Faculty Handbook
July 1999

Appendix N - Procedure for Effecting Promotion in Rank

General Information about the Guidelines and Process for Effecting Promotions in Rank

Promotion in rank is not only a recognition of past achievement but also a recognition of promise and a sign of confidence that the individual is capable of greater responsibilities (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.8). The policy of UT Memphis is to grant promotions objectively, equitably, impartially, and as a recognition of merit (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.8). In the case of a faculty member who holds joint appointments in two or more departments, promotion may take place in one department without its occurrence in the other department(s) (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1).

The process for reviewing candidates and making recommendations for promotion is similar to that for the award of tenure; the absence of mandatory reviews of negative departmental recommendations at higher levels is the major difference (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9). An example of the summary document for a positive recommendation for promotion in rank (Form 0005) is attached.

In general, the guidelines for promotion in rank are the same as those for appointment to the various ranks (Faculty Handbook, Sections 5.1 and 5.8). Generally, these guidelines are assigned varying degrees of weight. Deficiencies in some aspect may be counterbalanced adequately by superiority in others; in certain fields of endeavor, some of these guidelines may be replaced by others. Thus, promotion from one rank to the next will depend on the distinctive requirements contained in the Annual Performance-and-Planning Reviews for the period under consideration (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.8). A minimum period of service in rank is normally required before consideration for promotion to the next rank (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.1). Colleges may establish more specific criteria for promotion to various ranks; these criteria must be consistent with the UT Memphis guidelines and be published in the collegiate bylaws (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.3.3 and 5.8). If a department establishes any more-specific criteria for promotion than those of UT Memphis or the department's college, these must be published in the department's bylaws, after approval by the Dean (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.3.2 and 5.8).

Each year the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer publishes and distributes a detailed schedule for the process related to the review for promotion in rank. Generally, a faculty member's preparation for this review begins in September. Each candidate will prepare a dossier, containing the documents required for this review by the departmental faculty peers (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.10.2 and 5.9.1). Bylaws of colleges or departments should limit peer reviewers to members of the departmental faculty holding rank(s) equal or superior to that to which the candidate is seeking promotion (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.3.2 and 5.9.1). 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. In addition, bylaws of colleges or departments may permit faculty members with limited-term, part-time, affiliated, or volunteer appointments in that department to serve as reviewers on promotions (in addition to the tenured departmental faculty, if any) (Faculty Handbook, Sections 4.3.2 and 5.9.1). External review of the dossier may be permitted in any case and required when sufficient expertise is lacking among the departmental faculty (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1).

Procedure for the Review for Promotion in Rank

The Department Chair may delegate his or her responsibility for recommending promotions to other individuals. The procedure for the Review for Promotion in Rank 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 faculty peers (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1). The faculty member, in consultation with the Chair, should compile a dossier containing all documents to be submitted for review. The contents of the dossier will vary depending on whether the faculty member's appointment is (1) probationary for tenure with or without a concurrent request for the award of tenure, (2) tenured, or (3) non-tenure-track (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1). For non-tenure-track faculty appointments the faculty member's dossier must include at least a current Curriculum Vitae, in the form required by UT Memphis (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1). For tenured or tenure-track appointments, the dossier must include at least the following items (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1):
    1. Current Curriculum Vitae, in the form required by UT Memphis
    2. Annual accomplishments and goals, written by the candidate, that are relevant to the period related to this promotion (a period generally not longer than five years); and
    3. 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 2 above.
    For a faculty member with a tenure-track appointment who is making a concurrent request for the award of tenure, the dossier must contain additional items (Faculty Handbook, Appendix L). The faculty member may also include in the dossier any other documents that he or she believes may assist the faculty peers in their reviews 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. The faculty member may request that a maximum of six peers submit letters of evaluation to the Chair. Particular attention should be given to identifying individuals, either on or off campus, qualified to judge the faculty member's most important contributions over the period (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1). 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, even in the case of a faculty member's concurrent candidacy for the award of tenure (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1). 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 faculty peers will review the dossier and meet for the purpose of recording a formal vote on the recommendation for promotion in rank (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1). A quorum shall be fifty percent (50%) of the 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 faculty members present (Faculty Handbook. Section 4.3.2). The faculty peers' report to the Chair shall contain the following: a list of the faculty peers in attendance; the majority and minority views, if relevant; and the summary vote. A copy of this report must accompany the request for promotion in rank forwarded to the Collegiate Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Dean, the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer, and the Chancellor (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.1).
  3. The Chair reviews the dossier(s) and considers the recommendation(s) of the faculty peers. Then, the Chair makes a recommendation concerning each faculty member under consideration (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.2). Whenever the recommendation of the Chair differs from that of the faculty peers, the Chair must notify them of the reasons for a decision contrary to their recommendation (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.2).
  4. In a case in which the promotion in rank is recommended, the Chair prepares a letter of nomination to the Dean (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.2). The letter of nomination must contain the following items:
    1. Name of the faculty member;
    2. Date of the original appointment;
    3. Date of any prior promotion;
    4. Date on which the recommended promotion would become effective;
    5. The faculty member's professional discipline or field; and
    6. Examples of important and specific accomplishments in teaching, scholarly activities, service, and/or patient care, as appropriate for the individual faculty member.
    If the Chair recommends an individual for promotion in rank in contrast to a negative recommendation of the faculty peers, this fact must be noted in the Chair's nominating letter and the reason(s) for the Chair's action must be explained (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.2).
  5. Some faculty members may be recommended early for promotion in rank. However, this is an exceptional request that must be accompanied by letters of explanation from the Chair to the Dean and from the Dean to the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer.
  6. If the recommendation of the Chair is negative, the Chair does not send a letter to the Dean. However, the Chair must inform the candidate in writing of the decision, stating that the faculty member may appeal such a negative decision to the Dean (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.2). In addition, UT Memphis requires a record of the name, sex, and race of any candidate not recommended by the Chair to the Dean for promotion (Form 0007); explanations must be provided, if request.
  7. All required documents (Form 0005 and all attachments) must be forwarded from the department to the collegiate academic officer and the College Promotion and Tenure Committee (CPT Committee) by the end of January (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.3).

    Recommendations (Form 0005 and all attachments) are presented by the collegiate academic officer to the CPT Committee (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.3). The committee will vote on each recommendation, thereby making a positive or a negative recommendation on each candidate to the Dean. A quorum shall be fifty percent (50%) of the 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 faculty members present (Faculty Handbook. Section 4.3.3).

    If the CPT Committee renders a negative recommendation, the Department Chair will be informed in writing of the reason(s) for the recommendation (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.3). The Department Chair may appeal to the Dean before the recommendation at the college level is made.
  8. All positive recommendations of the Department Chair must be reviewed by the Dean of the College (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.4). The Dean will make a recommendation based on advice of the CPT Committee, the Department Chair, and the faculty peers, as well as on the basis of other circumstances, including personal knowledge of individuals (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.4). In the case of a positive recommendation by the Dean, he or she will advise the Chair. In a case of any negative recommendation by the Dean, the Dean will provide the individual faculty member and the Chair with written notice of that recommendation. The faculty member must be notified about the negative recommendation and must be informed of his or her right to appeal a negative decision through the Faculty Senate (Faculty Handbook, Sections 5.9.4 and 6.3).
  9. After making an independent judgment on the candidacy, the Dean shall forward only his or her positive recommendations to the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer (Form 0005 and all attachments) (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.4).

    All positive recommendations of the Dean shall be reviewed by the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.5). The UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer, in consultation with the Chancellor, evaluates the college recommendations in light of general knowledge of individuals. During March and April, the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer prepares a consolidated report. The UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer forwards only his or her positive recommendations to the Chancellor.
  10. During April, all positive recommendations of the UT Memphis Chief Academic Officer shall be reviewed by the Chancellor (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.6). After making an independent judgment on the candidacy, the Chancellor shall forward only positive recommendations to the President by the beginning of May. Summary information on each faculty member being considered for promotion in rank should be sent to the Office of the Senior Vice President.
  11. The President forwards his recommendations for promotions to the Board of Trustees (Faculty Handbook, Section 5.9.7). Subsequent to positive action, the Chancellor and Dean shall give the faculty member written notice of the effective date of the promotion in rank.

Contact Us

Faculty Senate President Office
George Cook, PhD
62 South Dunlap Rm 212
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-6008