Authored by: Robert H. Davis, Dea
Approved: 5/7/04 by the Administrative Council
Updated: 8/17/15

Reviews of faculty for reappointment, promotion and tenure include thorough evaluations and recommendations made at the department or program (Primary Unit Evaluation Committee, voting faculty, and Department Chair or Program Director), college (First-level Review Committee and Dean), and campus (Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and Provost) levels. The thoroughness of the review process, which takes most of an academic year, is to ensure that 1) each candidate receives a comprehensive and fair review and 2) high standards of excellence are maintained in our faculty. As a faculty member undergoing review, your responsibilities include not only preparing your dossier for the review but also planning and performing well all along the way as you move through the different stages of an academic career. Below are several suggestions that I hope will help you in preparing for these reviews.

Standards and Guidelines

Standards, principles and criteria for reappointment, promotion and tenure in the College of Engineering and Applied Science are described in the document Procedures, Policies and Criteria for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure. That document does not provide absolute, quantitative standards. Instead, the standards for the College, as well as for the campus, are described in qualitative terms and are based on broad judgments of accomplishments, promise, and reputation. For example, the standard for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor is defined as demonstrated meritorious performance in each of the three areas of teaching, research and service, and demonstrated excellence in either teaching or research (or both), while the standard for promotion to Professor is an excellent record as a whole. Nevertheless, I and the other members of the Administrative Council believe that the provision of quantitative information can be helpful to guide faculty in preparing for reappointment, promotion and tenure, as well as to the review committees in evaluating the cases. Our goal is to enhance the standards of excellence of our faculty, and the guidelines to help achieve this goal are being phased in over a few years.

As a context for the suggested guidelines, the attached Table 1 and Table 2 provide average research and teaching data for the tenured and tenure-track faculty by department, and for the College as a whole, based on quantitative information gathered for recent annual reviews of faculty. As a general guideline, an Assistant Professor is expected to be on a trajectory to meet or exceed college norms in metrics such as teaching evaluations, student supervision, peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and research support, by the time of promotion to Associate Professor. Similarly, Associate Professors are generally expected to perform at a level meeting or exceeding college norms at the time of promotion to Professor, to be judged as having achieved an overall record of excellence, though some faculty may demonstrate excellence in other ways.

Table 1

2014 Average Research Data Per Faculty Member

Dept. Rev. Jour. & Chapt. Rev. Proc. Conf. Pres. # Grants # Prop. Pend. or Rej. Grant $ Exp. # PhD Deg.
AES 4.8 1.7 6.3 6.9 4.3 361K 0.51
ChBE 7.8 0.0 8.3 7.3 6.8 665K 0.70
CEAE 4.5 2.0 5.7 4.6 4.0 261K 0.52
CS 1.8 5.2 5.8 3.6 3.2 236K 0.52
ECE 3.0 3.4 5.1 3.5 2.6 287K 0.53
ME 6.3 1.3 8.0 6.4 3.2 318K 0.51
College 4.6 2.3 6.4 5.1 3.8 335K 0.55

Note: Papers, presentations, grants and proposals are from the Faculty Reports on Professional Activities for tenured/tenure-track faculty for 1/1/14-12/31/14, and those with multiple faculty are credited to each faculty member (double counted). Grant expenditures are also for 1/1/14- 12/31/14 and represent the average contract and grant expenditures taken from PeopleSoft reports (not double counted, gifts not included). The number of PhD degrees is averaged over FY13-FY15.

Table 2

2014 Average Teaching Data Per Faculty Member

Dept. Ug. Inst. Rating Ug. Course Rating Gr. Inst. Rating Gr. Course Rating #Ugrad Mentored # Grad Mentored
AES 4.9 4.7 5.2 5.0 1.7 6.0
ChBE 4.8 4.5 5.0 4.8 7.5 7.5
CEAE 5.0 4.7 5.2 5.0 2.3 7.3
CS 5.1 4.8 5.3 5.1 2.0 5.9
ECE 4.7 4.5 5.2 5.0 2.2 4.7
ME 4.5 4.3 4.7 4.5 3.1 5.4
College 4.8 4.6 5.1 4.9 2.9 6.1

Note: Instructor and course ratings are averages for tenured/tenure-track faculty from Faculty Course Questionnaires (FCQs), on a 1-6 scale. Mentoring data are from the Faculty Reports on Professional Activities for tenured/tenure-track faculty and are for 1/1/14 – 12/31/14.

However, impact and quality are also very important factors in forming overall judgments of a faculty member’s contributions. Quality and impact may be judged, for example, by awards, citations, supporting letters, journal and conference reputation, etc. Moreover, factors such as the relative importance of journal publications, reviewed conference proceedings, and grant dollars can vary among the disciplines represented in the College. Thus, the metrics provided in this advice document represent general guidelines only and not absolute standards that guarantee a positive review if achieved or a negative review if not achieved.

Reappointment

The comprehensive review for reappointment prior to tenure typically takes place during the fourth and final year of an initial appointment. An earlier review may be approved for a faculty member with prior experience and/or an exceptional record in teaching and research. The general standard for reappointment is good progress toward the standards for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, namely that the candidate’s trajectory is aimed toward at least meritorious performance in all areas and excellence in teaching and/or research. Metrics for typical progress toward meritorious performance are provided below; even higher metrics are expected for excellent performance. Note that these metrics provide general guidelines only and that a successful candidate may exhibit stronger performance in some areas than in others.

Typical Teachting Metrics:

  • FCQ ratings of 4.5 or above on a 1-6 scale
  • 2-3 graduate students and 2-3 undergraduate students mentored to-date in individualized instruction (research or independent study), including early engagement of PhD students in dissertation research
  • At least two other measures demonstrating teaching commitment and effectiveness, such as peer evaluations, student letters or group interview, and major revisions/improvement of a course

Typical Research Metrics:

  • 4-5 reviewed publications (journal papers, book chapters, proceedings papers, patents), primarily in highly respected journals or equivalents, appeared or accepted to-date on work performed as an Assistant Professor
  • 3-4 additional articles under review on work as an Assistant Professor
  • 6-8 conference presentations to-date on work as an Assistant Professor
  • One or more external grants received to-date, totaling about $250K or more
  •  2-4 major proposals (each of about $250K, or more) under review

Typical Service Metrics:

  • Participation in departmental service, especially the graduate program
  • Chair or Co-chair of 3-4 sessions to-date at professional conferences
  • Service on at least one national program committee or review panel

Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor are normally considered together during a candidate’s seventh year on the faculty. Early promotion may be considered for a faculty member with prior experience and/or an exceptional record in teaching and research. Early tenure may also be considered, though only after a successful comprehensive review and when the candidate has substantially exceeded the normal standards for tenure. The general standards for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor are performance of at least meritorious in all areas (teaching, research, service) and excellence in teaching and/or research. Guidelines for evaluating the candidate’s performance are given below. Again, note that these metrics provide general guidelines only and do not guarantee success/failure if met/unmet.

Typical Meritorious Teaching Metrics:

  • FCQ ratings of 4.5 or above on a 1-6 scale, representing a diverse set of instructional contributions in small and large courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels
  • 3-5 graduate and 3-5 undergraduate students mentored to-date in individual instruction
  •  At least two other measures demonstrating teaching commitment and effectiveness, such as peer evaluations, student letters or group interview, and course improvements

Typical Excellence Teaching Metrics:

  • A strong mix of FCQ ratings typically of 5.5 or above on a 1-6 scale, in a diverse set of small and large courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels
  • 6-8 graduate and 6-8 undergraduate students mentored to-date in individual instruction
  • At least three other measures demonstrating teaching excellence, such as peer evaluations, student letters or group interviews, development of new courses or major curriculum enhancements, publications on instructional activities, grants to promote innovative instruction, and department, college, campus or national teaching awards
  • Evidence of national or international impact on education, such as citations of educational publications or presentations, authorship of a textbook or other educational materials used elsewhere, national or international teaching awards, and external letters reviewing educational contributions

Typical Meritorious Research Metrics:

  • Advisor for 1-2 completed PhD dissertations
  • 10-12 reviewed publications, primarily in top journals or equivalents, appeared or accepted to-date on work since appointment as Assistant Professor
  • One or more major grants (of about $250K, or more) received as Principal Investigator to-date, and combined funding of over $600K (candidate’s share)
  • 10-12 conference presentations to-date on CU-based work
  • 2-4 additional journal articles accepted or under review
  • 2-4 additional major grant proposals under review

Typical Excellence Research Metrics:

  • Advisor for 2-3 completed PhD dissertations
  • 15-20 reviewed publications, primarily in top journals or equivalents, appeared or accepted to-date on work since appointment as Assistant Professor
  • A strong citation record for work at CU, comparable to the records of top faculty members in the candidate’s field at a similar stage in their careers
  • Two or more major grants (each of $250K, or more) received as Principal Investigator todate, and combined funding of over $1.0M (candidate’s share)
  • 15-20 conference presentations and 4-6 invited presentations to-date on CU-based work
  •  4-5 additional articles under review
  • 4-5 additional major grant proposals under review
  • One or more college, campus or national research awards
  • Outstanding letters from leading external evaluators

Typical Meritorious Service Metrics:

  • One or more substantial department or college service or outreach responsibilities
  • Chair or co-chair of 6-8 sessions to-date at professional conferences
  • Service on two or more national committees, boards or panels

Promotion to Full Professor

Promotion to the rank of Professor has no set time frame, but it is typically expected to occur 6- 10 years after promotion to Associate Professor. It may take place earlier for an individual whose career has developed rapidly, or later for an individual whose accomplishments take longer to develop and have substantial impact or who has tackled a substantially new subject as a major scholarly effort. The general standards for promotion to Professor are an excellent record as a whole, significant contribution to graduate and undergraduate education, and substantial growth in teaching, research and service since tenure. Guidelines for evaluating the candidate’s performance are given below. Note, however, that these metrics are general guidelines only and that promotion may be granted to an individual with lower annual productivity but with high-quality contributions that have substantial impact over a long duration or to an individual with stronger performance in some areas than in others.

Typical Teaching Metrics:

  • FCQ ratings of typically 4.5 or above on a 1-6 scale in a diverse set of small and large courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels
  • 6-8 graduate and 6-8 undergraduate students mentored in individualized instruction, since promotion to Associate Professor
  • Ongoing involvement and leadership in major course/curricular development and instructional improvement
  • One or more departmental, college, campus or national teaching awards

Typical Research Metrics:

  • Advisor for 3-4 PhD dissertations completed since promotion to Associate Professor
  • 15-20 reviewed publications appeared or accepted, primarily in top journals or equivalents, since promotion to Associate Professor
  • A strong citation record, comparable to those of top faculty members in the candidate’s field at a similar stage in their careers
  • Three or more major grants received as Principal Investigator, and combined funding of $1M or more (candidate’s share), since promotion to Associate Professor  20-25 conference presentations and 10-12 invited presentations, since promotion to Associate Professor
  • Recognized national/international leader in one or more research areas, including successful demonstration of innovative contributions in a new area that represents substantial growth or expansion from the candidate’s earlier work
  • One or more college, campus or national research awards
  • Outstanding letters from leading external evaluators

Typical Service Expectations:

  • Leadership roles at department, college and/or campus levels, and/or substantial outreach to local communities and K-12 educational systems
  • Organization of major conferences or symposia
  • Substantial service on editorial boards of major journals, program or governing committees of professional societies, and/or proposal review committees of federal agencies, including leadership roles