Faculty Handbook
July 1999

Appendix K Procedure for the Interim and Final Probationary Reviews for the Award of Tenure

General Information about the Mandatory Interim Probationary Review

For each tenure-track faculty member whose probationary period is four or more years, a Mandatory Interim Review will be conducted (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). This two-part review will be conducted (1) by the tenured faculty in the department (or division) or the College Promotion and Tenure Committee (CPT Committee), if appropriate, and (2) by the Chair at the same time as the Annual Performance-and-Planning Review. An example of the summary document for the Mandatory Interim Review and Annual Performance-and-Planning Review (Form 0002) is attached. If the probationary period is four years, the Mandatory Interim Review occurs in the second year (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). If the probationary period is five, six, or seven years, the Mandatory Interim Review occurs during the third year (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). Annually, the time line for completing this review is the same as that for the Annual Performance-and-Planning Review (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3).

According to the Board's policy on tenure, an adequate evaluation of a tenure candidate's qualifications, professional contributions, potential, and determination of whether he or she should be accepted as a tenured member of the UT Memphis academic community, requires the judgment of both the candidate's faculty colleagues and the responsible administrators (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.13.1). Thus, although recommendations for tenure are administrative actions that must be approved by the Board of Trustees, there should be no positive recommendation for tenure without formal consultation with the tenured faculty of the department in which the candidate holds his or her position (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.13.1). At UT Memphis this formal consultation with the tenured faculty in the candidate's department is contained in the Interim and Final Probationary Reviews of the candidate's performance by the tenured faculty of his or her department (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.12.3.3, 4.12.3.4, and 4.13.1). If a department does not have at least three tenured faculty members (excluding the Dean and Chair), the CPT Committee (Section 4.3.3) will perform this review. In large departments (e.g., Medicine, Pediatrics, etc.), the Chair may divide the tenured departmental faculty by divisions in order to form several committees composed of five or more tenured faculty members.

Definitions and Applications of Faculty Performance Ratings

On June 17, 1999, the Board of Trustees approved a five-category scale for faculty performance ratings (i.e., Outstanding, Highly Satisfactory, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory). Please read carefully the following definitions, as these will be applied for this year's Mandatory Interim Review.

OUTSTANDING: This rating designates that during the evaluation period the individual achieved and consistently exhibited unique and highly meritorious levels of professional performance beyond the agreed-upon goals and objectives. This rating will be assigned to an individual who achieves uncommon levels of meritorious performance in his or her field; and makes meaningful and significant contributions to the mission, goals and objectives of the department, college, and university, as well as to his or her professional field.

HIGHLY SATISFACTORY: This rating designates that during the evaluation period, the individual achieved and consistently exhibited a level of performance that exceeded the agreed-upon goals and objectives. This rating will be assigned to an individual whose valued performance exceeds the standard of professionalism and proficiency within a given field.

SATISFACTORY: This rating designates that during the evaluation period the individual achieved and consistently exhibited a level of performance that met the agreed-upon goals and objectives. This rating will be assigned to an individual whose competent performance exemplifies the standard of professionalism and proficiency within a given field.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: This rating designates that during the evaluation period, the individual exhibited a level of performance that did not consistently meet all the agreed-upon goals and objectives. This rating will be assigned to an individual who may require some assistance or feedback in achieving and sustaining a level of professional performance necessary to meet the agreed-upon goals and objectives. This rating is intended primarily as a means of formally communicating that a special effort must be made in addressing specific performance deficiencies. When this rating is given, it should be accompanied by a commitment by the Department Chair, or other appropriate university official, to assist the individual in identifying the mechanisms for overcoming the detected deficiencies, as deemed appropriate. This rating is a negative rating. The Chair and the faculty member must develop a written plan with a specific time frame, whereby the faculty member can meet the departmental expectations within the next year; this plan must be contained in the summary of the Annual Performance-and-Planning Review. A faculty member whose performance is rated as "needs improvement" shall be ineligible for rewards (including salary increases), and must provide to the Chair a written Interim Progress Report of remedial steps taken on his or her performance in area(s) noted as "unsatisfactory", with copies forwarded to the Dean.

UNSATISFACTORY: Unsatisfactory Performance in Teaching, Research, or Service is defined as adequate cause for termination of a faculty member's appointment and includes the following:

  1. failure to demonstrate professional competence in teaching, research, or service; or
  2. failure to perform satisfactorily the duties or responsibilities of the faculty position, including but not limited to (1) failure to comply with a lawful directive of the Chair, Dean, or UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer with respect to the faculty member's duties or responsibilities; or (2) inability to perform an essential function of the faculty position, given reasonable accommodation, if requested.

This rating is a negative rating. The Chair and the faculty member must develop a written plan with a specific time frame, whereby the faculty member can meet the departmental expectations within the next year; this plan must be contained in the summary of the Annual Performance-and-Planning Review. A faculty member whose performance is rated as "unsatisfactory" shall be ineligible for rewards (including salary increases), and must provide to the Chair a written Interim Progress Report of remedial steps taken on his or her performance in area(s) noted as "unsatisfactory", with copies forwarded to the Dean. Alternatively, an unsatisfactory rating on the Mandatory Interim Review may lead to a notice of non-renewal.

Procedure for the Mandatory Interim Review

The Department Chair may delegate his or her responsibility for the Mandatory Interim Review to other individuals. The purpose of the Mandatory Interim Review is to establish a mutual understanding between the faculty member and the Chair regarding the faculty member's progress towards attainment of tenure (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). The procedure for the Interim Review should include the following elements:

  1. The Chair should counsel the faculty member concerning updating his or her curriculum vitae and the identification of supporting documentation to be submitted to the tenured departmental or divisional faculty (or CPT Committee, if appropriate) (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). The faculty member, in consultation with the Chair, should compile a dossier containing all documents to be submitted for review. Although each department's tenured faculty and Chair determine what additional items are required for a candidate's dossier, the dossier must include at least the following items (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.10.2):
    1. Current Curriculum Vitae, in the form required by UT Memphis;
    2. The initial appointment letter and annual reappointment letters with all figures related to salary or income completely obscured;
    3. Annual accomplishments and goals, written by the candidate, since accepting a tenure-track faculty appointment at UT Memphis; and
    4. Summaries of Annual Performance-and-Planning Reviews, written by the Chair and the faculty member's responses, if any, that correspond to the annual accomplishments and goals of item 3 above.

      The faculty member may also include in the dossier any other documents that he or she believes may assist the tenured faculty in its review or be relevant to a positive recommendation (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.10.2). Such documents may include, but are not limited to, sample publications; summaries of student teaching evaluations, as well as other indicators of teaching performance; or letters of evaluation. A letter of evaluation contains a subjective peer-evaluation of a candidate's accomplishments and professional standing. For any candidate the maximum number of requested letters of evaluation is six (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.10.2). Within a department the number and nature of required letters should be uniformly applied to every faculty member. Any letters of evaluation should be directed to the Chair.
  2. The tenured departmental or divisional faculty (or CPT Committee, if appropriate) will review the dossier and meet for the purpose of recording a formal vote on the individual's progress towards tenure (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). A quorum shall be fifty percent (50%) of the tenured faculty eligible to vote on a given candidate or issue, and a positive or negative recommendation shall be decided by a simple majority of those tenured faculty members present (Faculty Handbook. Sections 4.3.2 and 4.3.3). A report will be written to the faculty member's Chair and will contain the following: a list of the tenured faculty members in attendance; all suggestions; the majority and minority views, if relevant; and the summary vote.
  3. The Chair requests from each probationary faculty member for whom the Mandatory Interim Review is required: (1) a summary of activities and accomplishments for the previous academic year beginning July 1, [year], and (2) a summary of the faculty member's proposed academic goals for the year beginning July 1, [year]; these are to be completed by May [day], [year].
  4. During May and June [year], each faculty member must meet with the Chair (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.12.3.2 and 4.12.3.3). This meeting with the Chair constitutes the second part of the Mandatory Interim Review. The purpose of this meeting is four-fold: (1) to review the faculty member's performance in achieving previously established academic goals during the probationary period, including the preceding academic year; (2) to present and discuss the tenured faculty's report; (3) to receive the work assignment for the coming academic year; and (4) to mutually establish the academic goals to be achieved by the faculty member during the coming year (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.12.3.2 and 4.12.3.3). The Chair discusses with each faculty member his or her performance in teaching, scholarly activities, service, and/or patient care (if applicable). This discussion must include the faculty member's progress toward tenure consideration (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.2). The Chair should, when appropriate, comment upon outstanding performance, or ways in which the performance can be improved. Finally, the Chair should assess the overall performance of the faculty member and assign one of the performance ratings listed above. In this review, the Chair should consider the following criteria, if appropriate:

    Teaching - Quality of instruction and instructional materials, interaction with students, level of participation, number of courses, number of contact hours, case loads, etc. Review should be obtained from all programs (both intra- and inter-collegiate) in which the faculty member participates;

    Patient Care - (if applicable) Quality and quantity of patient care, consultant role, etc.;

    Scholarly Activities - Research completed, research in progress, grants received, presentations delivered, papers published, continuing education activities, etc.; and/or

    Service - Committee participation, administrative assignments, consultantships, assistance of colleagues in research activities, offices held, etc.
  5. In addition, the Chair should include in the performance review a discussion of the UT Memphis Statement on Faculty Service Responsibilities dealing with faculty workload (Administrative Policy 1.110)
  6. The Chair prepares a narrative summary of the discussion, including assessment in each category, and his or her expectations of the faculty member for the next academic year beginning July 1, [year]. The narrative must document the faculty member's progress toward tenure consideration (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.2). The Chair attaches the narrative summary to Form 0002.
  7. As soon as possible after the discussion, the faculty member should be provided with the Chair's review, including summary document (Form 0002), narrative summary, and next year's goals and expectations. A period of five days is suggested as a guideline for this requirement. The faculty member may prepare an optional response to the Chair's review and expectations; this response, if any, should be attached to the summary document. A period of five days is also suggested as a guideline for this requirement, if applicable.
  8. In response to a negative rating, the Chair and the faculty member should develop a written plan with a specific time frame, whereby the faculty member can meet the departmental expectations within the next year; this plan must be attached to the narrative summary (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3). Alternatively, an unsatisfactory rating on the Mandatory Interim Review may lead to a notice of non-renewal (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.3).
  9. The mutually established goals for the next academic year, with the Chair's comments, if required, should be attached to the summary document (Form 0002).
  10. The summary document (Form 0002), with all attachments, must be signed by both the Chair and faculty member (to acknowledge receipt of the review document) (Faculty Handbook, Section 4.12.3.2). The faculty member may, if desired, enter a self-evaluation in the column headed "Faculty Member". The original should be retained in the departmental office with complete copies provided to the Dean and the faculty member by June [day], [year].
  11. Upon completion of the review process, and no later than July [day], [year], the Chair should forward to the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer a signed Certification of Faculty Review (Form 0004).

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