RUL 05.67.401 – Department of English Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: October 18, 2002. Last Revised: December 10, 2013.

Related Policies: 
NCSU RUL05.67.411 – College of Humanities and Social Sciences Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures
NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure
NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations 

Additional References:
Office of the Provost RPT Website   
POL 05.20.02 – Emeritus/Emerita Faculty Status for Faculty and Senior Administrators
Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media (2012)
Department of English, “Recommendations for the Evaluation of Digital Humanities and Digital Media Projects in Cases of Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure”

Contact Info:  English Department Head, (919-515-4101)


1.1 The English Department is committed to fulfilling its roles and obligations as an integral component of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and North Carolina State University.  The mission of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences is to serve the residents of North Carolina and meet the challenges of the 21st century by educating our students to be future leaders and responsible citizens with a distinctive willingness to engage in the life of their communities, their state, and their nation.  Within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the English Department has a multidisciplinary research and educational function encompassing literature, rhetoric and composition, professional and creative writing, linguistics, journalism, film, and teacher education.  We seek to maintain and be recognized as maintaining excellent undergraduate and graduate programs, and to maintain a quality of research and professional activity that warrants and receives respect nationally in the profession.  This document provides information regarding the rights and responsibilities of faculty members in the English Department, pursuant to reappointment, promotion in academic rank, and/or the conferral of tenure, and is supplementary to the NC State University Academic Tenure Policy found at: NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure.

1.2 Standards of the English Department are consistent with standards of both the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and North Carolina State University. Permanent tenure at any rank may be conferred only by action of the Board of Trustees.


2.1 The three areas of faculty responsibility are teaching, scholarly and/or creative activity, and service.

2.2 Evaluations of the quality, quantity, and significance of professional accomplishments in all three areas will be used to make decisions concerning reappointments, promotions, and the granting of tenure.

2.3 Evidence of teaching performance is normally demonstrated through student evaluations; recent observation of teaching by a tenured faculty member; syllabi and other teaching materials constituting a teaching portfolio (which may contain web material); course and curriculum development; teaching innovations; teaching awards; student achievements; and evidence of effective participation in advising and mentoring students, including directing graduate theses, projects, or dissertations.

2.4 Standards in regard to scholarly and/or creative accomplishments are specified in Section 3 below for reappointment, for tenure, and for promotion to associate professor and professor.

2.5 Significant service to the department, university, and profession is expected once tenure is conferred and in order to merit promotion to the rank of professor.


3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The English Department seeks to appoint and retain as members of the faculty those individuals having the highest qualifications as demonstrated by their performance in teaching, including the ability to direct graduate study; in scholarly or germane creative activity; and in service to the department, university, and profession.

3.1.2 A faculty member’s cumulative record of scholarship, teaching, and service is considered in all tenure and promotion cases.  Because North Carolina State is a Research I university, a continuous record of scholarly or creative publication is expected. The merit of the faculty member’s work in all areas of faculty responsibility rather than time in rank is the basic standard for all recommendations for RPT. However, the dossier should demonstrate that the faculty member has established a continuing record of productivity at NC State.

3.1.3 Work in progress is not by itself sufficient evidence of significant research or creative activity.  Promotion and tenure is based on published work, or on a combination of published and accepted work that has proceeded through a stage of review at which publication is assured.

3.1.4 Candidates are to identify collaborative work and include an explanation of the candidate’s contribution to the overall effort.

3.1.5 Candidates are to properly cite work that is an adaptation and include the source of the original work.

3.1.6 Candidates are to report on all activity relating to the procurement of extramural grants and contracts and other support awarded by federal agencies and national/international foundations, honors/awards such as those recognized by the AAU and/or TARU for the purposes of university rankings, and fellowships or grants from libraries, humanities or research centers, or other organizations supporting scholarship in the humanities.  Reports generated by the Research Administration Data And Reporting (RADAR) system should be included in the dossier for all such activity.  In cases of multiply-authored grant applications, candidates should specify their contributions to and role in each grant.

3.1.7  As evidence of the quality of their work, candidates may include the following information to the extent it is available: grant funding agencies; editorial boards, acceptance rates, and other indicators of the quality of the presses, journals, conferences, and other sources of distribution through which their work appeared.

3.1.8 As evidence of the significance of their work, candidates may include the following information to the extent it is available: reviews and citations of their work; secondary publications; derivative works; uses of projects as scholarly tools; longevity

3.2 Standards

The English Department evaluates candidates for reappointment, tenure, and promotion on the basis of the quantity, quality, and significance of their professional accomplishments in teaching; scholarly/creative/ and/or journalistic publications; and university and professional service.  A more detailed description of the department standards for reappointment, tenure, and promotion follows:

The English Department generally expects faculty to demonstrate continuing achievement, appropriate to their subdiscipline within English studies, in the following areas: 1) scholarship, creative work, and/or, journalistic publications; 2) teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels; and 3) service to the department, college, and university, and to the profession.  The Department evaluates candidates for reappointment, tenure, and promotion on the basis of the quantity and quality of their accomplishments in these areas, each of which is further defined as follows:

3.2.1 Faculty throughout their careers should pursue a program of professional development resulting in publications and nationally visible activities and projects that contribute to the generation of knowledge in their special fields or in the publication of creative work.  The department normally values, differentially,

3.2.1.a  The publication of peer-reviewed, single-author scholarly, creative, or journalistic books (see Section 6 for guidelines for determining the equivalent of a book);

3.2.1.b  The print or electronic publication of edited texts, translations, book-length annotated bibliographies, major archives, or other projects similar in scope;

3.2.1.c  The publication of edited collections of scholarly essays, in the form either of single volumes or special issues of scholarly journals, or edited anthologies of creative work either as single volumes or special issues of creative periodicals; or the on-going editing of scholarly or creative journals;

3.2.1.d  The publication of textbooks;

3.2.1.e The creation of field-appropriate tools and resources that show evidence of innovation and insight regarding the exigencies and processes of scholarly or creative work in that field.

3.2.1.f The application for and/or receipt of funding from all extramural sources, including fellowships, research grants, and scholarly awards.

3.2.1.g  The publication of refereed articles in professional journals or refereed chapters in books, or of refereed creative and journalistic work in suitable periodicals and collections, or of major review essays;

3.2.1.h The recognition of outstanding achievements in teaching, research, or service

3.2.1.i  The delivery of scholarly papers or creative work at conferences, the presentation of invited papers and lectures, and the writing of reviews for tenure and promotion cases at other universities or as an external reviewer of programs and curricula;

3.2.1.j  The publication of book reviews, dictionary and encyclopedia entries, article-length annotated bibliographies, and equivalent Web resources;

3.2.1.k  The holding of offices in professional organizations and membership on editorial and advisory boards to scholarly or creative or journalistic book series and/or serial publications.

Because collaborative publications take such a variety of forms, individual collaborative work is assessed on the basis of quality, as judged by colleagues in the department and external evaluators, and the candidate’s contribution to the overall effort.

In evaluating scholarly, creative, or journalistic work in electronic forms, including websites, archives, tools, and other resources, the Department follows the recommendations of the MLA’s Committee on Computers and Emerging Technologies as set forth in “Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media” (2012) as well as recommendations from a subcommittee of the department voting faculty regarding digital media and digital humanities projects.  The document (under “Faculty Resources” on the departmental website) recognizes that not all Digital Humanities and Digital Media projects are practicable to review prior to distribution/publication and not all will be distributed via 3rd parties. To be considered refereed, publications should undergo field-specific peer or editorial review or accreditation, a process that may include consideration of:

  • Who edits the source of publication and who serves on the review board
  • The collaboration or community out of which a DH or DM project develops or is incubated (e.g., NEH workshops).
  • Grant funding (i.e., successful proposals for grant funding should be considered equivalent to a favorable peer review)
  • The project host (e.g., university sponsored, commercial, etc.)
  • Project availability, reach, and impact (i.e., what audiences does the project reach and how effectively?)
  • Project affiliations (i.e., connections to other projects and conversations)

Refereed electronic publications will be considered equivalent to print publications.

For the purpose of RPT, a book, monograph, article, or edited text will fulfill departmental standards only when it is either published (either in traditional or electronic form) or has proceeded through a stage of review at which publication is assured.

For purposes of evaluating textbooks, especially in Composition, the Department generally adheres to the recommendations of the MLA Commission on Writing and Literature, that departments consider such textbooks “as the equivalent of other scholarly books, measurable like scholarly books according to rigorous intellectual standards” (Profession 88. [New York: MLA, 1988], p. 73).

3.2.2  The department expects its faculty regularly to teach undergraduate and graduate courses, as assigned by the department head and in the numbers designated in her or his contract.  “Teaching” includes traditional classroom teaching as well as the teaching of departmentally approved distance education and online courses, wherever these can be evaluated formally by the department.  It also includes the advising of students and the direction of honors theses, masters theses, capstone graduate projects, and Ph.D. dissertations (both within and outside of this university), as well as membership on committees for such theses and dissertations.  Support for the teaching record will include student evaluations, course syllabi, peer observations of classroom teaching, and other materials demonstrating teaching excellence that a candidate and head agree are appropriate to include in the file.  As a general guideline, individual items on student evaluations with scores consistently below departmental averages may be cause for concern.

3.2.3 Service to the department, college, university, and profession may take a variety of forms, including administrative work, committee work, and work in outreach programs, and in activities such as program evaluations and external reviews, reviewing P&T cases beyond the Department, service on national committees, commissions, and task forces, and the like. The Department Voting Faculty has RPT personnel work mandated by the University.  Service can be assessed quantitatively from evidence provided in the dossier and qualitatively by department and university colleagues.  In the case of administrative service, faculty will have the opportunity to respond to administrative evaluation surveys about faculty serving in administrative positions in the department.


4.1 The initial appointment at the Assistant Professor level is for four years.  In the third year, the Department Voting Faculty evaluate the candidate for a renewal appointment of three years at the level of assistant professor.  The evaluation focuses on the candidate’s performance in the following areas of faculty responsibility:

4.1.1  Evidence of effectiveness in teaching. This is the first requirement for reappointment.  General standards for evaluation are described in Section 3.2 above.

4.1.2 Documented evidence of scholarship of a quality and quantity that suggest a trajectory toward the requirements for promotion to associate professor with tenure.  For most areas represented in the Department, such evidence will include material listed in Section 3.2.1 (a-e) above.  At a minimum, the candidate should have at least some publication(s) as described in Section 3.2.1 (a)-(e).  Optimally, documented evidence of one or more major scholarly or creative works in progress is also expected.

4.1.3  Evidence of service at the department, college, and/or university levels.  Some service is normally expected of untenured faculty members (see Section 3.2.3), but most of their time should be spent on professional development, that is, on teaching, research, and writing.


Evaluation for promotion to associate professor with tenure focuses on the candidate’s performance in the following areas of faculty responsibility:

5.1  A consistent record of effective teaching, documented as described in Sections 2 and 3 above.

5.2  A consistent record of research, creative, or journalistic activity and publication in the candidate’s chosen field.  In the realm of scholarly research or creative or journalistic work, for promotion at this level the department expects, at the minimum, the publication of a significant, peer-reviewed book or monograph, or alternatively, a number (5-6) of substantial articles in refereed scholarly journals and/or collections of essays; or, in the case of creative writers, candidates doing extension and engagement work, and those working in digital media and digital humanities, the equivalent amount of significant publication; or, in the case of journalists, an equivalent amount of publication in respected newspapers and/or magazines, as specified in Section 3.2.1 (a-e).  Candidates should give priority to professional activities in their primary field, based on their Statements of Mutual Expectations.

5.3  Involvement in service as appropriate for this level (see Section 3.2.3).


Promotion to professor depends upon continued professional development and achievement as reflected in research, teaching, and university and other professional service.  When the candidate has served at the associate level for a number of years, he or she will explain why the case is coming forward at this time.  The evaluation focuses on the candidate’s performance in the following areas of faculty responsibility:

6.1  Documented effectiveness in teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels offered within the Department, and chairing and directing research in the Department’s graduate programs.

6.2  Distinguished achievement in research, scholarship, or artistry.  Such achievement must represent significant accomplishments beyond the credentials submitted for promotion to associate professor.  This level of accomplishment may be achieved through the publication of two books or their equivalent (one book or its equivalent published since promotion to associate professor), but it may also be achieved through combinations of items in Section 3.2.1 (a-e) that collectively represent a substantive, coherent body of work of national or international significance. Evidence of grant and fellowship activity is also recognized.

6.3  Documented record of sustained service through participation on committees and in other activities available within the university, as well as appropriate activities locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.


The preparation of a case for promotion with or without tenure represents the collective efforts of the department head, the Department Voting Faculty, and the candidate. Although the RPT committee ensures that the candidate’s material meets the general preparation guidelines, the candidate bears the greatest responsibility for gathering and preparing his or her own scholarly, teaching and service-related materials, and organizing these materials in the promotion dossier for review by the Coordinating Committee and the Department Voting Faculty.

7.1  Review Schedule

March 15:

The Department Voting Faculty elect the three-member Coordinating Committee for Promotion and Tenure.

Eligible or required candidates for promotion are identified.

April 15:

The candidate begins preparing the dossier.

External evaluators are identified by the candidate, and the presentation committee, and the Head. The Head will choose evaluators with suitable scholarly and/or technical expertise.

May 1:

The Head sends individual letters to external evaluators.

The candidate’s materials are mailed to external evaluators as soon as possible and generally no later than the end of the month.

September 1:

External evaluators’ letters are due.

7.2  Selection of External Evaluators for Tenure and Promotion Cases

In all cases of either tenure or promotion the judgment of external evaluators will be solicited.  Procedures for securing these evaluators are as follows:

Five external evaluators are expected for all tenure and/or promotion decisions; six letters are solicited to guarantee the expected number of letters.

The candidate for tenure and/or promotion is asked to submit 3-4 names of prospective reviewers to his/her presentation committee.  The committee supplements the candidate’s list with several other potential reviewers.  The candidate can protest the recommendations of the committee for cause.  Consultation with the Head continues until six reviewers, acceptable to the candidate, the committee, and the Head, have been secured, reflecting a balance between those nominated by the candidate and the presenter/Head.  The presenters insure that the reviewers for each candidate can offer a fair and objective assessment and reflect high standards in the candidate’s discipline(s).

The Department Head writes a formal request to each reviewer whose willingness to participate in the review has been initially secured by the presentation committee.  In consultation with the presentation committee, the candidate chooses the most important publications to be sent to the outside reviewers.  This selection of work is normally photocopied or purchased and mailed at Departmental expense. The Head’s letter follows a standard format.

After the evaluators’ letters have been received, if there is a need for clarification concerning the content of a letter, the Head communicates with the letter writer to seek clarification.

In cases where a request for promotion is turned down, if the request is resubmitted during a subsequent year, updated letters from external evaluators must be requested.  Candidates, however, are free to include in their file copies of letters from previous applications for promotion.  Under North Carolina law, the candidate may request the opportunity to read the letters at any time.


8.1  Tenured Associate and Full Professors make reappointment recommendations and tenure and promotion recommendations to the rank of Associate Professor.

8.2. Full Professors make tenure and promotion recommendations to the rank of Full Professor.


9.1  In tenure cases:  The Department Head shall appoint a 4-member tenure review committee (TRC) for each tenure case.  In doing so, the head will consult with the senior faculty in the candidate’s field and with the candidate.=

9.1.1  Composition of TRC:  4 senior faculty members, including at least one full professor, who acts as the convener.  When possible, 3 committee members but no more than 3 will be drawn from the candidate’s field.

9.1.2  Duties of TRC:  The candidate submits the full tenure dossier to the TRC.  The committee reviews the dossier (initially for format compliance) and designates one committee member to act as presenter for research (a faculty member from the candidate’s field) and another for teaching and service (not necessarily from the candidate’s field).

9.1.3  The TRC votes on the merits of the case (for or against), and draws up a preliminary written report of no longer than 2 pages (this will serve as the basis for the DVF statement).  The vote and report will be made available electronically to the senior faculty one week prior to the senior faculty meeting where the case will be presented.

9.1.4  The department requires attendance by the senior faculty at one meeting where the tenure case will be discussed.  Faculty members with legitimate reasons for not attending will be excused, but are expected to read the candidate’s materials on line, along with the TRC vote and report.


9.1.5  Voting will take place electronically through a secure web site.  The TRC vote and report will be made available on a secure web site, along with an electronic discussion forum for senior faculty comments and a feature allowing editing comments and questions to be raised regarding the initial report, both to be archived.

9.1.6  After the vote of the DVF, the TRC will revise the initial report on the basis of the discussion of the DVF (at the meeting and on line) and the outcome of the vote.  The DVF will have the opportunity to review, further revise, and approve this revised report.  This document becomes the DVF statement included in the case as it moves to college and university levels.

9.2  In reappointment cases:  The reappointment review committee (RRC) will consist of three senior faculty members appointed by the department head, with at least one full professor acting as convener.  The procedures will be the same as for tenure cases, with an initial report and vote made available electronically one week prior to the single face to face meeting of the entire senior faculty.

9.3  In cases for promotion to full professor:  The department head will appoint three full professors to constitute the promotion review committee (PRC).  The procedures will be the same as for tenure cases, with an initial report and vote made available electronically one week prior to the single face to face meeting of the committee of full professors.