RUL 05.67.307 – Department of Nuclear Engineering Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: September 4, 2002. Last Revised: November 30, 2007.

Related Policies: 
NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure
NCSU RUL05.67.308 – College of Engineering 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 (919-515-2301)

1. Introduction

This rule describes the standards and procedures for reappointment, promotion, and tenure in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and is supplemental to and consistent with the college rule and the university Academic Tenure Policy.

Hereafter in this rule, “senior faculty” refers to tenured full professors, and  “junior faculty” refers to tenured or tenure track assistant professors and tenured or tenure track associate professors.

The goals of the Department of Nuclear Engineering are to:

1.1. Provide high quality academic programs at all degree levels;

1.2. Achieve national and international excellence in research areas relevant to the education of nuclear engineers; and

1.3. Provide relevant professional service to the University, the State of North Carolina and the Nation.

2. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

The realm of responsibilities include: teaching and mentoring students, research innovation, industrial extension, and service activities. Examples of service activities are representation of the Department on College and University Committees; administration of the academic programs and the Nuclear Reactor Program; and leadership in professional societies. The manner in which various faculty members may demonstrate their contributions in these realms may vary, and the individual’s Statement of Mutual Expectations describes the realms in which the faculty member will focus and on which he/she will be evaluated.

The assessment of a particular faculty member’s individual combination of contributions will be evaluated using the standards described in Sections III-VII.

3. General Standards
This section sets forth the general standards for the evaluation of teaching and mentoring students, research innovation, industrial extension, and service activities of the Nuclear Engineering faculty for the purpose of reappointment, promotion and tenure.
3.1. Quality of teaching is manifested in a variety of ways, some of which are discussed below:

3.1.1. An above-average rating on student evaluations

Student evaluations are important indicators of how the teaching is being received by the students. Lack of enthusiasm, preparation, clarity, diligence, etc. are all easily recognized by students and they are often candid about how well they think they are being taught. For this reason an average or below average evaluation of an instructor is a strong indicator of ineffective teaching.

3.1.2. Peer review

Student evaluations will not indicate the relevance and currentness of the subject material presented by an instructor. The best indicator of it is the perception of faculty colleagues who make judgments on the quality of teaching of the faculty member under consideration based on informal conversations about instructional and curricular matters, test questions, seminars, etc. Also, perceptions of alumni who have been out of school for a few years can provide indications of subject matter relevance and the instructor’s competence in that subject.

3.1.3. Undergraduate and graduate course participation

Teaching skills and dedication required for undergraduate classes are different from those for graduate courses and it is desirable that faculty participate in teaching at both levels. The Department will make every effort to involve tenure-track faculty in both levels of courses.

3.1.4. Scholarly activities

These include demonstrated leadership in developing new courses and curricula, publication of textbooks and other teaching aids, publications in educational journals, continuing-efforts to improve teaching effectiveness, etc. Such activities are usually time-intensive and are undertaken only after a certain degree of instructional ‘maturity’ has been achieved.

New faculty without prior teaching experience are encouraged to develop good teaching methods by attending teaching effectiveness workshops, and using the more senior colleagues as critics of lectures, laboratory sessions and test problems.

3.2. Research

Anyone entering the profession of graduate education will recognize that quality research by the faculty is the most vital component of a graduate program. Research develops professional scholarship, which is then extended to the graduate students not only through their thesis, herein refers to both thesis and dissertation, research, but also in classroom instruction. Supervising graduate student research is expected of all faculty and it requires competence in the research field, external funding, and ability to attract good graduate students. The following are considered the major indicators of a strong research program.

3.2.1. Research Supervision:

Orienting, inspiring and educating graduate students to do outstanding research is the prime motivation for the Department’s research programs. The attributes of a strong graduate thesis advisor are:

3.2.1a The ability to transmit his/her enthusiasm for study and discovery to the thesis students as determined by exit interviews of students by the Department Head, thesis defense oral examinations, and departmental seminar presentations usually given by doctoral students;

3.2.1b The number of students who have completed graduate theses and the number of current students;

3.2.1c An appropriate mix of Masters and doctoral thesis advisees roughly in proportion to the ratio of the graduate student body;

3.2.1d Reputation in the Department among peers as a willing and conscientious thesis advisor;

3.2.1e Research productivity of students; and

3.2.1f Career performance of the graduates.

3.2.2. Publications:

Peer reviewed publication of important research results in a well recognized journal is the clearest indicator of a successful research program. Publication is important for at least three reasons. Firstly, it is the only way scholars in your field will know about your research; secondly, you are putting your work on the line for careful scrutiny by your peers; and thirdly, publications are essential for launching the careers of graduate students and for building the reputation of the researcher and his Department.

A guideline on an appropriate number of publications for tenure and/or promotion is difficult to specify. It is nevertheless expected that a strong research program will result each year in at least a couple of quality manuscripts submitted to recognized journals. The quality and consistent output of publications are certainly more important than the numbers. The quality of a publication can be judged by where it is published and by how often it is cited by one’s peers publishing in the same field of research. For example, conference proceedings (even when published by a journal) are usually not as well refereed as a routine submission to a journal. Any individual seeking tenure and or promotion is expected to separate the list of his/her publications into the following categories: reviewed journal papers, books and/or chapters in books, reviewed conference papers, reviewed reports, reviewed summaries, and unreviewed publications.

There is also the matter of co-authorship. If most of the papers are co-authored, an effort will be made to clarify the candidate’s contribution to each of those publications by consultation with the principal authors.

3.2.3. Research Funding:

Another vital sign of good programmatic research is the ability to attract contracts and grants. Nuclear engineering research is computationally intensive and/or requires significant investment in experimental equipment. Also, little graduate student support and faculty summer support are possible without external research funds. But apart from the need for money to do research, the award of a contract or a grant is a clear indicator of a funding agency’s (and of peer reviewers’) conviction that the research is worthy of support. A word of caution in this regard is necessary. An aggressive fund seeker can often identify mission-oriented contracts that may have only minor academic content. It is best to refrain from seeking such funds, keeping in mind the importance and relevance of the research program in graduate student education.

3.2.4. External Evaluations:

Departmental faculty who do not work in the candidate’s research area are at a disadvantage in evaluating the quality of a researcher’s publications from the standpoint of relevance, new knowledge, and creativity. Such evaluations require review by qualified people outside the institution. The current procedure for tenure/promotion review in this Department calls for external evaluations in all cases. Important elements to be looked for in a review are comments on the originality and impact of the candidate’s research.

3.2.5. Other Indicators:

These include such items as invitations to speak at conferences and at other universities, service on editorial boards of journals, solicitations to review papers for journals and meetings, memberships on critical review panels, etc. Professional involvement through presentations at conferences and technical assistance to professional societies and funding agencies is also important.

3.3. Industrial extension and service

Extension work is an integral part of the land grant system of universities. NCSU’s College of Engineering encourages faculty participation in industrial extension activities. Examples of such activities in nuclear engineering are industry-university collaboration on relevant industrial research through contracts and/or consulting, organization of technical conferences, short courses on nuclear engineering topics of interest to the industries, video lecture courses for engineers and scientists, etc. Faculty, who have direct responsibilities for such activities (Nuclear Reactor Program Director and Extension Faculty), are expected to devote a portion of their time promoting industrial extension. Other faculty generally undertake such commitments when there is a natural link between their research and/or teaching interests and the needs of the industry.

Service to the Department, the College and the University, on the other hand, is expected of all faculty. Examples of these activities are recruiting and academic advising of students, representation of the Department on committees, leadership in curricular reforms, certain administrative tasks such as undergraduate and graduate program administration, and initiation and coordination of new and innovative educational facilities. Although service may not be given equal weight with teaching, research and extension, it is taken as evidence of a faculty member’s commitment to the students and to the goals of the Department.

Professional society activities (committee services, paper reviews, etc.) are also expected of faculty and are regarded as important for career development and professional involvement.

New faculty are often given a variety of privileges to help with professional development during their formative years. These may include lighter than usual teaching loads, light service duties, and start up funds. These privileges carry with them the responsibility to make optimal use of such resources.

The standards described in sections IV-VII for the various levels of academic appointments are cumulative.

4. Standards for Reappointment as Assistant Professor

Evidence must exist for the potential of the individual to achieve the standards for promotion to associate professor with tenure. Evidence should include:

4.1. Demonstrated desire to achieve proficiency in the subjects taught, development of teaching skills and good teaching evaluations in both undergraduate and graduate instruction;

4.2. Demonstration of potential for developing programmatic research through innovative ideas, quality of Master’s level theses and/or projects completed or nearing completion, commitment to seeking research funding, quality of manuscripts submitted and/or published (beyond the Ph.D. research), attracting and advising one or more doctoral research students;

4.3. Interest and willingness to participate in industrial extension and service activities (if asked, or if a part of the appointment conditions); and

4.4. Demonstrated proficiency for providing good academic advising to a few undergraduate students

5. Standards for Associate Professor with Tenure

5.1. Strong record of providing quality teaching at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels as demonstrated by consistently strong student, alumni and peer evaluations, development of new (or improved) courses, proficiency in teaching a sufficiently broad spectrum of departmental course offerings

5.2. A well established research program that will have resulted in graduation or near graduation of one or more doctoral students in addition to several Master’s students, sponsorship of contracts and grants with PI or co-PI status, national visibility of the research through quality publications.

5.3. Demonstrated leadership in curricular and departmental administrative assignments; leadership roles on Departmental, College and/or University Committees

5.4. Leadership in technical societies, invitations to give lectures and papers, active participation in technology transfer through short courses, consulting, etc.

5.5. Evidence that standards will be continued leading to promotion to Professor.

6. Standards for Professor

6.1. A recommendation for promotion is basically a recognition by the Department that the candidate has not only excelled beyond the standards for tenure at the level of an Associate Professor, but also that-the record of achievements is very likely to expand and persist well into the future.

6.2. Accomplishments in teaching may include writing of textbooks or other expository teaching aids.

6.3. There will have been a consistent record of research funding as well as steady production of Masters and Ph.D. degrees and quality publications.

6.4. National and international recognition through activities such as service on editorial boards of journals, consulting for technical institutions and corporate research and development groups, and leadership roles in the academia and in professional societies would be regarded as clear demonstration of stature within the profession.

6.5. Capable of mentoring a junior faculty member in the same or a closely related area of expertise.

7. Procedures for RPT Review

Consideration of reappointment, promotion or tenure (RPT) is initiated each year by the Department Head. The Department Head is not a DVF and so does not vote, but will attend the meetings.

7.1. Screening Department Voting Faculty Evaluation Stage Initial consideration of RPT actions by the DVF will normally take place early in the fall semester of each year. The DVF will consider every eligible faculty member in regard to RPT actions each year. For non-mandatory RPT actions, the first decision of the DVF will be to discuss whether a specific faculty member deserves any further consideration in regard to an RPT action. A positive decision requires a simple majority based upon the number of DVF. The basis of this consideration will draw heavily from the annual performance review of all non-Professors that the tenured faculty completes late in the previous spring semester.

For both the mandatory and non-mandatory cases, the faculty member under consideration will be so advised and directed to provide additional or updated written material for the intermediate DVF review. One member of the DVF will be designated to assume the advocate role for the faculty member under consideration.

7.2. Intermediate Department Voting Faculty Evaluation Stage

7.2.1. Presentation of case by advocate. The DVF will convene several weeks after the initial screening meeting, at which time the DVF member assuming the advocate role will present the RPT case for the faculty member under consideration.

7.2.2. Decision to obtain external evaluations. The DVF will then by simple majority, based upon the total number of DVF, decide for non-mandatory cases whether outside letters of recommendation will be solicited. For mandatory cases, outside letters of recommendation are required.

7.2.3. Decision for reappointment case DVF vote. For reappointment actions, the formal vote by the DVF can be taken at this time or deferred to the final stage of the review process if additional information is judged necessary before taking a vote by the DVF.

7.2.4. Initiation of formal process. If outside letters of recommendation are to be sought for non-mandatory cases or a if the case is mandatory, this initiates the RPT process and only the faculty member under consideration can terminate the process.

7.3. Final Department Voting Faculty Evaluation Stage:

7.3.1. External evalulations. If the decision is to seek outside evaluations, the Department Head will obtain up to six names of eligible, potential reviewers from the faculty member under consideration. The norm will be that three individuals from the potential reviewers identified by the candidate along with another three individuals based upon input from the DVF will be asked to complete reviews.

7.3.2. DVF Vote

Once the reviewers’ letters are obtained, the DVF will meet to further discuss the promotion and tenure decision. If reappointment decisions have been deferred to this stage, the vote for these cases will be taken. Again a DVF member will assume the advocate role for a candidate and present the case to the DVF. After discussion of each candidate, the DVF will take a vote that will be recorded. One member of the DVF will be asked to write-up the basis of the vote, presenting reasons for both positive and negative votes if the vote is not unanimous. The DVF will review this write-up and suggest modifications before it is finalized.