Non-Tenure Line Faculty Appointment and Promotion
2023-2024 NON-TENURE LINE FACULTY APPOINTMENT & PROMOTION GUIDELINES
Non-tenure line faculty members in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) make vital contributions to teaching, research, outreach, clinical work, and service. These faculty members in HHD usually have specific assignments that focus on either teaching or research with some expectation of service, while a smaller subset simultaneously engage in all three university missions. The purpose of these guidelines is to establish criteria and define procedures for their appointment and promotion.
- I. Terms
Non-tenure line faculty members - all full-time (standing, fixed-term multi-year, and fixed-term 1) faculty members who are not tenured or on the tenure-track.
Terminal degrees - all doctoral level degrees.
- II. Definition of Academic Ranks
Faculty members with non-tenure line appointments may possess a master’s degree, a Ph.D. or another advanced degree, depending upon assignment and rank. At the Pennsylvania State University these faculty appointments fall within the following academic categories and ranks as described in Policy AC21, Definition of Academic Ranks.
Ranks for Non-Tenure Line Teaching Faculty
With Terminal Degree
Assistant Teaching Professor - should possess a terminal degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their teaching specialization.
Associate Teaching Professor - should possess a terminal degree in an academic field related to their teaching specialization; must have demonstrated ability as a teacher and adviser; and must have shown evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter.
Teaching Professor - should possess a terminal degree in an academic field related to their teaching specialization; must have demonstrated exceptional ability as a teacher and adviser; and must have shown evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter at a level of distinction beyond that of an associate teaching professor.
Without Terminal Degree
Instructor - should possess at least a master's degree or its equivalent, or be an active candidate for a terminal degree, in an academic field related to their teaching specialization.
Assistant Teaching Professor - should possess at least a master's degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their teaching specialization; must have demonstrated ability as a teacher and adviser; and must have shown evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter.
Associate Teaching Professor - should possess at least a master's degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their teaching specialization; must have demonstrated ability as a teacher and adviser; and must have shown evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter.
Ranks for Non-Tenure Line Research Faculty
With Terminal Degree
Assistant Research Professor - should possess a terminal degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their research.
Associate Research Professor - should possess a terminal degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their research; must have demonstrated ability as a researcher; and must have shown evidence of professional growth and scholarship in their discipline.
Research Professor - should possess a terminal degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their research; must have demonstrated exceptional ability as a researcher; and must have shown evidence of professional growth and scholarship in their discipline at a level of distinction beyond that of an associate research professor.
Without Terminal Degree
Researcher - should possess a master's degree or its equivalent, or be an active candidate for a terminal degree, in an academic field related to their research.
Assistant Research Professor - should possess at least a master's degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their teaching specialization; must have demonstrated ability as a researcher; and must have shown evidence of professional growth and scholarship in their discipline.
Associate Research Professor - should possess at least a master's degree or its equivalent in an academic field related to their research; must have demonstrated exceptional ability as a researcher; and must have shown evidence of professional growth and scholarship in their discipline at a level of distinction beyond that of an assistant research professor.
- III. General Criteria
Because non-tenure line faculty members have specific assignments, it is important that appointments and promotion decisions are based on the performance of each candidate relative to their specific duties and responsibilities. However, there should also be consistency in performance expectations for such faculty members, as there is for faculty members on tenure-track appointments.
The same general criteria as those used for tenure-track or tenured faculty shall be used for evaluating qualifications for appointment and promotion of non-tenure line faculty members. These will pertain to the specific duties and responsibilities that have been assigned and will include one or more of the following, as defined in section II of University Policy AC23, Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations.
- The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning;
- The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishment; and
- The Scholarship of Service to the University, Society and the Profession
- IV. Appointment in the Teaching and Research Ranks
All appointments in the teaching and research ranks will be made by the hiring academic unit head/center director after consultation with appropriate parties and upon approval of the dean.
Candidates must meet the minimum criteria for rank as defined in AC21 (see above).
Supporting documentation should include an up-to-date CV with biographical data, education and prior appointments, publications, a personal statement describing teaching and/or research accomplishments, relevant data pertaining to service/outreach and external references.
Initial appointments are typically one or two-years in term. Longer term appointments should be based on evidence of successful prior performance (in the current or a previous, similar position).
- V. Annual Performance Reviews
Faculty members in all ranks who are employed for a term of at least nine calendar months are to be reviewed annually by the appropriate supervisor, i.e., academic unit head, center director, or research supervisor, who will prepare a written performance evaluation in accordance with University Policy AC40, Evaluation of Faculty Performance.
Evaluations should be based on the elements listed in AC21, Definitions of Academic Ranks, and AC23, Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations, but should be tailored to each faculty member's area of assignment and responsibility, with maximum weight given to the area(s) of major emphasis.
- The faculty member is required to prepare an annual Activity Insight Report to assist in the review process.
- The unit head/center director is required to meet yearly with the faculty member to review performance and provide feedback.
- The unit head/center director prepares a Faculty Review Summary Sheet and returns it to Human Resources.
- VI. Career Progression
With Terminal Degree
- Assistant Teaching Professor
- Associate Teaching Professor
- Teaching Professor
Without Terminal Degree
- Assistant Teaching Professor
- Associate Teaching Professor
With Terminal Degree
- Assistant Research Professor
- Associate Research Professor
- Research Professor
Without Terminal Degree
- Assistant Research Professor
- Associate Research Professor
- VII. Criteria for Promotion
Criteria for Promotion in the Teaching Track
A consistently advancing record of accomplishment is expected, demonstrating improvement in the quality and scope of teaching as well as enhanced capabilities and versatility in delivery. Residential instruction and various forms of hybrid and online teaching are all relevant and important teaching activities and should be paid equal attention. Engagement with students outside of the classroom in such activities as advising students and student organizations, leading or accompanying students on field trips or study tours, providing noncredit workshops on professionally relevant topics, and the like are also an important part of a well-rounded teaching career. The candidate should demonstrate the ability to design new and effective courses or incorporate new content and learning objectives into established courses.
At a minimum the candidate should:
Meet or exceed unit/center expectations for teaching and advising as defined in AC23, criteria for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Participate in professional societies, meetings and other activities that enhance scholarship and content expertise.
Contribute to the service and outreach mission of the University.
Criteria for Promotion within the Research Track
Non-tenure line faculty members in the research track should demonstrate an ability to initiate, conduct, complete, and disseminate high quality, innovative research and scholarship in their professional area of specialization. A consistent record of accomplishment is expected, demonstrating improvement in quality and significance with time. Research results should be disseminated through appropriate channels such as publications in peer-reviewed, professional journals, technical reports, books or parts thereof, presentations at professional meetings, patents and software.
Active participation in the initiation, preparation, and submission of proposals to external funding agencies is expected; a record of having external proposals funded and demonstrated leadership through the technical management and direction of research teams as a principal investigator is indicative of professional accomplishment. Research faculty may also supervise and advise research staff, junior colleagues, graduate students and undergraduates. Subsequent accomplishments of former students and subordinates may be used in part to evaluate a candidate’s research contribution.
Active participation in professional society meetings, short courses, conferences, seminars, and workshops is expected, as is membership and participation in professional societies. Evidence of scholarship includes a record of expertise in disseminating research, as well as serving on committees, grant review panels, and planning groups. Consulting with government bodies, policy makers, and the private sector is also indicative of excellence in this area.
Appointments to the graduate faculty with a departmental graduate program and serving on graduate student committees may be encouraged for faculty members.
Criteria regarding the Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and the Profession
Each faculty member is expected to take an active role in University affairs and public service. Participation in committee work, faculty governance, administrative support, and a wide scope of University, College, and Unit affairs provides evidence of service within the University. Commitment to public service through involvement in community affairs, governmental, industrial, public, and private organizations demonstrates competence in extending the University’s specialized knowledge throughout the Commonwealth, nation, and beyond. Active contribution to professional organizations is also considered a commitment to service.
Meeting or exceeding expectations in service will be expected of all faculty who have either only teaching or only research as their principal domain. For advancement through all ranks a progression in amount or type of service is expected. For promotion to the professor level, evidence of exemplary and sustained service, including leadership, is also expected.
- VIII. Promotion Review
The responsibility for putting faculty forward for promotion review lies with the Unit Head.
Understanding the expectations needed for promotion to the next rank and developing a trajectory toward promotion should be topics of regular discussion between faculty members and Unit Heads. Readiness for promotion review can be raised as a topic for discussion when either party feels the time is appropriate.
A. Timing of Reviews
Per AC21, a recommended period at rank for the first rank is at least five years, with review occurring in the sixth year. The first year of service is considered accrued at the end of the initial academic year for appointments starting between July 1 and December 31. For appointments starting between January 1 and June 30, the first year of service will accrue at the close of the following academic year.
The Unit Head can put a faculty member forward for promotion review in any year they feel a faculty member is ready for such review.
While the Unit Head can put a faculty forward for promotion at any year, at each fifth year of service in any rank (i.e., five-year intervals), Unit Heads are expected to conduct a thorough assessment of a faculty member’s readiness for promotion review. As part of this assessment Unit Heads may:
- request supporting documentation (consistent materials that would become part of the dossier) from the faculty member and
- confidentially, informally, and formatively consult with Deans, Chairs of P&T Committees, and members of P&T Committees.
The Unit Head will communicate to the faculty member their recommendation on readiness for promotion review after the five-year assessment.
- If the recommendation coming from the five-year assessment is that the faculty member move forward for review, and the faculty member concurs, the review will proceed.
- If the recommendation coming from the five-year assessment is that the faculty member not move forward for review, the communication from the Unit Head to the faculty member will cover strategies for building toward promotion review readiness.
- In addition, if the recommendation coming from the five-year assessment is that the faculty member not move forward for review, the faculty member can request that the Unit Head put them forward regardless, and the Unit Head must honor that request.
In years other than the five-year assessment year, any requests from a faculty member to move forward with promotion review do not need to be honored. However, as stated above, a Unit Head can still elect to put a faculty member forward for review in any year – they do not need to wait until after the subsequent five-year assessment to do so.
All non-tenure line faculty promotions require the assembly of a formal dossier to be reviewed by a unit/center review committee and a college-level committee approved by the dean. The appropriately organized dossier should include:
- A Biographical Data Sheet.
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
- Performance evaluations for the preceding four years.
- A personal statement describing teaching and/or research as well as service accomplishments, present work and future directions. The statement should not be used solely to call attention to achievements that are listed elsewhere in the curriculum vitae, but rather should provide the context, goals and progress for the person’s research or teaching program,
- Personal statements should include the candidate’s contributions to the unit/center, College and the University. The candidate should also provide evidence of efforts to remain current in their field.
- If the assignment includes other duties (e.g., administrative responsibilities), the statement is an opportunity to describe and discuss contributions in this area as well.
- The length of this statement should be a maximum length of three pages (in at least 10 point font). (AC23 and Administrative Guidelines for AC23).
- If an area, either teaching or research, is not part of the job description, the statement need not address that area.
Candidates engaged in teaching should assemble information pertinent to the scholarship of teaching and learning as itemized in the University Guidelines for AC23 and the material on The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the College of Health and Human Development Tenure Line Faculty Promotion and Tenure Guidelines. The dossier should include:
- A listing of courses taught in any format, including enrollment, mean quality of course and quality of instructor ratings from the Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTEs), enrollment number, and response rates from the SRTEs over the prior 5 years.
- At least one additional form of information gathered from students (e.g., summary of student comments from SRTEs, summary of formal end-of-semester or exit surveys).
- At least one form of information gathered from peers (e.g., observation of classroom instruction, feedback on class materials for online or resident instruction).
- A teaching portfolio prepared by the candidate. A teaching portfolio may include a narrative description of the teaching assignments, a statement of teaching philosophy, evidence of class materials (syllabus, assignments, etc.), examples of feedback provided to students, course or curriculum proposals developed, applications for funding of teaching scholarship, description of efforts to improve teaching, examples of teaching innovations implemented, and other similar items that demonstrate the candidate’s scholarship of teaching and learning.
Candidates engaged in research should provide information pertinent to the scholarship of research and creative accomplishment as itemized in the University Guidelines for AC23. This will include:
A listing of:
- articles appearing in refereed journals, books and parts of books along with a brief description of the candidate’s contributions to these works,
- reports to sponsors, manuscripts accepted for publication,
- professional presentations,
- internal and external grant activity, inventions, patents
- other evidence of research achievement.
- three to five reprints or preprints of research and/or scholarly work that illustrates their program of research;
All candidates shall provide information pertinent to the scholarship of service to the University, society, and the profession including a listing of relevant administrative, outreach, and service assignments and activities, as itemized in the University Guidelines for AC23.
Dossiers for promotion to Research Professor must also include a minimum of four letters of assessment from qualified external reviewers chosen using the procedures for selection of external evaluators outlined in the guidelines for AC23.
Specific to the College of Health and Human Development, the following guidelines apply to solicitation of external letters of evaluation:
The Dean will receive from the academic unit head a list of ten unique potential evaluator names, five (5) names provided by the candidate, three (3) by the academic unit review committee, and two (2) by the academic unit head. The list will be provided in alphabetical order, will indicate whether each name was provided by the candidate, committee or head, and will include a one-paragraph rationale (that includes a summary of the individual’s relevant academic credentials) as to why that individual would be an appropriate reviewer. The Dean will choose six (6) names from this list.
Relatives, former teachers, students of the candidate and anyone else who is not in a position to provide a fair and impartial assessment (such as co-workers, coauthors/ investigators) should be avoided as referees.
In general, references should be senior-level faculty from research universities similar to Penn State.
Faculty members shall provide the following materials to be sent to external reviewers:
- an up-dated curriculum vitae (CV);
- three to five reprints or preprints of research and/or scholarly work that illustrates their program of research; and
- one-and-a-half-page research statement summarizing the context of their program of research. The statement should not be evaluative but rather should provide the context, goals and progress for the person’s research program. Consistent with University guidelines on the dossier narrative, the candidate can elect to explicitly describe the impact of the COVID pandemic on their research program in this research statement following University guidelines (found on the VPFA Promotion and Tenure webpage).
The candidate may assemble a file of supplementary materials that relate to the contributions that the candidate has made in teaching, research, or service, e.g., books, additional reprints, a teaching portfolio (if not required above), the one-page research statement prepared for the external reviewers, etc., to be made available upon request to all levels reviewing the dossier.
College-Level Review Committee
Only full-time non-tenure line faculty members are eligible to serve on and vote for the members of the review committee.
The college committee will consist of at least five members.
The breakdown of committee members is based on the ratio of teaching faculty to research faculty in the college. These numbers should be reviewed periodically and adjusted accordingly.
- To avoid tie votes, it is recommended that the committee have an odd number of members. A tie vote is considered to be a negative recommendation.
Each unit/center will nominate up to two faculty members who would qualify, (i.e., non-tenure line faculty members at the rank of associate teaching professor, associate research professor or above)
A ballot with those nominated will be distributed to all non-tenure line faculty eligible to vote.
- Faculty members will be asked to choose a specific number from the nominated teaching faculty and a specific number from the nominated research faculty based on the ratio of teaching to research faculty in the college
- Those with the most votes will make up the college committee. If two faculty from the same unit or center are voted in, the faculty member with the higher number of votes will be retained and the faculty member next on the list, not in the same unit, will be included. This is done in an effort to have broad representation on the committee.
Committee members will serve a term of one year.
The dean will appoint the chair of the committee.
Only faculty of higher rank than the candidate may make recommendations about promotions.
- If there should be insufficient numbers of higher-ranked fixed-term faculty, exceptions to this provision may be permitted by the Executive Vice President and Provost at the request of the dean:
- to “borrow” fixed term professors from other colleges to ensure there a sufficient number on the committee; or
- to have tenured professors serve on the committee during the exception year.
Unit/Center Review Committees
- Each academic unit or research center will establish a review committee to conduct promotion reviews for faculty members in that unit or center.
- Review committees shall have at least three members.
- Academic unit and research center committees should include as many non-tenure line faculty as possible.
- Only faculty of higher rank than the candidate may make recommendations about promotions.
- If necessary or desirable, research centers may create one center review committee that has members from different centers.
- The unit/center review committees will consider HHD’s Additional Guidance for Academic Unit and College-level P&T Committees in the College of Health and Human Development When Evaluating COVID-related Impact in P&T Reviews when conducting reviews AY2022-23 period.
Conflict of Interest
In situations where a legitimate conflict of interest exists (e.g., committee member is a relative, partner, or significant other to the candidate being considered for promotion), the committee member will abstain and not be present for the discussion or vote.
In situations where the conflict involves the academic unit head or research center director, the unit/center committee and the unit head or center director will both be excused from providing a recommendation to the dean.
- The dean and the human resources strategic partner shall select a separate ad hoc committee consisting of three (3) members currently serving on other promotion committees within the College either at the academic unit, research center level or college level to provide the dean with an independent judgment.
- The dean and the human resources strategic partner shall select the substitute unit head/center director from other college academic administrators.
The dean’s staff will oversee and coordinate this process.
A candidate’s academic unit head or research center director is responsible for recommending a candidate for promotion. Each unit/center shall determine the process that leads to a recommendation for promotion by the academic unit head or center director.
Academic unit/research center funds will be used to support promotions. Prior to submitting the candidate for review, the academic unit head or center director should confirm that programmatic and financial support of this possible promotion is available.
Because expectations for non-tenure line faculty are usually quite different than those for tenure line faculty, academic unit heads or center directors should clarify the candidate’s responsibilities to all committee members, in writing, before the review is undertaken.
There is a shared responsibility between the faculty member and the academic unit head or center director for the preparation of materials. The candidate is expected to supply in a timely manner, complete and accurate materials for the documentation (dossier). The academic unit head or center director will be responsible for presenting the candidate’s documentation.
The academic unit head or center director will discuss with the dean and the human resources strategic partner the names of the candidates being considered for promotion prior to beginning the review process using the timeline indicated below. These names will be forwarded to the dean’s staff.
Once the materials are compiled, the academic unit or research center committee will review them and write a review and recommendation based on the candidate’s responsibilities. The committee vote will be included in the review, as well as a minority option statement, if the vote is not unanimous. The materials and the written review of the unit/center committee will then be submitted to the academic unit head or research center director.
The academic unit head or research center director will, in turn, write a review and make a recommendation. The academic unit head or center director will forward all of the materials to the college committee.
The college committee will review the dossiers and write a review and recommendation based on the candidate’s responsibilities. The committee vote will be included in the review, as well as a minority option statement, if the vote is not unanimous. Once their report is completed, all materials will be forwarded to the dean for review.
The dean will review the candidate’s dossier and prior level recommendations and make a decision.
At any stage of the review process, if a level of review disagrees with the prior level (e.g., academic unit head or center director disagrees with the academic unit or center committee; dean disagrees with college committee), consultation must occur before a decision is made and the fact that the consultation took place should be mentioned in writing in the review by the person or group that initiated it so that there is a record documenting that the appropriate process took place.
- IX. Feedback
Letter from the Dean
Feedback to the candidate will complete the review process. The dean’s letter of evaluation shall be addressed to the candidate, with copies forwarded to the appropriate unit head/center director.
Meeting with Candidate
- University policy does not oblige Unit Heads to meet with candidates. However, the college strongly encourages Unit Heads to meet with all candidates, successful and unsuccessful, as soon as possible after the review process is completed to discuss the review.
- Although review reports are not automatically shared with candidates., in accordance with HR60, candidates may request to review all aspects of their file (except for external reviews), including these reports.
- X. Professor of Practice
This rank is limited to those individuals who are non-tenure-track faculty and who typically do not have a traditional academic background, but have had a very high profile career. The title of professor of practice is reserved for persons who have accumulated a decade or more of high level, leadership experience in the private or public sectors outside the academy that would provide a unique background and wealth of knowledge that is of particular value as it is shared with the University’s students and other faculty.
Prior to an offer being extended to an individual being considered for the professor of practice title, the dean shall consult with, and receive approval from, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
- Timetable for Non-Tenure Line Promotion Reviews
Academic Year Prior to Year of Review (All deadline dates are on or before)
April 1 The Dean’s Office provides the academic head/center director with a list of faculty finishing their fourth year in-rank during the current academic year, who will be eligible for a thorough assessment of readiness for promotion review in the upcoming academic year.
June 15 Updated academic unit tenure and promotion guidelines submitted to the Dean’s Office.
July 1 Updated college and academic unit tenure and promotion guidelines are submitted to the Provost’s Office.
July 1 Academic unit heads/center directors provide the Dean’s Office with a list of candidates moving forward for actual promotion review in the upcoming academic year. This will include both candidates being recommended by the academic unit head/center director and candidates at the second rank asking to move forward for consideration after five-years in rank. Names of external reviewers must accompany the names of any research professor candidates forwarded to Dean’s Office to move forward for promotion review.
August 1 Materials for distribution to external reviewers due to Dean’s Office
August 15 Packets sent to external reviewers by Dean’s Office
Academic Year of Review (All deadline dates are on or before)
Sep 1 Nominations due from academic units for NTT College Promotion Review Committee
Sep 15 Elections for NTT College Promotion Review Committee open – ballot submission can continue for one-week
Oct 1 Membership lists of college and academic unit promotion and tenure review committees are submitted to the Provost’s Office.
Oct 15 College tenure and promotion workshop for academic unit and research center staff as well as NTT faculty undergoing review (other NTL faculty may also attend if interested).
Mar 15 Academic unit/research center review committee and academic unit head review completed and dossier forward to Dean’s Office
May 1 College committee review completed and dossier forwarded to the Dean’s Office
June 1 Dean’s review completed and candidate notified of the decision in writing, with the academic unit head/center director copied. Academic unit heads are encouraged to meet with candidates sometime after notification. Candidates may also review committee, academic unit head, and dean’s reports upon request (to Dean’s Office).
June 15 All annual reviews for faculty not undergoing promotion review are to be completed with summary evaluations results reported to HHD HR.