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Procedures for Promotion to Professor

Procedures for Promotion to Professor


I. Introduction

Professor is the highest rank to which a professor may be promoted. Promotion requires a record of sustained excellence in scholarship, teaching, and leadership/service while in the rank of Associate Professor, with the promise of continued significant contributions. The successful candidate for promotion must also display generativity pertaining to the high-quality mentoring and advising of students and junior faculty and a demonstrated commitment to promoting civility and equity throughout the School. Given the need to establish a strong basis, consideration for promotion is available after the first five-year post tenure review (PTR) except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

II. Criteria

For the typical candidate it is the demonstrated ability to advance along multiple areas with promise for continued scholarly excellence and impact that signifies the readiness of the candidate to be promoted to Professor. Therefore, promotion requires evidence of (a) a qualitative leap forward in one’s scholarship, sustained accumulation of productivity that creates a noteworthy body of achievement, evidence of national and international reputation, and/or evidence of innovation in a promising new area of scholarship, (b) substantial and productive commitment to the leadership of our academic community, and (c) sustained or enhanced excellence in meeting the instructional mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  1. Research / Scholarship. Like promotion to Associate Professor with tenure at UW-Madison, promotion to Professor requires continued evidence of scholarly excellence and productivity, as well as the promise of continued significant contribution to one’s field of expertise.  Truly exceptional teaching (i.e., results in sustained national or international recognition) or leadership (e.g., SoHE or campus-level positions) can compensate for lower quantity of scholarly outputs but not for lower quality in scholarly output. Substantial and innovative accomplishments might be shown in many ways, and evaluation standards will be consistent with the expectations of each candidate’s field. The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples:

 Sustained Accumulation of Productivity.

    • Refereed scholarly publications in high-impact outlets that are appropriate to the individual candidate’s specialty

    • Evidence of significant influence of one’s work on the work of other scholars (e.g. citation of one’s work as the origin of subsequent work by others, the use of one’s datasets by other researchers, leadership role in collaborative/team projects, etc.).

    • Evidence of significant impact in engaged scholarship at the national and/or international level.

    • Invitations to author key publications summarizing one’s field of study (e.g. decade-in-review articles)

    • Publication of books summarizing one’s field or program of scholarship

    • Invited exhibitions of one’s work in regional, national and/or international venues (e.g. major museum galleries)

    • Reviews of one’s creative work in major venues (e.g. in reviews of major art exhibits of the previous year)

    • National awards from professional societies for one’s scholarly contributions, career development awards

    • Significant funding and management of a major research program(s)

    • Positive review in the annually rolling five-year assessment of research and internal/external grants data from Associate Dean for Research

    • As appropriate, academic analytics (e.g., impact factors, h-index). 

  1. Programmatic Scholarship in a New Area (since tenure).

    • This can be demonstrated using the criteria above as well as by documenting the work itself, its contribution to knowledge, and its importance to the field or society (e.g. by its frequency of citation, by quoting from reviews of the work, by the testimony of external reviewers, by the importance of the topic itself, etc.).

    • Significant internal or external funding of a new area of research. 

  1. Qualitative Leap Forward in Scholarship.

    • Moving from basic research or need assessment research into the testing of societal interventions and or community engaged scholarship at local, national, and/or international levels.

    • Taking one’s demonstration projects to scale across a region or nation

    • Moving one’s local or national scholarship into international contexts

    • Establishing a recognized new subfield of scholarship.

  1. Leadership & Service.  Substantial and productive commitment to the leadership of our academic community is expected of Professors in the School of Human Ecology. Therefore, before promotion, one will need to demonstrate responsibility for the leadership of our departments, school, and/or university, as well as responsible stewardship of an atmosphere of creativity, collegiality, and equity within the SoHE community. The following is a non- exhaustive list of examples of Leadership and Service excellence that warrants consideration for promotion: 

  • Demonstration of productive leadership of an academic department; department, school, or campus committee; or a professional society (e.g., shepherding major unit transitions such as curricular changes and facilitating the creation and implementation of strategic visioning)

  • Leadership in social institutions related to one’s field of scholarship (e.g., leadership of nonprofit boards, government panels, or business organizations that apply one’s scholarly knowledge to societal issues)

  • Leadership for one’s field of scholarship (e.g., leadership of a national professional society, a major national conference, a national arts or science review board, journal editorship, or service on some combination of editorial boards and professional societies) 

  • Service on a department, school, or campus committee; in a professional society; and/or in one’s area of scholarship that is not a leadership role, but is nonetheless significantly impactful 

  • Positive collegial relationships at department and School levels, across all employment categories, and across all trainee levels

  • An absence of a pattern of complaints related to collegiality or respect of others

  • A pattern of positive performance reviews in leadership roles.

  • Demonstrated commitment to the development of junior faculty through mentoring, participation on mentoring/oversight committees, and chairing of tenure committees as warranted.

  1. Resident and/or Outreach Teaching.  Promotion will not be granted without evidence of excellence in both teaching and student mentoring. Annual rolling, five-year data from the SoHE GPC indicating the number and progression of graduate advisees (i.e., primary mentorship and committee membership, including membership across SoHE; student benchmarks met) and indicators of teaching effectiveness will be used in this assessment. High-quality resident instruction and/or outreach teaching and mentoring of students and trainees are necessary; however, this criterion alone is not sufficient to warrant promotion. The Associate Professor will also provide evidence of excellence in teaching in ways such as:

  • National and/or international recognition of teaching or mentoring (e.g., awards, commendations)

  • Leadership for improvements in resident instruction or outreach teaching including creating new (or substantially redesigning existing) courses

  • Creation or improvement of educational outreach programs, major or option or certificate programs, implementing substantially improved methods of instruction

  • Leadership in teaching could also be shown with evidence of significant impacts of one’s teaching upon individuals or society, for example evidence of lives improved or societal institutions formed as a result of one’s outreach teaching

  • Evidence that one’s students have attained noteworthy success after graduation.

  • Evidence that one’s contributions to teaching are having impacts on instructional methods and topics beyond our own institution, for example through widespread use of one’s textbook or other teaching materials,

  • Establishment of one’s instructional topic as a course in other universities, or leadership in establishing cross-university programs of study.

  • Indicators of teaching effectiveness and quality (e.g., peer observation, student testimonials, instructor, and student assessment data)

III. Procedures and Guidelines (as per Faculty Policies & Procedures 5.21 and 5.22) 


1. Associate Professors Seeking Promotion Concurrent with Post-Tenure Review

Notification of Eligibility. Associate Professors are first eligible to be considered for promotional review during the academic year of their first Post Tenure Review. They will be notified by the Associate Dean for Academic Affair’s (AD’s) office of this eligibility along with the PTR notification in the spring semester prior to their PTR year. This notification is not approval or endorsement of promotion.

Post-Tenure Review. Associate Professors will follow the PTR procedures outlined here.

Written Notification of Intent to Seek Promotion. The Associate Professor shall give written notice to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs of their intention to be considered for promotion to Professor within one week of receiving their PTR report. It is encouraged that interested and eligible candidates consider their PTR report and input from their department chair and/or Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs when determining their intention.

2. Associate Professors Seeking Promotion Not Concurrent with Post-Tenure Review Process

Written Notification of Intent to Seek Promotion. The Associate Professor must give written notice to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs of their intention to be considered for promotion to Professor in the following academic year.  It is encouraged that interested and eligible candidates discuss their intention with the department chair and/or Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in advance.


1. Upon the receipt of the Candidate’s written notification of intent to seek promotion, the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs will convene the Senior Professor Committee to review the Candidate statement or the PTR report to determine the appropriateness of seeking external review letters.

2. Upon the Senior Professor Committee recommendation to proceed with seeking external letters:

      • The Candidate will provide the names, titles, and contacted information of up to 5 reviewers at Professorial rank from UW’s peer/aspirational institutions who are qualified to assess their scholarship as specified in the criteria for promotion listed in section II. Candidates are not to contact these individuals in advance, as confidentiality of final letter writers must be maintained.                   

      • In consultation with the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, the Department Chair will develop a separate list of up to 5 potential external reviewers at Professorial rank to speak to the Candidate’s scholarship. 

      • The final list of potential external reviewers will contain a mix of names provided by the Candidate and the Department Chair and Associate Dean. This list will be approved by a Promotion Review Committee that consists of the Senior Professor Committee and a senior professor from the candidate’s academic department. The AD will request evaluations from this list until the target of a minimum 3 reviews are obtained.

NOTE: Reviewers may not have a personal stake in the Candidate’s career trajectory such as being a collaborator, former graduate mentor or advisee, etc. The Candidate and Promotion Review Committee are instructed to consult with the AD for Faculty Affairs with questions about the appropriateness of potential reviewers.


1. External review letters. Complete promotion dossiers are to include a minimum of 3 confidential external review letters that are similar in nature to the letters requested of applicants for mid/senior-career faculty applicants. These letters will focus primarily on the quality of the Candidate’s scholarship.

2. Integrated Extension Faculty. The AD for Faculty Affairs will contact the Associate Dean at the Division for a written assessment of the Candidate’s contribution to the Extension Mission. [do we want to use language from PTR?]

3. Faculty with > 25% non-SoHE Appointments. The AD for Faculty Affairs will contact the non-SoHE Department to provide an optional written assessment of the Candidate’s contribution.

4. Supporting Documents. The Candidate will submit to the Associate Dean the following:

        • Candidate Statement outlining their accomplishments consistent with the criteria for promotion listed in section II (3 to 5 pages). This statement should explicitly address the Candidate’s research/scholarly contributions since tenure, describe their future scholarship goals, describe the impact of their teaching and mentoring, and explain the impact of their service and leadership. All Candidate Statements will include descriptions of their scholarly contributions and mentoring of students since tenure. However, given that the relative weighting of the candidate’s contributions to teaching and leadership/service will vary substantially across candidates at this level, the statement will reflect the Candidate’s contributions based on their individual professional trajectories. The Candidate’s PTR statement can be used or modified for the purpose of Promotion review.

        • Up to three representative publications and dissemination products representing scholarship since tenure.

        • Updated CV

Submission of Materials to Reviewers. The Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs will send the Supporting Documents to the letter writers, together with a cover letter and the criteria for promotion listed in section II. The cover letter will specify the Candidate’s appointments including number of courses taught and leadership roles, and letters writers will be instructed to write their reviews with the career trajectory of the Candidate in mind.  The cover letter will also instruct writers to provide the full details of the contact they have had with the candidate through his/her career. Letters from the Associate Dean for Extension will focus on the Candidate’s contribution to the Extension Mission.


    1. Committee Review.  A Promotion Review Committee consisting of the Senior Faculty Committee and an ad-hoc senior professor of the candidate’s academic department will conduct a review of the case for promotion, based on a Promotion Dossier consisting of the materials listed above.  In addition, the Dean’s office will provide the committee post-tenure reports, annual, rolling five-year data from AD for research and GPC, and all PFAR review documents (full PFAR reports available upon request). The at-large member of the Promotion Review Committee will present the promotion case followed by discussion and vote for formal recommendation in favor of or against promotion. This written recommendation will specify the recommendation and its underlying rationale.

    2. SoHE Executive Review. The Promotion Review Committee will present its recommendation to the SoHE Professors for presentation, discussion, and formal vote.

    3. Recommendation to the Dean and Final Decision.  The Promotion Review Committee will submit its recommendation, along with the results of the SoHE Professor vote to the Dean as an advisory recommendation. The Dean will then make the final decision for promotion and notify the Candidate.


Candidates may appeal negative decisions on procedural grounds (e.g., missing documentation). Formal appeals can be submitted to the Associate Dean via email within two weeks of the Dean’s notification. They will be reviewed by the Promotion Committee, presented to SoHE Professors, and forwarded to the Dean before the end of the contract year. Candidates who do not receive a positive decision are eligible to seek promotion again in subsequent years.

KeywordsProcedures for Promotion to Professor   Doc ID114176
OwnerDebra O.GroupSchool of Human Ecology
Created2021-10-07 14:46:33Updated2024-02-05 09:46:29
SitesSchool of Human Ecology
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