument, and collected in a manner that assures the confidentiality of responses. Appropriate norms for appraising the results of student evaluations must be established. Students' opinions that have been gathered unsystematically have relatively little value in the promotion and tenure process. In those disciplines where class size or content does not permit measuring instruments (e.g., clinical instruction in the medical school), assessments in writing should be collected at the end of each semester.
Review procedures developed by the departments and faculty or school (see II.C.3.) are followed in order to evaluate the credentials of candidates for (a) appointment, reappointment, and promotion to all Adjunct, Visiting, and Clinical ranks, and Research ranks below the level of Professor; (b) appointment as Associate Professor/Associate Librarian without tenure; (c) appointment, reappointment, and promotion to Instructor, Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Assistant Librarian, and Senior Assistant Librarian .
The review board does not review any of the preceding appointments and promotions. Furthermore, the president has delegated final approval to the provost and the vice president for university services in their respective area for these appointments or pro motions.
The Policies of the Trustees (Article XI, Title D) and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article 32) both require that incumbents holding term appointments be given notice of nonrenewal at least twelve months prior to the expiration of their term after two or more years of uninterrupted service. The Policies of the Board of Trustees set limits on the number of years a person may hold unqualified academic rank without receiving tenure (Article XI, B.3.). For Associate Professor/Associate Librarian and Professor/Librarian, that limit is three years. For Assistant Professor/Senior Assistant Librarian, that limit is seven years. These requirements may be implemented as follows:
II.B.2.a.1. Initial appointments and reappointments may be for one to three years. In most cases the initial appointment will be for either two or three years. The choice in this regard is to be made by the dean, after receiving the recommendation of the department or program chair and appropriate faculty bodies.
II.B.2.a.2. Common patterns of initial appointments and reappointments of Assistant Professor/Senior Assistant Librarian are: (a) an initial appointment to a two-year term; reappointment to a second two-year term; reappointment to a three-year term; or (b) an initial appointment to a three-year term; reappointment to a two-year term; reappointment to a final two-year term. Either of these patterns is acceptable, and other variations may be appropriate, depending on the norms and practices of the several disciplines and professions. Deans will be given considerable discretion in this regard. It is expected that the tenure review will be conducted no later than the sixth year the candidate holds unqualified rank. In exceptional circumstances, and upon request of the candidate, review may be deferred until the seventh year, in which case the candidate must be given one year's notice of nonrenewal at the end of the sixth year. Candidates with exceptional qualifications may be proposed for promotion and continuing appointment before the sixth year. However, the seventh year of appointment in an unqualified title is either a continuing appointment or a terminal appointment with one year's notice for the candidate.
II.B.2.a.3. Other options should be treated as exceptional, and each such case should be reviewed with the provost's office.
Periodic review of the progress of incumbents in tenure-track positions prior to the final tenure review is expected (see Section II.A.). Some documentary evidence of the review should be provided at the time of reappointment and submitted with the change of status form. As a minimum, a current curriculum vitae and a letter of evaluation written by the dean to the provost or vice president should be forwarded. The provost will not make substantive determinations on the reappointment of individuals provided that the dean certifies that the incumbent's progress has been reviewed and has been shared with the incumbent.
When a determination is made at the faculty or school level that an incumbent in a term appointment is not to be renewed, the appropriate officer must notify the incumbent in writing. The dean or director must inform the incumbent that he or she may request that the provost or vice president review the decision of the faculty/school, but only if the incumbent can provide clear and convincing evidence that the decision is a result bias or serious procedural error, or some violation of law, contract, or SUNY policy. Reviews will not be carried out solely because the candidate disagrees with the judgment of the faculty/school. Requests for review by the provost or vice president should be made within thirty days of the notification of the incumbent by the dean or director. For additional information regarding collective bargaining rights, please see Article 32 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In addition to faculty participation in the appointment, promotion, and tenure process at the departmental and school or faculty levels, faculty advice is made available to the provost, vice president, and the president through the President's Review Board on Faculty Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (the board or PRB). The voting members of the board are nine tenured faculty, holding the rank of Professor or Librarian, who enjoy national reputations for outstanding past and current contributions to the ir respective disciplines. These voting members are appointed by the president from candidates recommended by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, the provost, and the vice president. (Recommendations of the provost and vice president will be shared with the Executive Committee, which may advise the president regarding those nominations.) Two nonvoting student members, one graduate and one undergraduate, are appointed by the president from a slate of candidates recommended by the Graduate Student Association and the Undergraduate Student Association. The board is chaired by a senior professor or librarian who enjoys a national reputation for outstanding academic contributions. The chair is a nonvoting member of the board and is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the president. Voting members of the board are appointed for staggered three-year terms. Student members, when possible, are appointed for two-year terms. The terms of all board members begin on September 1 and end August 31.
The board shall review all recommendations for promotion or appointment to the ranks of Professor, Research Professor, and Librarian, and the granting of continuing appointment at any rank. The board shall not review recommendations for term or temporary appointments below the rank of Professor or Librarian or to any qualified rank except Research Professor.
The board's review of a particular recommendation for appointment, promotion, or tenure begins when the provost or vice president forwards to the board the required number of copies of the candidate's dossier. The board shall advise the president and the provost or vice president whether, in the members' judgment, promotion of the candidate will contribute to the development of excellence in the university, and whether or not the candidate would be appointed, promoted, and/or granted continuing appointment under the standards generally applied in the candidate's discipline, profession, or area of expertise at the leading public research universities. The board may ask the provost or the vice president to collect additional information concerning a particular candidate's background and qualifications, and to ensure that proper procedures have been followed in the evaluation of the candidate. All additional information shall be included in the candidate's dossier, and shall be available to the candidate, except in the case of additional evaluative letters that the reviewer has requested be kept confidential. It shall be the responsibility of the provost or vice president to insure that the board has adequate time to conduct its review of each candidate's dossier.
The chair shall prepare a written report of the recommendation of the board resulting from the review of each candidate's dossier and shall give the report to the members of the board, the president, and the provost or the vice president before the provost or vice president formulates a recommendation to the president. The chair, or a member of the board recommended by the chair, shall meet with the provost or vice president, if either of them so requests, to discuss the board's recommendation. When the board's recommendation has been made, its participation in a particular case is considered completed unless further involvement is specifically requested by the provost, the vice president, or the president.
Significant additional information that is solicited by or becomes available to the provost's office following the vote of the PRB, but prior to the provost's recommendation to the president, will be made available to the chair of the PRB. If the chair of the PRB deems the new information important enough to warrant a reconsideration of the case in question by the full PRB, the provost will withhold the recommendation to the president pending a reconsideration of the case by the full PRB. In all such case s, the information will be shared with the dean and, as appropriate under contract or SUNY policy, will be available for review by the candidate.
For promotions to Full Professor/Librarian:
Receipt of Dossiers in Provost's Office Based on Subsequent Anticipated Effective Appointment/Promotion Date:
For continuing appointment at any rank, and promotions to Associate Professor/Associate Librarian:
Final submission date for all dossiers: February 1 (Petition for Extension)
N.B. This deadline is not a due date but is the last possible submission date for all dossiers to be considered for review in that academic year.
**For deadlines regarding librarian dossiers, contact the Vice Provost for University Libraries.
The review process for promotion is initiated at the department or unit level. The role of the director or the department chair in helping the candidate prepare for this process has been described previously (see Section II.A.). The candidate's dossier is assembled at this level. Faculty members must evaluate the candidate and vote whether to support the recommended action according to the approved departmental procedures. The case made by the chair and department is forwarded to the next academic level appropriate to the school or faculty.
While the structures of academic units within which various faculty members are appointed may differ, reviews and recommending votes by faculty are necessary at each level of the applicable organizational structure, as are the statement and recommendation from the administrative head at each of those levels. Since the guidelines are general, some modifications may be necessary in applying them across academic units.
Academic officers above the department level, such as deans of schools or faculties, must act as critical reviewers and recommenders on the basis of the case made by the chair and the department.
The provost and the vice president for university services are responsible for review of the personnel actions of their respective academic units.
In all cases involving continuing appointment, or appointment at or promotion to the rank of tenured full Professor/ Librarian or Research Professor, the provost or the vice president must review the dossier and the recommendations and send an analysis and personal recommendation to the president.
The provost and the vice president have been designated the final authority to reject a candidate's bid for promotion or tenure in those cases in which the cognizant faculty and officers at all prior levels of review have recommended against such promotion or tenure.
For all new appointments, the provost or the vice president is also responsible for ensuring that affirmative action/equal opportunity policies and procedures have been followed.
All appointments and promotions, and the granting of continuing appointment, require positive action by the president except in those instances in which final authority has been expressly delegated to the provost or the vice president. The president's act ion is based on a review of the prior recommendations at each level, given the standards set for this university. Actions at all levels of the university are advisory to the president.
Under extraordinary circumstances, the president may act in cases of appointment, reappointment, promotion, or the granting of continuing appointment without resorting to the full process of review and consultation herein described.
University procedure requires review of all departmental recommendations regarding appointment, reappointment, promotion, or the granting of continuing appointment at each of the levels of academic organization as described previously. If the recommendations are negative at the department and faculty/school level, the dossier is forwarded to the PRB only when the candidate or the provost or the vice president so requests.
If the recommendation at any level of review is positive, the dossier is forwarded to the president by the provost or vice president. If all prior levels of review recommend against promotion, the provost or vice president may decide not to grant promotion or tenure, and the dossier is not considered by the president.
In making decisions so important to the university and the individual faculty member, the various review bodies must provide full and fair consideration of each case. In order to assure this, the candidates must have an opportunity to designate an advocate of his or her choice.
II.C.4.a.1. An advocate may be designated by the candidate at the start of the review process, or at a subsequent stage as indicated later, if the candidate believes that the case will be strengthened or more fully presented through use of an advocate.
II.C.4.a.2. The advocate must be a faculty member at the university or at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, must be from the department or discipline of the candidate, and must have direct personal knowledge of the candidate's professional and academic performance. Faculty members holding administrative titles in an academic unit or at the provostal, vice presidential, or the presidential levels may not act as advocate. However, no member of the faculty acting as advocate may be excluded from normal participation in personnel actions, except that participation in discussion or voting as a member of a subsequent review body when it is considering the candidate's case is prohibited.
II.C.4.a.3. Review proceedings are not adversarial hearings or bargaining sessions. The advocate's task is not to attack the dossier or the judgment of prior levels of review, but to present the case for the candidate and to explain the candidate's work, contribution, and promise, and to point out to the review bodies and/or administrative officers the material or information in the dossier that would be especially helpful in evaluating the candidate's achievements and promise.
II.C.4.a.4. The advocate shall submit a written statement that addresses only the quality and impact of the candidate's academic work, professional growth and contributions, and promise for further development in these areas. The advocate may not add letters of evaluation to the dossier or include such letters in the statement. However, the advocate may, in the statement, suggest expert evaluators highly qualified to review the candidate's work. The statement shall be added to the dossier and shall follow the chair's letter transmitting the dossier.
II.C.4.a.5. Advocates must adhere to the rules on confidentiality. Since advocates may have access to confidential material not available to the candidate, they must avoid disclosure of confidential material to the candidate.
II.C.4.a.6. In addition to submitting a written statement, the advocate may make an oral statement to the unit review bodies and to the provost or the vice president, but not to the President's Review Board. The advocate may not question review body members or participate in debate.
II.C.4.b.1. If the candidate chooses to designate an advocate at the outset of the process, the decision and designation must be made known early enough for the advocate's written statement to accompany the dossier at the start of departmental consideration.
II.C.4.b.2. Any administrative officer below the provost or vice president who recommends against the personnel action in question during the process must so notify the candidate in writing at the time he or she makes the recommendation, and, if an advocate has not previously been designated, must advise the candidate of his or her right to designate an advocate within seven working days thereafter.
II.C.4.b.3. The provost or the vice president shall inform candidates by letter of a negative recommendation of the PRB within seven working days after receipt of the report of the President's Review Board, and shall advise the candidate of the right to designate an advocate if one has not been designated previously. The advocacy process may not be invoked after the provost or the vice president has made a recommendation to the president.
A faculty member who wishes to withdraw from the review process must send a written request for withdrawal to the administrative officer before whom the case is then pending, with copies to the administrative officers who have completed action on the case. For example, if a faculty member wishes to withdraw after a case has been forwarded from the department, the letter of withdrawal should be sent to the dean, with a copy to the chair. The administrative officer receiving a letter of withdrawal shall then acknowledge receipt of the request and approve it by letter to the candidate, with copies to the administrative officers who have already taken action and to the next higher level of review.
The multiple levels of review described in this document are designed to protect the integrity of both the candidate and the standards of the institution. Every attempt will be made in the review process for all relevant information regarding the candidate to be made available to the review committees and the responsible administrative officers. Various procedures for appeal of these decisions are prescribed in the Policies of the Board of Trustees and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State University of New York and United University Professions.
Local campus review of a promotion and tenure case normally closes with the final decision of the president, or of the provost or the vice president, in those situations where they are delegated final decision authority. If the candidate has been denied promotion but already has continuing appointment, reconsideration is afforded only by a de novo process, including preparation of an entirely new dossier. As a general rule, considerable time must elapse, e.g., three years or more, before a candidate who has been denied promotion can be advanced again for consideration.
If a candidate has been denied tenure, and has received notice of termination, reconsideration of the case may be granted as a matter of administrative discretion if there are substantial and compelling reasons to undertake such reconsideration. If, for example, substantial new and unanticipated evidence of the candidate's achievements in scholarship, teaching, or librarianship appears after a final decision, the dean or director may petition the provost or vice president to authorize reconsideration at prior levels of review. In such a case, the dean or director would be expected to establish that the evidence in question could not have been anticipated or gathered at the time the case was first considered, and that it constitutes substantial additional evidence that would very likely alter the outcome upon full reconsideration. When the provost or the vice president authorizes reconsideration, the original dossier and all supplementary material must be resubmitted for reconsideration at each level of re view, new votes must be taken, and new letters of recommendation must be provided by the chair or department head, and the dean or director. In each such case the provost or vice president shall retain the responsibility and authority to determine whether or not to submit the augmented dossier to the board, and whether or not to request that the president reconsider the case in the event that the board reconsiders and recommends that the provost and president reconsider the case.
(Assembly Guidelines) Note: See samples at the bottom of this section
The dossier is divided into two sections. Section A consists of documentation assembled at the departmental level and has two parts: Part I, which is available to the candidate, and Part II which contains confidential materials not available to the candidate. Section B consists of materials and assessments added by the College or Professional School and is available to the candidate. In the aggregate the dossier will also include letters of endorsement and transmittal prepared by the Chairs, Deans, and other administrative officers who participate in the review process.
Section A of the promotion dossier serves the function of providing a discipline-specific assessment of the candidate’s contributions and an interpretation of those contributions for further evaluation in the broader institutional context. It is extremely important that the departmental presentation of the candidate in the dossier be couched in terms that subsequent review bodies outside of the discipline can understand and appreciate. In this regard, the Chair’s role is crucial.
This letter of endorsement transmits the dossier to the Dean and review bodies at the College/School level. It represents the Chair’s recommendation and should include the quantitative vote of the department on the candidate’s promotion with commentary on how the vote should be understood in terms of weight and degree of departmental support. The letter is important as the summary document at the level of the discipline that interprets and contextualizes the candidate’s work for subsequent reviewing bodies outside the discipline. It should be written with great care and clarity.
The Chair’s letter should essentially address three areas of the candidate’s contributions.
Chairs should recognize the special nature of cross-disciplinary scholarship and research, making every effort to ensure that candidates who engage in such activity receive an appropriate evaluation from other participating departments or research centers when being considered for promotion. For example, a letter of recommendation should be solicited from the director of any multidisciplinary research unit, center, or institute with which the candidate is associated. Referees should be selected to represent each discipline in which the candidate’s work participates. In cases where the candidate’s work occurs in collaboration with others, whether as co-sponsor of a grant or co-author of a publication, care should be taken to indicate precisely the candidate’s degree of contribution in each instance.
Should the candidate choose to appoint an advocate prior to the departmental level of review, the advocate’s statement should follow the Chair’s letter.
Included only when the candidate is a new appointment. It should be placed in the dossier after the Chair’s letter.
Representing the academic and professional history of the candidate, the curriculum vitae is an extremely important part of the dossier. It should be accurate, clear and up-to-date in every respect. Gratuitous information such as the candidate’s marital status, number of children, religious affiliation etc., should not be included. The candidate should provide the information described below.
This should be a concise description, no more than three pages, of the candidate’s research: history of and future plans for funding; focus and origins of research program; its current status, especially noting, in cases for promotion with tenure, the extent of revision and degree of differentiation from work completed for graduate degree; evidence of influence of work in the field; plans for further development and new work. This statement is an opportunity for the candidate to provide a sense of appropriate context and intention for the work perhaps not otherwise evident in the dossier.
This should be a concise description, no more than two pages. It is important to recognize the three categories of service acknowledged by the university and to construct the Statement of Service accordingly. They include, in order of importance for the promotion review, Professional/Public Service, University Service, and Community Service.
The Teaching Portfolio described herein is primarily for the purpose of promotion evaluation rather than for development purposes, summative rather than formative, to emphasize core materials designed for valid peer-review comparisons rather than a flexible range of materials geared toward professional development. It is to be concise in its focus, selective in documentation, and economical in format. Its primary purpose is to provide materials explicitly representative of the candidate’s teaching goals, strengths, and accomplishments (as distinct from evidence of scholarship in the discipline and various kinds of service activity) in a form that can be peer reviewed by both the department and by internal evaluators. The Chair or Dean is to include the Portfolio among the materials sent to each internal evaluator. The Portfolio, as a required component of the promotion dossier, reflects the university’s expectation of excellence in teaching and marks the value it places on teaching as a significant career activity for faculty. The Teaching Portfolio is to be explicitly reviewed by the Department Chair (see Item 1).
The Teaching Portfolio consists of two parts: the candidate’s statement about teaching and an appendix that selectively documents course materials and evidences of innovative teaching developments and other supporting materials. For convenience and effectiveness of peer review, the entire Portfolio should be in the range of 20 pages, with the candidate’s statement in the range of 3 pages.
The results of course/teaching evaluations by students should be included in the dossier and presented in a standardized summary or tabular form, with an analysis of the summary as part of the Chair’s letter. Raw data should not be included but should be available for inspection in the department. Averaged results, based on data from the Department, College, or School, should be presented as a basis for comparing the candidate’s individual teaching effectiveness with other faculty in the unit. Sample Teaching Evaluation Summary
Letters from current and former students (in addition to those solicited for Item 9), reports of student or faculty teaching evaluation committees, the placement and career record of former students, and similar materials may be included here. These should not be redundant of materials selected for the Teaching Portfolio (see Item 7), and should be formatted according to a year-by-year chronology.
Letters from External Evaluators
The dossier should present a minimum of four letters from external evaluators, solicited by the Chair or the Chair’s designee. The evaluators should be disinterested, distinguished scholars or professional practitioners from leading public or private research universities, preferably those institutions holding membership in the Association of American Universities. The evaluators should hold a rank equal to or above the rank to which the candidate would be promoted.
The Chair should make every effort to avoid letters from interested scholars, those having a personal or close professional relationship with the candidate: friends, students, former teachers and colleagues, mentors, co-authors and co-investigators. If the Chair includes such materials, they should be in addition to the four required disinterested letters. In all such instances the Chair must explain the rationale for their inclusion and why the assessments can be presumed disinterested and important to the case, and the evaluators should be asked to describe the nature of their relationship to the candidate.
Generally the evaluators should be selected by an ad hoc faculty committee appointed by the Chair, or by the Chair in consultation with faculty colleagues in the candidate’s field of expertise. The Chair is encouraged to seek the counsel of leading scholars from other peer institutions who work in the candidate’s field as well as those within the candidate’s department or school. The Chair may also consult the candidate for names of evaluators, excluding collaborators and former teachers or students. Such letters should be in addition to the four disinterested letters, not counted among the four, and the names not shared with the candidate.
In soliciting letters from evaluators (see sample Letter to Internal/External Evaluators III.A.3.), the Chair should address the following points.
First, rather than provide a general recommendation or unsubstantiated opinion, the evaluators should be asked to comment on the candidate’s credentials: the quality of the faculty member’s current research or creative activity; the quality of publications or other evidence of peer review; and the candidate’s potential for future growth and contribution to the discipline. They should also provide specific comparisons between the candidate and others in the field who, relative to the candidate, are at the same stage in their careers. It is particularly useful if the evaluators use non-specialized language and focus on the candidate’s accomplishments and the contribution to the discipline.
Second, the evaluators must be asked explicitly whether, in their best judgment, the scholarly accomplishments and recognition achieved by the candidate would warrant the same appointment, promotion, or granting of tenure at the evaluator’s institution, or at other distinguished public research universities.
Third, the letter of solicitation to the evaluator should not indicate in any way whether the candidate has or has not received the support of the Chair, the Department, or any other officer or unit of the university.
Fourth, each letter must indicate that the evaluator’s response will be held in strict confidence unless the evaluator gives written permission for the candidate to see it. A form for this purpose is to be enclosed with each letter of solicitation, with the evaluator indicating which of three options is preferred: that the entire letter be held in confidence; that the letter be available to the candidate with all references to the author deleted; or that the candidate may see the letter in its entirety. This form must be signed and returned with the evaluator’s letter.
All letters received in response to the solicitation should be included in the dossier, as should notations of any calls to outside evaluators. Refusals or disregarded requests should be noted as well.
Letters from Internal Evaluators
At least two letters should be solicited from colleagues at UB, preferably from the candidate’s department or from center and institute directors and affiliated faculty where applicable. The Chair should seek internal evaluators who can best comment on the extent and quality of the candidate’s research or creative activity, on teaching capabilities (based both on the Teaching Portfolio and other evidence), on librarianship in the case of Librarians, on ability to work with graduate students, on willingness and skill in working with colleagues and serving on committees, and on other public or professional service as appropriate.
In the case of external candidates who are being appointed from other institutions, the Chair should seek equivalent letters from colleagues in the department where the candidate was most recently employed. For such candidates, the Chair will also solicit a minimum of four letters from disinterested distinguished referees external to the appointee’s institution. The Chair may provide a synopsis of the report of the local search committee as a substitute for internal letters from UB.
The dossier may include materials that have not been solicited by those responsible for its preparation, for instance other colleagues within or without the department or school. These should be included here, available for the candidate to review.
This is the initial letter of appointment from the Chair or Dean to the faculty member outlining the expectations of the school or department and the specific duties to be performed. Please delete all information pertaining to salary.
This form is usually provided by the Chair or Dean and indicates the recommended action, usually a tenure or promotion action in the context of the dossier herein being described.
This item pertains only to those letters of evaluation designated by the evaluator as confidential and therefore not available to the candidate. Otherwise follow the same instructions as for ITEM 9, PART I above.
To aid reviewers, this item of the dossier should include the following materials:
This letter transmits the dossier to the Provost. It should contain the Dean’s recommendation or that of the Associate Vice President for University Libraries and discuss the factors considered in making the recommendation. It should also contain the votes of the Personnel Committee at the level of the College/School/Library as well as any other advisory bodies at that level that have been authorized to act. The letter should include the following:
*The Dean’s letter should be placed at the front of the dossier before the Chair’s letter.
The advocate’s statement(s) should be inserted in the dossier at that point in the promotion process when it is produced.
In the course of the promotion process, the candidate will automatically receive copies of the letters of assessment by the Chair, Dean, Provost and by any other administrative officers who may have written at each level of the review, including the report of the Chair of the President’s Review Board. These letters should be copied to the candidate at the time they are written, and they must have all references to the identity of the author of confidential material expunged from them.
The candidate may have access to the non-confidential parts of the dossier (i.e., Part I), including letters written by external and internal evaluators who have given prior approval in writing.
For further information, contact the Office of the Provost at 645-2992.
Participation of Organized Research Units, Centers, and Institutes in the promotion process for faculty who have activities and responsibilities in these units.
UB has more than thirty interdisciplinary structures, which bring together faculty and staff from different departments and hiring units into areas of interest common to the members. The interaction across disciplines expands the avenues for faculty scholarship and creates collaborative studies and projects that enhance the scholarly life of the University. These interdisciplinary structures do not replace and are not intended to substitute for disciplinary focus within the departments, but they have provided many opportunities for exciting scholarly work at UB. While departments should continue to be the core organizational units at UB and the sole venue for faculty hiring and promotion, interdisciplinary units are critical for the missions of the University. To promote the growth of interdisciplinary units and encourage faculty participation in their activities, it is essential that such participation be fairly considered and evaluated in promotion decisions. To this end we propose the following rules to govern the "Participation of Organized Research Units, Centers, and Institutes in the promotion process for faculty who have activities and responsibilities in these units."
1. When faculty wish to explore interdisciplinary activities, they should be encouraged to interact with Organized Research Units, Centers, and Institutes.
2. All faculty appointments will continue to be made in departments. Whenever applicable, the letter of appointment of a faculty member must contain a description of the faculty member's level of commitment to any unit other than the hiring department(s).
3. Whenever a current faculty member wishes to participate in or to adjust the level of her/his commitment to the activities of another unit, her/his participation must be discussed with, and agreed upon by, the faculty member, the department chair, and the head of the respective unit. If there is a disagreement with regard to the amount or kind of participation, a further discussion must be conducted with all interested parties, including Deans. The final agreement for such participation must be signed by all interested parties and documented in the offices of all involved Deans, Chairs and Unit Heads.
4. Teaching research and service associated with other units must be credited by the faculty member’s department in the promotion process. This evaluation must include at least the following:
a. In preparing the dossier for promotion of a candidate who has formally participated in the activities of another unit, the head of that unit must be consulted by the chair of the candidate’s department.
b. A letter from the head of the other unit must be included in the candidate’s dossier prior to its submission at the school level and included on the checklist for the dossier.
c. In soliciting letters of reference from outside and inside evaluators, the chair of the department must consult with the head of the unit for appropriate names. A record of this consultation must be included in the dossier.
d. The head of the unit must be invited to participate in all discussions of the promotion by the department’s voting body of record and is entitled to participate in other formal deliberations.
Any questions regarding the President's Review Board or the preparation of dossiers can be addressed to Patricia Kane, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs 645-2995 or email@example.com.
For additional Faculty and Staff Resources, see University Policies & Guidelines for Faculty & Staff. (This content reflects the subject matter formerly housed in the Faculty Staff Handbook)