The purpose of this project is to capture in one public document all of the key policies, protocols and best practices related to tenure and promotion at Cornell. Currently, information of this kind is sometimes hard to find, incomplete, inconsistent or otherwise problematic. This brief
gives a quick overview of the plan. There are many interrelated topics that need to be fully understood by the community of affected parties. These have been organized into a structured
that will be continually updated as we progress through the project.
Why the Review is Necessary
The fact that we are undertaking this review does not imply that there are significant problems with the university’s current tenure process. Indeed, our system mirrors that of all major research universities, involving a rigorous, multi-tiered review process that seeks to fairly evaluate whether a candidate has met the high standards required for the award of tenure. Nonetheless, participants at all stages of the process – faculty candidates, departmental faculty, chairs, ad hoc committees, deans, the Faculty Advisory Committee on Tenured Appointments (FACTA), the provost, and the Board of Trustees – have on occasion identified aspects of the process that are unclear or potentially open to improvement.
How the Review will Be Conducted
The project will actively seek to engage all of the participants, identified above, that collectively share responsibility for the tenure decision. Draft text will be generated by the offices of the dean of faculty and the deputy provost. Where possible, such text will be drawn from existing sources, reworded where necessary to improve clarity. In other cases, the draft will seek to capture well-understood and settled practices that have not been sufficiently documented. Finally, sections that suggest new or different practices will be clearly identified for collective review.
The final document will be public and available on line. It is intended to provide a general overview and set of guidelines, and therefore will not seek to capture the detailed ministerial and administrative aspects of the tenure process. Moreover, the review will focus on procedures and practices that are applicable across the university and will identify those areas and situations – particularly at the departmental level – where some variation in approach is appropriate to account for local needs.
Material for review will typically be generated sequentially in “chapters” that correspond to the various stages of the tenure process, from the initial appointment letter to the final ratification by the Board of Trustees. The dean of faculty will oversee the vetting process at the faculty level while the deputy provost do the same with the department chairs and deans.