Promotions, Evaluations and Tenure
The purpose of faculty evaluation is to improve faculty performance. Evaluation promotes better teaching and advising and provides an opportunity for faculty members to receive guidance and support for the fulfillment of scholarship goals. It also includes discussion of service opportunities and strategies for supporting the institutional mission. Yearly faculty evaluations also help faculty members prepare for promotion and tenure.
The vice president for academic affairs has oversight for the process of faculty evaluation.
In addition, the faculty member, department chair, school dean, colleagues and students have roles in the process.
Faculty in the First and Second Year at Notre Dame
The school dean or vice president for academic affairs, in collaboration with the department chair, evaluates the teaching and performance of new full-time and pro-rata faculty. The department chair completes an initial evaluation of faculty after the faculty member’s first two semesters at the University, and the faculty member prepares a self-evaluation portfolio after the initial three semesters at Notre Dame. The school dean or vice president for academic affairs meets with the faculty member to discuss the evaluations. The Faculty Handbook provides additional details, as well as the required forms.
Annual Faculty Evaluation
In June of each year, the faculty member reviews his or her Faculty Development Plan for the past academic year, and completes a report indicating progress at achieving the stated goals. This report is submitted to the department chair, who meets with the faculty member to discuss the findings in the report, set goals and complete the Faculty Development Plan for the following academic year. The department chair then submits an evaluation and the faculty member’s report to the school dean or vice president for academic affairs. The Faculty Handbook provides additional details, as well as the required forms.
Promotion of a faculty member through the ranks represents a process of growth and development as a member of the academic community:
- It reflects an evolution to a master teacher;
- It demonstrates scholarly growth and recognition in one's field of study; and
- It shows evidence of one's continuing contribution to the Notre Dame community.
Promotion recognizes accomplishment at the previous rank and sufficient promise to reach the ideal within the next rank. Attributes displayed by faculty members at each rank, and required for advancement to the next rank, are covered in the Faculty Handbook.
A faculty member may apply for promotion from Instructor to Assistant Professor after serving full-time as an instructor for a minimum of three years, or pro-rata as an instructor for a minimum of five years.
A faculty member may apply for promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor after holding the rank of assistant professor full-time for a minimum of five years or equivalent.
A faculty member may apply for promotion from Associate Professor to Professor after holding the rank of associate professor full-time for a minimum of five years or equivalent.
Faculty members who desire advancement in rank should discuss their plans with the School dean and the department chair. They should obtain and submit application forms through the office of the vice president for academic affairs.
The Promotion Committee evaluates the application and supporting materials and makes its recommendation to the president, who grants or denies the advancement in rank. The vice president for academic affairs subsequently confers with the applicant about the granting or denial of promotion.
Promotions are effective with the beginning of the next contract period of the academic year following the promotion. The timeline for the application and review process, as well as the relevant forms, can be found in the Faculty Handbook.
A faculty member who has retired from a full-time teaching assignment is eligible for the honor of faculty emerita(us). This rank, however, is not automatically conferred, but is granted by the president upon consideration of the faculty member's exceptional scholarly activity and contribution to the University or School.
The tenure policy of Notre Dame of Maryland University reflects the nature of the institution and the needs and opportunities unique to the University and its faculty. The purpose of tenure at Notre Dame is to ensure the stability of the faculty and to maintain educational excellence. It also ensures the academic freedom that lies at the heart of the University.
However, the University favors a climate in which neither job security nor academic freedom is dependent on tenure. Rather, the University sees job security as a result of satisfactory performance by a faculty member and academic freedom as a right of all members of the University community.
The percentage of full-time faculty having tenure shall not exceed 50 percent of the total full-time faculty. Tenured faculty who relinquish full-time teaching for administrative work at the University or for pro-rata teaching or who are on official leave shall retain their tenured status.
Application for tenure is a collegial process. Faculty who are considering application for tenure are advised to confer with the vice president for academic affairs, School dean, and the department chair. Faculty are not required to apply for tenure when they become eligible to do so. They may delay application or postpone it indefinitely.
Faculty who are denied tenure are not automatically non-renewed from the University. They may be re-appointed on a yearly basis.
A faculty member who has attained the following rank and service is eligible to apply for tenure:
- Rank: assistant professor, associate professor or professor
- Service: at least seven years of full-time teaching with at least five of these years at Notre Dame of Maryland University. (Note: The University reserves the right to expedite the promotion of or granting of tenure to a new faculty member when such action will serve the best interest of the University; details on eligibility for expedited tenure and promotion may be found in the Faculty Handbook).
To be granted tenure, the applicant must provide strong evidence of the following:
- Consistently sound and effective teaching;
- Continuing growth as a teacher and scholar;
- Commitment to the academic life of the University and School, including teaching, student advising, committee service and other assigned duties; and
- Commitment to the mission and goals of the University and School.
In addition, there must be a continuing need for the applicant's service, considering the University’s future needs. Faculty who fulfill the above criteria will be recommended by the Promotion Committee to the president for tenure. The president, who has the final decision subject to the Grievance Procedures, will grant or withhold tenure.