Faculty Reviews: Probationary

Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities; Associate Dean for the Natural, Mathematical, and Social Sciences

Key Contacts 

If you have questions, please contact yourDepartmentHuman Resources Representative. 


Probationary tenure-track faculty 

Policy Purpose  

Each year the DEO or a departmental committee reviews every non-tenured, tenure-track faculty member in the department.  The review provides the faculty member with an assessment of their performance in teaching, scholarly or creative work, and professional service. The review ensures that the faculty member receives the guidance necessary for meeting promotion and tenure standards, but it does not in any way prejudge the review for promotion and tenure. 

Policy Description  

Deadlines for Transmission to the College 

Using Workflow, theDEO forwards probationary review materials(including a current CV)to the Dean's Office in March, by dates established each year by the College. For third-year contract-renewal reviews, the Dean and Associate Deans discuss the review materials and make a recommendation to the Provost on renewal of the contract.

First Year of Initial Three-year Contract 

The faculty member receives an abbreviated review in the spring semester, including an evaluation of teaching. 

Second-year Review 

The faculty member receives a review based on their record in teaching and scholarly or creative work since the appointment began. The primary purpose of the review is to advise the faculty member on how well they are progressing toward meeting departmental and collegiate expectations of a tenurable record. The review report should outline substantive suggestions and specific expectations for teaching, research, and service. 

In rare cases, it may be clear during the second-year review that the department is extremely unlikely to make a positive recommendation for contract renewal in the third-year review. If the Office of the Dean and the Office of the Provost approve a departmental recommendation that the third year be the final year of appointment, the faculty member receives a notice of termination from the Dean. According to University policy, a faculty member who has been in a tenure-track position for two or more years must receive at least 12 months' notice of non-renewal (Operations Manual, III-12.2).

Third-year Contract-renewal Review 

The faculty member receives a comprehensive review that covers the entire period since the initial appointment. University policy states that this review will "take into account the faculty member's proven teaching effectiveness and research productivity and potential. It also should include an evaluation of departmental, collegiate, and university educational goals and a determination of the likely role of the faculty member in achieving those goals" (Operations Manual, III-10.1a(4)(a)). The review addresses the question, "Is this individual making appropriate progress toward a tenure review that is likely to have positive results?" 

The process used in this review parallels the process described in theCLAS/UI Procedures for Promotion and Tenure Decision Making, with two important differences being that external evaluations of the faculty member’s creative or scholarly work are not sought, and the DEO letter is always shown to the faculty member. The DEO creates a timeline for the review that allows the process to be completed, including the submission of the faculty member’s response to the review report, by the College’s deadline, which falls early in March each year. 

With the advice of the DEO, the faculty member being reviewed for contract renewal compiles and submits a dossier containing:

  • acurrent CVandsummary of their teaching record, both following the Collegiate models; 
  • a statement of accomplishments and future plans in teaching, scholarly/creative work, and service (ordinarily not to exceed four pages); 
  • course materials; 
  • student evaluations of teaching; 
  • for joint appointees, the original agreement between the faculty member and the DEOs concerning teaching and service contributions to each unit, and any subsequent revisions of or additions to that agreement; 
  • completed scholarly/creative work; 
  • scholarly/creative work in progress (in cases where a book not yet in print will be part of the eventual promotion and tenure dossier, the dossier must include the current draft, with the College'sChecklist on Progress toward Publication of a Book); and 
  • other materials allowed under the Collegiate/University Procedural Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Decision-making. 

The departmental review committee must have at least three members, and preferably four. (If the candidate holds a joint appointment in another department or college, the structure of the review committee and of the DCG discussion and vote will be determined according to the current memorandum of understanding between the college(s), the departments, and the faculty member and according to the principles expressed in the Collegiate/University procedures for promotion and tenure decision-making,Appendix E, part 1.) 

The review committee's report (ordinarily not to exceed four pages) addresses thecriteriaof the department, the College, and the University for the rank of associate professor. It provides informative and useful evaluation of progress made to date and work that remains before the faculty member reaches tenure review. The review report includes as appendices the written records of classroom observations conducted for this and earlier probationary reviews. 

The faculty member has the right to respond within five days of receiving the review report, and the response will be included in the record available to the departmental consulting group. 

The departmental consulting group (DCG), consisting of all associate and full professorsin the department, meets to discuss the report and the faculty members record, with the chair of the review committee chairing the DCG. The DCG votes by secret ballot on whether to renew the contract through the year of the tenure decision or to offer the faculty member a one-year terminal contract. A 60% majority of those present for the discussion and vote defines a positive recommendation for contract renewal. 

In a letter to the Dean (copied to the faculty member under review), the DEO reports the vote of the DCG and makes their independent assessment and recommendation. (No separate summary of the DCG discussion is required.) The DEO’s letter is forwarded to the Dean's Office early in March, with the materials specified in theChecklist of Third-year Probationary Review Materials. If the DCG vote or the DEO recommendation is negative, the faculty member has the right to respond in a letter to the Dean (with a copy to the DEO), within five days of receiving the DEO’s letter. 

The Dean and Associate Deans of the College discuss these materials and then transmit them to the Office of the Provost with the College's recommendation on contract renewal. The Associate Dean for the Area writes a response to the review, addressed to the DEO and copied to the faculty member, concerning issues raised in the review. 

The Provost makes the final decision on contract renewal. 

Fourth-year Review 

The faculty member receives a review that concentrates on the previous year's activities, assessing progress made since the third-year review and progress still to be made for the tenure review. 

Fifth-year Review 

The fifth-year review advises the faculty member on progress still to be made for the tenure review. During this review, the department should begin planning for the tenure review, including consideration of potential external referees. 

Sixth-year Tenure Review 

The faculty member undergoes a comprehensive review of teaching, scholarship or creative work, and service from the time of the initial appointment (see theCLAS/UI Procedures for Promotion and Tenure Decision Making).

For jointly appointed faculty, the review committee must have access to the original agreement between the DEOs of the jointly appointing units and the probationary faculty member concerning their teaching and service commitments to each unit. Since these agreements may be updated annually, the review committee must also have access to any revisions of the original agreement. 

The DEO provides a copy of the assessment to the probationary faculty member, who may respond in writing. The response is transmitted to the Office of the Dean as part of the review file. 




See above 


Checklist of Third-year Probationary Review Materials 

Checklist on Progress toward Publication of a Book 

Frequently Asked Questions  

Is a classroom observation required for probationary reviews?

Yes. The First-, Second-, Fourth-, and Fifth-year probationary reviews require a classroom observation. The Third-year Contract-renewal review requires the number of classroom observations required for promotion and tenure.

Related Information 


Revision History