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CVPA Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion

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I. Introduction
II. General Criteria
IV. Standards for TENURE


I. Introduction

The "College of Visual and Performing Arts Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion" is one of four documents governing the granting of tenure and promotion of Visual and Performing Arts faculty. The other three documents are:

  1. the Texas Tech University Tenure Policy, which is currently a supplement to the Faculty Handbook,
  2. O.P. 32.01, and
  3. the individual department's or school's tenure and promotion guidelines and criteria.
    1. General Procedural Issues.

      Promotion and tenure determinations are separate and distinct, but similar standards and procedures apply to both. The only significant difference is the qualifications of department faculty members voting. For promotions, only those faculty members in a department who hold rank equal to or higher than that of the contemplated promotion may vote. For tenure, only those faculty members holding tenure may vote. These rank and tenure stipulations do not apply to department chairs and deans.

      Unit guidelines must be consistent with those of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and any revisions must be submitted for the approval of the Dean by July 1 with approval complete by September 1 of the year in which they are to be put into effect. Any last-minute amendments to issues of form and presentation will originate in the office of the Provost.

      Basic academic unit procedures should identify the nature, composition, and voting status of promotion and tenure committees. Each academic unit shall determine in advance its voting criteria. Procedures must allow for a formal vote of appropriate faculty members in a given promotion and/or tenure decision; faculty votes are unsigned. Voting faculty should be made aware that the ballots and written ballot comments will become part of the dossier. The chairperson and one other individual shall count the ballots and certify in writing as to the vote. Unit guidelines shall include, for each of the unit's areas having distinctive means of evaluation, guidelines for ranking creative/research activity which correlate to the 5-point scale in the attachment to OP32.01. Each basic academic unit will also develop specific written standards for promotion to each professorial rank that reflect its mission and, at the same time, meet university criteria.

      After the academic unit and the dean have ratified written procedures and standards, the primary responsibility for evaluating individual promotion and tenure requests in terms of those standards will be assigned to the faculty in the academic unit in which the request is made.

      An academic unit may be so constituted as to provide insufficient review. In such cases, the department chairperson, in consultation with the dean, should seek the advice of an executive committee or other college-wide body, or may appoint an appropriate advisory committee for review of specific cases. If this is done, the composition of the committee and its recommendations must be reported in the dean's recommendation to the Provost / Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (PSVPAA).

      Chairpersons or Directors must provide access to relevant documents to any candidate for tenure and promotion. A signed Statement of Access by the candidate stating that he or she has seen these documents or received a copy of the dossier must accompany the promotion and/or tenure dossier.
    2. Expectations.

      The College and the University view the probationary period for tenure-track faculty as an essential time for determining whether the faculty member will be able to sustain a strong and continuous record of effective teaching, significant research and creative activity, and service to the unit and the profession. Thus, the College of Visual and Performing Arts normally will not recommend candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor prior to their sixth year of service unless a compelling reason for doing so is advanced by the unit and/or the candidate. If a candidate wishes to be considered prior to the end of the normal probationary period, he or she should notify the chairperson or director, and the chairperson or director should consult with the Dean. See also OP32.17, Faculty Appointments and Titles.

      Faculty members who seek promotion or tenure at a time other than the mandatory (6th) year must declare an intent to do so during the spring semester of the preceding year in order to arrange for responsible preparation and to allow scheduling of committees.

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II. General Criteria

  1. Teaching.

    The first step is an evaluation of teaching effectiveness. Only after an affirmative judgment regarding teaching effectiveness has been made can serious consideration be given to an evaluation of scholarship and professional service.

    Teaching includes an up-to-date knowledge of one's discipline. In some instances, teaching may be indirect, primarily in support of student learning activities. Faculty members also influence teaching by designing courses and curricula. Textbooks and innovative instructional material may be considered contributions to teaching. In addition, faculty members influence teaching in less tangible, but no less decisive, ways through such activities as counseling students and interacting with colleagues.

    Evidence of effective teaching should be included in the dossiers of faculty members being recommended for promotion and tenure. Evidence should be limited to a one-page summary per year of student evaluations (qualitative and quantitative together) for each year of service since appointment or previous promotion; depending on unit practices, include only 5-year peer summary of teaching effectiveness, and provide a cross reference to the section containing annual peer evaluations of teaching (location varies according to unit). The division head, in consultation with the candidate, shall provide the summary of teaching effectiveness. Faculty colleagues should be asked to evaluate the objectives, methods, and materials of courses designed and/or taught by the individual. Evaluation can also include evidence concerning the continuing performance of students taught by the candidate. These data are available to the candidate and the public upon request.
  2. Scholarship: Research and Creative Activity.

    Research and creative activity are functions that serve to advance the discipline or the state of the art. Evidence of research and creative activity includes, inter alia, written publications, non-print presentations, funded grant applications and reports, curatorships, exhibits, and artistic performances. Textbooks and innovative instructional materials having significant value beyond this campus may be considered contributions to research and creative activity.

    An individual's dossier should provide substantiating evidence of quality submitted by appropriate observers within and outside the university, such as appraisal of the candidate's books or artistic performances. Outside reviewers shall be selected by the chair in consultation with the faculty member. Every effort should be made to select outside reviewers who have an objective expertise to evaluate the faculty member. The outside reviewer shall be included at all stages of the evaluation process.
  3. Professional Service and Outreach.

    Faculty members are expected to make professional contributions through service to the department, college, university, and discipline at large. These include service as advisers, committee members, task force members, and actively participating members of the university. Discipline-related service to the immediate community, to the state and region, and to the larger society represents important contributions.

    Participation in the activities of professional societies and organizations, especially through service in leadership roles, is a strong indication of professional commitment. Contributions through presentations and consultative services are regarded as further evidence of professional reputation. All such service and activities may include paid (compensated) as well as unpaid work on behalf of the profession.

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III. Standards for Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor: For promotion from the rank of Instructor to Assistant Professor the candidate must have the ability to teach effectively and hold the terminal degree (or its equivalent) as defined by the academic unit as appropriate to the position to be held by the candidate. In addition, the candidate must show promise for growth in teaching, research and/or creative activity, and service.
  2. Associate Professor: Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor requires that the candidate has demonstrated independent creative work and the willingness to participate as a respected colleague in deliberations concerning the department, college, and university. These qualities are embodied within
    1. a demonstrated record of effectiveness as a teacher;
    2. a record of peer-evaluated publication or creative activity which has contributed to the discipline or field of study, to the candidate's intellectual and artistic development, and to the quality of his or her academic unit;
    3. a record of professional service appropriate to the discipline, the academic unit, and, where possible, the department, college, and/or university; and
    4. promise for growth in service.
    5. In addition, candidates are expected to provide significant contributions to the university's graduate programs through such activities as teaching of graduate courses, service on thesis or dissertation committees, or supervising graduate students. Explanation must be provided when circumstances of a candidate's position justify contributions likely to be judged less than "significant."
  3. Professor: For promotion to the highest academic rank, the candidate's academic achievement and professional reputation must be superior, and should have resulted in national recognition. Criteria for appointment of professor include maturity of thinking, demonstrated ability to communicate and inspire students and less experienced colleagues, continued respect of colleagues in their field of work, continued professional growth, and potential for further growth. The candidate is expected to demonstrate a clear and continuing record of significant involvement in the university's graduate programs through such activities as teaching of graduate courses, service on thesis or dissertation committees, or supervising graduate students. This rank can be earned only by a candidate who has demonstrated continued growth in, and has a cumulative record of, teaching effectiveness, substantial peer-reviewed publication or creative activity, and professional contributions and service.

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IV. Standards for Tenure

A favorable tenure decision requires that the candidate have
  1. a demonstrated record of effectiveness as a teacher;
  2. a record of peer-evaluated publication or creative activity which has contributed to the discipline or field of study, to the candidate's intellectual and artistic development, and to the quality of his or her academic unit; and
  3. a record of promise for growth in service.
  4. In addition, candidates are expected to provide significant contributions to the university's graduate programs through such activities as teaching of graduate courses, service on thesis or dissertation committees, or supervising graduate students. Explanation must be provided when circumstances of a candidate's position justify contributions likely to be judged less than "significant."

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V. Procedures at the Departmental Level

Evaluation at the departmental level begins in the first year of a tenure-track faculty member's service at Texas Tech and continues annually through the year in which the candidate applies for tenure and/or promotion. The evaluation for tenure and/or promotion is conducted in accordance with the guidelines provided in Part III of this document and in the College of Visual and Performing Arts "Procedures for the Midterm Review of Faculty in Tenure-Acquiring Positions."

It is the responsibility of the chairperson or director to notify the faculty of the department or school deadlines for applying for tenure and promotion. These deadlines must be sufficiently early to permit a thorough evaluation of each candidate's teaching, research, and service achievements and to enable the chairperson or director to submit a well organized dossier to the Dean's Office early in October (timing varies annually).

Dossiers for college and university use are submitted electronically in two formats with slight distinctions as described below. Current practice requires one CD with Provost's dossier, one CD with CVPA dossier, one hard copy of CVPA dossier, and originals of external letters of evaluation submitted in a tabbed manila folder to be retained in college files. Copy originating from candidate should be presented in 11 or 12 point font; the dossier should be scanned no less than 150 dpi, with all pages reproduced at full scale.

The faculty member bears primary responsibility for preparation of the dossier, with major assistance to be provided by the department chairperson. Once the dossier is submitted for consideration in the academic unit, no further information should be added to the dossier, other than that required by department and collegiate procedures with regard to recommendations by review committees, department chairperson, and dean.

View Dossier Preperation Powerpoint

The version of the dossier to be forwarded ultimately to the Provost should conform to O.P. 32.01. That is, it shall be limited to the format listed in the attachment and should consist of no more than 20 pages, exclusive of all letters, annual reports, and curriculum vitae.The basic form as given in the attachment to OP32.01,  and as specified in downloadable CVPA Section Title Pages, is as follows:   

  • Declaration of OP version, p. 2 of Attachment B to OP 32.01
    1. Dean's letter
    2. Chairperson's or Director's letter
    3. Vita (with chairperson's/director's ratings of publication or creative activities)
    4. Letters of evaluation solicited on behalf of candidate. Letters are preceded by concise biosketches indicating a writer’s degree of relationship to the candidate and the writer’s qualifications as evaluator. The usual stipulation is that one page should contain all biosketches; the section should not exceed two pages.
    5. Basic information (includes letter of appointment and parts 3a-3i, pp. 6-7 of attachement B to OP 32.01)
    6. Teaching effectiveness. NB:  if annual peer evaluations are provided at the unit level, only the five-year summary account should be presented in the Teaching Effectiveness section; provide cross reference to complete peer evaluations included in the Annual Faculty Reports section.
    7. Research and creative activities. NB:  if annual peer evaluations are provided at the unit level, only the five-year summary account should be presented in the Research and Creative Activities section; the complete peer evaluations are included in the Annual Faculty Reports section.
    8. Service activities. NB:  if annual peer evaluations of service are provided at the unit level, only the five-year summary account should be presented in the Service Activities section; the complete peer evaluations are included in the Annual Faculty Reports section.
    9. Annual faculty Reports. In chronological order, provide Annual Faculty Reports with chair's/director's assessments, Midterm Review in appropriate position, and, if available, annual peer evaluations / guidance committee reports. (Midterm Review contains review report, chair's letter, ballot report and commentary.)

    Department and college guidelines will be submitted by the dean of the college and are not included in the individual dossier for the Provost's use:  these will be edited into the document at the college.

    Pages must be consecutively numbered within these nine sections (i.e., 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc.):  correct and complete pagination is essential for the college committee members who must record citations to documents presented electronically in order to discuss issues at the meeting from their notes. The Provost's version of the dossier can be considered to constitute the master copy. As appendices to it the following materials must be added to CVPA dossier under separate section cover sheets, with pages numbered consecutively within sections:

    1. Ballot comments, or statement indicating that no ballot comments were provided (but not the ballots)
    2. Unit procedures governing Tenure and Promotion.

    In addition to the eleven sections making up the CVPA dossier, additional numbered appendices can be added to provide any other documentation required by the candidate's unit, e.g., copies of publications or creative scholarship. These materials are not provided to the CVPA.

    Table of Contents and section title pages are provided to ease the process and facilitate uniform submissions.

    In working with the candidate in preparing the dossier, the chairperson or director should keep the following points in mind:

    1. A candidate who does not receive a majority vote from the department or school faculty and/or the support of the chairperson or director may elect to have his or her dossier sent forward to the Dean's Office. However, in such circumstances the candidate should be made aware of the fundamental importance of peer evaluation and of the need for an exceptionally strong dossier and/or rationale to receive favorable recommendations at the higher levels of review.
    2. The candidate's dossier should contain a comprehensive summary of peer and student teaching evaluations. The chairperson or director, who is responsible for compiling it, must sign or initial each page of the summary of student evaluations.
    3. The candidate's dossier should contain evidence of the comparative quality of the publications and/or creative activities of the candidate. This is to be done by the chair rating the outlets in accordance with the guidelines in O.P. 32.01. This rating is to be done on the vita. Chairpersons or Directors and faculty should independently assess the candidate's publications and/or creative activities prior to voting rather than depending only on the reputation of the outlets.
    4. External letters of recommendation must be solicited by the unit chair or designated representative on behalf of the candidate and included in the dossier.  Outside reviewers who work in the same or a closely related field, and who have an objective expertise to evaluate the faculty member, shall be selected by the chair in consultation with the faculty member. Wherever appropriate, at least three of the reviewers should be from Texas Tech University’s  national or international peer institutions or aspirational peer institutions (see Downloads for list). Candidates must disclose which letters come from reviewers with whom they have a relationship that might raise a potential conflict of interest, such as collaborators, coauthors, former professors, or students.  The total number of letters is not restricted but five or six good letters provide adequate support.  
    5. As OP32.01 implies, external letters that are evaluative in nature provide the strongest case for meaningful external review. Such persons should be asked to comment on the quality of published research or creative activity of a candidate, on service to professional or other organizations, on the candidate's teaching in a visiting capacity in another university, or on relevant matters within their competence to judge. They should not be asked simply "Does this individual merit promotion?" since the definition and application of standards at Texas Tech University are the responsibilities of this university. Respondents should be informed that the letters become a component of the dossier.
    6. Unit heads should prepare a summary of the qualifications and purpose for selection of each individual from whom a letter has been received. This information is placed preceding the external letters.
    7. Ballots should be submitted unsigned by the voting faculty to the chairperson or director, who, in the presence of one other faculty member of the same unit, will tally them and record the tally on the form to be forwarded to the Dean's Office. The chairperson or director will indicate in writing to the Dean the name of the other faculty member who witnessed or assisted in the counting.
    8. Faculty members should be encouraged to explain fully the reasons for their votes. These unsigned comments should be typed, rather than handwritten. They are to be collected, separate from the ballots, and forwarded by the chairperson or director as an appendix to the CVPA dossier.
      Comments must focus on the candidate’s professional actions and qualities in the areas of teaching, creative scholarship, and service.   Ad hominem remarks are unethical.  Venting, especially if aimed at persons other than the candidate, is irrelevant.  Hearsay, in particular that involving students, must be treated with extreme caution unless commentary points toward underlying issues that can be examined objectively.  Effective commentary, on the other hand, adheres to the unit’s standards and establishes both timing and context of events or issues.  More-credible comments provide or refer to documentation or documentable fact.
      The college sub-committees examining tenure and promotion are charged to observe guidelines for effective ballot commentary in order to maintain both professional and legal decorum in the decision-making process.
    9. The Chairperson's or Director's letter should clearly state his or her recommendation and the reasons for this recommendation. The letter must indicate who has been consulted, the form of the consultation, the vote of the appropriate faculty member group, and the vote of any departmental committee charged with this responsibility. In addition, the unit administrator must provide his/her evaluation of the candidate's teaching effectiveness, research and creative activity, and professional service. It is the responsibility of the department to clarify, when appropriate, why the candidate is uniquely qualified for promotion or tenure, i.e., to explain extenuating or compensatory circumstances that are not readily apparent. A copy of this letter must be given to the candidate at the time the dossier is forwarded to the Dean's Office.
    10. The candidate must have access to the dossier in accordance with departmental/school procedures incorporating provisions of the Open Records Act; however, he or she does not have to approve it. Letters of rebuttal from candidates are not accepted as part of the dossier.
    11. The unit administrator or designated representative is responsible for ascertaining that the dossier conforms to the formats required of the college’s and provost’s dossiers prior to sending them forward, since no changes are permitted after the college formally accepts the documents, except that the Provost may require the original ballot tally sheet; in this case a copy is substituted within the college dossier. For basic information on required forms of the dossier, contents, order, and types of appendices, see Format Checklists Compared. See also final checklists for Candidate, Format Checker, and Administrator of the unit.
    12. Any exceptions to these procedures must be documented in writing and conveyed to the Dean or his/her representative.

      The recommendation of the department chairperson will be provided to the candidate at the time it is forwarded to the dean. Faculty members may request in writing that their dossiers be withdrawn from further consideration, in which case the dossiers will not be forwarded.

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    VI. Procedures at the College Level

    An independent review is conducted during the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ own tenure and promotion deliberations. Chairpersons or Directors should inform candidates that this review is not a mere formality. A favorable vote from the department or school and a favorable recommendation from the chairperson or director do not guarantee that the ultimate recommendation from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and later from the Graduate Dean, the Provost, and the President to the Board of Regents, will be favorable. Likewise, unfavorable departmental or school votes are not always upheld.

    At the College level, the Visual and Performing Arts Personnel Actions Committee (PAC) is responsible for making recommendations to the Dean on all tenure and promotion applications. Comprising two members from each of three units, the Personnel Actions Committee is appointed by the Dean or his/her designee. Committee members do not vote on tenure and promotion applications from their own departments or schools. A Tenure and Promotion sub-Committee is comprised of the four PAC members not from a candidate's home unit. A non-voting witness from the home unit, ordinarily that unit's most recent "alumnus" PAC member, attends the tenure and promotion meeting but exits prior to the committee's vote; the non-voting member, like voting members, is charged with maintaining complete confidentiality. Following careful deliberations, the Tenure and Promotion sub-Committee takes a formal vote, which is recorded on the Consideration of Tenure and Promotion Form. The Dean does not vote at this stage.

    Tenure and Promotion sub-Committee members rely primarily on the evidence contained in the applicant's dossier. For this reason it is important that the dossier be complete and compiled in a neat, professional manner. The Committee may, however, ask for additional information. Miscellaneous questions may be directed to the non-voting member from the home unit, or to the unit's chair or directors, who shall remain on call for the duration of scheduled meetings. In all cases in which there is a serious question about the desirability of recommending tenure for a candidate in his or her mandatory year for consideration of tenure, the candidate and the department chairperson or school director will be asked to meet individually with the Committee. At the discretion of the Dean, other individuals may be asked to meet with the Committee as well.

    Following the deliberations and decision of the Tenure and Promotion sub-Committee, the Dean makes his/her own independent recommendation. This review is not a mere formality. A favorable recommendation from the chairperson or director and a favorable vote from the Tenure and Promotion sub-Committee do not guarantee that the Dean’s recommendation will be favorable. Likewise, unfavorable votes or recommendations are not always upheld. The Dean of the college will at this point inform the candidate of his/her decision, permitting the candidate to decide whether or not he or she wishes to have the dossier sent on for further evaluation.

    The Dean provides to the Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs a letter of recommendation for each candidate, including the department vote, the vote of the college-wide review committee, and the nature of its report and/or a summary record of its deliberations. In addition, the Dean includes copies of unit and college procedures with dossiers sent forward to the office of the Provost.

    Any deviations from these procedures must be documented in writing and conveyed to the Provost or his/her representative.

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    VII. Declaration Form

    Download Declaration Form, T&P

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    VIII. Curriculum Vitae Format

    The CVPA Tenure & Promotion committee, Provost, President, and Board of Regents know a candidate primarily through presentation of the curriculum vitae (“life’s education” or “the course of one’s life”). When going up for tenure and promotion, the c.v. must convey relative weights of responsibilities, changes over time, consistency of achievement, and so on.

    General principles


    1. Personal information, education, and employment history.
    2. Teaching
      • List courses taught, by semester, with number of students
      • Service on graduate thesis and/or dissertation committees
      • Activities that your unit considers to be related to teaching
    3. Creative / Research
      • (Sub-categories vary according to discipline)
      • Unit administrator will rank each achievement by number
    4. Service
      • University
      • Department/School
      • Professional
      • Community