Faculty initially appointed to the regular professorial rank (assistant professor, associate professor, or professor) are usually reviewed during the last year of the reappointment period.
Additional reappointment and promotion policy information can be found at:
CU System Administrative Policy Statements:
Policy 5-M, Policies of the Regents:
The criteria for evaluation of regular professorial ranks are defined by the terms of the initial contract. The normal tenure-track workload assignment is 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% service (University Library and Museum faculty typically have different workload assignments). Upon successful review, normal reappointment for tenure-track faculty is for three years. The mandatory tenure and promotion evaluation for tenure track faculty occurs during the seventh year of the probationary period.
The comprehensive review (normally at the end of the fourth year) of assistant professors focuses upon whether or not the candidate is making normal progress towards meeting or exceeding the above standard. The mandatory promotion and tenure review (usually in the seventh year of appointment) focuses upon whether or not the candidate has attained the above standard.
The definition of the terms "meritorious" and "excellence" are, of course, discipline specific. Your college or school may also have examples of criteria that it employs. Regent policy requires that each primary unit have available upon request a document which describes the standards and procedures for reappointment, tenure, and promotion in that unit. In general, the University seeks multiple measures for each of the three areas of responsibility. Scholarly work is measured by assessment of the quality and volume of published work or performances and the venues in which they occur, the national stature of the work as measured by external recognition such as by the award of competitive grants, awards, and published reviews. Opinions of scholarly quality, solicited from external reviewers, are a mandatory component of tenure and promotion reviews. Reviewers are selected by the primary unit from a list that the unit compiles after consulting the candidate for nominees. Teaching quality is measured by the success of the candidate in the classroom as measured by student assessment, student interviews, peer reviews, and by teaching awards. Teaching is also evaluated by the amount of activity and the success of the candidate with individualized instruction at both the undergraduate and importantly, the graduate level. Service and outreach activities that are weighed include those service assignments within the primary unit, college and University, as well as community service and service to professional organizations.
Each primary unit is required to maintain on file a current copy of its Policy and Procedures for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure document. This policy document guides the department in its faculty personnel decisions. In many units, this document is incorporated into the unit's bylaws. Any changes to the bylaws and/or the Procedures Document must be approved by the appropriate dean's office and the Provost. A copy should be given to each new faculty member, and a copy must accompany each reappointment, tenure or promotion dossier.
Each new faculty member is urged to become familiar with the promotion standards and practices within his or her unit. They are also urged to begin to assemble a portfolio which documents teaching, scholarly work, and service activities beginning in their first year, so that dossier assembly (discussed below) at the time of reappointment or promotion is simplified.
Most new appointments on the Boulder campus are at the assistant professor level, and at that point in one's career promotion to full professor appears to be a long way into the future. For completeness, however, it is worth describing the standards that are applied when considering promotion from associate professor (with tenure) to professor (with tenure). There is no standard or typical time at which this promotion consideration occurs. For faculty who develop their career along a very fast and steep trajectory, promotion may be considered after as few as five to seven years after the last promotion. For faculty members whose career trajectory is less steep, or whose scholarly work, by its nature, requires a longer period of development, the period between promotions may be a decade or longer.
Regardless of the period between promotions, the standard which is applied is always the same. In February 1994, the Regents adopted the following criteria for promotion to professor:
Professors should have the terminal degree appropriate for their field or its equivalent and (A) a record, which, taken as a whole, is judged to be excellent; (B) a record of significant contribution to both graduate and undergraduate education, unless individual or department circumstances can be shown to require a stronger emphasis, or singular focus, on one or the other, and (C), a record since tenure and promotion to associate professor, that indicates substantial, significant, and continued growth, development, and accomplishment in teaching, research, scholarship or creative work, and service.
Review for promotion to full professor is conducted in the same manner as is the tenure and promotion review, including the solicitation of external letters of assessment.
Tenure-Track Evaluation Process
Each college and school has a review process that differs in subtle ways from that in other colleges or schools. These procedures are described in a procedure document specific to your college or school, and a copy can be obtained from your dean's office. Features of the evaluation process common to all colleges and schools include:
Primary Unit Evaluation Committee
This group from within the primary unit is elected or appointed as specified in the unit's bylaws. In small units, the primary unit evaluation committee (PUEC) and the primary unit may be one and the same. The PUEC is responsible for assisting the candidate in assembling his or her dossier, soliciting opinions from outside reviewers, and providing a written and often oral summary of the candidate's dossier to the membership of the primary unit. In general, evaluators should be drawn from a different institutions. In some units, the PUEC makes a recommendation or reports a vote. In other units, the role of the PUEC is limited to compiling and summarizing the dossier. The written report of the evaluation committee becomes part of the dossier.
The primary unit is composed of the faculty members of a department, program, division, school or college authorized to vote on matters of appointment, reappointment, tenure, and promotion. Unless the dean and the Provost agree otherwise, only members of equal or higher rank are authorized to vote on personnel cases. Starting in AY 01-02, all units must have a minimum voting membership of at least five eligible faculty members. Supplementing the voting membership of the primary unit requires the review and approval of the dean. In addition, as of AY 07-08, recorded votes on cases of tenure must include not only the overall vote on the award of continuous tenure, but also a vote breakdown of whether or not tenure should be awarded on the basis of excellence, meritorious, or less than meritorious productvitiy in the areas of teaching, research, and service. The primary unit is charged with evaluating the record as contained within the dossier and making a recommendation to the next level of review. The vote of the primary unit and any accompanying summary or explanation also becomes part of the dossier.
Report of the Chair
In some units, the department chair or division head provides a written explanation of the primary unit vote and offers his or her own opinion of the merits of the case. In other units, the chair's report is simply a written communication to the dean that reports the vote and discussion of the primary unit. This report becomes a part of the dossier.
First Level Review
First level review is provided by the dean and his or her advisory committee. The first level review committee is a faculty committee that advises the dean on matters of promotion, tenure, and reappointment. The composition of the committee is defined by the bylaws of the college or school and is generally composed of respected faculty members representing the disciplinary breadth of the college or school. Starting in AY 01-02, the minimum size of the first level review committee shall be three (3) members eligible to vote in each case. Membership of the first level review committee shall be the same for all cases considered by that college or school in a given year. Further, starting in AY 01-02, first level review committees must meet as a group to discuss each case, and must record a vote recommending an action on the case to the dean. As of AY 07-08, recorded votes on cases of tenure must include not only the overall vote on the award of continuous tenure, but also vote breakdown of whether or not tenure should be awarded on the basis of excellence, meritorious, or less than meritorious productvitiy in the areas of teaching, research, and service. The purpose of this committee review is to provide an independent assessment of the dossier to the dean and to calibrate the standards of the primary unit to those of the college or school as a whole. Only members of the committee holding equal or higher rank to the rank being aspired to by the candidate are authorized to vote. The first level review committee provides a written assessment and records its vote. Both items become part of the dossier.
Report of the Dean
The dean, after considering the recommendation of the first level review committee, then makes his or her own written recommendation to the Provost. This letter, and the rest of the dossier, are then forwarded to the Office of Faculty Affairs, usually by the end of the fall term in the year in which a review takes place. The candidate is to be informed in writing of the outcome of the first level review and of the recommendation by the dean.
Second Level Review
Second level review is conducted by the Provost, and the Vice Chancellor's Advisory Committee (VCAC). The VCAC is a faculty committee of approximately a dozen faculty members drawn from across the University community. It advises the Provost on matters of promotion and tenure policy as well as on the merits of all personnel cases that are forwarded from the colleges and schools. VCAC also reviews new faculty appointments whenever tenure is being offered as part of the hiring. The members of VCAC hold the rank of full professor and are appointed for three year terms of service. The work of the VCAC is managed out of the Office of Faculty Affairs and is chaired by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs. Each case is assigned to at least two members of the committee, who each read the entire dossier. Every member of the committee is assigned to read the CV and letters of assessment from the PUEC, the chair, the dean's committee, and the dean. Each case is summarized to the committee orally by the primary reader and the secondary reader, followed by committee discussion. A vote by show of hands is then taken on the question whether or not to recommend reappointment, tenure and/or promotion. Occasionally, the VCAC may return the dossier to the dean or department for supplemental material or explanation. Whenever the VCAC disagrees with the dean's recommendation, it automatically returns the case to the dean for his or her reconsideration. The VCAC members then discuss and vote on the case a second time. A written summary of the VCAC recommendation, along with its vote, is communicated to the Provost, and is also communicated to the candidate, chair, and dean.
Recommendation of the Provost
The Provost considers the contents of the dossier and the recommendation of the VCAC and makes an affirmative or negative recommendation to the Chancellor.
Recommendation of the Chancellor
The Chancellor is responsible for making the decision on reappointment and promotion cases. In questions of tenure, the Chancellor makes a recommendation to the President of the University of Colorado system. Affirmative recommendations by the Chancellor usually result in positive recommendations by the President to the Board of Regents, who have final authority in cases of tenure. The President and Regents usually take no action on negative recommendations for promotion to full professor from associate professor, unless a formal appeal is made by the faculty member.
If the above procedures are confusing, or if you are a visually-oriented person, click on this link to see the diagrammed flowchart of the campus process.
Third Level Review
The President of the University of Colorado system maintains a faculty advisory committee which can be consulted whenever the President wishes to reconsider the recommendation of the Chancellor, or in cases of appeals. The appeals process is described in detail in the guidelines on Tenure and Promotion Appeals.