RUL 05.67.409 – Psychology – Departmental Standards for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: November 2, 1990. Last Revised: August 3, 2004.

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 REG05.20.06 – Emeritus/Emerita Faculty Status Procedure
NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations

Additional References:
Office of the Provost RPT Website

Contact Info:  Department Head, (919-515-2251)


1. Introduction

1.1. Vision Statement 

The members of the Department of Psychology at North Carolina State University share a vision:

1.1.1. to establish and maintain a learning environment that encourages, recognizes, and rewards the full variety of contributions by staff, students, and faculty;

1.1.2. to provide excellent undergraduate and graduate programs;

1.1.3. to develop, transfer, and apply psychological knowledge for the benefit of society and the profession.

1.2. Mission Statement

The Department of Psychology strives both to enhance and to disseminate an understanding of the science of psychology, while also contributing to the overall service function of a land-grant university.

1.2.1. The department’s primary instructional emphasis is to provide psychology graduate and undergraduate students with a strong foundation in psychological principles enabling them to advance the discipline of psychology and address the needs of society.  The department also provides an educational foundation for students who will apply psychological principles to other disciplines and activities.

1.2.2.  The department’s research activities include efforts to discover and disseminate psychological knowledge and theories, to enhance the profession, and to develop new technologies and solutions to practical problems.  As a department, we strive to maintain a balance among all these research activities.

1.2.3.  The department recognizes the value of applying faculty and student research and scholarship to address the needs of the larger community as well as the university.  Where appropriate, we integrate these out-reach activities into our teaching and knowledge production.

The following guidelines should be read and interpreted in conjunction with the NC State University NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure and the college and university standards.    Final tenure approval rests with the Board of Trustees (BOT).

2. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

As detailed in section 3 General Standards, faculty are expected to make contributions to teaching, knowledge production, and service/extension.  The default percent of effort devoted to these three areas is 40%, 40%, 20% respectively.  However, faculty may negotiate different weightings depending upon their individual circumstances, career trajectories, or the needs of the department.  There also may be some variation in the particular work products of the faculty depending upon the graduate specialty area in which the faculty member is working.  For example, faculty doing fieldwork (Industrial/Organizational Psychology, School Psychology, Psychology in the Public Interest, and in some cases Ergonomic Psychology) may have knowledge production products that have a heavier orientation towards applied activities (e.g. program establishment and evaluation, interventions, organizational change), while faculty working in more traditional areas of psychology (developmental psychology, experimental/ergonomic psychology) might have products oriented towards basic research activities (e.g. controlled experimentation and laboratory research).  All faculty are expected to do a good job of teaching, although the number and level of courses assigned may vary, and to contribute both to local service and professional service.  However, the effort devoted to service could well vary, generally with less effort devoted to service in the lower ranks.

3. General Standards

3.1. First, the Psychology Department is committed to the encouragement of excellence in its faculty and students. To this end, it is essential to recognize, and reward through promotion, meritorious faculty accomplishment in the traditional areas of faculty activity: knowledge production, teaching, and service. Each is essential to the development and operation of an outstanding department and the assurance of sound academic programs. While it is necessary to have demonstrated competence in all areas, faculty are not expected to demonstrate repeatedly simultaneous contributions to each area at all stages of their careers. Each faculty member should be encouraged to develop his or her professional career in a manner consistent with individual talents, interests and goals, and with departmental needs, as described in the Statement of Mutual Expectations.

3.2. Second, promotion is awarded in recognition of demonstrated scholarly achievements. Scholarly achievements in knowledge production, teaching, and service are assessed according to

3.2.1. their importance to the science or application of psychology, the university’s mission, and departmental goals and objectives and

3.2.2. the inherent quality of the resultant product or activity.

3.3. Importance is primarily dependent upon product/activity kind, since not all classes of faculty outputs are equally contributive to discipline, university, and departmental interests. Quality in knowledge production is a function of such factors as significance of the problem addressed, rigor of the logic and method applied, and innovativeness of approach. Quality with reference to teaching is a composite of sound course design, effective management of the instructional process, and attainment of university and departmental student-outcome goals. Quality in the service domain is dependent upon the individual’s contribution to the profession and to the university, college and/or departmental mission.

3.4. Third, faculty members seeking promotion should assemble a dossier of their academic work for review by colleagues. Candidates may, at their discretion, request a preliminary review of their promotion readiness. The ultimate determination of dossier quality rests upon the composite judgment of colleagues within the university, aided by external evaluations from distinguished contributors to the candidate’s particular field(s) of endeavor. Consideration also will be given to the candidate’s reputation in the field as a researcher, teacher, and professional.

3.5. Knowledge Production

3.5.1. Because there are numerous ways of achieving high quality in knowledge production, it is impractical to specify product types prerequisite to promotion. Following, however, are knowledge-product characteristics the departmental faculty considers important:

a) The product’s basic form or mode of dissemination. Journal articles and books are considered of very high importance; book chapters and published tests are of rather high importance.

b) Nature of the product’s content and/or the process involved in deriving it. Theory development and research are of very high importance; concept development/invention and concept presentation/explication are of rather high importance; editing is of rather high to moderate importance.

c) Nature of the product’s review prior to publication or dissemination. Refereed reviews are of very high importance; peer reviews are of rather high importance.

d) Primary audience or user-group for the product. Professional peers and the general professional or scientific community are of very high importance as target audiences; specialized groups and undergraduates are of rather high to moderate importance.

e) Degree of continuity in the product. Programmatic and thematic efforts are of rather high importance.

3.5.2. Although these characteristics per se do not assure high quality in knowledge production, they are considered supportive of promotion, provided individual products meet quality standards. It should be noted, however, that this list is neither prescriptive nor proscriptive. Individual products of other kinds might well be judged as important and high in quality. Further, it should be noted that systematic research efforts are cardinal to this university’s mission and to the operation of a high quality graduate program in psychology. Accordingly, a candidate’s dossier must contain products that clearly demonstrate his or her research competence.

3.6. Teaching

Undergraduate and graduate teaching are both essential to the department’s mission and hence supportive of promotion. Teaching effectiveness will be determined through such indicators as student evaluations, peer evaluations, teaching awards, and collegial judgments of course adequacy as reflected in course syllabi and materials. Above-average teaching loads will receive consideration. Considerable credit will be given for undergraduate and graduate-student research supervision and to collaborative papers and publications with students. Course and curriculum development also will count, as will advising, including the question of how available a faculty member makes him- or herself to students.

3.7. Service

Evaluation of service will be based upon the amount, quality, and importance of the candidate’s service to the department, college, university, community, and/or profession. Important contributions can be made in any of these areas. Faculty service activities are essential to the successful fulfillment of the organization’s mission at the departmental, college, and university levels. Dedicated service to the department or college will count significantly, even if such activities are “invisible” outside the unit involved. Competitive grant/contract activity also will count significantly. (Although included here under Service, it is important to recognize that, depending upon circumstances, grant activity could be considered a component of either Knowledge Production or Teaching. In many cases, such activity will contribute to some combination of categories.) Consideration must be given to the many different patterns of activities through which an individual may provide service. Although some mix of service activities is desirable, the faculty member is not necessarily expected to have contributed heavily in all of the forenamed areas.

4. Standards for Reappointment as Assistant Professor

Based upon the general standards specified in section III, a faculty member being considered for reappointment as assistant professor should have established a record justifying a reasonable expectation that the standards for promotion to associate professor with tenure would be met in years left before that decision date.  Progress toward those standards in all three areas should be evident with particular emphasis on knowledge production and teaching.

5.   Standards for Associate Professor with Tenure

The knowledge production of a candidate for associate professor should show strong potential toward earning him or her a national, if not international, reputation as a valuable contributor to the relevant subdiscipline(s). Candidates for associate professor with tenure should have served on master’s and/or doctoral committees and, in such capacity, engaged in substantial research supervision or consultation. Because of the need for an assistant professor to establish a strong knowledge-production and teaching record, the expectations for service in promotion to associate professor are less than for those in the upper ranks.

6. Standards for Professor

The knowledge production of a candidate for professor should have earned him or her a national, if not an international, reputation as a valuable contributor to the relevant subdiscipline(s). Candidates for the rank of professor should have chaired doctoral committees and, in such capacity, supervised high quality dissertations to completion.  The service expectations for promotion to professor are higher than for promotion to associate professor with tenure.

7. Procedures for RPT Review

7.1. Procedures for reappointment, tenure, promotion to associate professor, and promotion to full professor are similar, as outlined below with the following exceptions.  For reappointment, no outside letters from reviewers are required.  For reappointment, tenure, and promotion to associate professor, the departmental voting faculty (DVF) include all tenured faculty in the department at the associate professor level and above.  For promotion to professor, the DVF are tenured faculty holding the rank of professor.

7.2. In the spring of the year when an RTP decision will be made, the faculty member in question will visit with the department head to announce that intention.  When outside letters are required, the faculty member will be asked to provide a list of 10 potential reviewers, the reason each reviewer is qualified, and the contact information for each.  The candidate will then meet with the department head to select five reviewers and an alternate from that list or other possible reviewers that the department head may suggest.  The department head may consult with other DVF for additional suggestions.  The department head will then contact possible reviewers until five accept.  The candidate will then assemble a package to send to each reviewer.  The package will contain a curriculum vitae and copies of eight to ten publications selected by the candidate in consultation with the department head to represent a sample of the candidate’s work.  The department head will have the packages sent with a cover letter that follows the suggested university format asking that the reviewer evaluate quality of the candidate’s scholarly contributions.  The reviewers will not be asked to evaluate teaching or service and will not be asked to render an opinion with respect to tenure or promotion.  A reviewer deadline will be set in order to include the letters in the dossier for faculty inspection.

7.3. The candidate will assemble the dossier including the reviewers’ letters and a peer evaluation of teaching so that it can be available for faculty inspection for a minimum of two weeks prior to the faculty meeting when the case will be presented.  This dossier will be available at a central location.  The candidate will choose an advocate from the faculty to present the case to the faculty at the scheduled faculty meeting, typically in October.  All tenure-track faculty except the candidate will be invited to attend the faculty meeting.  The advocate will be given approximately 20 minutes to present the case and then questions and comments will be allowed.  All faculty will be encouraged to engage in frank discussion of the merits of the case at this time.  At the conclusion of discussion, an advisory vote will be taken of all tenure-track faculty not included in the official DVF group (i.e., untenured faculty in the case of reappointment or tenure, assistant professors in the case of promotion to associate professor, and assistant and associate professors in the case of promotion to professor).  All voting will be by secret ballot and will be reported to the group immediately.  The advisory vote outcome will be reported in a memo to the dean, but will not be part of the officially reported vote.

7.4. Following the advisory vote, the faculty not included in the official DVF group will be excused and the official voting group will meet (tenured faculty for a tenure vote, associate professors and professors for an associate professor promotion vote, and professors for a professor promotion vote).  The department head will conduct this meeting, but will not vote.  Additional discussion will be allowed at this meeting and then an official vote will be taken by secret ballot.  Following the announcement of the official vote, the advocate will be asked to distribute a previously prepared narrative to the group that might constitute a basis for a faculty narrative.  The DVF will then discuss suggested changes in the narrative such that the narrative reflects the collective opinion of the voting faculty.  If necessary, a subcommittee of the DVF could be charged with the task of producing an appropriate narrative.  The narrative must be approved by the DVF.

7.5. The department head will make a separate recommendation to the dean and will write a narrative justifying his/her recommendation.  The DVF vote, faculty narrative, and department head recommendation and narrative will be forwarded to the dean’s office along with the dossier by the time set by the college.

7.6. Modifications of these procedures based on memoranda of understanding or prior agreements may be made in the case of faculty having joint appointments or interdisciplinary appointments.