Promotion and Tenure of Clinical Faculty, Research Faculty and Lecturers
There are promotional pathways for clinical non-tenure track faculty, research non-tenure track faculty, and lecturers, but the timetable according to which non-tenure-track faculty are considered for promotion is less well-defined than that of tenure-track faculty, who must be considered at tenure code 6. It is the responsibility of the Executive Officer to evaluate non-tenure-track faculty regularly to see if they should be put up for promotion. There are three different categories of non-tenure-track faculty whose promotion you might oversee, depending upon the makeup of your unit.
Clinical Track – Faculty in the clinical track are typically promoted based on teaching performance and the discharge of some defined responsibility for the oversight, direction, development or support of key pedagogical functions within the unit. Sometimes clinical non-tenure track faculty also conduct research and this may be considered in promotion evaluations if the department finds it appropriate to do so. It is essential that departments with clinical track faculty have bylaws that clearly and distinctly state the criteria for promotion in the clinical track, and also have in place a procedure for determining when those criteria have been met. When the relevant benchmarks are determined to have been reached a case should be prepared for promotion in the clinical track, which follows the same timeline as promotion in the tenure track. The guidelines for clinical non-tenure track promotion can be found at the website of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
Frequently questions arise about how to find external reviewers for cases of promotion in the clinical non-tenure track. Since these faculty are being judged on the way in which they have discharged teaching and service obligations it is not immediately obvious who is in a position to evaluate them and what materials should be provided to referees. This is something that must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. In general, however, it is useful to seek referees who have expertise in teaching in the field (e.g., for a clinical case in Mathematics experts in the Teaching of Mathematics can be consulted) or with the particular kinds of projects or programs the faculty member is overseeing. It is here where clearly-stated criteria for promotion become so important, as they give reviewers who may not have pre-existing knowledge of precisely what it means to be clinical faculty at our institution guidelines for evaluating the material. External reviewers should be sent the candidate’s curriculum vitae; unit norms and standards in relation to teaching, service, professional practices and/or associated scholarship (defined by the unit); the candidate’s statement on accomplishments and future plans in areas reflected in the unit norms and standards (e.g., statement related to teaching, service, professional practices, and/or associated scholarship, as defined by the unit); and documentation providing evidence for the candidate’s excellence in accordance with the unit norms and guidelines. Only 3 letters are needed for clinical promotion cases (the maximum is 5) and external reviewers do not need to be tenured, although ideally they will be peer faculty in a rank at or above that to which the candidate is being considered.
Research Non-Tenure Track – Faculty in the research track are appointed on a fixed-term basis to do work on projects either independently or in collaboration with other UIC faculty. Promotion in the research track is based on research excellence and other criteria specific to the department. Each department that has research non-tenure-track faculty should have clear criteria for promotion in the research track, as well as procedures for determining when these criteria have been met. When it is determined that a research non-tenure track faculty member has met these benchmarks a case should be prepared for promotion in the research non-tenure track, which follows the same timeline and steps as promotion in the tenure track. The guidelines for research non-tenure track promotion can be found at the website of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
Lecturers are appointed on a fixed-term basis for teaching duties and for research and service that supports teaching. Lecturers may be promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer to acknowledge their commitment to LAS and its students and to recognize pedagogical contributions and accomplishments. The promotion process for lecturers, unlike those for other categories of faculty, is internal to LAS, does not require external letters, and takes place during the spring semester, with promotion, if granted, taking effect the following fall. Each department must have clearly stated criteria for promotion to the rank of Senior Lecturer, as well as a procedure for determining when those criteria have been met. In order to be eligible for promotion in the lecturer track, faculty must have at least 3.5 academic years of 100% appointment as a lecturer occurring within a five-year span. The promotion materials required include a peer teaching evaluation from each year of appointment, including one from the fall semester of the year during which the review takes place. It is therefore crucial that lecturers, like all faculty who have not received the highest level of promotion in their track, receive a peer evaluation each year. Guidelines for Promotion to Senior Lecturer in the College of Liberal Sciences can be found on the LAS website.