Department Review

The internal review of a promotion and/or tenure file begins after a complete set of external evaluations has been obtained. Unit-shared governance policies establish eligibility to review promotion and/or tenure files and/or vote on cases involving promotion and/or tenure. Carry out the department-level review in accord with that policy. 

Typically, department-level review consists of three steps: 

  1. Department committee review and recommendation
  2. Department review and recommendation
  3. Department head review and recommendation

Following completion of the department head’s report and a thorough review of the dossier and all supplementary files to ensure all required documents are provided and in the correct locations, the dossier and any supplementary files are forwarded to the dean’s office. 

Multiple or Joint Appointments

If the candidate holds multiple or joint appointments, a memorandum should specify expectations for promotion and/or tenure review and clearly identify how the review process will be handled among the units. Internal governance policies should also address such issues, particularly for candidates holding positions within both a department and a center or institute.  

Typically, recommendations are made to the “home” unit of the candidate, often in the form of a report and vote tally from the eligible members of the second unit. 


Department Committee Review and Recommendation 

Most departments appoint personnel or promotion committees to carry out the initial review of the dossier. (Some departments simply define all eligible faculty members in the department as the committee responsible for the initial review.) The departmental shared governance policy specifies whether or not such a committee is to be convened.  

If such a committee is used, it should include only faculty members eligible to vote on the case. If there are too few eligible faculty members to form a review committee within the candidate’s department, the department head should consult with the dean to establish a committee, drawing appropriate faculty members from outside the department.  

While there is no requirement to consult with the candidate regarding the selection of members for such a committee, it is advisable to do so in order to avoid any potential concerns about the appropriateness of the committee. 

The committee should review, evaluate, and critically discuss the full file, including the external evaluations and all the materials contained in the supplementary file. Following this discussion, the committee should conduct a vote by signed ballot. The signed ballots should be retained in a safe and confidential place. Only the final vote tally should be revealed in the committee’s report. 

Committee Report 

The committee’s written report should provide an analysis of the case that goes beyond what may be gleaned from the candidate’s curriculum vitae. The report must be signed by all members of the committee and dated. 

Since this is the first of several stages of internal review, it is important that the committee present all aspects of the case fully. Committee reports should be written in accessible language that will allow FPC members and others who do not work in the candidate’s area to understand and appreciate the candidate’s scholarly and creative contributions. 

The report should include analysis, not advocacy. It should present a critical evaluation of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses relative to the standards of the department and discipline. 

Any discrepancies or contradictory opinions within the external reviewers’ letters should be addressed directly. Comments on the stature and unique perspectives of the external reviewers can be helpful. 

Commentary on the journals or publishers used by the candidate will greatly assist in the evaluation. Indicate the ranking of the journals, which articles are peer-reviewed and which are not, and any other information relevant to appraising the candidate’s published works. If citation indices (e.g. the h-index) are considered relevant in the discipline, comment on these factors. Provide analogous evaluations of artistic or other creative efforts that are not in published form. 

If the candidate works in a field in which research grants, fellowships, and other forms of support are normally awarded, the report should comment on those aspects of the candidate’s record. The issue is not so much size or number of awards, but rather success under rigorous, competitive review. Explain any unusual circumstances—positive or negative—in this area as well as in the overall scholarly record. 

The committee report plays a significant role in the analysis of the candidate’s record of teaching. 

Teaching quality will be evaluated by unit heads and personnel committees according to the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between the University and United Academics, as well as the related 2020 amendment. Teaching will meet expectations when it is professional, inclusive, engaged and research-informed, as described in the 2019 MOU. The numerical scores provided from student Course Evaluations or Student Experience Surveys cannot be used as the sole standard for assessing teaching quality. Instead, evaluators will consider insights from peers and the faculty themselves, in addition to student comments and other materials provided in the teaching portfolio.

The personnel committee is invited to use this optional template for the Evaluation of Teaching section of the committee letter to assist the committee in following the expectations of the UA-CBA MOU and the Provost.

The report should include an appropriate discussion of the candidate’s record of service, as summarized in the candidate’s CV and statement and documented in the service portfolio. The report should also include commentary on the candidate’s discussion of contributions to equity and inclusion and any evidence of these contributions provided by the candidate. 


Department Review and Recommendation 

If a department committee carried out the initial review, that committee’s report should be reviewed and voted on by all eligible faculty members within the department. The vote must be by signed, secret ballot, and the signed ballots should be retained in a safe and confidential place, with only the final tally revealed in the department head’s report. 

It is not expected that the department review will be accompanied by a separate report, but the department head’s report should include a summary of any meetings that eligible faculty held to discuss the case.  


Department Head Review and Recommendation 

The department head must prepare an independent report and recommendation. This report should consist of two parts: 1) an administrative summary of the department’s handling of and position on the case, and 2) the department head’s independent evaluation of the case. 

Administrative Summary 

If the department committee report does not do so, the department head should provide: 

  • A brief explanation of the unit’s review process and any special considerations involved with the review  
  • Clarification of any special conditions of the appointment or special duties and obligations for which the candidate’s performance is to be evaluated 
  • An explanation of who in the unit was eligible to vote on the candidate 
  • A summary of any formal faculty discussion preceding the official vote 
  • An explanation for any abstentions or reasons why some faculty may not have participated in the review and voting process (e.g. spouse, sabbatical leave, etc.)  
  • Votes at the department level on tenure cases must be by signed and secret ballot, with only the tally revealed to the voting faculty and recorded on the Voting Summary.  

Department Head’s Evaluation 

The department head should include his or her independent evaluation and recommendation including analyses of scholarship, teaching, service, and contributions to institutional equity and inclusion. The department head should objectively and honestly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. The review should include analysis, not advocacy.  

This review should be independent of the department committee, and the department head’s recommendation need not coincide with either the department committee or the vote of the eligible members of the department.  

It is neither necessary nor desirable to duplicate material presented by the department committee. Members of internal review committees will appreciate additional insights provided by the department head that help them to interpret the file, particularly in cases of conflicting opinions among the external reviewers and/or department faculty. It is the responsibility of the department head to independently analyze any diverging opinions and indicate the reasoning behind his or her conclusions about the merits of the case. 

The report should also address any matters not adequately addressed by the department committee report. Such matters could include the following: 

  • Rankings or prestige of journals or venues 
  • Co-authorship and the significance of author order in the candidate’s publications 
  • Stature and unique perspectives of the external reviewers 
  • Internal and external grant/fellowship/award record 
  • Additional observations about the teaching and service records 

The department head is invited to use this optional template for the Evaluation of Teaching section of their report to ensure it follows the expectations of the UA-CBA MOU and the Provost.

In cases where a substantial portion of the candidate’s scholarship has its roots in a dissertation, the department head should discuss the relationship of the work published during the candidate’s UO career to the dissertation. It is especially helpful to know the degree to which new research has been incorporated with previous work. 

The report from the department head must be signed and dated. 

Voting Summary 

The outcome of the departmental vote should be entered on the voting summary sheet and included in the dossier, with any explanatory notes included. 

Forwarding the Dossier to the School or College 

The dossier and supplementary file should be carefully reviewed before being sent to the dean’s office, ensuring that is complete and complies with all formatting requirements.