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Promotion to Associate Professor

Ad Hoc Committee Guidelines: Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure and Tenure Only for Newly-Hired Associate Professor and Professor

  1. The basic university criteria for promotion to associate professor and granting of tenure are “excellence in carrying out the responsibilities of the position and unusual promise for continued achievements.” (Academic Appointment Manual, Page 2.3).
  2. Ad hoc committee members are selected by the Dean. The committee membership is not revealed except in the confidential report by the Dean to the university administration. The ad hoc committee report is confidential, and anonymity of the membership is essential. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the ad hoc committee to call meeting(s) of the committee and coordinate the preparation of the committee's report to the Dean. The meeting may be via video conference.
  3. You are asked to:
    1. Evaluate the performance of the candidate based on the documentation presented by the Department.
    2. Work with the Senior Associate Dean to secure necessary additional information from the candidate, the candidate’s department, or sources off campus.
  4. Your evaluation of the candidate should answer, but need not be limited to, the following questions:
    1. What does the evidence reveal about the performance of the candidate since the initial appointment?
    2. What does the evidence reveal about the promise of the candidate over the next 10-20 years?
    3. Is this person among the ablest and most promising individuals that Cornell could expect to attract to this position?
  5. Your report to the Dean should include:
    1. The procedures followed by the ad hoc committee in developing its recommendation.
    2. Your recommendation concerning appointment to tenure, and your primary reasons for this recommendation.
    3. Any supplemental documents gathered during your review.
    4. Signatures of all members of the committee or, if this is not feasible, the signature of the chair with the indication that other members of the committee have reviewed and have received a copy of the report.
    5. Ad hoc committee letters may be submitted electronically via Cornell Dropbox to the Senior Associate Deans office. All electronic material must be deleted immediately afterwards from your computer(s).
  6. Ad Hoc Committees,” Section 2.10a, Cornell University Academic Appointment Manual.

When a positive recommendation for a tenure promotion is received from a chairperson of a department, the dean must appoint an ad hoc committee to serve as an advisory body in the deliberations. When the recommendation is negative, the dean may also consult an ad hoc committee.

In recruiting faculty members from outside the University for tenure appointments, it is sometimes important to act quickly. In such cases, the dean may forego the normal ad hoc committee process and seek advice from outside the department by whatever mechanism is deemed appropriate.

In smaller colleges of the University which do not have a normal departmental structure the dean may want to have the ad hoc committee report before the tenured faculty considers the promotion and make the report available to the faculty in their deliberations.

The ad hoc committee must consist of no fewer than three members, either from inside or outside the University. Where feasible, the inclusion of external scholars is recommended. Members of the department from which the recommendation for tenure originated are not eligible to serve. If possible, at least one of the members of the committee should be selected from outside the college of the candidate.

The charge to the committee should be broadly outlined by the dean. In making their decision, the members of the committee should take into account any criteria for promotion promulgated by the college or provided to the candidate in the original letter of appointment. In accordance with University policy, no consideration or discussion can be given to sex, marital status, race, ethnic background, religion, or age (although the length of time since the degree is a legitimate factor in considering the amount of work that has been accomplished.)

In its evaluation the committee uses the material supplied by the department and the dean. If it believes that adequate information has not been supplied, it may request additional information from internal or external sources. The committee members evaluate the evidence and the candidate’s scholarly work to the degree they are qualified to do so. Expert opinion from scholars in the field outside Cornell may also be sought. The committee should focus on the excellence of the candidate’s scholarship, teaching, and service and the potential for future contribution to the department.

To eliminate any confusion about the basis for its decision, the committee should concern itself only with the qualification of the candidate, not with other factors such as department staffing patterns, tenure ratios, or the future of a particular sub discipline. If advice on these matters is required, the dean should seek it by another procedure or by giving a separate charge to the committee, requiring a separate report.

The ad hoc committee should submit a written report to the dean by the due date outlined by the dean . If more time is necessary, the committee should formally request an extension. The department chairperson and the candidate should be informed of any delays.

To promote open consideration of the candidate within the ad hoc committee, its report is confidential, and anonymity of the membership is essential. Under no circumstance should the candidate have access to the report, even if the names of the committee are deleted.

To preserve anonymity, the committee may make requests for additional information from the department through the dean. The report is a college document and will be returned to the dean after the final decision has been made.