RUL 05.67.603 – College of Natural Resources Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: January 2001. Last Revised: February 19, 2020.

Related Policies:
NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure
NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Faculty Responsibilities 
NCSU REG05.20.10 – Evaluation of Teaching
NCSU REG05.20.08 – Evaluation of Faculty Outreach and Extension
NCSU REG05.20.20 – Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Dossier Format Requirements
NCSU REG05.20.34 – Non-Tenure Track Faculty Ranks and Appointments

Additional References: 
Office of the Provost RPT Website

Contact Info: Dean, College of Natural Resources, (919-515-2883)

1. Introduction

This rule describes the standards and procedures for reappointment, promotion, and tenure in the College of Natural Resources and is supplemental to and consistent with NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure.

This document describes the philosophy behind the tenure and promotion process in the College of Natural Resources and identifies general issues that must be addressed in every dossier developed by a candidate for reappointment, promotion and/or tenure. It is intended to be helpful to faculty by letting them know what they will need to do to make the case for reappointment, promotion and/or tenure. It is intended to be helpful to reappointment promotion and tenure committees by providing guidance on the types of questions that need to be asked when evaluating cases for promotion and tenure. And, it is it intended to be helpful to department heads by providing a common format that will be used for making comparisons of the merits of various tenure and promotion recommendations and for assuring procedural equity within the department.

Next to the initial decision to hire a particular faculty member, no decisions are more important than those relating to reappointment, promotion and tenure. The process by which these decisions are made must explicitly encourage our faculty to excel by continuously growing in professional stature and accomplishments. It must be based on clear criteria and a database that is consistent across the College, and it must encourage the faculty member to think not only about accomplishments, but about ways to improve constantly.

The primary business of faculty is scholarship whether in classroom teaching, discovery, or the process of applying knowledge. Scholarship is defined as the systematic, continuous, and rigorous expansion of the knowledge base of society.

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.

1.1. Statement of Faculty Responsibilities. Before performance can be assessed, the faculty member and the department head must agree broadly to the responsibilities to be undertaken. The principal mechanism for establishing these responsibilities is the statement of Faculty Responsibilities. The statement of Faculty Responsibilities is the starting point for the preparation of the Reappointment, Promotion and/or Tenure Dossier.

The statement of Faculty Responsibilities must be developed between the faculty member and the department head within 6 months of employment, whenever a major change in responsibilities occurs, and every three to five years thereafter. It must specify the forms of scholarship that a faculty member agrees to pursue over the period and that balances the needs of the department with the aspirations and capabilities of the faculty member. The terms of the agreement will guide the weights assigned by senior faculty and administrators as they review the reappointment, promotion and/or tenure dossier and other materials.

2. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

Each faculty member will be evaluated in regard to the realms of Faculty Responsibility established by the university and stated in the Academic Tenure Policy, as appropriate for the particular appointment and statement of Faculty Responsibilities.

3. General Standards

There is no formula for tenure or promotion, nor should there be. Decisions about these matters will always be a judgment call based partly on individual circumstances. But the process of evaluating faculty for reappointment, promotion and/or tenure should be structured to encourage a high level of accomplishment and a constant quest for excellence in scholarship, however scholarship is manifested. Faculty members being considered for reappointment promotion and tenure and/or promotion and the CRPT Committee should draw upon all relevant sources to answer three questions:

(1) Is the faculty member doing what is expected of him or her?

(2) Is the work being done in an exemplary way?

(3) Has the faculty member clearly demonstrated a commitment and a capacity to continue to improve the quantity, quality and impact of his or her work?

3.1. Teaching

Teaching must be approached as a scholarly pursuit in which the faculty member is constantly testing new ideas and approaches to teaching, systematically evaluating their effectiveness, and adjusting accordingly. Indeed, scholarly articles may be written about lessons learned in the classroom, teaching innovations, and other dimensions of teaching, advising, and guiding undergraduate and graduate students. The dossier should describe these approaches to teaching improvement and the results of experimenting with different approaches.

A variety of attributes go together to define an excellent teacher. Faculty members must have a sincere interest in students, an enthusiasm for teaching, an ability to stimulate students to think and learn, and an ability and willingness to contribute to the overall objectives of the academic unit. They must be up-to-date in their subject matter, organized and prepared, and excellent communicators. Each of these desirable attributes can best be assessed by different groups of people.

For example, students and alumni are probably best equipped to evaluate whether a faculty member demonstrates a sincere interest in students. Students can also evaluate the communication skills of the professor, the level of organization and preparation, his or her enthusiasm for teaching, and the ability to stimulate thinking and learning. For these kinds of attributes, student evaluation of teaching performance provides useful information to the faculty member and for the self-evaluation. But internal peers are in a better position to judge whether the material being presented is up-to-date and whether the faculty member is contributing to the overall mission of the unit. Alumni are particularly useful in commenting on the impact of the professor on stimulating additional learning, on the level of interest in the student, and whether the material was up-to-date.

The point is that the faculty member who is truly committed to teaching and continuously improving should use a combination of inputs and should document the results of these activities in the self-evaluation. Seeking input from faculty peers on course outlines and structure is strongly encouraged. A respected peer might occasionally be invited to the classroom to observe the teaching environment and to provide comments that could lead to improvement, not in an evaluative mode, but as a colleague and mentor. This suggestion to seek peer input as a means to improve is separate from the mandate by Office of the President to secure peer input for evaluative purposes. Teaching evaluations are to be reported as described in the regulation on Evaluation of Teaching.

3.2. Research

The common belief is that research is easy to assess compared with teaching and extension. Certainly it is true that the organized peer review system for research grants and scientific publications does provide a process that does not exist for the other two forms of scholarship. But the task of assessing the significance of the research is far more involved than counting articles.

Therefore, the dossier must go beyond a mere listing of publications, grants, and awards. It should encapsulate and define the most significant ideas or concepts that have emerged from the research, the significance of these ideas, and their actual or expected impact on the scientific community or on practice. This discussion should be written in terms that can be understood by the non-specialist in the field.

Faculty engaged in research should also be constantly thinking about ways to improve. Therefore, dossiers should explicitly describe such things as intellectual barriers that have been reached in conducting research and steps that were taken to overcome these barriers. (For example, a course on new techniques or travel to a different institution to learn from others). The question that should be asked regularly is what do I need to do to enable me to improve the quality, quantity or impact of my research?

Several characteristics are common to most outstanding researchers. These include: intellectual curiosity, creativity, a high level of scientific integrity, good communication skills, an ability to think programmatically, an ability to attract resources, an ability to inspire, and a high level of impact of the results of scientific endeavor.

As with teaching, different groups are in more favorable positions to evaluate certain characteristics of good researchers than are others. Internal peers, for example, are in a good position to evaluate the level of intellectual curiosity, scientific integrity, communication skills, and the ability to think programmatically, attract resources, and inspire others. External peers can offer useful insights into the creativity and the impact of the work of the faculty member. Users of the research usually have useful insights into the communication skills of the faculty member and the impact of the research. Faculty members should draw regularly upon internal peers, external peers, and users of research for help on ways to improve performance.

Relevant questions regarding the review of scholarship are described on the Provost’s web site for Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion.

3.3. Extension and Outreach

Extension and outreach activities, like those involving teaching or research, are expected to have a scholarly component in that the faculty member is expected to be constantly evaluating their extension programs, experimenting with new and improved methods of technology transfer, learning from the results of the experiments, and reporting these outcomes through scholarly avenues.

Several attributes are critical to be an outstanding extension specialist. These include a sincere interest in the clientele, practical experience in the area of expertise, knowledge of the field, creativity, communication skills, and a desire to have a positive impact.

Internal peers can be most helpful in reviewing annual plans of work and assessing their creativity and likely impact. External extension peers can help evaluate the creativity demonstrated by the person in terms of his or her knowledge of the field, and level of communication skills. Clients, or customers, know if the extension specialist has a sincere interest in them and their problems, is committed to results in solving the problems, is knowledgeable about the field, is a good communicator, and has actually made a difference in their lives or their operations. Most importantly, clients are in the best position to quantify the impact of extension activities. Information about dollars saved, productivity increases or other measures of impact are particularly valuable in a dossier. Extension personnel are encouraged to seek feedback from any of the people or groups who are in a position to provide useful guidance concerning performance.

4. Standards for Reappointment as Assistant Professor

Based on the Statement of Faculty Responsibilities and the general standards in Sections 3, the faculty member is expected to demonstrate recognized ability and potential for distinction in teaching, independent research, extension, and/or germane creative activity and show progress toward being promoted to associate professor with tenure and promise of future success in supporting the mission and needs of the college and university.

5. Standards for Associate Professor with Tenure

Based on the Statement of Faculty Responsibilities and the general standards in Section 3, the candidate is expected to show progress toward being promoted to professor and promise of future contributions. In addition they are expected to have established a strong record of accomplishments in their area of expertise, have peer recognition and be upholding of the mission of the college and university.

6. Standards for Professor

Based on the Statement of Faculty Responsibilities and the general principles in Section 3, the candidate is expected to have established a record of distinguished achievement in their area of expertise. They are to have established an excellent reputation among their peers, both nationally and internationally, and be known as an expert in their field. In addition their efforts must support the college and university mission.

7. Procedures

7.1. Statement of Faculty Responsibilities

Must be signed by the faculty member and department head.

7.2. Dossier

The primary database for reappointment, promotion and tenure decisions is a dossier of materials. Format and content requirements for the dossier are described on the Provost’s web site.

7.2.1. In accordance with NCSU REG05.20.34 – Non-Tenure Track Faculty Ranks and Appointments Section 9.1.3 which requires that each Dean must establish for the college for all the categories of full-time (> 0.75 FTE) NTT faculty with professorial rank whether to require external evaluation letters for the dossier, the Dean of the College of Natural Resources has decided the following:

Clinical Assistant/Associate/Full Professors:  Letters required.
Extension Assistant/Associate/Full Professors:  Letters required.
Research Assistant/Associate/Full Professors:  Letters required.
Teaching Assistant/Associate/Full Professors:  Letters required.
Assistant/Associate/Full Professors of the Practice:  Letters required.

7.2.2. Candidates may ask to review external letters included in the dossier.  Although the opportunity for this review differs by department, the review generally does not take place before the candidate receives the DVF and Department Head assessments and has the opportunity to respond to the departmental assessments.

7.3. College Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee

7.3.1. Purpose

The purpose of the college-level review by faculty is to assess reappointment, promotion and tenure recommendations from academic departments or programs and to provide advice to the dean about whether departmental recommendations meet college expectations. The CRPT Committee must provide a formal advisory vote and written assessment of each candidate. This vote and written assessment are a part of each candidate’s dossier as it moves forward to the dean and the University level. Engaging the CRPT Committee does not change the requirement that the dean, upon making a recommendation that differs from that of the voting faculty in the department or program, meet with the voting faculty to discuss the recommendation

7.3.2. Composition

7.3.2a. The Committee is made up of six members, two from each of the three departments in the College.

7.3.2b. The departmental voting faculty of each department will decide how to choose representatives from their department.

7.3.2c. Membership on the Committee is restricted to tenured faculty with the rank of Professor.

7.3.2d. Representatives will serve two-year terms, staggered within departments so that one representative is chosen at the beginning of each academic year. Representatives may serve consecutive terms.

7.3.2e. If a representative cannot serve out his/her term, the departmental voting faculty of the department in which that person resides will choose a replacement to complete the remaining term.

7.3.2f. The committee will elect a chair from among the members of the committee who have served for at least one year.

7.4. The Process

7.4.1. The dean will ensure that dossiers are complete and then forward them to the CRPT Committee.

7.4.2. The CRPT Committee will review the dossiers in a timely manner and, by formal vote, determine if it concurs with the department’s recommendation.

7.4.3. The vote and a written assessment of each candidate will be forwarded to the dean and will be included in the candidate’s dossier as it moves forward to the University level.

7.4.4. If the dean’s recommendation does not concur with the CRPT Committee’s evaluation, the dean will meet with the CRPT Committee to discuss the recommendation.

7.4.5. Each candidate will be informed of the CRPT Committee’s vote and will receive a copy of the Committee’s written assessment, along with the recommendation of the dean, and will be provided at least five working days to prepare a response, if the candidate desires, to be included in the dossier as it moves forward in the process.

7.5 Voting

7.5.1 The first year member of the CRPT Committee from each department will vote only at the Department level on cases from their home department.  These members will participate fully in the deliberations, but will not be included in the total eligible College Committees votes for these cases.

7.5.2 The second year member of the CRPT Committee from each department will vote only at the College level on cases from their home department.  These members may participate in the deliberations at the Department level, but will not be included in the total DVF votes for these cases.

7.5.3 College administrators who hold tenured positions in a department in the College of Natural Resources vote with the DVF of their home department.  University administrators with tenure homes in the College may vote with the DVF of their home department if they devote a minimum of 0.5 FTE to regular department faculty responsibilities.

7.5.4 Votes will be taken by secret ballot.