RUL 05.67.21 – Department of Horticultural Science Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: March 1999.  Last Revised: October 22, 2004.

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 REG05.20.10 – Evaluation of Teaching
NCSU REG05.20.19 – Realms of Faculty Responsibility
NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations
Glassick Standards – See page 6 of the Process Description for RPT

Additional References: 
Office of the Provost RPT Website

Contact Info: Department Head, Department of Horticultural Science, (919-515-3131)


1. Introduction

The mission of the Department of Horticultural Science is to provide innovative teaching, research and outreach in the art and science of horticulture. These programs encompass the basic biology, ecology, and production and utilization of horticultural products including fruits, vegetables, flowers and landscape plants. The major goal of the department is to meet and solve the ever changing challenges of a highly competitive and technological world through constant evaluation and adjustment of its programs and positions. The Department of Horticultural Science serves the people of the state, country and world within the concept of the Land Grant mission upon which North Carolina State University was founded.

This rule describes the Department of Horticultural Science’s reappointment, promotion and tenure standards and procedures and is supplemental to and consistent with the university Academic Tenure Policy (NCSU POL 05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure).

Promotion and tenure are processes whereby innovative and creative scholars join the senior ranks of the faculty. Peer review is the basis for promotion and tenure. Departmental Voting Faculty (DVF) are granted the responsibility for performing such reviews, based on the principle that scholars in a particular field are the best judges of the scholarly activities of their colleagues.

The standards to be used in evaluating faculty members for reappointment, promotion, tenure and comprehensive review reflects an expectation of high-level performance in all types of scholarly activities based on the position description and the NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations. The department recognizes the importance of a mix of activities leading to creative scholarship and supports the Realms of Faculty Responsibility (NCSU REG05.20.19 – Realms of Faculty Responsibility). In addition, the Department follows the guidelines for evaluation of scholarly accomplishments known as the Glassick Standards (see related policies above).

2. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

2.1.  Instruction Contributions – Teaching and Mentoring of Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Scholarly accomplishments in teaching and learning are manifested in numerous ways via contributions in the instructional area. Creativity and innovation in the development of courses, pedagogical approaches, and contributions to curricular quality contribute to the scholarship of teaching. Some aspects of a faculty member’s creativity should lead to scholarly publications on teaching methods, textbooks, laboratory manuals, audiovisual, computer-based educational programs, and other scholarly products. Invitations to participate in symposia, conferences, and other activities related to teaching are important measures of recognition by peers on the regional, national, or international level. Effort and success in obtaining support via grants, contracts, gifts, etc. for the development and delivery of instructional material is important.

Teaching effectiveness should be evaluated by responses on student questionnaires as well as through evaluation by peers, e.g. direct observation of classroom teaching, examination of the syllabus, exercises and tests. Although single or infrequent observations can provide some data, regular observations are more valuable and useful. The University regulation on Evaluation of Teaching (NCSU REG05.20.10 – Evaluation of Teaching) is followed.

Standardized instruments for evaluation are required, but in special cases (such as graduate-level courses or highly specific, low-enrollment courses) more appropriate methods may be used. Specific written comments from students are valuable in all aspects of evaluating teaching effectiveness.

Exit interviews of students by the department head or the departmental teaching coordinator are recommended as an excellent way to gather data on teaching effectiveness. Conducting follow-up interviews with students who have been out of school for a few years can provide valuable information.

Academic advising is an integral part of the teaching responsibility and must be considered in any evaluation. A survey of students at or after graduation is an appropriate way to evaluate the effectiveness of faculty advising. Faculty are encouraged to utilize the college instrument developed for advising evaluation at least once a year to obtain feedback from students and the results from these assessments should be discussed with the department head. Information on placement of advisees can also be used to indicate the effectiveness of advising, although it is more applicable to graduate students than to undergraduates. Advising load is another factor to be considered and must be managed by the department head.

Honors, awards, and other special recognitions are other important indicators of quality and dedication to teaching.

2.2.  Research Contributions – Discovery of Knowledge through Discipline-Guided Inquiry

Research productivity is usually equated with conducting research and reporting results in peer-reviewed journals, however, it also takes other forms. These forms may include the publication of books and the production of scholarly works of a form and type determined by the department or discipline. One example is development of computer software.

Quantity is an important indicator of regular activity, but more significant is the quality of the contribution to new knowledge in the field and its integration into practical application. The department must determine the relative weight given to various types and forms of research activity. The College defines peer-reviewed publication to be one that has undergone review by peers selected by an editorial board of a reputable, cited journal.

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

Although independent research is the basis of most research activities and recognition, collaborative research is important in many fields. It is often the basis for substantive support and the advancement of knowledge. Ability to cooperate with other faculty members is an important personal characteristic. Cooperation may include participating in successful regional programs.

Training of graduate students and postgraduates is an important contribution to a field. Success of graduates is an important measure of the strength of a program.

2.3.  Extension Contributions   Extension and Engagement with Constituents Outside the University

Extension and Engagement responsibilities include a variety of scholarly activities and efforts. Examples are technical assistance, applied research, and a variety of formal and non-formal educational efforts.

The programs developed and implemented must be coherent and focused in the area of responsibility with continuity among program activities. Effort must be focused on meeting the needs of clientele. Changes in program efforts may be appropriate with changes in political, financial or social emphasis and support and should be incorporated in a revised Statement of Mutual Expectations. When appropriate, there should be a documented partnership with field faculty and a relationship between the program and the Cooperative Extension Plan of Work must be evident in goals and accomplishments.

Documented impacts must include the use of state-of-the-art techniques and innovative approaches that maximize benefits from the extension and engagement efforts. Impacts should include effective contributions to local, state and/or the larger society through the production of innovative materials and new approaches to solving problems. Evidence of accomplishments may include innovative instructional materials or demonstrations, technical assistance, and other methods.

Leadership and participation in interdisciplinary teams in development and delivery of extension programs must be documented. This includes cooperative relationships with other faculty within and outside the College, and with organizations that serve the same clientele. Effective leadership recognized by peers and clientele at the local, regional, and national levels should be demonstrated.

Continuous improvement in the field of concentration should be documented through increasing and updating skills, keeping abreast of clientele needs, and developing and applying relevant new knowledge. Recognized professional achievement through the production of refereed publications, honors, awards, exhibitions, prizes, invited papers, and presentations should be achieved. Publication as a form of scholarship should encompass the quantity, quality and most appropriate form and outlet as determined by appointment and clientele served.

Efforts at and success in attracting extramural funding is important. This may be in the form of direct grants, university mini-grants, memoranda of agreement, unrestricted gifts, in kind support and collaborative efforts.

2.4.  Service in Professional Societies and Within the University Itself

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). Faculty members are also expected to further their disciplines by providing service to their professional societies by serving as officers or on committees, serving as editors and reviewers for professional journals or other professional publication outlets, and serving on study and review panels for governmental agencies and funding organizations. 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 to 15 percent of a faculty member’s time. Appointments requiring larger amounts of time should be approved in advance by the department head.

3. General Standards

All faculty to be successfully promoted from assistant to associate professor with tenure or from associate professor to professor must demonstrate and document that they have made regular contributions to their discipline in appropriate forms.

Publications, as a form of scholarship, should encompass the quantity, quality and most appropriate form and outlet, as determined by appointment and audiences served. Publications may be defined more broadly than the publication of research, as many different forms of scholarly activity contribute to the field.

Reputation among peers is important in evaluating faculty. To be successfully promoted or tenured, faculty must have established a regional or national reputation. International recognition is required, if appropriate for the discipline, for promotion to the rank of professor. Recognition by peers on a national and international basis is more critical in the evaluation of faculty for promotion to the rank of professor than for promotion to associate professor, although satisfactory progress towards the development of peer recognition should be evident. Receipt of awards and honors provides a basis for quantifying recognition. Other examples are invitations to participate in symposia, to hold editorships, and to serve on national, regional and state review panels and policy panels. Nomination and election to positions of leadership in professional societies also indicate recognition.

Faculty members holding 9-month appointments cannot be expected to produce the same quantity of scholarly output as those holding 12-month appointments. Within the academic year, the performance of a 9-month appointee is expected to equal that of a 12-month appointee with the same distribution of responsibilities. Differences in availability of support must be taken into account in any quantitative comparison of scholarly outputs of 12- and 9-month faculty.

Each newly appointed faculty member will be assigned a senior faculty member as a temporary mentor, with the expectation that the new faculty member will have selected a permanent mentor by the end of his or her first year in residence. The role of the mentor is to provide guidance for professional development and to serve as the faculty member’s advocate during the processes of reappointment, promotion and tenure.

4. Standards for Reappointment as Assistant Professor

To be reappointed as assistant professor, the individual must demonstrate ability or definite promise in teaching, research, extension, and/or another scholarly or appropriate creative activities; demonstrate potential for directing teaching, research, graduate study, or extension activities; and an ability and willingness to participate in university, college, and departmental affairs that will lead to promotion to Associate Professor with tenure.

5. Standards for Associate Professor with Tenure

To be promoted to associate professor with tenure, a faculty member must first meet the standards listed above for reappointment as an assistant professor. Furthermore, the individual will have demonstrated recognized ability to achieve distinction in research, teaching and extension commensurate with their Statement of Mutual Expectations. Also, the individual will have demonstrated the ability to manage or direct activities in these areas. In addition, the individual will have shown a willingness to participate in activities at the departmental, college and/or university level that contributes to the wellbeing of the institution. The DVF must be assured that there is a reasonable expectation that the candidate will continue to build their national and international reputations through significant contributions to the field.

6. Standards for Professor

To merit promotion to Professor, an individual faculty member will have met the standards described above for appointment or promotion to associate professor with tenure. Furthermore, the individual will have demonstrated a proven record of distinguished achievement in teaching, research and extension commensurate with their Statement of Mutual Expectations. For promotion to full professor, the department must be assured that the candidate has a national and international reputation for excellence in her/his field and that the candidate will maintain this reputation through significant contributions to the field.

7. Procedures

The timing for consideration of reappointment of assistant professors and promotion of assistant professors to associate professor with tenure is mandated by the university. Associate professors are free to petition for promotion anytime that they feel their credentials are sufficient. Senior faculty, through the mentoring process, generally make a recommendation that an associate professor is ready for consideration.

The senior faculty meet in June to review the performance of assistant, associate, and full professors under mandated and non-mandatory review. Following this meeting, the head of the department contacts those faculty members who are due for either mandatory or non-mandatory review. The department head also meets with any Special faculty who will be considered for promotion or reappointment at the October faculty. The head also announces to the associate professors that they should make known their plans for preparing dossiers for promotion during the following cycle. Concerns raised by senior faculty which could jeopardize reappointment or promotion and conferral of tenure will be communicated to the faculty member by the department head and the mentor.

All who are ready for reappointment, promotion and tenure review are given full instructions for preparing their dossier. Assistant professors seeking promotion to Associate Professor with tenure are asked to recommend up to ten external references by the first week of August. Assistant professors seeking reappointment do not submit a list of external references. The department head may also consult with senior faculty about additional external references. By the first week of September, the department head has confirmed a list of five to seven external references and sent a letter and informational packet to each referee requesting a written review.

During the latter half of September, the department head reviews all documentation, makes editorial and substantive recommendations, and returns it to the candidates for preparation of a final draft. The documentation is made available to the voting faculty about two weeks prior to the October faculty meeting at which cases for reappointment and promotion are considered.

Following a discussion of each case, a confidential written vote is taken by the departmental voting faculty. The department head does not vote. Voting faculty who will be away from the department at the time of the meeting will be asked by the department head to submit an absentee vote. If a voting faculty member is absent because of illness or disability on the day of the meeting, the department head will contact that person prior to or immediately following the meeting to obtain their vote. A faculty member, chosen by consensus of the voting faculty, prepares a written assessment for a candidate. This assessment is made available to the voting faculty for comment before it is incorporated in the candidate’s dossier. The head of department prepares a separate written assessment. These assessments are made available to the candidates who has five business days to provide an optional candidate response, which if submitted is included in the dossier submitted to the Dean and College RPT Committee.