- Committee Functions
- Committee Composition, Selection and Guidelines
- Standards and Criteria
- Information and Materials Considered for Evaluation
- Information and Resources Shared with Candidates
- Timing and Implementation
Consistent with the Office of the Provost advisory statement titled "College-Level Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee" as stated in the Faculty Handbook, this document provides information about:
- functions and role of the College-Level Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee (“CRPTC”);
- the membership of the CRPTC, including methods of selection;
- standards and criteria used by the CRPTC in reviewing academic unit1 recommendations;
- procedures used by the CRPTC in rendering advice to the Dean;
- information and materials to be made available to the CRPTC to conduct the reviews;
- information and materials shared with candidates.
The reappointment, tenure, and promotion (“RPT”) process for tenure system faculty is a critical component of the University's vision of an ever-improving faculty, dedicated to "...sustained, outstanding achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service across the mission, consistent with performance levels expected at peer universities."2
The College shares this vision, with a special appreciation for the great diversity of scholarly and pedagogical approaches that characterize the field of communication studies broadly defined. While scholarly agendas and academic unit expectations may differ greatly within the College, a common pursuit of excellence unites faculty across disciplinary and paradigmatic lines.
Central to the success of the RPT process and the concomitant pursuit of excellence is the need for well-articulated standards and expectations communicated clearly to candidates for RPT. The RPT process must be fair to candidates while serving the long-term needs of academic units, the College, and the University. The RPT process should evaluate excellence in performance as well as the unique attributes and experiences of each individual candidate (see Sections 7.h. and 7.g.).
The central mission of the CRPTC is to advise the Dean regarding RPT cases, and in so doing, to advance excellence and ensure fairness in the RPT process.
The purpose of the CRPTC is to advise the Dean of the College on all RPT recommendations made by academic units with particular reference to the following:
- the degree to which a candidate meets the RPT standards and expectations of the candidate’s academic unit;
- the degree to which a candidate meets the University’s (see Appendix A1) standards and expectations for RPT;
- the degree to which a candidate’s RPT case has been handled in a manner that is fair, equitable, and consistent with the specified procedures of the candidate’s academic unit;
- the degree to which a candidate’s RPT file contains adequate documentation for review by the Office of the Provost.
- The CRPTC will consist of one tenured Full Professor from each of the five academic units in CCAS. CRPTC members’ names should be shared publicly in a college-wide memorandum and on the CRPTC Guidelines microsite annually in the College.
- Each CRPTC member will be selected according to the bylaws governing elections in each academic unit and will serve a two-year term (in the inaugural year, two committee members from randomly selected academic units will serve a one-year term).
- In cases in which an elected committee member cannot serve an entire two-year term, academic units will elect a successor as needed.
- No member will serve more than two consecutive terms.
- CRPTC terms will be staggered so that no more than three members are new to the Committee in any given year.
- CRPTC members should be impartial reviewers of candidates' files, as well as a potential source of information about academic unit procedures and standards.
- Members with financial and/or personal conflicts of interest should disclose this information early in the process and, in particular cases, will absent themselves with replacement.
- While all members of the CRPTC are expected to be sensitive to the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) in the University community, one CRPTC member will be designated as the primary DEI advocate in relation to cases that come before the CRPTC (see the Faculty Handbook for a similar discussion of ensuring diversity in the hiring process).
- CRPTC members will select a Chair and an Alternate Chair, both of whom will serve in this capacity for one year. The role of the Chair will be to receive RPT materials from the academic units, facilitate discussion and generally oversee the CRPTC process. The role of the Alternate Chair will be to assume the duties of the Chair in the event that the Chair and a candidate are from the same academic unit.
- The CRPTC will use the RPT standards and expectations of the candidate's home academic unit in assessing each candidate's performance.
- In some cases, these standards and expectations will be stated in academic unit bylaws; in other cases, additional or different standards and expectations will have been created especially for specific incoming faculty members that are typically articulated in the official offer letter and/or other official documents. In all cases, however, these standards and expectations must be (1) in writing, and (2) sufficiently clear and specific to enable a faculty member from outside the academic unit to make informed comparisons between the academic unit's standards and expectations and the candidate's performance.
- The College is keen on realizing its own and the University’s values for promoting DEI in research and creative endeavors, teaching, service, outreach, and engagement. The CRPTC will strive to consider metrics and standards of the academic unit alongside the individual candidate’s attributes and experiences as they relate to DEI, as well as other life experiences that potentially influenced the candidate’s performance. In accordance with University and College policies and guidelines, the CRPTC will consider each candidate’s contributions to DEI in the areas of evaluation (See Sections 7.h. and 7.g.).
- The CRPTC must also refer to the standards and expectations of the University in assessing a candidate's file. Those standards are excerpted from the University Statement on Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Recommendations and included in Appendix A1 of this document. The CRPTC must also consider University Statements on Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Recommendations by the Provost at the time of hiring and during the review period.
- The CRPTC also considers, in its evaluation of each candidate, their unique situation and context, specifically as it relates to the impact of individual, local, national, and global influences on the candidate’s performance in research and creative endeavors, teaching, service, outreach, and engagement including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and caregiving responsibilities, among other professional and personal circumstances (see Section 7.h.).
- The CRPTC will review all academic unit recommendations for RPT in the College.
- Following the Provost memorandum on Appointment, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Recommendations, the CCAS Dean disseminates a college-wide memorandum detailing their philosophy and expectations for RPT at the college level. Additionally, the Dean will share the names of CRPTC members by mid-September of each year in a memorandum to the College and on the CRPTC Guidelines microsite.
- Following each academic unit's recommendation, the academic unit chair or director will provide one copy of the candidate's RPT application and relevant documentation to the CRPTC Chair (described below in section 7). The deadline for receipt of these materials is the last Friday of January of each year.
- The Dean's Office staff will make the RPT materials available to members of the CRPTC and schedule meetings as needed.
- The Dean’s Office will designate appropriate staff members to provide support with initial and final review of each candidate‘s materials to ensure consistency across materials and arrange for any other necessary logistics and support.
- CRPTC members should have at least four working days to review the materials prior to the first meeting of the CRPTC. At this first meeting, the Committee will determine if the candidate’s application materials are complete or if additional information is needed to complete the review.
- CRPTC meetings will be closed when reviewing and discussing the candidate’s materials. All materials and Committee discussions will be treated with complete confidentiality.
- The CRPTC has the right to request any additional information from the academic unit and/or candidate that it deems relevant to the RPT process.
- The CRPTC will review the RPT materials and present a written analysis of the candidate's case to the Dean, supplemented by a summary vote as required by MSU’s Form on Progress and Excellence – Recommendation for Reappointment, Promotion, or Tenure Action. The CRPTC members’ vote will be administered in accordance with Robert’s Rule of Order (most recent edition). The CRPTC Chair will appoint a member of the CRPTC, who may or may not be from the candidate's home academic unit, to take the lead in writing each analysis. Other CRPTC members will either concur or add their own, separate statements
- This analysis will address:
- the degree to which each faculty member meets the RPT standards and expectations of their academic unit;
- the degree to which each candidate meets the University's standards and expectations for RPT.
- the degree to which each candidate’s RPT case has been handled in a manner that is fair, equitable, and consistent with the specified procedures of their academic unit;
- the degree to which each candidate’s RPT file contains adequate documentation for review by the Office of the Provost;
- any other advisory information that the CRPTC deems important for the Dean to be able to make an informed recommendation to the Office of the Provost.
- The CRPTC’s analysis will not be in the form of a determination for RPT. The Dean has and will have the sole responsibility for making that recommendation and may base it entirely, or in part, on the CRPTC’s analysis (See Appendix A2, especially the concluding paragraph for a statement of the Dean's responsibilities in this regard). In addition to providing a written analysis, the CRPTC will meet with the Dean no later than the third Friday in February of each year, as necessary, to discuss each candidate’s application and related matters.
- Throughout the CRPTC process, the candidate for RPT has the right to meet with the CRPTC to inquire about the process and provide additional information. The CRPTC could also invite the candidate for clarification as described in Section 7 below. Because the Dean, rather than the CRPTC, is responsible for making a recommendation for RPT, a candidate who wishes to appeal an academic unit recommendation must do so with the Dean rather than with the CRPTC.
- The Dean may reconvene the CRPTC for further discussion of candidate applications, including cases described in section 6.l. above.
- In conducting its analysis, the CRPTC will review the following information provided by the candidate's academic unit chair or director: (1) the candidate's file as defined in their academic unit; (2) academic unit standards and expectations for RPT including unit bylaws and/or RPT guidelines, official offer letter, and/or any other specific document that identifies standards and expectations for the candidate; (3) information about when and how the standards and expectations were first provided to the candidate; (4) any relevant written analysis of the candidate's performance, including copies of annual performance reviews; (5) the outcome of the academic unit vote (if any), and a description of how it was obtained; (6) chair or director's recommendation, and (7) any additional information that the academic unit chair or director considers relevant to the CRPTC’s decision.
- The CRPTC may request other information from the academic unit as needed, including, but not limited to, information about the quality of academic journals, venues for the presentation of creative and scholarly work, clarification about the evaluative process followed, including citation analyses, etc. The CRPTC will default to the academic unit’s standards for assessing the quantity and quality of scholarly output, metrics for teaching excellence, and evidence to service at the unit, college, and university levels.
- The CRPTC may invite the candidate or other individuals to a meeting of the Committee to gain additional understanding or clarification of materials or matters related to a candidate's application for RPT.
- External letters are a key component of a candidate's file, except in the case of reappointment, where they are not required. Each file should contain at least four letters from reputable and recognized external reviewers from peer institutions, i.e., "...leading research-intensive, land-grant universities of international scope" or their equivalent.
- The process by which external letters are solicited is to be determined by each unit in a manner that best reflects the communities of scholars to which its members contribute and its mission within the university. The process by which letters are solicited must be clearly specified in unit bylaws or other statements of governance principles and should reflect both the candidate's and the unit's interest in ensuring a fair and unbiased review of the candidate's case for tenure and/or promotion. Following is an example, intended for reference, of procedures that might be followed:
Example: External letters should be solicited in the following manner:
- The candidate and the academic unit RPT committee should each compile a list of 5-7 prospective external reviewers, per unit bylaws, guidelines, and procedures.
- The academic unit chair/director or the chair of the unit RPT committee, depending on unit guidelines and procedures, should select 2-3 reviewers from each of these lists, prepare materials to send out for review (with input from the candidate), and solicit and receive the letters. Materials sent to external reviewers could include the candidate’s reflective essay, the most recent curriculum vitae, and samples of scholarly and/or creative outputs. Other than offering suggestions for potential reviewers and consulting with the chair or director about materials to be sent out for review, the candidate is not to participate in this external-review process. The chair/director or unit RPT committee chair should provide external reviewers with necessary documents and instructions for conducting the review, including, but not limited to, the unit bylaws and/or RPT guidelines, the College RPT guidelines, the University’s Faculty Handbook: Appointment, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Recommendations, and any other specific instructions and matter worthy of consideration when evaluating the candidate’s profile, such as guidelines for evaluating contributions to DEI, core values related to conduct, and considerations for the impact of life experiences (e.g., COVID-19 impact).
- The academic unit chair or director will submit all letters received with the materials forwarded to CRPTC, along with a brief biographical profile of each external reviewer.
- The curriculum vitae is also a key component of the candidate's file.In preparation for its presentation to the CRPTC and the Office of the Provost, it should contain information that is accurate and is organized in a manner that is consistent with the standards of the candidate's discipline.Each academic unit is encouraged to define its standards for inclusion of information, accuracy, and organization of the curriculum vita.
- Per the University guidelines and standards, candidates may include, in various materials or specific documents, references to their contributions to DEI, core values related to conduct, and contributions to University, College, and Unit initiatives and strategic visions.
- Where applicable, the candidate can provide a specific statement articulating particular influences of their own attributes and experiences, e.g.,the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or other life experiences, on their accomplishments and trajectory.
- In evaluating candidates, the CRPTC will take a holistic approach to assessing the individual’s accomplishments in research and creative endeavors, teaching, service, outreach, and engagement while also taking into consideration their contributions to DEI.
The Dean’s Office, in collaboration with the CRPTC and the FacultyExcellence Advocate for the College, will disseminate, on an annual basis and through a permanent central microsite within the College’s website, the following materials related to the College RPTCommitteeProcess:
- The CRPTC Guidelines
- Updated annually, the College-wide timeline for RPT that incorporates University and academic unit timelines.
- Packet Checklist for documents required at varying stages of the Review Process.
- Direct links to each academic unit’s bylaws and/or RPT guidelines.
- Link to the annual Provost university-wide memorandum, also part of the FacultyHandbook:Appointment, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Recommendations
- Dean annual memorandum related to Appointment, Reappointment,Tenure, and Promotion Recommendations.
- Links to MSU’s Strategic Plan and DEI Strategic Plan.
- Links to the College Strategic Plan(s).
- Link to the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development (formerly the Academic Advancement Network).
- Updated annually or every two years, a sample Form on Progress and Excellence: Recommendation for Reappointment, Promotion, or Tenure Action (formerly Form D) and sample reflective essays for successful RPT cases from the College representing all three levels of reappointment, promotion to Associate Professor, and promotion to Full Professor.
- Rolling-average metrics for research and creative endeavors, teaching, service, outreach, and engagement at the College level, to be updated every three years.
- A calendar of University, College, and Academic Unit RPT-related events.
- University policies on Extending or Delaying Assistant Professor RPT Review.
- University and/or College policies, standards, and guidelines related to Recommendations for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, contributions to core values and conduct, and other resources dealing with varying impacts of life experiences (e.g., COVID-19 impact statements).
- FAQ regarding Faculty Grievance Procedure and link to University Policy on Faculty Grievance.
- Archival record of past versions of the CRPTC Guidelines.
The procedures described in this document will be in effect for RPT cases starting in the 2022-2023 academic year. In preparation for this procedural change, academic unit chairs or directors and prospective candidates are strongly encouraged to meet and ensure that RPT standards and expectations are clearly understood and in writing.
The Dean of the College shall approve these procedures based on the advice and recommendations of the College Advisory Council.
Appendix A1: University Expectations for Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure
1. General University Expectations
"[T]he MSU philosophy on tenure is a frame for our aspirations to achieve the highest standards of research and teaching, and of service and outreach. This philosophy guides the evolution of our tenure and promotion systems across all units of the University over time. The value proposition of these systems is that they support all who strive to achieve the highest standards so that society will learn and become better as a result.
Tenure, and the associated promotion processes for all faculty, represent systems determined by the people who have created them. They have established academic ‘winners’ measured, somewhat ironically, against the metrics of those who have gone before. This irony plays out further in that the cultural antagonist to a great institution is homophily. To resist this homophily, systems must be developed that enable scholarship and teaching to be viewed through the widest possible lens by the widest group of narrators. When tenure and promotion systems become regressive, scholarship is reduced to attributes of existing knowledge legitimized by those who have long held privilege. They then fail to imagine new possibilities in whose interest these systems were formulated (at best) and exclude new entrants into the systems who are most different from those for whom the systems were originally created (at worst). The intention of this memo is to invite the units responsible for tenure and promotion recommendations in the University community to engage in a new kind of thinking that establishes and values a new level of creation, invention, production, discovery, expression, and revelation about ourselves, our world, and our place in that world.
Our philosophy of tenure and shared values for the promotion of faculty requires regular evaluation of standards for transitions and retention as well as indicators for assessment at all parts of the pathway. In its purest form, tenure represents one milestone along a trajectory of academic achievement, and not a destination. In as much as accomplishments that advance the effectiveness, climate, and culture of the unit, college, university, and discipline are attributes for a positive outcome, significant or repeated behaviors that are inconsistent with these values are reasons for institutional interdiction at any point in the lifetime of a tenure-system/tenured faculty. Tenure can never be used as a shield to hide or permit behaviors unbecoming the title faculty. Moreover, the environment in which tenure is earned is therefore tested as part of the system as well. Thus, the standards we set for earning tenure are a reflection of the University writ large, a measure of the accomplishments of a person, and a measure of the success of all the tenured or promoted faculty as stewards of this process.
Additionally, our tenure structure holds levels of accountability or duties. The first duty is of the Institution to establish clear values upon which policy rests. If we are what we value, we must be able to measure that value and use those values in our decisions. Thus, the aspirations of each decision should rest on all the bedrocks of our purpose – research, teaching, service, outreach, and engagement. The second duty for all members of the MSU community engaged in the recruitment and development of faculty is to review all of the documents associated with tenure and promotion. Members of the college leadership are called upon to engage in meaningful guidance and to establish a posture that is expectant of success, even when the new scholarship emerges at angles orthogonal to work that may have gone before. The test of any department lies in the success of its recruitment, tenure, and promotion process, not in the exclusionary practices of winnowing academics. The final duty rests with the individual to shape and nurture the next generation of knowledge. This is a high bar – work, ideas, and products are concretized in papers, books, performance, or sculpture, but also ephemeral in the development of another scholar in the profession. The core of tenure is earned by the individual, the process is enabled by the College, and the Institution, writ large, bestows the final outcome.
There are additional duties of the individual to the institution that are associated with this process and they include a fidelity to the highest standards of faculty behavior, the enablement of a culture and climate that is respectful of all individuals and takes personal responsibility for behavior and the associated climate that is created. Behaviors unbecoming a member of the faculty erode confidence in the individual. Thus, it is our duty as a member of the MSU faculty to be accountable for our actions, to hear critique, to be self-reflective, and to come to the aid of those who are subject to the negative impacts that result from behaviors unbecoming. The consequence of inaction is born out in structural corrosion and results in a climate where the best work, best teaching, and best selves cannot be accomplished or realized. Thus, at each point of possible interdiction, we must work to enable individuals who believe in personal standards and accountability to the profession, to the Institution, and to those within their unit. These duties are tested daily, and failure may be self-evident and correctable, or may need to be corrected by outside entities. Behaviors that erode an individual, corrode a culture, and etch themselves onto the Institution, will eventually destroy the academy. Faculty members of MSU have a particular duty to hold themselves accountable. Institutional leaders have the duty to enumerate and hold the faculty accountable. These duties are within the purview of the reviews that occur in the context of appointment, annual reviews, reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
Indeed, the statement on Academic Freedom and Responsibility within the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Policy in the Faculty Handbook emphasizes that academic freedom and responsibility are intertwined; “Michigan State University endorses academic freedom and responsibility as essential to the attainment of the University’s goal of the unfettered search for knowledge and its free exposition. Academic freedom and responsibility are fundamental characteristics of the University environment and are always closely interwoven and at time indistinguishable.”
2. Specific University Expectations:
- Reappointment to a Second Probationary Appointment – Each reappointment recommendation should be based on clear evidence that a record is being established of progress toward becoming an expert of national and/or international stature, a solid teacher, and a contributing member of the unit, college, University, and/or discipline.
- Reappointment with Award of Tenure–Each tenure recommendation should be based on a clear record of sustained, outstanding achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service across the mission, consistent with performance levels expected at peer universities. The record should provide a basis in actual performance for predicting capacity to become an expert of national and/or international stature and long-term, high-quality professional achievement and University service.
- For the faculty member appointed initially asAssociate Professor on a probationary basis in the tenure system who has established such a record, the tenure recommendation is effective upon reappointment after one probationary appointment period.
- Extensions to theTenure Clock–Some candidates for reappointment, promotion, and tenure will have received an extension of the tenure clock by virtue of University policy. Under these circumstances, the criteria for reappointment, promotion, and tenure are the same as is true for the faculty member who has not received a tenure clock extension.
- Promotion fromAssistant Professor to Associate Professor with the Award ofTenure–A recommendation for promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor includes the award of tenure, and should be based on several years of sustained, outstanding achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service across the mission, consistent with performance levels expected for promotion to Associate Professor at peer universities. A reasonably long period in rank before promotion is usually necessary to provide a basis in actual performance for predicting capacity to become an expert of national and/or international stature and long-term, high-quality professional achievement and University service.
- Promotion to Professor–In as much as the University invests in an individual at the time of tenure, the measure of promotion to “Full” is the investment the individual has made in the University. As such, a recommendation for promotion from Associate Professor to Professor in the tenure system should be based on several years of sustained, outstanding achievements in scholarship and education across the mission, consistent with performance levels expected at peer universities. Moreover, it is an expectation that individuals should provide leadership within the department, mentorship to junior faculty and graduate students, teaching of undergraduates, service on committees, and contribute to a flourishing intellectual life for those in the broader discipline, unit, college, and Institution. A reasonably long period in rank before promotion is usually necessary to provide a basis in actual performance to permit endorsement of the individual as an expert of national and international stature and to predict continuous, long-term, high-quality professional achievement and University service. Asa tenured faculty member, a professor must not only demonstrate disciplinary excellence, but also demonstrate commitment and effectiveness in larger institutional missions such as improving culture, inclusiveness, and equity both in the academy but also more broadly in society.Innovation brought to teaching and interdisciplinary team building that enables broader groups of people from the widest possible disciplinary or college perspective are also part of a move from individual work to being a university professor. Such a responsibility is even greater for those who earn promotion to Full Professor.
- The Reflective Essay: Each candidate for reappointment, tenure, and/or promotion must include a maximum five-page reflective essay about accomplishments over the reporting period as a part of the dossier. This essay should highlight how accomplishments in research/creative activities, teaching, and service are significant and impactful and have contributed to the mission of Michigan State University. The Reflective Essay should not be a narrative of the individual’s CV, but rather provide information on how previous and current accomplishments represent excellence.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Efforts Related to Research/Scholarship/Creative/Performative Activities, Teaching Outreach, and Service: Because DEI are core values of Michigan State University, candidates should detail their DEI efforts, providing evidence of their activities and accomplishments in the context of research/creative activities, teaching, service, outreach, and engagement. Faculty should include evidence of their activities and accomplishments in DEI, as appropriate, when detailing information on relevant research/creative activities, teaching, and service in appropriate sections of their dossier. Faculty should describe how these efforts are interwoven and enhance all other areas of faculty accomplishment. Whenever applicable, faculty commitment to learning and engaging in DEI efforts will be recognized and considered in the RPT Certainly, scholars across campus engage in a myriad of research and teaching efforts, not all of which can incorporate DEI activities. Significant involvement in DEI efforts can be viewed as a metric for advancement.
- Core Values Related to Conduct: Accomplishments that advance the effectiveness, climate, and culture of the unit, college, and University, consistent with University core values, must be considered in these decisions, as must significant or repeated behaviors that are inconsistent with these values.”
Appendix A2: CCAS Dean Memorandum for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Recommendations in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences
The CCAS Dean memorandum for Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Recommendations is a statement of the Dean’s philosophy regarding RPT at the college level. The Dean’s memo does not articulate criteria and standards for evaluating RPT candidates. The CRPTC will ultimately rely on unit RPT standards and guidelines to evaluate each candidate for RPT.
Approved at College Faculty Meeting on 3-15-02.
Revised Fall 2005: Departmental Name Changes; Item #6. b. under
Procedures revised 10/18/05; and Item #7. d. under Information and Materials.
Revised 10/26/2007: Audiology Sciences & Disorders to new name; Item #2 under Preamble
Revised 05//13/2022: Language and substantive changes
1Academic units of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences are the Departments of Advertising and Public Relations; Communicative Sciences and Disorders; Communication; Media and Information; and the School of Journalism.
2The Faculty Handbook document titled Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Recommendations is fundamental in describing University expectations and standards for reappointment, promotion, and tenure recommendations. Parts 1 and 2 of Appendix A1 include especially important excerpts from this document.