Guidelines of the Academic Council for the Evaluation of Candidates for Promotion to the Rank of Professor

[As amended through May 23, 2018]

I. The Department's Relation to the Candidate

Sec. 101. Scheduling the Evaluation

(a) A tenured associate professor may at any time request to be considered for promotion by the professors in his/her department. They must give at least preliminary consideration to any such request. If they think a full review inadvisable at that time, they should give their reasons in writing. If the candidate nonetheless wishes a full review, he/she is entitled to one.

(b) If an associate professor has not been promoted by the end of the fifth year in rank, at that time the Office of the Vice President will notify both the departmental chair and the associate professor that consideration for promotion should be given during the sixth year. The associate professor may decline to be considered then. If he/she wishes to be considered, things proceed as in Sec. 101 (a).

(c) If there is to be a full review, the chair will consult with the candidate, and set a deadline for submission of the candidate’s curriculum vitae and of scholarly and other material to be evaluated. The chair will also set a date by which the professors will attempt to complete their evaluation.

Sec. 102. The Evaluation

(a) Teaching

1. Student Evaluations. The student evaluations, collected by the Office of the Registrar and deposited in the Office of Academic Affairs, should be examined by the department chair. Other full professors of the department may examine them as well.

2. Other Student Evaluations. In addition to the evaluation collected by the Office of the Registrar, the department may wish to solicit other evaluations from former or current students of the candidate.

3. Faculty Peer Evaluation. The chair may solicit information from faculty members within or without the department, e.g., those who have taught courses jointly with the candidate.

4. The Candidate’s Own Evaluation. Candidates should be invited to submit to the department chair for inclusion in their dossiers any teaching materials which they consider pertinent to their cases, such as course syllabi, examinations, lecture notes, and so on. They may, if they wish, make any further statement concerning their teaching which they consider relevant. Furthermore, candidates should feel free to request chairs to consult specified students—alumni or undergraduates—concerning their teaching.

(b) Scholarship

1. Outside Opinions

a. Ordinarily the chair should solicit from outside the Wesleyan faculty two to four opinions (or more for cause) from qualified authorities of the department’s choosing.

b. The candidate may name additionally one or two such authorities and request the chair to consult them. There may be more for cause. In both cases, the replies should be held in confidence from the candidate. The solicitors of the letters should represent that these practices of confidentiality are in force (namely, that the replies will be shared only with full professors of the department the Advisory Committee and the Review and Appeals and Appeals Board). The letters of solicitation should inquire at least concerning (a) the degree of acquaintance with the work of the candidate, (b) an appraisal of the work itself, and (c) the candidate’s standing in his/her field amongst scholars of comparable age and experience. Copies of all letters should be submitted to the Advisory Committee when the department is making a positive recommendation.

c. At least three opinions should come from authorities not consulted at the time of the previous promotion, or at the time of appointment if the candidate came to Wesleyan with tenure.

2. Inside Opinions. The chair of the department may, at the candidate’s or department’s behest, request letters of evaluation from authorities who are members of the Wesleyan faculty (either inside or outside the candidate’s department) and who are familiar with his/her work. If the candidate requests a letter of evaluation from a program/department/college of which the candidate is a core member, the department chair or the promotion committee chair must solicit a letter from the program/department/college for inclusion in the dossier provided to the Advisory Committee. These should be considered as supplementary to, but not substitutes for, outside opinions. In all cases, the letters of evaluation should be held in confidence.

3. Bases of Judgment. The usual evidence of scholarly publication consists of books, monographs, and articles. The latter could be published or accepted for publication in edited books, anthologies, or recognized scholarly journals. Such evidence might include anthologies, translations, technical reports, reviews, commentaries, textbooks, and so on, where such productions are pertinent to the evaluation of the candidate’s performance and promise as a scholar.

Manuscripts, drafts, research proposals, public talks, and the like may be included only if they can be evaluated by qualified external judges. Lectures that have been “refereed” could serve as evidence. Candidates should be made aware throughout their time at Wesleyan that their case for tenure or promotion is likely to be stronger if work to be evaluated is published or accepted for publication.

It may be the normal expectation of some departments to require a book or monograph or a specific number of significant papers. Where such a requirement exists, it should be communicated to the candidate in a clear and timely manner that this is the case.

Departments in which publication is not ordinarily expected should arrive at separate and clear understandings with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Advisory Committee as to what constitutes the usual evidence of performance and promise in that field. These understandings as to “the usual evidence” should be embodied in written statements prepared by such departments, to be reviewed and adopted by the Office of Academic Affairs after appropriate consultation. Such statements would be routinely made available to all members of those departments as well as members of the Review and Appeals Board.

(c) Colleagueship

See the “By-Laws of the Academic Council,” Part V, Sec. 502 (c). Testimony regarding colleagueship shall be solicited by the department chair.

Sec. 103. Candidates and the Evaluation

In addition to being informed ahead of time of the schedule of the evaluation, to commenting on the regular student evaluations of their teaching and to supplementing them with course materials (for all of which see above), candidates have the following rights in relation to their department:

(a) Candidate’s Statement. Candidates should have the opportunity to state their own cases before the full professors of the department in person or in writing.

(b) Counselor. Candidates may, if they wish, request a full professor of the faculty, usually of their own department (who may well be the chair) to assist them in presenting their cases to the department, to review their dossiers, and to ensure that their rights and interests are duly observed in the department and in the presentation of their cases to the Advisory Committee. The acceptance of a role as counselor in no way compromises the tenured person’s right to come to an independent judgment and to vote as he/she sees fit.

(c) Information and Confidentiality. It is the responsibility of the chair and the counselor to keep the candidate informed of the status of the case, including a summary of the Advisory Committee’s general reactions to the evidence on teaching and scholarship. But, in aiding the candidate, the chair and counselor are cautioned not to impair the confidentiality of the Advisory Committee’s procedures and discussions.

Sec. 104. Departmental Consultation in the Evaluation

Chairs should consult all members of the department below the rank of professor except those in their first and last years at Wesleyan. The counsel of those consulted may be oral or written. After appropriate consultation with the department, and with the concurrence of a majority of the full professors, the chair recommends to the president that the candidate be promoted or not.

II. The Department's Relations to the Office of Academic Affairs and the Advisory Committee

The statement in Sec. 401 of the Academic Council By-Laws, which states that when a department has fewer than three Academic Council members eligible to participate in a case for promotion to the rank of professor, the VPAA, in consultation with the chair of the department, must supplement that number to a minimum of three, applies to these Guidelines.

Sec. 201. Deadlines for Preparing the Evaluation

(a) By October 1, the chair of a department that plans to consider a promotion to the full professorship will inform the Office of Academic Affairs of the deadline set by the department for the submission to it of the candidate’s current curriculum vitae and the body of scholarly and/or other creative work to be evaluated.

(b) By February 1, the chair will inform the Office of Academic Affairs of the anticipated time for the completion of the department’s evaluation.

(c) March 1 is the deadline for the submission to the Advisory Committee of all materials to be evaluated. Extension of this deadline must be requested in advance from the Office of Academic Affairs and Advisory Committee and must receive their approval.

Sec. 202. Department’s Presentation of the Recommendation

(a) Scheduling Meeting with Advisory Committee. The chair, working through the Office of Academic Affairs, should make an appointment with the Advisory Committee as far in advance of the intended appearance as possible.

(b) Presentation of the Written Case. As soon as possible, and not later than two weeks before the appointment with the Advisory Committee, the chair should deposit at the Office of Academic Affairs electronic copies of the following:

  1. Department letter.
  2. Updated curriculum vitae of the candidate.
  3. Candidate’s research and teaching statements.
  4. List of referees, indicating the candidate’s and the department’s choices.
  5. Assessment of the quality of journals and presses.
  6. Sample invitation letter to referees and sample follow-up letter.
  7. Referees’ letters.
  8. List of materials sent to referees.
  9. In cases where materials that have been subjects of evaluation were not electronic (such as artwork or hard copies of books), the chair should arrange with the Office of Academic Affairs to make appropriate copies available.

[For more detail, see the Advisory Committee policy on Presentation of Cases for Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion.]

(c) Department’s Oral Presentation of the Case. All full professors of the department should be requested to meet with the Advisory Committee at the appointed time to explain the reasons for their adherence to or dissent from the department’s recommendation, and answer such questions as are put to them. The counselor, if a member of another department, shall be requested to attend as well. In addition, the department chair may invite to be present and testify such Wesleyan colleagues outside the department as he/she sees fit.

(d) Additional Information. The department chair should stand ready to supply the Office of Academic Affairs and the Advisory Committee with additional information as desired, and, with senior colleagues, to meet again with the Advisory Committee for additional testimony if required.

III. The Relation of the Office of Academic Affairs and the Advisory Committee to Candidates

Sec. 301. Notification. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify candidates in writing as far ahead as possible of the date on which their case is to be introduced in the Advisory Committee.

Sec. 302. Response to Student Evaluations. When student evaluations are returned to faculty members, they shall be routinely invited to return a written comment on them to the Office of Academic Affairs as well as to their department chairs. They shall be invited again by the office, when their case is considered, to make a general summary comment on the evidence provided by the student evaluations. These comments shall be made available to the Advisory Committee.

Sec. 303. Record of Leaves. In addition the Office of Academic Affairs shall make available to the Advisory Committee the candidates’ applications for and reports on sabbaticals and leaves of absence.

Sec. 304. Additional Outside Opinions. The Office of Academic Affairs and the Advisory Committee, after notification and discussion with the department chair, the counselor, and the candidate, may solicit additional opinions of a candidate’s work from outside and inside authorities. These opinions and the invitations to offer them are to be subject to the procedures guiding the department chair, the counselor, and the candidate in their solicitation of opinions [see Sec. 102 (b). and Sec. 202 (b)].

Sec. 305. Candidate May Meet with Advisory Committee. The candidate may appear, at his/her request, before the Advisory Committee, and he/she may submit statements in writing to that body.

Sec. 306. Informing the Participants. It is the responsibility of the Office of Academic Affairs to keep the department chair (and the candidate’s counselor if these are not the same) informed of the status of the case.