Pre-Tenure Review Policies

1) Annual Review

Each year, two members of the tenured faculty are assigned to observe at least two classes of each untenured faculty member. One visit is announced in advance and the other is not. The observing faculty make arrangements with the library staff to record the announced visit class. The tenured faculty members provide feedback to the professor about the classes and discuss the teaching techniques used in them. They also discuss with the professor the professor's plans for and progress on scholarship and service. They report their observations to other members of the tenured faculty at a meeting usually held near the end of the spring semester. After discussion, tenured faculty members vote by secret ballot whether the untenured faculty member should be retained for an additional year beyond the following academic year. When feedback beyond "keep up the good work" seems appropriate, the tenured faculty reaches consensus on the feedback the Dean will provide to the professor on the tenured faculty's behalf. The Dean or upon direction by the Dean, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs then advises the untenured faculty member of the decision regarding retention.

2) Informal Support

Untenured faculty members receive substantial feedback and support outside the formal pre-tenure review process. The University Handbook, Section 3, Part IV(D) provides that the Dean annually shall give each faculty member, tenured or untenured, a written narrative with the rationale for the Dean's evaluation of the faculty member for a merit salary increase. When there are large numbers of new faculty, there are orientation sessions to discuss expectations and policies. Depending upon the number of untenured faculty and their stage in the pre-tenure process, mentoring groups may be formed or a tenured faculty member may be assigned to work individually with an untenured faculty member. The faculty has been flexible in deciding upon the appropriate form of mentoring in light of varying circumstances and individual needs.

3) Article Reviews

Articles and other significant works are sent for external review soon after publication as agreed upon by the untenured faculty member and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. This procedure provides earlier feedback to the untenured faculty member, at a time when it may be useful in writing later articles that will be considered in the tenure review. In addition, it assures the tenured faculty has a contemporaneous evaluation of the quality of the article, rather than one that may be colored by later developments. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs selects one reviewer and permits the professor to select the other reviewer. When there have been favorable reviews of several significant scholarly works by both internal and external reviewers, the Associate Dean may determine that it is unnecessary to seek additional external reviews of subsequent articles.

4) Mid-tenure Review

This review occurs during the spring semester of the professor's third year at Washburn, if the professor has not been granted credit toward tenure for teaching at another institution. If a new professor is granted credit for prior teaching, for example two years, the mid-point review would occur at the mid-point of the years the professor will spend at Washburn prior to tenure, in this example in the spring of the second year here. The untenured faculty member submits information in the same format that is used in applying for tenure. The tenured faculty evaluates the materials submitted and prepares a report similar to the one it now prepares following its vote on a tenure application. If the report identifies any issues or concerns regarding teaching, scholarship or service, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs works with the untenured faculty member to develop a plan for the faculty to assist the untenured faculty member to address those issues or concerns.

Revised: August 8, 2017.