VII.4. Probationary Faculty and the Personnel Process

The University’s investment in a faculty member is supported and protected by the integrity of the probationary period. It is during this time frame that the potential of a junior faculty member will unfold into actuality, while offering the department the opportunity to encourage that individual’s career investment at NIU. Issues of department climate and professional mentoring are important; however, without a consistent and honest process of evaluation and feedback these alone are insufficient. In this regard, the NIU Constitution and Bylaws, Article 6.21 requires that newly hired faculty are given clear statements of the criteria and policies for personnel decisions within the department; these include the criteria for tenure and promotion. Faculty members are also entitled to receive regular notification of personnel recommendations that affect them; and they have the right of reconsideration of any recommendation at the department level before it is submitted to the college. In addition, the Constitution and Bylaws, Article 5.17 holds that “[n]ontenured faculty in tenure-track positions shall be entitled to receive annually a written evaluation of their progress toward the achievement of tenure.” Requirements of this procedure, including the importance and timing of the third-year review, are further detailed in the Constitution and Bylaws, Article 5.4.