Tenure Process

The following is a detailed description of the tenure process in The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.  Note that this is meant to augment, not replace, the Tenure Procedures booklet distributed from the Provost's office.  Please review the Principles and Customs Governing the Procedures of Ad Hoc Committees and University-Wide Tenure Review before nominating any candidate (internal or external) for tenure.


Stage I*:

    A. The departmental Executive Committee votes to recommend that letters be sent by the Chair to three (3) distinguished outside referees for a preliminary evaluation. The list of referees and the letters must be approved by the Dean.

    B. These letters are sent by the Chair-but will be included in the tenure dossier if the process goes on. The letters indicate that this is a preliminary review to decide if the candidate should be proposed by the department for tenure.

*Steps a and b of Stage I are recommended, but not required.  If the departmental Executive Committee feels that the case is unusually strong, preliminary letters may be considered unnecessary.

**c. The responses by the referees are discussed within the departmental Executive Committee. A vote is taken by the departmental Executive Committee and recorded that recommends to the Dean whether to conduct a full tenure review or not at this time.

**A recorded vote of the departmental Executive Committee is required in order to proceed with a full tenure review, even in cases perceived to have general consensus.


Stage II (mandatory for all tenure cases)

    A. Upon approval from the Dean to proceed with the tenure process, the department Chair compiles a list of approximately twenty (20) distinguished outside referees which should include all comparison scholars and may also include the initial 3 referees.  The list is expected to contain all contact information necessary for follow-up from the Dean's Office:  address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

It is essential that well-known scholars/researchers be chosen and the following should be indicated with a sentence or two for each referee:

    1. His/her significant professional status; e.g. Member of  NAE or NAS, recipient of major honors, Department Chair, Chaired Professorship, author of well-known text, editorship of major journal, etc.
    2. It is expected that peer institutions such as Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Michigan, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton and others will be on the list. If not, the chair must be prepared to justify their absence on the basis of the discipline, etc.
    3. Depending upon the discipline, the list may include a few (1 or 2) distinguished individuals from industry.

    B. Starting this year, the Provost has requested that three (3) names on the referee list be selected for possible use as outside members of the University-wide ad hoc committee.  The list of referees must be submitted to the Dean for approval.

    C. In addition to the referee list, the Provost's office would like the name of a designated specialist in the field, who can recommend outside experts for the University-wide ad hoc process.  This specialist may be someone with closer ties to the University (a former student of the department or colleague of the candidate), since he/she would not take part in the actual ad hoc review.

    D. A draft of the referee letter should be submitted to the Dean's Office at the same time as the referee list.  It is extremely important that the Dean review the exact wording of all referee letters, especially in regards descriptions of field specialties.

    E. Appropriate letters will be prepared by the department on Dean’s Office stationary using the sample templates recommended in the Provost’s document on tenure procedures.  Any proposed departures from a Provost's template because of special circumstances, must be approved by the Dean.

    F. The final letters will be reviewed and signed by the Dean. The letters should be dated forward at least three business days from the day it is delivered to the Dean's Office.

    G. Response letters are received by the Dean's Office, logged, and copies are sent to the department.

    H. When a reasonable period has passed, the Assistant to the Dean follows up by e-mail or phone, urging referees to send in their letters.


Stage III:

    A. When all but 1 or 2 of the letters have been received, and reviewed by the Executive Committee of the department, the Committee votes and records one final time whether or not to recommend that the Dean proceed with the tenure case.

With the approval of the Dean, the department prepares the dossier of the candidate in accord with the dossier template provided in the Provost's document.  The department provides the Dean's office with 4 copies of the dossier for the purpose of an internal review of the document. 

    B. The Vice Dean appoints an internal ad hoc committee of 3 faculty outside of the department, from SEAS and when appropriate, from other parts of the University.
    C. The committee is charged to review the dossier and to advise the Dean on the strength of the case and whether changes to the dossier should be recommended in order to clarify certain aspects of the case.
    D. The internal ad hoc committee meets and may request the presence of the department chair or others, to respond to questions.  The chair of the internal ad hoc committee writes a memo to the Dean, signed by each committee member, expressing the recommendations of the committee.

Like the University-wide ad hoc, all aspects of the proceedings are conducted with strict confidentiality, including its membership.  Information regarding the committee's deliberations and final vote are restricted to the Dean and Vice Dean, the President, the Provost, and their representatives.

    E. The Dean informs the department chair of any suggested changes to the dossier.
    F. The department provides 12 (possibly revised) copies of the dossier to the Dean’s Office.


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