Departments must have written policies for promotion to the rank of professor. These guidelines should align with campus policy and procedure found in Section 7.16 of Faculty Policies and Procedures, which was approved by the Faculty Senate in May 2021. In addition, Faculty Policies and Procedures requires that departments provide newly hired or promoted Associate Professors with the guidelines. (FPP 5.21.D.2)
A memo was sent to department chairs in August 2021 asking them to update their departmental policies to conform to FPP 7.16 by December 31, 2021.
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This page provides a information on the process for promotion from associate professor to professor at UW-Madison with each expandable panel providing information. The promotion from associate professor to professor process is outlined in Faculty Policies and Procedures 7.16. Department policies should align with the campus policy and any existing school/college policy. In addition to your department chair and associate deans in your school/college, Beth Meyerand, vice provost for faculty and staff, and Heather Daniels, secretary of the faculty, welcome your questions as you move through this process.
Each department has established a written policy on the criteria and procedures for promotion within each department. Schools and colleges may determine parameters for departmental policy. While the departmental policy need not establish absolute metrics of scholarship, it should define types of scholarly work (teaching, service, outreach/extension, and research/scholarly productivity) that are expected for promotion.
Faculty Policies and Procedures (FPP) requires that departments provide newly hired or promoted Associate Professors with the guidelines. (FPP 5.21.D.2)
Criteria for Promotion
In applying its professional judgment to the decision of whether to recommend promotion, the Council of Full Professors (typically consisting of full professors within the department; see the panel below called Departmental Promotion Review Process) must follow the departmental policy in the interest of improving the academic and professional quality of the department.
The Council of Full Professors may not decline to recommend promotion for any reasons which are legally impermissible or which violate principles of academic freedom.
The basic standard for review will be whether the faculty member under review has met criteria consistent with the rank of professor as established in its departmental guidelines. Special care should be taken to ensure that the scholarly productivity of jointly appointed and interdisciplinary faculty is appropriately evaluated.
The articulated standards in each department should be consistent with disciplinary conventions. Department standards for promotion should consider any additional documentation of responsibilities. In general, promotion should be based on the record of scholarly work (teaching, service, outreach/extension and research/scholarly productivity) and should not be taken solely for reasons of salary, status, retention, or years of service. These criteria and standards should be consistent with, and may be a subset of, those established under section Faculty Policies and Procedures 7.17.B. (“Post-Tenure Review: Criteria”).
Notwithstanding the responsibility of the department executive committees to provide for the guidance and mentoring of all faculty members, it is the faculty member’s responsibility to meet the criteria for promotion as determined by the department.
Faculty Policies and Procedures (FPP) 5.21.D requires that department executive committees consider each associate professor’s progress toward promotion to professor either during its periodic review of tenured faculty (including post-tenure review described in FPP 7.17) or separately.
Promotion must be considered no later than the first post-tenure review (performed in the fifth year). If promotion is not sought or granted at that time, the associate professor and department chair may mutually agree upon a timeline for reconsideration, not to exceed five years between reviews. If no agreement is made, the default reconsideration schedule will be once every year. An associate professor may direct the Council of Full Professors to consider them for promotion any time after their initial fifth-year post-tenure review.
If an associate professor being considered for promotion has a joint appointment, the department designated as the principal sponsor of the appointment will take the primary role in the evaluation process. The involvement of other department(s) in the review should follow the process outlined in the faculty member’s appointment letter or other agreement between the departments.
Departmental policy will outline the selection and number of references and confidentiality requirements.
If a department does not require letters, an associate professor may direct that outside letters be solicited and included in the promotion materials.
If a department adds a requirement for letters, an associate professor being considered for promotion in the year the change takes effect may opt to prepare their case without letters.
Departmental Promotion Review Process
The department’s Council of Full Professors (or a standing committee of a subset of a department’s full professors) makes recommendations on promotion from associate professor to professor to the dean. A minimum of three professors is required for a Council of Full Professors.
Any department that does not have at least three professors must appoint, by a vote of its executive committee, enough faculty at the rank of professor from other departments to meet this requirement. The appointed professor(s) will serve until there are at least three faculty at the rank of professor in the department.
A written summary of the associate professor’s work across all areas of scholarship (teaching, service, outreach/extension, and research/scholarly productivity) needs to be submitted to the Council of Full Professors before a vote is taken. Supporting materials outlined in the departmental policy (e.g., a current curriculum vitae, annual activity reports, publications, grant proposals, and other scholarship; summary of teaching and student evaluations; and evidence of service at UW-Madison and to the profession, outreach, governance, and administrative work) will be provided, primarily by the associate professor.
Approval of Promotion
The Council of Full Professors will meet to discuss and vote on promotion of associate professors. The vote should follow the procedures outlined in the departmental policy and be based on the record of scholarly work (in teaching, service, outreach/extension, and research/scholarly productivity), and should not be taken solely for reasons of salary, status, retention, or years of service.
Once the vote has been taken, the department chair notifies the faculty member of the decision in writing, within five business days. If the decision is adverse, reasons for the decision will be included. The associate professor may request reconsideration (see next panel).
If the decision is positive, the department chair transmits the recommendation from the Council of Full Professors to the dean. The dean will decide whether to accept the department’s recommendation, following school/college policy.
Promotions typically take effect on July 1 for faculty on 12-month appointments or at the start of the contract year in August for faculty on 9-month appointments.
Following a negative recommendation from the Council of Full Professors, an associate professor may request reconsideration within ten business days of receiving the department chair’s letter. The reconsideration meeting must be held within twenty calendar days of this request.
The associate professor may attend the reconsideration meeting– accompanied, if they wish, by a representative of their choice– to respond to the statement of reasons, and to present any written or oral evidence or arguments relevant to the decision. Reconsideration is not a hearing or appeal, and should be non-adversarial in nature.
The department chair conveys the Council of Full Professors’ decision in writing, within five business days of the reconsideration meeting. If the decision is adverse, the faculty member may appeal to the dean. The dean has fifteen calendar days to consider the faculty member’s appeal and render a decision in writing. If the dean upholds the adverse decision, the associate professor may appeal to the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) within 20 calendar days (see next panel).
If the reconsideration decision is positive, the department chair transmits the recommendation from the Council of Full Professors to the dean. The dean will decide whether to accept the department’s recommendation, following school/college policy. The dean notifies the faculty member of the decision, in writing, including reasons for an adverse decision. within five business days. The faculty member may appeal an adverse decision to CFRR within 20 calendar days (see next panel).
Appeals to Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR)
When an associate professor appeals to Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR), the committee will decide on the validity of the appeal – basing its assessment on whether or not the decision on promotion was based in any significant degree on impermissible factors outlined in UWS Administrative Code 3.08[a], [b], and [c]. CFRR transmits its findings to the faculty member concerned, the department chair, the department’s Council of Full Professors, the dean, and the provost.
If CFRR finds that a department’s or dean’s decision was based in any significant degree on impermissible factors, it may remand the case back to the decision maker or send it to the next higher appointing authority (see Faculty Policies and Procedures (FPP) 7.16.D.2 or 7.16.D.5).
The provost, if involved, will consult the Divisional Committee Review Council (DCRC) while making a final decision on promotion. The provost’s decision is final and must be rendered in 30 calendar days.
If a promotion is not approved, the chair or designee will meet with the associate profession to discuss how to create a stronger case for promotion.
A negative decision on promotion does not preclude consideration in subsequent years.