Dean's Office contact: Margie Ramsdell

Also see:

  • Promotion and tenure guidelines
  • Promotion and tenure documentation
    • Checklist for promotion/tenure recommendation
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Bibliography
    • Candidate's personal statement
    • Letter of recommendation from chair
    • Departmental review committee report
    • Summaries of departmental deliberations & candidate's responses
    • Joint appointment letter
    • Documentation of teaching effectiveness
    • External evaluations
    • Copies of candidate's publications or evidence of achievement
    • Additional supporting data

Promotion and tenure general procedures. Each mandatory promotion/tenure consideration goes through four steps: (1) a departmental faculty recommendation, (2) an independent recommendation by the chair, (3) a recommendation by the Dean with the advice of the College Council, and (4) a final decision by the President. Non-mandatory considerations ("early" recommendations to the Associate Professor level, recommendations to the Professor level, and recommendations concerning lecturer, artist, affiliate, or clinical titles) that are not approved by the Dean are not forwarded to the President.

Promotion recommendations to the Associate Professor level are due in the Dean's Office in mid-October. In order to meet this early deadline, departments conducting mandatory reviews are urged to begin appropriate committee activities and collection of documentation during Spring Quarter of the candidate's fifth year. Promotion recommendations for Lecturer and Artist titles are due in early November. Recommendations for all promotions to the Professor level are due in early December.

Meetings of the College Council and the Dean on tenure and promotion to the Associate Professor ranks are held during Autumn Quarter; meetings on promotion to the Professor ranks are held during Winter Quarter. The chair may meet with the College Council (1) if additional information is needed before the Council takes a preliminary vote or (2) if the chair wishes to present an argument when the Council's preliminary vote differs from the departmental recommendation. For a list of current Council members, see College Council.

When the Dean's formal recommendation is sent to the President, the Dean notifies the chair about the decision (which may be communicated to the candidate if the chair wishes). The candidate is formally notified of the decision by a letter from the President or the Dean only after the President has made a final decision. The candidate does not receive a formal letter when a non-mandatory promotion is denied by the Dean; in this case the Dean informs the chair, who in turn informs the candidate.

Every faculty member below the rank of Professor must be considered each year for possible promotion. See Review committees for promotion/tenure for suggestions in handling these considerations.

If a unit does not have at least three eligible departmental faculty members to make a promotion/tenure recommendation, a standing committee should be appointed by the Dean for this purpose (see Standing committees).

Candidate preparation of materials. The candidate is responsible for assembling his/her promotion record and must include a self-assessment of qualifications for promotion/tenure. The candidate also must be up to date on annual reporting requirements, including all Requests for Approval of Outside Professional Work for Compensation (form 1460). The department should put together the final recommendation packet, which will contain additional materials that are not given to the candidate. External letters of review are kept confidential from the candidate.

Summaries of departmental deliberations. If a departmental committee is established to review a candidate's qualifications for promotion/tenure, the committee must produce a written report. The department chair must provide the candidate with a written summary of the committee's report and recommendation (names should be omitted, and the Dean's Office strongly recommends that vote counts be omitted). The candidate may respond in writing within seven days. The candidate's response, if any, and the committee report are forwarded together to the voting faculty, who meet to discuss and vote on the recommendation. Then the chair again must provide the candidate with a written summary of the voting faculty's deliberations, and the candidate may respond in writing within seven days. If the candidate does not wish to provide a written response to the first or second summary, he/she must at minimum provide an acknowledgment that each summary was received. All documents produced in this process are to be included in the final recommendation that is forwarded to the Dean's Office.

Promotion procedures for specific titles. For length of terms and any specific requirements for a faculty rank, refer to the appropriate section:

Teaching evaluations for promotion and tenure. Both student and collegial evaluations of teaching effectiveness are required in a promotion/tenure recommendation (except for research faculty); see Teaching evaluations. For promotion to the Associate Professor level, all student and peer evaluations made while at the rank of Assistant Professor should be submitted. For all promotions, the Provost’s Office requires student and peer evaluations from the year leading up to the promotion.  Please use the Course Evaluation Matrix template when submitting the promotion file for Dean's Office review.  

External evaluations for promotion and tenure. A recommendation for promotion and/or tenure must include evaluations of the candidate's scholarly or creative work by external experts in the field. These should be in the form of letters solicited by the unit chair.

The external evaluations should be available at the faculty meetings when the candidate's record is discussed and the final vote on the promotion/tenure recommendation is taken. It is not necessary to obtain external evaluations for preliminary stages (such as the annual consideration for possible promotion of faculty members below the rank of Professor).

Three to five external letters are required, with a minimum of four letters strongly recommended. All letters received by the unit must be forwarded with the recommendation.  (In soliciting external evaluations for promotion from associate to full, at least three of the letters should be from reviewers who did not write for the promotion from assistant professor to associate professor (at UW).)

The evaluators should be chosen by the departmental chair and faculty. All evaluators should be recognized contributors to their field, as indicated, for example, by tenure at a major research university, frequent citation of their work, or major awards. When selecting evaluators, their relationship to the candidate must be considered. At least three of the reviews should be from persons who have no substantial personal connection or professional collaboration with the candidate. The Divisional Deans are available for advice on the choice of reviewers, and they may in exceptional cases waive the three-letter minimum for non-collaborating reviewers. The unit may ask the Divisional Dean to review the evaluation letters to be sure that appropriate and adequate evaluations have been made.

If a tenure recommendation has been postponed for one year, new external review letters should be obtained for the following year's consideration. If desired, the original review letters (labeled as such) may also be included in the documentation materials.

The solicitation letter should be signed by and should request return to the unit chair. It should state that the unit is considering the candidate for possible promotion and request the following information: (1) how and for how long the referee has known the candidate; (2) the significance, independence, influence, and promise of the candidate's scholarship or creative work (particularly that done since coming to the University of Washington) and the degree of national/international recognition; and (3) a comparison of the candidate's accomplishments with leading scholars or artists at a similar career stage in the same or related fields. Each evaluator should be provided with the same representative set of the candidate's scholarly or artistic materials.

The solicitation letter should not request support for a recommendation of promotion; the evaluator should not be asked to assess whether the candidate should be promoted (an evaluator may, of course, volunteer such an opinion). The outside evaluation usually focuses on scholarly or artistic achievements, and promotion depends on more than these factors.

When the promotion recommendation is submitted to the Dean's Office, include one sample of the solicitation letter and a statement describing the qualifications of the evaluators, their relationship (if any) with the candidate, the manner in which they were chosen, and the reasons for the choices.

Published reviews of the candidate's work may be submitted as additional evidence of external evaluation (but external letters, as described above, are still required). The reviews should be from scholars, artists, or critics of recognized authority in the field. Reviews carrying the greatest weight are those published in leading scholarly journals or critical organs. They should provide evidence about the significance, independence, influence, and promise of the candidate's scholarship or artistic work; the candidate's degree of national or international recognition; and the candidate's accomplishments compared to leading scholars or artists in the field who are at a similar stage of their careers.

Departmental actions for promotion and tenure

(1) Review the criteria and qualifications for promotion and tenure, found in the Handbook.

(2) Gather documentation of the candidate's record (both that prepared by the candidate and that obtained by the department) for consideration by voting departmental faculty members. This documentation should be the same as later submitted to the Dean. The chair may appoint a faculty committee to review the documentation and present it to the faculty as a whole; see the section on Review committees for promotion-tenure.

(3) Vote on the recommendation by departmental faculty members who are superior in rank to the candidate (see Voting procedures).

(4) Prepare the fully documented recommendation (see Promotion and tenure documentation) and send it to the Dean's Office. Although the recommendation is formally addressed to the Dean, it should be sent to Margie Ramsdell in the Dean's Office for processing.

For mandatory promotion/tenure cases, the recommendation and full documentation must be sent to the Dean. Any other promotion consideration that is not approved by the departmental faculty should not be sent to the Dean.