Office of Academic Affairs Office of Faculty Affairs

Promotion and Tenure

Supporting faculty and academic leaders in their personal growth and leadership development is a shared effort, and every faculty member and appointee should know they have the full backing of the Ohio State community.

Interfolio's Review, Promotion & Tenure

Implementation of the Interfolio Review, Promotion & Tenure (RPT) tool began in autumn 2023. Faculty (or a designee) submit their final materials to Interfolio to launch the review process.

Resources to learn more about RPT are available on our Interfolio webpage.

 The resources below are meant to help every individual understand and engage in the process.

Promotion guide for associate professors

Relevant faculty rules

Promotion to the rank of professor must be based on convincing evidence that the faculty member has a sustained record of excellence in teaching; has produced a significant body of scholarship that is recognized nationally or internationally; and has demonstrated leadership in service. (3335-6-01.C)

In evaluating the candidate’s qualifications in teaching, scholarship, and service, reasonable flexibility shall be exercised, balancing, where the case requires, heavier commitments and responsibilities in one area against lighter commitments and responsibilities in another. In addition, as the university enters new fields of endeavor, including interdisciplinary endeavors, and places new emphasis on its continuing activities, instances will arise in which the proper work of faculty members may depart from established academic patterns. In such cases, care must be taken to apply the criteria with sufficient flexibility. (3335-6-02.D)

A faculty member may ask to be considered for nonmandatory promotion and tenure review or for promotion review at any time; however, the tenure initiating unit promotion and tenure committee may decline to put forth a faculty member for formal nonmandatory promotion and tenure review or promotion review if the candidate’s accomplishments are judged not to warrant such review. The promotion and tenure committee may not deny a tenured faculty member a formal review for promotion more than one year. (3335-6-04.A.3)

To read the full rules, visit trustees.osu.edu/rules/university-rules. To view APT documents for each unit, visit oaa.osu.edu/governance.

Planning for promotion

The first recommendation of the Faculty Career Enhancement Committee’s final report (issued in 2005) notes that, “Faculty are primarily responsible for the advancement of their own careers.” That statement is reiterated here—faculty members must be proactive in planning and guiding their professional lives. Recently promoted full professors report that selfmotivation, persistence, and intentional planning are key factors in their success. The following recommendations focus on your responsibilities as an associate professor and the actions you can take to advance your career at Ohio State.

Goal setting and planning

  • Create a plan and timeline toward your promotion in the first year after you become an associate professor. If you are past your first year and have not yet completed this plan, do it now. Discuss the plan and your progress, along with any needed revisions, with your chair as part of the annual review process. Also discuss it with formal or informal mentors at least yearly. As it evolves over time, continue to define and re-define your goals.
  • Be intentional about time management and establishing annual priorities.
  • Think about what support you might need and discuss it with your chair. Don’t refrain from asking for what you need—and don’t ask for less. Strengthen your negotiation skills and your self-promotion skills, and be prepared to make a case for what you need based on evidence and logic. How will the department/college/university benefit? How will your work benefit? What specific positive outcomes can be expected? Specific discussion points might include the following:
    • planning for Faculty Professional Leave (oaa.osu.edu/assets/files/ documents/ facultyprofessionalleave.pdf) or for special assignment (oaa.osu.edu/assets/files/ documents/specialassignment.pdf)
    • opportunities for college, university, or professional service support for external fellowships or awards
    • specific teaching needs, such as planning for teaching a graduate course, a special topics course, or a specialized seminar to help keep your research current
    • prioritizing and planning for moving from shorter- to longer-term projects

Establish networks

  • Think strategically about developing a plan for expanding your reputation beyond Ohio State. Ask senior faculty in your program or at other universities to help. This plan might include a strategy for:
    • making the most of conferences and invited lectures
    • collaborating with researchers and coauthors beyond Ohio State
    • serving as an evaluator for professional journals, study sections, or evaluation committees for external agencies
    • taking research opportunities and making sure that others in the field know about your work
  • Observe senior professors you admire and talk to them about their own experiences in being promoted to full professor. Use them as models
  • Look for help with pedagogy, for example, at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT).
  • Ask full professor colleagues to observe your teaching and to serve as teaching mentors.
  • Look for opportunities to discuss your work with faculty in other departments in the university.

Know the rules and requirements

  • Become knowledgeable about the promotion process in your unit and your college and read the chapter on promotion and tenure in the Rules of the University Faculty (trustees.osu.edu/rules/ university-rules/rules6.html).
  • Read your unit’s and college’s Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure document about criteria for promotion to full professor and appropriate documentation of those criteria (oaa.osu. edu/governance.html).
  • Review the memoranda of understanding regarding joint appointments or other special arrangements. If changes are needed or desired, discuss them with the chair(s).
  • Ask full professors in your unit who have recently been promoted if you may read their dossiers.
  • Participate in promotion workshops offered by your unit, college, or the university; find out whether your professional association offers workshops on promotion and suggest one if they don’t.
  • Find and use clear indicators of the importance/value of your work, especially if it is in subfields or outlets with which your colleagues might not be familiar.
Promotion guide for full professors and TIU heads

Relevant faculty rules

Promotion to the rank of professor must be based on convincing evidence that the faculty member has a sustained record of excellence in teaching; has produced a significant body of scholarship that is recognized nationally or internationally; and has demonstrated leadership in service. (3335-6-01.C)

In evaluating the candidate’s qualifications in teaching, scholarship, and service, reasonable flexibility shall be exercised, balancing, where the case requires, heavier commitments and responsibilities in one area against lighter commitments and responsibilities in another. In addition, as the university enters new fields of endeavor, including interdisciplinary endeavors, and places new emphasis on its continuing activities, instances will arise in which the proper work of faculty members may depart from established academic patterns. In such cases, care must be taken to apply the criteria with sufficient flexibility. (3335-6-02.D)

A faculty member may ask to be considered for nonmandatory promotion and tenure review or for promotion review at any time; however, the tenure initiating unit promotion and tenure committee may decline to put forth a faculty member for formal nonmandatory promotion and tenure review or promotion review if the candidate’s accomplishments are judged not to warrant such review. The promotion and tenure committee may not deny a tenured faculty member a formal review for promotion more than one year. (3335-6-04.A.3)

To read the full rules, visit trustees.osu.edu/rules/university-rules. To view APT documents for each unit, visit oaa.osu.edu/governance.

Best practices

Within individual tenure initiating units (TIUs), the faculty and the unit head have a shared responsibility to support associate professors in preparing for promotion to full professor.

Within this shared responsibility, there are specific actions that can be taken by the full professors as a whole (the group that constitutes the eligible faculty for voting in promotion cases), by the promotion and tenure committee and its chair, and by the chair/director.

A wide range of suggestions on the issue of supporting promotion to full professor was gathered from people across campus and experts outside the university.* The following information highlights many of these suggestions as best practices for each of these groups.

*Source: Office of Academic Affairs and The Women’s Place

Actions that can be taken by professors

Make it clear that attaining full professor rank is an expected professional goal and not an insurmountable achievement.

  • Provide leadership in creating a unit-wide expectation that being promoted to full professor is part of normal progress through an academic career.
  • Support associate professor colleagues by providing peer evaluations of teaching, helping them make professional connections, and serving as formal and informal mentors.

The promotion and tenure chair and committee

  • Read your unit’s Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) document regularly and make sure that you and your committee members are familiar with the criteria and procedures it presents.
  • Provide samples of successful dossiers to candidates for promotion.
  • Hold annual meetings between the TIU head and the promotion and tenure chair/committee on how the committee can help associate professors advance as individuals and as a group.
  • Consider a formal review of all associate professors every year to make sure they know what is needed and are on track to achieve it. • Provide candid, specific, and constructive feedback when reviewing a candidate’s record. 
  • Develop clear and explicit answers to common questions, such as: How do you define impact in teaching, research, and service? How can you judge new scholarly outlets or alternative ways of disseminating results? How do you define leadership in service?
  • Give particular attention to associate professors who are new to Ohio State, who have transferred into a new TIU or whose TIUs have been merged to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what is required for promotion in the new TIU.
  • Attend promotion and tenure workshops sponsored by college deans’ offices and by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Actions that can be taken by the TIU head

Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of your faculty, both individually and collectively.

  • Revise Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) documents in consultation with the faculty to establish clear criteria for promotion and to adapt to and reflect evolving subfields, publication outlets, teaching methodologies, professional service opportunities, and so on.
  • Include mentoring of associate professors in the annual review evaluation of full professors.
  • Support associate professors in articulating and meeting their professional goals through:
    • establishing clear guidelines, selection criteria, and expected outcomes for awarding Faculty Professional Leaves (FPLs) and special assignments and making sure that faculty members on FPLs are not asked to perform service duties, even if they remain in town
    • aligning teaching and service assignments with a reasonable path to promotion
    • recognizing diverse strengths and contributions and the possibility of differential achievements at different points in a faculty member’s career
    • discussing the impact of life events and transitions and developing strategies for supporting work-life balance and taking appropriate leaves when necessary
    • nominating associate professors to participate in appropriate professional development opportunities and for internal and external awards – consulting with heads of other TIUs or centers in which the faculty member is affiliated
    • providing effective annual reviews for associate professors and establishing internal mentoring committees to assist with these reviews
    • ensuring that annual reviews include goal setting and discussions of the faculty members’ professional endeavors, understanding of the path to full professorship, and relevant projects they are working on
    • asking faculty what they need and how the chair can help

 

Promotion and Tenure: Telling your story

Dr. Elissa Washuta, an associate professor in the Department of English, shares her Promotion and Tenure story.

 

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Promotion and Tenure Documents