Faculty: Guidelines for the Tenure and Promotion Process

The School’s Executive Committee is committed to ensuring that probationary faculty members have the means to succeed in the tenure process including transparent guidelines, clear expectations, and mentoring throughout. The following document provides the School’s tenure criteria, which are consistent with those published in the University’s Faculty Policies and Procedures. This document further describes the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the tenure process and outlines the review steps leading to the final tenure vote.

Departmental Criteria and Standards for Tenure


The departmental decision to recommend a probationary faculty member for tenure is based on an evaluation of the candidate’s overall work as demonstrating excellence in: 
  1. Research/Creative Scholarship 
  2. Teaching 
  3. Leadership/Service
While typically the areas of research and teaching carry weights above service (i.e. 40% + 40% + 20%), the actual duties and expectations of individual faculty members require a flexible approach. The Review Committee, in consultation with the Director, Budget & Personnel, and the probationary faculty member, must identify the relative weights for the three criteria prior to the first formal written review, described further below.

In order to demonstrate excellence in all three areas of evaluation, probationary candidates will: 
  1. Establish and/or maintain a national reputation through scholarship and/or creative research contributions of demonstrable impact. To do so the department expects probationary faculty members to:   
    1. Create performances, recordings, compositions and/or related creative arts activities that have a significance beyond local and regional audiences OR    
    2. Produce a critical mass of publications in prestigious, refereed journals and/or appearing with well-regarded publishers OR    
    3. Combine aspects of the above in a coherent, deliberative and thoughtful way. 
  2. Establish and/or maintain excellence in teaching, as assessed through peer observations, student evaluations, successful recruitment efforts, the quality and size of studio enrollments, appropriate classroom enrollments, curricular development, and student success in the field. 
  3. Provide leadership and service to the Mead Witter School of Music and to the University of Wisconsin-Madison that reflects a commitment to a larger field of study, to the mission of the MWSoM and the University, and to the Wisconsin Idea. 
Roles and Responsibilities 

One of the primary duties of the Director is to provide mentorship to probationary faculty, to oversee the School’s review processes and procedures, and to ensure that the Review Committee fulfills all of its responsibilities and duties. The Director meets with probationary faculty members early in their first semester on campus and provides them with the School’s guidelines, the most recent Arts & Humanities Divisional Committee Guidelines, and any other relevant material provided by the Divisional Committee. All probationary faculty will subsequently receive timely notification about any further revisions to internal or external documents. 

Review Committee: 

During the first semester of a probationary faculty member’s employment, the Director, in consultation with the B&P, appoints a Review Committee consisting typically of three members of the School’s Executive Committee. One of the committee members will serve as the chair. The Review Committee may also include members of other departments if a joint appointment is involved or representation from outside the School is deemed appropriate by B&P. 

The Review Committee is expected to meet with the probationary faculty member at least twice a year. All Review Committee members are expected to carry out peer observations of teaching each semester utilizing the department’s “Guidelines for Peer Observation of Teaching” form (see appendix 1). Other members of the Executive Committee are strongly encouraged to carry out peer observations, including attendance at performances or other public activities, especially in the final three years leading up to the tenure vote. The Review Committee provides the probationary faculty member with feedback using the School’s form or in follow-up meetings. Specific recommendations for improvement of teaching activities must be documented in the yearly written report.

 Throughout the review process and leading up to the final tenure vote, both B&P and the Director work with the Review Committee providing additional guidance and input, as needed, on behalf of the larger Executive Committee.

Departmental Mentor: 

The Director, in consultation with the probationary faculty member, also appoints a departmental Mentor who is not a member of the Review Committee. The School encourages probationary faculty to utilize the resources of the Women’s Faculty Mentoring program, and the Director may assist the probationary faculty member in finding mentors outside the department.

The Mentor’s role complements that of the Review Committee but is also distinct from it. It is important that the Mentor establish a relationship of trust, one that may include a mutual agreement to maintain confidentiality. The Mentor functions as a supportive advocate, assisting the probationary faculty member by offering advice, guidance, and counsel about all aspects of the process. The Mentor may also help interpret and respond to the information presented in Review Committee reports. The Mentor may also consult the Director and, at the request of the probationary faculty member, may attend meetings between the Review Committee and the probationary faculty member and/or additional meetings of the probationary faculty member and the Director. While it is likely that the Mentor will discuss issues raised during the Executive Committee review, the mentor must maintain the confidentiality of B&P and all Executive Committee discussions and decisions.

Probationary Faculty Member: 

Probationary faculty members may ask their Review Committee to meet at any time and to provide specific guidance as needed. The probationary faculty member also has the right to ask for change in the membership on the Review Committee or in the assignment of the departmental Mentor. Changes to the Review Committee cannot be guaranteed. The probationary faculty may also request to stop the tenure clock in accordance with University policies.

Review Schedule and Steps 

The typical initial contract term for probationary faculty members is a three-year appointment. In the spring of the first year on contract, the Review Committee presents an informal progress report to the Executive Committee. The first formal review, which requires acceptance by B&P and an Executive Committee vote with signed ballots, takes place during the spring semester of the second year and is done annually thereafter. These subsequent votes carry with them yearly contract extensions thereby ensuring that the probationary faculty member always has a final year’s appointment should there be a negative vote on progress towards tenure. 

 Year 1  Initial 3-year contract Informal Review   
 Year 2  Initial 3-year contract Formal Review  Vote for contract extension to Year 4
 Year 3  Initial 3-year contract  Formal Review Vote for contract extension to Year 5 
 Year 4 Additional Year  Formal Review   Vote for contract extension to Year 6
 Year 5 Additional Year   Formal Review Vote for contract extension to Year 7 
 Year 6 Additional Year TENURE REVIEW  TENURE VOTE  
 Year 7 Additional Year  TENURED  Or final contract year 

The Review Committee initially identifies the relative weights of the three tenure criteria (as described above) and subsequently evaluates the probationary faculty member’s progress to meet or exceed those expectations. The Review Committee meets regularly with the probationary faculty member and helps set specific goals for each year of the probationary period. The Review Committee also carries out regular semesterly peer observations of teaching. Most importantly, the Review Committee creates annual written evaluative reviews that address all three criteria and address directly the progress towards tenure and candidly identifies any concerns or impediments to success. All relevant information that is available to the committee, including peer observations from Review and Executive Committee members and student evaluations, positive or negative, must be considered in preparing the annual reviews. 

Preparation of the Annual Written Reviews 

The annual written reviews, with their ongoing evaluative discussions of contributions to research/creative scholarship, teaching, service contributions, as well as the comparative evaluation and grade data, become the basis for sections G, J, K, M and N of the final tenure dossier and should be completed in a thorough and deliberative manner. 

Probationary faculty members are responsible for preparing and/or updating documents in their Review File, described below, generally no later than 15 January, or as requested by the Review Committee. Probationary faculty members who are in their sixth year on the tenure clock or who are being considered for early promotion must update their Review File by October 15, or earlier, if requested by the Director or Review Committee.

Contents of the Annual Review File prepared by the probationary faculty member include: 
  1. An updated CV conforming as closely as possible to the format required in the Divisional Guidelines under section E. As the range of creative work produced in the SoM does not easily conform to these guidelines, the Director can provide CV examples from past successful tenure dossiers upon request. 
  2. An annual statement of 2-3 pages in length that outlines ongoing progress toward specific tenure goals, responds to material from prior reviews, and provides relevant information such as timelines for completion of work, expected outcomes regarding research/creative scholarship project, teaching, and service. 
  3. Updated course syllabi and any new course proposals. 
  4. Specific materials pertaining to research/creative scholarship such as copies of publications, recordings, and programs; letters from presenting bodies, conference invitations, and the like. 5. any additional materials that attest to tenure progress such as drafts of publications, letters of interest, grant proposals, and pedagogical materials.
Based on the above materials as well as its own peer reviews, the Review Committee creates an Annual Review that includes: 
  1. An introduction identifying when the faculty member was hired, the nature of the review (i.e. formal or informal), in what year the final tenure review will likely take place, what relative weights the committee has assigned to the three criteria, and any other information related to the hire, such as years on the tenure clock, etc. 
  2. A written summary of progress on the three criteria of research/creative scholarship, teaching, including a teaching narrative outlining all courses taught, and recruitment activities. 
  3. Service/Leadership identifying membership on graduate student committees, departmental and university committee work of all kinds, and work requiring scholarly competence such as within professional societies. 
  4. Statistical summary sheets of student evaluations and comparative data (what become sections K and M and in the dossier.) 
  5. In an appendix to the report, include all peer observations of teaching carried out by the Review or Executive Committees, including peer responses to performances. 
  6. Any other material the committee believes may be helpful to the rest of the Executive Committee.
Review Committee members and the probationary faculty member should meet to read, discuss, and sign the document. The probationary faculty member has the opportunity to respond to the review and may append a formal written response addressing any points of disagreement. 

 The Review Committee chair presents the completed and signed report to the Budget & Personnel Committee who may ask the chair to attend a meeting to answer follow up questions. At a subsequent meeting of the Executive Committee, the chair of Budget and Personnel will make a motion to approve the report and recommend a contract extension if warranted. A 2/3 majority affirmative vote of the Executive Committee by signed paper ballot (or approved electronic alternative) is required for the Director to recommend a contract extension vote to the Dean of the College of Letters & Science, who makes the final determination about contract renewal. 

Preparation of the Tenure Dossier 

During the sixth year (or earlier if determined by the initial contract agreement or by consensus of the Executive Committee; later if there has been an approved delay in the tenure clock) the probationary faculty member must be reviewed for tenure and promotion with a subsequent vote by the Executive Committee. The Review Committee prepares the dossier as outlined in the Divisional Guidelines in collaboration with the probationary faculty member, Director, and assistant director. (See also “Tenure Dossier Responsibilities,” Appendix 2.) 

At least six months in advance of submitting the dossier to the Divisional Committee (i.e. in August for the February or March deadline), the probationary faculty member, in consultation with the Review Committee and Mentor, should complete the Candidate Statement (section F) and share it with the Review Committee for revision and approval. 

The Review Committee also identifies a list of individuals who meet Divisional Committee qualifications to provide outside letters of evaluation and, in consultation with the probationary faculty member, determines what materials to share with outside evaluators. In most cases, outside evaluators are tenured, full professors at peer institutions. Depending on the nature of the probationary faculty member’s area of expertise, the most effective evaluators may be at the associate level and/or at institutions not viewed as our peers. The Review Committee may also wish to identify evaluators who have the expertise to speak to an aspect of the candidate’s work but who have no connection to academe in order to supplement the five required letters. It is the role of the Review Committee to address the specific reasons behind choosing any and all evaluators. 

Probationary faculty members provide the names of five evaluators, following the criteria above, and may identify potential reviewers who, for whatever reason, they deem inappropriate to evaluate their materials. The Review Committee brings to the Director a combined list of potential outside reviewers, including names from the probationary faculty member’s own approved list. The Director contacts individuals from the combined list with the goal of identifying at least five evaluators who will agree to provide written statements; if one of the recommenders is from outside academe, their letter will be solicited in addition to five others. Again, in accordance with Divisional Guidelines, of the five required outside evaluators, “three 6 recommenders should be selected from a list of scrupulously independent people prepared by the department, and two should be selected from a list prepared by the candidate.” If either of the two individuals suggested by the candidate decline to write, the Director may consult the Review Committee and the candidate for additional names. The probationary faculty member will not have access to letters from any of the outside evaluators. 

The Review Committee’s recommendation concerning tenure and promotion is based on an evaluation and final written review of all material relevant to the tenure and promotion criteria, including the committee’s past yearly reviews, materials related to research/creative scholarship, teaching record (including, but not limited to, peer observations, student evaluations and syllabi), service record, the candidate’s statements regarding plans for future research and teaching, and all letters from outside evaluators. 

The final written report, along with all materials that went into its creation, will be reviewed first by the Budget & Personnel Committee, who then make a formal recommendation to the Executive Committee at a meeting scheduled in advance as being for the purpose of the tenure vote. The Executive Committee will have at least two weeks to review all materials before the scheduled meeting. 

A 2/3 majority affirmative vote of the Executive Committee by signed paper ballot (or approved electronic alternative) is required for the Director to forward the dossier to the Dean for approval and then on to the Divisional Committee for further consideration. Executive Committee members who are on leave but present may vote. Executive Committee members who are not present for the meeting are not eligible to vote and must account for their absence which will be reported in the Chair’s Letter as required. Absent Executive Committee members may provide a provisional vote which will be recorded in the Chair’s Letter but may not be counted towards the 2/3rds required. 

The director will inform the candidate of the outcome of the Executive Committee vote in writing the same day as the vote takes place. In the case of a negative vote, the candidate may undertake an appeal as outlined in Faculty Policies and Procedures 7.09

Approved by the Executive Committee, November 19, 2020.

Appendix 1 
School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison 
Guidelines for Peer Observations of Teaching

Name of Instructor_______________________________________________________________ 
Course Number and Name_________________________________________________________ 
Name of Evaluator________________________________________________________________ 
Please write a brief non-evaluative description of what teaching opportunity you visited. Was it a large lecture, a small class, a studio lesson, an ensemble rehearsal, a student performance? What material was covered? What methods were used to present the material? What role did the professor play? How was the time spent? 


Please write an evaluation of this teaching session. Your evaluation should include your responses to as many of the following questions as possible, providing as much specificity and detail as possible. Use additional pages if needed. 
a. How well was the material organized? 
b. How clearly was it presented? 
c. Did the instructor demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the material at hand? 
d. Was the material presented up-to-date? 
e. Was the time well-utilized? 
f. Was the level of student involvement appropriate to the mode of instruction? 
g. Did the instructor encourage critical thinking? 
h. If discussion took place, how well did the instructor moderate it? 
 i. Did the instructor encourage student response? 
j. How did the instructor respond to student questions and comments? 
k. Was the session lively and interesting? 
l. Did the instructor communicate enthusiasm and interest in the subject? 


Please provide constructive criticism that the instructor can use to improve the course. Issues to consider include delivery methods, student interactions, types of material presented or distributed, grading and evaluation methods. 

Please return to the chair of the tenure committee within one week of review. 

Approved by Budget & Personnel, February 2015 

Appendix 2 

Responsibilities for Preparing Tenure Materials 

The department’s recommendation for tenure requires the creation of a substantial dossier presented to the Divisional Committee along with additional supporting materials. The capital letters below correspond to specific sections of the dossier as described in the most recent version of the A/H Divisional Committee Guidelines (AHDCG) and in their corresponding “Checklist of Materials” 

Cover Letter from Divisional Committee Chair, May 2020 (CL) provides additional advice on preparing the dossier. 

PROBATIONARY FACULTY MEMBER—in consultation with the Review Committee Supporting Materials 1 (all publications/creative work) and 2 (Ph.D. dissertation or equivalent) 
a. CV 
b. Candidate’s statement 
c. Reviews of creative works in the arts, if any 
d. Statement on overlap and joint ownership, if needed 
e. One representative publication/work sample 
f. Narrative of Teaching with complete chronology of courses taught 
g. Representative sample of syllabi/instructional materials (one per instructional level) and other curricular materials including award letters, if any.

REVIEW COMMITTEE-Advise Divisional Committee about upcoming performances (CL) 

G(1) a. b. c. Draft of “Departmental evaluation and discussion of the candidate’s contributions” drawing from and expanding upon yearly probationary reports. Quotations from external reviewer letters may be used; can also include critiques of campus/community events (see AHDCG pp. 7-8) 
G(3). Biographical information about external evaluators 
J. Draft of “Assessment of the candidate’s commitment to teaching, success…and stimulation of learner interest” can again draw from previous probationary reports; should “make the case for the candidate’s strong record of effective teaching” (AHDCG p. 10) 
K(2). Comparison between candidate’s evaluation scores and mean scores in the department 
K(3). comparison between grade distribution in classes taught by the candidate and mean grade distribution in the department 
M(2). Analysis of the student comments to course evaluation questionnaires; tabulated summary of the scores of all student evaluations; “for each of the candidate’s courses please provide enrollment totals at end of semester, number of evaluations received, and grade distribution for the course;” (AHDCG p. 11) 
M(3). All reports by colleagues (members of tenure and executive committees) including class visits/peer observations 
N. Draft of “Significant service contributions: institutional, professional, public drawing from previous probationary reports 
O. Optional: annual reports or other additional material

DIRECTOR/ASSISTANT DIRECTOR- Supporting Materials 3 (originals of student evaluations) 

A. Dean’s Approval 
B. Letter from department chair 
C. Letter of Appointment and PVL 
 D. Departmental criteria (i.e. our internal tenure guidelines) 
G(3). Letters of Evaluation, copy of letter soliciting evaluation, list of materials submitted, explanation of how the referees were selected, all communication with referees (G(3) bios created by Review Committee, see above) K(1). Comparison between candidates’ assignments and assignments of other probationary faculty 
M(1). Sample evaluation form; originals of all forms of student feedback provided electronically 

[October 2020]




Keywords:tenure, promotion, full professor,   Doc ID:120591
Owner:Anne B.Group:Mead Witter School of Music
Created:2022-08-12 15:37 CSTUpdated:2022-08-19 13:44 CST
Sites:Mead Witter School of Music
CleanURL:https://kb.wisc.edu/mwsomkb/guidelines-for-the-tenure-and-promotion-process
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