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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: August 12, 2009
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

2.10 Faculty Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure

  1. General Provisions
    1. Reappointment, promotion and tenure policy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) accords with University of Texas (UT) System policy as set forth in the Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations Rule 31007 (“Tenure”) and Rule 31001 (Faculty Appointments and Titles).
    2. The purpose of promotion at UTSA is to recognize and reward faculty records of sustained professional accomplishment that contribute to the university mission.
    3. The purpose of tenure at UTSA is to retain a body of faculty best qualified to help develop and execute the university mission.
      1. Tenure denotes a status of continuing appointment as a member of the faculty at UTSA.
      2. Only members of the faculty with the academic titles of Professor or Associate Professor may be granted tenure.
      3. Only untenured members of the faculty with the academic titles of Instructor, Assistant Professor, or Associate Professor are tenure-eligible and are hereafter designated “tenure-track” faculty.
      4. Tenure may be granted at the time of appointment to the rank of Professor or Associate Professor, or tenure may be withheld pending satisfactory completion of a probationary period of faculty service.
      5. Appointment, non-reappointment, tenure, and promotion policies for faculty at UTSA are without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, disability, or, in accordance with UT System policy, sexual orientation.
  2. Definition of Full-Time Probationary Service
    1. Eligible Ranks
      Only full-time service as a tenure-track faculty member shall be counted toward fulfillment of a required probationary period related to the award of tenure.
    2. Leaves of Absence
      Periods during which a tenure-track faculty member is on approved leave of absence shall not be counted against them in the calculation of the probationary period.
    3. Prior Service
      Any prior service at other academic institutions, whether inside or outside the System, shall not be counted toward fulfillment of the required probationary period.
    4. Maximum Period of Probationary Service
      1. The maximum probationary period for tenure-track faculty at UTSA shall not be more than seven (7) years of full-time academic service.
      2. No later than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the end of the sixth (6th) academic year of probationary service, all tenure-track faculty shall be given notice that the subsequent academic year will be the terminal year of employment or, that beginning with the subsequent academic year, tenure will be granted.
      3. In the event that a tenure-track faculty member is not to be reappointed, notice shall be given in accordance with Regents' Rule 31002 (“Notice of Nonrenewal to Non-tenured Faculty Members”).
    5. Definition of Academic Year
      1. An "academic year" shall be equivalent to the academic appointment period for full-time regular faculty, as defined in Regents Rule 31007 (“Tenure”).
      2. If a faculty member is initially appointed during an academic year, the period of service from the date of appointment until the beginning of the following academic year shall not be counted toward fulfillment of the maximum probationary period.
      3. One year of probationary service is accrued by full-time academic service during any academic year.
      4. A faculty member shall be considered to be on full-time academic service when in full compliance with Regents’ and institutional standards pertaining to minimum faculty workloads (See HOP 2.14).
    6. Extension of Maximum Probationary Period
      1. Regents’ Rule 31007 permits extensions of the maximum probationary period under some circumstances, but does not mandate that they be automatic or obligatory.
      2. Personal circumstances that may justify an extension include, but are not restricted to,
        1. disability or illness of the faculty member;
        2. status of the faculty member as a principal caregiver of a preschool child; or
        3. status of the faculty member as a principal caregiver of a disabled, elderly or ill member of the family of the faculty member.
      3. It is the responsibility of the tenure-track faculty member to request an extension and provide appropriate documentation to adequately demonstrate why the request should be granted.
      4. An extension shall be limited to one (1) academic year.
      5. A tenure-track faculty member may request a second academic year's extension, but must follow the established request process anew, and approval is not dictated by the prior decision. The maximum cumulative duration of extensions is two (2) academic years, whether consecutive or nonconsecutive.
      6. As part of the request for an extension of the maximum probationary period, a tenure-track faculty member serving at the Instructor rank may request at the same time an extension in the maximum number of years he or she can serve at the Instructor rank.
      7. Requests for extension may be made at any time during the probationary period but no later than six (6) months prior to the deadline for initiation of the mandatory tenure review.
      8. The procedure for requests for extension shall be as follows:
        1. The faculty member requesting an extension shall submit his or her written request to the Department Chair.
        2. The Department Chair will make a recommendation to the Dean within ten (10) work days from receipt of the request.
        3. The Dean will make a recommendation to the Provost within ten (10) work days from receipt of the Department Chair’s recommendation.
        4. The decision regarding the request shall be made by the Provost within ten (10) work days from the date of receipt of the Dean's recommendation.
  3. Faculty Appointments
    1. President’s Appointment Authority
      1. No untenured member of the faculty shall expect continued employment beyond the period of his or her current appointment as approved by the President.
      2. Any commitment to employ an untenured member of the faculty beyond the period of his or her current appointment shall have no force and effect until approved by the President.
    2. Non-reappointment Decisions
      In the event of a decision not to reappoint a tenure-track faculty member, all parties shall follow the procedures prescribed in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Chapter 2.13, “Termination and Non-reappointment of a Faculty Member.”
    3. Reappointment Decisions
      1. Reappointment of tenure-track members of the faculty to a succeeding academic year, or the award of tenure, may be accomplished only by notice by the President.
      2. Notwithstanding any provisions of Regents’ Rule 31007, Number 2, Section 5 (“Probationary Service”), or Sections 1 and 2 (“Granting of Tenure” and “Seven-Year Term Appointment”) to the contrary, no person shall be deemed to have been reappointed or to have been awarded tenure because notice is not given or received by the time prescribed in Regents’ Rules Series 31007, Number 2, Section 5, or in the manner prescribed in Regents’ Rules 31002 Section 1 (“Notice of Faculty on Term Tenure”).
      3. Should it occur that no notice is received by the time prescribed in Regents’ Rule 31007, Number 2, Section 5, it is the duty of the faculty member concerned to make inquiry to determine the decision of the President who shall without delay give the required notice to the faculty member.
  4. Appointments at Other Institutions
    (also see HOP Chapter 2.09 “External Joint Appointments…” and HOP Chapter 4.05 “Outside Employment of UTSA Employees…”)
    1. A person appointed to a full-time faculty position or to a position with the title of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor at UTSA may not, during the term of such appointment, hold a salaried position on the faculty of another educational institution without the prior approval of the President or designee.
    2. Appointments at UTSA to the titles specified in section IV.A. shall be conditioned upon the appointee having resigned any tenure-track or tenured position that the appointee may then hold on the faculty of an educational institution outside of the UT System. Such resignation must be completed and effective prior to the effective date of the appointment at UTSA; otherwise, such appointment at UTSA shall be void and of no effect.
    3. The acceptance of a full-time appointment at an institution outside UTSA shall be considered as a resignation of any faculty position with the title of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor that such appointee may hold at UTSA.
  5. Categories of Performance and Criteria for Promotion and Tenure
    1. General Provisions
      1. UTSA is committed to retaining and promoting those faculty whose work achieves a high standard of excellence and who demonstrate through the performance of their duties a commitment to professionalism and to the university mission. Faculty are expected to adhere to the UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) policy 2.23, “Professional Expectations for Faculty.” The university receives guidance from the AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics (http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/ policydocs/contents/statementonprofessionalethics.htm), adopted in 1987, in determining standards for professionalism. The university mission is defined in the strategic plans of the university, Colleges, and Departments.
      2. Annual evaluations are not the sole basis for decisions regarding promotion and tenure.
      3. In addition to meritorious accomplishments, successful applicants for promotion and/or tenure must demonstrate a high potential for continued excellence and effectiveness.
      4. Satisfaction of university criteria is judged in each individual case.
      5. Years of service are not a factor in promotion recommendations.
      6. In the review of applications for tenure and/or promotion, only faculty at or above the rank under consideration may review applications for that rank.
    2. University Criteria
      1. Faculty applicants for tenure and promotion are evaluated based on accomplishments in each of the three categories of performance: teaching, research/scholarship/creative activities, and service.
        1. In order to earn promotion and/or tenure, a faculty member must have a demonstrated record of consistent productivity in teaching effectiveness, the scholarship of discovery and/or the scholarship of teaching, and service activities.
        2. Greater weight shall be given to teaching effectiveness and research/ scholarship/creative activities, including the creation and dissemination of knowledge and the development of intellectual property.
      2. Teaching
        1. Teaching activities shall include, but are not limited to
          1. classroom and laboratory instruction;
          2. development of new courses, laboratories, and teaching methods;
          3. publication of instructional materials;
          4. supervision of undergraduate and graduate students;
          5. mentoring and advising students; and
          6. competitive funding for instructional/pedagogical development.
        2. Effective teaching is a necessary prerequisite to promotion and/or tenure; excellence in research and/or service is insufficient grounds for promotion and/or tenure in the absence of effective teaching.
        3. Effective teaching is assessed by multiple indicators including, but not limited to, performance on student surveys, departmental assessments of classroom performance and pedagogical preparations.
      3. Research/Scholarship/Creative Activities
        1. Research/scholarship/creative activities are characterized by the creation and dissemination of new knowledge or of other creative works and activities, including, but not limited to,
          1. peer-reviewed publications,
          2. exhibitions, and performances
          3. architectural design;
          4. engineering technology;
          5. development of intellectual property such as patents and licenses; and
          6. external competitive research funding.
        2. Tenure-track faculty must be engaged in research or creative work beyond their dissertations by the time they apply for tenure.
        3. Associate Professors applying for promotion to full professor must have a sustained research program and a substantial body of publications or equivalent creative works with a demonstrated impact on the field in addition to the work they presented for promotion to associate professor.
        4. Excellence in research and creative activity is defined by the quantity, quality, and impact of publications and creative works, and the success of applied research, as judged by peer review. Peer review for purposes of this standard is defined to include review by independent external nationally and internationally recognized experts in the faculty member’s field.
      4. Service
        1. Service activities shall include, but are not limited to
          1. service to students, colleagues, the Department, College, and university;
          2. administrative and committee service within the university; and
          3. service to the profession, community, state, and nation, including academic or professionally related public service and extended education.
        2. Tenure-track faculty should demonstrate a willingness to contribute to Department and College service.
        3. Faculty seeking promotion to full Professor should demonstrate substantial service beyond the Assistant Professor level, including leadership roles.
      5. Colleges and departments may draft and distribute statements articulating disciplinary criteria for promotion and tenure, for the purpose of faculty mentoring. Such criteria should address all three faculty performance categories and draw on national practices in the discipline.
      6. Disciplinary criteria must not be expressed in lists of requirements, but in the form of multiple comprehensive scenarios of successful cases, either actual (with the faculty member’s name removed) or hypothetical. Such statements will be drafted by the Dean or Department Chair in consultation with appropriate faculty.
      7. College and department statements of criteria are advisory only and do not substitute for or take precedent over the individualized review and decision of the faculty review advisory committees and university administrators as provided in this policy.
      8. Evolution of Criteria
        1. As the faculty of the university develops, definitions of excellence and expectations for promotion and tenure should change.
        2. If a faculty member’s accomplishments do not keep pace with evolving standards of performance for promotion and tenure, that individual may not be awarded tenure or advancement in rank.
  6. Review Timetables
    1. General Guidelines
      1. Recommendations and all supporting data for reappointment, tenure, and promotion are normally submitted to the Office of the Provost according to the timetable for the year under consideration, which shall be given in a memorandum issued each year prior to Fall by the Provost through the Deans to Department Chairs.
      2. The Provost shall make his or her recommendations to the President, who shall make the final decisions or recommendations as applicable in accordance with The Board of Regents Rules and Regulations.
      3. Final decisions on promotion and tenure shall be transmitted to the Dean of the College no later than March 31 of the review year.
    2. Tenure-Track Faculty
      1. Formative review of tenure-track faculty is an on-going process. Reviews during the third year of probationary service are required by university policy, as outlined in the UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) section 2.24, “Third-Year Review”.
      2. Tenure-track faculty members may be reviewed for reappointment at any time in their period of probationary service at the request of the Dean, the Department Chair, or the Department Faculty Review Advisory Committee (DFRAC). The DFRAC, Department Chair, and Dean shall make independent recommendations in all cases.
      3. The Dean is responsible for forwarding all recommendations concerning reappointment or non-reappointment of tenure-track faculty to the Provost. The Provost will make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision. A decision will be transmitted to a faculty member in accordance with deadlines appropriate to each recommendation (see HOP 2.13 “Termination and Non-reappointment of a Faculty Member”).
      4. A tenure-track faculty member seeking continued employment must apply for tenure no later than the penultimate year of the maximum probationary period as defined in section II.
      5. A tenure-track faculty member may apply for tenure earlier than the penultimate year of the probationary period if he or she feels the performance record merits consideration. Prior to submitting an application, the faculty member shall consult with his or her Department Chair and/or College Dean.
      6. The performance standards outlined in section V shall apply in all evaluations, no matter the length of time served in the probationary period.
    3. Tenured Associate Professor Seeking Promotion:
      1. A tenured Associate Professor seeking promotion to the rank of full professor may apply at any time that he or she feels the performance record merits consideration.
      2. Performance standards for promotion to full Professor rank, as outlined in section V. shall apply in all evaluations, no matter the length of time in current rank.
    4. New Faculty Hired at the Rank of Associate Professor or Professor:
      1. New faculty hired at the rank of Associate Professor may begin their appointment without tenure or apply for and be granted tenure prior to their start date.
      2. Appointment at the rank of either Professor or Associate Professor with tenure shall be conducted on a case-by-case schedule, subject to review and recommendation by the DFRAC, Department Chair, and Dean.
  7. Review Process
    1. Authority to recommend tenure and/or promotion rests with the President. Such recommendations are made to the UT System Board of Regents, who has the final authority to approve or disapprove.
    2. Initiation of Review
      1. Intent to conduct or undergo review is established in communication between the faculty member and Department Chair in the long semester prior to the review period.
      2. The applicant initiates the internal review process with the submission of a promotion file.
      3. When intent to proceed with a promotion/tenure application is established the Chair solicits external evaluations.
      4. Applicants shall follow the Provost’s guidelines for preparing their files, ensuring that they are as succinct and complete as possible. All matters such as the forms used to indicate intent, the procedure for soliciting and including external evaluations, the form and contents of the file, the deadline for its submission, the timetable for evaluation, and additional procedures for evaluation are specified in a memorandum issued annually by the Provost through the Deans to Department Chairs.
    3. Levels of Review
      1. Evaluations of the file, including a recommendation whether or not to promote and/or tenure (or to hold without prejudice when applicable), are written and added to the file in turn by the DFRAC, Department Chair, College Faculty Review Advisory Committee (CFRAC), Dean, and the University Faculty Review Advisory Committee (UFRAC).
      2. Reviewers at each level shall give full consideration to the recommendations from prior levels, before forming independent judgments.
      3. The Provost and the President then conduct a full and complete review of the applicant's file and make independent judgments. The Provost and President may also seek such additional information as needed. The President’s final recommendations shall take into account the Provost’s recommendations on each application.
    4. Review Committees
      1. Department Faculty Review Advisory Committee (DFRAC)
        1. The DFRAC shall be composed only of tenured faculty members appointed at least half time in the Department, with membership as defined in the Department’s written policies and procedures or bylaws.
        2. When the DFRAC includes fewer than two tenured faculty appointed at least half time in the Department, the Chair, in consultation with the tenured faculty and with approval of the Dean, may invite tenured faculty from other departments to participate as members of the DFRAC on a year-to-year basis.
        3. The DFRAC shall elect a chair from among its members.
        4. The DFRAC shall limit its recommendations to
          1. faculty reappointment,
          2. tenure of an untenured Associate Professor,
          3. promotion to Associate Professor with tenure,
          4. promotion to Professor, or
          5. the initial appointment of a faculty member with tenure.
        5. The DFRAC report shall be considered at all subsequent levels of review.
        6. Any minority reports from DFRAC members shall be transmitted to the DFRAC and by the DFRAC Chair to the Department Chair along with the DFRAC’s report and recommendations. No other information or correspondence may be placed in the applicant's file for transmittal to the Department Chair.
      2. College Faculty Review Advisory Committee (CFRAC)
        1. The CFRAC shall be composed only of tenured faculty members appointed at least half time in the College, with membership as defined in the college bylaws.
        2. When the CFRAC has fewer than three full professors, the Dean shall appoint additional full professors until there are three on the committee.
        3. The CFRAC shall elect a chair from among its members according to the provisions of its college bylaws.
        4. The CFRAC shall limit its advisory recommendations to
          1. faculty reappointment,
          2. tenure of an untenured Associate Professor,
          3. promotion to Associate Professor with tenure,
          4. promotion to Professor, or
          5. the initial appointment of a faculty member with tenure.
        5. The CFRAC report shall be considered at all subsequent levels of review.
        6. Any minority reports from CFRAC members shall be transmitted to the CFRAC and by the CFRAC Chair to the Dean along with the CFRAC report and recommendations. No other information or correspondence may be placed in the applicant's file for transmittal to the Dean.
      3. University Faculty Review Advisory Committee (UFRAC)
        1. Selection of Membership
          1. The UFRAC shall include at least one tenured Professor from each college.
          2. Each Department shall elect one Professor to form a pool from which the Provost will select one per College.
          3. The Provost shall select no more than two additional members from a list of eligible tenured Professors throughout the university.
          4. A UFRAC member holding an administrative appointment in a direct line of supervision over a candidate shall not participate in the deliberations for that candidate.
        2. Term of Membership
          1. Elections and appointments shall occur in the spring prior to the promotion and tenure review process.
          2. Members selected by the Colleges and appointed by the Provost shall each serve three-year terms.
          3. At-large members appointed by the Provost shall each serve two-year terms.
          4. Terms of the UFRAC members shall be staggered such that one-third of the appointees recommended by the Colleges will rotate off the UFRAC each year by a method determined by the full Committee. One-half of the appointees selected by the Provost shall rotate off each year.
          5. At the completion of a term, a member shall not be eligible to serve on the UFRAC again for a one-year period.
        3. Committee members will elect the UFRAC Chair each year
        4. The UFRAC report shall be considered at all subsequent levels of review.
        5. Any minority reports from UFRAC members shall be transmitted to the UFRAC and by the UFRAC Chair to the Provost along with the UFRAC report and recommendations. No other information or correspondence may be placed in the applicant's file for transmittal to the Provost.
      4. Committee chairs will maintain attendance records of all meetings. Only committee members who attend all deliberations for a given candidate may vote on the application of that candidate.
      5. When a person is a member of more than one review committee for a case, that person may participate in discussions of the case at multiple levels but only vote on the case once, at the level of their choosing.
    5. Applicant Access to File
      1. During the review process, applicants may request to see the materials they submitted and organized. Access to the file will be at the time it is ready to be forwarded from one review level to the next.
      2. Once the review process is under way and after it is completed, the applicant may have access to materials placed in the file by others to the extent provided by the Texas Public Information Act.
    6. Opportunity to Submit Additional Information
      Applicants may add new information to the file until the Dean forwards the file to the Office of the Provost. Additions are to be delivered in person by the applicant and date-stamped and inserted in the file by the office that is in possession of the file.
    7. Provision of Information to Applicants
      1. The Department Chair shall provide applicants with a written notification of the final Department recommendation transmitted to the Dean.
      2. The Dean shall provide applicants with a written notification of the final college recommendation transmitted to the Provost.
      3. Applicants shall be informed in writing by the President or Provost of all subsequent recommendations as part of the notification of the final decision.
    8. Professional Responsibilities
      1. All those involved in the peer review process have the responsibility to read all tenure and promotion materials, to review the applicant's performance on each of the performance criteria thoroughly, and to participate in committee discussions and formulation of committee recommendations.
      2. Abstentions should be exercised only in limited, unusual circumstances.
      3. Absentee voting is not permitted.
    9. Ethical Standards and Confidentiality
      1. All those involved shall adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, shall focus on factual information, shall avoid practices that would conflict with the ability to be fair and unbiased, and shall guard against inaccuracies caused by either emphasis or omission of information.
      2. The material under review, the substance of review committee discussions and their final recommendation is confidential (subject only to the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act) except that the Department Chair, Dean, and Provost shall report outcomes to applicants. Violations of confidentiality shall be subject to disciplinary action.
  8. Appeal of Promotion and Tenure Decisions
    1. General Provisions
      The promotion and tenure review process is a comprehensive one requiring several layers of thorough review. In general, appeals should be made only in cases where new, compelling information relevant to a promotion decision has become available since the completion of the college-level review. Such information might include, for example, a new major publication of research results, a prominent public review of the faculty applicant’s scholarly work, major external competitive funding awarded for research, or receiving a significant award for scholarly achievements.
    2. Appeal Procedure
      1. The faculty candidate shall first consult with the Provost to discuss the university review of the tenure/promotion application, and the new information that might support a successful appeal.
      2. Within thirty (30) work days of written notification of the promotion and/or tenure decision, the candidate shall submit the appeal in writing to the President.
      3. The written appeal is limited to the following materials:
        1. a succinct cover letter explaining the nature of the new material being submitted for consideration and its significance, and
        2. new material in support of the tenure/promotion application that was not available prior to the time the case was sent forward by the Dean to the Provost’s Office.
      4. The President shall personally review the written appeal, but may consult with reviewers from any or all of the review levels used in the promotion and tenure process.
      5. The President shall inform the candidate in writing of the final decision within twenty (20) work days of receiving the written appeal.
      6. The President’s decision is final for the current application review cycle. If the decision is to withhold promotion and/or tenure without prejudice, then the candidate may reapply in a subsequent academic year.