Review Process

The review process for promotion involves four levels of review, including the Department Review Committee (DRC), the chair, the dean, and the provost. This structure promotes a thorough, objective review of each case.

Roles of Review Entities

All reports from the various levels are ultimately advisory to the provost, who makes final decisions concerning the university’s recommendations for promotion. The role of each entity in this review hierarchy can be summarized as follows:

  • DRC— The DRC provides a peer review by those members of the university community best qualified to judge the quality of the candidate’s activities. Accordingly, the DRC should provide a detailed written analysis of the candidate’s instructional or research/scholarly/creative and service activities. The final recommendation of the DRC should be based upon that analysis and should report the final tally of any votes taken by the committee, including any abstentions or absences.
    The DRC should include at least one FTT faculty member at equal or higher rank than the rank to which the candidate is requesting promotion. If the department has no FTT faculty members who would qualify, then an FTT faculty member from another department within the college can be appointed to the DRC for the purpose of reviewing the candidate. All votes should be by secret ballot so that the votes of individuals are not divulged. Only DRC members present for the discussion should participate in the vote of the committee.
  • Department Chair/School Director— a full and detailed review of the candidate’s performance since hiring or last promotion, from the perspective of the long-term needs of the department. The chair should independently evaluate the candidate’s application packet, but consider the recommendations of the DRC in arriving at a recommendation. The chair’s report should succinctly amplify points in the DRC report where there is agreement, and fully explain the reasons for any differences of opinion with the DRC report. When the case is forwarded to the college, the Chair shall notify the candidate(s) in writing about the nature of the DRC and Chair’s recommendations.
  • Dean— an independent, comprehensive review of the candidate’s packet, taking the DRC and Chair’s recommendations into consideration. The Dean should provide a written analysis of each case, but may liberally cite opinions and analysis provided by earlier levels of review. In cases where the Dean is in agreement with all previous recommendations and feels that the case has been sufficiently analyzed in earlier reports, it is sufficient to provide a simple statement of agreement. When all cases from the college are transmitted to Academic Affairs, the Dean shall notify all candidate(s) in writing about the nature of the Dean’s recommendation. Ideally, the Dean should also provide verbal feedback to the Chair at the end of the college-level review and discuss areas of concurrence and disagreement.
  • Academic Affairs— an independent review of the candidate’s packets and general analysis of the earlier reviews (DRC, Chair, and Dean). Academic Affairs is responsible for maintaining equivalent, and high, standards across the university. Academic Affairs will prepare appropriate written notification to all candidates for promotion concerning the outcome of the review process.

General Guidelines for the DRC

The DRC for each department shall be constituted as indicated in the policies and procedures cited in the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP), Section 2.50.

In addition to the policies expressed under HOP 2.50, the DRC should adhere to the following guidelines. Careful adherence to these policies and guidelines is necessary to ensure a fair, objective, and consistent process throughout the review of each case.

  • The DRC functions to conduct internal peer evaluations for the purpose of making recommendations on faculty promotion from lecturer to senior lecturer and into the professor of instruction, practice, and clinical and research professor series. The committees shall limit their recommendations to these actions, as appropriate.
  • Faculty members serving on the DRC are responsible for thoroughly reviewing the applicant’s performance in each of the performance criteria and participating in committee discussions and formulating committee recommendations.
  • The analysis of the DRC should indicate the factors that contributed to each committee’s recommendations and illuminate any factors that were prominently cited during the deliberations that would have been supportive of a contrary recommendation.
  • Recommendations should be based on consistently applied criteria appropriate for the faculty candidate’s academic discipline.
  • Faculty serving on the DRC should focus on factual information and guard against inaccuracies caused by either emphasis or omission of information.
  • The DRC report should be signed by all participating members of the review committee. On the signature page, the report should include a header that reads: “We, the undersigned members of the DRC have reviewed this report for completeness and accuracy, and attest that we have reached our recommendations through a thorough review and discussion of the available documentary evidence.”

Each dean is responsible for reviewing policies and procedures and these guidelines with Department Chair/School Directors and for assuring that these policies, procedures, and instructions are followed.

Guidelines for Department Chair/School Directors

The Chair’s report should contain the following essential elements:

  • a summary of the review process followed by DRC, including the recommendations of the DRC;
  • an analysis of the candidate’s contributions in the areas of teaching or research/scholarly/creative activity and service;
  • a succinct statement of the Chair’s recommendation, with explanation of the factors leading to this recommendation.

The Chair should strive to compose the report as objectively as possible, using factual data to support conclusions and expressing the evaluation in terms of departmental expectations and aspirations. In doing so, the Chair understands that the recommendation is most likely to be upheld if there is a clear rationale for how the candidate’s promotion will recognize outstanding contributions to the department and help the department improve its overall performance.

Guidelines for Deans

The role of the Dean’s recommendation is to uphold high standards across the college and ensure that promotion decisions are made to support the long-term quality and productivity of the college. In all cases, the Dean’s report should provide the following essential information:

  • the nature of the department’s recommendations through the DRC and Chair;
  • a succinct statement of the Dean’s recommendation for the case.

If the DRC and Chair have provided consistent analyses and recommendations with which the Dean is in agreement, then the Dean may provide a succinct statement of concurrence with the earlier recommendations.

If earlier recommendations express diverse outcomes, or if the Dean disagrees with their conclusions, then a more comprehensive recommendation should be provided. That report should contain an explanation of the reasons supporting the Dean’s recommendation, citing decisive arguments included in the DRC and Chair reports. The Dean should take care to express conclusions within the context of the college’s expectations and aspirations for long-term quality among its faculty.

Appeal of Promotion Decisions

The promotion review process is a comprehensive one requiring several layers of thorough review. Appeals should be made only in cases where new, compelling information relevant to a promotion decision has become available since the completion of the college-level review. Such information might include, for example, receiving a significant award for teaching or scholarly achievements, a new major publication of research results, or major external competitive funding awarded for research.

Appeal Procedure

  1. The faculty candidate shall first consult with the Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs to discuss the promotion application, and the new information that might support a successful appeal.
  2. Within thirty (30) work days of the first work day in April the candidate shall submit the appeal in writing to Academic Affairs.
  3. The written appeal is limited to the following materials:
    1. a succinct cover letter explaining the nature of the new material being submitted for consideration and its significance; and
    2. new material in support of the promotion application that was not available prior to the time the case was sent forward by the Dean to Academic Affairs.
  4. Academic Affairs shall review the written appeal, but may consult with reviewers from any or all of the review levels used in the promotion processes.
  5. Academic Affairs shall inform the candidate in writing of the final decision within twenty (20) work days of receiving the written appeal.
  6. Academic Affair’s decision is final for the current application review cycle or a mandatory review. If the decision is to deny promotion for a non-mandatory review, then the candidate may reapply in a subsequent academic year.

Retention of Promotion Documents

Promotion documents are retained in accordance with the university’s official retention schedule. The university’s full records retention schedule can be accessed through the following link: https://www.utsa.edu/openrecords/retention.html