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Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

In order to fulfill the charge of the Shepherd University mission it is necessary to establish a procedural system of high standards to maintain and evaluate continuously the faculty of Shepherd University for the purpose of promotion and tenure.

a.  General Statement

Promotion and tenure of faculty are the prerogatives of the Provost, who will base his or her decision primarily upon the guidelines and the recommendation(s) of the Provost, the College Dean, and the appropriate University Promotion and Tenure Committees.

Promotion in rank and tenure are not granted routinely nor automatically because of length of service. Neither is promotion or tenure denied capriciously. Requests for granting of promotion or tenure are evaluated on the basis of the criteria set forth within each faculty rank.

b.  Procedures for Making Promotion and Tenure Recommendations

1.  Each College shall maintain a standing committee, called the Promotion and Tenure Committee (PT Committee), to consider promotion and tenure applications from faculty within its College. Each PT Committee shall consist of a tenured faculty member from each department within the College, elected for a three-year term by the faculty in the department. Colleges with three (3) or fewer departments may, with the agreement of the majority of the faculty in the College, elect to have two (2) members from each department serve on the PT Committee. Each PT committee will elect a chair and a vice chair, who will serve as the College’s representatives on the Professional Status Committee. The primary purpose of the PT Committee is to review applications for promotion or tenure and submit its recommendations to the Provost.  (Sample forms for application for promotion and tenure are included in the manual.)

2.  A person initially appointed as a professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor/lecturer will undergo a pre-tenure review no later than the third year of employment at Shepherd University. Faculty who are hired with two years of service credit toward tenure will undergo pre-tenure review in their second full year of Shepherd employment.  Participation by a tenure-track faculty member in the pre-tenure review process, in the appropriate year, is mandatory.  The Dean shall expressly address the necessity of initiating the pre-tenure review process in the annual evaluation of the faculty member in the spring prior to the year of the pre-tenure review.  The College’s PT Committee will conduct a review using the same criteria used for a tenure review and will submit, in writing, the results of that review to the faculty member under review.

A similar review will be conducted by the faculty member’s Department Chair/School Director, then each Department Chair/School Director involved submits his or her review recommendations to the respective College Dean and the PT Committee; the College Dean will then provide a written review to the faculty member.  In cases where a non-tenured Department Chair/School Director is asked to conduct a pre-tenure review or a tenure review the Department Chair/School Director will inform the respective College Dean of this situation.  The College Dean will then select a tenured member of the department or a tenured member of the same College to serve in this capacity in lieu of the Department Chair/School Director.  The College Dean or the Provost may also ask the Department Chair/School Director for a written pre-tenure evaluation or tenure evaluation statement.  This pre-tenure review is conducted to give the faculty member an opportunity to improve in those areas that are deemed weak.  A favorable review at this stage does not assure the faculty member of tenure at a later date.  To receive a review, the faculty member must submit a “Pre-tenure Application” in the same manner as a tenure application is provided for here.

3.  A person initially appointed as a professor, associate professor, or assistant professor must be reviewed for tenure no later than the completion of the sixth year of service at Shepherd University or in the sixth year of tenure-credited at the University. Applications for tenure should therefore be made during the first semester of the faculty member’s sixth year of service at Shepherd University, and tenure, if approved, will begin with the seventh year.  If tenure is not awarded, the seventh-year contract will be a terminal contract.  In extraordinary circumstances following the review of the appropriate faculty committees, the Department Chair/School Director, the College Dean, the Provost, the President of the University may award tenure before the seventh year of a faculty member’s employment at the university.  A person serving under a terminal contract is not eligible for review for tenure or promotion.

4.  A candidate for promotion and/or tenure submits an application to the College’s PT committee. The application must contain all supporting materials that the candidate wishes to be considered by all parties in the review process, including a letter of review and recommendation addressing promotion and/or tenure from the Department Chair/School Director. Each candidate should consult with the Department Chair/School Director during the process of putting supporting documents together.  Letters of support from appropriate persons outside the University are encouraged.  The application must address the candidate’s competencies in the following areas:

  1. Excellence in teaching;
  2. Committee service at the University;
  3. Professional activities such as research, publishing, public performance;
  4. Significant service to the candidate’s profession;
  5. Professional service to the community and to the State;
  6. Attainment of necessary education and experience;
  7. Character reputation that reflects positively on the institution.

The Department Chair/School Director, upon receiving an application for tenure or promotion, shall call a meeting of the tenured faculty to discuss and vote on the application.  The meeting shall include the Department Chair, if tenured.  The chair/director may vote, if tenured.  The meeting will exclude the candidate. The chair/director will forward the department’s recommendation and vote count to the College Dean, the candidate, and the College PT Committee.  If a department/school has no tenured members, the chair/director’s letter of review shall serve as the department/school’s recommendation.

 5.  The College PT Committee will forward its recommendation, the applicant’s folder and all supporting material to the respective College Dean. The College Dean will then evaluate the merits of the request for promotion or tenure according to appropriate guidelines. The College Dean may request additional supporting material from the faculty member and may consult with other faculty and the Department Chair/School Director before making his/her recommendation.

6.  After the College Dean has formulated his/her recommendations he/she shall ensure that each candidate for promotion and/or tenure shall receive a copy of the recommendations made by the College PT Committee and the College Dean.

  1. The College Dean shall then forward the candidate’s promotion and/or tenure file, with the College PT Committee recommendation, to the Provost.
  2. If the College Dean and the PT Committee do not concur, the Provost will send both recommendations to the Professional Status Committee, which shall review the application and recommendations. It may consult with the College PT Committee and the College Dean.  Each promotion or tenure candidate shall have the right to respond in writing to the Professional Status Committee.  The candidate will have ten (10) working days after receiving the recommendations of the College Dean or the College PT Committee to respond.  It shall then submit its recommendation to the Provost, along with the candidate’s   complete application and the recommendations of the College PT Committee.  It shall also notify, in writing, the chairman of the College PT Committee and each candidate.  Each candidate may respond, in writing, to the Provost within ten (10) working days after receiving the recommendation of the Professional Status Committee.

7.  The Provost shall consider the recommendations of the College PT Committee, the Department Chair/School Director, the College Dean, and, if applicable, the PSC. The Provost will forward these along with his or her recommendation, along with the candidate’s application and all relevant documentation to the President and will consider all recommendations and render a decision regarding request for promotion and tenure as soon as possible after receiving these recommendations. After the review process has been completed, each faculty member requesting promotion or tenure will receive a letter from the Provost regarding approval or disapproval of the application for promotion or tenure. The Provost will personally counsel each person who has gone forward for promotion and/or tenure.

8.  After receiving such a letter from the Provost, the faculty member requesting promotion or tenure shall have access to all recommendations which have been a part of the faculty member’s review process, other than those letters from off campus persons which the candidate indicated that he or she did not wish to read.

9.  In all cases, it is to be understood that actions by individuals and committees are recommendatory and are not final until the Provost has informed the candidate in writing of the decision.

General Schedule for the Review Process

The following deadlines are observed for presentation, review, and movement of all requests for promotion or tenure:

By October 15: Candidate submits an electronic application for promotion or tenure, with all supporting documentation in the on-line system. No late submissions including supporting documents are permitted after the October 15 deadline.

By November 15: Department Chair/School Director submits a signed department/school recommendation in the on-line system and moves the candidate application forward to College PT Committee.

By January 15: The College PT Committee Chair submits a signed College PT Committee recommendation in the on-line system and moves the candidate application forward to College Dean.

By January 30: The College Dean submits a signed recommendation in the on-line system and moves the candidate application forward to the Provost/VPAA.

By February 15: The Provost/VPAA informs the College PT Committee and the College Dean if there is any disagreement between the PT Committee and the College Dean concerning any applications for promotion or tenure.  If there is disagreement concerning a candidate’s application, the recommendations of all participants and all documentation is submitted to the Professional Status Committee.

By March 15: The Professional Status Committee, if required, submits a signed recommendation to the Provost/VPAA.

By April 15: The Provost/VPAA completes his or her determination.

Delays on any date for action by any reviewing group or decision-maker do not give rise to any default or presumption for or against the applicant.

c.  Standardized Application Portfolio

  1. Each candidate must consult with the Department Chair/School Director during the process of putting supporting documents together.  Faculty are required to submit their application in digital format through the on-line system.
  2. The documentation submitted in the on-line system i for promotion and tenure, as well as the pre-tenure review, must be entered into appropriate electronic folders within the on-line system.

Each candidate’s promotion, tenure or pre-tenure review materials are maintained on the on-line system.  Exceptions to the electronic submission must be pre-approved by the Provost/VPAA.