Office for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs

Suggestions for Department/Division/School Promotions and Tenure Committees

 

The Health Science Center Faculty Promotions, Tenure, and Appointments Committee, hereafter referred to as the Committee, is an advisory committee whose members are recommended by the Committee on Committees and appointed by the President of the Health Science Center.  The Committee has as its primary function the objective and fair application of the “Guidelines for Establishing Rank and Tenure” (Revised January 2002).  As an advisory committee to the President, the Committee makes recommendations concerning faculty for promotion, tenure, and initial appointment.  Based upon the information in the packet, the Committee forwards its recommendation to the  Office for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs (AFSA).  The AFSA then forwards the recommendation to the President.

 

The Committee relies on information sent forward by Department, Division, and/or School Promotions and Tenure Committees, Department/Division Chairs, and/or School Deans, to make its recommendations regarding appointment, promotion, and/or tenure.  The Departmental (or School, in the case of the School of Allied Health Sciences or the School of Nursing) Promotions and Tenure Committee letter of evaluation is a required component of the applications of all Health Science Center faculty being considered for promotion and/or tenure.  It is  required that departmental or school committees, or the department’s faculty as a whole, also be involved in reviewing credentials of candidates for initial appointments to the Health Science Center faculty at or above the rank of Associate Professor.  The departmental or school evaluations should be included in the applications of these candidates when forwarded to the Health Science Center Committee for consideration.

 

The Committee is not empowered, nor is it structured, in a way to conduct its own investigation or fact-finding.  In most cases a candidate will not be personally known to the majority of Committee members.  Therefore, information provided to the Committee in the promotion packet is the only information available, and thus critical to the Committee’s deliberation.

 

For these reasons, the information sent to the Committee should be explicit in addressing candidates’ qualifications.  For example, for promotion on the tenure track, candidates must provide evidence of excellence in two of the three standard academic strengths of teaching, research or service.  One of the two most common reasons that candidates may receive a negative recommendation from the Committee is a failure to provide sufficient documentation to allow the Committee to identify two strengths sufficiently developed to support promotion.  Therefore, in the departmental or school committee deliberations, and in their recommendations, it is essential that the two strengths upon which a candidate’s application is based be clearly identified and unambiguously supported.

 

Demonstration of “scholarly activity” is expected of all candidates for promotion to ranks above Assistant Professor, and in the awarding of tenure.  To qualify as scholarly achievement, the results of this activity, like those derived from original research, must be subjected to critical peer evaluation and disseminated in the public domain.  This means that all faculty, teachers, and clinicians, as well as laboratory researchers, to qualify for promotion should be contributing to the advancement of knowledge by publishing scholarly articles in their pertinent literature, by presenting scholarly papers at scientific, clinical, or other meetings, by engaging in clinical and translational research activities which may include team-based investigations or multidisciplinary collaborative research, being co-authors of scientific publications, or serving as co-investigators, by preparing or contributing to textbooks, by developing intellectual property for copywrite, patenting, or licensure*, by engaging in interdisciplinary teaching**, or by producing teaching materials (including software), public service materials or the like, that will have an impact outside of this institution.

 

The preceding discussion also is applicable to candidates for promotion on the non-tenure track where similar considerations apply to one rather than two academic legs.

 

The “Guidelines for Establishing Rank and Tenure” of this institution state that for promotion to Associate Professor on the tenure track a general requirement is “Developing peer recognition that is reflected by an emerging national reputation.”  Failure to document such peer acceptance adequately has been a second common reason for candidates to receive a negative recommendation from the Committee.  For individuals primarily engaged in research, publications in peer-reviewed journals and extramural research support are objective measures of national recognition.  Numerous other opportunities exist for faculty to be recognized outside the institution.  A partial list would include participation in national professional organizations, particularly as an officer, serving on editorial boards, serving as a reviewer of papers and/or grants, serving on study sections or other national panels, participating as consultants, presenting invited lectures, chairing symposia, visiting professorships, and the like.  It also should be noted that one need not have outside research support to publish.  For clinicians and teachers there are numerous dedicated specialty journals that may serve as appropriate vehicles for demonstrating scholarly activity.

 

Outside letters of support submitted from a candidate’s peers are an important component of the promotions and tenure applications.  Such letters may provide additional documentation of how a candidate is perceived outside the Health Science Center.  The best support letters are those that are focused and address specific areas of expertise with appropriate documentation.  Letters from individuals not currently or previously personally associated with a candidate are particularly valued for their objectivity.  Some departmental and school tenure and promotions committees have developed mechanisms to solicit outside letters from colleagues and peers not personally acquainted with a candidate.  This has proven to be a useful mechanism by which to obtain objective evaluations, and such letters are especially helpful to the Committee’s assessment.  All departmental and school committees are encouraged to investigate this mechanism in an effort to make the review process more objective.  Letters solicited through this mechanism should be marked as such.

The Regents’ Rules and Regulations that govern schools in The University of Texas System permit the awarding of tenure at the Assistant Professor level.  Only in rare circumstances will a candidate at the rank of Assistant Professor be able to meet the standards of sustained, superior performance in teaching, research, or scholarly achievement, professional services and university services necessary for the awarding of tenure.  In almost all cases, those meeting the award of tenure will have concurrently or previously met the criteria for promotion to Associate Professor or Professor.  Tenure is not an alternative to promotion, as faculty who lack qualifications necessary for promotion are not likely to qualify for the awarding of tenure.

 

The following questions are designed to assist faculty who serve on Department, Division, or School Tenure and Promotion Committees in the preparation of their recommendations for promotion and/or the awarding of tenure.

 

 

Teaching:

  1. How extensive is the individual’s knowledge in the area of teaching responsibility?
  2. Do the individual’s presentations, clinical rounds, laboratories reflect an ability to relate pertinent aspects of information in a clear and easy-to-follow fashion?
  3. Are the individual’s presentations well organized?
  4. What behaviors or skills set the individual apart from others in the ability to teach in an exciting or interesting manner?
  5. Does the individual convey a sense of enthusiasm and interest for teaching?
  6. Is a sense of respect and genuine interest in students, housestaff, and fellows exhibited by the individual?
  7. Has the individual had an impact on the development of students’ knowledge, interest, curiosity and professional skills and attitudes?
  8. What qualities does the individual possess that qualify him or her as an exceptional role model?
  9. How is scholarship demonstrated in the individual’s teaching?
  10. Does the individual engage in mentoring activities at different levels?
 

 

Research:

  1. Does the individual demonstrate initiative, independence and sustained productivity in scholarly activity?
  2. Does the individual contribute regularly as author or co-author to the peer-reviewed literature of his/her discipline?
  3. Does the individual serve as the principal or co-principal investigator on research projects?
  4. Is the individual’s research funded by research grants or other monies?
  5. Is the individual invited to participate at national or international professional or scientific meetings?
  6. Does the individual have a reputation that is derived from state, national, or international recognition?
  7. Is the individual recognized as an authority in his/her discipline?
  8. Does the individual serve on state, national, or international grant research or clinical review panels?
  9. Does the individual contribute to or support multi-disciplinary research?
  10. Is the individual involved in collaborative team-based research activities (e.g. multi-center clinical trials, or multi-investigator genomic analyses)?
  11. Does the individual contribute to technology development (e.g. acquisition of patents)?
  12. Does the individual engage in mentoring activities at different levels?
 

 

Service:

  1. Does the individual provide service to the institution?
  2. On what committees does the individual serve? What is the individual’s role? How effective is the individual in committee work?
  3. Does the individual engage in mentoring activities at different levels?
  4. Does the individual serve: (a) as a consultant to government review panels, study sections, or other national committees, (b) on editorial board(s) or a professional or scientific journal(s)?
  5. Has the individual been elected to national specialty groups, civic boards or organizations? Does the individual serve as an officer?
  6. What is the nature of the individual’s service to the community?
  7. How does the individual’s service to the community reflect and/or utilize the individual’s professional and/or academic role or background?
 

* Intellectual contributions represented by patents, inventions and other intellectual property may have a value equal to or greater than peer-reviewed publications and can be considered. Examples of such activities and their relative perceived merit are industry relationships with faculty which have significant intellectual involvement in the research process (study design, data analysis, etc.); faculty involvement resulting in co-authorship of peer-reviewed publications; research results in shared UT-ownership of patents, products, licenses, etc.; study results in FDA approval of new drug, device, vaccine, etc., or approval of new indication for existing drug, device, vaccine, etc.; research which brings in substantial funding to UTHSCSA; relationship with industry which enhances research and academic infrastructure; relationships that result in unrestricted funds for education and training activities; industry relationships that bring novel technologies, reagents, methods and intellectual contributions to UTHSCSA that would not be available otherwise; and research studies resulting in industry relationships that lead directly to more highly valued interactions.

 

** Interdisciplinary teaching should be recognized as a component for tenure and promotion criteria in all schools. This includes team teaching with faculty from different disciplines, teaching mixed discipline student groups, and teaching single-discipline student groups outside the faculty member’s discipline. Student evaluations, peer evaluations, and letters of recommendation concerning interdisciplinary teaching should be considered an important factor comparable to other supporting documentation concerning teaching.