External Review for Promotion and Tenure · 51
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
the preceding spring. Negative comments in letters should be addressed (not just
dismissed as unfair) by the department head since they are sure to attract attention in the
course of the review process. In order to distinguish those referees suggested by the
candidate from those chosen by the department, please type after the referee’s name in the
biographical sketch either (chosen by the candidate) or (chosen by the department). If an
outside evaluator does not respond, briefly indicate the reason, if known.
Other Notes
“Early” Promotion of an Assistant Professor
An assistant professor may be considered for promotion and tenure in any year before the
sixth year of the probationary period. Although promotion before the sixth year may be
warranted in some cases, early promotion should not be the norm it requires evidence of
truly outstanding accomplishments and unusual potential. The executive officer’s
comments should include an explanation of why early promotion is in the interest of the
University. The term “early” here is meant only to designate a review that occurs before it
is actually mandated by the University’s regulations it does not imply a reluctance by the
campus to consider such a case.
The early consideration of assistant professors for promotion and tenure presents some
hazards and must be handled delicately. Failure to promote exceptional people could
seriously affect our ability to recruit and to retain first-rate faculty members. There may be
a significant institutional benefit in terms of loyalty and job satisfaction when clearly
outstanding young staff are encouraged and rewarded before they have received an offer to
go elsewhere. On the other hand, college and campus committees will demand evidence
that an early promotion recommendation is compelling. Denial of early promotion can
lead to disappointment and disaffection on the part of the faculty member. Thus,
premature recommendations, even of strong candidates, may have exactly the opposite
effect from that desired. Departments should therefore proceed carefully and thoughtfully
in considering such cases and should avoid arousing expectations that may not be satisfied.
Promotions of Nontenure-track Faculty
Individuals with faculty rank but not on the tenure track, including those on clinical,
adjunct, research, or zero percent-time faculty appointments, may be nominated for
promotion in two different ways. One is to follow the process for tenure-track faculty, as
outlined elsewhere in this Communication. This approach is best suited to candidates
whose responsibilities closely parallel the activities of tenure-track faculty members. The
other avenue is an administrative review process not requiring consultation with the
Campus Committee on Promotion and Tenure. This second process is briefly described in
this section.
The general principles of excellence in scholarship, reflective evaluation, and two-level
review should apply to all cases of proposed promotion. Each college in which such
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