UMM Tenure and/or Promotion

DATE: 1/85, 03/01
Section: Tenure and/or Promotion UMM Criteria/Procedures

Criteria for Granting of Tenure or Promotion
Criteria and procedures (at the divisional level) are developed by each division, subject to the President’s approval (or arbitration) and are established in keeping with Articles 9 and 10 of the UM/AFUM Agreement (1999-2001).
In applying these criteria, evaluators should take into consideration the area, the level, and the kind of teaching which is the particular assignment of the candidate being evaluated. Candidates may share a combination of teaching roles, or may also be departmental administrators.
Judgments concerning the quality of a candidate’s contributions are fully intended to be a feature of this system of evaluation. However, it is hoped that sufficient checks and balances are present in the system to offset an occasional bias or error on the part of the individual evaluator. The broad range of criteria will also make it possible for all areas of excellence to be taken into consideration in the making of more accurate and fair decisions concerning the granting of tenure or promotions.
The key to the weighing of broad criteria areas such as those enumerated above rests upon three considerations: the nature of the institution, the needs and directions of the department or unit, and the interest and abilities of the individual being evaluated. The mix of these three considerations amounts to a contrast whether written or unwritten, and it shall be the function of evaluators to individualize their judgments accordingly for each person they are asked to evaluate. There probably is no such thing as a flawless system of criteria which can substitute for human and humane intelligence, nor should we assume that these criteria can provide either legal perfection or infallibility in evaluators. The question for evaluators is whether or not, with criteria and procedures known and understood, it is possible for them to provide evaluations which are professionally fair and personally honest. On the other hand, for those being evaluated, the critical issue is whether or not a consensus of such evaluations may not serve as more valid basis for the awarding of tenure or promotions than any which have been used previously.
In the case of tenure, the Board of Trustees of the University of Maine has adopted as its own policy the A.A.U.P. 1968 Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure. These regulations state that “The total period of full-time service prior to the acquisition of continuous tenure will not exceed seven year, including all previous full-time service ith the rank of Instructor or higher in other institutions of higher learning (except that the probationary period may extend to as much as four years, even if the total full-time service in the profession thereby exceeds seven years….). “A faculty member shall be considered for tenure in their sixth year of service unless they indicate in writing to the Chairperson, dean or director their intent to resign at the end of their current appointment. (Article 9, section B 1. of the Agreement).” In addition, tenure ordinarily will not be awarded below the associate professor level or its equivalent. It is in an instructor’s initial contract with the University that credit for prior experience is determined. “The specific assignment of prior credit will be part of the letter received at the time of initial appointment. The time credited as probationary years with regard to service at other institutions of higher education, whether units of the University of Maine System or not, shall not exceed three years.” (Board of Trustees, 3/85) However, it is UMM policy that any faculty member must accumulate a total of six (6) full semesters at UMM before being allowed to make application for tenure. (Faculty Meeting, 29 Oct 1984). While all faculty who have fulfilled the probationary period will be considered for tenure, earlier consideration (and granting of tenure) is possible. The Board of Trustees of the University of Maine requests letter of support of each tenure nomination (limited to three in each category) as follows: 1) internal to campus; 2) internal to UMS but external to campus, and 3) external to UMS.
Procedures for Making Decisions on Tenure and Promotions
Since there are several steps in the process of making decisions concerning tenure and promotions, the reader should defer to Article 9, Section C, of the Agreement for an outline of them. At UMM the President has designated the Faculty Professional Relations Committee as the next level of review and recommendation following the decision chair. That committee passes the material received and its recommendations on to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and sends a copy of its recommendation to the faculty member evaluated.
Materials submitted by a candidate in support of his or her request for promotion and/or tenure shall include a summary of student evaluations, a self-evaluation, and information in the following biographical categories:

  • Name
  • Present rank and length of time in rank
  • Proposed rank or tenure status
  • Education: colleges, degrees earned, present status
  • Professional experience history: job titles, employers, dates
  • Research interests and productivity
  • Scholarly publications list and/or creative productions
  • Campus service activities
  • Public service activities
  • Professional activities: memberships, offices, honors

See promotion and tenure application timetable for deadline dates.
The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs forwards each year to the VPAA a sample format to be used by each nominee for their tenure presentation outline as it is to be submitted to the Chancellor’s Office. Copies of the sample format may be obtained from the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The Chair of the Professional Relations Committee may seek additional documentation from division chairs or candidates when necessary. The candidate can also present information directly to the committee either in written form or by appearing before the committee at his or her own initiative.
The Faculty Professional Relations Committee will evaluate each candidate and committee members will make recommendations by means of secret written ballots. The Chairperson of the Committee will deliver the results of committee evaluations and all supporting data will include a summary of factors considered by the Committee during its evaluation, especially when the candidate does not appear to meet the specifications for the proposed rank in one or more respects. The candidate will be informed, in writing, of the Committee’s recommendations in his or her particular case, and will be sent a copy of the report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs about his particular case. Aside from notification to the VPAA and each candidate of the actions of the Committee, the deliberations and recommendations of the Committee will not, under any circumstances, be discussed outside of the Committee meetings, except by specific vote of the Committee or in response to a specific formal request from the President.
At this point, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may conduct his/her own inquiries if, in his/her opinion, documentation is incomplete or opinion is divided. The candidate may meet with the Vice President for Academic Affairs to submit supplementary information or otherwise discuss his/her case, either at the VPAA’s invitation or following the candidate’s request. The VPAA will then add his/her own evaluations and observations, and pass along all materials to the President for his/her final decision. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will also send a copy of his/her recommendations to the candidate, and in the case of an unfavorable recommendation the reasons for making that recommendation.
In arriving at his/her decisions, the President may call upon the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Professional Relations Committee, the Division Chair, the Division Peer Committee, and the candidate for consultation in individual cases. The candidate may discuss his/her application with the President after requesting a meeting with that official.
The President’s notification of his/her decision will include a summary of the factors which contributed to the favorable decision and note any areas in which future improvement would be desirable.
In cases where the decision on promotion and/or tenure has been unfavorable, the President’s summary to the concerned faculty member should indicate areas where further professional development is necessary and desirable. These comments should be stated in terms specific enough so that the individual may use them to improve professionally. If possible, the President is to make help and resources available to bring about desired development of the faculty concerned.
A faculty member who has received an unfavorable decision on a request for promotion and/or tenure may appeal in accordance with Article 14 Grievance Procedures of the UM/AFUM Agreement, 1989-92.
Withdrawal of Application
Any candidate for promotion and/or tenure who has made early application may withdraw his or her application at any time during the process, from its initiation through that time when the President makes his final decision. Withdrawal of an application by a candidate may be done for any reason, and the candidate is under no obligation to express his/her reasons for doing so. Withdrawal of an application will not affect considerations of applications made later by that same applicant.