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Unit Bylaw Requirements - Reappointment, Promotion, & Tenure

NatSci Guidelines on Departmental and Program RPT Procedures and Their Documentation


  1. All recommendations for reappointment, promotion, and tenure  in the College of Natural Science (and corresponding procedures) must conform to Guidelines for Faculty Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure in the College of Natural Science and relevant MSU policies and timetables.
  2. MSU policy requires that the basic RPT procedures be codified in the department or program bylaws, that the criteria for RPT recommendations be “clearly formulated, objective and relevant”, and that the “procedures shall be known to all members of the basic administrative unit”.
  3. The following items must be specified in unit bylaws:
    1. A statement[1] that the chairperson or director for the unit is responsible for:
      1. Insuring that all university, college, and departmental procedures, guidelines, and timetables are followed in each RPT case under consideration.
      2. Informing each RPT candidate and all appropriate unit faculty (see item b below) of all relevant procedures and deadlines in a timely fashion.
      3. Making the official unit recommendation to the NatSci dean for or against the RPT action under consideration by the designated deadline. Note that this recommendation must report the vote of the faculty (see item b below) for or against the RPT action.
      4. Informing the RPT candidate of the faculty vote and his/her recommendation to the college as soon as these items are forwarded to the NatSci dean.
    2. A statement that unit faculty of rank higher than the candidate under consideration will be consulted (either directly, or through representation on an appropriately constituted committee) during the departmental RPT process, and that the information provided will be used as input in the decision of the chair or director. This statement must specify:
      1. Which faculty of higher rank will be consulted. The criteria for inclusion/exclusion of faculty associated with the unit must be based on explicit appointment criteria, e.g. fraction of appointment, tenure home, etc.
      2. That an official vote of the faculty consulted will be taken and reported to the college.
      3. The procedure by which faculty input will be sought (e.g. by vote of all eligible faculty at a departmental faculty meeting).
      4. The procedure by which the RPT candidate can confer with the faculty, or appropriate subgroup, prior to the faculty vote advising the chair or director on the RPT action.
  4. In addition to the basic procedural matters specified in the bylaws, a document with the following information should be made available to all RPT candidates and relevant faculty by the middle of the spring of the year prior to the RPT action:
    1. A statement of the review criteria for RPT actions, specifying that these actions must conform to NatSci and university standards and identifying any additional issues or concerns of departmental or programmatic relevance.
    2. A statement of the material required from the RPT candidate (e.g. Form D items, suggestions of external referees, etc.) and the deadline(s) for receiving this material. A summary of any assistance the department will provide to the candidate (e.g. tabulating and summarizing SIRS forms, etc.).
    3. A summary of the timetable for departmental RPT considerations, specifying any relevant deadlines and consistent with submission of the material to the college by January 15.
    4. A statement of what role, if any, the candidates mentoring committee will play in the RPT process.
    5. A discussion of the basic procedures to be followed in collaboration with other units in the consideration of joint appointments – in most cases, details of the RPT process should be spelled out in a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) established when the faculty member is hired, and this MOU should specify:
      1. Procedures for annual review, including a yearly joint meeting between the faculty member and the appropriate Chairs/Directors.
      2. The “lead unit” for RPT review – generally the unit which is the “tenure home”. If units agree on RPT recommendation, there should be one joint letter from the units in the RPT file – if there are differing recommendations, there should be separate letters.
      3. A mentoring plan for the faculty candidate.

Reviewed by the NatSci Faculty Advisory Committee 12/10/2015

Reviewed by the NatSci Chairs & Directors 1/13/2016

[1] Note that by MSU policy outlined in the Appointment, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Recommendations section of the Faculty Handbook, “Chairpersons or directors make judgments taking into consideration peer evaluations and other supporting information, yet unit administrators are responsible as individuals for the recommendations made.”