The quality of the faculty is the key to the success of the university and its students. The hiring and retention of high quality faculty members depend in part upon an open, clear, fair and rigorous process. Adherence to established processes and policies, found in Regent Laws, Regent Policies and administrative policy statements, ensures the fair and impartial treatment of all candidates and is vital to the integrity of the tenure and promotion process.
Levels of Review
The reappointment, tenure or promotion of a tenure-track faculty member is evaluated at multiple levels. The expertise of the primary unit is balanced by the broader perspective and commitment to excellence for the whole institution of the school/college, library, and campus levels of review.
The First Level Review is at the college, library, or school level; it includes review by the primary unit and the chair, the dean’s review committee and the dean.
The Second Level Review is at the campuswide level; it includes review by the vice chancellor for academic affairs’ advisory committee, the vice chancellor for academic affairs and the chancellor.
The Third Level Review is at the presidential level; it refers to review by the president of the university for both a positive recommendation for tenure to the Board of Regents and for an appeal of a negative decision for reappointment or tenure by a candidate. Promotion decisions are completed at the second level.
The final decision on the award of tenure (including outside hires with tenure) is made by the Board of Regents. Only the board has the power either to award tenure or to rescind a tenured appointment.
Standards of Performance
Regent Law requires that all candidates for tenure demonstrate meritorious performance in each of the three areas of teaching, research/creative work, and service (to the university, profession and public), and that candidates in health science fields demonstrate meritorious performance in clinical activity/clinical care, as well. Candidates at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs may also be evaluated on professional practice, in which case they must also demonstrate meritorious performance in that area. In addition, candidates must demonstrate excellence in either teaching or research/creative work, except that faculty in the School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health must meet the standards of the school approved by the Board of Regents.
Aided by the primary unit head, the candidate prepares a dossier containing relevant information on which the evaluation committee will base its decision.
Primary units develop criteria that explicate the teaching, research and service expectations for faculty, such as expectations for articles, books, and/or research grants, measures of clinical excellence, etc., in terms of their scholarly field. These primary unit criteria, once reviewed for rigor, fairness and consistency with regent requirements and approved by the dean and vice chancellor for academic affairs, are included in the candidate’s dossier and shall guide evaluation at every level of review.
Candidates are entitled to see review committees’ letters of evaluation but may not see letters from external evaluators, which are treated as confidential. Upon the completion of the review process, the candidate should be informed of the outcome as expeditiously as possible.
Integrity of the Process
Participants in the evaluation process shall familiarize themselves with and follow its policies and procedures. The integrity of reappointment, tenure, and promotion depend upon the consistent and knowledgeable application of university processes by the faculty and academic administrators. Participants are expected to have no conflict of interest in the case and to keep the deliberations of the proceedings confidential. If errors are discovered during the process, they should be remedied, if possible, before the dossier moves to the next level of review.
While the candidate is responsible for developing a professional record that warrants tenure, the department/unit and administration have certain obligations to mentor tenure-track faculty and to help them navigate the processes of review (comprehensive review, reappointment, tenure and promotion). Mentoring opportunities will be provided by primary units and/or colleges/schools.
A candidate denied reappointment to a tenure-track position or tenure may request a review, within 10 working days of receipt of the denial, by the president only on the grounds of: (1) procedural errors of sufficient magnitude that they may have affected the outcome; (2) substantive errors of sufficient magnitude that they may have affected the outcome; or (3) prima facie evidence of discrimination; or some combination of these grounds. If the president finds that there have been such errors, he/she will convene a systemwide advisory board of faculty members to review the case. This third level review committee will advise the president, who makes the final decision.
A candidate for reappointment or tenure who is not granted a third level review or whose third level review results in the president upholding the chancellor’s/chief academic officer’s recommendation against tenure and still believes that there have been serious procedural errors in the review of her/his case, may file a grievance with the Faculty Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure (P&T). (See Regent Policy 5-H.) P&T will advise the chancellor of its findings and recommendations. The chancellor informs the president of P&T’s findings and recommendations and her/his response to those findings and recommendations. The president makes the final decision. Only positive decisions are forwarded to the Board of Regents for approval.
Similarly, a candidate who is denied promotion and believes that there have been serious procedural errors in the review of her/his case may submit a grievance to the Faculty Senate Committee on Privilege and Tenure. P&T will advise the chancellor of its findings and recommendations. The chancellor makes the final decision.
Last Amended: April 12, 2009