US17/18-01: Expedited Tenure Process

[Scroll down to see expedited tenure policy synopsis for a selection of comparators]

Date of Notice: October 4, 2017

Current Status: Notice Given

Motion Type: Legislation

Sponsor: Boris Botvinnik (Math), Faculty Personnel Committee


Section I

1.1 WHEREAS the University of Oregon occasionally seeks to hire tenured full professors from other colleges and universities, and, in even fewer cases, seeks to hire researchers who are not faculty but are nevertheless outstanding in their fields; and

1.2 WHEREAS the standing of such possible new tenured faculty is verified in part by previous peer reviewed tenure and promotion processes or, in the case of researchers, by the national and international research community; and

1.3 WHEREAS the faculty of the tenure-home unit of the possible new faculty reviews each case and votes to approve the appointment, tenure, and rank of the candidate; and

1.4 WHEREAS the Faculty Personnel Committee of the University Senate represents the faculty in every promotion and tenure review case; and

1.5 WHEREAS the current system of review requires that any new hire, regardless of rank, be evaluated by the full tenure and promotion process, and

1.6 WHEREAS this system puts the University of Oregon at a competitive disadvantage when attempting to hire such faculty;

Section II

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the University Senate establish an expedited tenure review process that conforms to the following rules:

2.2 The expedited tenure process is not appropriate for faculty members or academic administrators who are currently employed and/or under contract at the University of Oregon.

2.3 If a unit faculty votes to hire a new faculty member at the rank of full professor, and votes to recommend indefinite tenure to the candidate based on the candidates’ application materials, and the Provost and the Dean of the relevant School or College agrees with the hiring and tenure recommendation of the unit, then the faculty and the Dean can forward the possible new faculty member’s dossier to the Faculty Personnel Committee for an expedited promotion and tenure review; and

2.4 The expedited review shall be conducted by a subcommittee of the Faculty Personnel Committee consisting of five members (with one member selected as chair by the subcommittee) and will include three FPC members from the College of Arts and Sciences (one from each division) and two FPC members from  the other schools and colleges. The members of this committee, to be called the Expedited Tenure Review Committee (ETRC), will be elected annually by the FPC. The ERTC will be composed with attention to equity, diversity and inclusion.  ETRC members shall recuse themselves from the consideration of tenure cases in their unit. Vacancies, including those that arise from recusals, will be filled by the FPC chair after consulting the FPC membership; and

2.5 The ETRC will be “on call” through the academic year and the summer term to review cases and make recommendations to the Provost. The ETRC will meet at least once each fall with the Provost to discuss process and standards and select a chair for the year; and

2.6 The ETRC, upon completion of its review, will report their recommendation to the hiring unit, and will provide the compiled tenure dossier, which shall include all information upon which they have made their recommendation, to the hiring unit. Relevant members of the unit, as specified by the unit governance documents, shall have three five business days after receipt of the dossier to change their vote for indefinite tenure and to notify the ETRC about any such changes.  The ETRC shall consider any changes to the unit tenure vote and either recommend to the Provost that the possible new faculty member should receive indefinite tenure and the rank of full professor or require that the faculty member be reviewed by the full promotion and tenure process; and

2.7 The ETRC will determine what materials should be considered in their review, but such materials must include at a minimum the following: candidate’s cv, all relevant research materials, a quantitative assessment of the candidate’s work and impact if available, and at least three five external evaluations, three of which may be letters from application process and at least two of which must be external evaluations (by letter or by a phone call conducted by a member of the ETRC). The latter two evaluators must be selected by the committee from a list of possible evaluators prepared by the hiring department(s) and not including anyone listed among the candidate’s references. The ETRC will carefully document any non-written evaluations for inclusion in the tenure dossier. The ETRC may request other information as it sees fit through the dean of the relevant school or college. Failure of a dean to provide requested information may result in the ETRC requiring the candidate be reviewed by the full promotion and tenure process.

2.8 Materials collected for each review will be available to all members of the FPC and FPC members may provide comments to the ETRC until the ETRC concludes its deliberations and makes its decision on the case.

2.9 The FPC shall be responsible for tracking when an individual is awarded tenure via the expedited process and will include in their annual report to the Senate the number of cases considered by the ETRC and the number of cases in which tenure was awarded via the expedited process.

Financial Impact: The process potentially saves time and other resources expediting the review of cases that are likely to be approved by a full review.


Expedited Tenure:  Miscellaneous Policies and Practices at Other Universities


University of Maryland

Policy Title: Appointment, Promotion and Tenure of Faculty – Expedited Appointments (see page 15)

Policy Statement:

“In cases where a unit has identified a potential faculty hire it has reason to believe is highly competitive and warrants an expedited review (sometimes referred to as a “target of opportunity” appointment), the review process can be streamlined. To qualify for this streamlined process, candidates would be nominated by both the Chair and the Dean and approved by the Provost’s Office. Such candidates normally would hold tenure and the comparable rank at another institution. The streamlined process could also be used for scholars considered for administrative positions.

Appointments at this level for consideration of tenure could substitute three evaluative letters from the search process for the three external reviewers nominated by the candidate, and the candidate’s CV submitted in connection with the search may be used, and need not be signed.

The review process would proceed as follows:

  • the first-level review would take place per current practice in that unit;
  • a review by a three-person ad-hoc committee formed by the Dean (composed of current College APT Review Committee members);
  • a review by the College Dean; and
  • a review by the Provost and final decision by the President.

For non-departmentalized Colleges, the review at the campus level should include a review by an ad-hoc committee formed by the Provost with a minimum of three persons drawn from members of the current University Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Review Committee.”

Penn State University

Policy Title: Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations (full policy attached)

“An initial appointment at the rank of associate professor or professor may be made with grant of tenure, with the approval of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the President of the University in accord with University guidelines that prescribe immediate tenure reviews.” (See “Guidelines for Immediate Tenure Reviews”)

University of Virginia

Policy Title: Promotion and Tenure – Section 9: Expedited Review

 Policy Statement:

“Whenever possible, faculty promotion and tenure or new faculty hires should have tenure status reviewed or granted through the processes described above. When this is not possible and a rapid decision to hire with tenure is needed or a retention counter-offer with promotion and/or tenure must be made quickly, an expedited review may take place in accordance with the procedures described below.”

Expedited Review Procedures:

These procedures make it possible for faculty review to be completed in a compressed time period; they are not intended to bypass normal review processes.

Promotion and tenure review requires:

  • in schools with departments, departmental faculty review,
  • chair recommendation to the dean,
  • school-level faculty review,
  • recommendation from the dean to the provost, and
  • review by the provost’s committee.

In expedited review, the chair and dean may appoint a sub-committee consisting of no fewer than three faculty members who are members of the department or school promotion and tenure committee or who usually participate in these decisions. The subcommittee reviews the nomination and provides the chair or dean with a decision in no more than three days. Once the provost receives the dean’s recommendation, the provost reviews the nomination and makes a decision as quickly as possible, generally within two weeks.

Materials submitted in a dossier for expedited review should be similar to those normally included in a promotion dossier, including a complete, detailed curriculum vitae. Three outside, arms-length letters, are acceptable, provided they address the candidate’s suitability for the faculty rank and tenure. A candidate’s cover letter or research plans may substitute for the usual statement in the dossier. While it is not necessary to include letters from UVA faculty colleagues or students, it is essential to include evidence of the faculty member’s teaching effectiveness. A summary of teaching evaluations from the University or the prior institution, teaching awards, and other documentation may provide evidence of effective teaching. Incomplete dossiers will delay review.

Montana State University

Policy Title: Expedited Tenure Review at Hire

Policy Statement:

“The finalist for a tenurable faculty or administrator position who holds tenure at an accredited institution of higher education with comparable tenure standards is eligible for an expedited tenure review at the time of hire. With the agreement of the finalist, the provost will authorize the administrator of the relevant primary academic unit to forward the finalist’s application materials and any supporting materials to the unit’s promotion and tenure committee for consideration.

The primary review committee will forward their recommendation for successive consideration by the primary review administrator, the intermediate review administrator (if applicable), and the provost. The provost will assess the application materials and previous recommendations, and make a recommendation to the president.

If the president approves the award of tenure at hire, they will forward that recommendation to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education for consideration by the Board of Regents at the next appropriate Board meeting. If the decision of the Board is favorable, the effective date of tenure will be recorded as the date of hire.”

University of Arizona

 Policy Title: Off-Cycle Review of Promotion and Tenure or Continuing Status

Policy Statement:

“In exceptional circumstances, due to retention or pre-emptive situations, it may be necessary for department and colleges to review cases for promotion and tenure or continuing status outside the normal University review schedule.  The Department Head, with the endorsement and approval of the College Dean must seek permission from the Provost or his/her designee to initiate a candidate’s review outside the normal University cycle.  The Department Head and College Dean must articulate the circumstances prompting the request for an off-cycle review.

Having received permission to conduct an off-cycle review, both the Department and the College must follow their normal review process for reviewing promotion and tenure or continuing status.  This includes requesting and providing the requisite number of letters from external reviewers as set forth in the University of Arizona P&T and CS&P guidelines.

The College forwards the recommendations and appropriate documentation to the Office of the Provost. The Provost, with the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, will determine the final outcome of the review.

The agreement to offer expedited reviews is not to be included in offer letters to potential hires.  Only the Provost or his/her designee can approve the initiation of a candidate’s promotion and tenure or continuing status review outside of the normal University cycle.”

Arizona State University

Policy Title: Tenure – Expedited Review for Tenure

Policy Statement:

Current Faculty

The university reserves the right to conduct an expedited review for awarding tenure to a faculty member when such action will serve the best interests of ASU. The decision to conduct an expedited tenure review is an exception to the regular tenure review described above and will be approved only in extraordinary circumstances, which could include, but are not limited to:

  • the decision of the university to respond to an offer of other employment to a current faculty member whom ASU desires to retain
  • the receipt of an extraordinary award or honor by a faculty member that is likely to generate offers of employment or brings distinction to the individual and the institution
  • and other circumstances that the provost of the university determines warrant expedited tenure review.

ASU has no obligation to consider or approve an expedited review at the request of the faculty member even for the circumstances listed above. For information about the expedited review procedures, see P4, “Expedited Review for Tenure-Eligible Faculty Process Guide.”

Every effort will be made to conclude an expedited review within 21 calendar days following the initiation of the review or as soon as possible thereafter.


The president of the university will make the decision to award or deny expedited tenure and appropriate faculty rank and will notify the provost of the university and dean orally as soon as possible after decision is made. The dean will notify the unit head and the faculty candidate as soon as possible thereafter. The president will provide a written notice of the decision within ten days to the same university administrators and the unit head and faculty member.

UC Santa Barbara


Professor Series

The [tenure and promotion] case may also be referred by the Chancellor to an ad hoc review committee. If such referral occurs, the review committee is appointed by the Chancellor or designated representative, upon nominations provided by the Committee on Academic Personnel. The members of the review committee will normally be of rank at least equal to that proposed for the individual to be reviewed. The Chancellor shall transmit to the review committee the recommendation file, including any information received subsequent to the department review, and a copy of the latest version of the President’s Instructions to Review and Appraisal Committees In accordance with these instructions, taking into account all the available evidence, the review committee shall make its evaluation of the case and submit its recommendation to the Chancellor who thereupon forwards the report and accompanying file to the Committee on Academic Personnel. The latter committee, on the basis of all available evidence, submits a comprehensive report and recommendation to the Chancellor. The ad hoc review committee and the Committee on Academic Personnel reports should not identify individuals who have provided confidential letters of evaluation except by code.



3 thoughts on “US17/18-01: Expedited Tenure Process”

  1. Just wanted to reiterate some feedback of other committee members so it doesn’t get lost in the conversation, as the need and importance of this proposal is high.
    I agree with the recommendation of reviewing our peer institution’s policies for guidance to ensure alignment as well as building on their established process, which may preclude future changes based on the unintended consequences of what we developed. Additionally, the suggestion of external/non-biased review via a telephone call to ensure that there aren’t any unknown professionalism issues (e.g., sexual harassment, etc.) seems very important to ensure a good decision.
    Finally, the continued refrain that the need of this proposal is because of the “Nike campus” is remarkably shortsighted as this policy was needed previously and will be active from the approval point forward. Additionally, this procedure will be used with exceptional faculty outside of CAS that also do research.
    Beth Harn, COE

  2. I have a few questions or concerns about the policy as currently proposed. I sent these via email to the motion sponsors on Oct 20th. I received a reply on Oct 30th indicating we should discuss this at Senate. Below is the substance of my email:

    Toward improving the policy that has been submitted, I write with two concerns are with the final par. of the policy motion as posted:

    2.6 The ETRC will determine what materials should be considered in their review, but such materials should generally include the candidate’s cv, all relevant research materials, a quantitative assessment of the candidate’s work and impact if available, and at least three external evaluations, which may be letters from application process, reports of oral recommendations made to the department, dean or member of the committee below or letters requested by them.

    I have two suggestions. I think they are both minor, but that depends on what you want.

    A. I think giving full latitude to the ETRC to decide the materials in expedited tenure cases is unwise. It puts the ETRC in a position of possibly being pressured by deans or hiring units who want to expedite the process to the maximal extent. It also is, in my view, unwise from the perspective of a faculty body that would look to uphold standards. I think the Senate (which, if I am not mistaken, is the university body responsible for convening all other faculty committees including the faculty tenure and promotion committee) should specify a miminal set of review materials. As such I would replace “such materials should generally include” with “such materials must include at a minimum the following:”. There are two related reasons I would offer for this:
    * first, it is my view that there should in fact be a minimal set of required materials, for if there is not, one could theoretically conduct a tenure review without any materials being considered;
    * second, language like “should generally” absolutely does not belong in policy because it contains absolutely no force; in my view, language of this nature is bad policy because it functions as a pretense of policy covering for the fact that in actuality there will be no policy; “should generally” is not enforceable, and given the closed-door proceedings of the expedited tenure review committee it creates an effective screen for future-generation hiring units or administrators to push through a review process much too quickly without sufficient due diligence;

    B. I think the listed class of materials that can count as “external evaluations” is much too broad. I would suggest the following language be modified: “at least three external evaluations, which may be letters from application process, reports of oral recommendations made to the department, dean or member of the committee below or letters requested by them.” I would offer as a suggestion for modification this language: “at least three external evaluations, which may be letters from the application process, or letters requested by the department, dean, or member of the committee.” My suggestion involves taking out the clause that allows a review process to conclude with three external evaluations all taking the form of “reports of oral recommendations.” Here is why I propose this:
    * first, I am not sure I understand the “reports of oral recommendations” language, but it sounds to me like this language would allow even hearsay to qualify as an “external evaluation”. In any event, it certainly allows, for example, a faculty member who is boosting the hire of a candidate through expedited review to write up a report about all the excellent things they have heard about the candidate and for that to count for the review; indeed three UO faculty doing this could comprise the entire “external evaluation” portion of the tenure file. I take it that the flaws with this are obvious. (I thought we had moved past the ‘old boys club’ system in academia. Am I misinformed?)
    * second, it is my view that any candidate for full professor with tenure who cannot in very short order secure three written and signed external evaluation letters from high-standing colleagues in their field does not deserve expedited tenure review (most likely, they do not deserve tenure or promotion either, though that is a separate question).

    Lastly, I would request for the sake of all senators that links to the current (unpexedited) tenure process be posted so we can see what this change actually involves. It will create much confusion on the senate floor if people aren’t clear on how these changes differ from the current rules. I admit that I myself have had some trouble finding existing rules for how tenure cases are handled. (Can someone help me, then?). AA has a list of all of the policies on a per-dept basis, but it is not clear if there are university minima published anywhere; I suspect there must be b/c the deans approved each dept policy, and presumably on some basis. There is also Article 20, Section 12 of the CBA which has a much more extensive catalog of materials for the tenure process than the expedited process would include (and note that the language of section 12 establishes a minimal set of required materials); this language of course applies to the tenure of already-hired candidates and so is a little different, but still offers what some would rightly take to be relevant guidance.

    –Colin Koopman, CAS Humanities, Philosophy

    1. Thanks Colin for your well-thoughtout suggestions.

      I think it wise that we discuss these issues on the Senate floor. In the meantime here are my personal thoughts.

      1) I think there are some individuals for which no materials would be necessary to make an offer of tenure because their work is so public. (Former presidents, civil rights icons, etc). However, I think it is important that the ETRC be able to see all application materials, and that whatever these may be constitute the minimum necessary set of review materials.

      2) I’m not worried about administrators putting undue pressure on the ETRC. In the current legislation the ETRC can require that any file undergo a regular tenure review. Were I the chair of the FPC or the ETRC I would simply state that any attempt to sway the committee outside of the outlined process would result in the relevant file being forced to undergo a regular tenure review.

      3) The President of the University has unilateral ability to grant tenure. He has stated that he doesn’t want to use this power. Faculty should not want him to use such power either. However, the administration wants some method to quickly grant tenure to imminent scholars. The current proposal gives the administration such a process, and gives the faculty (on the ETRC) the ability to veto the use of the process on any individual case. It seems to me that this legislation significantly decreases the probability of a unilateral tenure decision by the President and gives the faculty complete discretion over the use of expedited tenure process.

      4) The Senate can revisit the legislation and make changes if necessary. The President has veto power, so this could be more difficult if we want to make changes that the administration does not support.

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