CEHS Promotion and Tenure Overview

Promotion and Tenure Resources

Packet Preparation – General Comments
  • For purposes of tenure and promotion, the Faculty Code dictates that performance in the major area of emphasis must be judged to be “excellent” and performance in the remaining area(s) of emphasis must be judged to be “effective.”
    • Faculty who are being considered for promotion from associate professor to professor are also required to have “an outstanding reputation” in the major area of emphasis. Code specifies that “excellence is measured by standards for professors within the national professional peer group.”
  • For pre-tenure faculty, the packet should be a work in progress throughout the pre-tenure period with periodic revisions and updates.  At a minimum, it should be updated annually ahead of your fall Tenure & Promotion Committee meeting.   
  • For post-tenure faculty and term appointment faculty, the packet should be a work in progress and updated regularly prior to developing the final packet.
  • The goal is to not only document excellence/effectiveness, but also to show your professional trajectory over time. Incorporate your responses to challenges (research problems, course evaluations, new goals for courses, etc.) in appropriate sections of packet.
    • For faculty who are being considered for promotion to professor, there should be a clear focus on your trajectory since
  • Openly address any gaps, inconsistencies, or shortcomings, providing underlying perspectives as appropriate.
  • Review your role statement for potential milestones in your areas of excellence/effectiveness.
  • Brevity and efficiency are appreciated by the reviewers. We encourage you to think about your packet (or the individual teaching, research, extension, and service sections) as being analogous to a well-written scientific paper or grant, where data are condensed in charts, tables, and graphs along with clear explanations. Your materials should make the case that you should be tenured and/or promoted given your productivity and impact in your field.
  • The guidance provided here should be considered advisory – it is based on a great deal of experience, but these are not formal requirements. Read the Faculty Code closely for formal requirements. In the end, it is the candidate’s responsibility to construct an e-dossier that describes accomplishments effectively.

Self-Assessment Letter (suggested length 4-5 pages)

This should be a very well-thought-out document that clearly and succinctly articulates your accomplishments and impacts in the respective areas of your role statement. It serves as the executive summary of the outcomes that are further detailed in the packet. Be positive and promote your achievements, making sure to put these in context within your field. Openly address any gaps or weaknesses and put them in context. In keeping with an executive summary, address a gap or weakness briefly and, if needed, expand on it in the appropriate section of your portfolio.  Tables and graphs should be incorporated to summarize data and demonstrate impact. Additional tables and graphs that provide greater detail can be incorporated in other sections of the dossier. 

Clearly define your area of emphasis (i.e., research, teaching, or extension) and provide summaries of other areas.  If your role statement does not allocate any evaluative weight to a certain area, you do not need to address that area.


  • Use terminology that is understandable to a non-specialist as the central tenure and promotion committee is comprised of faculty from every college on campus.
  • Describe the broad strategy that has guided your development of an impactful research program.
  • Show how your efforts have led to achieving excellence/effectiveness in research.
  • Explain the outcomes (support with data in the packet). If you have two (or more) related lines of research, a graphic may be helpful for clearly showing how the lines and the products from those lines of work are related.
  • Address any difficulties and how you have worked, or are working, to overcome them.
  • Demonstrate how your achievements to date position you for future successes.
  • Include a citation analysis (or summary of one) that helps demonstrate your impact in your field.
  • For faculty being considered for promotion to professor, be clear on your trajectory and accomplishments since being promoted to Associate professor.


  • Include a condensed version of your teaching philosophy.
  • Discuss your approach to achieving excellence/effectiveness in teaching.
  • Provide a high-level summary of the outcomes of your efforts including in-class settings as well as mentorship of students, clinical supervision, etc.
  • For teaching excellence, be clear how you have made an impact beyond simply receiving good course evaluations; include a summary of outcomes for other teaching activities


  • Provide information on your programs (e.g., needs assessment, innovative approaches, impacts, and recruitment).
  • Discuss your ability to reach diverse audiences.
  • Provide information on your work with county agents and/or other specialists.
  • Discuss your efforts in disseminating information.


  • This section can be brief and summarize key service activities. Include service to the department, college/university, profession, and community as appropriate.

Research Documentation

List All Publications

  • List publications in APA or other appropriate format.
  • Separate out different types of publications (e.g., refereed journal articles under one heading; book chapters under another heading; non-refereed articles under another, etc.).
  • Make it easy for reviewers to see which articles are published, in press, under review, etc. Headings can be helpful in organizing the list of publications.
  • If publications are available on-line ahead of being in print, note this.
  • Use special notation to identify student or postdoctoral co-authors (e.g., * by graduate students; ** by undergraduate students).
  • Clearly differentiate publications/creative activities performed at USU versus those of prior appointments, including graduate student and postdoctoral accomplishments. When discussing research accomplishments, talk both your total body of publications and publications since being at USU.
  • For faculty being considered for promotion to Professor, clearly differentiate publications/creative activities performed since being promoted to Associate Professor, talk both your total body of publications and publications since being promoted.
  • Include a citation analysis (e.g., total number of citations to your work, h-index, i10 index, m-index) and, when possible, provide field-specific context for the h-index
    • Explicitly call out high-impact papers.
    • Put your citation rate in context in your field via normative data, comparison to peers, etc.
  • Clearly explain authorship sequence and practice in your field (e.g., if last author indicates senior author, state that). Remember that reviewers on central committee come for a variety of fields and most/all will not know the standards in your field – so be explicit about this.
  • Use brief (1-2 sentence) annotations to:
  • Identify the outcomes and activities for which you are primarily responsible.
  • Explain your contribution to multi-authored papers.
  • Provide evidence for the quality of your research publications/creative activities, including:
    • Journal impact factor
    • Number of citations to your work
    • Other evidence of impact

Research Funding

External Funding

  • List all proposals submitted including title, agency/foundation, requested amount, and your role (e.g., PI, Co-I) – list these under separate headings (e.g., Funded External Grants, Pending External Grants, Submitted but not Funded External Grants)
    • For funded proposals include award amount, as well as start and end dates.
    • For proposals not funded, include information such as scores, reviewer comments, funding agency pay lines (if known), and strategy for resubmission.
    • Specify if funding was competitive or non-competitive; if there is a mix of competitive / non-competitive funding, list these separately.

Internal Funding

  • List any internal funds received for your research; do not include student grants (such as URCOs) in this section.

List Scholarly Presentations

  • Clearly list all presentations at professional meetings using APA or other appropriate citation method.
  • For faculty being considered for promotion to professor, clearly differentiate presentations performed since promotion to associate professor.
  • List International/National and Regional presentations under separate headings.
  • List invited presentations separately.
  • Include notation regarding student presenters.
  • Note any contextual factors (e.g., low acceptance rate for certain conferences; conferences that put more credence on presentations than posters) that may be important in understanding your impact.

Other Research Activities

  • List / discuss impact of other research activities. This may include patents, multi-media materials, creative accomplishments, etc.


  • Include the 3-4 refereed publications or book chapters that were submitted to external reviewers as part of your external review packet.

Teaching Documentation

Teaching Philosophy

Topics that may be included:

  • What is your approach to instruction? Why do you utilize this particular approach?
  • What are your guiding principles for instruction? What has influenced your teaching approach and perspective?
  • (Teaching excellence) How do you practice a scholarly approach to teaching? What guides your teaching development? Literature; colleagues and mentors; workshops; conferences, etc.?
  • What are your expectations of students? What do you want them to learn? State how your expectations shape your practice.
  • How do you think students learn in your discipline; how do you facilitate learning? Discuss techniques and methods you use to maximize the probability of learning.
  • How do you motivate and establish rapport with students?
  • Your theory of assessment; how does your philosophy inform your assessment strategies?
  • How does your philosophy inform the kind and timing of the feedback you give students?

Teacher/Course Load and Evaluations

  • Discuss teaching load and provide departmental context for this load; if load is not reflected in a student evaluation table summary, include a table with course load by semester. Make sure to differentiate between teaching as part of load and overload teaching.
  • For faculty being considered for promotion to professor, clearly differentiate teaching that has occurred since promotion to Associate Professor.
  • Provide a table or graphical summary of student evaluation data; summarize, explain, and provide context for these data (e.g., provide an explanation for low or anomalous scores on student/course evaluations).
  • When reporting actual IDEA scores, use t-scores; discus the broad categories in which these scores fall (e.g., similar, higher, etc.).
  • Selectively include student-written comments or provide summary of most relevant comments.
  • Include a self-evaluation of teaching:
    • Report any mid-course student surveys or evaluations you used; how did you change your practice.
    • Report any pre- and post-course testing and how these resulted in course changes.
    • Carefully document changes made over time in response to evaluations.

Peer Evaluation

  • Peer reviews of teaching should be completed annually. It is best-practice to have the same person visit the same class each year so that the evaluation can include comments regarding modifications in teaching over time.
  • Peer evaluators should include constructive comments. A summary of the peer evaluation should be provided in a timely manner to the candidate
  • Address comments made by peers.
  • (Teaching excellence) Invite off-campus colleagues to review your syllabi or teaching approaches.

Student Mentoring

  • Report on undergraduates, graduate students (indicate degree level if still in the program and degrees completed under your advisement), and post-docs (provide dates) who worked with you on research activities.
  • List publications and presentations co-authored with students. Make sure to differentiate between students you directly mentor and students on publications who are directly mentored by someone else.
  • Note any unique accomplishments of these students (placement following graduation, awards received, contributions to your research, co-authorship, etc.).
  • Provide summary of thesis/dissertation committees on which you were a member including student name, department, degree, and date completed.
  • If other types of mentoring / advising are provided to students, describe this and outcomes.

Clinical Supervision (if applicable)

  • Clearly explain what clinical supervision looks like in your field (e.g., what do you do with students, what is the time involved); remember that many people from outside CEHS will not really understand what clinical supervision involves so providing context is important

Teaching Innovations

  • Describe teaching innovations or unique approaches you use; how do students respond to those innovations; discuss data that support student learning as a result of this innovation or approach.
  • Describe any funding obtained for pedagogical research or to improve your course (e.g., Excellence in Teaching and Learning Grant).
  • Describe how you respond to student and peer course feedback in constructive ways.
  • For those whose primary area is teaching, this section can be critical. Good IDEA scores are not sufficient to demonstrate excellence in teaching. Documentation of teaching improvement is critical. Documentation of the production of products (e.g., peer reviewed papers, conference presentations, curriculum development) related to teaching makes it much easier for the central committee to see that excellence has been achieved.

Teaching Awards or Other Achievements

  • List pedagogical achievements:
  • Identify the outcomes and activities for which you are primarily responsible.
  • Provide evidence for the quality and impact of these creative activities.
  • Service in a leadership role in the department or college in efforts to help improve teaching (e.g., local resource for implementing a best practice).
  • List teaching awards or other recognition for teaching.

Supporting Materials (In Appendices)

  • Full IDEA PDF files for all courses taught
    • For faculty being considered for promotion to professor, if many courses have been taught, it may make sense to include only files for classes since promotion to Associate professor
  • Details of evidence of student learning (e.g., pre/post scores before and after a course).
  • Evidence that you are continually working to refine your teaching skills and to understand student learning. Document workshops that you have attended, books you have read, and data you have collected from your classes.
  • External reviews of online courses and/or syllabi (if any).

Service Documentation

  • Clearly list all committee service (both external and internal to USU) with start/end dates.
  • Community service may include presentations to lay-audiences, work within the community, etc.
  • Professional service includes reviewing manuscripts and grant proposals, chairing sessions at professional meetings, chairing symposia, serving on professional boards etc.
  • Note any awards received for service activities.

Other Comments on the e-Dossier

  • Remember you are writing to a general audience; avoid acronyms and jargon whenever possible. If acronyms are used, make sure to define each when first used.
  • When uploading documents to the e-dossier, make sure the main document is first in each section and that support materials/appendices are listed after this.
  • Make sure to provide context for any awards received so that it is clear to reviewers how prestigious the award really was.
  • Throughout the e-dossier, context is key to ensuring reviewers from outside your field truly understand your accomplishments and their impact.
  • Once any materials are submitted for any level of review, they should not be changed from that point forward. For instance, if the CV and self-assessment letter are submitted for external review, they should not be changed. Any significant accomplishments made after the point at which materials are submitted for review can be included in an appendix or a letter from the candidate’s committee and/or department head.

Brief Guidance on External Reviewers

In the year that faculty go forward for promotion and/or tenure, they will need to submit a list of possible external reviewers to their department head. [Note that external reviewers are not required for Lecturers and can be waived in other situations – for example, for faculty in the clinical ranks.] Code indicates that external peer reviewers should be “of rank equivalent to or higher than that sought by the candidate.” Thus, for faculty seeking tenure/promotion to associate professor, reviewers must be tenured associate professors or professors and for faculty seeking promotion to professor, reviewers must be tenured professors.  Candidates are encouraged to submit a strong list of senior scholars who can provide insightful comments on their record. External reviewers should be respected scholars in the candidate’s discipline and should have sufficient rank, experience and perspective to judge the candidate’s record and compare it to others of equivalent experience in the field. Candidates are advised to recommend individuals who can serve as objective evaluators; i.e., not a former mentor, former or current collaborator, close friend or former classmate.

The ideal external reviewers are not invested in the career of the candidate but, rather, have sufficient distance to serve as objective external reviewers. Candidates should avoid any appearance of close personal relationships with suggested reviewers.

The below should be considered guidance regarding what materials to include in each section in the e-dossier. These lists are not inclusive and candidates should remember that ultimately it is their responsibility to develop their e-dossier. For all materials (other than current year letters which are submitted after the annual meeting) it is solely the candidate’s responsibility to upload needed documents into e-dossier.

Role Statement, Self-Assessment Letter, and Vita

Role Statement

  • Current, signed role statement (must have all signatures for the current academic year) 

Self-Assessment letter

  • Self-Assessment

Curriculum vita

  • CV

Additional documents

  • [most candidates will not have information in this section] 

Annual Reviews

[Note that for promotion-only candidates, there are often not any annual letters so sections may be empty for these candidates.]

Advisory Committee Annual Review Letters

  • Put annual letters from P&T committee in chronological order with clear titles (e.g., LastName Committee Letter 2019)

Department Head Annual Review Letters

  • Put annual P&T letters from Department Head in chronological order with clear titles (e.g., LastName DH Letter 2019)
  • Do not include spring annual evaluations

Dean Annual Review Letter(s) If Applicable

  • Put Dean letter from Year 3 (Note that Dean only writes letter in year 3 and year someone goes up)

Additional Documents

  • [most candidate will have no information in this section]


Teaching Documentation

  • Teaching narrative

Additional Documents

  • IDEA teaching evaluations (in order and clearly labeled); could be a summary if many IDEA evaluation
  • Peer teaching evaluations
  • Additional supporting materials as appropriate to case

Research/Creative Activity Documentation

  • Research narrative

Additional Documents

  • Example publications (when going up, include the 3-4 sent to external reviewers)
  • Grant information (cover page/grant summary)

Extension Documentation

  • Extension narrative

Additional Documents


Service Documentation

  • Service narrative

General Appendix

Appendix Materials Additional Documents

[most candidates will not have materials here; additional materials should be in above appropriate sections]

Decisions to promote faculty members and award tenure are among the most important made by the university, for they determine the quality of faculty for decades to come. USU Policy 405 must be followed to ensure protection of faculty rights and the university during the promotion and tenure process. As defined in the USU Policy Manual, "Tenure is that provision of employment attained after completion of a probationary period during which the probationer's performance is found to be such as to make him or her an asset to the institution because of his or her abilities as a scholar, a teacher, a researcher, a librarian, or an Extension worker. It is the policy of the University to reward such outstanding performance of tenure-eligible faculty members by tenure and/or promotion."

Following are the responsibilities expected from all parties in the tenure and promotion process. If you have any questions, please contact your department head. If you have any questions about e-dossier, please contact our college dossier administrator (CDA) (amber.summers@usu.edu).



      • Develops materials needed for e-dossier (https://dossier.usu.edu)
      • Uploads all needed documents into e-dossier in every year of the pre-tenure period and when being considered for promotion (generally completed at least 2 weeks prior to committee meeting)
      • Coordinates with Department Head to ensure meeting and ombudsperson are scheduled in a timely manner
      • Coordinates with Department Head to ensure signed role statement is completed each year

Committee Chair

      • Checks in with candidate prior to meeting to answer any questions regarding e-dossier and meeting
      • Ensures all materials of candidate are uploaded to e-dossier each year of the pre-tenure period and when being considered for promotion
      • Coordinates, as needed with Department Head and candidate, regarding meeting scheduling
      • Directs meeting
      • Drafts letter, coordinates feedback from committee members, and arranges for letter to be sent for electronic signatures (including to ombudsperson)
      • Ensures college e-dossier admin receives a copy of the final letter by the required date

All Committee Members

      • Reviews all materials in e-dossier prior to annual meeting
      • At request of the candidate, may provide feedback on e-dossier materials prior to the candidate finalizing and uploading materials (remember that materials are ultimately the responsibility of the candidate)
      • In the year a candidate is “going up” responds to requests from Department Head regarding external reviewers and letter sent to external reviewers

Department Head

      • Reviews all materials in e-dossier
      • Meets with each candidate to go over content of review letter and progress toward tenure/promotion
      • Completes review letter by the required date [link to the timeline] and ensures college e-dossier admin receives a copy of the final letter
      • In the year a candidate is “going up”
        • Solicits from candidate list of possible external reviewers
        • Consults with committee regarding final list of external reviewers
        • Consults with committee and candidate regarding letter that will be sent to external reviewers
        • Solicits external reviews prior to September 15th
        • Follows up on external reviews to ensure all are received back in a timely manner
        • Provides copies of external review letters (and bio/CV of reviewers) to college e-dossier admin to upload prior to the committee meeting


      • In years 3 and 6 (or year “going up” for promotion-only candidates) reviews materials in e-dossier and completes review letter by the required date [link to the timeline]

  • Solicited by department head prior to September 15th
    • In practice, do this much earlier (e.g., solicit mid-July; send materials in early September)
  • Need at least 4 external reviewers (rank the same or higher than that for which candidate is being considered)
  • Candidate submits names and states acquaintance with each
    • Recommend asking candidate for 10-15 names
    • Candidate can also submit names of people candidate does not want asked (although code says this is not binding)
  • Department Head and committee “mutually agree” on who will be asked; at least one half of reviewers must be from candidate’s list
  • “Pertinent information” in file is sent to reviewers
    • For research faculty this is generally CV, self-assessment, role statement, and 3-4 pubs
    • For teaching faculty this is generally CV, self-assessment, role statement, and materials from the teaching section in eDossier
  • Cover letter drafted by DH, and mutually agreed on by DH, committee, and candidate, is sent with materials to the external reviewers
  • External reviewers must evaluate primary area of role statement; can be asked to evaluate secondary area if DH, committee, and candidate all agree
  • Note: external reviewer names or other identifying information should not be shared with candidates and should never be included in committee, department head, or dean letters

General Promotion and Tenure Timeline

(See here for more information and current year deadlines: https://www.usu.edu/provost/promotion-and-tenure/)

  • In years 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 as well as in cases of promotion-only, the committee letter is due to the department head no later than December 1st (unless the 1st is on a holiday or weekend in which case the letter is due on last business day before the 1st)
  • In year 3, committee letter is due to department head no later than October 26th (unless that falls on holiday or weekend in which case letter is due on last business day before the 26th)
  • Committee meetings must take place enough ahead of letter dates to give the committee time to write/review/revise the letter. Candidates should verify with their department heads how meetings are scheduled (e.g., do candidates schedule meetings, does a department administrative assistant scheduled meetings?)
  • An ombudsperson is required at all committee P&T meetings. Candidates should check with their department head for information on how the ombudsperson is obtained.


Timeline for Promotion Year
For Department Head

    • Late Spring / early Summer
      • DH asks candidate for list of possible reviewers
      • DH and committee decide on list of who will be asked (candidate is not involved in these discussions and is not told of who is asked)
      • Suggest rank-ordered list so DH can just go to next name on list when a ”no” or non-response is given
    • Mid-Summer
      • DH e-mails possible external reviewers to get 4 reviewers lined up
      • DH, committee, and candidate agree on letter that will be sent to reviewers and if secondary area will be reviewed
    • Late Summer / very early September
      • DH sends candidate materials to external reviewers

For Candidate

    • Spring – works on putting together list of possible external reviewers
    • Spring-Summer – works on finalizing CV and self-assessment (and any other materials to send to reviewers)
    • Fall – gets all remaining materials completed and into e-dossier
      • Materials should be in e-dossier at least 2 weeks before meeting
      • Materials should not change after they are submitted for external review