Promotion to Professor



    1. Promotion to the rank of Professor recognizes an advanced degree of maturity and outstanding approval of academic achievement by colleagues in a particular field of scholarship and by faculty colleagues, often sustained by the good performance of students whom the candidate has prepared for scholarship and teaching. Such an individual is expected to participate in all areas of departmental concern with the understanding, of course, that the balance of effort in research, instruction, and university service may shift over the years and may vary from one individual to another. Promotion to the rank of Professor is not accorded solely in recognition of advancing years and acceptable performance of educational and service responsibilities. It is reserved for those persons who have won the stature of leaders in the academic community and whose presence on the faculty enhances the prestige of the University.

Initiation of promotion to professor may be suggested by the Chair or by any other professor in the department. Discussion and evaluation will normally be by all faculty members of full rank. In cases where there are an insufficient number of full professors in a department, the Dean may appoint an ad hoc committee to undertake the review.

    1. Affirmative Action Requirements (SAS Form 99-4)

      No search is required when a promotion within the Standing Faculty is considered. However, the Affirmative Action Officer must be convinced that equitable consideration for promotion has been given to all other associate professors in the department with equal or greater number of years in the same rank, including female and minority faculty members.

    2. External Reviewers

      When a department decides to make a formal review to consider promotion from Associate Professor to Professor, it must request the candidate to nominate up to three persons from outside the University to serve as external reviewers. In addition, the department should nominate at least eight persons to serve as external reviewers. These reviewers should be persons selected for their national and international scholarly standing as well as for their knowledge and judgment of the field of the candidate. The names of the reviewers nominated by the department should not be made known to the candidate. The list of proposed reviewers (SAS Form 99-17) must be approved by the Dean before letters are written to them. These letters, which must be similar for each reviewer, will be written by the Chair of the Department, but must conform closely in spirit with the sample letter which appears as SAS Form 02-19. The actual letter is to be reviewed by the appropriate Associate Dean before it is sent.

      The Provost's Staff Conference requires six external letters in the dossier in addition to any written by reviewers nominated by the candidate. If fewer than six letters are received from reviewers proposed by the Department, the Department must ask for authorization of additional reviewers to ensure that the minimum of six letters is received.

      Please review Section II.I. on page 11 (Confidentiality of Employee Records).

    3. Deadlines for Recommendation

      Recommendations for promotion from the rank of Associate Professor to that of Professor should reach the Dean's office by mid-October of the fall semester. It is understood, however, that such promotions are often made under pressure of external offers. In such instances, obviously, recommendations for promotion to the rank of Professor will be considered at any time.

    4. Dossier for Promotion to Professor (SAS Form 99-12)
      1. Chair's Letter

        The letter from the Chair should focus on the academic achievements of the candidate since promotion to tenured rank. Scholarly accomplishments, teaching (in all aspects), and service within the department and the University should be discussed in detail. The letter should show how the work of the candidate fits into the overall activity of the department, and indicate the importance of the candidate's contributions to the department. The Chair must report the formal vote of the full professors in the department, including the manner in which the vote was taken. Positive votes, negative votes, abstentions, and absences must all be included in this statement. No dossier will be considered by the Personnel Committee if it lacks an explicit statement of the formal vote. Minority opinion, if present, should be included in the Chair's letter or in a separate letter from a faculty member designated by the Chair.

      2. Curriculum Vitae of the Candidate

        The candidate is responsible for preparing an up-to-date curriculum vitae which includes scholarly accomplishments and plans, teaching experience at the University (course numbers and descriptions, numbers of students, dissertation supervision, graduate student placement, and undergraduate independent study supervision), and administrative and committee work. All work published and in progress should be included in the bibliography.

        Candidates must provide inclusive pagination for all bibliographical citations in the curriculum vitae (exact page numbers for articles, number of pages for books and monographs). In addition, the Chair should annotate the curriculum vitae or append to it a statement that will enable readers of the dossier: (1) to distinguish the journals in which the candidate's work appears that are refereed from those that are not; and (2) to identify the writings that are primarily by the candidate in cases of multiple authorship. The Chair should identify the most significant scholarly journals in the field and indicate the protocol for the field with regard to the order of names on jointly authored works. Include all professional reviews of books written by the candidate since his or her last promotion. No dossier for promotion to Professor will be considered by the Personnel Committee if it lacks this information. Copies (two each) of major publications, accompanied by a check list (SAS Form 99-20) to ensure their return, must be included.

        When a candidate for promotion has, had, or will have grant support from outside agencies, the Department should use SAS Forms 99-28, 99-29, and 99-30 to elaborate.

      3. Personal Statements

        The candidate is encouraged to provide a personal statement (s) detailing research, teaching, and service approaches and goals. Typically, this statement--or these statements--greatly strengthen the understanding of the candidate in the various stages of review.

      4. Teaching Chronicle (SAS Form 99-15)
      5. Evaluation of teaching

        The dossier must contain all available School or departmental course evaluations since promotion or appointment to tenure. If this period has been shorter than six years, then also include evaluations from the tenure probationary period so that it covers at least a six-year period. Of course, this may be limited by the amount of time the faculty member has been at Penn. If small advanced graduate courses have not been evaluated, that fact should be noted in the teaching chronicle. Student comments from the School or departmental evaluation forms should be included. If the number of comments is large, a representative sample should be included together with a statement concerning the method of selection.

        Letters should be solicited from teaching assistants who have worked under the supervision of the candidate. If this number is large, a sampling of TA's from different courses will be sufficient. Letters should also be solicited from current or former students. Please do an appropriate random solicitation, indicate in the dossier how the solicitation was carried out, and include all letters received. Precede such letters by a sample of the soliciting letter (see SAS Forms 99-26 and 99-27 for suggested letters). Material should be organized to indicate the source of all evaluations, and whether the students are graduate or undergraduate students.

        Faculty evaluation of teaching is encouraged. Letters may be included from faculty who have observed the candidate's teaching, worked with the candidate in jointly taught courses, or served in a teaching mentoring role for the candidate. The particular relation should be made explicit.

        The Chair is responsible for providing enough information so that the teaching data can be appropriately assessed. A departmental analysis of the teaching data in a format that is consistent from case to case within the department would be helpful. Average departmental ratings and plots of instructor quality ratings versus class size can be helpful. In interpreting the teaching evaluation of a faculty member teaching a specific course, it might be helpful to know how those ratings compare with the ratings of other faculty who have taught the same course.

      6. Faculty Distribution by Rank (SAS Form 99-16)
      7. Letters from University Faculty

        At least three letters from University faculty from within the department and, if appropriate, from other departments or schools must be included. These letters should focus on the contributions the candidate has made to the scholarly and educational programs of the department and the school since being appointed to tenured rank. The report of an ad hoc departmental committee may be substituted for individual letters from department faculty.

      8. Letters from External Reviewers

        The list of approved external reviewers (SAS Form 99-17) and a sample of the Chair's standard letter requesting the reviews should precede the letters. Non-respondents should be noted on the list. The letters should be included in the order in which the names appear on this list. Other external letters may be included after those from reviewers on the approved list. If these latter letters are to be given weight by the reviewing committees, some indication of the credentials of the reviewers and of the circumstances under which they appear should be included.

    5. Procedures for Resubmission of Case by Department - see section F.