New York University Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

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1. INTRODUCTION

This document sets forth the core principles and procedures for tenure and promotion at New York University. They are designed to support high academic standards in awarding tenure and promotion, and to insure a comprehensive, rigorous, and fair review of the candidates. These Guidelines affirm principles and policy, incorporating the University Guidelines and template for school policies that were first issued by the Provost in 2004; and they consolidate practice and procedures as they have evolved in NYU schools. (1)  Nothing in these Guidelines should be deemed to alter the text of the University policy statements on academic tenure, which may be found in the Faculty Handbook; in case of conflict with these Guidelines, the text of the Faculty Handbook will take precedence. (2)

2. UNIVERSITY APPROVAL, SCHOOL GUIDELINES

Each school (3) at New York University must establish its own detailed guidelines for promotion and tenure, consistent with its own culture. School guidelines must conform to each of the University-wide general guidelines described in this document. School guidelines must contain a detailed, comprehensive, and fair set of procedures, modeled here, which will enable the school to perform rigorous and effective reviews of candidates for tenure and/or promotion. School guidelines must appear in a document that is readily available in print, in electronic media and on the web, to all members of the school.

Schools with approved policies should confirm that their policies and processes are in accordance with these Guidelines. Should a school elect to newly adopt these University Guidelines as they are written, such guidelines shall be automatically approved. However, any newly created school guidelines, and any subsequent material changes to them, must be presented to the Provost of New York University for approval. The Provost shall consult with the Tenured/ Tenure Track Faculty Senators Council (T-FSC) prior to making the final decision about material changes. In the absence of school guidelines or if school guidelines are inconsistent with University policies, these Promotion and Tenure Guidelines will control. As with all NYU policies, this Policy is subject to change and the policies in effect at that time of an action will apply to that action.

3. TENURE STANDARDS

All candidates for tenure should demonstrate a record of outstanding achievement and recognition in scholarly research or creative work, with strong reputations for scholarly excellence and the commitment and capacity to stay at the forefront of their fields. Candidates for tenure also must have distinguished records as teachers and mentors of students.  Where  appropriate to their discipline, they are expected to conduct research or creative work that has demonstrated a potential impact on policy and practice in their field.  Thus, in order to have a reasonable prospect of gaining tenure at NYU, a candidate must have a record of outstanding achievement and recognition in scholarly research or creative work in the arts together with a record of effective teaching integrally influenced by scholarship or creative work. In the absence of such a record, tenure will not be granted.

The successful implementation of the Guidelines to achieve and maintain high academic standards depends on the leadership of the Deans, the Provost and the President working in conjunction with the tenured faculty. The process of evaluating a candidate for tenure is an inquiry: Is the candidate for tenure among the strongest in the candidate’s field, in comparison with other individuals in the same field at similar points in their careers, taking into consideration the goals of the department and the school.

It is neither desirable nor possible to define an abstract and universal standard of measurement. Each case must be examined in detail by making explicit comparisons, by delineating special strengths, and by acknowledging limits or weaknesses. Context may be a criterion in judging the strength of a particular candidate. All these factors must be carefully discussed and weighed in reaching a recommendation on tenure.

4. GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES, STAGES I, II, III

DEPARTMENTAL REVIEW: STAGE I

The Dean makes recommendations to the Provost regarding tenure. The recommendation of the Dean must be informed by the department, faculty at large, and experts in the candidate’s field. In some schools, this occurs through a multilevel process involving detailed evaluation within the department, including a Departmental Promotion and Tenure (P&T) Committee, review by the school-wide Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee, independent external evaluations at both the department and school levels, and such other information as deemed appropriate by the Dean. In small schools and/or those without a departmental or divisional structure, the process may involve a single Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee that reports to the Dean. As with all other schools, independent external evaluations and multiple levels of review are also part of the review process.

School guidelines will include an annual published tenure process calendar that is designed to guarantee adequate consideration and ensure that the process moves in a timely fashion. 

All tenure dossiers must be submitted to the Provost office no later than June 1.

Faculty Responsibilities

The duty of the tenured faculty to give advice on tenure decisions is perhaps their highest responsibility. The process begins with their review, and it is highly dependent upon the thoroughness, fairness, and rigor of their review. To give weak advice to the Departmental Promotion and Tenure (P&T) Advisory Committee or to the School P&T Advisory Committee or to the Dean on the assumption that the difficult decisions will be made at a later stage subverts the principle of peer review and faculty governance and is an abdication of departmental responsibility. Thus, a department report that is considered by the Dean or P&T Advisory Committee to fall into this category will be returned to the department with a request that the problem be corrected.

An assessment must not ignore candidates’ defects. Lack of perfection is not a bar to tenure, and “advocacy” assessments that attempt to gloss over imperfections are more likely to arouse suspicion than admiration. It is far more helpful to the candidate, the departmental and school committees, and the Dean to have a balanced discussion of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

It is essential that tenured faculty members who participate in the P&T process uphold high standards of responsibility and ethical behavior. Responsibility includes the obligation to give careful attention to the materials of a tenure case and to share the results of that deliberation with eligible departmental colleagues. Ethical behavior includes a clear obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings both during and following the review, since confidentiality makes honest and open discussion possible. 

DEPARTMENTAL PROMOTION AND TENURE COMMITTEE

Departmental procedures shall conform to the following guidelines. If there are questions of interpretation, the Department Chair shall consult with the Dean.

The Departmental P&T Committee (or its counterpart in small schools) (4) carries out the initial review of the candidate. This committee may be appointed by the Department Chair, or it may be elected, following traditional practice in the Department or School. Departments may establish ad hoc committees for each promotion and tenure case, or they may establish a single committee each year to review all cases. In either case, the committee must consist of only tenured members of the department of appropriate rank. The committee must have at least three such members. If the department does not have three tenured members, the Department Chair must consult with the Dean about drawing on tenured faculty from other departments of the school and, if necessary, other schools in fields related to that of the candidate so as to form an ad hoc committee consisting of three or more members. The committee must not include scholars with whom the candidate has been closely associated, including but not limited to a thesis advisor, co-author or other close associate; such individuals are, however, eligible to participate in the full departmental discussion and vote on the committee report.

It is the responsibility of the Department P&T Committee to verify the completeness of the relevant materials (see Materials for the Departmental Promotion & Tenure Committee, below), to review them in detail, and to prepare a written report with a recommendation in favor or against the promotion and/or tenure of the candidate. The file and the written report must be made available for inspection well in advance of the meeting of eligible faculty at which the case will be discussed and the vote taken.

Depending on the P&T rules of the department or the school, the formal written report and recommendation of the Department P&T Committee may be presented to the tenured department faculty of appropriate rank for a vote, or may be passed on to the Chair of the department or, in a school without a departmental structure, directly to the Dean. The written report may consider all materials that are part of the docket at this stage, including materials provided by the candidate and external letters. In the case where the entire tenured faculty is eligible to vote, a reasonable effort must be made to enable eligible faculty, including faculty on leave, to receive all relevant materials and to participate in the discussions and vote, and the vote of the faculty must be reported to the Dean by the Chair of the Department.

The Chair of the Department must then transmit to the Dean the written recommendation and numerical vote of the Department P&T Committee, together with the names of the P&T Committee members and their method of selection; the Department Chair’s own evaluation and recommendation; and in cases where a departmental vote is taken, the numerical vote of the eligible tenured faculty of the department. 

Cross Appointments (5)

Tenure review and third year review for faculty with appointments involving more than one unit of the University (“cross-appointments”) shall ensure the input of all relevant units.

All evaluations of individuals with Joint appointments in more than one unit, whether part of a third year review or preparatory to a recommendation for promotion or tenure, must include an explicit discussion of the special circumstances of the appointment, expectations for the candidate's multi-disciplinary activities, perspective and position, and the judgment of how well the appointee has met these expectations. The composition of the Departmental P&T Committee in the primary unit (division, department or program) must include members of both units. Both units must vote on the report, with the guidelines herein outlined concerning procedures and reporting applying to both. Each Chair must forward the unit’s recommendation to the Dean (where joint appointments are between schools, to the Dean of each school) only after consultation with the other unit. If the units arrive at significantly different recommendations, the Dean (where joint appointments are between schools, the Deans) will ordinarily invite the Chairs together to discuss the case. Where joint appointments are between schools, the Dean of the secondary school forwards that Dean’s letter to the Dean of the primary school, for inclusion in the docket.

Where the candidate has an Associated Appointment in a secondary unit, the departmental review must include a written evaluation from the secondary department explaining, among other matters thought relevant, the particular contribution of the candidate to that unit’s mission. This evaluation may be written by the Chair of the secondary unit after formal consultation with the faculty members of the unit.

In the case of an Affiliated Appointment, written evaluations on the secondary appointment are recommended but are not required. 

Materials for the Departmental Promotion & Tenure Committee 

The Departmental P&T Committee is responsible for verifying the completeness of the tenure docket for examination by eligible departmental voters and the Department Chair, and for subsequent forwarding to the Dean, and Provost. This docket must include an assessment of the candidate’s teaching performance and teaching potential. Supporting evidence and documentation, in the form of a teaching portfolio, should include:

  • Candidate’s statement of individual teaching philosophy
  • Course syllabi
  • Student evaluations (these can include a range of different types of evaluations)
  • Reports of peer observations, including formal assessments of teaching effectiveness, if available
  • List of advisees (graduate and undergraduate)
  • List of PhD dissertation direction
  • List of MS, MA, MFA thesis direction
  • The candidate’s service record and potential contributions toward the work of the department and the intellectual life of the University and the academic community.
  • List of PhD committees

With respect to achievement and recognition in scholarly research and/or creative work in the arts, as evidence for outstanding achievement, the docket must include

  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Candidate's personal statement (recommended, but optional)
  • Copies of the candidate’s scholarly work (and where appropriate, as in the case of exhibitions, descriptions of the work)
  • Evidence of the quality of the scholarly and creative work as appropriate.  For example: Academic book reviews, Readers’ reviews of unpublished books, Citation analysis, Published reviews of productions or performances, Videos,published art work, screenplays, etc.
  • Assessment of the candidate's scholarly research or artistic work 

In addition the docket shall include the following:

  • Copy of the formal written letter(s) or written report to the candidate from the Third Year Review (and from the Sixth Year Review, if conducted, in schools with longer tenure timetables)
  • External evaluations
  • Report of the Departmental P&T Committee
  • Recommendation of the Departmental Chair
  • Supplementary materials

The evaluation by the P&T Committee must not be an advocacy document; it must strive to provide a fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. It must indicate, with reasons, the basis for the departmental recommendation.

Discussion of Items in the Docket 

Candidate’s Personal Statement

The candidate’s personal statement must narrate the trajectory of the candidate’s career, including a description of the relationships among works already published, distributed or performed, a description of new projects planned or under way, and a description of the place teaching, including particular courses, occupies in the career.

Committee Report

a. Field of Expertise 

The report must explain the importance of the candidate’s field of expertise. In what ways does the strength the candidate offers in that field advance the department’s current ambitions? How does the candidate’s field supplement other strengths in the department and vice versa? How does the candidate’s field and performance affect the standing of the department?

The candidate’s position in the field and the discipline as a whole must be described as precisely as possible. This appraisal must include comparisons with other scholars at similar stages in their careers in the discipline at large. 

b. Assessment of Research or Artistic Contributions

The assessment of a candidate’s scholarly research or artistic contributions must address issues of quality, significance, impact, and future development. The candidate’s work must be carefully reviewed by at least three senior members of the department, who must jointly sign this portion of the report. The quality and significance of the journals or venues of distribution, performance, or exhibition in which the candidate’s work has appeared must be appraised. If they are not the best representatives in the field, the best must be named and the absence of work in them must be explained. The report must indicate what parts of the candidate’s work are based on the dissertation, and for such work, what advances have been made after the dissertation. In fields where external funding is important, the candidate’s success at securing grants must be evaluated in relation to reasonable expectations for scholars in the same field and at the same stage of professional development. The assessment must list and appraise the relative competitiveness of grants and fellowships received by the candidate.

c. Assessment of Teaching Performance 

The assessment of a candidate’s teaching performance must appraise the quality and pertinence of courses developed, provide an assessment of teaching performance, and evaluate the candidate’s contributions to the undergraduate and graduate teaching program of the department. Specific evaluation and an analysis of the effectiveness of undergraduate and graduate teaching must be provided in narrative form. Evidence may be obtained in numerous ways as noted above, and shall include the judgments of faculty (e.g., evaluation of course syllabi, first hand evaluation of class sessions by either a member of the P&T Committee or another tenured colleague).

d. Assessment of Service

The assessment of a candidate’s service must indicate the quality and significance of service to the department and the University, as appropriate to faculty rank. Specific comments, including testimony from fellow committee members, specification of authorship of particular reports and the like, are helpful. The assessment can include a discussion of participation in professional organizations in the candidate’s field.

Third Year Review 

All tenure dockets, except for lateral hires, must include a copy of the formal letter(s) or written report to the candidate from the Third-Year Review. All schools should conduct a formal early review on tenure prospects, to be completed in most schools in the third year of service in the probationary period for assistant professors whose probationary timetable is not shortened due to qualifying previous service. For schools with a longer tenure timetable, a sixth year review may also be conducted. In those instances where a sixth year review is conducted, the sixth year review should also be included in the docket.

External Evaluators

All tenure and promotion dockets must include a list of external evaluators, including those who declined. All departmental communications with potential evaluators must be documented and included in the docket. A brief rationale for the selection of the evaluators who have written must be included in the docket, as well as an explanation for each of the declinations.

The Department will solicit letters from a sufficient number of outside evaluators who are recognized leaders in the candidate’s discipline, to secure at least five such letters. These five letters must be from evaluators who are not scholars with whom the candidate has been closely associated, such as a thesis advisor, co-author, or other close associates. Co-authors will be acceptable reviewers only in certain fields, such as fields with very small membership or fields in which papers typically have a large number of authors (i.e. multicenter clinical trials, large epidemiology studies, etc.), and then only acceptable with permission of the Dean. Nor can they be scholars that have been suggested by the candidate to serve as evaluators. If the Department inadvertently solicits an opinion from someone it later learns is close to the candidate, this must be noted in the departmental report.

The Department may also choose to include additional letters from outside evaluators that have been suggested by the candidate or who are co- authors or the thesis advisor of the candidate, provided that this information is clearly noted in the docket. These letters may be included in addition to, but not instead of, the five letters from external evaluators not identified by the candidate.

Criteria for Selecting Outside Evaluators: Evaluators selected normally will hold a tenured position in an institution of recognized distinction as a research university, a position of equivalent rank in an academic unit that does not grant tenure, or a position of equivalent rank in a nonacademic institution (e.g., laboratory or research institute). Evaluators must be recognized leaders in the candidate’s discipline. Evaluators must be representative of their subject, broadly defined, and not be drawn exclusively from narrow specializations. At least one of the evaluators must be a scholar identified with broader sectors of the discipline in question. The list of evaluators need not be restricted to those at United States institutions; where appropriate, evaluates must be solicited from abroad.

To emphasize the point, the docket must include specific explanations for the choice of particular referees contacted. The explanations must consist of more than the CVs of the referees. They must state why this particular referee’s opinion matters (she is the most widely published author in the candidate’s field; he is in a different discipline but edits the premier journal in the candidate’s field, etc.). It is particularly important to exclude referees, such as former advisors or collaborators, who have a personal or professional connection to the candidate – such letters cannot be accepted and the time needed to obtain replacement letters can significantly delay consideration of a case.

The suitability of the evaluators with respect to rank, appropriateness or fit with the candidate’s field, level of expertise and leadership in field, and absence of conflict of interest will be a consideration in review by the chair of the Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Dean and the Provost.

Solicitation of Letters from Outside Evaluators: The letter of solicitation, which must come from the Chair of the Department or the Dean of the School, must follow the prototype attached as an Appendix. The letter must explicitly request comparative rankings with the candidate’s peers, and they must not in any way imply that a position or negative response from the evaluator is desired.

All evaluators must be provided with the same C.V., personal statement, and copies or descriptions of the candidate’s work. If unpublished work is part of the docket, the Department must ask all evaluators to comment on its quality.

Confidentiality of Evaluations: It is University policy to treat as confidential all evaluations of University faculty, making only such limited exceptions as are necessary to permit informed review of promotion and tenure decisions by the appropriate decision makers and review panels within the University. (6)

The confidentiality of letters from outside evaluators must be preserved; only eligible voters in the Department must be allowed access to the letters. Neither the names of writers nor the content of the letters may be communicated to the candidate or anyone else beyond eligible members of the Department, not even in summary form. In all communications with them, writers of letters must be assured that their letters will be held in such confidence, except as required by law, and that they will be seen only by tenured members of the Department, the School committee on promotion and tenure, the relevant Dean(s) and the Provost’s Office.

Supplementary Materials

Dockets can include supplementary information about the candidate’s work that may not be evident from the rest of the record, e.g., the reader’s reports for unpublished work, reports of grant review panels, published reviews of scholarship or artistic works, etc.

Report of the Departmental P&T Committee

The evaluation by the Departmental P&T Committee must not be an advocacy document; it must strive to provide a fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. It must indicate, with reasons, the basis for the departmental recommendation. If there is a reasonable doubt about the excellence of the docket, the Committee should share that information in its report and consider withholding a favorable recommendation. Indicators of doubt may include a split vote within the departmental committee or a split vote between the departmental committee and the eligible department faculty voters. Re-voting must not be undertaken for the sole purpose of achieving near consensus or unanimity or to avoid reporting a split committee or department vote. The report should lay out, in substantive terms, the basis for the positive and negative votes.

In schools or departments where all eligible faculty vote on the case, the Chair of the P&T Committee must present the case to a full special departmental meeting of those eligible to attend and vote. After a discussion, a vote must be taken and tallied. The vote should be by closed ballot. Votes of absent members must be recorded and reported separately to distinguish them from votes made with the benefit of the open discussion of the case.

All members of the Departmental P&T Committee and its Chair must sign the Signature Page of the Docket, attesting that they have read the docket and that it represents the opinions of the committee clearly and fairly.

Recommendation of the Departmental Chair

The report of the Departmental P&T Committee and the vote by eligible faculty are advisory to the Department Chair. The Chair must forward the report and numerical vote to the Dean with the Chair’s own recommendation and the docket. The report must be a balanced assessment of the candidate’s performance. Documents that do not deal with evident weaknesses, in the case of a positive recommendation, or that do not deal with evident strengths, in the case of a negative recommendation, will not be accepted.

The Chair’s letter must include a description for non-specialists of the place the candidate’s work occupies in the relevant discipline or field and explain why it is important to the department that this field be represented on its faculty. It is also helpful for this statement to include information about the usual criteria for excellence in the candidate’s discipline (e.g., quality of venues within which the work appears). 

Effective Departmental Reviews

Properly prepared, detailed, and well-documented dockets are the most effective instrument for conveying the essence of the department’s evaluation of the candidate. Indeed, it is the thorough and honest appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate that is most useful to the School P&T Advisory Committee and to the Dean, often more so than the final vote, for it gives substantive meaning and texture to the evaluation. Submission of dockets in a timely fashion is strongly urged in order to prevent delays from unforeseen complications that may arise, especially for dockets received near the end of the academic year.

The Chair and all members of the Departmental P&T Committee must sign the signature page of the docket, attesting that they have read the docket and that it represents the opinions of the committee clearly and fairly. The completed docket is then forwarded to the Dean to initiate the succeeding stages of the review process. 

DEAN’S REVIEW: STAGE II

The Dean of the School is responsible for evaluating the docket presented by the department and making a recommendation to the Provost. The Dean is generally expected to solicit at least three additional letters of evaluation, and/or to consult an advisory committee on Promotion and Tenure consisting of a sufficient number of full professors in the School to represent major faculty areas. Such a committee may be either appointed by the Dean or elected by the school faculty or may be a combination of the two. (In small schools, the School-wide P&T Committee acts as the Advisory Committee to the Dean.) The Dean of the School and/or the Dean’s representative sits with the Advisory Committee without vote and with voice confined to procedural issues or responses to questions by the Committee. If there are questions in any particular case, the Chair of a Department and/or the Chair of the Departmental P&T Committee may be asked to attend a meeting of the Advisory Committee to clarify the docket or to provide additional information. The Advisory Committee makes its recommendation to the Dean of the School.

To ensure that the Dean does not solicit evaluators already contacted by the department, the Department Chair is required to provide the Dean with a list of all evaluators being solicited by the Department. 

The Dean will inform the Department Chair of the advice provided by the Advisory Committee on Promotion and Tenure, as well as of the Dean’s own proposed recommendation to the Provost. In the case of a Dean's recommendation contrary to that of the Department Chair, the Department’s P&T Committee, and/or Department faculty vote, the Dean will also provide the dean’s advisory committee and the Department Chair with the reasons. The Department Chair 11 will then have ten days in which to provide further information or counter-argument before the Dean's final recommendation is made to the Provost. If the Dean has a reasonable doubt about the excellence of the docket, the Dean should share that information in the Dean’s report and consider withholding a favorable recommendation. Indicators of doubt may include a split vote within the Department or School-Wide Committee, or a clear difference of opinion between the Department Committee and School-Wide Committee. The report should explain, in substantive terms, what was the basis for the positive and negative votes in earlier stages of review. The Dean will ordinarily make the Dean’s recommendation to the Provost in a timely manner. This constitutes the definitive recommendation of the school and will be accompanied by the docket, departmental recommendation and (if any) the School Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee recommendation.

PROVOSTIAL REVIEW: STAGE III

The Provost shall evaluate each tenure and promotion docket and recommendation submitted by the Deans. In doing so, the Provost may solicit additional information and/or letters of evaluation and may appoint an ad hoc committee composed of tenured faculty to seek further counsel. The Provost shall support or oppose the Dean’s recommendation in the Provost’s final decision. The Provost will inform the Dean of the Provost’s pending decision. In those cases in which the Provost’s decision will be contrary to the recommendation of the Dean, the Provost will provide the Dean with the reasons and give the Dean an opportunity to provide further information or counter-argument before the Provost’s final decision. The Provost shall notify the Dean of the final decision, along with reasons thereof if the Dean’s recommendation is disapproved. Upon notification of the Provost's decision, the Dean will write to the Department Chair and to the candidate informing them of the decision. 

5. ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS

Mandatory Review for Tenure

A docket and recommendation must be submitted to the Dean for all faculty in their mandatory review year, whether the recommendation is positive or negative. If, however, the candidate tenders a letter of resignation on or before August 31 of the year prior to the mandatory review, effective on or before August 31 of the final probationary year, a docket and recommendation need not be submitted. The letter must state explicitly that the resignation was freely tendered without duress. In this instance, the Department Chair must forward the letter of resignation to the Dean on or before August 31 of the year prior to the mandatory review year. (For appointments that start mid-academic year, the deadline date is one year prior to the last day of the month of the year prior to the mandatory review. ) 

Tenured External Appointments (Lateral Hires)

NYU practice at all schools is for explicit written arrangements to require a tenure review at the Department, School, and University levels; their appointments are made pending completion of the tenure review and this shall be recorded in their appointment letters. (7) Any exception to this practice requires the written consent of the Provost. In cases where lateral tenured appointments are recommended by a committee other than the Departmental P&T Committee, the Departmental P&T Committee shall also review the appointment utilizing the same standards and procedures for internal candidates. For appointments at the rank of full professor with tenure, the vote and authority for the tenure recommendation resides with the full professors in the Department. For appointments at the rank of associate professor with tenure, the vote and authority reside with all tenured faculty members in the Department. The vote should be taken by closed ballot. Dockets to be submitted to the Provost minimally must include the following:

  • A memo from the Dean describing why the candidate is an important hire for the school and a justification for establishing a tenured position within the department in the candidate’s field of expertise.
  • The candidate’s most current CV
  • Five external evaluations from qualified individuals not associated with the candidate nor identified/suggested by the candidate, with a list stating the credentials of these individuals. Letters solicited from individuals selected by the candidate can be included as supplementary information as long as their provenance is clearly identified. A letter from a suitable evaluator selected by the search committee, which answers all the relevant questions of the tenure review process, may be used as one of the Department’s five required outside letters for the P&T docket.
  • A written report of the Department’s review of the candidate, including a comparison with other candidates.
  •  A summary of the recommendations of the Search Committee.
  • A description of the candidate’s teaching and an indication of how the candidate will meet the teaching needs of the Department. If evaluations are not available, alternative assessment of teaching ability must be provided by the Chair. 

Tenure Clock Stoppage

The tenure clock for faculty is set forth in formal University rules adopted by the Board of Trustees, and may be extended in accordance with standard University policy as set forth in the Faculty Handbook (8). For those candidates who have been granted an extension, NYU policy is to evaluate the productivity of the candidate as if he or she had been in probationary status for the normal duration, so that the candidate is not penalized for having received the extension.

Acceleration of Schedule

Proposals for early promotion to associate professor and for tenure must be considered extraordinary actions. Indeed, it is not normally in the best interest of a candidate or of the institution to propose candidates for tenure ahead of schedule. The Dean must be consulted prior to the preparation of an early case. The best reason for proposing early consideration is a record of extraordinary accomplishment that can be readily distinguished from strong cases. It must be noted that external letter writers must be asked to comment specifically on the special grounds for an early decision. Chairs and departmental committees must also specifically address this issue. Even with these affirmative recommendations, the Dean will not recommend early tenure unless the case is extraordinary and compelling in relation to the already high expectations for candidates reviewed under the usual schedule.

Additional or Alternative Procedures for Promotion to Full Professor

The inquiry for promotion to full professor is essentially the same as for a tenure candidate: is the candidate for promotion among the strongest in the candidate’s field, in comparison with individuals at similar points in their careers? In addition, the candidate must have achieved a significant milestone or marker beyond the work considered at the point of awarding tenure. The normal expectation will be that the new work mark significant new scholarly research or artistic achievement since the conferring of tenure. The docket must clearly indicate which work distinguishes the candidate’s achievements since the last review for promotion. For promotions to full professor, the vote and authority resides with the full professors in the Department. If there are fewer than three tenured full professors, the Dean, after consultation with the Chair, will designate three or more senior scholar(s) in the School (or outside of the School if none is available within) to participate the review process. The report of the Departmental P&T Committee must be submitted by its Chair directly to the Dean. If the Department Chair is an Associate Professor, the report of the committee for promotion only cases must be reviewed by the Dean instead of the Chair.

Appeal

In the event of a negative decision, the candidate has the right to file a grievance in accordance with the provisions of the University's Faculty Grievance Procedures. (9)

Appendix: Sample Letter for Soliciting External Evaluations for Mandatory Tenure and Promotion Review

Dear xxxx,

Jane Doe, currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of XYZ is being considered for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Because of your knowledge of the field, we would very much appreciate your evaluation of her research or creative work and potential for future success.

I am attaching (OR linking to) Jane Doe’s curriculum vitae with links to her publications, as well as her teaching and research statement. If you need any additional materials we will forward them upon your request. It will be of particular value to us if you provided a candid assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Jane Doe’s research or creative work with respect to intellectual quality, originality, and rate of publication. Your comments on the scope and significance of Professor Doe’s research or creative work and interests would be valued. We also would be grateful for an explicit comparison of her work with the most prominent individuals working in the same field at comparable points in their careers. Any additional comments you consider pertinent would be welcome. IF APPLICABLE: [Please note that the University has extended the tenure clock for this faculty member, in accordance with University policy.]

If you have knowledge of Jane Doe’s teaching ability or service to the University and/or the professional community, we would appreciate your commentary on these matters as well. Also, please include in your letter a statement of whether and in what specific capacities you may have known the candidate or known of her research or creative work.

Finally, we would appreciate your judgment of whether or not Jane Doe would be considered a strong candidate for promotion and tenure in other leading departments in the field.

We will appreciate receiving your letter within six weeks, sooner if possible. The University's promotion and tenure committee expects the department (OR school) to provide biographical information about referees. We would therefore be very grateful if you could forward with your letter a current curriculum vitae.

Let me assure you that your letter will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law. It will be available only to the tenured professors of this department, and appropriate decision makers within the University.

Thank you for generously assisting us. I realize this is a time-consuming task, but, as you know, it is a critical element of the academic process of peer review.

Sincerely,

To Review the Full Policy (PDF)

1. The “New York University Promotion and Tenure Guidelines” also known as the “Core and Essence Document” were issued in March 2004; and the “Promotion and Tenure Guidelines – Sample Template” in June 2004. The 2004 Guidelines were previously revised in April 2017.

2. See Faculty Handbook, Academic Freedom and Tenure. In case of conflict with these guidelines, the text of the Faculty Handbook will take precedence.

3. Herein the term “School” includes those listed in the Faculty Handbook, Schools, Faculties and Divisions of the University as well as the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Fine Arts, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai. In the Division of Libraries, the guidelines for promotion and tenure may depart from the University-wide guidelines to the extent necessary to reflect that Libraries faculty do not generally teach credit courses for students and that their contributions to knowledge in their field may not take the form or extent of scholarly research and publication expected in other academic fields. Herein the term “Dean” includes the “Directors” of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Fine Arts, and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World as well as the chief academic officers of NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai.

4. Herein the term “department” is taken to mean “department or its counterpart in small schools.”

5. A summary of Cross Appointments can be found here.

6. NYU policy regarding the confidentiality of external letters and other tenure decision materials is found in the Legal Protection for Faculty Members policy at https://www.nyu.edu/about/policies-guidelines-compliance/policies-and-guidelines/legal-protection-for-faculty-members.html

7. See Faculty Handbook, Title I, Statement in Regard to Academic Freedom and Tenure, Section (V) (4), second paragraph: “A candidate for his or her first appointment in the rank of associate professor at New York University who has formally gained permanent or continuous tenure in another institution of higher education is subject to a tenure review at New York University at the department, school and university levels; a formal offer of an appointment with tenure can be made pending completion of the tenure review, and this condition shall be recorded in the appointment letter.” Also see Section (V) (5), third paragraph: “A candidate for his or her first appointment in the rank of professor at New York University who has formally gained permanent or continuous tenure in another institution of higher education is subject to a tenure review at New York University at the department, school and university levels; a formal offer of an appointment with tenure can be made pending completion of the tenure review, and this condition shall be recorded in the appointment letter.” 

8.  See Faculty Handbook, Tenure Clock Stoppage for Personal Reasons, at https://www.nyu.edu/faculty/governance-policies-and-procedures/faculty-handbook/the-faculty/policies-applicable-to-tenured-and-tenure-track-faculty/additional-faculty-policies-applicable-to-tenured-and-tenure-tra/tenure-clock-stoppage-for-personal-reasons.html

9. See Faculty Handbook, Faculty Grievance Procedures at https://www.nyu.edu/faculty/governance-policies-and-procedures/faculty-handbook/the-faculty/policies-applicable-to-tenured-and-tenure-track-faculty/additional-faculty-policies-applicable-to-tenured-and-tenure-tra/faculty-grievance-procedures.html


Notes
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  1. Dates of official enactment and amendments: Mar 10, 2021
  2. History: N/A
  3. Cross References: N/A