Purpose of Promotion

The word promotion refers to a faculty appointee’s advancement in academic rank within the organizational hierarchy characterizing most universities. The titles used for each rank vary somewhat from place to place, but typically include assistant professor, associate professor, and (full) professor. These are historical titles and there are no direct implications with respect to academic activity: for example, assistant professors do not ‘assist’ more senior faculty.

Promotion is meant to signify the university’s acknowledgement of advancing contributions to teaching, research (scholarly activity) and academic administration. In this sense, it is largely symbolic and speaks to a growing recognition amongst one’s colleagues and the larger community that expertise and excellence in a defined academic discipline has been demonstrated. It is a sign of institutional and societal respect and a bestowal of honour that for many, has intrinsic value above and beyond any practical consequences or implications.

Promotion in academic rank is a collegial process, which means there are several layers of review provided by colleagues both within and outside the discipline and the home university. These reviewers share the responsibility of collectively determining whether a colleague’s academic contributions represent a body of work that meets the requirements for promotion, as described in an accepted set of standards. Promotion standards are designed to ensure that successful candidates demonstrate increasing levels of academic excellence in teaching, scholarly activity, and knowledge of their discipline, along with increasing involvement in academic and administrative leadership roles. This is an important point: a faculty appointee’s contributions can be highly valued by the institution and consistently evaluated as satisfactory or better without necessarily meeting the criteria for promotion in academic rank.

For university-employed faculty, promotion also has the tangible benefit of increasing pay with increasing rank. While incremental increases also occur as a function of longevity in the role, the increases associated with advancement in academic rank are typically much larger. A parallel process resulting in ‘career development increases’ or ‘special increases’ (also known as ‘merit’ increases) is similarly formulated on the basis of recognizing academic achievement, but it is unrelated to the promotion process. Faculty who are in-scope of the collective agreement undergo annual ‘salary reviews’ utilizing collegial processes, but the standards of performance used to award such increases are independent from promotion standards, and may vary from department to department or college to college.

Purpose of Tenure

As with pay increases associated with rank and pay increases associated with meritorious academic performance, tenure does not apply to medical faculty. According to the collective agreement between the university and the faculty association, “tenure means the appointment of an employee to a permanent position on the academic staff of the University” i.e. following a period of probation. Since medical faculty are not university employees, tenure is not applicable.

The purpose of tenure is said to be the guarantee of academic freedom, while “it is not intended to protect the employee from the withholding of promotion in accordance with Article 16 or from reprimand, dismissal, or severance in accordance with Articles 29 and 30.” The Policy for Medical Faculty, who are untenured, also guarantees academic freedom within the usual parameters. In either case, the notion of academic freedom remains an important one for all faculty, including those who cannot be tenured and those who have not yet been awarded tenure.

Tenure also bestows, to some extent, a measure of economic security insofar as the expression of unpopular views in an academic setting might otherwise lead to fears of reprisal. More importantly, achievement of tenure for employed faculty is a formal acknowledgement of professional growth. It represents a university’s recognition of current academic performance and promising future progression. This formal recognition can open other academic doors in terms of career advancement and administrative authority.

Promotion for Medical Faculty

For full information regarding promotion for medical faculty, please visit the medical faculty website. (link to approriate section)

Promotion and Tenure for USFA Faculty

Probationary Period
The probationary period of a faculty appointment has two parts - an initial period of probation which, if renewed, is followed by a second probationary period. Assistant Professors may be considered for tenure in any year of their second probationary period. Associate Professors can be considered for tenure either in the last year of their initial probationary period or in any year of their second probationary period.

Appointment as:

Initial Probationary Period*

Renewal of Probationary Period

Subsequent Probationary Period*

Assistant Professor

three years

consideration for renewal of probationary period takes place in third year of appointment

three years – may elect to be considered for tenure/continuing status in 4th, 5th, or 6th year

Associate Professor

three years

can be considered in third year of appointment either for renewal of probationary period or for tenure/continuing status

two years – may elect to be considered for tenure/ continuing status in 4th or 5th year

Professor

appointed either with tenure or with a two-year probationary period

 

 

* A candidate may serve one additional year of probationary service under extenuating circumstances (Articles 13.3.1.1 & 13.3.1.2)

Date of Appointment and Start Date of Probationary Period (Article 13.3.1)
For the purposes of calculating probationary service, initial appointments that take effect before November 1 are considered to start July 1 of that year. Initial appointments that take effect on or after November 1 are considered to start from July 1 of the succeeding year.


External Reviewers for Tenure and Promotion
For tenure and for promotion to Professor, an assessment from three qualified senior academics from comparable institutions is sought as described in Section E. Process of Evaluation of the University Standards and the College of Medicine Standards. Listed below are the form letters recommended for use by Departments in inviting external referees.  These can be found under Form letters to external referees - departmentalized colleges

Promotion to Professor
Invitation Re: Consideration for Promotion under Category 4 Research and Scholarly Work
Invitation Re: Consideration for Promotion under Category 5 Practice of Professional Skills
Tenure (or Continuing Status)

CATEGORY 4 RESEARCH and SCHOLARLY WORK
Invitation Re: Consideration of Tenure under Category 4 Research and Scholarly Work as ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Invitation Re: Consideration of Tenure under Category 4 Research and Scholarly Work as ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Invitation Re: Consideration of Tenure under Category 4 Research and Scholarly Work as PROFESSOR

CATEGORY 5 PRACTICE OF PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
Invitation Re: Consideration of Tenure under Category 5 Practice of Professional Skills as ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Invitation Re: Consideration of Tenure under Category 5 Practice of Professional Skills as ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Invitation Re: Consideration of Tenure under Category 5 Practice of Professional Skills as PROFESSOR

For faculty members seeking a first promotion, it is the scholarly activity beyond that demonstrated at the time of appointment that is evaluated. For faculty members who have been promoted and are seeking a further promotion, it is the scholarly activity beyond that demonstrated at the time of the most recent promotion that is considered. Faculty members recruited from other universities or institutions must be aware that consideration for promotion will be based upon scholarly activity initiated at the University of Saskatchewan. Work initiated elsewhere will not be considered in evaluation of the case file.

The evaluation of scholarly work undertaken by faculty primarily involved in research versus the evaluation of scholarly work undertaken by faculty who combine research with a professional practice has been a chronic source of confusion in the College of Medicine. Using the College standards, faculty are evaluated for promotion and tenure under either:

  • Category 4 (Research, Scholarly and/or Artistic Work), or
  • Category 5 (Practice of Professional Skills)

The main differences dictating the choice of category are a) the relative proportion of one’s work time spent conducting research, and b) whether one has a professional practice. Typically, PhD faculty in the science departments will have their scholarly work evaluated using Category 4 while faculty in the clinical departments will have their scholarly work evaluated using Category 5.

This is a rule of thumb only, as some clinical departments have faculty members who are primarily researchers and whose scholarly work would be evaluated using Category 4 criteria, while a department whose primary focus is on population health may have a mixture of researchers and clinicians. As a result, efforts are made to clarify the anticipated evaluation category for each faculty member at the time of appointment, as confirmed in a letter from the Dean.

Category 5 evaluates two types of professional practices: educational practice and clinical practice. Educational practice is defined as program and curriculum development, instructional design, and educational program management. Clinical practice is defined as investigating, diagnosing, decision making and overall care and management of patients.

Category 5 is further subdivided so as to assess a) academic aspects of the professional practice itself, and b) scholarly work performed in association with the educational or clinical practice. The differences between these subcategories may, at first glance, appear to be subtle, but College promotion standards attempt to make this distinction by way of example activities for each, a portion of which are deemed to be requirements needing to be met for promotion.

Promotion and tenure standards used by the College of Medicine undergo periodic review and revision by the College Review Committee (CRC), after which formal approval is sought from the University Review Committee (URC). Departments are also offered the opportunity to create their own discipline-specific promotion and tenure standards which, like College standards, must be consistent with and at least as academically rigorous as the University standards.

A side-by-side version of the University standards and the CoM standards is used so that the collegial review committees, the candidates and the external referees are able to see at a glance how the College standards agree with or augment the University standards. A side-by-side review will illustrate how the College standards incorporate all of the main evaluations categories and requirements of the University standards, while adding specific requirements that are relevant to the practice of medicine, the practice of medical education, and the conduct of research in the health sciences.

The school of Physical Therapy has prepared its own standards for promotion and tenure. A small number of faculty appointments in the College of Medicine are designated Academic Programming Appointments (APAs) and these faculty members have their own AP standards (2011).

The majority of College faculty seeking promotion and/or tenure will be evaluated according to the most current version of the College standards. There are exceptions to this general rule, based upon the year during which one was first appointed to faculty, as explained in this memo from the University’s Provost office. As this decision generates considerable confusion with respect to using the correct version of the standards, additional information can be obtained from Faculty Engagement office administration, at (306) 966-1378.

The case file represents a summary of all academic work performed during the period relevant for evaluation. Case files are prepared in a standardized format, as specified by the university. Further information is available from department heads and on the Vice Provost’s website.

The full appeals policy is posted in our Appeals Policy

Right to Appeal: Which Committee Hears Which Appeals?
The use of the word Department below refers to either the Department Renewals and Tenure Committee or the Department Promotions Committee, as applicable
The use of the word College below refers to the College Review Committee

Renewal of Probationary Period
DEPT → CRC → URC → UNIV APPEAL

  • If the Department does not recommend tenure, the College Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the College does not recommend tenure, the University Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the University Review Committee does not recommend tenure, the (University) Renewals and Tenure Appeal Committee hears the appeal.

(Article 14.5.5)

Tenure

  • If the Department does not recommend tenure, the College Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the College does not recommend tenure, the University Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the University Review Committee does not recommend tenure, the (University) Renewals and Tenure Appeal Committee hears the appeal.

(Article 15.12.6)

Promotion to Associate Professor
DEPT → CRC → UNIV APPEAL

  • If the Department does not recommend promotion, the College Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the College does not recommend promotion, the (University) Promotions Appeal Committee hears the appeal.

(Article 16.5.4)

Promotion to Professor
DEPT → CRC → URC → UNIV APPEAL

  • If the Department does not recommend promotion, the College Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the College does not recommend promotion, the University Review Committee hears the appeal.
  • If the University Review Committee does not recommend promotion, the (University) Promotions Appeal Committee hears the appeal.

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Promotion and Tenure Policies