Mid-Career Faculty Review Policy

Rationale: Many NatSci associate professors feel that the expectations for promotion to professor are unclear. In particular, since there is no fixed timescale associated with promotion, many faculty members are uncertain of the level of accomplishment required. Furthermore, a review of the written annual evaluations of faculty indicates that feedback to associate professors on their progress toward promotion is often absent or vague. Despite this, many mid-career faculty members do succeed. However, a delay in the career progression of any faculty member imposes costs by limiting that faculty member’s success and ability to contribute to the university.

NatSci and MSU policies on faculty annual review and on reappointment, promotion, and tenure provide a framework for providing the necessary guidance. However, it is important that all associate professors receive accurate, actionable, and timely feedback on their progress toward promotion. The process below is designed to provide the required feedback.

Modifications: The annual review of associate professors during their third year in rank will be augmented as follows:

  1. In addition to the usual annual review materials, each associate professor is encouraged to write a brief reflective statement (no more than 2 pages) describing his/her progress in research, teaching and leadership since the last promotion and his/her plans for the future. This statement will be due as part of the unit’s annual review process in the spring of the appropriate year.
  2. The relevant departmental committee and the chair should review the reflective statement as part of the annual review process that year. Written feedback from the chair, with input from the relevant department committee, should specifically include an analysis of the growth in the faculty member’s record in research, teaching and leadership since achieving tenure, feedback on the plans described in the faculty member’s reflective statement, and an evaluation of the progress toward promotion to professor. The complete CV, usual annual review materials, brief reflective statement (if submitted), and chair’s evaluation of the faculty member should be submitted to NatSci by September 30 of that same year.
  3. During fall semester (in year 4), the NatSci RPT committee will assess the review materials and evaluations that were submitted to NatSci in September and will advise the dean on the progress of the faculty member toward promotion to professor.
  4. With this input, the dean will provide written feedback to the faculty member and the department chair by the end of the fall semester (of year 4), assessing their progress toward promotion to professor.
  5. If a faculty member is undergoing review for promotion to professor in year four (which is rare), the usual RPT process will take place in lieu of the review described above.

Faculty who are beyond their third year as an associate professor can, at their request and with the consent of the department chair, choose to participate in this heightened review as part of their usual annual review.