FACULTY/STAFF POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL

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2.9.3. Criteria and Procedures for University Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure


2.9.3.1 Appointment and Reappointment

2.9.3.2 Promotion

2.9.3.2.1 Lecturer to Instructor

       2.9.3.2.2 Instructor to Senior or Distinguished Instructor

2.9.3.2.3 Instructor to Assistant Professor

2.9.3.2.4 Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

2.9.3.2.5 Associate Professor to Professor

2.9.3.3 Tenure

2.9.3.3.1 General University Criteria for Attaining Tenure

2.9.3.3.2 Probationary Period

2.9.3.3.2.1 Interruption to Tenure Timeline

2.9.3.3.3 Rights and Seventh Year Tenure Track Service

2.9.3.3.4 Initial Appointments

2.9.3.3.5 Time Spent in Non–tenure–track Positions

2.9.3.3.6 Timelines

2.9.3.3.7 Department Head Responsibilities

2.9.3.3.8 Notification of Termination

2.9.3.3.9 Post–Tenure Review and Board–Mandated Remediation of Tenured Faculty

2.9.3.4 Prior Experience

This section states the policy for minimal standards for appointments, reappointments, promotions, and tenure of faculty members at Nicholls State University. The standards and procedures stated apply campus–wide. Academic departments within the criteria established by the respective college or library are expected to meet the minimal standards of the University but may exceed those standards if they so desire. If departments choose to follow University minimal standards, departmental promotion and tenure guidelines shall still be adjusted to reflect the specific demands of the academic discipline(s) of the department.

The University provides each faculty member with a copy of this Manual, which contains up–to–date statements of policy and procedure. Faculty should consult with Department Heads and Deans for specific departmental and college criteria regarding appointments, reappointments, promotion, and tenure.

2.9.3.1 Appointment and Reappointment

Appointments to the faculty are made with the purpose of building and maintaining a highly qualified staff of teachers and scholars for the University (see Section titled Qualifications for Academic Faculty in this Manual). A master’s degree is the minimal qualification for initial appointment at the rank of Instructor. Exceptions may be granted by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Appointments are initiated through the academic departments via the search committee process with procedures designed to insure equal opportunity to all who are qualified. Each department in its promotion and tenure document shall describe these procedures and the role of its search committees in the hiring process. (See Human Resources policies and procedures regarding searches on the Human Resources web site.) In initiating the hiring process, academic Department Heads must document a clear need for a candidate with a particular expertise. Department Heads may recommend appointments without going through a search committee if a search committee cannot be assembled expeditiously and effectively. Such recommendations shall be subject to approval by the Affirmative Action Officer and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Each appointment begins with the recommendation of the Department Head, Dean, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, for approval by the President. No appointment is made for a period longer than one year.

Faculty will be evaluated each year according to established procedures in the academic departments within the criteria established by the respective college or library. Decisions on reappointment will take into account the individual’s effectiveness in performance of duties. However, fluctuations in departmental needs and University resources may dictate non–reappointment for reasons other than assessments of merit. Persons on term contracts or terminal appointments should not expect reappointment.

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2.9.3.2 Promotion

Promotion of a faculty member from one academic rank to a higher rank is based upon merit in addition to a period of service at this University and is awarded in recognition of significant achievement since the last promotion or since employment. Normally, faculty above the rank of instructor must have the terminal degree and five years of service in one rank before consideration for promotion to the next rank. Normally, instructors must have three years of service at the instructor rank before consideration for promotion to Assistant Professor. Individuals with exceptional credentials may be considered earlier.

Criteria for early promotion are determined at the academic level with permission from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. These criteria shall be included in the individual departmental promotion and tenure guidelines.

The qualifying criteria for promotion to the various ranks are listed below. Evidence of quality performance is necessary in all areas, except that in extraordinary circumstances outstanding achievement in one area may prompt a favorable recommendation. Faculty seeking promotion to a higher level are expected to satisfy the expectations at that level as well as those of all lower ranks. Individuals promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor without the terminal degree will not be eligible for consideration for additional promotions unless the degree status changes. The term “terminal degree” in all such cases shall conform to the provisions of Section titled Qualifications for Academic Faculty in this Manual with regard to the needs of the discipline and regional accrediting agencies.

Individuals who will be receiving the terminal degree in the summer following the summative review may be considered to have the terminal degree during the summative evaluation process, but promotion will be contingent on the official granting of the terminal degree. These conditions for such contingent promotions shall be noted on the individual’s summative initiation form.

The mechanism for handling all matters concerning promotion is the summative review section titled Summative Evaluation in this Manual. Faculty should be familiar with this section—its timelines and guidelines—whenever they are involved with promotion considerations. The criteria listed below in are university–wide and reflect the minimum attainments possible in each academic unit. Academic units may set standards that are stricter than these criteria. All criteria must be supported by evidence.

Special Note: In July 2001, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs clarified certain “unwritten expectations” with regard to general university criteria for promotion to the ranks associate professor and full professor as follows: “Since 1989, the Academic Vice Presidents have implemented an ‘unwritten’ expectation for promotion to associate professor which is the evidence of two recognized peer–reviewed publications in the field. For promotion to full professor, the evidence of three recognized peer–reviewed publications in the field has been expected. While we are engaging in serious teacher reform efforts on the university level, I will accept documentation of substantive involvement in course and curricula redesign which leads to improved teacher quality in lieu of one publication for promotion and tenure. Of course, specific requirements for nationally accredited programs must be met at the department and college level.”

Section 2.10.2 presents examples of criteria and evidence that faculty might want to use when setting standards for promotion and tenure within the academic unit.

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2.9.3.2.1 Lecturer to Instructor

Individuals demonstrating outstanding performance in the following criteria will be eligible for promotion:

  • minimum of three years experience at the rank of lecturer;
  • the attainment of a master’s degree from an accredited institution with at least 18 hours of graduate courses in the area of employment;
  • accomplishment in teaching
  • promise in scholarly activity
  • service to the department and institution
  • recommendation of Department Head.

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       2.9.3.2.2  Instructor to Senior or Distinguished Instructor

Nicholls State University acknowledges the importance of having fixed-term, non-tenure track faculty with excellent professional credentials and appropriate academic preparation. These faculty members complement the tenured and tenure-track faculty in ensuring the University fulfills its mission of preparing students for regional and global professions via the delivery of degree programs and comprehensive learning experiences.  Listed below are the ranks for fixed-term, non-tenure track faculty members along with requisite qualifications and achievements. These ranks may be attained as part of either the appointment or promotion process.  Candidates for promotion should meet the years of service requirement associated with each rank before being considered for promotion. However, promotion is not guaranteed by minimum years of service, but, instead, is recognition of substantial contribution to the assigned instructional program.  Individual colleges may apply more exacting standards for promotion through Instructor ranks described below.  It is imperative for faculty at any of these ranks, and especially in their quest for promotion, to be given full consideration and support to take advantage of professional development opportunities as they relate to teaching effectiveness and engagement via service.

Instructor

Candidates for Instructor are not required to have any years of service at Nicholls. The Instructor position is a full-time position with an annual appointment. The candidate must possess a Master’s degree in discipline or a combination of a Bachelor’s degree and years of significant and relevant professional experience as it pertains to the teaching assignment.  The faculty member should demonstrate current expertise in the assigned discipline as well as potential for effective delivery of instruction.  The candidate must demonstrate engagement via service or scholarly activity as deemed appropriate by the department head.

Senior Instructor

Candidates for Senior Instructor should generally have served a minimum of five years as Instructor at Nicholls. A maximum of three years of teaching service outside of the University may count towards the full-time service requirement for Senior Instructor. The Senior Instructor position is a full-time position with a two- year appointment contingent upon satisfactory annual reviews. Consistent with the compensation related to moving through ranks on the tenure track, the Senior Instructor shall receive a $1,500 increase in salary. The candidate must possess a Master’s degree in discipline or a combination of a Bachelor’s degree and years of significant and relevant professional experience as it pertains to the teaching assignment.  A candidate for promotion to the rank of Senior Instructor, should demonstrate current expertise in the assigned discipline and effective teaching and student learning outcomes. The candidate should demonstrate a professional contribution and commitment to high quality teaching at several levels, and engagement in course and curriculum development within the department and/or college. Consistent evidence of evaluation and revision of course content is necessary, in addition to contributing to the development of new courses that advance scholarship and/or meeting the needs of the department, discipline, and/or industry.

The candidate must demonstrate engagement via service in capacities that include committees (department, college, and university) and student advising. At the department head’s discretion, service may include participation in scholarly activity. Evidence of service may include contributions to local, regional, national, and international organizations applicable to the discipline and pertinent industry. Distinguished Instructor Candidates for Distinguished Instructor should generally have served a minimum of ten years as Senior Instructor at Nicholls. A maximum of six years of teaching service outside of the University may count towards the full-time service requirement for Distinguished Instructor. The Distinguished Instructor position is a full-time position with a three-year appointment contingent upon satisfactory annual reviews. Consistent with the compensation related to moving through ranks on the tenure track, the Distinguished Instructor shall receive a $2,000 increase in salary. The candidate must possess a Master’s degree in discipline or a combination of a Bachelor’s degree and years of significant and relevant professional experience as it pertains to the teaching assignment.

Distinguished Instructor

A candidate for promotion to the rank of Distinguished Instructor, should be recognized as a model teaching faculty. The candidate must demonstrate mastery in teaching as evidenced by consistently superior student evaluations. Additional evidence of subject mastery may include teaching awards granted by alumni, college, university and/or national professional organizations. The candidate must clearly provide evidence of currency in the field and demonstrate knowledge and expertise in the classroom in engaging and innovative ways. Distinguished Instructors often are exemplars of departmental and university citizenship, lead efforts to improve course and curricular effectiveness, guide other teaching faculty, and take extraordinary steps to assist, mentor, and engage students. This may include: assuming roles in supervising independent studies, directed student projects, participation in scholarly activity, providing advice to students about the job search process and career initiatives; and, preparing students for regional or national competitions. Often, Distinguished Instructors hold leadership roles in professional societies and serve as advisors to student organizations.  The candidate must demonstrate substantial engagement via service in capacities that include committees (department, college, and university) and student advising. Evidence of service may include contributions to local, regional, national, and international organizations applicable to the discipline and pertinent industry.  Instructors, Senior Instructors, and Distinguished Instructors as defined in this section remain subject to all other regulations and policies for “Instructors” as defined elsewhere in the Policy and Procedure Manual.

2.9.3.2.3 Instructor to Assistant Professor

While the terminal degree is desired, individuals demonstrating outstanding performance in the following criteria will be eligible for promotion:

  • effective teaching;
  • promise in research, scholarly activity;
  • service to the department, campus, and professional community;
  • effective work with students in non–classroom settings;
  • other civic or community activities in which professional expertise is utilized.

Note: All decisions concerning promotion must be in accord with the rank percentages mentioned in Section 2.9.1.

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2.9.3.2.4 Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

The following are the criteria for promotions from the rank of Assistant Professor to Associate Professor:

  • the terminal degree ;
  • continued development as an effective teacher;
  • research or scholarly or creative activity indicating promise of a productive career (see Special Note in Section 2.9.2.2;
  • cooperation and industry within the department;
  • professional presentation at regional, national or international conferences;
  • significant participation in the University community;
  • effective work with students in a non–classroom setting beyond minimal expectations;
  • other civic or community activities in which professional expertise is utilized.

Note: All decisions concerning promotion must be in accord with the rank percentages mentioned in Section 2.9.1.

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2.9.3.2.5 Associate Professor to Professor

The following criteria apply to promotions from the rank of Associate Professor to Professor:

  • the terminal degree ;
  • a substantiated record of consistently effective and creative teaching;
  • sustained research, scholarly or creative work of excellent quality at the level of refereed professional publications or equivalent (see Special Note in Section 2.9.2.2;
  • service as a mentor to junior faculty and of significant contributions to the progress of the department;
  • refereed professional presentations at regional, national or international conferences;
  • other professional contributions to the discipline;
  • significant service to the University community;
  • a record of effective work with students in non–classroom settings beyond minimal expectations;
  • other civic or community activities in which professional expertise is utilized.

Note: All decisions concerning promotion must be in accord with the rank percentages mentioned in Section 2.9.1.

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2.9.3.3 Tenure

Only full–time faculty with the rank of Assistant Professor or higher may be considered for tenure. The granting of tenure testifies that an individual has successfully completed the probationary period and has earned the status of a highly qualified member of the University community. Decisions on tenure will focus on the professional performance of the individual, but will also take into account the staffing needs of the department, the percentage of tenured faculty and the anticipated financial status of the University.

As with promotion, the mechanism for handling all matters concerning tenure is the summative review (Section 2.10.3.4). Faculty should be familiar with this section—its timelines and guidelines—whenever they are involved with tenure considerations.

The term “tenure–track” as it is used in this Manual shall refer to the faculty who are on probationary contracts.

Nicholls State University allows for the initial appointment of individuals to the academic ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor in a non–tenure–earning status provided that these limitations are stipulated in the letter of appointment and on the contract. All non–tenured individuals who are at the Assistant Professor rank are considered to be “tenure track” and to be employed with a probationary contract unless the above provisions were made at the time of the initial appointment.

The criteria listed below are university–wide and reflect the minimum attainments possible in each academic unit. Academic units may set standards that are stricter than these criteria. All criteria must be supported by evidence.

Section 2.10.2 presents examples of criteria and evidence that faculty might want to use when setting standards for promotion and tenure within the academic unit.

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2.9.3.3.1 General University Criteria for Attaining Tenure

The University requires that individuals who receive tenure shall be contributing to the University and to the individual’s academic discipline in all three of the areas described by the Board of Supervisors in its definition of university faculty (Section). The University also requires both of the following:

  • that faculty be contributing at no less than the minimum levels required by their respective departments in the areas described in Section 2.9.2 of this Manual.
  • that faculty display the promise of continued performance at those levels required to obtain tenure in their departments.

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2.9.3.3.2 Probationary Period

To achieve tenure, a faculty member must complete at least a six–year (Board of Supervisors tenure policy) probationary period of continuous service at the probationary–contract tenure–track level. A year of probationary service shall mean two full academic semesters excluding the summer session. (Exceptions to this probationary period requirement are given in Section 2.9.1 e. g. h; credit for prior experience is explained in Section 2.9.2.4.)

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2.9.3.3.2.1 Interruption to Tenure Timeline

Nicholls State University recognizes the necessity to comply with federal and state laws and regulations concerning leaves and job protection. Most notable of these laws and regulations are the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) of 2008 and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994. Each of these laws and regulations has specific coverage and entitlement provisions. Additionally, the University recognizes that significant disruptions in normal day-to-day operations, such as natural disasters, pandemics, or extended University closure can have an unforeseen impact on a faculty member’s performance in the areas of teaching, research, and service; thus, disrupting the tenure timeline. This policy does not supersede any applicable state or federal laws.

While implementing a Faculty Development Plan, should a faculty member in a tenure track appointment, within his/her probationary period, experience a covered event under the aforementioned regulations and/or occurrences, that faculty member may request an extension, in writing, to extend the probationary period by 12 months. The request is to be submitted to the faculty member’s department head immediately following the covered leave event/occurrence, but no later than the end of the next full semester of appointment following the covered event. The faculty member’s department head, along with the Dean must approve the request for extension at the College level. The final approval of the request by the Provost/ Vice President of Academic Affairs and President of the University is required before any extension will be granted. It is the intent of the policy for the request to be approved or denied within a reasonable and appropriate period of time.

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2.9.3.3.3 Rights and Seventh Year Tenure Track Service

With the granting of tenure, an individual acquires additional procedural rights should dismissal charges ever be filed (Section 2.16). The granting of a contract to a tenure track faculty member for a seventh consecutive year of tenure track service awards tenure unless it is a terminal appointment. The Board of Supervisors advises that faculty be aware that no tenure is “automatic.” Tenure does not exist unless it is applied for (initiated) at the level of the academic unit and then ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors.

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2.9.3.3.4 Initial Appointments

An initial appointment of less than one full semester shall count as a full semester of service in determining the minimum number of years in probationary status, provided service commences prior to mid–term.

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2.9.3.3.5 Time Spent in Non–tenure–track Positions

Time spent in non–tenure track positions does not apply toward the probationary period.

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2.9.3.3.6 Timelines

The evaluation procedure of a candidate for tenure and applicable criteria are the same as that of a candidate for promotion. The summative review timelines established in Section 2.10.3.5 shall be followed for all tenure decisions. The Tenure Track Timeline/Checklist on the internal administrators’ drive (V drive) will help faculty and administrators keep track of these yearly activities.

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2.9.3.3.7 Department Head Responsibilities

By October 1, new tenure–track faculty should receive an orientation to the current departmental assessment forms and to the University promotion and tenure policies. All new tenure–track faculty should receive senior faculty mentors who will help faculty with adjustments to standards that call for performance in all three areas: teaching, service, and scholarship. All department heads shall meet with third–year tenure–track employees and this meeting shall be documented. Minutes of the meeting with a copy of the faculty member’s annual development plan must be submitted to the Dean and to the Office of Academic Affairs by December 1. The Tenure Track Timeline/Checklist on the internal administrators’ drive (V drive) will help faculty and administrators keep track of these yearly activities.

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2.9.3.3.8 Notification of Termination

Notification of termination should come as early as possible in the final semester of the sixth year of tenure–track employment.

Note: All notifications shall conform with Board of Supervisors policy regarding proper notice (See section 2.9.1d).

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2.9.3.3.9 Post–Tenure Review and Board–Mandated Remediation of Tenured Faculty

Effective January 10, 2003, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System issued a Policy and Procedures Memorandum (PPM) that “is intended to serve as an umbrella policy for campuses in developing more specific procedures for the faculty review process.” The PPM requires all institutions to publish statements that all faculty members should be evaluated at least annually. The PPM requires that there be mandatory remediation of tenured faculty once there have been multiple unsatisfactory reviews. Section 2.11 of this Manual covers the post–tenure review procedures as they are presented in the Board’s PPM.

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2.9.3.4 Prior Experience

For promotion and tenure, credit for prior professional experience at other institutions may be granted by the President at the time of appointment.

Individuals appointed to the rank of Professor may be granted immediate tenure. The initial letter of appointment must clearly indicate if any credit for prior service toward the probationary period has been granted.

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Effective Date Origin Change Form
May 1, 2020

April 12, 2020

Academic Affairs

Faculty Senate

Change 2.9.3.3.2.1

Variable Instructors Ranks – PPM Change Form