V. Procedures for Formal Reviews
The following pages explain the procedures governing retention, promotion, and tenure
reviews within the Department of English at the University of Utah. Departmental practices
are governed by University Policies and by the College of Humanities RPT documents
as well as the Department’s statement of criteria. This document describes the reviewing
bodies involved in each of these procedures, the actions the candidate will or may
need to take during a review, and the roles played by the department chair, the ad
hoc committee, and the advisory committee for each review. It provides information
to candidates about how to assemble a file and how to exercise the right to respond
in writing to departmental summary reports and chair evaluations. The document also
addresses department procedures in choosing the RPT chair, securing external reviews,
appointing ad hoc committees, and conducting the Department RPT meeting.
The Department will make copies of both the currently applicable University Regulations
on RPT (primarily Policies 6-302 and 6-311) and the College of Humanities RPT documents
available to all faculty members.
A. Chronological Sequence for Formal Reviews
- Department elects RPT chair for the upcoming academic year. The RPT chair must be
a tenured member of the department. All tenure-track faculty members are eligible
to vote in this election.
- Department chair determines obligatory RPT reviews for the upcoming year and sends
a letter to relevant faculty reminding them of the upcoming formal review and what
- Department chair sends letter to faculty members asking if they wish to be considered
for promotion or tenure. This includes associate professors who want to be considered
for promotion to full professor and assistant professors who want to be considered
for tenure and promotion based on “exceptional progress” (University Policy 6-311
- Department chair sends letter to the academic program—University Writing Program,
Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies—if the candidate is a joint appointment, informing
the program of the upcoming formal review. The Department Chair consults with the
Program Director about the selection of external reviewers.
- Department chair meets face-to-face with the candidate to clarify the formal RPT review
process. The candidate should identify a tenured member of the Department to observe
her or his teaching.
- Department chair contacts the department Student Advisory Committee(SAC) and the Graduate
Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) and meets with student officers regarding the compilation
of the SAC and GSAC reports, which are due by September 30. For joint appointees,
the department chair will consult with the program director about including a student
representative from the program on the English SAC. SAC and GSAC officers may begin
to review teaching evaluations at this stage. Department and RPT chairs contact the
SAC and GSAC again in September, providing minimum notice of three weeks before their
report is due. “The SAC evaluation and report should be based on guiding principles
approved by the University RPT Standards Committee and provided to the SAC by the
department chairperson” (University Policy 6-303-III-C).
MAY - JUNE
- Faculty member finishes preparing file to be sent to external reviewers. The file
should be sent out by June 15 and must include the following material:
- Curriculum vitae
- All written material, published and unpublished, which the faculty member wishes external
reviewers to read
- Personal statement (optional)
- Copy of Departmental RPT Guidelines (provided by department)
- Department chair and RPT chair meet with department SAC and GSAC officers regarding
the SAC and GSAC reports on the faculty member being reviewed.
- Department chair insures that external letters arrive by due date.
- Department chair, in consultation with the RPT Chair, program director (when applicable),
and candidate, appoints ad hoc committees for each faculty member being reviewed.
The ad hoc committee consists of three tenured faculty members, one of whom serves
as chair. The ad hoc committee’s task is to compile a factual report on the candidate’s
performance in scholarship, teaching, and service. Typically, each member of the ad
hoc committee is assigned to one of the three criteria. The faculty member assigned
to report on the candidate’s record in teaching should review and append to the ad
hoc report letters submitted by faculty members who have observed the candidate’s
classes. The ad hoc report summarizes the contents of the candidate’s file, including
the evaluations of the external reviewers (without revealing their identities in any
way). The ad hoc report cannot offer a recommendation on the candidate’s review. Nor
should the report be evaluative, although it may contextualize the professional accomplishments
of the faculty member under review through reference to publication venues, kinds
of courses taught, quantity and quality of service obligations undertaken, etc. The
ad hoc committee report is an important document that travels with the file throughout
the whole process, from the department to the College to the Academic Vice President.
The ad hoc report’s summary of the external letters gives the candidate who has waived
her or his right to read the letters some sense of this important element in the review.
It is the task of the ad hoc committee chair and the RPT chair to insure that the
report is accurate and thorough.
Since University regulations allow the candidate to comment on, or take exception
to, any item in her or his formal review file (excluding the confidential external
letters themselves), it is the practice of the English department to show the candidate
the ad hoc committee reports prior to their inclusion in the file. The candidate may
suggest revisions to the ad hoc report, which the ad hoc committee members and the
RPT chair should consider and may accept or decline. In any case, the candidate retains
the right to comment, in writing, upon any material in his or her file.
B. Contents of the Candidate’s File
Normally the candidate’s file should be completed by September 30. It is the responsibility
of the candidate, along with the Department and RPT Chairs, to insure that the file
is complete. The following items must be included in the file that goes to the department
for a vote:
- Curriculum vitae
- Teaching evaluations (or assessments)
- Copies of published or unpublished writing selected by the candidate for inclusion
in the file
- Published reviews of the candidate’s writing, if available
- Department SAC and GSAC recommendations
- External reviewer evaluations (accompanied by the candidate’s waiver or non-waiver
form, the chair’s description of the qualifications of the reviewers, indication of
whether the reviewer was chosen by faculty member or department, and a statement as
to the professional relationship, or lack thereof, existing between the faculty member
and the external reviewer)
- Recommendation of academic program if the candidate holds a joint appointment
- Department ad hoc committee report
- Copies of ad-hoc reports and advisory committee minutes from previous reviews
In addition to these mandatory items, the file may also include the following items,
some placed there at the discretion of the candidate, others by department members,
students, staff or what University Policy identifies as “interested individuals” (6-303-III-D-8):
- Personal statement by the candidate about the shape of her or his career up to this
point, nature of accomplishments, projects for the future, etc.
- Written comments on other materials in the file
- Signed letters from others, inside and outside the university, addressing aspects
of the faculty member’s record relevant to the formal review
- Evidence of faculty responsibility (University Policy 6-303-III-D-5)
C. Responsibilities of the Department Advisory Committee
The “Department Advisory Committee” consists of those members of the department who
are qualified to vote on the faculty member being reviewed. In cases of formal retention
review, the advisory committee is defined by university policy in the following terms:
“In each department all tenured faculty members of equal or higher rank and all non-tenured
regular faculty members of higher rank than that held by the candidate for retention
are eligible to participate in the consideration of and to vote on recommendations
in individual cases on matters of retention.” For promotion cases, the departmental
advisory committee is defined as follows: “In each department all regular faculty
members of equal or higher rank than that proposed for the candidate for promotion
are eligible to participate in the consideration of and to vote on recommendations
in individual cases on matters of promotion.” For tenure cases, the advisory committee
is defined as follows: “In each department all tenured faculty members whose rank
is equal to or higher than the rank currently held by the candidate for tenure, and
all non-tenured regular faculty members of higher rank than that proposed for the
candidate for tenure, are eligible to participate in the consideration of and to vote
on recommendations in individual cases on matters of tenure” (University Policy 6-303-III-A-3).
It is the responsibility of eligible department members to study the contents of the
RPT file. They should begin this process as soon as the file is complete. Department
and RPT chairs will inform the faculty about the availability of RPT materials. The
file is not formally closed until September 30, but much of the candidate’s work is
available before then, including samples of written work, teaching assessments, and
a record of service. Department members need not wait for the evaluations of outside
reviewers, or for the ad hoc committee report, in order to begin studying the contents
of the file. It should be one of the principal duties of the RPT chair to encourage
department members to familiarize themselves with the RPT file.
D. Department Advisory Committee Meeting
Department chair calls the department RPT meeting by October 30 and notifies the academic
program, if the candidate holds a joint appointment, of the pending RPT meeting. “Academic
program faculty as defined by procedures established by the program (and not participating
in the departmental review committee) shall meet to make a written recommendation
which shall be sent to the department chair in a timely manner” (6-303-II-C-4). The
program’s recommendation will be included in the candidate’s file before the advisory
Department advisory committee conducts the RPT meeting in strict accordance with University
regulations governing determination of a quorum, disclosure of absentee members’ written
opinions, counting of absentee ballots, and limitations to the participation in the
meeting of the department chair (University Policy 6-303-III-A.3). The advisory committee
meeting is chaired by the department’s RPT chair, who designates one committee member
as recording secretary for the discussion of each candidate; the recording secretary
takes notes on the discussion to provide the basis for developing a summary report.
The department chair may attend the meeting as a non-voting member; the advisory committee
votes to allow the department chair to participate in the discussion.
“After due consideration, a vote shall be taken on each candidate for retention, promotion,
or tenure, with a separate vote taken on each proposed action for each candidate.
The secretary shall make a record of the vote and shall prepare a summary of the meeting
which shall include the substance of the discussion and also the findings and recommendations
of the department advisory committee. If a candidate is jointly appointed with an
academic program, the department advisory committee report shall reflect the department’s
discussion and consideration of the report and recommendation of the academic program.”
“This summary report of the meeting, signed by the secretary, and bearing the written
approval of the RPT chair, shall be made available for inspection by the committee
members. After allowing an inspection period of not less than two days nor more than
five days, after such modifications as the committee approves, the secretary shall
forward the summary report to the department chairperson and the candidate, along
with a list of all faculty members present at the meeting” (6-303-III-E-6 and 7).
The Department of English’s advisory committee votes by secret ballot on matters retention,
promotion and tenure.
E. Department Chair’s Recommendation
“After studying the entire file relating to each candidate, the department chairperson
shall prepare his/her written recommendation to be included in the file on the retention,
promotion, or tenure of each candidate, including specific reasons for the recommendation”
(University Policy 603-III-F-1).
“Prior to forwarding the file, the department chairperson shall send an exact copy
of the chairperson’s evaluation of each faculty member to that faculty member” (University
“The candidate shall have the opportunity at this time, but not the obligation, to
add a written statement to his/her formal review file in response to the summary report
of the department faculty advisory committee and/or the evaluation of the department
chairperson. Written notice of this option shall be included with the copy of the
chairperson’s evaluation that is sent to the candidate. If the candidate chooses to
add such a statement to the file, that statement must be submitted to the department
chairperson within seven business days, except in extenuating circumstances, of the
date upon which the chairperson’s evaluation is delivered to the candidate. If the
candidate submits a written statement to the department chairperson within this time
limit, the candidate’s statement shall be added to the review file without comment
by the chairperson” (University Policy 603-III-F.3).
The department chair forwards the candidate’s file for each individual to the dean
of the college. The file sent to the Dean and the College RPT committee should include
- The candidate’s curriculum vitae
- The ad hoc committee report
- Evaluation of teaching
- SAC report
- Waiver/non-waiver of right by the candidate to see the external letters of evaluation
- The external reviewers’ letters
- The chair’s description of the reviewers’ qualifications etc.
- Candidate’s personal statement
- Summary report of the department advisory committee
- Department chair’s recommendation (showing that a copy of this letter and of the summary
report have been sent to the candidate)
- The candidate’s written response, if any, to the chair’s letter
- Previous departmental evaluations. The college committee will look for evidence that
previously noted strengths have been maintained and weaknesses corrected.
- The recommendation of the academic program if the candidate has a join appointment