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PS-10.A.01 - Rank and Tenure System

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 05, 2021

ISSUE #: 8

PRESIDENT:  Dr. Antonio D. Tillis (Interim)

​​PURPOSE

This PS delineates policies and procedures for the rank and tenure system of the University of Houston–Downtown (UHD). These policies and procedures are consistent with the role and scope of the institution.

The institution is committed to the fulfillment of human potential through educational opportunity and excellence in teaching. The purpose of the rank and tenure system is to recognize significant achievement and service, to reward excellence in teaching, to promote service to the institution, to encourage scholarly and creative activities, and to promote incentive for continuing professional growth. The rank and tenure process requires careful evaluation of faculty performance and potential by peers and by appropriate academic administrators. 

DEFINITIONS

2.1 Tenure: The right to continuous employment. 

2.2 Promotion: Advancement to a higher rank based concurrently on university and departmental standards. For purposes of this document, an "assistant professor" is eligible for promotion to the rank of "associate professor," and an "associate professor" is eligible for promotion to the rank of "professor." See also PS 10.A.19

2.3 Probationary period: The time a faculty member spends under appointment in a tenure​-track position prior to being awarded tenure or promotion. It shall not exceed seven years without the approval of the UHD president, and the conditions of the period shall be specified in the appointment letter. Provisions for stopping the probationary clock are detailed in PS 10.A.23

2.4 Portfolio: The set of files on UHD’s primary Learning Management System (LMS) platform (Blackboard or similar; hereafter LMS) assembled and submitted by a candidate for tenure or promotion at UHD. It details all relevant activities and achievements in teaching, scholarly/creative activities, and service (see Appendix C below). 

2.5 Independent Review: The various levels of initial and intermediate review (Department Rank and Tenure Committee, chairperson, dean, university committee, and provost/VPAA) may not consult with one another on factual or evaluative matters once candidate material is made available via LMS. This does not prevent the president from consultation with the intermediate and initial levels of review to form a final recommendation to the chancellor and board of regents. 

2.6 Quorum: A quorum of more than fifty percent of the eligible voting members of a Rank and Tenure Committee at any level is required to conduct official voting procedures. 

2.7 The second- and fourth-year reviews are points of substantive evaluation for a probationary faculty member to provide feedback on progression toward tenure and promotion. The evaluation is conducted jointly by the department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. 

2.8 Affirmative vote: A vote in favor of tenure and/or promotion. 

2.9 Denial vote: A vote opposing tenure and/or promotion. 

2.10 Recusal: When a voting member of a committee does not review, discuss, or vote on a candidate’s portfolio. To effectuate a recusal, the committee member prior to a candidate’s file made available to the committee members in LMS informs the chairperson of the university or Department Rank and Tenure Committee that (s)he will not review the candidate’s material and discuss the file at meetings and will not cast a vote. 

2.11 Abstention: When at some point in the course of a review or discussion of a candidate’s file or at the point where a vote is taken, a voting member of a committee chooses to not cast a vote on a candidate’s portfolio. An abstention requires no notice or specific action by the committee member. An abstention is recorded where a committee member participates in the review and discussion of a candidate’s portfolio but does not sign either the Affirmative report or the Denial report in writing or by electronic signature. 

2.12 Non-participating faculty: A faculty member with voting rights who does not participate at all in the process on a candidate’s file. This is a committee member who does not cast an affirmative vote or a denial vote, and who does not effectuate a recusal or review, discuss, and vote on a candidate’s portfolio. 

2.13 Percent affirmative committee vote: Applies to university and Department Rank and Tenure Committees. It equals the number of affirmative votes that are cast divided by the number of affirmative plus denial votes cast (X 100). That is, recusals, abstentions, and non-participating faculty are not included in the determination of the percentage of affirmative votes cast. 

2.14 Department criteria: The rank and tenure criteria for tenure and promotion developed by tenure-track faculty in the department. For departments that have college criteria in lieu of department criteria, all references in this policy to “department criteria” has the meaning of college criteria.

POLICY

3.1 Discrepancy with System Policy. If any discrepancy occurs between the following UHD policies and procedures and those of the University of Houston System, the system policies and procedures are to be followed. 

3.2 Faculty Ranks. Faculty ranks are enumerated in PS 10.A.19 with respect to description, minimum academic preparation, minimum experience, and minimum criteria for rank. When this policy (PS 10.A.01) is periodically reviewed there will be a joint and supplemental review of the relevant section(s) of PS 10.A.19

3.3 Tenure and Promotion 

3.3.1 Tenure is awarded by the chancellor, effective at the beginning of the next academic year, based upon the authority delegated by the board of regents and upon the recommendation of the president after the appropriate review process has been completed. Tenure is awarded on the basis of overall and sustained excellent performance to date, as judged by university and department standards, the likelihood of continued and enhanced performance for the benefit of the institution, and institutional need for the faculty member's field of expertise. Tenure is revoked only because of dismissal for cause, bona fide financial exigency, the elimination of programs, retirement or resignation, or due to violation of the requirements of the post-tenure review process. Tenured faculty members are afforded every opportunity for placement in other related faculty assignments when the existence of a bona fide exigency or the elimination of a program necessitates the reduction of tenured faculty members. 

3.3.2 Promotion is awarded based on overall and sustained excellent performance for the period of review and is judged using university and department criteria (specified in this policy and in departmental policy) and the minimum academic preparation, experience, and criteria for each rank (as enumerated in PS 10.A.19). For a faculty member applying for tenure and promotion to associate professor the period of review is the time spent in rank as instructor at UHD plus time spent in the assistant professor rank at UHD or (for cases where time to tenure and promotion is awarded at the time of appointment at UHD) time spent as assistant professor at UHD plus time in the same rank at previous institutions. For a faculty member seeking advancement to the rank of professor, the period of review is the time spent in the rank of associate professor at UHD or (in cases where time in rank is granted at the time of appointment at UHD) time as associate professor at UHD plus time in the rank at previous institutions. The president, in consultation with the tenured members of the appropriate department and in extraordinary circumstances, may waive certain specific criteria for promotion. Promotions are subject to the approval of the chancellor and the board of regents and become effective at the beginning of the next academic year. 

3.3.3 The rank of instructor at UHD is in the tenure-track with time spent as an instructor counted in the probationary period. See PS 10.A.19 for the definition of Instructor and implications for years counted as an Instructor in the tenure-track. 

3.3.4 Tenure-track assistant professors shall serve a probationary period not to exceed seven years, at least four of which must be at UHD. Promotion to associate professor is concurrent with the award of tenure unless otherwise stipulated by the president. 

3.3.5 Associate professors may be appointed with tenure, or alternatively, shall serve a probationary period not to exceed four years before tenure is awarded. In cases of exceptional merit, the probationary period specified in the appointment letter may be shortened by the provost at the request of the dean. Prior to the request, the dean shall consult with the department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. Exceptional merit is evidenced by activity that makes a faculty member well above average in the discipline, as judged by the department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. 

3.3.6 Promotion from associate to professor requires strong evidence of scholarship/creative activity, teaching, and service as appropriate to the mission of the university. No specified time in rank is required for promotion from associate to professor. Evaluation of candidate material is based on work completed in rank as Associate Professor. 

3.4 University Criteria for Tenure and Promotion 

3.4.1 The criteria listed in subsections 3.4.2 through 3.4.4 below state the University-level standards for tenure and promotion. A candidate must also meet the minimal qualifications for each rank established in PS 10.A​.19 and the rank and tenure criteria in place at the department level. 

3.4.2 Tenure is awarded on the basis of overall sustained and excellent performance during the probationary period, on the basis of the likelihood of continued and enhanced performance for the benefit of the institution, and on the institutional need for the faculty member's field of expertise. 

3.4.3 Promotion to Associate Professor. An applicant for associate professor will have achieved a record of excellence in teaching, has a sustained record of major contributions in both service/professional activities and in scholarly/creative activities, and used their talents to benefit the department and the institution. 

3.4.4 Promotion to Professor. The criteria listed in this policy are only the minimal conditions for consideration for promotion to the rank of Professor. Based on accomplishments as associate professor, and additionally as indicated by current work in progress, the applicant exhibits the potential for sustained continuation of excellence in teaching, leadership in service and professional activities, and major contributions in scholarly/creative activities after promotion to professor.

3.5 Rights of Tenured Faculty Regarding the Rank and Tenure Review. The award of tenure conveys an important right to a faculty member. All tenured faculty members that are part of the faculty assembly shall have the right to vote in rank and tenure decisions of probationary faculty and tenured faculty who seek advancement in rank. Participation in rank and tenure process is at the center of what it means to be a tenured university faculty member. Tenured faculty shall act responsibly toward this process by evaluating all aspects of a candidate’s second and fourth year reviews and a candidate’s tenure/promotion portfolio by applying the applicable criteria, attending meetings at which attendance is requested by a committee chairperson, and participating in discussion and written evaluation of candidate material. 

3.6 Development of Department Rank/Tenure Criteria. Each department must establish clearly articulated criteria for promotion to associate professor with tenure as well as distinct criteria for promotion from associate professor to professor. The criteria should recognize the expectations of sustained excellence in the three areas of teaching, service and professional activities, and scholarly/creative activities, as well as expectations of leadership and standing in the academy commensurate with rank. The criteria for all levels must be discussed and approved by majority vote of all tenured and tenure-track faculty in the department, including the chairperson. A mandatory review of the criteria will occur every third year, with the potential for an off-cycle review in any given year where a need arises. 

3.6.1 Mandatory review every third year. The Office of the Provost will announce each mandatory campus-wide third year review at the beginning of the relevant fall term. The chairperson of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee will schedule a meeting in the fall semester with all tenured and tenure-track faculty to review the criteria and address questions. The rank and tenure committee will establish review and voting processes for addressing modifications, additions, and deletions to the criteria. Any member of the tenured and tenure-track faculty may request changes which must be shared with all tenured and tenure-track faculty for review. 

3.6.2 Off cycle review. An off-cycle review may be initiated upon petition of either a simple majority of the tenured faculty of the department, including the department chairperson, or upon a simple majority of the tenured and tenure track faculty of the department. Where an off-cycle review is initiated by a department, it does not impact the department’s normal timeline for participation in the mandatory third year review. 

3.7 Early Tenure and Promotion. A faculty member may apply early for tenure and promotion. A faculty member who applies early for tenure and promotion and is denied may not reapply. The year that follows an unsuccessful application is the faculty member’s terminal year. 

3.8 Credit for Years Prior to UHD Years. At the time of a faculty member’s initial appointment, the number of prior years of service countable toward tenure and/or promotion to a higher rank at UHD is recommended by the department chairperson in consultation with the dean. The recommendation is forwarded to the Provost/SVPASA. The number of prior years’ credited is communicated in writing to the faculty member at the time of the initial appointment. The number of years that may be credited is governed by System rules (SAM 06.A.09) and is summarized in section 3.3 of this UHD policy. Where a faculty member is required to submit a review that is off the normal second and/or fourth year review cycle, the terms of the review(s) are communicated in writing to the faculty member at the time of the initial appointment. 

3.9 Initial Appointment with Tenure or Rank Above Assistant Professor. Initial appointments with ranks above assistant professor and/or with tenure must include review and approval by the majority of the tenured members of the appropriate department who will provide a written and signed recommendation to the appropriate administrators. 

3.10 Extension of the Probationary Period for Tenure-Track Faculty 

3.10.1 PS 10.A.23 (Extension of the Probationary Period for Tenure-Track Faculty) allows a faculty member on tenure-track to request and have granted a oneyear extension of time in the rank and tenure process. 

3.10.2 A faculty member granted additional time under PS 10.A.23 has the second and fourth year reviews extended. A faculty member granted an extension prior to the second year review will have the second year review conducted in the third year of employment, the fourth year review conducted in the fifth year of employment, and will apply for tenure and promotion in the seventh year of employment. Similarly, a faculty member granted a one-year extension under the policy before the fourth-year review will have that review conducted in the fifth year of employment. If the maximum number of requests are granted under PS 10.A.23 (two), the additional extension is added to the timeline consistent with this provision of the current policy. Each year of time granted from PS 10.A.23 also extends outward the terminal year. 

3.10.3 A faculty member granted time to tenure and promotion in accord with provision 3.3 and 3.8 of this policy who is required by the terms of the appointment letter to submit a review that is off the normal second and/or fourth year cycle may also have an extension granted by virtue of PS 10.A.23. In such an instance, the faculty member will have time to tenure and promotion and any terminal year extended in a manner consistent with this section (3.10). 

3.11 Department Chairperson and Dean Candidacies for Tenure and/or Promotion. A department chairperson who is a candidate for promotion and/or tenure must receive the support of both the Department Rank and Tenure Committee and the dean. A department chairperson may not submit a recommendation for their self for promotion and/or tenure. A dean who is a candidate for promotion and/or tenure must receive the support of the rank and tenure committee of the department in which they hold academic rank as well as of the chairperson of that department; a dean may not submit a recommendation for their self for promotion and/or tenure. 

3.12 Contents of the Portfolio 

3.12.1 LMS and Structure of Portfolio. Candidates’ second- and fourth-year material and the tenure and promotion portfolio will be provided for review on the university’s LMS. In the fall semester of the first year of the faculty member’s employment, the faculty member will be granted access to an LMS shell that provides the structure of the rank and tenure report. The purpose is to permit ongoing collection of material and self-assessment. The faculty member shall have the opportunity to add material to the shell annually in preparation for the second and fourth year reviews and the rank and tenure review. 

Departments have purview and discretion over what is to be included in the second and fourth year reviews. 

At a minimum, when the candidate submits documentation for tenure and/or promotion, the candidate will upload a) the version of the department rank and tenure criteria that is relevant to the review, b) an updated curriculum vitae, c) an opening statement, d) statements concerning past performance evaluations (annual reviews, second/fourth year reviews), e) statements concerning achievements and potential in teaching, scholarly/creativity activity, and institutional and professional service, f) a statement concerning minimum experience, and g) a statement concerning minimum academic preparation. Access to material will be restricted to the candidate and those responsible for conducting the second- and fourth-year reviews and the rank and tenure review. 

3.12.2 Selection of Relevant University and Department Evaluation Criteria. A candidate’s portfolio is prepared to be judged on the basis of both university and department rank and tenure criteria. A candidate for tenure and promotion may choose either the criteria in place at the time of the initial appointment or the criteria in place at the time the application is submitted for tenure and promotion. A candidate who applies for promotion to professor may choose to be evaluated based on the criteria that were approved within the last three years prior to their semester of application or the criteria in effect at the time of the application. A candidate for either tenure or promotion who elects to use a rank and tenure criteria that is different from the one in place at the time of the application shall explicitly notify those who will vote on the candidacy by memorandum that is placed in the opening statement section of the portfolio at the time of the application. 

3.13 Levels of Independent Review and Portfolio Progression Requirements 

3.13.1 Independent Review. Candidates for rank and tenure are recommended at five independent levels: the department (separate recommendations by department chairperson and by the Department Rank and Tenure Committee), the dean, the University Rank and Tenure Committee, the vice president for academic affairs/provost, and the president. Recommendations regarding promotion and tenure are based strictly upon approved departmental and university criteria, professional considerations, and documentation. Recommendations at each independent level of review consist of a detailed written assessment of each candidate's past achievements and potential for future contributions, academic and professional experience, academic preparation, and performance at UHD. The recommendations must be solidly argued and based on detailed evidence.

A candidate at the point of the second- or fourth-year review will be independently reviewed by the department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. The department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee shall provide the tenure-track faculty member with separately written letters to provide feedback on progression toward tenure and promotion in April. The Department Rank and Tenure Committee and the department chairperson will share their respective letters with the candidate and with each other following the evaluation. 

3.13.2 Progression of Rank and Tenure Candidacy Beyond the College. For a candidacy to progress beyond the dean’s level, the candidacy must be supported by at least two affirmative recommendations from the following three sources: Department Rank and Tenure Committee, the department chairperson, and the dean. In the case of the candidacy of a chairperson, the candidacy must be supported by both affirmative recommendations from the Department Rank and Tenure Committee and the dean. A dean candidate must be supported by affirmative recommendations from both the Department Rank and Tenure Committee and the department chairperson. In this section, an affirmative recommendation from the Department Rank and Tenure Committee has the meaning of an Affirmative Committee Outcome as defined in section 3.18.3. 

3.14 Department Rank and Tenure Committee 

3.14.1 Composition. The Department Rank and Tenure Committee include all tenured members of the department. Tenured faculty in the department with administrative appointments at department chairperson and above are not members of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. 

3.14.2 Faculty Members on Faculty Funded Leave (FFL). In accord with PS 10.A.08, faculty members on university funded faculty leave may choose to participate in rank and tenure processes. A faculty member on FFL who chooses to participate in the rank and tenure process shall follow the notification requirements specified in PS 10.A.08

3.14.3 Committee Chairperson. The chairperson of the committee is elected from the tenured associate professors and professors on the committee, non-inclusive of the department chairperson. To be eligible for election, a faculty member must have served on his Department Rank and Tenure Committee for a minimum of one full academic year at UHD. The term of the department committee chairperson is one academic year. A committee member may serve in this capacity for consecutive academic years upon re-election. 

3.14.4 University Rank and Tenure Committee Member. Members of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee and the department chairperson elect by written ballot a tenured associate professor or professor for the University Rank and Tenure Committee. To be eligible for election to the University Rank and Tenure Committee, a faculty member must have served on his Department Rank and Tenure Committee for a minimum of one full academic year at UHD. Department chairpersons are not eligible for election. University Rank and Tenure Committee members are elected to two- y ear terms. As the term of each member expires, that person’s successor shall be elected to a two- y ear term. Candidates for promotion and/or tenure are not eligible to serve on the University Rank and Tenure Committee. The department chairperson represents any department lacking a member who satisfies all these criteria. 

3.14.5 Electronic Participation. In the review of second- and fourth-year reports and tenure and promotion portfolios a department may allow electronic participation via university supported platforms (such as Zoom). Discussion of a candidate file should not occur between committee members via email. The purpose for allowing use of such electronic platforms is to achieve maximum participation for those who cannot be physically present due to a professional obligation that requires travel, professional obligations that make it impossible to physically attend, or to address some unforeseen circumstance. The use of electronic platforms will not replace the on-campus meeting of the committee; these platforms, if used, are an accommodation for those who cannot attend the on-campus meeting. 

3.14.6 Peer Review. For effective peer review, a Department Rank and Tenure Committee should have at least three members. In cases where no tenured member of the department has expertise in the candidate's discipline, other provisions for peer review may be made. The exact form of extradepartmental peer review, if needed, is determined by the Department Rank and Tenure Committee in consultation with the department chairperson and the dean. Faculty members from other areas of the university or from other institutions of higher learning may be invited to offer recommendations regarding (but in no case vote on) the qualifications of the candidate with respect to the stated criteria of the university for promotion and/or tenure. The candidate may be asked to have one or more letters submitted on their behalf. At the initiative of the candidate, external letters of recommendation may be submitted regardless of other forms of peer review. 

3.14.7 Committee Participation of a Faculty Member Who Will Be Reviewed. A candidate does not participate in the closed discussion(s) of their tenure and/or promotion candidacy or in the voting process on their own candidacy at any level of the procedure, and they may choose to recuse or abstain from all decision-making at the department level in the year of their candidacy. Such a committee member who does not choose to recuse or abstain from all other committee activities shall have that decision respected by the committee and accommodation made. 

3.15 Department Chairperson. The department chairperson reaches an independent conclusion and makes an independent recommendation on each candidacy. The chairperson's recommendation is a detailed written assessment of the candidate's past achievements and potential for future contributions, academic and professional experience, academic preparation, and performance at UHD. The recommendation is based strictly on university and department criteria for tenure and/or promotion. 

3.16 Dean. The dean makes a written recommendation concerning the merits of each candidate for promotion and/or tenure regardless of the recommendations of the department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. The dean conducts a detailed assessment of the candidate's past achievements and potential for future contributions, academic and professional experience, academic preparation, and performance at UHD, to inform the recommendation. The Dean’s recommendation is based on university and department rank and tenure criteria. If the Dean's recommendation is different from the department committee’s or the department chairperson’s, or both, the dean must state clearly the specific reasons for the difference. If the dean’s recommendation varies from an affirmative or a denial recommendation from the department committee where there are two opposing recommendations from the Department Rank and Tenure Committee, the dean must also clearly state reasons (s)he supported one committee recommendation over the other. 

3.17 University Rank and Tenure Committee. The role of the University Rank and Tenure Committee is advisory to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost and to the president. The committee is composed of tenured associate professors or professors who are to serve as a general academic review body on all cases of promotion and/or tenure. They do not serve as departmental representatives but rather are to bring to their deliberations an institutional perspective combined with the standards of the academic professoriate in the broadest sense. 

3.17.1 The University Rank and Tenure Committee may choose to allow electronic participation in the discussion of a candidate’s portfolio. The committee shall follow the same provisions as the department committees (see 3.14.5 of this policy). 

3.18 Department/University Committee Review and Voting. These provisions apply to the recommendation of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee and the advisory role of the University Rank and Tenure Committee.

3.18.1 Recusal. A faculty member with voting rights on a review committee shall inform the committee chairperson in writing to recuse prior to the candidate’s material being made available on the LMS. The written notice to recuse will be part of the final committee report forwarded the dean (from a department committee) or to the provost/VPAA (from the university committee). 

3.18.2 Abstention and non-participation. A faculty member with voting rights on a review committee who reviews and/or discusses a candidate’s portfolio but does not cast an affirmative vote or a denial vote is counted as an abstention. A non- participating faculty member who in the course of the activities of the committee neither reviews nor discusses a candidate’s portfolio is not counted as an abstention. 

3.18.3 Affirmative Committee Outcome. See the definition above in this policy for the calculation. A candidate receives an overall affirmative outcome from a committee vote where the candidate receives 50 percent or higher of the Percent Affirmative Committee Vote (which is non-inclusive of recused, abstaining, or non-participating faculty). 

3.18.4 Committee Members Final Votes. Those in favor of a particular candidacy draft an affirmation report giving the reasons for their support. Those against a particular candidacy also draft a denial report citing the reasons for their lack of support. A committee member’s vote on a rank and tenure portfolio is finalized upon a faculty member’s signature on either the affirmative report or the denial report generated by the committee. In cases where there is an affirmative and a denial report, a committee member has the right to read both reports prior to signing one report. Any affirmative or denial report, together with the Committee Voting Summary (Appendix A), are forwarded in the process, and copied to the members of the department committee of the final votes. 

3.18.5 Electronic Voting. A voting faculty member who cannot be present on the date of a final vote for reasons related to the person’s teaching, scholarly or creative activities, professional obligations, or unforeseen circumstances, may participate in the vote by a secure electronic mechanism sent to the committee chairperson, which shall serve as an electronic signature. The committee chairperson will attach the vote obtained via the secure electronic mechanism to the signature page of the relevant report. The vote, via the secure electronic mechanism sent to the committee chairperson, shall be limited to this statement: “I vote to [affirm OR deny] (insert candidate’s name) rank and/or tenure application.” 

3.18.6 The committee chairperson will complete the Committee Voting Summary (Appendix A). The Committee Voting Summary is attached to the Affirmative and Denial reports of the committee.

3.18.7 While participation in rank and tenure processes is a right of tenured faculty, the exercise of this right is vital to the collegiality and functioning of the department and the university. Excessive non-participation, recusal, or abstention by a committee member is discouraged. Committee members who excessively engage in this behavior may be referred to the department chairperson and/or the provost office for appropriate action. 

3.19 Confidentiality. Only those with a specific role in determining the outcome of the candidacy or in processing the candidacy (see Timetable) have access to a candidate's portfolio. Parties with an evaluative role in the process will not disclose the contents of the portfolio, deliberations, or the recommendations. Both the report and recommendations (described in the Timetable) are confidential, but this does not prohibit the president from seeking additional advice. Confidentiality is limited to the extent that the institution is bound by state and federal laws. Specific information is released to the candidate at a time designated in the procedures section. 

3.20 Role of Annual Reviews and second and fourth Year in Tenure and Promotion Recommendation. Congruity with annual evaluation criteria cannot be assured due to the differing nature and timelines for each. In the department criteria, all departments must articulate in writing the extent to which the annual review scores will be used in the rank and tenure recommendation. All departments in the department criteria must articulate in writing the extent to which the department will utilize the second- and fourth-year reviews in the promotion and tenure process.

PROCEDURES

This section addresses procedures for candidates for tenure and promotion, and for the UHD faculty with responsibilities at each of the five independent levels of review. Deadlines noted in these procedures are outlined in the Timetable. 

4.1 Department Procedures: Review of Rank and Tenure Criteria 

4.1.1 Initiation of Off-Cycle Review. A petition to initiate an off-cycle review must be forwarded to the department chairperson by the second Monday of September. The department chairperson will deliver the petition to the chairperson of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee, elected by the third Monday of September, who will initiate plans to address the petition. Such a petition will invoke the normal processes of the mandatory review that occurs every third year. 

4.1.2 Normal Mandatory Review Every Third Year. By the third Monday in September the Department Rank and Tenure Committee chairperson will announce the mandatory review period and initiate departmental processes to comply with the mandatory review. 

4.1.3 Finalized Revisions. By December 15 of each year, the chairperson of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee must send forward any revisions to the criteria to the department chairperson, dean, and SVPASA. If there are no revisions, the criteria currently on file will remain in effect. All criteria are effective as of January 15 for each calendar year. Each department as well as the Provost’s Office must keep on record the criteria for the last seven years. 

4.2 Initiation/Submission of an Application for Tenure and Promotion 

4.2.1 Notice of Intent to Apply. A petitioning faculty member who is scheduled for a tenure decision or who seeks promotion in rank so informs the Department Rank and Tenure Committee, department chairperson, and dean by the first Monday in May of the year preceding the rank and tenure decision. 

4.2.2 Dean Verification of Eligibility. By the third Monday in May, the dean verifies eligibility and notifies in writing each petitioning faculty member of eligibility status. The dean notifies the Office of the Provost so that the verification of eligibility may be affirmed. 

4.2.3 Submission of the Portfolio. By the first Monday in October, each candidate submits a detailed rank and/or tenure portfolio (prepared according to the attached guidelines entitled "Guidelines and Format for the Promotion/Tenure Report") to the Department Rank and Tenure Committee chairperson, to the department chairperson, and to the dean. 

4.3 Department Rank and Tenure Committee Procedures 

4.3.1 First Meeting. The department chairperson convenes the first meeting of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee no later than the third Monday in September. The first meeting includes the department chairperson, who attends the meeting to deliver the charge of the committee and to cast a vote for the University Rank and Tenure Committee person for the department. In years where no vote will occur for the University Rank and Tenure Committee, the department chairperson may forgo attending the first meeting. 

The chairperson of the committee is elected by written ballot. The newly elected chairperson notifies the department chairperson, the dean, and the vicepresident for academic affairs/provost of the election results. 

Members of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee elect by written ballot one of the tenured professors or associate professors to serve on the University Rank and Tenure Committee. The department chairperson communicates the name of the department's representative to the dean and to the vice president for academic affairs/provost. 

Committee members who plan to recuse on particular candidate files will notify the elected department committee chairperson by the third Monday of September. 

4.3.2 Second Year and Fourth Year Reviews and Tenure and Promotion Portfolios. Department Rank and Tenure Committee members meet to discuss the merits of candidates for tenure and/or promotion and conduct second- and fourth-year reviews as well as other items required by policy or institutional need. 

4.3.3 Electronic Participation. While it is expected that all committee members will participate in discussion of candidates and attend committee meetings in person, each Department Rank and Tenure Committee can define the parameters under which electronic participation is warranted. The parameters must be agreed upon prior to reviewing portfolios. Any agreed upon alternative participation should take place through university-supported platforms and maintain the confidentiality expected of all rank and tenure procedures. The chairperson of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee shall keep a record of attendance at each meeting; the attendance records shall be preserved until September 1 of the following academic year. 

4.3.4 Review of Rank and Tenure Portfolios. Non-binding votes may be taken as needed to inform discussion and drafting of the affirmative and/or denial reports. 

4.3.5 The Department Rank and Tenure Committee determines its own procedures and processes that are not specifically established in this policy. No committee procedures can violate the policies established herein. 

4.3.6 Reporting the Activities of the Committee. The chairperson of the rank and tenure committee or designee ensures that the “affirmative” and “denial” reports and the Committee Voting Summary are signed and submitted to the dean in hard copy by the second Monday in December. After April 1 of the year of each rank and tenure process cycle, the chairperson of the Department Rank and Tenure Committee shares the committee’s affirmation or denial reports with the department chairperson. 

4.4 Department Chairperson Procedure. The chairperson sends their affirmation or denial recommendation letter to the dean in hard copy by the second Monday in December. After April 1 the department chairperson shares their recommendation with the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. 

4.5 Dean Procedure 

4.5.1 A Candidacy that Progresses Beyond the Dean’s Level. By the third Wednesday in January the dean forwards the candidate’s complete report, including all supporting materials, the appropriate department’s promotion and/or tenure criteria (developed according to the process described in PS 10.A.05, paragraph 2.1.1 and Section 4.1 above), the results of the past performance evaluations, and each recommendation from the three preliminary sources to the vice president for academic affairs/provost, who provides these materials and other staff services to the University Rank and Tenure Committee. The dean also notifies the chairperson, the Department Rank and Tenure Committee, and the candidates that the recommendation has gone forward. After April 1, the dean shares their affirmation or denial recommendation with the department chairperson and the Department Rank and Tenure Committee. 

4.5.2 A Candidacy That Does Not Progress Beyond the Dean's Level. By the third Wednesday in January the dean forwards the candidate's report and each recommendation from the three preliminary sources to the vice president for academic affairs/provost. The dean also notifies the candidate by the third Wednesday in January and releases to the candidate the three separate recommendations and accompanying statements. Candidates that do not progress beyond the dean’s level may avail themselves of the grievance process as articulated in PS 10.A.02 at this time 

4.6 University Rank and Tenure Committee Procedures 

4.6.1 First Meeting. The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost convenes the University Rank and Tenure Committee no later than the fourth Monday in January. The chairperson of this committee is elected from its membership. The exact procedure for this election is left to the committee but must include a written ballot. 

4.6.2 Review of Candidate Material. The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost provides the committee with department promotion and/or tenure criteria that have been provided by the appropriate college dean, each candidate’s report including all supporting materials, and each recommendation from the three preliminary sources and with such other support services as the committee may require. The University Rank and Tenure Committee evaluates each candidate's report and supporting documentation, taking cognizance of the information supplied by the vice president for academic affairs/provost. The members of the committee vote by written ballot on each candidacy. When the University Rank and Tenure Committee considers a recommendation for promotion and/or tenure from a particular academic department, that department's representative on the committee may be requested to provide factual information but does not participate in discussions or decisions concerning that particular candidacy. 

4.6.3 Record of Attendance. The chairperson of the University Rank and Tenure Committee must keep a record of attendance at each meeting; the attendance records must be preserved until September 1 of the following academic year. 

4.6.4 Timeline. The committee's final report(s), to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost by the first Monday in March. After April 1st, copies of the committee’s final report(s) will be provided to the appropriate dean, department chairperson, and Department Rank and Tenure Committee. 

4.7 Provost/VPAA Procedures. The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost reviews each candidate's report and the recommendations from the Department Rank and Tenure Committee, department chairperson, dean, and University Rank and Tenure Committee. The vice president writes a recommendation for each candidate and forwards that recommendation, all earlier recommendations, and each candidate’s report to the president so that the president can make the necessary decisions by April 1. The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost is responsible for providing staff services to the University Rank and Tenure Committee. The vice president for academic affairs/provost's office also serves as a depository for reports and recommendations generated during the rank and tenure process. 

4.8 President Procedures. The president reviews each candidate's report and all recommendations regarding the candidate and submits recommendations to the chancellor of the University of Houston System on or before April 1. Each candidate is informed of the president's recommendation(s) and is provided, upon written request, a copy of the official report from each level of review.

REVIEW PROCESS

Responsible Party (Reviewer): Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Review: Every five years.

Signed original on file in Employment Services and Operations

POLICY HISTORY

Issue #1: 08/11/81

Issue #2: 08/15/85

Issue #3: 06/10/88

Issue #4: 08/01/93

Issue #5: 11/15/93

Issue #6: 10/16/95

Issue #7: 04/01/05

REFERENCES

Texas Education Code Section 51.943 – Renewal of faculty Employment Contracts

SAM 06.A.09 – Academic Personnel Policies

PS 10.A.02 – Faculty Grievance Policy

PS 10.A.05 – Faculty Performance Evaluations

PS 10.A.06 – UH-Downtown Faculty Dismissal Policy and Procedures

PS 10.A.07 – Faculty Non-Reappointment Policy

PS 10.A.08 – University Funded Faculty Leave Program ​

PS 10.A.13 – Faculty Employment Policies

PS 10.A.16 – Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty

PS 10.A.19 – Tenured & Tenure Track Academic Appointments

PS 10. A.23 – Extension of the Probationary Period for Tenure-Track Faculty​

APPENDICES

Appendix A: Committee Voting Summary 

This is an attachment to any affirmative or denial reports generated by a committee. 

This committee voting summary is a summary of the voting activity for the following type of committee. Check one. 

__________ Department 

 __________ University 

 This is the number of votes cast in each of the following. Write the number for each. 

 _________ Affirmative votes 

 _________ Denial votes 

 _________ Abstentions 

 _________ Non-participation 

 _________ Recusals 

Provide the names of the faculty in the following voting categories. Write the names under each heading. 

 []Affirmative     []Denial     []Recusal     []Abstention     []Non-Particip. 

Appendix B: Timetable: Probationary Faculty Member Without Time Toward Tenure Awarded at Initial UHD Start Date 

Second Year of Employment 

MARCH- By the first Monday in March a probationary faculty member submits a 2nd year review. 

Fourth Year of Employment 

MARCH- By the first Monday in March a probationary faculty member submits a 2nd year review. 

Fifth Year of Employment 

 MAY- By the first Monday in May, a probationary faculty member who believes that (s)he is qualified for a promotion in rank and/or tenure so informs the department rank and tenure committee, department chairperson and the dean. By the third Monday in May, the dean determines eligibility and advises the candidate. 

SEPT.- By the third Monday in September, the department chairperson, in consultation with the tenured faculty, schedules the first meeting for the department rank and tenure committee. The chairperson of the committee is elected from the membership. In addition, one of the eligible full-time tenured associate professors or professors of the department is elected to serve on the university rank and tenure committee. 

OCTOBER- By the first Monday in October, each candidate submits a detailed rank and/or tenure portfolio, prepared according to the guidelines in Appendix C, to the department rank and tenure committee, to the department chairperson, and to the dean. 

DECEMBER- By the second Monday in December, the department rank and tenure committee and the department chairperson make their decisions and forward their recommendation reports to the dean. 

JANUARY- By the third Wednesday in January, the dean makes his recommendation to the appropriate recipients. The university rank and tenure committee begins its work no later than the fourth Monday of January. 

FEBRUARY- By the last Monday in February, the university rank and tenure committee offers the vice president for academic affairs/ provost its best advice concerning the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, expresses either support for or opposition to the candidacies and sends its recommendations, with detailed reasons, to the vice president for academic affairs/provost. 

MARCH- The vice president makes a recommendation to the president during March. 

APRIL-​ By April 1, the president makes his recommendation to the chancellor of the University of Houston System. Each candidate is informed of all recommendations and is provided, upon written request, copies of the official reports from each level of review. 

 *These deadlines are binding on all parties involved. The only exceptions to the timetable are those made by the president.

Appendix C: Guidelines and Format For Preparing a Promotion/Tenure Report 

     The promotion/tenure report should present an argument sufficiently supported by evidence to demonstrate the faculty member's qualifications for the rank and/or tenure that is sought. The report should build a case which supports the claim of excellence and which addresses, among other areas, service and creative activities. These terms are defined below: 

Excellence is demonstrated by significantly exceeding in quality minimum expectations for continuing employment and by making a significant, positive impact on the institution. Excellence should be validated by means convincing to peers and understandable to a neutral observer. 

Service and Professional Activities are the application or dissemination of knowledge or use of skills (in one's role as a professional educator or in one's role as a specialist in a particular discipline) for the solution of problems and/or the advancement of the institution, the profession, or the community. 

Scholarly/Creative Activities are professional activities that add to the sum of knowledge or to the effective dissemination of knowledge. They are activities that involve original, professional work that leads to a tangible result. 

     In preparing the report, the faculty member should build a carefully constructed case demonstrating both professional excellence, as defined above, and a commitment to the goals of UHD. While the faculty member is not responsible for the recommendations of the department rank and tenure committee, department chairperson, dean, university rank and tenure committee, or vice president for academic affairs/provost, the faculty member must keep in mind that these recommendations will be based on the accurate, detailed, and specific information contained in the promotion/tenure report. These recommendations will assess the quality of the faculty member's past achievements and potential for high quality future contributions in those areas related to the criteria for promotion/tenure. For these reasons, the faculty member should provide all reviewers with the argumentation and the evidence necessary for favorable recommendations. 

     The preparation of this report is a significant undertaking. A faculty member should not hesitate to seek help, if needed, from the department chairperson or from peers qualified to offer advice on the organization or writing of the report. 

Format for The Promotion/Tenure Report 

     The format used in preparing the report is designed to ensure uniformity among all reports. The guidelines are broad enough to enable each faculty member to explain all aspects of relevant achievements. The report should be written as a narrative where appropriate. References should be made to documents numbered and included in an appendix. 

I. Curriculum Vitae 

This section begins with a list of specific degrees held, with place and data of the awarding of each degree; the title of the thesis and/or dissertation; and a statement of major teaching areas. The curriculum vitae section also includes listings of employment history with job titles and brief descriptions of specific responsibilities in reverse chronological order; membership activities and/or offices held in professional organizations; panel appearances; papers read; publications or other kinds of creative activities; honors and awards; and significant public service. 

II. Opening Statement 

This section begins with the faculty member's rationale for deserving the rank/tenure for which he/she is applying. This statement should include an explanation of how one's philosophy of teaching, service and professional activities, and scholarly/creative activities meets the mission and goals of UHD. This statement should be as convincing, complete, and concise as possible. 

III. Statements Concerning Performance Evaluation 

This section should include the results of all the faculty member's annual UHD performance evaluations (Documentation is available from the department chairperson or the dean.). This section should also include an explanation of any other documentation of performance. The faculty member should explain why any evaluations have been less than satisfactory. 

IV. Statements Concerning Achievements and Potential 

​Potential is best understood based upon past achievements. This section of the report demonstrates achievements in teaching, service and professional activities, and scholarly/creative activities: 

A. TEACHING 

1. A listing of the descriptive titles of all university-level courses taught, the institution at which each was taught, the level of each course taught, and the course numbers for UHD courses taught. 

2. A description of a representative sampling of courses taught, which might include an explanation of course syllabi, special materials used, samples of student work demonstrating that course goals were met, and examples of methods and styles of teaching and testing. 

3. A brief explanation and analysis of all available student evaluations (or summary data). 

4. A description of other teaching activities such as workshops, non-credit seminars, etc. 

5. A demonstration of contributions to the educational program of UHD which includes development or revision of courses or programs, including those offered by any recognized units at UHD. 

B. SERVICE AND PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES (See definition above) 

1. A list of specific services to the university with explanation of contributions to UHD committees, special assignments or projects, or student service activities (such as advising, sponsoring student activities, or other specific student activities or services to students) 

2. A list of professional services with explanation of any activity which benefits the faculty member's discipline(s) or profession in general 

3. A list of public services with explanation of applications of the faculty member's professional expertise which benefit the community and contribute positively to the well-being of UHD. 

​C. SCHOLARLY/CREATIVE ACTIVITIES (See definition above) 

​​​A list of creative activities with brief explanation of publications, presentations at professional meetings or invited lectures, workshops, etc., and their significance, and also with explanation of the significance of work not formally published but either distributed or submitted for review. 

V. Statement Concerning Minimum Experience 

​This section states that the faculty member's experience meets or exceeds the minimum qualifications for the specific rank/tenure sought 

 VI. Statement Concerning Minimum Academic Preparation 

This section states that the faculty member has a terminal degree or appropriate preparation (as defined by the faculty member's department) to serve the mission of UHD

Last updated 4/27/2022 5:22 AM