VII.3. Tenure and Promotion

The chair plays a major role in documenting the case for promotion and tenure. Articles 5.3 and 5.4 of the Bylaws give clear guidelines for promotion and tenure criteria and do not require repeating here. The faculty personnel process at Northern Illinois University is a dual track system with faculty and administrators comprising the two distinct tracks and each track composing distinct evaluations. This system originates at the department level and progresses through the college and university levels to final on-campus recommendation by the president. Constitution and Bylaws, Article 5.11.

The tenure and promotion evaluation begins in the Fall semester of the review year with the department vote and recommendations from the tenured faculty and the department chair. To ensure that the candidate's review is fair and thorough, the department should start gathering material in the previous Spring semester. The candidate is responsible for completing Part I of the Cover Sheet and Application for Recommendation of Promotion and Tenure. She or he also provides the department Personnel Committee with a current curriculum vitae and copies of publications. At this time, the department chair is responsible for the selection of and invitation to a set of external reviewers (see Working Rules of the University Council Personnel Committee, Section II, Item 18, 7.0). Suggestions for external reviewers may be solicited from the candidate; however, the identity of those external reviewers who accept the department's invitation must remain confidential. The candidate is allowed to view copies of the review letters, provided all identifying information is carefully redacted. Invitations to external reviewers should be made by the chair only, following the guidelines included in the UCPC Working Rules.

Following the vote for the department's recommendation for promotion and tenure, the chair is responsible for the completion of Part II of the Cover Sheet and Application for Recommendation of Promotion and Tenure, following the directives of the UCPC Working Rules, Section II, Item 18, 6.0.

If the candidate is being recommended for early promotion and tenure, a separate letter is needed from the chair explaining the extraordinary nature of the candidate's performance. In addition, if there is disagreement between the chair's recommendation and that of the department, a statement describing the nature of the disagreement must be included in the packet that is forwarded to the college.

In the case of a negative recommendation for promotion and tenure, the candidate has available an appeal process at all review levels. Details for the procedures and timelines are outlined in the college bylaws.

Under the university's commitment to faculty governance, the department has substantial authority over the retention, tenure, and promotion of its probationary faculty. Nevertheless, the college has administrative oversight to ensure that the department has made its recommendations according to its own criteria as approved by the dean and the college council. In accordance with the dual track personnel system, the dean makes a separate recommendation from that of the college council after reviewing the department's documentation and justification for its own recommendations. The bar for disagreement with the department's recommendation is high and requires that the college determines that there is substantial evidence that the department used inadequate or inappropriate professional standards in making its decision. To prevent an extended appeal process, the department chair should ensure that the annual review of all probationary faculty is fair and balanced in accordance with the department's tenure and promotion criteria and that the tenure and promotion recommendation itself is carried out with the same attention to professional standards.