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Administration & Governance - Faculty Affairs - Promotion to Full Professor

Policies and procedures for promotion to full professor in the School of Human Ecology

Approved:  November 16, 2015
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Procedures and Guidelines (as per Faculty Policies & Procedures 5.21 and 5.22)

  1. In semester II of each year, each Associate Professor will meet with his or her Department Chair to discuss the results of the annual review (P-FAR) and his or her possible readiness for promotion to full Professor.
  2. Following that meeting and before May 1st, the Associate Professor may give written notice to the Department Chair of his or her intention to be considered for promotion to Professor in the following academic year. With that notice, the Associate Professor will include the names, titles, and addresses of four possible external reviewers qualified to assess the case. As in promotion to Associate Professor, these external reviewers should be distinguished scholars in the candidate’s field who are not and have not been UW-Madison faculty, did not mentor or collaborate with the candidate, and have no personal interest in the candidate’s promotion.
  3. In consultation with the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, the Department Chair will develop a separate list of potential external reviewers. The Chair and the Associate Dean will select two reviewers from the Associate Professor’s list and two from the Chair’s list, from whom an evaluation will be requested.
  4. Before September 1st of the following academic year, the Associate Professor will submit to the Department Chair a dossier of supporting materials, as specified in section II, below. The Chair will send that dossier to the selected external reviewers, together with a cover letter and the criteria for promotion listed in section III, below.
  5. The Associate Dean, in consultation with the Department Chair, will charge a review committee made up of three full professors: two from the Department and one from another SoHE department. The review committee will conduct a review of the case for promotion, based on the dossier submitted by the Associate Professor candidate and the letters from external reviewers.
  6. The recommendation of the review committee will be submitted to the SoHE Executive Committee for discussion and a vote. The outcome and the supporting materials will then be submitted to the Dean as an advisory recommendation.
  7. If the Department Chair is an Associate Professor and wishes to be considered for promotion, he or she will submit the notice of intention and list of proposed reviewers to the Associate Dean, who will then lead the review process, consulting with full professors in the Department as needed.
  8. The full professors of each department will meet in semester II of each year, after April 1st, to consider the progress of each Associate Professor in the department, giving particular attention to possible inequity in the timing of promotions. They will send a brief report of that annual review to the Associate Dean, including any informal recommendation they may wish to make. In addition, each Associate Professor must be reviewed at no less than five-year intervals, as specified in the post-tenure review policy.

Supporting Documents

The candidate shall prepare a written report of research, teaching, and service achievements since promotion to Associate Professor. The report should also include a succinct statement of future plans for research, teaching, and service (including outreach within each category as appropriate), and the report shall be supplemented by a current Curriculum Vitae.

The candidate’s report will include the kinds of evidence suggested by the Divisional Committees in their guidelines for tenure. For example:

  1. Service contributions. Record of service to the university, the community, and to the profession, with particular attention to the impacts of that service.
  2. Teaching Contributions. Course names, enrollments, syllabi, evaluations and innovative teaching materials. Advanced degrees supervised and contributions to the field made by graduate students. Summaries of educational outreach (numbers reached and impacts).
  3. Research / Scholarship Achievements. Complete citations of published work, technical reports of outreach research, listing of successful funding of the work, copies or exhibits of the work itself, description of the methods and meaning of the scholarship.


Full Professor is the highest rank to which a professor may be promoted. Promotion is never granted on the basis of years of service or seniority, but rather on performance as spelled out below. It requires a record of sustained excellence in all three areas of scholarship, teaching, and service while in the rank of Associate Professor, with the promise of continued significant contributions.

Promotion requires a substantial and productive commitment to the leadership of our academic community.   At the point of promotion to Associate Professor with tenure, professors have often been protected from significant service responsibilities.   In contrast, before promotion to Full Professor, one will need to demonstrate substantial responsibility for the leadership of our departments, school, and/or university, as well as responsible stewardship of an atmosphere of creativity and collegiality within our scholarly community.

Promotion requires evidence of either (a) a qualitative leap forward in one of the areas of one’s scholarship (research/creative scholarship, or teaching, or service), or (b) a sustained accumulation of productivity that creates a noteworthy body of achievement in one of those areas. In the paragraphs below, examples are provided of achievements meeting this criterion, but these examples are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the possibilities.

Service. Excellence in service can be demonstrated in many ways, including the following examples:  through leadership in societal institutions related to one’s field of scholarship (for example, leadership of non-profit boards, government panels, or business organizations that apply one’s scholarly knowledge to societal issues), or leadership for one’s field of scholarship (for example, leadership of a national professional society, a major national conference, a national arts or science review board, editorship of a major journal, or service on some combination of editorial boards and professional societies).  Documentation of the impacts of one’s leadership is especially noteworthy.  Leadership of an academic department or a professional society can be an achievement in its own right, but the promotion report should focus attention on the impacts of that leadership, i.e., what was achieved through the service.

Teaching. Excellence in teaching may include leadership for improvements in resident instruction or outreach teaching.  Such leadership could take many forms, including any of the following examples:  creating new (or substantially redesigning existing) courses, educational outreach programs, major or option or certificate programs, implementing substantially improved methods of instruction, excellence in the mentoring of others (students, lecturers, post-docs, academic staff, and other faculty), or substantially expanding the population reached by 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, the establishment of one’s instructional topic as a course in other universities, or leadership in establishing cross-university programs of study.

Research / Scholarship. Excellence in scholarship requires documentation of substantial and innovative post-tenure accomplishments as well as the promise of continued significant contribution to one’s field of expertise.  Substantial and innovative accomplishments might be shown in many ways, including the following examples: through publication of books summarizing one’s field or program of scholarship, invited exhibitions of one’s work in regional and national 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), invitations to author key publications summarizing one’s field of study (e.g. decade-in-review articles), filing of new patents, or copyrights, national awards from professional societies for one’s scholarly contributions, career development awards, significant funding and management of a major program of research, or through 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, etc.).

Excellence in research might also be documented by national or international recognition for a new (since tenure) area of programmatic scholarship. This can be shown 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.). Promotion might also be awarded for taking one’s continuing scholarship to a new level, for example moving from basic research or need assessment research into the testing of societal interventions, taking one’s demonstration projects to scale across a region or nation, moving one’s local or national scholarship into international contexts, or by establishing a recognized new subfield of scholarship.

Keywords:advancement, career, tenure, faculty, promotion   Doc ID:105557
Owner:Mary M.Group:School of Human Ecology
Created:2020-09-02 12:11 CDTUpdated:2020-09-16 14:48 CDT
Sites:School of Human Ecology
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