RUL 05.67.701 – Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Standards and Procedures

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

History: First Issued: 1994. Last Revised: January 17, 2008.

Related Policies: 
NCSU RUL05.67.706 – College of Sciences Standards and Procedures for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure
NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure 
NCSU REG05.20.20 – Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Dossier Format Requirements
NCSU REG05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations

Additional References:
Office of the Provost RPT Website

Contact Info: Department Head, Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, (919-515-7773)


1. Introduction

This rule is designed to ensure that the processes of reappointment, promotion and tenure in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences are clear and are consistent with those of the College and the University, and that the results will recognize and reward outstanding faculty performance and advance the University’s mission. The source of authority for these policies is NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure .

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.

2. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

2.1. Teaching and mentoring students

All faculty are expected to teach both in the classroom in formal courses and as supervisors of graduate student research and to mentor/advise both graduate and undergraduate students. Three courses per year is considered a standard teaching load, however this load may be adjusted to reflect the level of activity in sponsored research or graduate student advising. The quality of teaching, as measured by student evaluations and departmental peer evaluations, is expected to be high.

2.2. Discovery of knowledge

All faculty are expected to maintain an active research program in their areas of expertise. Production of the research is measured in terms of peer-reviewed publications, sponsored research grants, presentations at national meetings, and graduate theses and dissertations completed.

2.3. Service in professional societies and within the university itself

Participation in activities of professional societies is viewed as a part of the professional development of a faculty member. Participation in department, college and university level activities is expected of all faculty, although junior faculty are generally advised to maintain a lower level of such activity than senior faculty.

2.4. Extension and engagement with constituencies outside the university

The nature of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences often results in direct application of research interests to societal problems. When possible, such activities should be pursued to benefit society in general. The appropriate degree of involvement varies greatly among the diverse areas in our department.

3. General Standards

The following list presents the activities that are most important in evaluations for promotion and tenure for all ranks; in general, the more significant factors are listed first.

3.1. Research Activities

3.1.1. Publication: It is expected that faculty members will be regularly engaged in applied and/or basic research within their fields and that the findings of this research will be published in appropriate, refereed, nationally/internationally recognized journals. It is generally assumed that faculty members with smaller teaching commitments should be publishing at a substantially higher rate than by those members who have the heavier teaching loads. The quality and number of papers are important for professional development (the Citation Indices will be used in this determination). Publishing results of thesis/dissertation investigations with graduate students is also very important.

3.1.2. Sponsored Research: Another important measure of the quality/impact of a faculty member’s research activity is the ability to secure external funding from competitive grants/contracts at a level and success rate that is commensurate with their field. Such research awards, on a regular basis, are a clear sign of recognition of a faculty member as a productive research scientist by his/her peers, and it also provides important support for personnel and facilities necessary for conducting research.

A strong and viable graduate program requires faculty members who are in the forefront of their field so that they are able to provide the guidance and resources necessary to carry out thesis/dissertation research. It is also a responsibility of the faculty to help provide support of graduate students within the Department. Overall support of the graduate program requires meaningful contributions from each faculty member.

3.2. Teaching and Mentoring Activities

3.2.1. Teaching: It is expected that faculty members should devote the time and energy necessary to prepare adequately for the courses that are assigned to them. It is further expected that the course content be continuously adjusted to keep abreast of new research findings, particularly in the more advanced courses. A normal teaching load is three formal courses per year.

A faculty member’s contribution and performance in teaching will be judged on the basis of his/her average teaching load (commensurate with level of research activity), new courses developed, upgrading of present courses, semester-end students’ evaluations, departmental peer-review teaching evaluations, the number of students advised and the quality of the advising. Additional factors that are considered are possible review of course materials by selected senior faculty members, out of classroom interaction with students, coordination of courses with other faculty members and impressions of past graduates about the faculty member’s teaching abilities.

3.2.2. Student Mentoring: The quality and degree of interaction of faculty with graduate student advisees are especially important. Criteria by which this is measured include the number of students attracted and supported and that successfully complete advanced degrees, the involvement of graduate advisees with the faculty advisor in proposal writing, professional society activities (e.g., presenting papers on thesis/dissertation research) and in publishing results of research in peer-reviewed, nationally/internationally distributed journals. Mentoring of undergraduate students, particularly through inclusion of undergraduates in a research program, supervision of independent research and undergraduate advising is also important.

3.3. Professional Activities

Faculty members are expected to participate in professional activities outside the Department and College including (but not limited to): service as a professional society officer or program organizer; awards for scholarly achievements; journal/monograph editorships; article, book or proposal reviewer. These and similar activities will indicate the competence and the reputation of the faculty member.

3.4. Service and Extension Related Activities

There are a number of service-related activities in which members contribute their efforts but which are not primarily related to the scholarly activities in which they are typically engaged. Examples of these activities are advising groups, student committee activities within the Department, College and University, activities related to external organizations, consulting activities for local, state and federal agencies and other service-related activities. Although these types of activities are not the primary duties of the faculty, they contribute to the functioning of the Department, College and University as well as meet our service obligations to external organizations.

3.5. Departmental Interactions

In addition to the areas of responsibility listed in section 2, the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences recognizes the value and the importance of collaboration and interaction among faculty. To add to the strength of our various programs and to assist the development of other faculty, interactions among faculty in teaching and research are encouraged. Development of research projects that include other faculty is valued both for strengthening of the department as a whole and for support for other faculty.

3.6. External Evaluation

The quality and quantity of a faculty member’s published works, as well as professional reputation, will be evaluated in part based on letters received from external referees. These referees will be selected from a list of distinguished scholars (avoiding possible direct conflicts of interest) in the faculty member’s field of endeavor. In general, most of the referees will be expected to have little direct involvement with the faculty member. The external reviews are important in that given the breadth of our Department, not all voting faculty may have sufficient familiarity with a candidate’s specialty to judge the significance of his/her scholarly accomplishments.

4. Standards for Reappointment as Assistant Professor

The standards used for evaluation are those listed in section 3, except that external evaluation is not generally done for reappointment. In view of the limited time the candidate has to develop his/her research program the expectation is to demonstrate potential in each area. Potential is judged by considering manuscripts submitted, grant proposals submitted and graduate students being supervised, but not yet graduated in addition to the normal metrics.

5. Standards for Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

The standards for promotion to associate professor with tenure, or for the conferral of tenure upon an associate professor, are those listed in section 3. It is expected that the candidate will have developed a sponsored research program of sufficient scope to support his/her research group, will have developed a group of several graduate students, optimally including one or more doctoral candidates. The graduate students under the candidate’s direction should be making the expected rate of progress toward degree.

6. Standards for Promotion to Professor

The criteria listed in section 3 apply to promotion to professor. The standards applied are those in NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure which include distinguished achievement in research. This is interpreted to mean the candidate has achieved a national/international reputation as evidenced by letters of outside evaluators, participation in national/international panels and programs and by a strong history of sponsored research support. The candidate is expected to have established his/her ability to direct a graduate program, as evidenced by the graduate degrees awarded.

7. Procedures for RPT Review

Department-specific procedures are designed to complement the NC State policy on Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure (RPT). The citations in parentheses below correspond to the specific sections of the NC State policy (NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure ).

7.1. Documentation and meetings

Copies of the documentation prepared for each candidate will be kept in the administrative assistant’s office (1127 Jordan Hall) and will be made available to all members of the voting faculty for review.

Each review will be conducted at a scheduled meeting. The schedule for faculty meetings will be announced prior to the start of each semester. Pending RPT cases will be announced at the first faculty meeting each fall semester to alert MEAS faculty. The timing of all RPT faculty votes will be announced at least one month prior to the voting, and will normally occur at the time of a scheduled faculty meeting.

Faculty who are unable to attend the meeting at which a RPT vote is taken may submit written or oral comments to the department head prior to the meeting. If the individual desires, the department head will read the comments during the meeting. Faculty who are unable to attend may vote by absentee ballot as described below.

7.2. Written departmental evaluations

The evaluation will be prepared by a member of the RPT committee, normally the member most familiar with the candidate’s research area.

7.3. Departmental Consultation (NCSU POL05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure, section 6.3.1)

In all considerations for promotion or granting of tenure voting will be by secret ballot at a special faculty meeting.  The meeting will be announced a minimum of two weeks in advance.  Those faculty eligible to vote who are not able to attend may submit absentee ballots. Absentee ballots for those that have prior knowledge they will be unable to attend will be deposited in the sealed ballot box which will be kept by the departmental administrative assistant. A list of those voting by absentee ballot will also be kept by the administrative assistant.  In the event an eligible voter is unexpectedly unable to attend the meeting they may subsequently vote by absentee ballot.  In such cases the voter should make every effort to notify the department head as soon as possible

7.4. Non-mandatory Promotions

If a tenure-track assistant professor is being considered for promotion to associate professor prior to the mandatory time, the candidate will submit a current vita for consideration by the voting faculty. The departmental voting faculty (all tenured faculty) will review the material and will provide the department head with their informal vote with supporting comments on whether the candidate should proceed with non-mandatory promotion with tenure. The candidate will be advised of the results and will consult with the department head on whether to continue with the application. If the decision not to continue is made it will not affect any future actions.

7.5. Promotion to Full Professor

The senior faculty (all tenured full professors) will consider the current vita (all faculty are required to furnish their current vita each year as part of the annual report activities) of all associate professors each year for the purpose of identifying those they feel should be considered for promotion that year. In consultation with the department head the positive recommendations will be transmitted to the faculty. Any associate professor may request to be informed of the results of such evaluations (which will be informal only) each year during his/her annual review by the department head.