The purpose of this document is to establish criteria for the promotion of non-tenure line teaching faculty at Penn State Harrisburg. As the College does not hire faculty in research and/or clinical faculty, these guidelines do not deal with promotion in those ranks.
Constituting a Committee
The majority of the College Non-Tenure Line Faculty Promotion Committee members are elected by non-tenure line faculty. The Chancellor then appoints 1-3 faculty members to ensure a balance across disciplines and appropriate rank needed for the review process. The Chancellor utilizes the 1-3 appointed faculty members to enhance the diversity of the Non-Tenure Line Faculty Promotion Committee as well. If there is an insufficient number of appropriately ranked faculty, then non-tenure line faculty from academic units outside Penn State Harrisburg will be appointed. In keeping with the AC21 policy, we will populate our College non-tenure line Committee first. Then, will work with the Schools to populate their committees. In all cases, we will strive to balance membership on all committees between disciplines, ranks, and by diversity.
In case an elected member of the Committee does not complete his/her term, a special college-wide election is held to select a replacement from a slate of candidates nominated by the non-tenure line faculty of the College to complete the original member’s term. The replacement is selected to ensure that all schools are represented on the committee. The above-mentioned distribution pertaining to faculty representation is maintained.
Committee members may be recused only when there is a legitimate conflict of interest, such as a relative being considered for promotion or tenure. Conflicts of interest are to be declared in advance of discussion about a candidate. If there is a recusal, the reason might be noted in the evaluative statement. A committee member who is recused should not be present for the discussion and the vote.
Faculty members on leave of absence, are prohibited from participating in non-tenure line promotion committees.
- Non-tenure line faculty – all full-time (standing and fixed-term) faculty who are not tenured or on the tenure-track.
- Terminal degrees – all doctoral level degrees or a master's level degree in a field where a doctoral degree is not offered (such as an M.F.A.)
II. Definition of Academic Ranks
Faculty members with non-tenure line appointments may possess a master’s degree, a doctoral or another advanced degree, depending upon assignment and rank. Required educational qualifications should be determined by the individual schools in consultation with the Chancellor’s/Dean’s Office.
At the time of appointment, a) faculty with terminal degrees in a field relevant to their teaching assignments should be given the rank of Assistant Teaching Professor and b) faculty with non-terminal degrees should be given the rank of Lecturer.
Ranks for Non-Tenure Line (i.e. Fixed-Term I) Teaching Faculty
- Faculty with terminal degrees:
- Assistant Teaching Professor – should possess a graduate degree in an academic field related to his/her teaching specialization.
- Associate Teaching Professor – should possess a graduate degree in an academic field related to his/her teaching specialization; must have exceptional ability as a teacher and advisor; and must have shown evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter.
- Teaching Professor – should possess a graduate degree in an academic field related to his/her teaching specialization; must have demonstrated exceptional ability as a teacher and advisor; and must have shown evidence of professional growth, scholarship, and/or mastery of subject matter at a level of distinction beyond that of an associate teaching professor.
- Faculty with non-terminal degrees:
- Lecturer – This title should be applied when faculty are hired without a terminal degree, where a terminal degree is possible; or where faculty possess a terminal degree in a field other than that which they have been hired to teach.
- Lecturers can advance in ranks to Assistant Teaching Professor and Associate Teaching Professor.
III. Career Progression
- With terminal degree
- Assistant Teaching Professor
- Associate Teaching Professor
- Teaching Professor
- Without terminal degree
- Assistant Teaching Professor
- Associate Teaching Professor
IV. General Criteria
Because non-tenure line faculty members have specific assignments, it is important that appointments and promotion decisions are based on the performance of each candidate relative to his/her specific duties and responsibilities. However, there should also be consistency in performance expectations for such faculty members, as there is for faculty members on tenure-track appointments. Expectations should be determined and enforced by the individual school.
The same general principles as those used for tenure-track or tenured faculty shall be used for evaluating qualifications for appointment and promotion of non-tenure line faculty members. These will pertain to the specific duties and responsibilities that have been assigned and will include the following:
- The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning;
- The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishment; and
- The Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and Profession.
V. Appointment in the Teaching Ranks
- All appointments in the teaching ranks will be made by the hiring school director after consultation with appropriate parties and upon approval of the dean.
- Candidates must meet the minimum criteria for rank as defined in University Policy AC21.
- Supporting documentation should include an up-to-date CV with biographical data, education and prior appointments, publications, a personal statement describing teaching and/or research accomplishments, relevant data pertaining to service/outreach.
- For initial appointment to a multi-year fixed-term position, there should be evidence of successful prior performance. Otherwise, a one-year non-tenure line appointment should be considered.
VI. Criteria for Promotion
A consistently advancing record of accomplishment is expected, demonstrating improvement in the quality and scope of teaching as well as enhanced capabilities and versatility in delivery. Residential instruction and various forms of distance teaching are all relevant and important teaching activities and should be paid equal attention. Engagement with students outside of the classroom in such activities as advising students and student organizations, leading or accompanying students on field trips or study tours, providing non-credit workshops on professionally relevant topics, and the like are also an important part of a well-rounded teaching career. The candidate should demonstrate the ability to design new and effective courses or incorporate new content and learning objectives into established courses.
At a minimum, the candidate should:
- Exceed expectations for teaching and advising as defined by the individual school.
- Engage in Scholarship. Scholarship comes in many forms. Non-tenure-line faculty members must strive to be scholars. In that sense, it is important that non-tenure line full-time faculty, similar to tenure line faculty, must keep themselves abreast of developments in the disciplines that they teach so that their teaching is informed by scholarship and not just by textbooks. Additionally, participation in professional societies, meetings and other activities is expected in order to enhance scholarship and content expertise.
- Contribute substantially to the service and outreach mission of the program, the school, the college, the University, and the society.
VII. Promotion Review
- As stated in AC 21, “positions above the first rank are designed to be promotion opportunities, with a recommended period of at least five years in rank as an instructor or lecturer (or, for fixed-term and standing faculty without tenure who hold terminal degrees, assistant teaching/research/clinical professors) before consideration for promotion. Fixed-Term and Standing non-tenure-line faculty should become eligible for promotion to the second rank after five years in rank and would be permitted to compile their promotion dossiers in their fifth year. There should be no fixed time period for promotion to the third rank. Reviews for promotions should be conducted solely with regard to the merit of the candidate.”
In exceptional cases, faculty with many years of employment prior to the adoption of this document may be eligible for accelerated promotion. Faculty will still be required to proceed through each academic rank and may not skip ranks to accelerate the promotion process. At least one year should separate promotion for each academic rank. Faculty should work in conjunction with their school director and school level promotion committee to determine whether or not accelerated promotion is warranted.
- Recommendations for promotion are expected to involve a salary increase, to be determined by the academic unit head and the dean. Any salary increase will be effective either at the time of re-appointment or start of the next fiscal year (July 1) unless special arrangements are made with the dean.
- Recommendations for promotion are expected to include a multi-year contract. Recommendations are for a three-year contract for those individuals that are promoted to Assistant Teaching Professor or Associate Teaching Professors; and five-year contracts for Teaching Professor ranks. As stated in AC21, if a multi-year contract is not granted, then factors that shaped this decision shall be communicated to the fixed-term member at the time when a new contract is offered.
All non-tenure line faculty promotions require the assembly of a formal dossier to be reviewed by a school level committee and a college-level committee approved by the dean. The appropriately organized dossier should include:
- A Biographical Data Sheet.
- An up-to-date professional résumé or curriculum vita.
- Annual performance evaluations for the preceding five years.
- A personal statement describing teaching, professional, and/or research accomplishments, present work and future directions.
- Personal statements should include the candidate’s contributions to the school and the University. The candidate should also provide evidence of efforts to remain current in his/her field.
- If the assignment includes other duties (e.g., administrative responsibilities) the statement is an opportunity to describe and discuss contributions in this area as well.
- The length of this statement should be a maximum length of three pages. (in at least 10-point font)
- Teaching: Candidates engaged in teaching should assemble information pertinent to the scholarship of teaching and learning as itemized in the University Guidelines. The dossier should describe:
- Teaching assignments for the past five years and include documentation regarding teaching assignments and enrollments in the courses.
- Any teaching innovations that have been implemented.
- Impact on student learning, and written peer evaluations of on-line and residency teaching, including Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTEs).
- Evaluation of teaching includes residence teaching, on-line teaching, hybrid courses, honors advising, independent studies, and supervision of research.
- Student open-ended comments as summarized by the School Director.
- Efforts to improve teaching.
- Research, Scholarship, and Creativity that supports teaching and informs pedagogy is expected. Given the comprehensive nature of the college, each academic school will establish clarity of research and scholarship and creativity expectations necessary for promotion.
The Academic School guidelines for promotion of non-tenure line faculty should detail expectations in each of the three criterion areas of teaching, research, scholarship and creative accomplishments and service.
- Service: Candidates engaged in service should describe and document any service at the Program, School, College, University and society level. Service that should be documented may include, for example, contributions to program leadership and support, faculty governance, curricular review, community engagement, consulting, and membership and tasks related to professional and scholarly associations.
IX. Review Committees
- Each academic school will establish a review committee to conduct promotion of non-tenure line faculty members in that unit.
- Review committees shall have at least three members from the non-tenure line faculty serving within the school. Faculty serving on the college level committee should not serve simultaneously on the school review committee.
- School review committees should be set up according to the expectations of each individual school. This includes the number of members and terms of service.
- The college will establish a review committee to conduct promotion reviews for non-tenure line faculty who are recommended by the academic schools.
- Only full-time, non-tenure-line faculty members are eligible to serve on and vote for the members of the review committee.
- The committee shall be composed of one member from each academic school, exclusive of the library. Members will serve one-year terms, with possibility of renewal at the discretion of the college.
- Only faculty of higher rank than the candidate may make recommendations about promotions. Until sufficient pool of higher-ranked faculty is established through the promotion process, the college dean/chancellor should seek waiver to this requirement from the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
- To avoid tie votes, it is recommended that committees have an odd number of members.
- It is recommended that one or more alternate members are selected in such cases that a selected member cannot be present to make a recommendation.
- The dean will appoint the chair of the committee.
- Conflict of Interest
- In situations where a legitimate conflict of interest exists (e.g., committee member is a relative, partner, or significant other to the candidate being considered for promotion), the committee member will abstain and not be present for the discussion or vote.
- In situations where the conflict involves the School Director, the School Director will be excused from providing a recommendation to the dean.
- The dean shall select the substitute School Director from other college academic administrators.
- The college dean’s office will oversee and coordinate this process.
- A candidate’s school director is responsible for recommending a candidate for promotion.
- The school directors should clarify the candidate’s responsibilities in case of special assignments to all committee members, in writing, before the review is undertaken.
- There is a shared responsibility between the faculty member and the school director for the preparation of materials. The candidate is expected to supply in a timely manner, complete and accurate materials for the documentation (dossier). The school director will be responsible for presenting the candidate’s documentation.
- Review Process
- The school director will discuss with the dean the names of the candidates being considered for promotion prior to beginning the review process.
- After the materials are compiled, the school committee will review them and write a review and recommendation based on the candidate’s responsibilities. The committee vote will be included in the review, as well as a minority option statement, if the vote is not unanimous. The materials and the written review of the unit committee will then be submitted to the school director.
- The school director will, in turn, write a review and make a recommendation and then will forward all of the materials to the dean for submission to the college committee.
- The college committee will review the dossiers and write a review and recommendation based on the candidate’s responsibilities. The committee vote will be included in the review, as well as a minority statement, if the vote is not unanimous. When their report is completed, all materials will be forwarded to the dean for review.
- The college dean will review the candidate’s dossier and prior level recommendations and make a decision.
- At any stage of the review process, if a level of review disagrees with the prior, consultation must occur before a decision is made and the fact that the consultation took place should be noted in writing in the review by the person or group that initiated it, so that there is a record documenting that the appropriate process took place.
- Letter from the College Dean
- Feedback to the candidate will complete the review process. The dean’s letter of evaluation shall be addressed to the candidate, with copies forwarded to the appropriate School Director.
- Meeting with Candidate
- The school director is obliged to discuss the results of any formal review with the faculty member. These sessions are to be held as soon as possible after the review process is completed and before the end of the academic year.
- At this session, school director discusses the results of the review with the candidate. Access to all review letters should be made available to the candidate.
- Documentation of the meeting date and the participants shall be sent from the school director to the dean.
XI. Appeal and Reapplication for Promotion
- If promotion is denied, the school director for the appropriate school should notify the faculty in writing the reasons for denial. The school director should meet with the faculty to create an improvement plan to address the area(s) in which the faculty needs to improve. The plan should be specific to address the stated areas of concern.
- If reapplication is desired, a minimum of one academic year should pass prior to reapplication. The new dossier should include information on how the plan developed has been implemented, and subsequent improvements made.
- Denial of promotion should NOT affect employment status.
- All appeals for promotion should be worked through the college ombudsperson who will consult with the candidate and, if necessary, help the candidate to move the appeal to the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee as per AC26.
- Denial of appeal should NOT affect employment status.
- Denial of appeal does NOT mean that faculty cannot re-apply for promotion at a later date as outlined above. At least one academic year should pass between applications for promotions.
XII. Timeline for Promotion
- Requests for promotion may occur once per year.
- In general, the timeline for promotion of non-tenure line faculty would be similar to that of tenure-track faculty. The school directors should announce the timeline every year at the time of annual review.
Nomination Process for Non-Tenure Line Promotion to Teaching Professor
For promotion to Teaching Professor at Penn State Harrisburg, a successful candidate will provide evidence of a national and/or international reputation and/or presence in his/her academic discipline. This reputation may be earned through teaching excellence and engaged scholarship, as well as service and leadership in one’s discipline. In addition, appropriate levels of service, including leadership positions appropriate to their senior rank should be demonstrated, as well as contributions to the outreach mission of the university, in the School, College, University and Society at large. Likewise, achievements in scholarship and/or creative accomplishments must be significantly beyond those presented at the time of promotion to Associate Teaching Professor; and the candidate should be recognized by professional peers.
Process of Nomination of Faculty for Promotion to Teaching Professor
In order to have consistency between the process of promotion to full rank for tenure-line and non-tenure line faculty, Penn State Harrisburg utilizes the same process for promotion to teaching professor as that of promotion to full professor. That is, the nomination process for promotion to Teaching Professor for non-tenure line faculty will be according to Administrative Guidelines AC23 Promotion and Tenure Procedures. The AC23 Guidelines indicates:
Nomination Process for Promotion
1. Tenure consideration for assistant professors will be accompanied by consideration for promotion to associate professor. In other situations, faculty members will be reviewed for promotion only after being nominated as follows:
a. Nominated by an appropriate academic administrator
b. Nominated by the campus review committee (if appropriate) or by the department review
committee after consultation with the appropriate academic administrator.
Penn State Harrisburg implements procedure 1.a. above, where the “appropriate administrator” is the Chancellor.
In keeping with the guidance presented in AC23, candidates who believe they meet the above requirements (first paragraph) and are eligible for promotion to the rank of Teaching Professor according to AC21 and AC23, should communicate their interest to their School Director by July 15. By August 15 of each academic year, the candidates’ School Directors will assess credentials of those Non-Tenure Line (NTL) faculty members who are eligible and qualified to be promoted to teaching professor against the school, college, and university criteria for promotion to teaching professor. [Note: For candidates within the nursing programs, the procedure of the College of Nursing will be followed.] Based on this assessment, and in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, qualified candidates will be invited to develop a dossier (excluding supplemental materials). These dossiers will be submitted to the Chancellor for review by September 15. If the Chancellor determines, based on his/her assessment of the candidate’s dossier, that the candidate meets the above criteria and deems the candidate’s work to be meritorious of consideration for promotion, the Chancellor will nominate the candidate to undergo review for promotion to teaching professor. If, however, in the assessment of the candidate’s work, the Chancellor determines that additional input will aid him/her in arriving at the decision to either nominate the candidate to undergo review for promotion or not, the Chancellor will seek assistance from a special College NTL Consultative Committee (CNCC). CNCC will assess the candidate’s dossier to determine the candidate’s qualifications for nomination for promotion to a teaching professor rank and advise the Chancellor accordingly.
As outlined in the College’s Guidelines for Promotion for Full-Time Non-Tenure Line which states, “Only faculty of higher rank than the candidate may make recommendations about promotions”, the CNCC will include the teaching professors who were serving on the College NTL Promotion Committee during the previous NTL promotion review cycle, or those faculty who were appointed by the Chancellor as a special college consultative committee during the previous NTL promotion review cycle. At the Chancellor’s discretion, the CNCC may be augmented to ensure coverage of discipline and enhance the diversity of the Committee. These additional members may include disciplinary experts at teaching professor rank either from Capital College, other colleges and/or campuses within Penn State University, and/or external experts. The Chancellor or the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Administration will appoint and charge the CNCC to assess the candidates’ dossiers, evaluate the three areas of scholarship, and provide a written summary for each dossier that is reviewed. No votes are taken at these meetings. According to University policy, committee members having a conflict of interest with any particular candidate, including those involving partners or relatives, must excuse themselves from participating in any evaluation process of that candidate. The person abstaining must give a written reason to the committee chair. Abstentions are only for a documented conflict of interest. If a member of the CNCC is excused from service on the committee, he or she will be replaced by another NLT faculty member from a pool of alternate committee members who are teaching professors. Committee meetings are closed, and deliberations are strictly confidential in all perpetuity. The CNCC will complete its report and submit it to the Chancellor no later than October 15. The Chancellor in consultation with the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Administration will arrive at a decision on who is ready to be put forward for promotion to teaching professor. The Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Administration will convey the final decision and any individualized feedback regarding each candidate to the respective School Director. The School Directors will in turn, share the decision and any feedback with the candidates.
The full Administrative Guidelines for AC23 Promotion and Tenure Procedures can be found on the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs website.
Non-Tenure Line Promotion Review Calendar
Unanimously approved by the Academic Council on May 5, 2018
Approved by Capital College on May 18, 2018
Revised and approved by Capital College on November 7, 2018
Revised per the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs – October 1, 2022