RUL 05.67.06 – Department of Plant Biology Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures

Authority:  Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History:  First Issued: September 4, 2001. Last Revised: August 1, 2017.

Related Policies: 
NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure
NCSU RUL05.67.22 – College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures
NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations

Additional References: 
Office of the Provost RPT Website

Contact Info:   Department Head, Department of Botany, (919-515-2727)


1. Introduction

This Department of Plant and Microbial Biology rule is supplemental to and consistent with NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure.

It is the responsibility of the faculty member to be knowledgeable about the NC State University Academic Tenure Policy and the university regulations and college rule. The departmental rule augments these to provide faculty with knowledge of the general process and expectations used in evaluating faculty in the department.  The Board of Trustees is the authority for final tenure approval.

2. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

Areas of faculty responsibility are identified in the offer letter and further documented in the Statement of Mutual Expectations (SME).

All faculty members to be considered for promotion from assistant to associate professor with tenure or from associate professor to professor must demonstrate that they are effective teachers and that they have made regular scholarly contributions to their field in an appropriate form.  It is important that teaching responsibilities includes activities beyond the classroom setting.  These activities with students (undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral) may include advising, mentoring, supervising laboratory research, directing the preparation of papers, theses and dissertations, and other appropriate activities..  Scholarly contributions are defined more broadly than the publication of research, as many different forms of scholarly activity can contribute to the field.

All faculty members are expected to participate in the operation of the department, college and university and in professional activities within societies and organizations appropriate to their field or discipline.

In addition, the overall program of the faculty member must fit logically within the mission of the department and the college.  Collegiality and the ability to cooperate with other faculty members are important personal characteristics that are also considered.

3. General Standards

3.1. Instructional Contributions

Evidence to be reviewed in the evaluation of teaching effectiveness will include, but is not limited to:  student responses on the  course evaluation form,  peer review to include direct classroom observation,   graduate student training, academic advising, creativity and innovation, special recognition (awards, honors), and extramural funding record.

Specific written comments from students as requested through ClassEval evaluations are of value in all aspects of evaluating teaching effectiveness.  Students should be encouraged to provide these evaluations. Although faculty members may wish to use an additional student evaluation instrument tailored for their own purposes, the ClassEval form must be used by all faculty in all courses.

To be of most use, classroom observations by peers and by the department head should be shared with the instructor in a reasonable amount of time.  These evaluations will also be appropriate items for discussion during the annual meeting between the faculty member and the department head.

Training of graduate students is an important academic contribution.  Chairing and/or serving on graduate advisory committees, both in and outside the department, is also a significant component of graduate education.  The success of graduate students reflects on the entire institution. Academic advising of undergraduate students is also an integral part of the teaching responsibility and is considered in any evaluation.

In addition to classroom performance, creativity and innovation in the development of courses and contributions to curricular quality are important components of teaching.  Some aspects of a faculty member’s creativity are appropriately considered under the topic of scholarship and may lead to publications on teaching methods, textbooks, laboratory manuals, audiovisual materials, computer-based educational programs or other scholarly products.  Invitations to participate in symposia, conferences, workshops, and other activities related to teaching are important measures of recognition by peers at the regional, national, or international level.

Honors, awards, and other special recognitions in and outside the university are also important indicators of quality and dedication to teaching.

Faculty members are encouraged to seek extramural funds for teaching development, when appropriate, and efforts in this direction will be considered in evaluating teaching effectiveness.

3.2. Scholarly Activity

Scholarly productivity will be evaluated in accordance with the expectations outlined in the SME. Although scholarly productivity is usually equated with conducting research and reporting results in peer- reviewed journals, it may also take other forms.  These forms may include technology innovation, publication of books, development of computer software, patent applications, and other scholarly works as appropriate.

Quantity is of importance only as a general indicator of regular activity. Of more significance is the quality of the contributions to new knowledge or interpretation in the field and regularity of publications such that there are not significant gaps in productivity.

For reappointment at the assistant professor level, publications from work conducted in a doctoral, postdoctoral, or other professional position may be considered if appropriate.  It is expected, however, that tangible scholarly activity at this institution be well established during the initial appointment period.  For promotion to associate professor with tenure, emphasis will be placed on contributions developed since coming to NC State.  These contributions or activities will include, but are not limited to, publications in high quality peer reviewed journals, graduate student training, and extramural funding.

Effort and success in attracting funding is important. This funding may come through various methods, including extramual grants, university grants, memoranda of agreement, unrestricted gifts, and in-kind support.

Independent work is the basis of many scholarly activities and recognition.  Collaborative work is also important in many fields and for specific types of appointments, and is often the basis for substantive support and the advancement of knowledge. Cooperation may include participation in successful multi-disciplinary, multi-departmental, multi-university, regional or national programs.  Whether independent or collaborative, scholarly activity must lead to the establishment of an independent reputation as a scholar and investigator.

As mentioned under “Instructional Contributions”, training of graduate students and postgraduates is an important contribution.   Success of graduates is an important measure of the strength of a research program.

Reputation among peers is important in evaluating faculty.  To be considered for promotion and tenure, all faculty must have established at least a regional but preferably a national reputation.  For promotion to the rank of professor, national and international recognition is expected. Receipt of awards and honors, invitations to participate in symposia, holding editorships, and serving in positions of leadership in professional societies provide evidence of recognition.  These and other types of evidence will be carefully considered when evaluating national and international recognition.

3.3.  Service

All faculty members are expected to participate in the operation of the department, college, and university by serving in various capacities (for example, on committees, boards, panels, task forces, and commissions).  Although there is a reasonable limit to the extent of involvement (to be managed by the department head), it is not unreasonable for these tasks to occupy an average of 10 percent of a faculty member’s time.  Appointments requiring unusual amounts of time should be reflected in the SME.  Faculty members are encouraged to participate in professional activities (for example, by serving on committees and editorial boards, or holding office) within societies and organizations appropriate to their field or discipline.

3.4.  Expectations of Non-Tenure Track Faculty

In general, expectations of non tenure track faculty (research assistant, associate and full professors; teaching assistant, associate, and full professors) are the same as those for tenure track faculty.  However, evaluation of these faculty will emphasize the major responsibility defined in the appointment (teaching, research, extension, administration) and documented in the SME.  All faculty are expected to show accomplishments across the three areas of faculty responsibility (instruction, scholarly activity, and service), but the individual’s appointment expectations will be taken into account in the evaluation.

3.5.  Mentoring and Evaluation

Mentoring of faculty is the collective responsibility of the department head and faculty.  A formal mentoring committee is established for all assistant professors (tenure track and non tenure track), and is charged with providing advice and guidance, assisting the candidate through the tenure and promotion process, and serving as a resource for the department faculty in annual evaluations.  The mentoring committee provides an annual evaluation separate from that provided by the department head, and also serves to provide peer review of teaching, along with other faculty.

All assistant professors are evaluated on an annual basis by the mentoring committee and the Department Head, and the results of these evaluations are communicated to the individual.  Associate professors are evaluated annually by the Department Head. Recommendations for submitting documentation for non-mandatory promotions (to full professor, early promotion to associate professor with tenure, or promotion to either rank by non tenure track faculty) will be considered by the tenured full professors and may be initiated by the candidate, the Department Head, or a member of the DVF.

Evaluation of faculty is a continuous process that includes guidance, recommended changes, peer feedback, and sensitivity to the faculty member’s growth toward or away from his or her original capacity and position.  It is the responsibility of each faculty member seeking promotion to keep his or her mentoring committee, the department head, and the DVF apprised of the goals and direction of their instructional and scholarly activities.  Any changes must be reflected in the SME.

4. Standards for Reappointment to Assistant Professor

For reappointment at the assistant professor level, the faculty member is expected to show productivity in teaching, research, and service.  In research, publications from work conducted in a doctoral, postdoctoral, or other professional position may be considered if appropriate.  It is expected, however, that tangible scholarly activity at this institution be well established during the initial appointment period.  Efforts toward the securing of extramural funding are expected.  The faculty member is expected to have demonstrated effective contributions to instruction, including the teaching of courses, advising activities such as undergraduate advising, serving on graduate committees, or serving as an advisor to a graduate student.  The faculty member is expected to have shown service to departmental and institutional committees.  Evidence of current or the likelihood of future national visibility should be evident.  Evaluation for reappointment will be made in the context of the faculty member’s SME.

5. Standards for Promotion to Associate Professor with and Tenure

For promotion to associate professor, emphasis will be placed on contributions developed since coming to NC State.  The faculty member is expected to have publications in high quality peer reviewed journals appropriate for the discipline.  Efforts toward and success in securing funding are expected.  The faculty member is expected to have shown proficiency in teaching and advising, including training of graduate students.  The faculty member is expected to have served and/or demonstrated leadership on departmental, university, and/or national committees.  It is expected that a faculty member promoted to associate professor with tenure demonstrate at least a regional but preferably a national reputation as a scholar and independent investigator, as evidenced by factors such as letters from external evaluators, service on national committees, grants panels, editorial boards, etc., invitations to speak on their scholarly activities, and other appropriate evidence.  The faculty member should have demonstrated an ability to cooperate effectively with other faculty in the department and a commitment to cooperative efforts in teaching and research.  Evaluation for promotion will be made in the context of the faculty member’s SME.

6. Standards for Promotion to Full Professor

For promotion to full professor, the faculty member must meet and exceed the standards for promotion to associate professor.  In addition, it is expected that the faculty member have established a national and international reputation as a scholar and educator.   A sustained record of publications in high quality peer reviewed journals and success in securing funding are expected.  The faculty member should have demonstrated excellence in teaching, and the ability to mentor and graduate Ph.D. students.   Demonstrated leadership at the departmental, university, and national level is expected.  Evaluation for promotion will be made in the context of the faculty member’s SME.

7. Procedures

Faculty members undergoing review for reappointment, promotion, and tenure must submit their dossier for initial evaluation by the full professors in the spring semester prior to the RPT cycle.  The full professors will make an initial evaluation.  Mandatory promotions will move forward as scheduled, however the full professors will make a recommendation for all non-mandatory actions (early promotion to associate, promotion to full, promotion of non-tenure track faculty to associate and full).  For promotion to associate or full professor, evaluation letters will be solicited from distinguished individuals both suggested by the faculty member as well as others suggested by tenured professors in the department.  External evaluators will be provided with the completed dossier.

The vote on reappointment and promotion will be conducted in the fall after the external letters have been received.  Promotions to full professor will be voted on by the tenured full professors in the department.  For assistant professors requesting promotion to associate professor, both tenured full and tenured associate professors will vote.  The DVF summary statement for the dossier will be prepared by an appropriate faculty member appointed by the department head.  The draft document will be shared with the DVF for review, incorporation of changes, and approval prior to submission with the dossier.