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Department Policies and Procedures

Administrative Officers

The Chair, appointed by the Dean of the College of Humanities for a three-year term, is responsible for the overall administration of the department. Other administrative officers, appointed by the Chair, are an Associate Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of Creative Writing. The Associate Chair is responsible for scheduling classes, supervising the undergraduate curriculum and degree requirements, and coordinating departmental advising of all majors and minors. The Director of Graduate Studies is responsible for the supervision of the master’s and doctoral programs, the graduate curriculum, and the appointment of teaching assistants. The Director of Creative Writing advises in students in the Creative Writing Program about coursework and progress toward the degree, consults with the Director of Graduate Studies on scheduling, graduate admission procedures and recruitment, and coordinates a program of readings by visiting writers.

The Chair shall not serve on departmental committees, including search committees. An exceptin can be made only if the executive committee determines that the Chair has unique expertise that is required for a successful search. In the rare instance that the Chair serves on a search committee, all meetings of the departmental faculty appointments advisory committee (i.e. the tenure-line faculty) will be chaired by the Associate Chair. Given this requirement, the Associate Chair must not serve on a search committee in the same year as the Chair. 

Standing Committees

The following standing committees shall be constituted, by appointment or election, during the spring semester and assume duties with the beginning of the academic year on July 1st.

Executive Committee

Six persons consisting of an assistant professor, an associate professor, and a full professor, elected by rank, and three members elected at large; at least one member of the committee shall be a member of the Creative Writing faculty. Each member is elected for a three-year term. (If a member of the committee is promoted out of the rank she or he represents, a replacement will be elected.) The Executive Committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Chair on matters of departmental administration; the Chair shall attend its meetings in a non-voting capacity. During the spring semester, the Executive Committee will conduct an annual review of faculty merit, based on Faculty Activity Reports and other available information. It will also review the overall performance of tenured faculty at five-year intervals. On the basis of both these reviews, it will make recommendations to the Chair. It will also participate in strategic planning for the department, including, but not limited to, hiring priorities, and submit its recommendations to the department for implementation and adoption as appropriate.

Graduate Committee

Appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Chair, to assist with the supervision of the graduate program, including admissions and the allocation of scholarships and other funding support to both new and continuing students. In selecting members, the director shall take into account field and rank representation. If necessary, the committee shall hear student appeals relative to a grade in a graduate course, evaluation of graduate exams, or dismissal from the graduate program, and make a recommendation to the Department Chair.

Master’s Exam Committee

Appointed by the Chair, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, to choose texts for the Master’s Examination in British and American Literature and to evaluation exams, which are scheduled for the spring semester. The exam format differs for M.A. candidates in American Studies, where the relevant texts and topics are selected by faculty in American Studies.

Curriculum Committee

Appointed by the Associate Chair to assist monitoring the undergraduate curriculum and degree requirements. The Committee shall from time to time review the structure of the undergraduate program to insure that it effectively implements the goals of the major and reflects the faculty resources available to staff it. In selecting members, the Associate Chair shall take into account field and rank representation.

Speakers Committee

Appointed by the Chair to arrange colloquia devoted to faculty work-in-progress and to select and coordinate visiting scholars in literary studies and connected fields. Suggestions for such visitors will be solicited from the faculty as a whole. (Visits from poets and fiction-writers will be separately arranged by the Director of Creative Writing, in consultation with the Creative Writing faculty and students.)

London Program Committee

Responsible for the selection and scheduling of courses for the London study abroad program. It advises the Program Coordinator on administrative and policy decisions regarding the London program. Its membership is typically drawn from faculty who have taught in the program in previous years.

Library Liaison

The Chair will appoint at least one faculty member to consult with the library on acquisitions, subscriptions to journals and archives, etc. and to serve as a primary conduit for faculty requests and suggestions.

Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Advisory Committee

Each year one tenured faculty member shall be elected Chair to supervise RPT deliberations in accordance with departmental guidelines. For the membership of the RPT Advisory Committee as it pertains to various advisory procedures, see the department’s RPT Guidelines and University Policy 6-303-III-A-3.

Guidelines for Review, Reappointment, and Promotion of Full-time Auxiliary Faculty

Committee responsible for review process

  1. Review of all auxiliary faculty members is the responsibility of the Executive Committee.
  2. Executive Committee is elected according to department guidelines.
  3. Full-time auxiliary faculty status is determined according to the PPM.

Review File

  1. RPT Chair will assemble a file for each full-time faculty member in the year scheduled for his or her review (either 5th year for those already on 5-year cycles, or 3rd year for new auxiliary faculty).
  2. File will be complete by Nov. 1 of review year.
  3. File will be used in annual performance evaluation meeting with each faculty member reviewed.
  4. File will serve as basis for Advisory Committee (full faculty) decisions concerning reappointment.
  5. File will include the following materials:
    1. Current CV
    2. Course evaluations from previous years
    3. Syllabi and related teaching materials used in courses
    4. Classroom observation report from a tenure-track or tenured faculty member
    5. Executive Committee report on teaching effectiveness, based on a-d, copies of which will go to faculty member and into faculty member's file, completed by end of fall semester
    6. Reviewed faculty member's written response, if any, to the Executive Committee report, due no later than January 30

Review Action

  1. Chair will meet with reviewed faculty member in February.
  2. Chair will write brief letter of evaluation, based on Executive Committee report and faculty member’s response, if any, by March 1; copies placed in reviewed faculty members file and sent to faculty member and to Dean.
  3. If faculty member receives negative evaluation from either Executive Committee or Chair, a peer observation will be scheduled at earliest date.
  4. Advisory Committee (full faculty) will meet in April to consider Executive Committee report, reviewed faculty member’s response, if any, Chair’s letter, and peer observation report, if any, before voting on re-appointment.


The following language is intended to supplement the English Department guidelines for the Review and Appointment of Auxiliary Faculty by adding criteria and procedures for promotion within the status of lecturer.


 Auxiliary faculty members holding lecturer appointments (see Policy 6-300.III.4) may become eligible for an initial promotion after a minimum of six years’ continuous, full-time service in a particular rank; after promotion, another five years of continuous full-time service in that rank is required before he or she may apply for an additional promotion within the lectureship status. The principal criteria for promotion shall be years of service and sustained excellence in teaching. Evidence of strong service to the department will be also be considered if the auxiliary faculty member’s job contract specifies service duties as part of his/her responsibilities. The faculty member may submit evidence of scholarly or creative activity during this period, but these materials will not be subject to an external review or considered a part of the overall review evaluation unless they bear a direct relation to the candidate’s job responsibilities.


Consideration for promotion will be initiated at the request of an auxiliary faculty member, who should notify the Department Chair of that request during the fall semester. That request will trigger a promotion review to be conducted by the English Department RPT Committee during the following spring semester.

The Chair will appoint a two-person ad hoc committee to review the materials submitted by the auxiliary faculty member and to make a recommendation to the full RPT Committee. These materials, which are due by November 15, include:

  1. A current CV
  2. A full list of the courses taught by the faculty member
  3. Syllabi and related teaching materials used in these courses
  4. Where relevant, a description of the faculty member’s service responsibilities within the English Department
  5. Classroom observation report from a tenure-track or tenured faculty member
  6. Auxiliary faculty members are welcome but not required to supplement these materials with evidence of scholarly or creative activity during the period of service under consideration.

Where relevant, the ad hoc committee will seek an assessment of the faculty member’s service by his or her immediate supervisor. The Ad Hoc Committee’s report will be due by mid-January.

The faculty member’s response, if any, to the Ad Hoc Committee’s report, is due no later than the end of January.

Action on Promotion

  1. The Department RPT Committee will meet in February to consider and vote on the auxiliary faculty member’s promotion.
  2. Minutes of this meeting will be shown to the faculty member, who may respond if she or he chooses.
  3. The Chair will write evaluative letter based on the RPT Committee’s deliberation and her or his own assessment of the file and incorporating her or his recommendation. This letter, and the faculty member’s response, if any, will be forwarded to the Dean of the College by March 1.

Approved Fall 2012

Calendar Event Request

To have an event posted on the English Department Calendar, fill out the Calendar Event Request Form and email to Karli Sam ( 

Last Updated: 1/18/24