Communication #26: Promotion to Teaching, Research, or Clinical Associate or Full Professor Titles (AY2023-24)

Preamble: Recognizing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is deeply committed to the welfare and well-being of our faculty members and acknowledges the differential and negative impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic may have on career developmentIn particular, many women faculty and faculty of color have faced significant challenges in managing the pandemic.  Therefore, in considering decisions about promotion and tenure, the University must evaluate each candidate’s research, teaching, service, and engagement activities within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

As a University community, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly changes the amount of information available to make our collective judgment about the faculty member’s trajectory.  For many candidates, we must accept that our inferences about a candidate’s future potential will likely be based on a reduced level of information than in the past.  We cannot simply rely on traditional milestones, benchmarks, and markers. Instead, we must take special care to evaluate the candidate’s record in light of the challenges created by the pandemic. 

While the information available to make these important decisions about promotion and tenure has changed, our standards have not changed.  The University remains focused on whether promotion of the candidate is in the best interests of the institution.  And the University still expects excellence, as demonstrated by visible and meaningful contributions to the appropriate research, teaching, service, and engagement missions of our institution. 

Toward that end, Communication #26 has been temporarily modified to acknowledge the impact of the pandemic.  These modifications will remain in place through AY 2023-24.

Overview

Promotional paths for specialized faculty provide opportunities for the development of long-term careers at Illinois and ensure that these valuable employees can contribute to the exceptional quality of teaching and research that is required on campus.  Although these promotions do not include tenure, departments are encouraged to provide multi-year contracts with appointments to the ranks of associate and full teaching, research and clinical professors. Given that these appointments carry with them the title of professor, the University uses a rigorous multi-stage process of review that involves external evaluation for promotion of specialized faculty in these tracks. Each year, academic units determine which specialized faculty members should be considered for promotion. Departments and colleges should be selective in their recommendations to promote faculty.  Annual review meetings are an appropriate time to discuss whether and/or when a promotional review should occur. 

A promotion dossier, including letters and the cover sheet with votes, is required for specialized faculty members to be promoted to the associate or full rank. Each department must develop written criteria and procedures for specialized faculty promotions. In developing departmental promotion policies and procedures, departments should consult with their colleges to ensure coordination and conformance to college-level policies. As dictated by department and college procedures, departments shall develop a recommendation regarding the candidate’s promotion.  For the recommendation to advance, the executive officer must endorse the recommendation and submit documentation supporting and explaining the recommendation. Each recommendation for promotion is reviewed at multiple levels, including the home unit and at each successive unit in the reporting chain up through the campus level. Faculty committees should review and make recommendations regarding promotions at each administrative level, but how faculty committees are constituted is left to the discretion of the unit and should be outlined in the unit bylaws, policies and procedural documents. Those governing unit documents should set the unit schedule for preparation and review of promotions.  Units should consider involving specialized faculty in the review process but, as noted in Provost Communication No. 25, it is important to ensure that significant tenure system faculty involvement occurs in promotion reviews of specialized faculty. Specialized faculty promotion cases are administratively reviewed by the Provost’s Office to ensure that the criteria and standards for promotions of the unit, college and campus have been met.   

The expectations of excellence implicit in the procedures laid out in this document also apply to initial appointments to the senior ranks of associate and full teaching, research, and clinical professorial appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Units can develop an expedited process to review an individual’s credentials and qualifications for an initial appointment in a modified professorial title at the associate or full level.  More information about expedited reviews is provided below in the section entitled Initial Appointments at the Associate or Full Level. 

Promotion committees above the level of an individual’s unit judge how well the case has been made for granting of the promotion. In general, they do not evaluate the specific work itself; this is done by the external referees and by the faculty of the appointing unit. It is the overall quality of the candidate’s record and the accompanying documentation, rather than the length of the dossier or the claims made for the significance of any single piece of work, that determines the final outcome.

General Guidelines for Promotion

Each of the three specialized faculty professorial tracks has criteria and expectations that are specific to the specialized focus of those appointments. Promotion from the assistant to the associate rank within all three of these appointment tracks, however, requires that the individual has accomplishments that show real promise of  making an impact both within the unit and beyond, either through scholarly publications, invited talks, externally funded research, or other related activities involving their discipline, pedagogy and student interactions. A recommendation for promotion, either to the associate or full level, should be based upon an assessment that the candidate has made contributions of an appropriate magnitude and quality in the specialized area(s) of teaching, research, or clinical instruction that are required of the specific appointment and consistent with the rank. This assessment must be supported by tangible, demonstrable evidence. The recommendation package should include a statement by the unit executive officer indicating succinctly why the department and campus will be strengthened and why the best interests of the university will be served by the promotion. 

A recommendation for promotion to the rank of full teaching, research, or clinical professor should be based upon an assessment that, since the last promotion, the candidate has made contributions of appropriate magnitude, independence and quality in teaching and/or research and has demonstrated the ability to sustain contributions to the field and to the department, so that granting the promotion is in the best interest of the University of Illinois. 

The primary missions of the University are teaching, research, and service and public engagement.  In the promotion review of specialized faculty, particular consideration should be given to the performance of the individual in the main area of the candidate’s job duties as set forth in the appointment paperwork and job description. Because of the specialized nature of each appointment it is essential that a statement of the candidate’s job duties and expectations, including percentage of effort expected for teaching, research and service, at the time of appointment (and at any subsequent time if changed during the period under review), be provided to the internal committees reviewing the promotion request and to external reviewers. Please note that it is expected that the appointments in the teaching professor track and clinical professor track will have at least 50% of effort assigned to teaching.  Similarly, appointments in research professor track are expected to have at least 50% of effort assigned to research. Nevertheless, appropriate consideration also should be given to contributions made across the other university missions, as dictated by the structure of the candidate’s appointment and job duties.  Explicit criteria for judging the quality of performance must be developed by the candidate’s department at the time of appointment, and there should be ample evidence that these criteria are being met in an exemplary fashion.   

The word “research” is interpreted throughout this document to include not only research and scholarship as narrowly understood, but also creative artistry and research that is interdisciplinary and/or translational. The terms “research,” “scholarship,” “scholarly achievement,” and “creative work” are used essentially interchangeably here to denote this broader range of activity.

Criteria

The promotion of specialized faculty members to teaching, research and clinical associate or full professors is a selective process that involves significant rigor, including the creation of a dossier with letters of support from inside and outside the unit. The promotion criteria will differ based on the specialized focus of the appointment (i.e., teaching, research, or clinical tracks. Decisions about whether to promote a specialized faculty member ultimately rests in the guidelines established in the departments. Typically, it will require a number of years, roughly five or six years, for individuals to build a record that establishes that the criteria for promotion have been met.  It is expected that, in the normal course, the time interval from the initial time of appointment to the first promotion and from the first promotion to the next would entail an equal amount of time and effort. It is important to note that although the expectation is that specialized faculty members will be given a number of years to build a record towards promotion, units should annually evaluate job performance and can make a decision to not reappoint a specialized faculty member for either performance or budgetary reasons at any time. Units must be careful not to make promises or guarantees of continued employment that are inconsistent with the non-tenured status of specialized faculty members.

Teaching Associate Professors and Teaching Professors

Promotion to teaching associate professor and teaching professor is based on the impact and maturity of the individual’s record of teaching, classroom innovation, student interactions, and scholarly accomplishments in pedagogy.  At a minimum, a candidate for a teaching associate professor position should be able to demonstrate instructional contributions to the college, campus, and broader discipline, or, if this is to be the person’s first appointment on campus, have a proven record of making such contributions. Teaching professors (assistant, associate, and full) are required to hold a Ph.D or equivalent highest degree and expertise in the relevant discipline. 

Promotion to the rank of full teaching professor should be based on a fulfilled promise of quality teaching and pedagogy, including making advancements in teaching and learning in the discipline that led to innovative strategies and marked course improvement. At this level, a teaching professor should be making broader contributions to pedagogy, often by sharing creative and scholarly work at conferences and in publications. Broader pedagogical contributions could also be shown by such accomplishments as publishing textbooks in reputable presses, securing competitive internal and external grants to develop curriculum or pedagogy, and effective mentoring of instructors, lecturers and graduate assistants. Units should develop appropriate discipline-specific criteria of success. Note that an individual may also be contributing to scholarship in his or her specific discipline or field, although this is not a campus-level requirement of the title. A teaching professor may also be involved in department, college or university service. The expectations for research and service should be clearly articulated by the department at the time of appointment and the evaluation of the candidate’s activities is governed by those express expectations.

Research Associate Professors and Research Professors

Promotion to research associate professor and research professor is based primarily on the impact and maturity of the individual’s scholarship. At a minimum, appointment to a research associate professor title requires that the individual has demonstrated the ability to make a substantial impact in a research area, as shown by publications, invited talks, external funding and other related activities. Research assistant professor appointments initially may be funded either entirely or partially from existing grants for which principal investigators need assistance in conducting and/or managing the research.  Over time, these individuals are expected to develop independent research agendas and, typically, secure some external funding for their work. Research professors (assistant, associate, and full) are required to hold a Ph.D. or equivalent highest degree and expertise in the relevant discipline.

Promotion to the rank of research professor should be based on a fulfilled promise of quality research, including making discoveries that lead to grant funding and publications in leading peer-reviewed journals or publications. At this level, a research professor may also be contributing to the teaching and mentoring students, but this is not a campus-level requirement of the title. A research professor may also be involved in department, college or university service.  The expectations for teaching and service should be clearly articulated by the department at the time of appointment and the evaluation of the candidate’s activities is governed by those express expectations.

Clinical Associate Professors and Clinical Professors

Clinical professorial appointments are the specialized faculty appointments that are most heavily determined by the academic department’s discipline and related professional field. Each department must evaluate and determine the appropriate role, if any, of clinical professorial appointments in their unit. Traditionally, clinical faculty are most often found in medical areas, such as the College of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine as well as the College of Applied Health Sciences and the College of Social Work. Additionally, clinical faculty are also found in the College of Law. Clinical faculty are primarily engaged in providing instruction and do so from the perspective of a practitioner, either within a traditional classroom setting or a lab or other applied learning environment. Because clinical professorial appointments are so closely aligned with specific disciplines, the criteria for these appointments must be carefully developed and communicated at the departmental level. Each department must evaluate and determine minimum criteria within their units that are appropriate to warrant a clinical professorial appointment at each rank of assistant, associate and full.

In general, promotion to associate clinical professor and clinical professor is based on the level of education, degree obtained, years of experience in the relevant field, areas of expertise, and specialized knowledge necessary to fill curricular needs. A recommendation for promotion to clinical associate professor or clinical professor should have supporting evidence that the candidate has met the criteria laid out in the departmental promotional policy. At a minimum, promotion to a clinical associate professor must be based upon an assessment that the candidate has made contributions of an appropriate magnitude and quality in the discipline and in the teaching and learning in the unit and campus, demonstrating a high likelihood of sustaining contributions to both. Note that an individual may also be contributing to scholarship in his or her specific discipline or field, although this is not a campus-level requirement of the title. A clinical professor may also be involved in department, college or university service. The expectations for research and service should be clearly articulated by the department at the time of appointment and the evaluation of the candidate’s activities is governed by those express expectations.

Promotion to the rank of clinical professor should be based upon promise fulfilled. The case for such a promotion should include evidence of appropriate accomplishments in in the relevant field and with respect to teaching in the department, college and campus, as identified in the departmental promotional policy. A recommendation for promotion to the rank of full should be based upon an assessment that, since the last promotion, the candidate has made contributions of appropriate magnitude and quality in teaching and has demonstrated the ability to sustain contributions to the field.

Evaluation of the Candidate’s Performance and Potential Candidate’s and Department Head’s Roles 

A candidate for promotion should never prepare departmental evaluative materials in support of his or her promotion recommendation. This is the responsibility of the department head or chair, or his or her designee. The department should identify the evaluator for each section.  Department policy and procedures should address whether evaluators can include specialized faculty members. In all cases, evaluators must be at or above the rank of the promotion being sought. The candidate may prepare descriptive material for the dossier, but it must be reviewed and checked carefully by the department head/chair or his or her designee (as determined by departmental policy). Normally, it is best to have the candidate submit descriptive material and the department head/chair or designee prepare the evaluative information in the required format.  

When a case has raised significant questions, it is imperative that the department head or chair provide commentary when forwarding that case for subsequent review at higher levels. For instance, commentary should be provided when questions were raised in the department review of the case, when concerns were raised by the external evaluators and/or when a case received a split vote. This commentary should explain the merits of the case and address forthrightly its strengths and weaknesses. 

Role and Composition of Promotion Committees

A faculty committee approves promotion materials and moves the candidates for promotion forward at each administrative level. The specific procedures for selecting the members of department and college specialized faculty promotion committees must be set in department and college bylaws. The procedures must ensure that tenure system faculty have a significant role in the promotion process, that promotion evaluations are independent across levels (e.g., someone who votes on a case at the department level cannot review a case at the college level), and that conflicts of interest are eliminated.

Confidentiality

The Illinois Personnel Record Review Act allows specialized faculty to inspect internal evaluation documentation used for promotion review; external and internal letters of reference are not subject to inspection by the candidate and should not be released to the candidate or to any other person without a legitimate role in the formal review process for the particular promotion case at issue.  (Please note the distinction between internal evaluative material and letters of reference. Written comments by any individual who participates in the decision whether to grant tenure, such as the unit head or a member of a committee voting on the recommendation, generally fall into the category of internal evaluative materials and are thus subject to release.) 

A copy of the promotion dossier shall be made available to the candidate upon the candidate’s written request to his/her Unit Executive Officer. The earliest such request may be made is on the business day immediately following the promotion vote taken by the candidate’s unit committee.  When such request is received, the Unit Executive Officer should provide all dossier materials to Illinois Human Resources (IHR). Note that the dossier may be in draft or incomplete form (i.e., might not contain written departmental evaluations or an EO statement) if a negative decision is made at the departmental level. IHR shall review and provide the dossier copy within the time period allowed by the Illinois Personnel Record Review Act (7 business days from receipt of said request, with a possibility of an additional 7 days when needed).  The promotion dossier given to the candidate should be the dossier completed to date (including cover sheet with recorded votes but without information of the identity of the voters).  Based on advice from University Legal Counsel, the following items should be removed or redacted: 

  1. Qualifications of External Evaluators  
  2. External Review Letters  
  3. Internal Letters of Reference (solicited according to the guidelines in the following paragraph):

    In the context of a promotion review, a department head/chair may solicit a letter of reference concerning the teaching or research abilities of the candidate from a colleague within the University of Illinois who is not in a supervisory position over the candidate (that is from a colleague other than people such as a division head, department head or dean). It is the University’s view that such a document be excluded from disclosure as a “letter of reference.”  It is important to solicit such a “letter of reference” specifically and to make sure the person being asked to provide the letter is outside of the candidate’s normal reporting chain. Other evaluations performed by a department head are disclosable to the faculty member. Guidelines on employee access to personnel records are contained in the Campus Administrative Manual, Section IX/A-16. 
  4. Any direct quotes or attributions to either external or internal review letters contained in the Department Evaluations (research, teaching and service) and in the Special Comments by the Unit Executive Officer. 

Evaluation of Teaching

When instruction is part of an individual’s title and/or appointment, promotion recommendations must include a thorough evaluation of the candidate’s teaching. Although departments may use different methods to evaluate teaching quality, strong performance in teaching cannot be simply presumed; it must be demonstrated as convincingly as measures allow. The specific evaluative practices recommended, and in some cases required, appear in the attached Instructions for Preparing Promotion Papers. Faculty members who teach credit-bearing continuing education courses or professional development courses should use these same evaluative practices.  

Teaching evaluation must include a personal statement of teaching philosophy and record, a list of courses taught, a representative sample of syllabi and course materials (e.g., exams, assignments, quizzes), new course proposals, innovative instructional tools, and summary of ICES data (or, in the alternative, a summary developed through use of a departmental instrument). (Please note the requirements in the Instructions for Preparing Promotion Papers if the standard report form from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning is not used.) Units are encouraged to augment these required elements with results from additional methods of evaluation. Each unit shall have a clearly understood procedure for such additional evaluation. The following have proven effective when developed with care: 

  • Peer observation. Visits to the candidate’s classroom can be valuable, but they should be made by at least two faculty observers for each of several courses. Visits should be made on more than one occasion in each course. This method is valuable for it entails considerable communication among faculty being evaluated and their colleagues involved in the evaluation. The campus is encouraging more extensive use of this approach, not only in the period when a promotion is being considered, but over the entire period of a faculty member’s career at Illinois. When a candidate’s teaching or curricular contributions have achieved recognition by peers beyond the campus, the ability to comment on the instructional contributions of the candidate should be considered in the selection of external evaluators. 
  • Information from students not currently enrolled, alumni, and others. Surveys or interviews with former students, alumni, and others can provide a different perspective from that of students currently enrolled, and this can be a valuable part of an evaluation. However, anecdotal comments from one or two people are generally not perceived as useful by review committees, because there is no basis for gauging the quality of the views. If information in this category is to be developed, it should be based on a method that can give a legitimate sample of views. 
  • Evidence of student learning. Provision of measures of student learning is encouraged. They might include measures included in the unit’s outcomes assessment program that can be linked clearly to the work of the candidate, exceptional awards or recognition earned by the candidate’s students, evidence of student success in later coursework in a sequence, evaluation of student work products such as exams, papers, artwork, performances, and so on.

Generally, it has not proven useful to provide selected students comments from ICES forms for essentially the same reason that anecdotal comments from other quarters are of limited value. Review committees have no ability to judge either the relative frequency of favorable comments or the degree to which they might be offset by unfavorable commentary. 

The candidate must provide (in three pages or less) a personal statement of teaching philosophy, methods, strengths, problems, goals, and other material in a manner that will present colleagues with a context for interpreting other evaluative information. This statement can be very beneficial to evaluators who are asked for written opinions about the candidate, because such a statement provides important context. It allows the reviewer to develop his or her judgments in light of the candidate’s vision, goals, and self-assessment of progress. For this reason, the department is encouraged to ask the candidate to develop the statement at an early stage in the evaluation, so that it can be shared with peer observers and external evaluators. If the recommendation is for promotion to teaching associate professor, the statement should focus on teaching carried out since initial appointment as assistant professor. (The statement may include work at another institution.)  For recommended promotion from teaching associate professor to the rank of teaching professor, the statement should focus on teaching accomplishments since the last promotion.

Evaluation of Research

When research is part of an individual’s title and appointment, a review of the candidate’s scholarly portfolio and performance should be conducted. A review of a candidate’s research must include the candidate’s statement of research goals and accomplishments (in three pages or less), the departmental evaluation of research accomplishments — emphasizing the two most important publications or creative works — and the departmental evaluation of future potential. 

If the recommendation is for promotion to research associate professor, the statement should focus on research carried out since initial appointment as assistant professor. (The statement may include work as a research assistant professor at another institution.)  For recommended promotion from research associate professor to the rank of research professor, the statement should focus on research accomplishments since the last promotion. The candidate should also discuss the relationship of past work to future research plans. 

This statement can be very beneficial to evaluators who are asked for written opinions about the candidate, because such a statement provides important context. It allows the reviewer to develop his or her judgments in light of the candidate’s vision, goals, and self-assessment of progress. For this reason, the department is encouraged to ask the candidate to develop the statement at an early stage in the evaluation, so that it can be shared with external evaluators. 

The departmental evaluation of research accomplishments should indeed be an evaluation, not merely a description of research. The emphasis should be placed on at least two publications or creative works. Of particular concern are the quality of execution, the significance of the topics, and the impact on the field. 

In some cases, it may be beneficial to supplement the expertise of the departmental evaluation committee by consulting with experts and/or collaborators on campus. This practice is encouraged where it is necessary to provide a fair and complete evaluation of the candidate’s contributions. However, it is also essential that the confidentiality of the promotion process be maintained. Therefore, such consultation should be limited to such cases where it is truly necessary. In addition, the person being asked to provide this evaluation must not be in a supervisory position over the candidate (that is, people other than direct supervisors such as a division head, department head or dean). It is important to solicit such a “letter of reference” specifically and to make sure the person being asked to provide the letter is outside of the candidate’s normal reporting chain. This information should be included in the promotion dossier as part of the department’s evaluation of research, rather than a separate set of letters of evaluation. However, such letters are not subject to inspection by the candidate. Please note that evaluation letters provided by individuals who are part of our campus community are supplemental letters, in addition to the required three external evaluation letters. 

The departmental evaluation of future potential has value only if it is developed in realistic terms. The discussion should focus on the candidate’s strategy for developing his or her career as a scholar and should include an assessment of the probable standing of the candidate within the subfield and larger discipline five years from the present.

Evaluation of Service

Service encompasses public engagement activities, professional/ disciplinary service and university service. Explicit expectations for service shall be stated at the time of the candidate’s appointment and shall govern the candidate’s promotion review. If a faculty member has contributed to the department, college, university, discipline, or public, he or she should include a description of such service in the promotional documentation. 

Outside Evaluation of Research, Scholarship, Teaching, Service, Public Engagement and Creative Activity

Letters from at least three scholars or professional specialists outside the University are required for each nominee. These letters are critical components of the dossier and play a major role in the decision-making process. The letters must be appropriate in several dimensions. They must be:

  • sufficient in number, 
  • from appropriately selected individuals at comparable institutions

    (NOTE: Units must keep in mind that the important thing is that evaluators have the proper credentials and experience, as well as information about the campus, college and departmental expectations for the promotion being sought, to provide an appropriate evaluation. Wherever possible, evaluations letters should be sought from the university’s peers.  Letters from individuals not affiliated with a university but who are otherwise knowledgeable about standards and indicators of excellence that are meaningful in an academic environment at our level of achievement should be in addition to the three letters from evaluators at academic institutions.) 
  • from individuals of appropriate rank (e.g., tenured professors and specialized faculty of a more senior rank)
  • from objective evaluators without conflicts of interest. For example, letters for promotion should not be solicited from the individual’s thesis advisor or current or past collaborators. 
  • Date-stamped upon receipt

Each evaluator should receive the candidate’s dossier exclusive of evaluative materials and a representative sample of the candidate’s scholarly or creative work. A single manuscript or creative work will rarely suffice as a representative sample. 

In regard to the selection of external reviewers, the procedures to solicit letters, and the required elements of the letters, see Communication No. 9.  A candidate does not need to have established a national reputation; rather, external reviewers are asked to review the dossier in light of the campus and departmental expectations for the respective titles and the specific job duties of the candidate.  It is extremely important that letters soliciting external reviews of specialized faculty explain the standards for promotion at our institution and define the role of specialized faculty as an appointment that is focused on a particular area: teaching, research, or clinical. An external evaluator may not familiar with the specialized faculty appointments at Illinois. External evaluators will be aided in their evaluation by knowledge of the nature of the candidate’s academic activities and the percentage of time allotted to each area of academic activity. Because specialized faculty appointments are unique to the campus, please include a statement in the letter to external evaluators that describes the nature of the candidate’s academic activities and the departmental and campus expectations for those activities.  Letters to referees should indicate that the candidate’s promotion does not include “indefinite tenure.”  

In addition to the external reviews, departments may choose to solicit additional letters from outside the department but internal to the University. It is important to solicit such a “letter of reference” specifically and to make sure the person being asked to provide the letter is outside of the candidate’s normal reporting chain. Internal review letters, however, are in addition to the required minimum of three external letters.

Appeal of Promotion Denials

In the event of a negative decision for promotion, candidates for promotion should be afforded an opportunity to appeal the decision at the level it was made and an opportunity for a second-level review of procedures. Thus, while a case receiving a positive recommendation is forwarded to the next level for further consideration, a case receiving a negative recommendation will be reviewed at the next level only for conformity with the department, college and campus promotion procedures.  Precise steps should be followed as outlined in those procedural documents if possible, but they should not be treated as if the process is completely rigid. Specialized faculty members or their representatives often discover slight variations in procedures and thereupon claim that the entire process must be invalidated. Administrators who must certify the validity of the procedures used should approach the task with the understanding that minor deviations in the process can and must be tolerated.  This is also the standard that any departmental, college or campus appeal body should adhere to in an appeal of a promotion denial.

Initial Appointments at the Associate or Full Level

If a unit wishes to offer an initial appointment in a modified professorial title at an associate or full level, an expedited process can be followed to review the individual’s credentials and qualifications for the position. Specialized faculty expedited review processes for initial appointments should be developed by individual colleges, schools, and departments and should be set forth in unit promotion policies and procedures. As with the regular promotion process for specialized faculty, expedited reviews for initial appointments to a modified professorial title at an associate or full level be must be reviewed by the Provost’s Office to ensure that the criteria and standards for promotions of the unit, college and campus have been met.

Assistance

For questions about promotion and tenure criteria, policy or procedures please call the Office of the Provost (333-6677).

Instructions for Preparing Promotion Papers

General Instructions

  1. Each recommendation for promotion is presented as follows: 
    1. Cover Sheet (found in the attachments to this Communication)
    2. Outline of Promotion Dossier 
      1. Personal History and Professional Experience 
      2. Publications and Creative Works 
      3. Resident Instruction (to the extent applicable) 
      4. Service (Public Engagement, Professional/Disciplinary, and University) (if applicable) 
      5. Research (to the extent applicable) 
      6. External Evaluations 
      7. Special Comments by the Executive Officer 
      8. Special Comments by the Dean (only when needed) 
  2. For each nominee, complete the appropriate cover sheet, and attach it to the recommendation package. Provide all requested data and follow the lettered and numbered headings in the outline. Where there is no information for a specific section, please note “None.”  When a section is not relevant to a particular case, please note “Not applicable” (e.g., research for a teaching professor appointment in which no research is required or done). 
  3. All pages should be numbered consecutively from the cover sheet through the letters of recommendation and should end with executive officer’s comments. (Please note that, due to scanning requirements, the outside evaluation section must start on a new page, and the executive officer’s comments, which follow the outside evaluation section, also must start on a new page.) The main outline of papers should be kept to a maximum of 30 pages, exclusive of the letters of reference. Page numbers should also be provided for any manuscript, bulletin, abstract or review noted by the candidate in the section on Publications and Creative Works. Please note that most promotion recommendations are too long. A promotion that is truly warranted is readily justified in a few pages. Very long justifications suggest weakness and become counterproductive. Microscopic fonts – i.e., those smaller than 10 point – earn special disfavor.
  4. Submit one final copy with original signatures, one sided and no staples, of each recommendation to the campus level. It may be necessary for units to provide additional copies for the school or college levels. 
  5. Submit one copy of the executive officer and dean statement of the criteria used and procedures followed by the unit (department/college/school) in reviewing the recommendation for promotion. This statement should be submitted separately (not attached to the papers). Only one statement, covering all recommendations from a given unit, is needed, unless different procedures were followed in one or more specific cases. 
  6. Because specialized faculty professorial appointments can be highly individualistic, a job description or summary of the individual’s job duties, and offer letter (with redactions as appropriate) must be provided for each promotion request.
  7. For recommendations denied at the college level, please submit two copies of the papers. These should be clearly identified and kept separate from those forwarded with recommendations for approval. These papers should not show the dean’s or director’s signature.

Cover Sheet

Please complete all blanks on the cover sheet with particular attention to the following:

  • List all colleges, units, and departments in which the candidate holds an appointment. 
  • Provide a breakdown of the effort assigned to teaching, research, and service. Please note that it is expected that appointments in the teaching and clinical professor tracks will have at least 50% effort assigned to teaching and that research professor track appointments will have at least 50% effort assigned to research. 
  • The votes of all committees reviewing the recommendation should be included. If multiple committees vote or the candidate holds a joint appointment in another unit, of if the entire departmental faculty receives and votes on a recommendation from a departmental committee, add a line to report the vote of each group. 
  • The signatures of all appropriate department heads/chairs and deans or directors should be affixed. 
  • Be sure the dates of “initial appointment” and “last promotion” at Illinois are listed on the cover sheet. 

Instructions for the Outline

The following sections describe the Outline of Promotion Dossier. A copy of the outline follows as an attachment to this section. 

Personal History and Professional Experience

  1. Educational Background
    Beginning with the baccalaureate degree, provide the name of the institution; degree, field of study; date of degree.
  2. List of Academic Positions since Final Degree
    In chronological order from past to present. For each position held, list inclusive dates, title, and location for each –University of Illinois and elsewhere.
  3. Other Professional Employment
    Previous and current, in chronological order as above.
  4. Honors, Recognitions, and Outstanding Achievements
    Fellowships, prizes, etc., in chronological order as above, that indicate stature in pedagogy, scholarship and engagement appropriate to the rank sought.
  5. Invited Lectures and Invited Conference Presentations Since Last Promotion
    For candidates for promotion to Professor, a full (career) list of events may be provided or, in the interest of brevity, a list of only those events since the last promotion may be provided. Events should be listed in chronological order as above.
    Note with the “at symbol” (@) invited lectures and accepted conference presentations that were cancelled due to COVID-19. Include dates of cancelled event.
  6. Offices Held in Professional Societies 
  7. Editorships/Guest Editorships of Journals or Other Learned Publications
    List in chronological order from past to present
  8. Grants Received
    List principal investigator first, co-principal investigators, granting agency, dates of grant, and dollar amount of grant. For candidates for promotion to Professor, a full (career) list of grants may be provided or, in the interests of brevity, a list of only those grants received since the last promotion may be provided.
    Note with the “at symbol” (@) grants that were approved for funding but were placed on temporary hold, rescinded, or significantly repurposed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
  9. Review Panels
    For governmental agencies, educational institutions, or other organizations.
    Note with the “at symbol” (@) invitations to serve on review panels that were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Publications and Creative Works

Primarily for the research professor tracks but should be included for any specialized faculty member who has publications and creative works.

When preparing information for the outline given below, please give attention to the following standards:

  • Within each category, place items in chronological order from past to most recent, and number each publication. 
  • List all authors in the same order as in the original publication (i.e., do not show multiple authorship as simply “with Professors x, y, and z”). 
  • Place a single pound sign (#) before any publication derived from the candidate’s thesis. 
  • Place a single asterisk (*) before any publication that has undergone stringent editorial review by peers. 
  • Place a plus sign (+) before any publication that was invited and carries special prestige and recognition. 
  • The phrase “accepted for publication” should be used only where a written commitment to publish has been received from a publisher, subject only to final technical editing. The term should not be used to describe works still in initial development, even if a contract or invitation to publish has been offered. Works in the latter category should be described with the phrase “Incomplete work under contract to…” or comparable wording. 
  • Provide inclusive page numbers for publications in journals. 
  • List all publications and creative works over the course of the candidate’s career (this also applies to a candidate for promotion to Full Professor). 
  • Reprint of papers are not required for review at the campus level.
  1. Doctoral thesis title 
  2. Books Authored or Co-Authored, including textbooks (in print or accepted)
  3. Books Edited or Co-Edited, including textbooks (in print or accepted)
  4. Chapters in Books, including textbooks (in print or accepted)
  5. Monographs (in print or accepted)
    Items longer than an article, but shorter than a book. Provide inclusive page numbers for monographs.
  6. Articles in Journals (in print or accepted)
    Provide inclusive page numbers for publications in journals.
  7. Creative Works (Exhibitions, Commissions, Competitions, Performances, Designs, Art or Architecture Executed)
  8. Patents
  9. Bulletins, Reports, or Conference Proceedings (in print or accepted)
    Include only if these items are normally considered an important part of the publication record of a scholar or artist in this field. List in chronological order from past to present. Provide inclusive page numbers for bulletins, reports or conference proceedings.
  10. Abstracts (in print or accepted)
    Include only if these items are normally considered an important part of the publication record of a scholar or artist in this field. List in chronological order from past to present. Provide inclusive page numbers for abstracts.
  11. Book Reviews (in print or accepted)
    Include only if these items are normally considered an important part of the publication record of a scholar or artist in this field. List in chronological order from past to present. Provide inclusive page numbers for book reviews.
  12. Referred Conference Papers and Presentations
  13. Other Specify type. The candidate may use this space to describe other research contributions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resident Instruction

Primarily for teaching professor track and clinical professor track appointments, but should be included for any appointment with teaching responsibilities.

  1. Teaching and Mentoring Record
    1. Descriptive Data
      Provide information for undergraduate courses, both on and off campus, since the last promotion. For each semester under review, provide a list of courses taught and the number of students enrolled in the course, as in the following sample table (The Division of Management Information posts a complete history of faculty teaching by the end of October each year on the DMI website. You may use the data from that site for this section). There is no need to change the format of the DMI report; it can be inserted as it appears on the web and in the example immediately following this page.

      For each course, provide a representative sample of syllabi and course materials (exams, assignments, quizzes, etc.).
    2. Supervision of Graduate Students’ Teaching
      • List numbers of graduate students supervised. 
      • List supervision duties, such as training, evaluating, mentoring, writing letters of recommendation, and preparing for the job market and so on. 
      • List graduate students’ teaching awards and ICES Scores 
      • List participation on committees separately from supervision of a thesis.
    3. Supervision of Undergraduate Students
      • Please list all undergraduates that have been supervised in research, honors activities, service learning, or public engagement activities. 
      • For each student, provide the student’s name, term during which the activity was supervised, and nature of the activity (e.g., Brown, Keisha, Fall 2012, supervised her senior honor’s thesis).
    4.  Other Contributions to Instructional Programs
      Specialized faculty members may make significant instructional contributions of other sorts, (e.g., through development of course materials used by other instructors, through extensive independent study or informal interactions with students). Instructional improvement projects or activities, such as leadership in a significant curricular change, or new courses developed also fall into this category. At the level of full, candidates should include evidence of broader pedagogical contributions shown by such things as authoring textbooks that are published by reputable publishers, securing competitive grants to develop curriculum or pedagogy, or successful mentoring of instructors and lecturers. Unit level policies should be consulted to identify the specific indicia of success that are appropriate for the candidate’s discipline and department. Please describe noteworthy contributions made by the candidate.

      Besides creating course materials for one’s own class, specialized faculty may create the training materials for others to teach a course. Attach curriculum/training portfolio.

      Describe ways of remaining current in the field and improving teaching through innovations using technology or new pedagogical techniques.

      Explain how training and innovation activities performed fit into the department’s mission.

      Note with the “at symbol” (@) contributions to instructional program initiatives related to COVID-19. This may include significantly modifying course materials; contributing to training programs for online instruction; mentoring faculty members and graduate instructors as they transitioned courses to alternative modalities; etc.
  2. Evaluation of Instruction
    1. Student ICES Course Evaluation Questionnaires
      This information is available from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. It is most convenient to use the summary table of ICES data available from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (an ICES “Longitudinal Profile”). Unit executive officers, or the instructor, must request this summary from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. For those being promoted from associate to full professor, ICES scores from the last promotion to the present are all that are needed. If the request is from the unit executive officer, only data previously released to the department will be included.  If the request comes directly from the instructor, all ICES results will be included on the Longitudinal Profile.

      Generally, it has not proven useful to provide selected student comments from ICES forms, for essentially the same reason that anecdotal comments from other quarters are of limited value. Review committees have no ability to judge either the relative frequency of favorable comments or the degree to which they might be offset by unfavorable commentary.

      Per the Provost’s email to faculty members on March 25, 2020, specialized faculty instructors may choose to exclude Spring 2020 ICES scores from the P&T dossier without penalty.

      The following is a sample table from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning: 

      If the standard report from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning is not employed, please develop the report with attention to the following:
      • Raw data will not be accepted. 
      • Provide data for each semester and for each course under review (since last promotion). 
      • Provide departmental norm when possible
    2. Candidate’s Teaching Activities Report and Self-Review
      The candidate must provide a personal statement of teaching philosophy, methods, strengths, problems, goals and other material in a manner that will represent colleagues with a context for interpreting other evaluative information. 

      This statement should not exceed three pages.
    3. Departmental Evaluation of Teaching and Course Documentation
      • The departmental evaluation must include a review of course documents, including instructional materials such as syllabi, bibliographies, textbooks, test questions, grading policies and procedures. Please provide the name of the person who developed the evaluation.
      • Information on the number of students dropping each course and the reasons for doing so (if known), is often useful. Identification of withdrawals, for example, can be helpful in pointing out unusually large decreases in the number of students throughout the semester (perhaps compared to others teaching the same course). This information can serve as a flag interpreting the end-of-course student ratings as well as serve as a topic of discussion with the instructor regarding the reasons for dramatic enrollment shifts. Interpretation should be made cautiously, however, since students drop courses for several reasons and some may have little relevance to the instructor or course.
      • Departments are encouraged to report results of other effective means, such as observation by peers, for evaluating instructional performance. Where the candidate’s teaching contributions have achieved significant recognition outside the campus, the department may wish to invite letters from external evaluators who are knowledgeable of those contributions as well as of the candidate’s other scholarly work.
      • For each peer reviewer whose evaluation is included, please provide a brief statement (one to two sentences) about the reasons for selecting the reviewer for this service.
        • Evaluation of the candidate’s teaching, advising, and mentoring activities and accomplishments should be discussed within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the transition of courses to new modalities, participation in professional development opportunities to enhance teaching, and mentoring of students. Also, units should be aware that the pandemic may affect in-class peer observation.

Service (Public Engagement, Professional/ Disciplinary, and University)

Specialized faculty members may have three types of service included in Section V of the dossier: public engagement, professional/disciplinary, and University/campus. Explicit expectations for service shall be stated at the time of the candidate’s appointment and shall govern the candidate’s promotion review.

  1. Summary of Service
    Note with the “at symbol” (@) contributions to department, college, campus, and community initiatives, public discussions, and community engagement related to COVID-19.
    1. Public Engagement
      Definition: Public engagement is the application for the public good of the knowledge and expertise of a faculty or staff member to issues of societal importance. Typically, this activity is done in collaboration with others both within and outside of the university. The activity may enrich research and teaching as well as lead to new directions within the university. Public engagement falls under the service mission of the university.

      Summary: Indicate public engagement and outreach activities performed in assisting agencies, schools, businesses, governmental agencies or other groups and individuals who benefit from the knowledge, information and services resident within the University community. To be recognized as public engagement, activities should:
      • Contribute to the public welfare or the common good.
      • Call upon the specialized faculty member’s academic, professional, or creative expertise.
      • Directly address or respond to societal problems, issues, interests or concerns.
    2. Service to Disciplinary and Professional Societies or Associations
      List and describe service activities that are not included in Section I, Personal History and Professional Experience.
    3. University/ Campus Service
      Indicate service on departmental, college, campus and university committees as well as administrative assignments.
  2. Evaluation of Service
    Please provide the name of the person who developed the evaluation.

    Evaluation of the candidate’s service should be discussed within the context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including substantive changes in the candidate’s scope of service and engagement duties.
    1. Public Engagement
      Provide evidence of quality and impact; describe dissemination of the public service work through publications and adoption by others; if appropriate, illustrate how the public service activities are integrated with research and/or teaching.
    2. Service to Disciplinary and Professional Societies or Associations
      Provide evidence of major contributions which affected the societies/ associations beyond routine committee and officer service; include recognition and honors.
    3. University/ Campus Service
      Provide evidence of impact of contributions to the department, college, campus or University.

Research

Primarily for research professor track but should be included for any specialized faculty member engaged in research.

  1. Candidate’s Statement of Research Goals and Accomplishments
    • The candidate must provide (in three pages or less) a statement of research goals and accomplishments, in terms of how that research supports their teaching, their pedagogical approaches, and serves the department.
    • If teaching is the primary basis for the recommended promotion, the statement must reflect accomplishments and future plans in teaching and how they relate to the research activity.
  2. Departmental Evaluation of Research Accomplishments
    • Please provide the name of the individual who developed the evaluation.
    • Research should be evaluated (not merely described) with emphasis on at least two publications or creative works.
    • The evaluation should address the dimensions of quality of execution, significance of topic, and impact on the field.
    • Evaluation of the candidate’s research activities and accomplishments should be discussed within the context of the disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Departmental Evaluation of Future Potential
    • Please provide the name of the individual who developed the evaluation.
    • Evaluate the candidate’s strategy for developing his or her research beyond recent accomplishments.
    • Assess, in realistic terms, the probable standing of the candidate in his or her field five years from now.

External Evaluations

  1. Sample Letter(s) to External Evaluators
    Include a copy of the letter (or letters, if different versions) used to solicit these outside evaluations. As the letter is composed, please attend to the following points:
    • Be sure the letter is neutral in tone.
    • Indicate the rank to which the candidate is being promoted and clearly state that the promotion will not include the awarding of indefinite tenure.
    • Include the following required statement that explains specialized faculty appointments:
      “At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, non-tenure system faculty position (referred to as “specialized faculty” at Illinois) included Teaching, Clinical and Research Professors (Assistant, Associate and Full). Specialized faculty members make substantial contributions to our research, teaching and service missions, but their scope of work is more specific than their tenure-system peers and the performance expectations are different. Performance expectations and promotion criteria are set forth in the individual’s job description (attached) [alternatively: “in the statement of the individual’s job duties (attached)”] and departmental and college promotion criteria [attached].”
    • Include a job description and department and college promotion criteria, including percentage of effort for teaching, research and service
    • Use the following required language to indicate that the referee’s response will be protected as confidential:
      “The policy of the University of Illinois is to hold in confidence all letters of evaluation from persons outside the institution. Only the committees and administrative officers directly responsible for the decision of concern here will have access to your letter. It will not be provided to the person on whom you comment unless we are compelled by law to do so.”
    • Use the following required language to indicate that the evaluator should not consider the faculty member’s length of service.
      “Our policy states that the criteria for promotion of specialized faculty at Illinois are the same regardless of length of service.”
    • Add the following required language to direct that the evaluator to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the candidate’s activities and accomplishments.
      “COVID-19 continues to create challenges for our campus and our community. The University of Illinois is deeply committed to the welfare and well-being of our faculty members and acknowledges the differential and negative impacts COVID-19 has had on career development. Thus, in your evaluation we ask that you assess the candidate’s activities and accomplishments within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  2. Qualifications of the External Evaluators
    • On one page, list the names, addresses, and affiliations of all scholars or professional specialists outside the University of Illinois from whom you have solicited letters of evaluation.
    • A majority of the external evaluations must come from the department’s, rather than the candidate’s, nominations. These provisions suggest, in combination, that the unit request four to eight names from the candidate, that it solicit opinions from no more than two or three of the candidate’s choices, and that it obtain a slightly larger number of opinions from others.
    • In order to distinguish those referees chosen by the candidate from those chosen by the department, please add after the referee’s name either “(chosen by the candidate)” or “(chosen by the department).” 
    • Provide a brief description of the qualifications of each outside referee (i.e., rank, position, and credentials.) 
    • The outside evaluators should be chosen consistent with the explicit requirements regarding evaluators set forth in the department’s promotional policy and procedures for specialized faculty.   
    • If the referee is familiar with the candidate’s works, include a statement of how the referee knows the candidate and his/her work if this is not obvious from the evaluator’s letter. 
    • If a letter of evaluation was not received from someone who was asked to provide one, please explain why there was no response.
  3. External Letters
    • Letters from each outside reviewer should be numbered inclusively within the recommendation packet.
    • All letters received in response to the unit’s request for external evaluation must be included.
    • Date-stamped upon receipt.

Special Comments by the Unit Executive Officer

Please discuss any outstanding characteristics of the staff member not covered in the preceding sections. The unit executive officer’s comments should always be the last item in the dossier (with the exception of addenda included at subsequent steps in the process).

The unit executive officer is strongly encouraged to address any negative aspects of the candidate’s record or the outside letters and explain why these aspects should not be decisive in the case in question.

The unit executive officer should include in his/her comments any new evidence that has led to the submission of a promotion recommendation that had been denied from the previous year.

As the “Special Comments by the Unit Executive Officer” addresses and clarifies information within the promotion dossier, as well as information in the letters of reference, it is important that this section be placed at the end of the packet. Please be sure the executive officer’s comments are the last item in the promotion packet, unless there is a need for Special Comments by the Dean (see below).

Special Comments by the Dean (only when needed)

When a case is forwarded for campus review after significant questions were raised during its review at the college or school level, or by external evaluators, or it received a split vote, it is imperative that the Dean of the submitting unit provide commentary on the case for successive reviewers. This commentary should explain the merits of the case and address forthrightly its strengths and weaknesses. To formulate this commentary, the dean may need to be present during the committee’s discussion of the merits of the case. Special Comments from the Dean are needed only when there are significant questions raised at the college/school level and/or there is a split vote by the college-level review committee.

Assistance

For questions about promotion criteria, policy or procedures please call the Office of the Provost (333-6677).

Attachments