Promotion and Tenure: General Procedures/Standards

IV-6. Promotion and Tenure: General Procedures/Standards

The faculty of the University of St. Thomas School of Law (“School of Law”) are generally bound by the University of St. Thomas's Policies Governing Faculty Rank, Tenure, and Evaluations, as set forth in Chapters 4 and 5 of the University’s Faculty Handbook (“University Policy”). However, the University Policy was adopted before the reopening of the School of Law, and thus the University Policy does not reflect the fact that the rank and tenure policies of most American law schools differ substantially from the rank and tenure policies of other institutions of higher education. In order to attract and retain strong faculty, the School of Law’s policy varies in some respects from the University Policy.

A.    Timing of Promotion and Tenure Decisions/Evaluation Decisions

1.   Entry level faculty will typically be hired at the rank of Assistant Professor of Law.

2.   Promotion to Associate Professor of Law will occur upon the successful completion of the first triennial review. [This is a variance from the six-year period for service as an Assistant Professor in Chapters 4.III.A. and 5.I.A. of the University Policy.]

3.   An Associate Professor of Law will be eligible for tenure after a total of six years on the faculty of the School of Law. The tenure decision will coincide with the second triennial review.

4.   A tenured faculty member may seek promotion to Professor of Law only if he or she has had two articles or their equivalents published or accepted for publication within any three-year period after being granted tenure. [This is a variance from the six-year period for service as an Associate Professor in Chapter 5.I.B. of the University Policy. It is also a variance from Chapter 5.II.B.5., which requires at least three pieces of substantive work since the promotion to Associate Professor.]

5.  Consistent with the University Policy, a prospective faculty member may negotiate exceptions to these policies with the Dean, subject to the approval of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

B.    Criteria Applicable to Promotion and Tenure Decisions

1.    General Criteria

a.   A candidate for promotion or tenure must demonstrate commitment to the mission and vision of the School of Law and excellence in teaching, engaging the profession, and service to the University, the legal profession, and the community.

b.   A candidate may demonstrate commitment to the mission and vision of the School of Law in a wide variety of ways, such as by encouraging students to integrate their faith and values into their professional lives, publishing scholarship that integrates faith and ethics into the study of law, or providing service to the disadvantaged. To be promoted or tenured, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she has undertaken ongoing efforts, individually and in concert with others, to advance the mission and vision of the School of Law. Conduct that is inimical to the mission and vision of the School of Law is grounds for denial of promotion or tenure.

c.   Guidelines describing what demonstrates “excellence” in teaching, engaging the profession, and service, together with commitment to the mission and vision of the School of Law, are set forth in Part IV-7, “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the School of Law.”

 2.   Criteria for Promotion to Associate Professor of Law

a.   Teaching

i.   To be promoted to Associate Professor of Law, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she is making reasonable progress toward becoming an accomplished teacher.

ii.  A faculty member applying for promotion to Associate Professor must submit at least one peer review of his or her teaching for each year of tenure-track teaching (by at least two different reviewers).  In consultation with the Department Chair, the faculty member may ask any member of her or his discipline or a closely-related field of expertise within the University to be a reviewer. In special circumstances, reviewers external to the University may be selected with approval of the Department Chair. If the faculty member is the Department Chair, consultation regarding peer reviewers will take place with the Dean. The Dean may not be a reviewer.

Peer review consists of an examination of course syllabi, selected materials, and classroom observations for knowledge, accuracy, appropriateness and command of content, planning and organization, use of teaching strategies that create a learning environment, clarity and effectiveness of communication. In a written report, the reviewer will also identify the faculty member’s strengths and areas for continuing development.

During the year prior to submission of the application for promotion, the three-peer panel review substitutes for the individual peer review.

iii.  The faculty candidate’s teaching shall be reviewed by three peer reviewers in the academic year prior to the academic year in which the faculty member will be a candidate for promotion to Associate Professor. The candidate shall select the first reviewer. If the person selected by the candidate declines to be a reviewer, the candidate shall make another selection. The departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee shall select the second reviewer. The Dean shall select the third reviewer. The Dean may not be a reviewer. Reviewers shall be selected from among the tenured faculty in the School of Law. In special circumstances, with approval of the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Dean, the faculty candidate may select a tenured faculty member from elsewhere in the University or from outside the University.

Before visiting a class session, the reviewer should meet with the faculty candidate to discuss the syllabus, text, and general philosophy of what the faculty candidate is trying to accomplish in the course, as well as the goals of the specific class session to be observed. After visiting the class session, the reviewer should meet again with the faculty candidate to briefly discuss the class session. The criteria for the peer review are those set forth
in “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the School of Law,” Section IV-7.I. Based on these criteria, the faculty reviewers shall write a joint report which reflects the observations each of them has made and which becomes part of the candidate’s portfolio.

A copy of the peer review report shall be provided to the faculty candidate, who may file a written response that will be included in the candidate’s portfolio. Copies of any response must be sent to the reviewers, the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Dean.

b.     Engaging the Profession

i.   To be promoted to Associate Professor of Law, a candidate must demonstrate that, by the spring of his or her third year on the faculty of the School of Law, he or she has published or had accepted for publication at least one article or its equivalent. The candidate must also demonstrate that he or she has made progress toward completing a second article or its equivalent. [This is a variance from Chapter V.II.B.4 which requires at least two pieces of substantive work for promotion to Associate Professor.]

ii.   The scholarly work of the candidate must provide evidence that the candidate has undertaken an important research agenda and is making reasonable progress on that agenda.

iii.   To assist it in making this determination, the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the respective department will seek external reviews of the candidate’s scholarship from at least four experts in the faculty member’s field(s).

(a)  Two of these external reviewers shall be chosen from a list of at least six names submitted by the candidate.

(b)  The remaining external reviewers shall be selected by the Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

(c)  The candidate may also list the names of up to three scholars who should not be solicited, due to the candidate’s belief that they would not be able to provide an objective evaluation of the candidate’s work.

(d)   No external reviewer may hold an appointment at the University of St. Thomas. The external reviewer may not have a direct connection with the candidate, which is typically defined as having ever had a faculty or student relationship with the candidate (which does not include merely having been a student in a large law school section course taught by that person), having ever been a co-author with the candidate, or any other professional or personal relationship of comparable closeness. Faculty who have served on a professional committee or conference panel with the candidate would be appropriate external reviewers. If there is doubt about a given relationship between the candidate and a prospective reviewer, a determination on suitability will be made by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee.

(e)   In Legal Studies, external reviewers shall be tenured faculty at an ABA-accredited law school. For Legal Studies, with prior approval of the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Dean, the faculty candidate may include on the list of six names a nationally-recognized scholar who is not affiliated with an educational institution or a scholar who holds a tenured faculty position in another discipline with expertise in the field(s) of the candidate’s work.

(f)    External reviewers shall be solicited by the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee. The external reviewer’s willingness to provide a letter will be confirmed by a standard letter that is available for candidate review (without the names and addresses of the external reviewers).

(g)   External reviewers will be asked to provide an independent assessment of one or more of the faculty candidate’s works and to evaluate whether the faculty member has addressed an important point in his or her chosen field and has demonstrated the potential to have a substantial impact on that field. External peer reviewers will not be asked to make a direct recommendation as to whether promotion to Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas should be granted. It will instead be the job of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee to interpret and place in context the external letters of evaluation. Evaluations of suitability for promotion are made within the University of St. Thomas, with reference to the external letters and in accordance with “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the School of Law,” Section IV-7.II. The external reviewers’ confidential assessments will be placed in the candidate’s file.

(h)   In order to protect the confidentiality of external reviewers to the greatest extent possible, the assessment and recommendations written by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, by the Dean, and by the University’s Promotion and Tenure Committee will make no reference by name to the authors of the external letters of evaluation, though they will refer to the substance of those assessments in coming to their own conclusions.

c.     Service

i.   To be promoted to Associate Professor of Law, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she provided service to the University, the legal profession, or the community.

ii.   In order to better collect information on the quality of service rendered to the Department and to the University by a candidate, the departmental Committee on Promotion and Tenure may ask committee chairs (or, in the absence of the chair, another member of the committee) on which the candidate has served in the last four years to submit a letter describing the quality of the candidate’s service on that committee. Quality shall be judged by impact, which will mean (at a minimum) attending meetings and making a contribution. To document other types of service, including service outside of the University itself (where such service has been agreed as being of relevance to the case for tenure or promotion), letters on the quality of service may be solicited from other individuals named by the candidate or provided directly by the candidate. In the assessment of Department Chairs, the departmental Committee on Promotion and and Tenure shall ask the Dean or the Chair of the Department for comment on the quality of the candidate’s service in that role.

3.    Criteria for Granting of Tenure

a.    Teaching

i.   To be granted tenure, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she is an accomplished teacher.

ii.   A faculty member applying for tenure must submit a peer review of his or her teaching for each year on the tenure track. In consultation with the Department Chair, the faculty member may ask any faculty member of her or his discipline or a closely-related field of expertise within the University to be a reviewer. In special circumstances, reviewers external to the University may be selected with approval of the Department Chair. If the faculty member is the Department Chair, consultation regarding peer reviewers will take place with the Dean. The Dean may not be a reviewer.

Peer review consists of an examination of course syllabi, selected materials, and classroom observations for knowledge, accuracy, appropriateness and command of content, planning and organization, use of teaching strategies that create a learning environment, clarity and effectiveness of communication. In a written report, the reviewer will also identify the faculty member’s strengths and areas for continuing development.

During the year prior to submission of the application for tenure, the three-peer panel review substitutes for the individual peer review.

iii.  The faculty candidate’s teaching shall be reviewed by three peer reviewers in the academic year prior to the academic year in which the faculty member will be a candidate for tenure. The candidate shall select the first reviewer. If the person selected by the candidate declines to be a reviewer, the candidate shall make another selection. The departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee shall select the second reviewer. The Dean shall select the third reviewer. The Dean may not be a reviewer. Reviewers shall be selected from among the tenured faculty of the School of Law. In special circumstances, with approval of the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Dean, the faculty candidate may select a tenured faculty member from elsewhere in the University or from outside the University.

Before visiting a class session, the reviewer should meet with the faculty candidate to discuss the syllabus, text, and general philosophy of what the faculty candidate is trying to accomplish in the course, as well as the goals of the specific class session to be observed. After visiting the class session, the reviewer should meet again with the faculty candidate to briefly discuss the class session. The criteria for the peer review are those set forth in “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the School of Law,” Section IV-7.I. Based on these criteria, the faculty reviewers shall write a joint report which reflects the observations each of them has made and which becomes part of the candidate’s portfolio.

A copy of the peer review report shall be provided to the faculty candidate, who may file a written response that will be included in the candidate’s portfolio. Copies of any response must be sent to the reviewers, the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Dean.

b.    Engaging the Profession.

i.   To be granted tenure, a candidate must demonstrate that, by September 15 of his or her sixth year on the faculty of the School of Law, he or she has published or had accepted for publication at least three articles or their equivalents. Articles published or accepted for publication prior to the candidate's promotion to Associate Professor of Law are included in this total. [This is a variance from Chapter 4.V.C.1 which requires at least two pieces of substantive work for tenure.] 

ii.  The scholarly work of the candidate must provide evidence of significant and influential scholarly accomplishment and the promise of continued achievement in scholarship.

iii.  To assist it in making this determination, the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the respective department will seek external reviews from at least four experts in the faculty member’s field(s) of any of the candidate’s scholarship that has not already been the subject of an external review. The Promotion and Tenure Committee may, at its discretion, request additional external reviews of any of the candidate’s scholarship that has already been the subject of an external review.

(a)   Two of these external reviewers shall be chosen from a list of at least six names submitted by the candidate.

(b)   The remaining external reviewers shall be selected by the Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

(c)   The candidate may also list the names of up to three scholars who should not be solicited, due to the candidate’s belief that they would not be able to provide an objective evaluation of the candidate’s work.

(d)   No external reviewer may hold an appointment at the University of St. Thomas. The external reviewer may not have a direct connection with the candidate, which is typically defined as having ever had a faculty or student relationship with the candidate (which does not include merely having been a student in a large law school section course taught by that person), having ever been a co-author with the candidate, or any other professional or personal relationship of comparable closeness. Faculty who have served on a professional committee or conference panel with the candidate would be appropriate external reviewers. If there is doubt about a given relationship between the candidate and a prospective reviewer, a determination on suitability will be made by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee.

(e)   In Legal Studies, external reviewers shall be tenured faculty at an ABA-accredited law school. For Legal Studies, with prior approval of the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Dean, the faculty candidate may include on the list of six names a nationally-recognized scholar who is not affiliated with an educational institution or a scholar who holds a tenured faculty position in another discipline with expertise in the field(s) of the candidate’s work.

(f)   External reviewers shall be solicited by the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee. The external reviewer’s willingness to provide a letter will be confirmed by a standard letter that is available for candidate review (without the names and addresses of the external reviewers).

(g)  External reviewers will be asked to provide an independent assessment of one or more of the faculty candidate’s works and to evaluate whether the faculty member has provided evidence of significant and influential scholarly accomplishment and the promise of continued achievement in scholarship. External peer reviewers will not be asked to make a direct recommendation as to whether tenure at the University of St. Thomas should be granted. It will instead be the job of the departmental review committee to interpret and place in context the external letters of evaluation. Evaluations of suitability for tenure are made within the University of St. Thomas, with reference to the external letters and in accordance with “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the School of Law,” Section IV-7.II. The external reviewers’ confidential assessments will be placed in the candidate’s file.

(h)  In order to protect the confidentiality of external reviewers to the greatest extent possible, the assessment and recommendations written by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, by the Dean, and by the University’s Promotion and Tenure Committee will make no reference by name to the authors of the external letters of evaluation, though they will refer to the substance of those assessments in coming to their own conclusions.

c.     Service

i.   To be granted tenure, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she provided significant service to the University, the legal profession, or the community.

ii.   In order to better collect information on the quality of service rendered to the Department and to the University by a candidate, the departmental Committee on Promotion and Tenure may ask committee chairs (or, in the absence of the chair, another member of the committee) on which the candidate has served in the last four years to submit a letter describing the quality of the candidate’s service on that committee. Quality shall be judged by impact, which will mean (at a minimum) attending meetings and making a contribution. To document other types of service, including service outside of the University itself (where such service has been agreed as being of relevance to the case for tenure or promotion), letters on the quality of service may be solicited from other individuals named by the candidate or provided directly by the candidate. In the assessment of Department Chairs, the departmental Committee on Promotion and Tenure shall ask the Dean or the Chair of the Department for comment on the quality of the candidate’s service in that role.

4.   Criteria for Promotion to (Full) Professor of Law

a.   Teaching

i.   To be promoted to Professor of Law, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she continues to be an accomplished teacher.

ii.  A faculty member applying for promotion to professor must submit peer reviews of his or her teaching for four preceding years (by at least two different reviewers). In consultation with the Department Chair, the faculty member may ask any faculty member of her or his discipline or a closely-related field of expertise within the University to be a reviewer. In special circumstances, reviewers external to the University may be selected with approval of the Department Chair. If the faculty member is the Department Chair, consultation regarding peer reviewers will take place with the Dean. The Dean may not be a reviewer.

Peer review consists of an examination of course syllabi, selected materials, and classroom observations for knowledge, accuracy, appropriateness and command of content, planning and organization, use of teaching strategies that create a learning environment, clarity and effectiveness of communication. In a written report, the reviewer will also identify the faculty member’s strengths and areas for continuing development.

During the year prior to submission of the application for promotion to Professor of Law, the three-peer panel review substitutes for the individual peer review.

iii.  The faculty candidate’s teaching shall be reviewed by three peer reviewers in the academic year prior to the academic year in which the faculty member will be a candidate for promotion to Professor of Law. The candidate shall select the first reviewer. If the person selected by the candidate declines to be a reviewer, the candidate shall make another selection. The departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee shall select the second reviewer. The Dean shall select the third reviewer. Reviewers shall be selected from among the tenured faculty in the School of Law. The Dean may not be a reviewer. In special circumstances, with approval of the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Dean, the faculty candidate may select a tenured faculty member from elsewhere in the University or from outside the University.

Before visiting a class session, the reviewer should meet with the faculty candidate to discuss the syllabus, text, and general philosophy of what the faculty candidate is trying to accomplish in the course, as well as the goals of the specific class session to be observed. After visiting the class session, the reviewer should meet again with the faculty candidate to briefly discuss the class session. The criteria for the peer review are those set forth in “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the  School of Law”, Section IV-7.I. Based on these criteria, the faculty reviewers shall write a joint report which reflects the observations each of them has made and which becomes part of the candidate’s portfolio.

A copy of the peer review report shall be provided to the faculty candidate, who may file a written response that will be included in the candidate’s portfolio. Copies of any response must be sent to the reviewers, the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Dean.

 b.   Engaging the Profession

i.    To be promoted to Professor of Law, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she has had two articles or their equivalents published or accepted for publication within any three-year period after September 1 of the academic year in which he or she was considered for tenure (which articles must be in addition to any previously included in the portfolio submitted in support of tenure). If a candidate has produced two additional articles or their equivalents, he or she may elect to be considered for promotion to Professor of Law as early as the succeeding academic year after the academic year in which he or she was considered for tenure. [This is a variance from Chapter 5.II.B.5, which requires at least three pieces of substantive work after promotion to Associate Professor.]

ii.    The scholarly work of the candidate must provide evidence that the candidate has achieved a national reputation in his or her field.

iii.   To assist it in making this determination, the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the respective department will seek external reviews from at least four experts in the faculty member’s field(s) of any of the candidate’s scholarship that has not already been the subject of an external review. The Promotion and Tenure Committee may, at its discretion, request additional external reviews of any of the candidate’s scholarship that has already been the subject of an external review.

(a)    Two of these external reviewers shall be chosen from a list of at least six names submitted by the candidate.

(b)    The remaining external reviewers shall be selected by the Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

(c)    The candidate may also list the names of up to three scholars who should not be solicited, due to the candidate’s belief that they would not be able to provide an objective evaluation of the candidate’s work.

(d)    No external reviewer may hold an appointment at the University of St. Thomas. The external reviewer may not have a direct connection with the candidate, which is typically defined as having ever had a faculty or student relationship with the candidate (which does not include merely having been a student in a large law school section course taught by that person), having ever been a co-author with the candidate, or any other professional or personal relationship of comparable closeness. Faculty who have served on a professional committee or conference panel with the candidate would be appropriate external reviewers. If there is doubt about a given relationship between the candidate and a prospective reviewer, a determination on suitability will be made by the department Promotion and Tenure Committee.

(e)    In Legal Studies, external reviewers shall be tenured faculty at an ABA-accredited law school. For Legal Studies, with prior approval of the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Dean, the faculty candidate may include on the list of six names a nationally-recognized scholar who is not affiliated with an educational institution or a scholar who holds a tenured faculty position in another discipline with expertise in the field(s) of the candidate’s work.

(f)     External reviewers shall be solicited by the Chair of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee. The external reviewer’s willingness to provide a letter will be confirmed by a standard letter that is available for candidate review (without the names and addresses of the external reviewers).

(g)    External reviewers will be asked to provide an independent assessment of one or more of the faculty candidate’s works and to evaluate whether the faculty member has achieved a national reputation in his or her field. External peer reviewers will not be asked to make a direct recommendation as to whether promotion to Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas should be granted. It will instead be the job of the departmental review committee to interpret and place in context the external letters of evaluation. Evaluations of suitability for promotion are made within the University of St. Thomas, with reference to the external letters and in accordance with “Promotion and Tenure: Specific Standards for the School of Law,” Section IV-7.II. The external reviewers’ confidential assessments will be placed in the candidate’s file.

(h)    In order to protect the confidentiality of external reviewers to the greatest extent possible, the assessment and recommendations written by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, by the Dean, and by the University’s Promotion and Tenure Committee will make no reference by name to the authors of the external letters of evaluation, though they will refer to the substance of those assessments in coming to their own conclusions.

c.     Service

i.    To be promoted to Professor of Law, a candidate must demonstrate that he or she has continued to provide significant service to the University, the legal profession, or the community.

ii.   In order to better collect information on the quality of service rendered to the Department and to the University by a candidate, the departmental Committee on Promotion and Tenure may ask committee chairs (or, in the absence of the chair, another member of the committee) on which the candidate has served in the last four years to submit a letter describing the quality of the candidate’s service on that committee. Quality shall be judged by impact, which will mean (at a minimum) attending meetings and making a contribution. To document other types of service, including service outside of the University itself (where such service has been agreed as being of relevance to the case for tenure or promotion), letters on the quality of service may be solicited from other individuals named by the candidate or provided directly by the candidate. In the assessment of Department Chairs, the departmental Committee on Promotion and Tenure shall ask the Dean or the Chair of the Department for comment on the quality of the candidate’s service in that role.

C.    Confidentiality

External reviews will be made available to the candidate, and the candidate will be given an opportunity to respond to those reviews. However, the reviews will be redacted so that the identity of the reviewer is not disclosed to the candidate. The Dean, the Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the respective department, and the members of that Promotion and Tenure Committee will not disclose the identity of external reviewers to the candidate or any other person who is not directly involved in deciding whether the candidate will be promoted or tenured.

D.   Use of “Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate from an accredited institution”

In the University Policy, the phrase “Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate from an accredited institution” will be defined to include the Juris Doctor when the University Policy is being applied to the faculty of the School of Law.

E.   Third-Year/Triennial Review for Faculty Candidates Not Simultaneously Seeking Promotion

When a faculty candidate is being evaluated as part of the third-year/triennial review process, but is not simultaneously seeking promotion, the review shall proceed according to the standards and procedures applicable for a faculty candidate seeking promotion to Associate Professor.

  

Adopted by the Law Faculty, February 19, 2003
Amendments Approved by the Law Faculty, May 17, 2004 and April 30, 2007
Amendments Approved by the Law Faculty, February 7, 2011
Amendments Approved by the Law Faculty, December 16, 2013

Other Policies in this section