Tenure-Track Review at Gustavus

Process Information for Probationary Faculty


Important Resources

The Faculty Book is available online (https://gustavus.edu/facultybook/) and contains the following useful information:

  • Tenure criteria are listed in the Faculty Manual Section 2.5.1,
  • Annual review processes are outlined in the Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.2, and
  • Tenure procedures are described in the Faculty Handbook Section 1.2.12.

Evaluation Timeline Overview

The probationary period for tenure-track faculty shall be established at the time of hire, will be specified in the letter of intent, and may cover from four years up to the college’s maximum of seven years.

Below are three probationary review timeline examples. You may find the details below are somewhat puzzling, for example, someone on a four-year tenure clock is undergoing a “second” year review in their first year of teaching. You should be able to figure out the logic of this labeling, but if you have any questions about the agreed-upon schedule for review, please contact Shanon Nowell (snowell@gustavus.edu) to confirm.

6-Year Schedule

Due Date

Description

Notes

1st Year

February 15

Informal letter of continuation

 

2nd Year

November 15

Regular review process

SRI administered in Spring

3rd Year

Spring semester

Process set by the Third-Year Review Subcommittee

SRI administered in Fall

4th Year

April 1

Regular review process

 

5th Year

April 1

Informal letter of continuation

SRI administered in Fall and Spring

Tenure Review

Fall semester

Process set by the Faculty Personnel Committee

 

5-Year Schedule

Due Date

Description

Notes

1st Year

February 15

Informal letter of continuation

 

2nd Year

November 15

Regular review process

SRI administered in Spring

3rd Year

Spring semester

Process set by the Third-Year Review Subcommittee

SRI administered in Fall

4th Year

April 1

Regular review process

SRI administered in Fall and Spring

Tenure Review

Fall semester

Process set by the Faculty Personnel Committee

 

4-Year Schedule

Due Date

Review Description

Notes

2nd Year

February 15

Regular review process

SRI administered in Spring

3rd Year

Spring semester

Process set by the Third-Year Review Subcommittee

SRI administered in Fall

4th Year

April 1

Regular review process

SRI administered in Fall and Spring

Tenure Review

Fall semester

Process set by the Faculty Personnel Committee

 

Annual Evaluation Details

Annual reviews are required for all tenure-track probationary faculty as cited in the Faculty Handbook reference at the beginning of this section. Below is the timeline for a 6-year tenure clock:

First Year Review: This first review is informal, but should be used as an opportunity to introduce the process and criteria of annual reviews, to review goals, and to develop a plan for achieving those goals during the probationary period. During both semesters of the first year, the department chair should collect and save course material to be used during the more formal evaluation which will take place the following fall. No formal written evaluation is required, but the chair must submit a departmental recommendation letter concerning reappointment.

  • Review Committee: Department Chair (or tenured designee)
  • Procedures: See Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.2.1.C
  • Due Date: February 15

Second Year Review: The review committee will establish with the individual the timetable for class visits, interviews, review of syllabi, etc. Upon completion of these tasks, the committee will communicate the results of this evaluation to the candidate in writing, and provide a process for the individual to respond before a final evaluation is submitted to the Provost’s Office.

  • Review Committee: Department Chair (or tenured designee) and at least two other tenured faculty members, preferably one from outside the department
  • Procedures: See Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.2.1.D
  • Due Date: November 15

Third Year Review (TYR): This is a substantial review intended to evaluate professional development, to support and encourage activities that will lead to further professional development, to suggest changes that will lead to better performance, and to provide assessment of progress in meeting the criteria for tenure.

  • Review Committee: One member of the TYR Subcommittee, the Department Chair (or tenured designee), one tenured colleague from outside the department
  • Procedures: See Faculty Handbook Section 1.2.12.D
  • Timeline: The schedule is set by the Third Year Review Subcommittee
    • Spring (April; the year before TYR): SRI (student evaluations of teaching) are administered
    • Fall: The chair prompts tenured departmental colleagues to submit letters
    • September: The TYR Subcommittee chair will schedule an informational meeting for candidates and chairs
    • October: Establish the review committee, invite the external evaluator, prepare dossier
    • November: SRI are Administered
    • February (normally the Friday of Touring Week): The dossier and letters are due to the Provost’s Office
    • March-April: The external evaluator visits campus
    • April-May: The external evaluator submits their evaluation report
    • April-May: The review committee submits the final letter of evaluation
    • April-May: The review concludes with a meeting with the Dean to discuss the letter and the review process

Fourth Year Review: The review committee will establish with the individual the timetable for class visits, interviews, review of syllabi, etc. Upon completion of these tasks, the committee will communicate the results of this evaluation to the candidate in writing, and provide a process for the individual to respond before a final evaluation is submitted to the Provost’s Office.

  • Review Committee: Department Chair (or tenured designee) and at least two other tenured faculty members, preferably one from outside the department
  • Procedures: See Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.2.1.D
  • Due Date: April 1

Fifth Year Review: The faculty member and department chair meet to discuss progress and/or specific recommendations for improvement related to teaching, research/scholarship/creativity, and campus service. No formal written evaluation is required, but the chair must submit a departmental recommendation letter concerning reappointment.

  • Review Committee: Department Chair (or tenured designee)
  • Procedures: See Faculty Handbook Section 2.1.2.1.G
  • Due Date: April 1

Tenure Review: For tenure review, the probationary faculty member undergoes a comprehensive review of teaching, scholarship or creative work, service, and sympathy with the mission of the college.

  • Review Committee: Faculty Personnel Committee
  • Procedures: See Faculty Handbook Section 1.2.12
  • Timeline: The schedule is set by the Faculty Personnel Committee
    • The Year Before Tenure Review:
      • November: SRI are administered
      • April: SRI are administered
      • Spring: Departmental colleages and solicited letter writers observe classes
      • May: The Faculty Personnel Committee chair will schedule an informational meeting for tenure candidates and chairs
      • Summer: Candidate prepares the dossier and solicits letters
    • Mid-September: The dossier and letters are due to the Provost’s Office
    • October: Class visits by the Faculty Personnel Committee
    • October/November: Candidates are interviewed by members of the Faculty Personnel Committee
    • Late November: Candidates are interviewed by the full Faculty Personnel Committee
    • Early December: The Faculty Personnel Committee meets to deliberate and vote on each candidate
    • Late December (normally during finals): The Provost meets with each candidate to convey the recommendation of the committee
    • January (assuming positive tenure evaluation): The President forwards a recommendation to the Board of Trustees that the faculty member be tenured
    • September (assuming the acceptance of the President’s recommendation): Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor become effective

Student Reflection on Instruction (SRI)

As a part the third year review and tenure review processes, Student Reflection on Instruction (SRI) will be administered by the Provost’s Office for inclusion in your review dossier. This administration of the SRI will happen in the two semesters preceding the reviews. In Fall, SRI will be administered during the first two weeks of November, and in Spring during the last two weeks of April. NOTE: The Provost’s Office does not administer SRI for January Term courses.

In addition to the Provost’s Office coordinated SRI, any faculty member who wishes to administer the SRI may do so. The SRI can be accessed at: https://gts.gac.edu/sri/. The standard questionnaire can be viewed on the Kendall Center website at: https://gustavus.edu/kendallcenter/evaluation-of-learning/assessments.php

SRI results will be available to the instructor after the final grade submission deadline at the end of the term. Kirsten Becker (kirstenbecker@gustavus.edu) can assist with questions regarding SRI administration.

Probationary Review FAQs

Q. What happens if I need to take a leave of absence during the probationary period?
A. The probationary period may be interrupted for events such as parental and medical leaves. Pauses in the tenure clock must be requested through the Office of the Provost in accordance process outlined in Faculty Manual Section 1.2.2.2.

Q. What is the Dean’s role in tenure review?
A. The Deans do not sit on the Faculty Personnel Committee, nor do they have any role in the decision making process related to tenure.

Q. What is the Provost’s role in tenure review?
A. The Provost sits on the Faculty Personnel Committee as a non-voting member and does not participate in either deliberations or candidate interviews.

Q. What is the policy for external solicited letters of evaluation for tenure review?
A. Although there is no set policy for selecting external solicited letters, evaluators should be well-established your field and qualified to assess the quality your contributions to the field. Mentors/advisors are not acceptable evaluators.

Q. When will my promotion be effective?
A. Upon a positive tenure evaluation, tenure and promotion to Associate Professor status are effective September 1 of the following academic year.

Q: What should I be doing in the early years of my career to make assembling my tenure dossier easier when the time comes?
A. The detailed contents of the tenure dossier are outlined in the Faculty Handbook Section 1.2.12.C.d. You can begin collecting documentation and starting the lists you will include in your future tenure dossier; consider setting aside folders (both paper and electronic) of materials to organize when the time comes to prepare the dossier. Include any formal or informal messages you receive (emails, notes, etc.), from students or colleagues, thanking you or praising you for your work. Update your files each semester, or at least annually. Take advantage of any annual review process to collect materials that might ultimately be included in a tenure dossier.
It’s a good idea to keep notes regarding colleagues you meet at conferences or elsewhere who are experts in your area. This may be helpful when considering potential solicited external letter writers.
As the date of your tenure review gets closer, be sure to get feedback on your tenure dossier from a couple of trusted and experienced colleagues. Seek feedback both from within and outside of your own department.

Q. How can I find out whether I am "on track" for tenure in my first few years?
A. You will have annual performance reviews, typically coordinated by your department chair (or tenured designee). They will do a thorough review and give you an honest assessment of your performance, and of any areas that need improvement. If necessary (most chairs are quite busy), be proactive in scheduling your review. You should also prepare for your review, making some notes to take with you about your accomplishments that year, your plans for the future - particularly any changes you plan to make to address any areas where you'd like to improve, and any questions you have.
In addition, you will undergo the Third Year Review, which includes members of the campus community as well as an external evaluator. This comprehensive review is intended to provide a candid assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and suggestions for addressing the latter. By doing this in the third year, there will be an opportunity for you to prepare more effectively for tenure review.
Finally, the Kendall Center offers confidential, one-on-one or group consultations on teaching and learning, professional development, technology, and research practice. You can request consultation through their online request form.

Q. With whom can I discuss review processes and evaluation criteria?

  • Administrators: Your Dean is available to answer questions about evaluation timelines and some aspects related to process; Executive Assistant to the Provost, Shanon Nowell (snowell@gustavus.edu) can answer questions about evaluation timelines and basic “how to” procedures related to dossier submission.
  • Department Chair and/or Program Director: The department chair can provide formative, constructive feedback about how you are progressing toward tenure, potentially providing you with good perspectives about teaching, scholarship, and service. The department chair can also provide good feedback as to what appropriate scholarship might be in your discipline. Note: Department members may not agree on frequency and degree of productivity, but often the measure is about external validation of scholarship.
  • Faculty Personnel Committee Chair: Phillip Voight (pvoight@gustavus.edu) will be available to answer questions about tenure evaluation processes.
  • Tenured Colleagues: Tenured individuals you select to serve on “regular” reviews can provide formative, constructive feedback about how you are progressing toward tenure, potentially providing with useful perspectives about teaching, service, and scholarship.
  • Third Year External Evaluator: Your outside Gustavus Third Year Reviewer can provide constructive feedback and networking related to scholarship.
  • Third Year Review Committee Chair: The chair from your Third Year Review can offer formative, constructive feedback about how you are progressing toward tenure.