Promotion and Tenure Committee Procedures
The College of Science Promotion and Tenure Committee is the peer-elected second-level review committee for faculty in the College who seek promotion and/or reappointment without term. Procedures are specified in the George Mason University Faculty Handbook (1/1/2009) Section 2.7. The Committee is advisory to the Dean of COS.
The bylaws and standing rules of the COS establish the P&T Committee, its composition and charge. The Committee is composed of one member chosen by each department, plus two members elected at-large by the COS Faculty (COS Standing Rules, 9/27/07). No faculty member can serve two consecutive terms on the COS P&T Committee (COS Standing Rules, 9/27/07). Although election of members to the Committee are the responsibility of the COS Faculty the Committee should inform the chair of the COS Faculty if it appears that approximately 1/3 of its membership is not up for election the following year.
II. Committee Procedures
- The previous year’s Chair of the Committee serves ex officio as the Chair at the beginning of the next academic year to call the first meeting and to administer the selection of the new Chair and secretary of the Committee.
- The Chair of the Committee calls meetings, chairs the meetings, and reports to the Dean. The Chair appoints a Secretary pro tempore when the Secretary is absent.
- The Secretary of the Committee keeps the minutes of the meeting (which are subsequently circulated by e-mail to all eligible committee members), including attendance records and the results of any committee votes. The Secretary also serves as the Chair when the Chair is absent.
- The Chair obtains the dossiers for all candidates for promotion and/or tenure from the Dean’s Office.
- The Committee forms subcommittees, each chaired by a Liaison. Each subcommittee is assigned one candidate.
- The Committee may revise these operating procedures anytime before the subcommittees begin their deliberations for the current academic year or anytime after all candidates have their cases decided.
- The Chair distributes to the Dean, to the COS Departments and to the COS website a copy of these operating procedures.
2. Subcommittee Procedures
- The Liaison is expected to contact the candidate at least once after receiving the dossier, but before the Committee votes. Either the subcommittee or the candidate or unit chair may request a meeting.
- The subcommittee is responsible for presenting the candidate’s case to the Committee and for writing the drafts of the Committee letter.
- The subcommittees are charged with checking the accuracy of the recommendation letters including the accuracy of quotes.
- In the case of a competitive or noncompetitive appointment to a tenured position, the independent external letters from recognized experts in the candidate’s field must be obtained in a manner consistent with other tenure reviews, and candidates are held to the same standards as other candidates in that Local Academic Unit (Faculty Handbook 2.3.1 and 2.7.3d).
- The subcommittee draft letters are circulated to all non-recused Committee members prior to discussion by the full Committee.
3. The Full Committee
- During the Fall and Spring semesters of the academic year, a quorum is defined by the presence, either physically or by teleconference, of a majority of the Committee members eligible to vote on a particular candidate (i.e., excluding the committee members from the home department of the candidate, or others who may have a conflict of interest, see below). Furthermore, for cases of promotion to Full Professor, a quorum additionally requires the presence, either physically or by teleconference, of a majority of Full Professors eligible to discuss and vote on the case.
- If a candidate for promotion and/or tenure must be considered during the summer months, every effort will be made to ensure a quorum of the committee is present, either physically, by teleconference, or by electronic mail. One member of the committee will be designated as the Liaison, who is responsible for preparing the case. The Committee may accept electronic voting if there is not a quorum of members eligible to vote who are present physically or by teleconference. It is understood that electronic votes will be kept confidential.
- The Committee meets to receive a report from the subcommittee, discuss the case, and vote by secret ballot. Any member of the Committee from the candidate’s department, or who otherwise has a conflict of interest, is recused from participation in the evaluation of that candidate. More specifically, recused members do not receive copies of the candidate’s file or supplementary materials, are not present during the subcommittee presentation or discussion of the case, do not vote, do not receive any committee correspondence concerning the case, and are not consulted on the final wording of the Committee letter.
- Although during the academic year the eligible Committee members should be present physically or by teleconference in order to vote, an eligible member may vote electronically if all discussion of the case is concluded and the only remaining business is to vote.
- The Chair of the Committee shall afford each department chair the opportunity to appear before the Committee. In the event that the Department Chair’s recommendation on the candidate was opposite to that of the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee, the Chair of the Department Committee shall also be given the opportunity to appear. A recommended letter to be sent to the level 1 Committee Chair and the head of the department or school is provided in Appendix A.
- In cases of promotion to the rank of Full Professor, all members of the Committee participate in the discussion and vote. However, in these cases the votes will be tabulated separately by rank (i.e., separate subtotals for the votes of Associate Professors and Full Professors). Either Associate or Full Professors may serve as subcommittee members or Liaison in these cases, although it is preferable to have at least one Full Professor as a subcommittee member for each case of promotion to Full Professor.
- The final recommendation of the Committee to the Dean will have one of the following formulations:
- “The Committee recommends”, if a majority of the Committee members voted “in favor”
- “The Committee recommends against”, if a majority of the Committee members voted “opposed”
- “The Committee makes no specific recommendation” otherwise.
- Two versions of the final recommendation letter are prepared by the subcommittee: The copy to the Dean identifies external reviewers by name; the copy to the candidate does not identify the external reviewers. The final versions are approved by the full Committee either at a meeting or by email. In the latter case, every eligible member of the Committee should send an email approval of the letter to the Chair.
- The Committee Chair reviews all final letters and then delivers them to the Dean at the conclusion of the Committee’s work.
All deliberations of the subcommittees and Committee are confidential and all members should refrain from discussing any candidate or case outside the Committee.
III. Evaluation Criteria
The criteria and procedures for evaluation of faculty for promotion and/or tenure appear in Sections 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, and 2.10.2. of the George Mason University Faculty Handbook.
The Committee places considerable weight on the evaluations of highly qualified external reviewers. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the level 1 committee to choose these with care. In particular, the dossier should clearly spell out which reviewers were selected by the candidate, and which were selected by the level 1 committee. Normally, at least 4 out of the mandatory 5 reviewers should be truly external, i.e., not have collaborated with the candidate, unless the level 1 committee makes a credible case for an exemption to this rule, e.g., based on the nature of the field, The definition used here for “external” reviewers is the same as that used by federal funding agencies in their rules to avoid conflicts of interest. Additional letters from collaborators can always supplement the minimum five, provided they do not result in candidates choosing more than 40%.
RECOMMENDED LETTER TO LEVEL 1 COMMITTEE CHAIR & DEPARTMENT CHAIR
Promotion and tenure of Candidate XXXX YYYY
Dear Aaaa, and Cccc-
I will be the COS P&T Committee liaison person for consideration of the promotionand tenure of XXXX YYYY.
While ordinarily the dossier forwarded to the College provides sufficient material for the deliberations of the P&T Committee, I am contacting you as a courtesy in case there is other material that you may wish to convey directly to the Committee.
Just to be clear: the dossier is ordinarily sufficient, and only a small fraction of candidates or their chairs ever communicate directly with a member of the COS P&T Committee. Of course, as we begin to consider the case, if there are some issues that the Committee feels need clarification, I will contact one or both of you.
Please respond, indicating whether or not there is anything else you wish to add, and/or if you would like to meet with me separately (unless there would be some reasonyou would both like to meet with me together). The Committee likely will discuss this case before XXXXX.
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FOR PROMOTION AND/OR TENURE
To: ________________, Dean of the College of Science
From: College of Science Promotion and Tenure Committee
Re: Candidacy of A.N. Other for Promotion to Full Professor/For Promotion to Associate Professor and re-appointment without term.
The following actions have been taken on the candidacy of Dr. A.N. Other for promotion to Professor/ for promotion to Associate Professor and re-appointment without term in the Department of………………..
|Departmental P&T Committee, where applicable|
|Eligible Department Faculty*|
|COS P & T Committee|
|P&T Full Professors, where applicable|
Note: The Department Chair should not vote with the Department Faculty.
1. Brief Career Description.
e.g. Dr. A. N. Other received his Ph.D in ……………..from the University of Virginia in 1980. He was appointed Assistant Professor at Freedonia University from 1981-1984. He came to George Mason University as Assistant Professor in ……………….. in1984, and was promoted to Associate Professor of ……………. With tenure in 1990.
- Outline of Research Focus. Overview of Publications and research support.
- Report containing overview of each external reviewer’s comments, identifying areas of disagreement, emphasis, scholarly reputation etc.
The institutional affiliation of each reviewer should be noted and each should be identified thus: Reviewer A (Smith, Harvard). (The letter to the Dean includes the Reviewer’s identity: the copy to the candidate conceals that identity.)
- Overview of items on teaching provided in the dossier.
- List of all courses taught at GMU, including role in development etc., as appropriate.
- Description of evaluative comments provided in the dossier (e.g. from peer reviews, Chair’s comment, student evaluations etc)
- Description of all internal and external service accomplishments
- Description of evaluative comments provided in the dossier (e.g. from Chair’s letter, external reviewers)
- Identification of major points supporting the recommendation. [Note: Say the vote is close, or tied. The letter contents should reflect that?]
- Formal recommendation.