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Promotions in Academics

Promotions in Academics

Authority: 
Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
Revised November 2014

General Overview of the Process for Promotion in Rank

Promotion in rank is based on the faculty member’s achievement while at McNeese as well as his/her future potential for professional growth.  Promotion in rank carries an assumption for the faculty member’s increasing responsibility to serve the University mission with regard to teaching, research and service and a positive learning environment. The review of materials for promotion should stress quality over quantity, especially in the areas of teaching, professional activity and contribution to teaching in the discipline.  Promotion in rank is not automatic and cannot be earned simply by attaining the minimum standards for that rank.  Only academic criteria are considered for academic rank promotion.  Under no circumstances will seniority in time served be considered as a factor in academic promotion.  Recommendations for promotion submitted to the Provost are considered according to the quality of appropriate academic criteria, number of faculty in each rank, past merit performance, and potential contributions.  The Provost gathers information and input from the University academic leadership regarding recommendations for promotion.

The number of faculty promoted in rank in any given year varies according to the faculty community.  According to University of Louisiana System Board Rules, the number of faculty members of Professorial rank shall not exceed 35% of the total faculty with a typical range of 20-28%.  The number of faculty members of the rank of Associate Professor shall not exceed 35% of the total faculty with a typical range of 25-35%.  McNeese State University may seek to meet lower numbers in professor and associate professor rank.

I. Criteria for Promotion

Criteria for Promotion provided in this policy represent the minimum criteria that must be incorporated into departmental/college guidelines for promotion.  Colleges and departments may develop additional criteria and more specific criteria than the items presented within this policy.  It is the department head and dean’s responsibility that all full-time faculty members in the department are made aware of criteria for promotion in their department.  Criteria for promotion should be consistent with the APR expectations, Performance Level expectations, and must be approved at the dean's level.  The criteria for promotion must be within University of Louisiana System and MSU guidelines.

A. Instructor Rank

Instructor positions are non-tenure track positions. Instructors cannot be promoted to Assistant Professor or higher from an instructor position. Instructors may apply for an Assistant Professor vacancy for which they qualify.

B. Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

To be eligible for promotion from assistant to associate professor, the faculty member must have an earned doctorate or terminal degree with a major concentration in the teaching field or related teaching field, or a master’s degree with a major concentration in the teaching field or related teaching field, plus an additional 18 graduate credit hours in the teaching field or related teaching field and three years of college teaching experience at the faculty level in the field in which the rank will be held. The faculty member must have achieved relatively high APR scores and continuous satisfactory Performance Level ratings. Furthermore, the faculty member must have demonstrated continued professional growth and development by participation in the activities of the various professional associations of his/her discipline and by publications or comparable scholarly achievements. Collegiality is also considered in promotion decisions.

C. Associate Professor to Professor

To be eligible for promotion from associate professor to the rank of Professor, a faculty member must have earned the appropriate doctorate or terminal degree in the teaching field or related teaching field from a regionally accredited institution, and must have held the rank of associate professor for at least five years. The faculty member must have demonstrated excellence and above average APR scores since the previous promotion. In addition, the faculty must have demonstrated a strong record of scholarly/creative achievement since the previous promotion and must have achieved consistent satisfactory Performance Level ratings each year. Faculty considered for the rank of professor must demonstrate exceptionally skilled performance in teaching, supervising, publication, service, or in otherwise carrying out the duties of his/her position. Furthermore, the faculty member must have indicated continued professional growth and development by participation in the activities of the various professional associations of his/her discipline and by publications or comparable scholarly achievements. Collegiality is also considered in promotion decisions.

II. Guidelines for the Evaluation of Candidates for Promotion

Professional accomplishments should be measured in proportion to the support opportunities (e.g., reassigned time, sabbaticals, grants, travel to professional meetings, graduate assistant support, etc.) that are available.  For example, all candidates should demonstrate excellence in teaching; in addition, a faculty member who receives reassigned time may be expected to achieve higher levels of scholarly productivity than one who has responsibility for a full teaching load of 12 credit hours per semester.

Candidates for promotion should provide evidence of professional achievement which is truly outstanding and significant to the discipline and supportive of the University mission. Achievement which sets itself apart from the ordinary or the merely acceptable should be evidenced.  Candidates who do not meet the criteria will not receive a positive recommendation for promotion to a higher rank.

III. Procedures for Promotion Review

The following procedures should be followed.

A. Submission of the File

The candidate for promotion should seek advice from the department head and may choose to consult with the dean regarding eligibility for promotion.  Requests for promotion are submitted in the spring semester according to the information indicated on the Academic Calendar.  Promotion candidates must provide a letter of request and supporting materials covering at least the five most recent years of his/her current rank.  The letter should not be longer than two single spaced typewritten pages.

The candidate must submit to the department head a review file which contains at least the following:
  1. Concise narrative summary presenting the candidate's basis for requesting consideration for promotion, not to exceed two pages.  The candidate should clearly state achievement and recognition (relative to approved departmental guidelines) on which he/she believes the APR results and the teaching, scholarship, and service should be judged.  The information submitted should apply to achievements since the most recent promotion or since hired if requesting promotion for the first time.
  2. Current and complete curriculum vitae (resume).
  3. Annual APR summaries and Performance Level ratings (including evaluation of collegiality) since the most recent promotion or since hired if requesting promotion for the first time.
  4. Summary of professional activities for each year since the most recent promotion or since hired if requesting promotion for the first time.
  5. Summary printouts since the most recent promotion or since hired of the SEI, including student comments

B. Peer Evaluation by Tenured Faculty in the Department*

The department head will make the candidate's file available to tenured faculty within the department who are at the rank of promotion being requested or higher. Faculty reviewing the file must ensure the evaluation shall not be tainted by undocumented or hearsay evidence. Tenured faculty at the rank of promotion being requested and higher should review the file, and discuss with the department head the request for promotion. The department head may ask the tenured faculty members to convene as a committee to determine the recommendation for each person requesting promotion. The committee should select a spokesperson to lead the discussion regarding each request and to report the committee’s recommendation in writing to the department head. All committee members must sign the written document that is forwarded to the department head.  If a committee is not convened, then the department head must obtain the signature of each faculty member providing input for the promotion recommendation. The signature serves as documentation that all appropriate faculty have been consulted in the promotion decision.

*In cases where there are less than three departmental tenured faculty at appropriate rank for the promotion review, the Department Head must consult with the Dean to identify tenured faculty at appropriate rank in related disciplines to assist with the review. The applicant must be informed about the faculty who will review the materials and provide input regarding the recommendation for promotion.

C. Department Head Evaluation of Candidate for Promotion

The department head's evaluation of the candidate for promotion should be founded primarily upon a definite, objective and fair interpretation of the individual's review file.  The evaluation shall not be tainted by undocumented or hearsay evidence.  The department head may request additional supporting information as well as an interview with the candidate.  The department head will make the recommendation based on his/her evaluation of the candidate's performance in producing scholarly activity, contributing to the discipline, teaching/classroom performance, service, and collegiality.  The department head will forward the signed departmental faculty recommendation along with the discussions relevant to the recommendation to the dean, and will forward the signed department head’s recommendation to the dean of the college.

D. Dean Evaluation of Candidate for Promotion

The dean's evaluation for promotion should be founded primarily upon a definite interpretation of the individual's review file.  The evaluation shall not be tainted by undocumented or hearsay evidence.  In making his/her decision, the dean should consider carefully the evaluations of the candidate's departmental peers and department head.   The dean may convene a college committee to review the request and will required signed documentation of the college committee’s recommendation.  The dean should study the particulars of the request and take into consideration the department head's and the faculty's comments (and, if appropriate, the college committee’s comments) relevant to the recommendation, interview the candidate if deemed necessary, and make his/her own recommendation regarding promotion.

Approval/disapproval by the dean should be a matter of careful review to ensure that no major misjudgments have been made by the faculty and the department head, and that no major inequalities exist from department to department in meeting the academic standards of the college or school. The dean's recommendation with written narrative justification and supporting documentation shall be forwarded to the Provost.

E. Vice President of Academic Affairs Review

Approval/disapproval by the Provost should be a matter of careful review to ensure that no major misjudgments have been made by the recommending units (departmental faculty, department head, and college) and that no major inequalities exist from college to college in meeting the academic standards of the University. The Provost may create a University Ad Hoc Committee comprised of one tenured faculty member at appropriate rank to represent each academic college and the library to review the process for each promotion recommendation. The Provost reviews all recommendations with the academic college deans and the library director prior to forwarding the recommendations to the President. Institutional requirements as to numbers of faculty at each rank may restrict the number of promotions recommended.

When there are conflicting recommendations from the tenured faculty, department head, and dean, the Provost should study all the particulars and make an appropriate determination for recommendation. After all reviews are completed, the Provost submits recommendations for promotion to the President.

F. Promotion Decision

The President shall make the final recommendation for promotion. After the President approves the recommendations, the Office of Academic Affairs forwards recommendations for promotion to the University Of Louisiana System Board Of Supervisors for final action. Supporting documents are returned to the candidate. The Office of Academic Affairs informs the candidate of the status of the request for promotion prior to the end of the spring academic semester. After the ULS Board of Supervisors acts on the recommendations, the Office of Academic Affairs informs the candidate in writing. The promotion decision shall be made public only after the System has approved the promotion.