The University of Arizona logo

Promotion and Tenure

Policy Information

PDF version
Last Revised Date: 
June, 2017
Policy Number: 
UHAP 3.3
Responsible Unit: 
Division of Human Resources
Phone: 
(520) 621-3660

Policy

This section applies to the promotion and tenure review processes for tenure-eligible faculty, tenured faculty, and career-track faculty. Decisions relating to promotion, tenure, and renewal will be made in accordance with University rules and procedures. Final decisions on promotion, tenure and renewal will be made by the University President after considering all evaluations, recommendations, and other evidence submitted. Attainment of tenure can only occur through specific notification by the President and may not result from inaction or inadvertence.
 

3.3.01 Scheduling Promotion and Tenure Reviews

A faculty member who is facing a mandatory tenure review cannot waive the right to a tenure review or to a third-year or other renewal review. There must be a review, even in the absence of a promotion and tenure dossier, unless the faculty member submits a letter of resignation with the resignation date set no later than the end of what would be the terminal year if promotion and tenure were denied. Directions on preparing dossiers are provided on the Provost's webpage.

[http://provost.arizona.edu/]

A. Tenure Clock Delays for Tenure-Eligible Faculty

Except for accommodations provided by the Disability Resource Center, (DRC), the Provost has the sole authority to grant requests to extend the promotion clock for tenure-eligible faculty based upon good cause shown for either personal or professional reasons, as set forth below. The Provost's decision is not subject to further review.

A faculty member should submit a written request for a promotion clock delay as early as possible after the events or circumstances that form the basis for the request. Faculty members may be asked to provide documentation supporting such a request. Requests for delays will not generally be considered after June 30 of the year prior to the year when a mandatory review is scheduled. The University will not subject a faculty member who has been granted a promotion clock delay under this section to additional scholarship or service requirements above and beyond those ordinarily required to qualify for retention or promotion.

1. Personal Reasons

a. Birth or Adoption. The Provost will approve and grant timely requests for promotion clock delays based upon the birth or adoption of a faculty member's child. Faculty members should submit such requests directly to the Provost.

b. Faculty Member's Individual Medical Condition. A faculty member who would like to submit a request for a promotion clock delay based on the faculty member’s own serious health condition or disability should contact the Provost’s Office, which will refer the faculty member to the DRC. Faculty members will be asked to provide their requests and any supporting documentation directly to the DRC. The DRC will review requests from faculty members, consult with the Provost’s Office and other administrators as needed, and make a determination about whether a request is reasonable. The DRC will share its determination with the faculty member and the Provost’s Office.

c. Other Personal Reasons. The Provost will consider timely requests for promotion clock delays based upon other personal reasons that prevent a faculty member from meeting research, teaching, or service obligations. Such personal reasons may include, but are not limited to, the assumption of significant and ongoing care responsibilities as a result of the serious health condition or disability of a faculty member's spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child; or the death of the faculty member's spouse, domestic partner, or child. Faculty members should submit such requests directly to the Provost.

2. Professional Reasons

a. Adverse Professional Circumstances. The Provost will consider timely requests for promotion clock delays based upon exceptionally adverse professional circumstances or impediments that are beyond a faculty member's control and that prevent a faculty member from meeting research, teaching, or service obligations. Faculty members should submit such requests directly to their director or head. Both the appropriate dean and the head or director must support the request, which the dean will then submit to the Provost for consideration.

b. Prestigious External Commitments. The Provost will consider timely requests for promotion clock delays based upon a faculty member's prestigious external commitments that bring credit to the institution but that require inordinate time to perform, provided that the University has authorized such commitments. Faculty members should submit such requests directly to their director or head. Both the appropriate dean and the head or director must support the request, which the dean will then submit to the Provost for consideration.

B. The Schedule for Promotion, Retention, and Tenure Reviews of Tenure-Eligible Assistant Professors

A tenure-eligible assistant professor may be recommended for promotion, for nonrenewal, or for other changes in status after annual performance reviews in any year up to the sixth year of tenure-eligible service, or a subsequent year if a time clock delay has been granted. If faculty members go up for promotion and tenure before their mandatory year, they may go up again without prejudice. Exceptions to the timetable for tenure and retention reviews are described in Section 3.3.01.a.

No later than the end of the third year in rank (unless adjusted for any approved delays), tenure-eligible assistant professors will undergo a retention review. For retention reviews, departments may seek additional assessments from outside the department and/or University regarding a candidate's professional accomplishments, stature as viewed by peers, and scholarly potential. After that review, their administrative head will inform them that they are being recommended for reappointment as an assistant professor or for nonrenewal at the expiration of the subsequent year of service in rank. In some cases, assistant professors who are reappointed in rank may be required to undergo another retention review in the following year. If a decision is made to reappoint faculty members, their head must provide them with a written evaluation identifying any problem areas which may preclude the granting of tenure. Reappointment in rank may be made without college or University review, but all tenure-eligible assistant professors will be formally evaluated at this stage by their head and their unit's Standing Committee on Faculty Status. If an administrative head recommends that a faculty member not be reappointed after the departmental level review, the faculty member will be reviewed at the college and University level according to the process described in Section 3.3.02. A college may also require college review of all retention cases.

No later than the end of the sixth year in rank, or a subsequent year if a time clock delay has been granted, tenure-eligible assistant professors will be reviewed for promotion and tenure according to the process in Section 3.3.02. After the departmental and college levels in the review process, faculty members will be informed in writing by both their administrative head and by their dean that they are being recommended for: (a) promotion to the rank of associate professor with tenure or (b) appointment as assistant professor for a terminal year.

C. The Schedule for Promotion, Retention, and Tenure Reviews of Tenure-Eligible and Tenured Associate Professors

1. Tenure-Eligible Associate Professors

If faculty members have prior service at the University or at another educational institution as a tenure-eligible assistant or associate professor, they may request that the Provost consider that prior service in scheduling their mandatory tenure reviews. At the time of appointment, faculty members will be notified in writing regarding how much of their prior service will be counted in scheduling their mandatory tenure reviews, as noted in Section 3.1.01.b.

If individuals are initially appointed as tenure-eligible associate professors at the University, and they have not served at another educational institution in the rank of assistant or associate professor, they will be governed by the same time schedule for notification of renewal, promotion, or tenure decisions as assistant professors, as detailed in Section 3.3.01.b. Before the end of their sixth year in rank, or a subsequent year if a time clock delay has been granted, such tenure-eligible associate professors are to be reviewed for tenure or nonrenewal. Tenure-eligible associate professors may also request to be considered for a change to a career-track appointment. Such a change must be approved by the department head or immediate supervisor, the dean and the Provost, in accordance with UHAP 3.1.01.g.

A faculty member appointed at the rank of tenure-eligible associate professor who has had prior service at another educational institution that is counted under Section 3.1.01.b may go up for promotion, tenure, or nonrenewal at any time during the second through fourth year of service at the University. Before the end of the fourth year of service as an associate professor at the University, the faculty member will be informed in writing by the immediate administrative head of a recommendation for: (a) tenure effective the fifth year or (b) appointment as an associate professor for a fifth and terminal year. Although a decision on tenure or nonrenewal in faculty rank must be made no later than the fourth year, promotion is not required as a condition of continued employment.

2. Tenured Associate Professors

An associate professor with tenure may go up for promotion to the rank of professor at any time. Promotion is not required as a condition of continued employment. If the faculty member's immediate administrative head does not recommend the faculty member for promotion to tenured full professor before the end of the fifth year of service in the rank of tenured associate professor at the University, the faculty member's immediate administrative head should notify the faculty member in writing of the right to be reviewed during the sixth year for promotion to tenured full professor. If the faculty member decides not to be reviewed for promotion to tenured full professor, the administrative head will consult with the faculty member regarding the faculty member's plans for promotion and follow up to support the faculty member's ongoing development as part of the annual review process.

D. The Schedule for Promotion, Retention, and Tenure Reviews of Tenure-Eligible Full Professors

If an individual is initially appointed as a tenure-eligible full professor at the University, that faculty member may be recommended for tenure or for nonrenewal at any time during the first through third year of service in this rank. Normally a faculty member will not be granted tenure effective the first year in the faculty member's position, but may be granted tenure effective the second year. Tenure-eligible full professors also may request to be considered for a change to a career-track appointment. Such a change must be approved by the department or immediate administrative head, the dean, and the Provost, in accordance with UHAP 3.1.01.g. All tenure-eligible full professors will be informed in writing before the end of their third year that they are being recommended for: (a) tenure, effective their fourth year or (b) appointment as a professor without tenure for a fourth and terminal year.
 

3.3.02 Promotion and Tenure Process for Tenure-Eligible and Tenured Faculty

A. Standing Committees

Provided there are sufficient numbers of faculty members to warrant such a committee, each college, department, or other unit will have a Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status to advise the dean and immediate administrative head before recommendations on reviews for tenure, promotion, and nonrenewal are forwarded to higher levels. Each such committee will include at least three tenured faculty members from the unit. If a unit does not have sufficient faculty members to constitute such a committee, then the faculty and administrative head will consult with the appropriate dean on forming such a committee from other units. In promotion or tenure matters the advisory committees will be so constituted that recommendations will be made only by faculty members holding rank superior to the rank of the faculty member being considered, except in the case of full professors where the committee members will each be a full professor. Standing Advisory Committees generally will meet without the administrator whom they advise.

The Provost will appoint a University Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status composed of at least nine members representing diverse backgrounds and academic disciplines. The committee will advise the Provost in all promotion and tenure considerations. In accordance with University-level criteria, the committee will carefully and systematically review all pertinent materials provided by departments and colleges, and will ensure that high standards of accomplishment and professional performance are maintained.

Deliberations, evaluations, and recommendations of Standing Advisory Committees are confidential, as are any evaluations or recommendations received by them.

B. Criteria

Promotion and tenure require excellent performance and the promise of continued excellence in (1) teaching, (2) service, and (3) research, creative work, and scholarship. The University values an inclusive view of scholarship in the recognition that knowledge is acquired and advanced through discovery, integration, application, and teaching. Given this perspective, promotion and tenure reviews, as detailed in the criteria of individual departments and colleges, will recognize original research contributions in peer-reviewed publications as well as integrative and applied forms of scholarship that involve cross-cutting collaborations with business and community partners, including translational research, commercialization activities, and patents.

Promotion and tenure reviews will consider the assigned workload duties of candidates in making assessments of contributions in the areas of teaching, research, and service. The University values collaboration among colleagues, both externally and internally, and the candidate's contributions to such collaborations will be considered in promotion and tenure reviews. The University expects the highest standards of professional conduct, as detailed in the Statement on Professional Conduct in UHAP 7.01.01. This Statement sets out the expectation that faculty will uphold scholarly standards, maintain intellectual honesty, and “respect the dignity of others," including their “right to express differing opinions.” In assessing professional conduct, reviewers may consider documented violations of other University policies, including those on Research Integrity, Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment, Misuse of University Assets, and Workplace Violence. Formal reprimands and findings of professional misconduct should be assessed against how they affect a candidate’s teaching, research, service, and other assigned duties.

Within these general guidelines, promotion and tenure criteria are to be developed by the faculty members and the administrative head in each unit and approved by and filed with the dean and Provost. Members of Standing Advisory Committees at all levels are expected to familiarize themselves with all promotion and tenure criteria applicable to the individuals they are to consider. Each unit will review promotion and tenure criteria annually, and current copies of those criteria will be maintained in the offices of the administrative head, college dean, and Provost.

Immediate administrative heads and Standing Advisory Committees will meet with tenure-eligible faculty members annually to review promotion and tenure criteria and to answer questions. Tenure-eligible faculty members are expected to familiarize themselves with the promotion and tenure criteria applicable to their units. Tenure-eligible faculty members experiencing or anticipating difficulties in meeting tenure criteria will discuss the matter with their administrative head and their standing advisory committee at the earliest date possible.

Annual performance reviews may be useful to consider when individuals have been reprimanded for violating the expectations set out in the Statement on Professional Conduct in UHAP 7.0101. Annual performance reviews may be considered, along with any written comments or appeals that a faculty member may have submitted. While annual performance reviews may be considered, such reviews are not determinative on promotion and tenure decisions. Satisfactory ratings in the annual performance reviews do not necessarily indicate successful progress toward promotion and tenure. The granting of promotion and tenure requires scholarly accomplishment over a period of years in the broader range of faculty responsibilities, and includes evaluation by external referees, which is not a part of the annual review process.

C. Levels of Review

Dossiers for promotion and tenure will be prepared following the guidelines outlined by the Provost’s office. Directions on preparing dossiers are provided on the Provost’s webpage.

http://provost.arizona.edu/

Decisions regarding promotion, tenure, or nonrenewal of tenure-eligible faculty members, and promotion of tenured faculty members, will involve the following levels of review in a multiple-department college:

  1. Departmental Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status (where the department contains sufficient personnel to warrant such a committee);
  2. Department or unit head;
  3. College Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status;
  4. Dean of college;
  5. University Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status; and
  6. Provost.

In a single department college, only levels 3 through 6 are required.

At the time a recommendation regarding renewal, nonrenewal, tenure, or promotion is transmitted by the immediate administrative head, the dean or division administrator to the next administrative level, the faculty member involved should be advised in writing of the nature of the recommendation. The faculty member is not entitled to a statement of the reasons for the recommendation.

D. Decisions on Promotion, Tenure, and Renewal

The Provost will decide whether an individual will be promoted, granted tenure, or not renewed. The Provost will consider the recommendations that have been made as well as any violations of policies that demonstrate that the candidate has failed to meet the expectations set out in the Statement on Professional Conduct in UHAP 7.01.01, including the expectations that faculty will uphold “scholarly standards,” “maintain intellectual honesty,” and respect the “dignity of others,” including their “right to express differing opinions.” In the case of nonrenewal of a tenure-eligible faculty member after their second year of tenure-eligible employment, a terminal contract will be offered for the next appointment period. A faculty member whose appointment is not renewed or who is denied promotion or tenure is, upon request, entitled to a statement of the reasons for that action.

The denial of promotion or tenure or the decision not to renew need not be construed as due to failure or poor performance on the candidate's part. Considerations such as the need for a different area of specialization or for new emphases; the lack of a continuing position; the need to shift a position or resources to another department or unit; or the opportunity for an alternative program in teaching, research, or service may dictate that the individual not be promoted, granted tenure, or renewed.

E. Appeals to the President

In cases where the Provost has decided not to renew or has denied promotion or tenure to a tenure-eligible faculty member or promotion to a tenured faculty member, the faculty member may appeal the nonrenewal or denial to the President. Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of the President within 30 days after the date of the Provost's decision. The President may extend this timeline for good cause. The President's review will generally be limited to the record compiled under Section 3.3.02.c. However, the President may seek or may ask the departmental Standing Advisory Committee to seek additional assessment from outside the department and/or the University regarding the candidate's professional accomplishments, stature as viewed by peers, and scholarly potential. If requested, these assessments are to be commented on successively by all levels of review previously involved, and then forwarded for the President's consideration. Outside assessments will be solicited with the promise of confidentiality. In selecting peers to provide such assessments, the spirit of the guidelines and procedures used by the candidate's home department will be followed.

Within 90 days of the President’s receipt of the written appeal, the President will issue a written decision to the faculty member and will provide copies to the Provost, the appropriate dean or division director, and the immediate administrative head. The President's decision is final. However, the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure may subsequently consider allegations that the decision was the result of due process violations, unlawful discrimination, or other unconstitutional actions and may recommend further review or action. If alleged unlawful discrimination is the basis for appeal, the University's internal process for addressing employment discrimination complaints must first be utilized. The President may then direct that such additional review or action be taken; otherwise, the matter is not subject to further review.

3.3.03 Promotion Reviews of Career-Track Faculty

Career-track faculty members in designated titles may be reviewed for promotion. Promotions from lecturer to senior or principal lecturer require a review by a departmental committee, a recommendation by the relevant head or director, and the approval of the appropriate dean or vice president.  A more extensive review is required for promotions of career-track faculty in designated professorial titles such as assistant or associate professors of practice, research or clinical assistant or associate professors, or other such titles specified by the University for career-track professorial appointments. Promotions for such appointments may occur only after reviews at the department and college levels with approval by the Provost as noted in UHAP 3.3.03.c.

A. Standing Committees

Each college, department, or other unit will have a Standing Advisory Committee to advise the dean and administrative head before recommendations on reviews for promotion are forwarded to higher levels. Such committees may be formed of tenured and nontenured faculty. If a unit does not have sufficient faculty members to constitute such a committee, then the faculty and head will consult with the appropriate dean on forming such a committee from other units. Such advisory committees will be so constituted that recommendations will be made only by faculty members holding rank superior to the rank of the faculty member being considered, except in the case of promotion to full professor where the committee members will each be a full professor. Standing Advisory Committees generally will meet without the administrator whom they advise. Deliberations, evaluations, and recommendations of peer review committees are confidential, as are any evaluations or recommendations received by them.

B. Criteria

Within the general guidelines included below, promotion criteria are to be developed by faculty members and approved by deans. Promotion requires excellent performance and the promise of continued excellence in teaching, research, and service as determined by the specific duties assigned to the individual faculty member. The University expects the highest standards of professional conduct, as detailed in the Statement on Professional Conduct in UHAP 7.01.01 This Statement sets out the expectation that faculty will uphold scholarly standards, maintain intellectual honesty, and “respect the dignity of others," including their “right to express differing opinions.”

Members of Standing Advisory Committees at all levels are expected to familiarize themselves with all promotion criteria applicable to the individuals they are to consider. Current copies of those criteria will be maintained in the offices of the administrative head, college dean, and Provost.

Career-track faculty members being considered for promotion are expected to familiarize themselves with the promotion criteria applicable to their units. Annual performance reviews may be considered in the promotion process, but satisfactory ratings in the annual performance reviews do not necessarily indicate successful progress toward promotion. Progress towards promotion requires accomplishment over a period of years in the broader range of faculty responsibilities, and may include evaluation by external referees, which is not a part of the annual review process.

C. Levels of Review

Dossiers for the promotion of career-track faculty other than lecturers will be prepared following the same guidelines as those for tenure-eligible or tenured faculty, though external reviews may not be required in some colleges. Directions on preparing dossiers are provided on the Provost's webpage.

[http://provost.arizona.edu/]

Reviews of career-track faculty dossiers will involve the following levels in a multiple-department college:

  1. Departmental Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status (where the department contains sufficient personnel to warrant such a committee);
  2. Department or unit head;
  3. College Standing Advisory Committee on Faculty Status;
  4. Dean of college; and
  5. Provost.

In a single-department college, only levels 3 through 5 are required. A dean will designate a faculty member to act as the administrative head when a department or program temporarily has no administrative head.

The Provost will consider the recommendations that have been made as well as any violations of policies that demonstrate that the candidate has failed to meet the expectations set out in the Statement on Professional Conduct in UHAP 7.01.01, including the expectations that faculty will uphold “scholarly standards,” “maintain intellectual honesty,” and respect the “dignity of others,” including their “right to express differing opinions.” The Provost's decision on the promotion of a career-track faculty member is not subject to further review or appeal.

D. Instructors

Academic units do not generally have a promotion path for instructors, though such tracks may be appropriate in units with extensive noncredit offerings. However, when justified by annual performance reviews and increased responsibilities such as expanded teaching or supervisory duties, instructors may also be converted to other titles that are not eligible for tenure (such as lecturer or assistant professor of practice), provided their annual performance reviews under Section 3.2 meet the criteria in Section 3.3.03.b. Such appointments are to be made following standard procedures.

E. Lecturers

Promotion to lecturer, senior lecturer, or principal lecturer may be made following reviews by a departmental Standing Advisory Committees and a Department or unit head with the approval of the appropriate dean. When justified by increased responsibilities such as expanded teaching or supervisory duties, lecturers at any rank may also be converted to other ranked titles on the career track (such as assistant professor of practice), provided their annual performance reviews under Section 3.2 meet the criteria in Section 3.3.03.b. Such appointments are to be made following standard procedures.

F. Assistant Professors

Appointment or promotion to assistant professor on the career track will require evidence of promise, adequate training, depth of knowledge in a particular specialty, and capacity to undertake high-quality teaching, research, and service. Promotion to the associate rank is possible after a minimum of three years of service in the assistant rank.

G. Associate Professors

Appointment or promotion to associate professor on the career track will require evidence of an established and productive career in addition to the qualifications required of the assistant rank. Such an individual will be known at the state, regional, and national level for the individual's particular expertise, and will contribute to the departmental program in a significant fashion. Annual reappointments may be made an indefinite number of times, subject to satisfactory performance evaluations. Career-track associate professors may go up for promotion to the rank of professor at any time.

G. Professors

Appointment or promotion to professor on the career track will require outstanding qualifications regarding expertise and experience in addition to the qualifications required of an associate professor. Such an individual must have achieved national recognition through peer organizations and will bring distinction to the department. Career-track professors may be reappointed annually provided they continue to meet the criteria for the rank and perform satisfactorily as determined by annual performance evaluations.

Related Information*

Revision History*

References to nontenure-eligible removed 6/21/2017

Revisions approved 8/23/2016

All sections revised July 2014

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions, Related Information, and Revision History are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.

Feedback