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2:063 Policy on Academic Promotion

 

Austin Peay State
University
Policy on Academic Promotion


POLICIES
Issued:  June 7, 2017

Responsible Official:  Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Responsible Office:  Academic Affairs
 

 


Policy Statement


Promotion in rank is recognition of past achievement of the individual being considered for promotion. In addition, the advancement in rank is recognition of future potential and a sign of confidence that the individual is capable of even greater accomplishments and of assuming greater responsibilities. It is the policy of Austin Peay State University to make promotions strictly on consideration of merit tempered by University and fiscal considerations.


Purpose


The purpose of this policy is to help ensure that promotions are made objectively, equitably, impartially, and as recognition of merit in line with the following policy guidelines. The President of APSU is responsible for the master staffing plan of the University. In developing such a plan, the President will consider the fiscal impact of each promotion recommended to the APSU Board of Trustees, that is, resources allocated and distributed to the University. 


Contents


Definitions
-Academic Assignment
-Scholarly and Creative Achievement
-Professional Contributions and Activities

Procedures
-Promotion Criteria
-The Evaluation Process
-Academic Ranks for Instructors Tracks
-Academic Ranks for Professor Tracks
-Exceptions to Minimum Ranks Qualifications
-Terminal Degree Designation
-General Process Guidelines at University Level
-General Process Guidelines at Board Level
-Appeals

Links
-APSU Policy 1:025


Definitions


Academic Assignment Teaching applies to any strategy in which information is imparted so that others may learn, and may include, but is not limited to, a variety of techniques including instruction; student advising and/or mentoring; development of course materials and courseware; and development of innovative approaches to instruction.


Scholarly and Creative Achievement Research applies to the studious inquiry, examination, or discovery that contributes to disciplinary and interdisciplinary bodies of knowledge.  Scholarly and Creative Achievement may include, but are not limited to, disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities that focus on the boundaries of knowledge; field-based scholarship; creative activities (e.g. film-making, performances, or other artistic creations); and the development of cutting-edge teaching approaches. 

Professional Contributions
and Activities
Service applies to involvement within the community as defined by the University’s role and mission; service to the University; and service within the bounds of the applicant’s academic discipline and budgeted assignment.


**A more detailed description of these activities and the criteria to be applied in assessing performance in these three areas may be found in APSU Policy No. 1:025 “Policy on Academic Tenure,” Section IV (Criteria To Be Considered In Tenure Recommendations). Faculty are also required to consult the APSU Tenure Procedures and Guidelines document. https://www.apsu.edu/sites/apsu.edu/files/academic-affairs/Tenure_Procedures_and_Guidelines.pdf


Procedures


Promotion Criteria

The academic departments and programs of APSU must develop written guidelines with specific criteria for evaluating the faculty in academic assignment, scholarly and creative achievement and professional contributions and activities.  The departmental and program guidelines cannot be less rigorous than University guidelines.  These departmental and program guidelines should be distributed to all new faculty members and should be easily available at all times, preferably via the Web.  Whenever the guidelines are revised, the faculty should be notified of the availability of the revised guidelines.  The University promotion guidelines for evaluation should use the same criteria as those identified for tenure and located in APSU Policy No. 1:025 “Policy on Academic Tenure.”

The Evaluation
Process

The evaluation process for academic promotion at APSU will follow the guidelines established for academic tenure as identified in APSU Policy No. 1:025 “Policy on Academic Tenure.”

A faculty member (below rank of Professor) shall receive a promotion review at all levels of the University at least once every five (5) years unless such review is contrary to the wishes of the faculty member.   Faculty who wish to apply for promotion should inform their chairperson/director in writing of their intent in the semester prior to the one in which they will apply for promotion.  

The evaluation process for academic promotion at APSU will follow the guidelines established for academic tenure as identified in APSU Policy No. 1:025, “Policy on Academic Tenure,” with the following exceptions:

A.  Persons to be considered for Promotion.

Every eligible faculty member that has given written notice of intent shall be reviewed by the appropriate departmental promotions committee, unless the faculty member requests not to be reviewed.

B.  Committee Membership.

No faculty member shall vote on or participate in promotion deliberations relative to colleagues seeking promotion to higher rank than those voting at the departmental level, that is, faculty members voting to promote a faculty member to Associate Professor, for example, must already be at the rank of Associate Professor or above it to be eligible to vote on the faculty member requesting to be promoted to Associate.  Only tenured faculty members shall serve on a promotion committee at any level. At the college level, only tenured full Professors are eligible to serve on the college promotions committee. 

Exception: Chairs who are lower in rank than the candidate on whom they are voting and writing independent reports may participate in the RTP processes of candidates under review for Associate professor or Professor. All faculty are under the supervision of their chair and shall receive an independent chair’s report as part of the review.

However, chairs at the rank of Associate may not actively participate in the personnel meeting of a candidate for Professor other than to provide an overview at the front of the meeting of such a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses when requested by committee members. Similarly, chairs at the rank of Assistant Professor may not actively participate in the personnel meeting of a candidate for Associate Professor other than to provide an overview at the front of the meeting of such a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses when requested by committee members. Chairs in these circumstances shall convene the RTP meeting and then must leave the room after introductory comments and reviewing personnel meeting protocols.

C.  Recommendations.

The department chair must notify the Dean in writing of the voting results of all negative recommendations. The Dean shall notify the Provost in writing of the voting results of all negative recommendations made at the department and college levels. Each of the forms related to promotion contains the voting record. 

D.  Appeals.

Faculty members may appeal a negative promotion recommendation as provided for in APSU Policy No. 1:025 “Policy on Academic Tenure.”

Academic Ranks for
Instructor Tracks
The instructor and professor tracks are distinct and independent lines of employment at Austin Peay State University. 


The following are criteria that distinguish among academic ranks. 

  1. Instructor
    1. Demonstrated ability in instruction and student development.
    2. Master’s degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
    3. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.
  2. Senior Instructor
    1. Documented evidence of high quality teaching and contribution to student development.
    2. Master’s degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
    3. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.
  3. Master Instructor
    1. Documented evidence of teaching excellence and superior contribution to student development.
    2. Master’s degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
    3. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

Academic Ranks for
Professor Track

The following are criteria that distinguish among academic ranks

  1. Assistant Professor
    1. Earned doctorate or terminal degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
    2. Evidence of potential ability in academic assignment and/or scholarly and creative achievement, and/or professional contributions and activities.
    3. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.
  2. Associate Professor (see NOTE at end of section)
    1. Earned doctorate or terminal degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
    2. Documented evidence of high quality professional productivity at Austin Peay State University which may lead to national recognition in the academic discipline, and/or consonant with the goals of the University and of the academic unit to which the faculty member belongs.  Any exceptions to this requirement will need the written approval of the President.
    3. Documented evidence of ability in academic assignment and/or scholarly and creative achievement, and/or professional contributions and activities at Austin Peay State University.  Any exceptions to this requirement will need the written approval of the President.
    4. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.
    5. For faculty beginning employment with Austin Peay State University in the fall of academic year 2017-2018, at least four (4) years of full-time status in the rank of Assistant Professor is required before attaining the rank of Associate Professor.  Any exceptions to this requirement will need the written approval of the President.
    6. Additionally, the faculty member seeking a promotion exception to the four year rule (4) shall submit in writing a substantive narrative rationale, aligned with published departmental criteria,  no later than ninety (90) business days before faculty begin updates to the e-dossier as prescribed in the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions.

      If the President allows the exception, the President shall provide a clear written statement to the faculty member’s chair either granting the exception or denying the exception. The President shall provide this letter prior to the faculty member’s organization of the e-dossier and formal submission for promotion to Associate Professor.

      If the President denies the exception, the faculty member shall not proceed with the application for promotion. Copies of the letter denying the exception shall be provided to the faculty member, his or her chair, the Dean of the college, and the Office of Academic Affairs.

      If the president grants the exception, the faculty member under review may proceed with the application for promotion and shall also include this letter within the e-dossier following his/her statement of intent. The faculty member’s statement of intent shall refer to the exception to the normal three-year wait period prior to application for Associate Professor. In no way shall the President’s letter approving the exception to apply for promotion be construed by any personnel committee to be a guarantee that the faculty member’s application to promotion will be successful. That determination is made by the various levels of review within the normal retention, tenure, and promotion channels currently in place at the university.

      NOTE: For faculty beginning employment with Austin Peay State University in the fall of academic year 2017-2018, at least four (4) years of full-time faculty status at Austin Peay State University at the rank of Assistant Professor shall be the normal expectation for attainment of rank of Associate Professor.  In addition to this minimum length of service, faculty members who wish to apply for promotion shall adhere to the standards prescribed in the current RTP criteria governing promotion in their department. Faculty members who are hired at the rank of Assistant Professor shall be eligible to apply for promotion to Associate in the fall semester of their fourth year, although the actual rank awarded shall not be in effect until the fifth year.

      For example, a faculty member who began employment at Austin Peay State University in the Fall semester of 2018 at the rank of Assistant Professor may apply for promotion to Associate Professor no earlier than the fall semester of 2021, with attainment of Associate Professor rank in Fall 2022.

      Faculty who find themselves in anomalous situations (e.g. faculty on leaves of absence or faculty who have stopped the tenure clock) and are seeking promotion must consult with the Provost and the Office of Academic Affairs for a ruling on the appropriate date for application. Any exceptions to the minimum requirements described above shall require the written approval of the President.
  3. Professor (see NOTE at end of section)
    1. Earned doctorate or terminal degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
    2. Documented evidence of sustained high quality professional productivity at Austin Peay State University and national recognition in the academic discipline or sustained high quality professional productivity in the academic discipline at Austin Peay State University that is consonant with the goals of the University and of the academic unit to which the faculty member belongs.  Any exceptions to this requirement will need the written approval of the President.
    3. Documented evidence of teaching excellence and superior contribution to student development or superior scholarly and creative achievement at Austin Peay State University will contribute to the positive record of the candidate for advancement to the rank of professor.  Any exceptions to this requirement will need the written approval of the President.  Since there is no higher rank, promotion to professor is taken with great care and requires a level of achievement beyond that required for associate professor.  This rank is not a reward for long service; rather it is recognition of superior achievement within the discipline with every expectation of continuing contribution to the University and the larger academic community.
    4. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity, and a high degree of academic maturity and responsibility.
    5. At least five (5) years of faculty status at the rank of Associate Professor at Austin Peay State University shall be the requirement for promotion to Full Professor.  Any exceptions to this requirement will require the written approval of the President.  Additionally, the faculty member seeking a promotion exception to the five year (5) rule shall submit in writing a substantive narrative rationale, aligned with published departmental criteria, no later than ninety (90) business days before faculty begin updates to the e-dossier as prescribed in the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions.

      If the President allows the exception, the President shall provide a clear written statement to the faculty member’s chair either granting the exception or denying the exception. The President shall provide this letter prior to the faculty member’s organization of the e-dossier and formal submission for promotion to Professor.

      If the President denies the exception, the faculty member shall not proceed with the application for promotion. Copies of the letter denying the exception shall be provided to the faculty member, his or her chair, the Dean of the college, and the Office of Academic Affairs.

      If the President grants the exception, the faculty member under review may proceed with the application for promotion and shall include this letter within the e-dossier following his/her statement of intent. The faculty member’s statement of intent shall refer to the exception to the normal five year wait period prior to application for Professor.

      In no way shall the President’s letter approving the exception to apply for promotion be construed by any personnel committee to be a guarantee that the faculty member’s application to be promoted will be successful.  That determination is made by the various levels of review within the normal retention, tenure, and promotion channels currently in place at the university.

      NOTE: At least five (5) years of full-time faculty status at Austin Peay State University at the rank of Associate Professor shall be the normal expectation for attainment of rank of Professor.  In addition to this minimum length of service, faculty members who wish to apply for promotion shall adhere to the standards prescribed in the current RTP criteria governing promotion in their department. Faculty members who are hired at the rank of Associate Professor shall be eligible to apply for promotion to Professor as early as their fifth year, although the actual rank awarded shall not be in effect until the sixth year. 

      For example, a faculty member who is hired at Austin Peay State University or has attained the rank of Associate Professor in the Fall of 2018 may apply for promotion to Professor no earlier than the fall semester of 2022, but the promotion will go into effect fall 2023.

      Faculty who find themselves in anomalous situations (e.g. faculty on leaves of absence or faculty who have stopped the tenure clock) and are seeking promotion must consult with the Provost and the Office of Academic Affairs for a ruling on the appropriate date for application. Any exceptions to the minimum requirements described above shall require the written approval of the President.

Exceptions to
Minimum Rank
Qualifications

The minimum rank qualifications should be met in every recommendation regarding appointment to academic rank and for promotion in academic rank.  In extraordinary circumstances, if the faculty member receives recommendations by the departmental and college promotions committees and Provost that clearly state the recommendation is by exception as part of the regular evaluation process, the President may recommend to the APSU Board of Trustees an approval to the exception to minimum rank.  However, such exceptions are not favored and should be granted only upon a showing of a candidate's exceptional merit and/or other extraordinary circumstances, such as an objective need to deviate from these minimum qualifications in filling positions and/or retaining otherwise qualified faculty within certain academic disciplines.

Petitions for exceptions to promotional criteria may include consideration of the appropriateness of the degree or extraordinary qualities that the candidate may possess.  The equivalent work experience credit may include relevant teaching experience or other experiences such as experience gained as an administrator, counselor, librarian, journeyman, or the like.

Terminal Degree
Designation

The APSU Board of Trustees will use national discipline standards to determine which degrees are considered to be “terminal” within each discipline and will provide APSU with a list that delineates these degrees.  The APSU Board of Trustees affords APSU the opportunity to request blanket exceptions to these standards by classification based upon its mission and hiring practice.  APSU may also petition the Board for “equivalent work experience credit” when a candidate has not obtained a terminal degree, but has a record of extraordinary achievement in a given field.  The equivalent work experience credit may include relevant teaching experience or other experiences such as experience gained as an administrator, counselor, librarian, journeyman, or the like.

General Process
Guidelines at
University Level

So that the decision process can be as objective as possible, each recommendation (forwarded from the department or program to a higher administrative level in the University) should be accompanied by complete and careful documentation of the candidate’s performance in academic assignment, and/or scholarly and creative achievement, and/or professional contributions and activities. Although the three areas of evaluation—academic assignment, scholarly and creative achievement, and professional contributions and activities—are all considered important, certain exceptions may exist where evaluation may occur in one or the other area exclusively.

In these cases, as well as in the general case, appropriate supervisory personnel shall clearly and adequately document the facts which justify the individual's promotion. The academic department or program may, if it deems it desirable, include information relative to the candidate's research activities, publication record, exceptional administrative performance, or other types of contributions. Additional procedures may be used by APSU with approval of the APSU Board of Trustees. For example, APSU may wish to establish an interdisciplinary, University-level promotion review committee to review the individual unit recommendations.

General Process
Guidelines at Board
Level

A list of promotional recommendations should be forwarded by the President of the University to the APSU Board of Trustees for a decision.

Appeals

Department Level Promotion

Note: When a faculty member being reviewed for promotion gets denied by the department and the chair, the faculty member may choose not to appeal the two negative decisions. Under these circumstances, the e-dossier may then be withdrawn from further consideration until the faculty member chooses to apply for promotion at a later date. In this case of withdrawal by the faculty member, the e-dossier shall not automatically move forward.  When the faculty member applies at a future date for promotion, the faculty member shall include an explanation for the missing administrative reviews from levels beyond the department. This explanation shall be the first item within the “Prior Administrative Reviews” section of the faculty member’s e-dossier.

At the departmental level during the promotion process (regardless of whether the faculty member has been tenured or not), a faculty member may appeal only in cases of two negative recommendations. If there are two negative recommendations, the faculty member may appeal the decision to the college Dean.

However, if the faculty member chooses not to file an appeal related to the two negative recommendations at the departmental level within the time frame set for that level by the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions, the e-dossier cannot move forward.  In promotion cases, the faculty member’s decision not to appeal shall be seen as a withdrawal.  The e-dossier, in this case, shall not be reviewed by the College Committee or the Dean during this particular promotion cycle.

If the faculty member chooses to file an appeal within the time frame for that level set by the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions, then the e-dossier shall move forward to the College Committee and the Dean. If the faculty member receives one positive and one negative recommendation, the e-dossier automatically moves forward unless the faculty member chooses to withdraw, and no appeal shall be permitted. 

At the departmental level, in order to determine whether the promotion e-dossier does or does not advance to the next level for review in the event of two negative recommendations concerning promotion, the faculty member shall notify the chair of his/her intent to appeal or his/her choice not to appeal.  The faculty member shall consult the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions for the deadline to file an appeal and notify the chair by that date. 

Because applying for promotion is optional, the faculty member may choose to submit an e-dossier and apply for promotion at a later date. However, the official recorded actions (reports and votes etc.) of all previous submissions shall be included within the faculty member’s subsequent e-dossiers for promotion.

All appeals within the retention, tenure, and promotion process must offer a substantive, narrative rationale as the basis of the appeal.  A very brief document containing a statement such as “I appeal this decision” is not helpful to review committees examining the appeal. If the faculty member persists and still submits a one-sentence or very brief appeal (as described above), review committees at the next level shall disregard that appeal and ignore it as an item for consideration in that review cycle.  In their report, the review committee shall provide a brief explanation for non-consideration of the faculty member’s appeal based on lack of substance as required by policy.

College Level Promotion

At the college level during the promotion process, (regardless of whether the faculty member has been tenured or not), a faculty member may appeal only in cases of two negative recommendations. If there are two negative recommendations, the faculty member may appeal the decision to the University Tenure and Promotion Board. If the faculty member chooses to file an appeal within the time frame set for that level by the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions, then the e-dossier shall move forward to the University Tenure and Promotion Appeals Board, the Provost and the President. If the faculty receives one positive and one negative recommendation, the e-dossier automatically moves forward unless the faculty member chooses to withdraw, and no appeal shall be permitted. 

At the college level, during the promotion process, in order to determine whether the promotion e-dossier does or does not advance to the next level for review in the event of two negative recommendations concerning promotion, the faculty member shall notify the Dean of his/her intent to appeal or his/her choice not to appeal and also inform his/her chair.  The faculty member shall consult the Calendar for Faculty Personnel actions for the deadline to file an appeal and notify the chair and the Dean by that date.

However, if the faculty member chooses not to file an appeal within the time frame set for that level by the Calendar for Faculty Personnel Actions, the e-dossier cannot move forward.  In promotion cases, the decision not to appeal shall be seen as a withdrawal. The e-dossier, in this case, shall not be reviewed by the University Tenure and Appeals Board, the Provost, or the President during this particular promotion cycle.

If review committee members at the college level have access to an e-dossier prior to the inclusion of the faculty member’s appeal, the review committee shall be informed by the individual convening the meeting (at the college level, this individual is the Dean, or his/her designee) that the faculty member has written an appeal. In all retention, tenure, and promotion cases, committee members at the college level reviewing an e-dossier should be informed at least one business day before a personnel meeting that a candidate has filed an appeal. This step shall take place before any voting occurs so faculty members on review committees who previously might not have seen the appeal now have the opportunity to review the appeal.

Because applying for promotion is optional, the faculty member may choose to submit an e-dossier and apply for promotion at a later date. However, the official recorded actions (reports and votes etc.) of all previous submissions shall be included within the faculty member’s subsequent e-dossiers for promotion.

Review Process for Fixed-Term Faculty

Annual review by the chair/director/supervisor is required for Fixed-Term Faculty. Review by a departmental/school faculty committee is required prior to (1) reappointment to a new fixed term, (2) advancement to a higher rank (clinical-track and research-track only), or (3) non-reappointment during a fixed term. Annual renewal within a fixed term does not require a committee review.

For Fixed-Term Faculty, appointment to a higher rank will occur at the beginning of a new fixed term once the criteria for the higher rank have been met. Advancement in rank requires a recommendation from the chair/director/supervisor, a departmental review committee, the dean, the provost, and the president.


Links


APSU Policy 1:025 https://www.apsu.edu/policy/policy-academic-tenure-1025

Revision Dates


APSU Policy 2:063 (previously 5:061) – Rev.: June 7, 2017
APSU Policy 2:063 – Rev.: July 26, 2016
APSU Policy 2:063 – Rev.: April 29, 2014
APSU Policy 2:063 – Issued: August 10, 2012


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Approved


President: signature on file