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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.

General Statement

Promotion and tenure of faculty are the prerogatives of the President, 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 will not be granted routinely nor automatically because of length of service. Neither will promotion or tenure be denied capriciously. Requests for granting of promotion or tenure will be evaluated on the basis of the following five areas of performance:

(1)        The possession of the terminal degree from a recognized regionally accredited institution of higher education and/or the requisite number of graduate hours toward the doctorate. Requests for exceptions will be entertained only for unusual circumstances;

(2)        Excellence in teaching as evidenced by recent and regular evaluation;

(3)        Professional growth as evidenced by scholarly research or creative work appropriate to the discipline or field of appointment. Such evidence may include publication; presentation of scholarly papers at professional forums; participation and recognition in juried shows, concerts, recitals; or other achievements of significant professional stature;

(4)        Evidence of excellence in professional service, manifested in activities that add to the efficiency and positive image of the discipline, the department, or College, Shepherd University, and the State of West Virginia, including involvement in professional organizations at the national, regional, and state levels;

(5)        Attainment of the minimum educational and experience requirements as established in policy defining rank. Tenure may be attained only by faculty who hold the rank of Assistant Professor or higher. Tenure evaluation by the President and Provost may also be affected by the institution and projections for future needs.

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 this manual.)

2.  A person initially appointed as a professor, associate, assistant professor, or instructor 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, then each Department Chair 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 is asked to conduct a pre-tenure review or a tenure review the Department Chair 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.  The College Dean or the Provost may also ask the Department Chair 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, theDepartment Chair, 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.  The candidate for promotion or tenure or both will submit 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 for or against promotion or tenure and/or both from the Department Chair.  Each candidate must consult with the department chair during the process of putting supporting documents together.  Letters 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, 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 may vote, if tenured.  The meeting will exclude the candidate. The chair will forward the department’s recommendation and vote count to the College Dean, the candidate, and the College PT Committee.  If a department has no tenured members, the chair’s letter of review shall serve as the department’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 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.

The College Dean shall then forward the candidate’s promotion and/or tenure file, with the College PT Committee recommendation, to the Provost.

7.  The Provost shall consider the recommendations of the College PT Committee, the Department Chair, the College Dean, and, if applicable, the PSC.  The Provost 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.

Standardized Application Portfolio

1.  Each candidate must consult with the department chair during the process of putting supporting documents together.  Faculty are encouraged to submit their application in digital form through Sakai.

2.  The documentation submitted for promotion and tenure, as well as the pre-tenure review, must be included in a three-ring binder folio which shall be divided into the following sections:

  1. “The University Professional Status Committee Request for Promotion Form” (or to be re-designated as “Request for Tenure Form,” or “Request for Promotion and Tenure Form,” or “Request for Pre-Tenure Review Form,” as presented under Faculty Handbook, section II)
  2. A copy of the candidate’s curriculum vitae
  3. Appendix A. Student Evaluations – course syllabi, other related course materials, and all university administered student evaluations for the last five years
  4. Appendix B. Evaluations by Supervisors and College Deans
  5. Appendix C. Copies of publications, or appropriate documentation of publications, professional creative work, and/or artistic work of a professional nature (A supplementary appendix document or filing may be utilized where numerous articles, books or other creative work are sent forward with the folio)
  6. Appendix D. Letters of Support
  7. Appendix E. Miscellaneous Documentation of Service
  8. Appendix F. Required Promotion or Tenure or Pre-Tenure Recommendation by the Department Chair
  9. Appendix G. Required Promotion or Tenure or Pre-Tenure Recommendation by the College Promotion and Tenure Committee (Shall be placed in the folio by the chair of the P & T Committee and sent to the College Dean)
  10. Appendix H. Required Promotion or Tenure or Pre-Tenure Recommendation by the College Dean
  11. Appendix I. Required Promotion or Tenure Statement by the University Professional Status Committee (if necessary)
  12. Appendix J. Required Promotion or Tenure Statement by the Provost.

Each candidate’s promotion, tenure or pre-tenure review portfolio will remain in the possession of the office of the respective College Dean once it has left the home department.  The promotion, tenure or pre-tenure portfolios will be sent directly to the office of the Provost by the respective College Dean once all of the sections through Appendix H have been completed