The working of the promotion and tenure process is vital to the academic health of the University. Each year candidates submit materials to faculty leaders in their departments and schools, who in turn solicit external evaluations and prepare dossiers to be reviewed by the relevant deans, the Provost, the University Committee on Rank and Tenure, and the President. There are issues of principle and intricacies of detail in dossier preparation that deserve special attention. To support the process, we offer the following guidance to the Main Campus faculty responsible for preparing dossiers for rank and tenure applicants intended both to clarify and to supplement the GUIDELINES FROM THE UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON RANK AND TENURE ON PREPARING TENURE AND PROMOTION CASES, as well as the material found in the Faculty Handbook.
Thank you for your attention to these details.
- Dossier submission and delivery
- Number of copies
- Decanal letters
- Tenure probationary period status
- Mid-probationary period review documentation
- Department report
- Record of the votes
- Medical and family care disruptions
- For the dossier readers (Deans, UCRT, Provost, and President)
- Collaborative research
- External evaluations
- Communication with external evaluators
- Re-application and external letters
- Joint appointments
- Late additions
Applications for promotion of current Georgetown faculty who already hold tenure are to be received by the Provost’s Office by November 15.
Applications for promotion and grant of tenure are to be received by the Provost’s Office by February 15.
Applications for appointment to rank and grant of tenure for external candidates are accepted throughout the year.
Earlier submission – even if only a few days or weeks – will be appreciated and ease the very concentrated review schedule in the Spring.
The Provost, in consultation with the UCRT, may grant extensions to the deadlines. Extension requests must be received in writing (email is fine) by the applicable deadline date.
Dossiers and sets of publications should be uploaded to Interfolio. You can access Interfolio by navigating to http://rankandtenure.georgetown.edu/ . Please contact Venus Davis if you have questions about access to Interfolio or procedures for uploading materials. Any supplemental materials (publications, etc.) that cannot be uploaded should be delivered to the Office of the Provost with copies to the deans.
Please upload dossier materials into Interfolio. If you need a case shell created or assistance with this process, please contact Venus Davis in the Office of the Provost.
On the Main Campus, the candidate’s school dean(or deans for faculty with joint appointments) and the Graduate School dean review the dossier and have the opportunity to add their own confidential letters to the dossier package. In most cases, decanal review occurs after the school or department has submitted the dossier and publications via Interfolio to the Provost’s office and to the relevant deans. No matter the sequence, decanal letters are confidential and should not be included in the dossier materials that are available to other Main Campus deans. The deans’ letters should be delivered separately to the Provost’s Office, where they are added to the other dossier materials to complete the file and are delivered by the Provost’s Office to UCRT.
The Provost’s Office will append to the dossier a brief standardized statement to confirm the candidate’s tenure probationary period status (year on the tenure clock).
All probationary-period faculty have a seven-year clock. Faculty begin Ordinary Faculty appointment at Georgetown in year 1, 2, 3, or 4 of the seven-year probationary period. Probationary period status (year on the tenure clock) is stated upon initial appointment and again at the time of any adjustment during the probationary period. Faculty become eligible for tenure review upon completion of the third year of the tenure probationary period and, after becoming eligible, may request a tenure review in any year of appointment during the remainder of the probationary period.
The Main Campus “Pre-Tenure Review Policy” adopted in 2010 specifies that “[a]ll documentation created or assembled (including the department’s report and chair’s letter, the deans’ letters, and any response from the candidate) will become part of the record to be included in the dossier if and when the candidate applies for promotion and tenure.
Please organize and include all of these documents behind a tab labeled “Mid-Probationary Period Review” placed in the dossier following the tab for “Annual Faculty Evaluations” (and before the tab for “Teaching”). If the applicant opted out of the mid-probationary review, please include a note to that effect and place it behind the “Mid-Probationary Period Review” tab.
It is essential that the report of department action be a well-documented and even-handed account of the faculty discussion and vote. The preparer and all faculty contributing to the report of department action should be identified. The report may be in the form of minutes only, minutes and memo or letter, or memo or letter only.
If a department chair or other academic unit leader writes to express his or her own evaluation of the candidate, such evaluation should be in addition to the report of department action. Any such separate letter of evaluation should be clearly identified as the chair’s own evaluation or view and not the report of department action. It should be dated and placed behind the “Other” tab in the dossier.
All schools and departments should provide in the department report the following information along with each vote tally:
- the number of faculty in the unit eligible to vote
- the number of faculty present/absent for the vote
- the number of faculty who voted (should reconcile with the vote tally)
Detailed discussion of personal medical or family-care related matters is not germane to the evaluation of promotion or tenure applications and should not be included in the dossier materials. However, we all recognize that personal health and family circumstances from time to time interrupt, delay, or otherwise disrupt performance and progress during the probationary period. We act in response at the time of the personal circumstances through policies and benefits such as leave and clock stops, among others, designed to offset time lost to family and health circumstances. It is not inappropriate to make a general reference to such time away or clock stops, but the explanation should end with that.
The candidate’s statement and the department report are the items in the dossier that also serve to help readers approach the full dossier contents. It is a good idea to read through the assembled materials and ask what is striking or puzzling or unexplained. The department report remains an opportunity to fill any gaps. For example, collaborative, multi-authored work typically requires further explanation from the department and the candidate. Similarly, non-top-tier, non-peer-reviewed published work may be taken as less important unless there is circumstantial and persuasive discussion of the specific publications and their publishing venues. If there are negative letters or conflicted department discussion, fair-minded and objective contextualization can be very helpful. (Note: We’ve seen that defensive criticism, belittling, or peremptory minimization of negative items will generally be disregarded by readers of the dossier.)
The applicant should be advised that the research statement provides an excellent opportunity to explain his or her contributions and project leadership relative to his or her co-authors’ contributions to collaborative work.
In addition, the applicant or the department should arrange to obtain statements from principal co-authors that address the nature of the collaboration in terms of the leadership, contribution, and independence of the applicant.
External evaluations should be sought from those who are well qualifed to evaluate the candidate’s published work and other professional accomplishments. The process of selecting the panel of external evaluators should be fully explained, with reference not only to the qualifications of the reviewers, but to their objectivity and to any other known factors that might appear to have influenced their selection or their evaluations of the candidate. Follow the instructions from the UCRT memo for preparation of materials related to external evaluations and include all of these items behind the tab, Selection of External Evaluators. The department report may also include discussion of these matters, but the department report does not serve in lieu of the separate tabbed section and report found there.
Include a complete list of all those nominated by the candidate and all the names proposed by the department. Indicate the order in which the reviewers were contacted and if any were eliminated from further consideration. The record of response (including no response) from each of the reviewers contacted should also be complete.
Include an itemized list in the dossier of the materials provided to the external evaluators (cv, research statement (if included), individual publications). If there are multiple versions of any of these documents included in the dossier, identify the versions sent to the evaluators and note where the different versions are placed in the dossier (e.g., updated cv behind the “cv” tab, earlier version sent to the evaluators behind the “other” tab).
This is the standard required format for all Main Campus schools and departments to use in seeking external evaluations.
All preliminary inquiries (and responses to the inquiries) should be by e-mail or otherwise in writing to provide documentation of the exchange.
Include in the dossier a complete list of the materials provided to the external evaluators. Those materials included in the dossier should be the same versions of the materials available to the external evaluators (if not, clearly identify and date any additions or updates).
Please note: The candidate’s research statement may be sent to evaluators at the academic unit’s discretion. Regardless of whether a unit chooses to send the research statement, it should not send other statements to external evaluators, including the applicant’s teaching and service statements or any statements describing the academic unit.
Follow the usual procedure for developing lists and obtaining the usual number of external letters.
UCRT advises in its Spring 2012 memo UCRT “that evaluations whose content might reasonably have been predicted in advance should be avoided.” This includes evaluations from those who have submitted letters previously. Nevertheless, if you determine to approach a reviewer who recently submitted a letter, modify the request along the lines “We are reviewing again the application of…” Mention that the applicant’s materials have been updated and request that the reviewer please update his or her comments as applicable. Invite the reviewer to submit either an updated full letter or a cover note with the previous letter attached. Do not guide the reviewer to recent developments or to the changes in the applicant’s materials and do not in any way suggest what might have been a weakness in the previous application. In all other respects, the external reviewer request letter should follow the usual format and text.
Also, remember that “if a candidate comes up a second time for tenure or for promotion to a particular rank, all letters received in connection with the first application should be included in the file, even if the faculty member decided not to complete the application process that year.” (UCRT Memo)
In accordance with the Guidelines on Joint Appointments the primary department or school “is responsible for administrative procedures regarding tenure and promotion”; “will normally initiate the solicitation of outside evaluators after negotiation with the other unit”; and “must take into account and reflect the views of the secondary unit in its deliberations and report.”
If the department or school wishes to add material to the dossier after it has been delivered to the Provost’s Office for transmittal to the UCRT, any such material must be submitted through the Provost’s Office. This step is required to ensure that appropriate record of the full dossier submission is maintained.
We neither encourage nor discourage late additions. We cannot guarantee that any late-submitted material will receive the fullest consideration from the UCRT (for example, it will not if the UCRT’s work has already advanced on the application in question).
Late additions should be submitted with a brief cover note from the dossier preparer and be clearly labeled to indicate whether or not the addition was available to the faculty members who voted on the candidacy at the school or department level at the time of their review and vote.