Faculty Development

Criteria for Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

The Department of English has a long tradition of careful evaluation of junior faculty for promotion and tenure. The process begins early in recruitment, as we look to interview candidates with good prospects for advancement and to apprise them clearly of our expectations. To ensure wide initial support, a vote of two-thirds of the department is required for offer of an appointment. The department Personnel Committee, comprised of all tenured members, meets annually to review each assistant professor's progress in research, teaching, and service. The annual review is made the basis for a formal letter of review from the Department Chair to the junior member. This ongoing review looks toward a rigorous formal third-year review from which measured encouragement or warning may issue as appropriate.

Normally, this process runs for the five years prior to the sixth-year consideration for promotion and tenure. In this sixth year, outside peer reviews are gathered along with publications, work-in-progress, and departmental reviews of teaching and service. All members of the Personnel Committee are expected to study this material, but the primary responsibility for presenting the case lies with the candidate's Promotion and Tenure Committee who provide the Personnel Committee with an objective review of the relevant evidence. The decision-making process normally involves two stages: one meeting at which a formal presentation of evidence is made and discussed, and a second meeting, usually a week later, at which, after more discussion, a secret vote is taken. Again, a two-thirds majority is required to recommend promotion and tenure. In keeping with college rules, Personnel Committee members not present are permitted to vote in absentia.

The department's criteria for promotion and tenure are the traditional ones of research, teaching, and service. Of these, the first two are paramount. A collegial acceptance of routine responsibilities for departmental business is expected, although we normally do not expect major service obligations from junior faculty. But nothing less than consistently good teaching will do. In regard to publication, the College of Arts and Science guidelines specify that "Promotion to associate professor (and the awarding of tenure) reflects a demonstrated potential for developing a national reputation in the discipline." That potential will be demonstrated through the publication of a book or its equivalent, through positive response to one's published work from established scholars in the discipline, and through evidence of an active, ongoing research program.

Personnel Committee
Department of English
University of Missouri

May 10, 1994 [revised May 31, 2002 & September 23, 2008]

Procedures for Evaluation of Assistant Professors

  • Peer evaluations: assistant professors will invite tenured faculty to observe their classes and to write peer observation letters. Assistant professors are advised to have 2-3 peer letters in their file by the time of the third-year review and 5 letters by the end of the fifth year (or its equivalent when extensions to the probationary period have been approved).
  • Each spring the chair will gather the following materials from all assistant professors: updated CV, teaching evaluations (student and peer), course syllabi, and annual update statement (including summary of accomplishments in teaching, research, and service). These materials will be available to all members of the Personnel Committee. 
  • A subcommittee of the Personnel Committee (3-5 members) will do the initial review of the materials from all the assistant professors and will lead discussion by the full PC. This subcommittee will make an initial report to the full PC, but will not make any specific recommendations. The only vote will be the vote of the entire PC. The subcommittee will be appointed by the chair and must be approved by the entire PC. 
  • As mandated by the college bylaws, the third-year review is a more extensive review of the assistant professor's progress toward promotion and tenure. In this case, in addition to procedures described above, the chair will bring a draft of the third-year review letter to the full PC in September. Before making final revisions to the letter, the chair will consider suggestions from members of the full PC. 
  • A Promotion and Tenure Committee will be selected for each individual assistant professor in the fifth year (or equivalent if extensions to the probationary period have been approved). This P&T Committee will consist of three tenured faculty, one of whom is selected by the assistant professor with the other members being appointed by the chair. The function of the Promotion and Tenure Committee is two-fold: to make recommendations to the chair regarding external reviewers and to make a report to the PC in September of the sixth year, presenting the relevant evidence about the promotion and tenure case. The Promotion and Tenure Committee does not take a vote or make a recommendation; rather its report should be an objective review of the relevant evidence. The report should result, ultimately, in a formal letter that is included in the assistant professor's dossier. 
  • Jointly-appointed assistant professors who have tenure homes in English will be evaluated based on the same procedures that apply to full-time appointments; however, in such cases, the chair (and when appropriate, the Promotion and Tenure Committee) will work with the chair/director of the other academic unit to represent to the PC a full and accurate picture of the candidate's progress toward promotion and tenure.

Approved by the Department of English 8/26/08; amended 9/9/08

Other Promotion and Tenure Resources

Assistant Professor Leave

  1. Acknowledging that time away from one's teaching responsibilities often leads to increased scholarly productivity, the English Department encourages its tenure-track faculty members to pursue opportunities for paid research leave during the five-year probationary period. Assistant professors interested in taking research leave should explore funding opportunities from University sources, such as the UM Research Board, as well as from outside granting agencies. If these attempts are unsuccessful, the assistant professor may apply to the Department for one semester of paid research leave.
  2. The applicant shall apply for funding of the leave to the English Department Chair and the UM Research Board and the applicant is encouraged to also apply to an outside granting agency. The applicant must write directly to the Chair of the English Department requesting the Assistant Professor Leave at least one month before the other grant application is submitted* and indicate how the Assistant Professor Leave would directly benefit her/his progress toward tenure and promotion. The request should be accompanied by a draft of the application for funding from other sources. In preparing their applications for funding assistant professors are encouraged to seek the advice of senior colleagues. [*Normally, the deadline for submitting materials to the Chair will be 1 September in the applicant's second year.]
  3. The English Department Assistant Professor Leave shall be granted to an assistant professor ONLY when other grant applications are not successful and ONLY if the Chair and a majority of the Personnel Committee agree that the submitted research proposal is worthy of support.
  4. Assistant Professors who accept the English Department Assistant Professor Leave shall provide for the Chair, in writing, an agreement to teach a full load of courses during the two semesters subsequent to the departmentally funded Assistant Professor Leave.
  5. To ensure that all courses are properly staffed, the Chair of the English Department reserves the right to determine the semester during which the applicant can take the Assistant Professor Leave. In rare circumstances, curricular needs may even necessitate the Chair suggesting the leave be taken during the fourth year, rather than the third.
  6. No departmentally funded Assistant Professor Leave may be taken prior to the third year. The maximum amount of research leave allowed during any five-year period, including the probationary period, is four semesters: this includes leaves that are funded by the Research Council, the Research Board, and most outside agencies (since most outside funding entails some supplementary funding from the department), but not unpaid leave. However, assistant professors who intend to take more than one full year of leave (two semesters) during the probationary period should consult with the Chair and their departmental mentors regarding the impact this decision is likely to have on their prospects for promotion and tenure.

These procedures for administering assistant professor leaves were approved on 16 April 2002, with revisions approved on 14 October 2008.

Mentoring for Assistant Professors

To be successful, any program for mentoring must provide assistant professors accurate and timely information about the profession and the institution and opportunities to receive regular individualized career guidance. Both elements--the factual information and the opportunity to explore professional development more individually--are equally important to a mentoring program for assistant professors.

  1. The associate chair and the chair will be responsible for organizing regular meetings (2-4 times a semester) designed to provide information to assistant professors and to answer questions. These meetings will include information about such things as teaching resources, internal and external grants, book publishing, third-year review process, and promotion and tenure. In addition to providing information, these meetings will provide an opportunity for peer mentoring among the assistant professors.
  2. To provide opportunities to develop individualized mentoring relationships, each assistant professor will have two tenured faculty members who will serve as mentors to the assistant professor. These mentors will be selected by the assistant professor, after consultation with the associate chair and the chair. The mentors will assist with professional development but will have no special responsibilities regarding evaluation. Assistant professors may change their mentors by making a request to the department chair.

    While a good mentoring relationship depends on many different factors—mutual respect and a willingness of both parties to put time and energy into the process—the English department has the following expectations. Each mentor should encourage intellectual and professional development and be willing to seek out information, when necessary. In addition, the mentor is responsible for initiating a meeting with the assistant professor at least once a semester. The English department has the following expectations for assistant professors: they are responsible for defining their own intellectual goals/plans; they should be willing to bring problems, concerns, and questions to their mentors; and they should seek out advice, support, and feedback from a variety of people. Both mentors and mentees are responsible for working together to set an agenda and expectations.

  3. While each assistant professor will have two designated mentors, assistant professors are encouraged to seek out professional advice and support from other people as well, including tenured faculty within the department, more advanced assistant professors, faculty in other departments, and colleagues at other institutions. No one person should be expected to mentor in all areas: one faculty member may be most helpful to an assistant professor in matters of publishing; another may be the best source of support for teaching issues.

    To facilitate this important informal mentoring, the department chair and associate chair will compile a list of faculty who are interested in mentoring, along with particular areas in which these faculty members have expertise. If, for example, an assistant professor would like to talk with someone informally about writing intensive courses, the assistant professor can consult the list of faculty with experience with such courses. Similarly, if an assistant professor has questions about submitting an article to a journal, the chair and associate chair can identify faculty who currently are editors of journals or who serve on editorial boards. While the assistant professor is obviously free to ask questions from any faculty member, this list is intended to facilitate informal mentoring.

  4. The department will have resources available for faculty members interested in knowing more about mentoring. These resources currently include Coaching and Mentoring: How to Develop Top Talent and Achieve Stronger Performance (2004), and On Being a Mentor: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty (2007).
  5. In cases of joint appointments, English will coordinate mentoring with the chair/director of the other unit.

Partner Accommodation Policy

The department believes its goals are well served by good faith efforts to accommodate the spouses and domestic partners of current and future faculty members. Such accommodation helps us recruit outstanding new faculty, retain valued existing faculty, and improve the working environment for all faculty. As long as the partner meets or exceeds the department's standards of teaching and scholarly excellence, that person's relationship to a future or existing faculty member should increase his or her chances of being hired. In no case will the department hire anyone solely because of that person's status as the partner of a current or future faculty member. To the fullest extent possible, the customary departmental procedures will be followed in all hires that result in partner accommodation.

approved: 16 April 2002

Policies for Non-Tenure-Track and Non-Regular Faculty Members

Faculty Governance and Academic Freedom:

  1. NTT and NR faculty members in the English Department can serve as voting members of departmental committees, as defined by the English Department bylaws. In addition to such membership, NTT faculty members may serve on appropriate college and campus committees, and they shall have an opportunity to share their opinions with the Dean regarding the appointment of the chair of the English Department.
  2. NTT and NR faculty members have the same academic protections regarding academic freedom as tenured and tenure-track faculty. See Collected Rules and Regulations 310.035 for specific policies regarding academic freedom.

NTT and NR Duties and Titles Used within the English Department:

  1. The English Department has four broad categories of NTT and NR titles. With all of these titles, the primary duty is teaching and/or support of teaching (e.g., administration or supervision of teaching).
    • Assistant Teaching ProfessorAssociate Teaching Professor, and Teaching Professor titles are used for full-time NTT faculty who have a PhD or who have a master's degree with a strong and established record of successful teaching in a comparable setting. NTT faculty with these titles will, in most cases, have at least 9-month contracts.
    • The title Instructor is used for full-time NTT faculty who have a master's degree (without a PhD) but do not yet have a strong and established record of successful teaching in a comparable setting. After a faculty member has been an instructor for three years, the department will recommend that the title be changed to assistant teaching professor, if there is a record of successful teaching within the department.
    • The term adjunct is used for faculty who are part-time within the English Department. In some cases, this is a courtesy title for those whose primary responsibility is not teaching within the English department but who nevertheless teach in a limited capacity for the English Department. Within this category four titles are available for use within the English Department: Adjunct Instructor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, and Adjunct Professor.
    • The term visiting is used for NTT faculty who are on temporary appointments (not to exceed four years). Within this category, three titles are available for use within the English Department: Visiting Assistant Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, and Visiting Professor.
  2. Teaching loads for all NTT and NR faculty members will be clearly indicated in offer letters. Any changes to teaching loads will be indicated in renewal letters.
  3. Additional information regarding NTT titles is available in Collected Rules and Regulations, section 310.035. If in the future, the English Department makes use of other NTT titles, additional guidelines will be established.

Hiring and Reappointment of NTT Faculty:

  1. Except in the case of emergency hires required to staff existing courses, searches for NTT faculty members will be conducted on a regional or national basis, with a search committee appointed by the chair of the department. At least one member of the search committee will be a NTT faculty member within the department. The search committee will make a recommendation to the chair, who will make the final hiring decision, with the appropriate approval of the dean and campus. When NTT faculty members are hired as emergency hires, they are encouraged to apply if the position is announced through the regular search process.
  2. NTT faculty appointment in the English Department shall begin at a specified date and terminate at a specified date. Such appointments are usually for a period of one academic year, but may be for a single semester, depending on departmental needs. A limited number of multi-year contracts may be offered, but the maximum length of such a contract is three years. Reappointments are made at the discretion of the University.

Evaluation of NTT Faculty:

  1. All NTT faculty members should receive a written evaluation either by the chair of the department or someone appointed by the chair. These annual reports will be part of the faculty member's personnel file; information from these annual evaluations will be factored into decisions regarding raises, reappointments, and readiness for promotion.
  2. Any evaluation of NTT teaching faculty will focus on the primary responsibility of teaching (or support of teaching) as well as service and professional activities related to this primary responsibility.

Criteria for Ranked NTT Faculty (Assistant Teaching Professors, Associate Teaching Professors, and Teaching Professors):

  1. Candidates for the title of Assistant Teaching Professor should have either a PhD in English or a related field or a master's degree in English or a related field with a strong and established record of successful teaching in a comparable setting.
  2. Candidates for promotion to Associate Teaching Professor will normally be expected to have been full-time, ranked faculty members in the English department for at least six years. Associate Teaching Professor candidates should have, in addition to the qualifications of Assistant Teaching Professors, a record both of high quality teaching and of strong contributions to the curricular needs of the department. These contributions to the department's curricular needs could be demonstrated, for example, by willingness to accept additional or unusual assignments, active participation in curricular planning, or successful supervision and/or mentorship of other faculty or graduate students.
  3. Candidates for promotion to Teaching Professor will normally be expected to have been full-time faculty members with a rank of Associate Teaching Professor in the English department for at least six years. Exceptional candidates may petition for early consideration for promotion. Teaching Professors should have, in addition to the qualifications of Associate Teaching Professors, demonstrated sustained excellence and innovation in teaching and sustained enhancement of the teaching mission of the department, as demonstrated, for example, by outreach to the campus or community on behalf of the department.
  4. Promotion for NTT faculty members is a voluntary process and is not required for reappointment. A candidate who applies unsuccessfully for promotion may re-apply in two years. Successful or unsuccessful promotion reviews carry with them no automatic reward or penalty.
  5. NTT faculty seeking promotion to either Associate Teaching Professor or Teaching Professor status are advised, though not required, to ask for an informal pre-promotion review one or two years year before they begin the formal promotion review process. The review evaluates a candidate's progress toward promotion and identifies potential weaknesses the candidate might address. A successful pre-promotion review does not guarantee approval in a formal promotion review. During this pre-promotion review, the chair will appoint a mentoring committee, who will evaluate the candidate's potential for being promoted. The pre-promotion review will conclude with a report sent to the candidate and written by the chair of the department or someone assigned by the chair. This report should assess the candidate's potential for promotion. Pre-promotion review letters are intended to assist the candidate and do not automatically become part of his or her formal dossier for promotion.
  6. NTT faculty are responsible for keeping records associated with their teaching performance (copies of student evaluations, syllabi, sample graded papers, writing assignments, etc.).
  7. When a NTT faculty member has indicated a desire to be considered for promotion, the chair of the department will appoint a promotion committee that will include NTT faculty member(s) at the promotable rank or higher (if any such NTT faculty exist within the department at the time) and tenured or tenure-track faculty member(s). This promotion committee is responsible for advising the NTT faculty member and for presenting the relevant facts to the English Department's Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee will vote on whether to recommend this promotion. Procedures for considering this recommendation will follow the guidelines as outlined by the Provost and/or the Dean of the College of Arts and Science.

Candidates wishing to be considered for promotion should consult the websites of the College of Arts and Science and the Provost's Office for specific information about procedures and deadlines.