Penn State College of Engineering Penn State College of Engineering


Office of Human Resources

101 Hammond Building
Phone: 814-865-7530
Fax: 814-865-8767

Faculty Resources

Promotion and Tenure - Procedures for the Preparation and Submission of Promotion and Tenure Reviews
Department Head, Dean and Administrative Support Staff

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These guidelines are written to supplement guidance provided in:

  • University Policy HR-23: Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations
  • University Administrative Guidelines for HR-23 (issued annually by the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University)

Sequence of Reviews & Dossier Format

1) Second Year Provisional Reviews:

  • Prepare in official dossier format
  • Review by Department P&T Committee with letter of recommendation prepared by Committee Chair
  • Submit to Department Head for review and preparation of letter of recommendation
  • Forward to Dean for review and letter of recommendation
  • NOTE:  The College P&T Committee does not review second-year cases

2) Fourth Year Provisional Review:

  • Prepare in official dossier format
  • Review by Department P&T Committee with letter of recommendation prepared by Department Committee Chair
  • Submit to Department Head for review and preparation of letter of recommendation
  • Forward to College P&T Committee for review and letter of recommendation from College Committee Chair
  • Forward to Dean for review and letter of recommendation

3) Formal Third Year or Special Fifth Year Review:

  • These reviews are only done in special cases where having a formal interim review is deemed to be in the best interest of the faculty member and the College
  • Prepare in official dossier format
  • Submit to Department Head for review and preparation of letter of recommendation
  • Forward to College P&T Committee for review and letter of recommendation from College Committee Chair
  • Forward to Dean for review and letter of recommendation

4) Fifth Year Progress Report:

  • Department Heads prepare and submit a brief progress report to the Dean
    • Progress reports should contain only supplemental material indicating any important activities and evaluations, especially in teaching and research, which have occurred since the fourth-year dossier was prepared
  • These reports do not need to be in dossier format and are not included in the sixth–year dossier
  • Neither the Department nor the College P&T Committees review these progress reports

5) Sixth Year Tenure and Promotion and Early Tenure Review

  • Prepare in official dossier using the format and process outlined HR 23
    • Department Head will request external letters of assessment that are mandatory for all promotion and sixth year tenure and early tenure reviews
  • Review by Department P&T Committee with letter of recommendation prepared by Department Committee Chair
  • Submit to Department Head for review and preparation of letter of recommendation
  • Forward to College P&T Committee for review and letter of recommendation from College Committee Chair
  • Forward to Dean for review and letter of recommendation
  • If positive recommendation at College level review, forward to University P&T Committee for their review and recommendation
    • Notification to tenure candidate if review is sent through to University P&T Committee or not
    • Discussion with candidate if negative recommendation.
  • Forward to Executive Vice President and Provost of the University if positive recommendation from University Committee
  • Award of tenure and/or promotion will be authorized by the President of the University on behalf of the University
    • Letter is sent to candidate confirming approval from President of University and College Dean

Roles of the Department Head and Dean

The Department Head has the responsibility for: 

  • Providing the candidate with the necessary information needed to meet tenure requirements and prepare for the tenure review process.
  • Establishing and communicating the deadline for the dossier preparation to the candidate.
    • Following that deadline, the candidate will be permitted to include only important new information that arrived after the deadline set by the department.  Requests for inclusion of new material after the dossiers are distributed to the College Committee require approval of the Sr. Associate Dean.
  • Sharing responsibility with the tenure candidate for the preparation and timely submission of the dossier. The tenure/promotion candidate is responsible for reviewing the factual part of the dossier (all sections except the external letters) for accuracy and completeness prior to the beginning of the review process. 
  • Allowing the candidate to review the dossier, except for the external letters, in accordance with HR 60 prior to submission and having the candidate sign the Candidate Signature Statement to verify their final review.

The Dean has the responsibility for:

  • Ensuring that the dossier is accurate and complete and follows the appropriate format.
  • Ensuring that all tenure candidates are informed about the manner in which dossiers are prepared and the appropriate content.
    • A College P&T Workshop will be held for tenure candidates to provide procedural guidelines and opportunity to discuss the process and expectations.
  • Obtaining five external letters of assessment and completing related items in accordance with College of Engineering guidelines (University Guidelines only require 3 external letters). 
    • Related items include:  Log of External Letters, statement explaining method by which external evaluators were selected, and a brief biographical statement about the qualifications of the external evaluator.

NOTE:  If changes are made in the factual part of the dossier during the review process, the candidate and all previous levels of review must be informed and given the opportunity to review and reconsider their recommendations.  All previous levels of review must submit a statement indicating whether or not the changes resulted in a change in their recommendation.  The candidate must also submit a statement indicating they reviewed the new information.

Sixth Year Tenure and Promotion and Early Tenure Review

  • An official dossier must be submitted using the format and process outlined HR 23. 
  • External letters of assessment are mandatory for all promotion and sixth year tenure and early tenure reviews.  These external letters should follow the University Guidelines for External Letters of Assessment. One letter from each external evaluator can apply to both a promotion and a tenure request so separate letters for each are not required. 
    • The College of Engineering requires that the dossier contain at minimum of five (5) letters from external evaluators.
    • External letters should be solicited from diverse sources and should be recognized leaders in the field of the candidate.  A majority of the external letters should be from academic evaluators who are tenured and of a higher rank than the candidate.  The Dean will provide a statement explaining the method by which the external evaluator where selected.
    • External letters should not be requested from former teachers or students, those who have collaborated significantly with the candidate, or others whose relationship to the candidate might make objective assessments difficult.
    • Sample external letters can be found in the University Administrative Guidelines, Appendix C.
    • Candidates submit names of external reviewers, however, the final list is not required to contain recommendations from the candidate.  The log of external reviewers will not be available to the candidate at any time, and the candidate should not have any contact with external reviewers before or during the promotion and tenure review process.   Additionally, external reviewers should not be contacted in advance of the letter requesting their assessment.
  • Promotion and tenure decisions require different documentation from prior reviews as follows according to University Administrative Guidelines:
    • For candidates for tenure, the evaluative statements from the previous provisional tenure reviews are to be included (Second-year, fourth-year, and, if done, any formal third-year or fifth-year evaluative statements from the Department Committee, Department Head, and Dean).
    • For candidates for promotion only, evaluative statements pertinent to the current promotion action are to be included, but not prior evaluative statements.
    • For candidates for both promotion and tenure, all evaluative statements from previous provisional tenure reviews are to be included as only one dossier is prepared with two Promotion and Tenure Forms (signatory pages) to document decisions for each recommendation. The Department Committee, the Department Head, and the College Committee should each prepare one evaluative statement addressing both tenure and promotion to be included in the dossier.
  • Supplemental support materials which are not part of the dossier but which have been assembled for review as part of this process should be on file in the department office.  The department office should devise procedures for storing these materials and making them available for review by committees and administrators upon request.  Additionally, the tenure candidate must provide one copy of their five best publications to be maintained in the Department office as reference material for the College Committee and the Dean, if required by the department.

Preparation of the Dossier

  • Submit the signed original of the dossier to the College Human Resources Office (101G Hammond) within the Dean’s Office.  Do not copy the dossier pages back-to-back and do not staple pages.  Use binder clips to keep pages together.
  • Only the original copy needs to be submitted.  Any additional copies needed will be made upon request.
  • Refer to the Content & Organization of Dossier for Tenure Review and University Guidelines for detailed information on the dossier order of content/sections and page numbering of sections.