Revised: July 2021

As part of efforts to support and recognize faculty work, a post-tenure review is required of all tenured faculty at an interval of five years. These reviews are conducted by departments (i.e., primary academic units) and dean's offices, and submitted to Faculty Affairs. Faculty Affairs is also charged with annual reporting of post-tenure review results to the University of Colorado System Administration.

The University of Colorado (CU) post-tenure review policy is described in University of Colorado System Administrative Policy Statement (APS) 1022, which states: “Post-tenure review (PTR) is a summative evaluation over a five-year review period. The purposes of PTR are to facilitate continued faculty development and to ensure professional accountability to the university community, the Board of Regents, and the public.” After tenure is granted, there is an expectation of continued professional growth and productivity in the areas of scholarly and creative work, teaching (or librarianship for University Libraries faculty), and leadership and service.

While in typical circumstances reviews will occur every five years, when it is in the best interest of the individual and the campus, the faculty member may submit a petition to delay the post-tenure review for up to one year. Faculty members who have signed a formal and binding retirement contract shall undergo post-tenure review as scheduled until their retirement begins. If the retirement date is within one year of the scheduled PTR and it is in the best interest of the individual and the campus, the faculty member may submit a petition to delay the post-tenure review. Any such delays would be contingent on approval by the chair/director, the dean, and the provost or their delegate.

Boulder Campus Process

As required by the University of Colorado Board of Regents, CU’s tenured faculty undergo post-tenure review (PTR) every five years. This document describes the Boulder campus’ implementation of the University of Colorado Administrative Policy Statement on post-tenure review dated July 1, 2020. (See Section IX of the CU System Policy, APS 1022.)

The post-tenure review process begins with the award of tenure, and the first PTR occurs five years after the faculty member is continuously tenured; it continues to occur at five-year intervals unless a promotion review takes place. A promotion will re-start the PTR clock. These reviews are conducted by departments (i.e., primary academic units) and dean's offices, and submitted to the Office of Faculty Affairs. Faculty Affairs is charged with annual reporting of post-tenure review results to the University of Colorado System Administration.

Each primary unit will have written guidelines that conform to the campus procedures and the CU System administrative policy statement. A primary unit’s PTR guidelines shall describe the criteria that will be used to evaluate faculty and shall indicate what level of performance is required for a faculty member to be considered “meeting expectations” in scholarly and creative work, teaching (or librarianship), and leadership and service (and, if indicated in primary unit criteria, other activities relevant to the specific unit). They shall also take into account differentiated workloads. The primary unit PTR guidelines and criteria must be approved by the dean of the school/college and the provost.

The steps below describe the procedure followed by the Boulder campus in fulfilling the University’s policies on Professional Plans and Post-Tenure Review. Questions concerning application of these policies can be directed to the Office of the Dean or the Office of Faculty Affairs.

Post-Tenure Review Procedures

  1. Each tenure-bearing unit should have a Post-Tenure Review Committee, comprising members of the tenured faculty. During the year in which a faculty member is undergoing PTR, they should not serve on the PTR evaluation committee. This committee will review the faculty member’s CV, professional plan (if provided), annual merit reviews, multiple means of teaching evaluation, and other relevant information about the faculty member’s efforts in scholarly and creative work, teaching (or librarianship), and leadership and service. In addition to the regular five-year review, faculty members may need to undergo additional PTR processes, if they are rated as not meeting expectations. The three types of PTR are “regular review,” “triggered review,” and “extensive review,” as described in sections A, B, and C below.
  2. Faculty members will be informed in writing of the results of the evaluation by the department chair, director, or dean, depending on whether PTR is managed by the primary unit or school/ college. Copies of these evaluations will be kept by the Office of the Dean and the Office of Faculty Affairs.
  3. Faculty members receiving a rating of "below expectations" or “fails to meet expectations” who do not agree with the finding may appeal the rating through established grievance procedures in the primary unit and/or the college/school. Appeals should be submitted in writing by the first day of the following fall semester. Appeals should be resolved by the primary unit by October 15. Typically, any further appeal process should be completed within six weeks or less from the date it is initiated by the faculty member.

Faculty members receiving annual evaluations of “meeting expectations” or better since their last PTR (or since undergoing tenure if this is the first PTR) will undergo “regular review.”

The regular PTR will be conducted by the Post-Tenure Review Committee, which is composed of appropriate tenured faculty peers within the campus, either primary unit faculty or, if needed, faculty of the appropriate college personnel review committee. If a primary unit does not have sufficient tenured faculty members to staff the PTR committee, the unit may ask a tenured colleague from another primary unit to fill in. The size of the committee should be defined in the primary unit’s bylaws or PTR guidelines. 

  1. The post-tenure review committee will examine at least the following:
    • Five-year annual review history
    • Five-year FCQ history
    • Peer evaluations of teaching and other multiple means of teaching evaluation, as available
    • Professional plan(s) from last cycle (if required or provided)
    • Updated professional plan for upcoming year (if required or provided)
  2. The post-tenure review committee will pursue the following process:
    • The committee writes a brief summary report that addresses the areas of scholarly and creative work, teaching (or librarianship), and leadership and service and assigns individual ratings for each area, as well as an overall evaluation rating as either outstanding, exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, below expectations, or fails to meet expectations. The committee submits the report to the faculty member for review.
    • The faculty member reviews the report and approves or appends comments.
    • The primary unit forwards the report and any comments to the dean.
    • A copy of the report is placed in the faculty member’s personnel file within the Dean's Office and the Office of Faculty Affairs.
    • The dean reports to the provost (through the Office of Faculty Affairs) the annual PTR results. Faculty Affairs will prompt the reporting via email.
    • Faculty members who fail to participate in any aspect of the post-tenure review process, as required, may be subject to sanctions for neglect of duty, which may include reduction in salary, reassignment of duties, unpaid suspension, or dismissal for cause.

A “triggered review” is required when a faculty member receives a first “below expectations” or “fails to meet expectations” rating during the five-year PTR cycle.

Faculty members who receive an evaluation of “below expectations” or “fails to meet expectations” in any of the evaluated areas, must plan and implement a written “performance improvement agreement” (PIA) (see APS 5008 - Faculty Performance Evaluations for more information on the performance improvement agreement). The PIA is to be created by the faculty member in consultation with their supervising administrator. The Office of Faculty Affairs is available to provide advice to the faculty member as needed. 

An “extensive review” is required whenever a faculty member receives a second rating of "below expectations" or “fails to meet expectations” in any of the evaluated areas in a five-year period.

  1. For an extensive review, the post-tenure review committee will examine at least the following:
    • The most recent PIA 
    • Five-year annual review history
    • Five-year FCQ history
    • Peer evaluations of teaching and other available multiple means of teaching evaluation
    • Evidence of scholarly and creative work
    • Professional plan(s) (if required or provided)
    • Any differentiated workload agreements
    • Faculty member’s written self-evaluation of performance
    • Any other material submitted by the faculty member
    • Optional: An assessment of scholarly and creative work may include use of reviews external to the University if either the primary unit or the faculty member requests external reviews. When external reviews are used, the primary unit and faculty member will recommend a list of reviewers, which will be invited by the post-tenure review committee (Note: external reviews shall remain confidential, i.e., the faculty member shall not have access to this part of the file, as per CU System policy). 
  2. The post-tenure review committee shall write a summary “evaluative report” of scholarly and creative work, teaching (or librarianship), and leadership and service and it shall share this report with the faculty member. The report must contain an enumerated list of “deficiencies.” This report is not subject to approval by the faculty member. The form used by the Boulder campus for the evaluative report is available on the Forms section of the Faculty Affairs website(see “Post-Tenure Review Evaluative Report”).
  3. Upon receipt of the evaluative report, the faculty member must write within 20 calendar days a “development plan,” covering one or two years, which must include the following:
    • a description of performance goals, strategies for attaining goals, and a timeline for attaining goals for each deficiency listed in the evaluative report; and
    • a description of the specific means of measuring progress towards or achievement of goals.

The development plan form used by the Boulder campus for the development plan is available on the Forms section of the Faculty Affairs website (see “Post-Tenure Review Development Plan”).

  1. The post-tenure review committee must review a draft of the faculty member’s development plan and provide written feedback to the faculty member and to the primary unit head. If the faculty member revises the development plan, the post-tenure review committee shall review subsequent drafts and make a recommendation to the primary unit head to accept or not accept the development plan. The primary unit head shall accept the plan, or work with the faculty member to develop an acceptable plan. In the case where either the primary unit head or the faculty member feels that an impasse has been reached, both parties shall follow the provisions defined in section 5, below.
  2. Disagreements between the faculty member and either the post-tenure review committee or the primary unit head will follow the following process:
    • When either the primary unit head or the faculty member feel that an impasse has been reached after following the steps described in 3 and 4, above, the matter shall be referred to the school/college personnel committee (in units where the college or school is the primary unit, the dean’s review committee shall serve this function). The school/college personnel committee shall consider the materials assembled for the extensive review, the recommendation of the post-tenure review committee, and any additional materials submitted by the two parties or requested by the personnel committee, and make a decision about the parts of the development plan that are at issue, resulting in an approved development plan.
  3. At the completion of the development plan period (1 or 2 years), the head of the primary unit, in consultation with the post-tenure review committee as needed, will assess the progress of the faculty member towards meeting the goals of the development plan and then shall submit to the dean (or to the provost in cases when the primary unit head is the dean) a report and recommendation as to whether or not the development plan goals have been met satisfactorily. 
    • Following consultation with the school/college personnel committee, the dean shall make a recommendation to the provost. If the goals have been met, the faculty member shall prepare a new Professional Plan and begin a new five-year PTR cycle.
    • If the goals have not been met, the provost, after consultation with the Vice Chancellor's Advisory Committee (VCAC), shall recommend sanctions to the chancellor. The chancellor will review the provost’s recommendations and impose appropriate sanctions. If the chancellor decides to recommend the revocation of tenure and dismissal of the faculty member to the Board of Regents, the Laws of the Regents provide the faculty member with an opportunity for a hearing and set other conditions for handling such cases (Article 5.D.1).
    • Possible sanctions are defined in Administrative Policy Statement 5008 on faculty performance evaluation (July 1, 2020) and may include the following: suspension of pay, salary reduction, and demotion in rank; and revocation of tenure and dismissal.  APS 5008 specifies this as follows:

      “J. Sanctions
      1. Ordinarily, in cases where the Development Plan has not produced the desired results, the faculty member will have their tenure revoked and be dismissed. Under certain circumstances, other sanctions may be imposed. Possible sanctions include: suspension of pay, salary reduction, and demotion in rank.
      2. An appropriate faculty committee shall recommend sanctions. The chancellor makes the final determination of sanctions. If the chancellor's decision is to recommend revocation of tenure and dismissal of the faculty member to the Board of Regents, the Laws of the Regents provide the faculty member with an opportunity for a hearing and set other conditions for handling such cases. (See Laws of the Regents, Article 5.C.4 – Dismissal for Cause and Policies 5.E – Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Dismissal for Cause and 5.G – Faculty Grievance).
      3. Revocation of tenure and dismissal for the cause of demonstrable professional incompetence has long been a recognized policy at the University of Colorado and across higher education in the United States.
      4. Professional incompetence is defined to mean the failure to perform teaching, scholarly/creative work, and leadership and service duties in a consistent and satisfactory professional manner. A judgment of professional incompetence is based upon peer review of the faculty member's performance. (Other causes for dismissal also exist and are outlined in Article 5.C.4 – Dismissal for Cause of the Laws of the Regents.)”