At the University of North Georgia, faculty apply for tenure after year four. The faculty handbook outlines the specific documents needed and these documents are uploaded to UNG’s course management platform (D2L) by the second Monday of September. Committees form, committees review, committees make recommendations, and an email arrives, then a letter, signed by the provost announcing the decision.

Faculty apply for tenure at the beginning of their fifth year. That date doesn’t budge—though it can be extended, if needed.  But promotion, at UNG, can be uncoupled from tenure. Faculty can apply early for promotion. Much thanks to my colleague in the College of Business who noticed the single-sentence paragraph in the Faculty Handbook stating such. With the endorsement of my chair and my dean, I applied for early promotion last AY; I received it and the increase in pay as stipulated, again, in the Faculty Handbook.

Since I applied for early promotion, I have all the documents needed for tenure. The same documents are needed. I have spent the summer updating.

In general, here are the requirements for tenure, which I’ve cut and pasted:

The criteria to be used when considering a faculty member for tenure or promotion are as follows: 

  • Superior teaching; Demonstrating excellence in instruction
  • Professional Growth & Development / Scholarship / Academic Achievement
  • Outstanding service to the institution, profession, or community

Faculty provide evidence of these three bullet points by uploading a lot of documents:

  • A cover sheet
  • A “full professional CV”
  • A teaching CV
  • A service CV
  • A scholarship CV

 These three additional CVs, of course, echo the full professional CV. But there are additional items requested on these specific CVs that I don’t have on my full professional CV, such as how many advises I work with.

  • A summary statement of 6 single-space pages
  • And a bunch of supporting documents to “prove” scholarship, teaching, service. I include pdfs of all my articles and syllabi.
  • All annual performance evaluations
  • All student evaluations
  • Letter from chair
  • Letter from at least 2 colleagues, one of whom needs to have tenure

If the Department Promotion and Tenure Committee approve the portfolio, then they write a letter. If the College Promotion and Tenure Committee approve the portfolio, then they write a letter. Then the dean writes, then the University Wide Promotion and Tenure Committee writes.

What I have below is my 6 page single-spaced summary statement. In this summary statement, I connect my work with the UNG’s Strategic Plan, with AAC&U best practices, and with material from the Faculty Handbook for defining service and scholarship.

This document, then, is grounded in the language my university speaks, as I seek to show my value to UNG—not my value to another university, another college.

Finally, as I am at a teaching school, teaching is foregrounded in this summary statement. 60% of my contract is based off my work in the classroom. I’m a teacher at heart who does some writing/research.

Like book proposals, I don’t think grad students get much, if any training, in writing tenure documents. But this is a critical genre, and I am thankful for the examples I have looked over and the wonderful workshops our Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership offer on preparing for tenure and promotion.

Start preparing week 1, day 1. Start compiling documents. Start reading the Faculty Handbook, the QEP, the Strategic Plan. Learn the language of your school.

And then write.

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