Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 23, 1999

Tips on how to prepare for tenure review

by Linda Charles
The promotion and tenure policy approved by the general faculty last year went into effect July 1.

All tenure-track faculty hired after July 1 will fall under the new policy, said Dean Ulrichson, Faculty Senate president and chair of the Promotion and Tenure Transition Committee. Those hired before July 1 may choose, in consultation with their DEOs and the appropriate departmental committees, whether to be reviewed under the old or new policy.

In addition, Ulrichson added, tenured faculty seeking promotion during the next two years may opt to be reviewed under the old policy, again in consultation with their DEOs and departmental committees.

The new policy calls for position responsibility statements (broad job expectations) for all faculty members. These were to be completed during annual reviews for the 1998-99 academic year and will guide all future reviews (annual, promotion and tenure), regardless of the promotion and tenure policy, Ulrichson said.

While the promotion and tenure policy is specific about the process for obtaining promotion and tenure, it does not offer guidelines or "good practices" for faculty who are seeking promotion or tenure, he noted.

Following is a list of suggestions the committee members put together to help faculty in their reviews:

  • Keep excellent records of all your activities.
  • Create files or folders in which you record accomplishments related to annual reviews, promotion and tenure.
  • Get copies of the university, college and departmental promotion and tenure documents and understand them.
  • Prepare a short personal checklist of items that are needed and tasks that must be completed as part of the promotion and tenure process.
  • Keep a dated record of your position responsibility statement and show any changes that occur. A historical record will document changes in focus, time allocation and productivity. If the statement does not reflect the work you are doing, work with your DEO to make appropriate changes.
  • Prepare your promotion and tenure vita and make it a routine practice to make entries (such as recent publications, grants and awards) at least once a month. Keep your vita on your computer and update it electronically. This keeps your records up-to-date and helps you monitor progress.
  • Determine the format your college or department uses for teaching, research and outreach/professional practice portfolios and maintain the appropriate portfolios just as you do your vitae.
  • If you're on joint appointment, document which department is your primary department and which is the secondary. Investigate and understand the promotion and tenure processes in both departments.
  • Work with your mentor to learn your department's culture and performance standards and understand the support available for your professional activities.
  • Cultivate relationships in professional organizations and societies to develop a group of professionals outside the institution that know you and your work.
  • If non-tenured, carefully select and focus your opportunities for institutional service. Do not become over-committed to committee work.
  • As your career develops, consider how you will describe your scholarly activities in teaching, research/creative and extension/professional practice areas. Does the balance among these activities conform to your position responsibility statement? Do your annual reviews support this balance?
  • When in doubt, don't wait -- ask questions.
  • These and "good practice" suggestions for DEOs and depart-mental committees, as well as external review letters and timelines, will be available online through the Provost Office at

    Iowa State homepage

    Inside Iowa State,, University Relations
    Copyright © 1999, Iowa State University, all rights reserved

    Revised 07/23/99