Guidelines for Immediate Tenure Reviews
Immediate tenure reviews are appropriate for persons being considered for faculty or academic administrative positions at the University. The immediate tenure process is not appropriate for faculty members or academic administrators already under contract.
Requests for out-of-sequence promotion and tenure reviews will not be handled by the immediate tenure review process.
College and Department Review Committees
To the extent possible, it is expected that the same college and department review committees that were appointed at the beginning of the review process will be reconvened to make recommendations in cases of immediate tenure.
University Review Committee
An Immediate Tenure Review Committee will be appointed annually consisting of former members of the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee, divided into separate subcommittees. These individuals have considerable experience in promotion and tenure review procedures. A member of each subcommittee serves as chair and works closely with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost in coordinating immediate tenure reviews.
The chairs of the Immediate Tenure Review Subcommittees will submit a recommendation to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at which time a final decision will be made. The dean will be informed of the final decision by written confirmation.
Adequate documentation must be included so that the Immediate Tenure Review Committee can make an informed judgment about tenure. Particularly when prospective faculty members are being considered, every effort should be made to obtain documentation about teaching effectiveness, such as student and peer evaluations. In cases where information about teaching effectiveness may not be available, a review of speaking engagements and guest lectureships or letters from the candidate’s peers that address teaching effectiveness may provide insight. Follow-up telephone calls are encouraged and appropriate to further document teaching effectiveness.
A scanned PDF copy of the following documentation must be submitted for a candidate who is being reviewed for immediate tenure:
- The most current vita of the candidate.
- Dossiers shall include a minimum of four external letters. Letters of reference that were used in the search process are acceptable.
- Statements of evaluation and recommendations from:
- The department review committee and the department head.
- The college, Dickinson Law, Penn State Law, or the University Libraries review committee, and the dean. For immediate tenure reviews at Great Valley, the campus chancellor and the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.
- The campus review committee and the campus chancellor, if the individual is being considered for a faculty or administrative appointment in the University College or at Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies.
In making evaluations and recommendations, peer review committees and administrators should not feel compelled to make judgments about areas for which they have insufficient data. It is not necessary for the materials to be organized by using the usual dossier dividers and forms.
In general, reviews for immediate tenure parallel closely the processes articulated in Policy AC23 (formerly HR 23), but they are not identical to them. For example, while the candidate’s achievements or potential in all three cells—teaching, research and scholarship, and service—should be addressed at all levels of review, they need not be presented in formal dossiers with dividers, nor should the promotion and tenure signature page from our formal promotion and tenure dossier be used.
Time Frame for Reviews
In most cases, University-level reviews of candidates for immediate tenure are completed in two weeks. To expedite reviews at the University level, it is helpful for the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs to be alerted to a forthcoming case.