Interim Review: Tenure Stream

This procedure is for all tenure stream faculty covered under the 2015 Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA). For those who did not opt in to be covered under the 2015 PPAA, please use the Third-Year Review procedure.

Interim Review Process Overview

Step 1

Confirm correct timeline for Interim Review for each of your Assistant Professors.

Step 2

Read relevant policy and consider divisional/departmental practices and norms. Begin to gather documents for the dossier. See the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA) 2015, Section II: 8 and 9.

Step 3

Inform faculty member of upcoming Review, no earlier than May 1.

Step 4

Establish Review Committee and set meeting dates.

Step 5

Ask the appointee to submit an account of research or creative professional activity which has been completed or undertaken since the time or initial appointment, normally no later than June 30.

Step 6

Advise faculty member on preparation of dossier which is normally submitted after August 31.

Step 7

Conduct Review and gather any additional materials that may be required.

Step 8

Committee prepares written report for the Chair or Dean with recommendations regarding a second probationary appointment, and where appropriate, areas requiring improvement.

Step 9

Dean or Chair notifies faculty member of recommendation in writing of the outcome of the Review no later than November 30.

Step 10

Follow up to ensure faculty member receives appropriate support to act on feedback from the Committee.

Guidelines for the Interim Review Process

Relevant Policies

The information in this manual provides guidance on implementing policy but in all instances, the policies are binding and take precedence over the information provided in this manual.

See the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (2015), Section II: 8 and 9.

Please note that the PPAA states that the procedures of the Review Committee “cannot be rigidly defined for the University as a whole.” Rather, it states that “the procedures of the Review Committee should be flexibly designed by each division or department with the aim of eliciting and considering all possible relevant information.”

Timing of the Interim Review

Sample Letter Notifying Candidate of the Interim Review

See the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments, (2015) (Section II: 8).

Tenure stream contracts normally begin on July 1. The initial contract is four years. For those faculty members with start dates at other times in the year, the start of their “tenure clock” will be determined by the calendar year in which they began their appointment. Appointees to tenure stream positions must receive their Interim Review between May 1 of the third year of their contract and November 30 of their fourth year. Normally, no earlier than May 1, the faculty member should be notified of the upcoming Review. The faculty member will not normally be required to submit the Review material prior to August 31. Notice that the contract will or will not be renewed on the following July 1 must be given in writing no later than November 30. For example:

  • May 1, 2017 begins the eight-month period during which the Interim Review for Assistant Professors appointed in 2014.
  • By November 30, 2017, Assistant Professors appointed in 2014 must be informed in writing of the outcome of the Interim Review.

The results of the Interim Review are either:

  • a new two-year contract beginning July 1; or
  • notice of termination effective June 30 of their current four-year contract.

Composition of the Interim Review Committee

The Interim Review Committee should be appointed by the Unit Head. The Committee itself should be chaired by a designate (in general, the Unit Head is seen to have a mentoring role with new faculty and the practice in most Divisions is to have the Committee chaired by someone else). It is recommended that the Committee be made up of at least three faculty members with tenure. In the case of faculty with budgetary cross-appointments, the Review Committee will be appointed jointly by the respective unit heads. Where the budgetary Chair and the Graduate Chair are not the same, the Graduate Chair should provide input on the faculty member’s role as a graduate supervisor/teacher, where appropriate.

In the case of faculty members who are cross-appointed to New College, Innis College, Woodsworth College or University College, the PPAA states that “the College principal does not participate in the appointment of the Review Committee. In these cases, the Review Committee must obtain from the College principal an appraisal of the candidate’s College contribution to be considered along with other relevant evidence of the candidate’s scholarly ability.”

Documentation Required

At a minimum, the Unit Head should arrange to have the following documentation made available to the Review Committee:

  • An updated CV (to be supplied by the candidate).
  • An account of the scholarly work or creative professional activity which has been completed or undertaken since the initial appointment (to be supplied by the candidate).
  • Student evaluations of teaching in all courses taught by the candidate.
  • Signed opinions of individual students, if these are available. In their absence, individual emails can be included.
  • Written comments from colleagues formally or informally acquainted with the appointee’s scholarship or teaching.
  • Other materials as required by the Committee.

Conducting the Review

The PPAA states: “The procedures of the Review Committee should be made known to the appointee, but they cannot be rigidly defined for the University as a whole. Rather the procedures should be flexibly designed by each division or department with the aim of eliciting and considering all possible relevant information.”

The Committee should consider all the documentation before it and may choose to obtain more information (e.g., comments from co-authors or from colleagues who have co-taught with the faculty member, if these are not included in the documentation supplied; a teaching statement). It is important to underline that “the review of such an initial appointment should be essentially different in purpose and procedures from the tenure review.”

The Committee should be satisfied that it has enough information to make a recommendation to the Unit Head on the following basis:

  • Has the appointee’s performance been sufficiently satisfactory for a second probationary appointment to be recommended?
  • If reappointment is recommended, what counselling should be given to the appointee to assist him or her to improve areas of weakness and maintain areas of strength?

See the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments, Section II: 8 and 9.

The Committee’s report to the Unit Head should focus on these two questions. The Committee should make a recommendation based on the evidence provided either to renew or not to renew the faculty member’s contract and provide advice to the faculty member on their performance since the time of their appointment in the tenure stream.

After the Review

After considering the Interim Review Committee’s report and recommendation, the Unit Head should notify the faculty member in writing no later than November 30 that their contract is to be renewed for another two years starting the following July 1 or that their contract will not be renewed and will end on the following June 30, providing reasons and feedback on the decision.

If the recommendation is to not renew the faculty member’s contract, please consult the PPAA section II: 9.

Further discussion of the Unit Head’s role in mentoring and counselling the faculty member is provided below.

Following a successful Interim Review, the faculty member is entitled to request an adjustment to their workload assignment for one academic term to allow them to focus on preparing for their tenure consideration and to address any advice from the review of their initial appointment. Normally, this term will not include assigned teaching or service but the term may include assigned teaching, with the candidate’s agreement, in order to address advice from their review.

Better Practices in Conducting an Interim Review

Interim Reviews are conducted at the unit level and will reflect divisional and disciplinary norms and practices. As a result, many of the better practices which occur will be specific to a particular division or unit. Unit Heads are encouraged to speak with their colleagues about successful approaches to conducting Interim Reviews in order to develop their own list of better practices. More generally, the following suggestions may be helpful:

Feedback From the Interim Review

  • Evidence in support of the recommendation should be cited and the rationale for the recommendation should be given based on the criteria above.
  • If the contract is being extended, the Unit Head should review carefully the counselling or advice that the Committee is recommending the faculty member be given and add their comments or suggestions to ensure that the faculty member receives the best advice the unit can provide.
  • Where it might be helpful, excerpts from the Review Committee’s report could be included in the letter to the faculty member.
  • If the counselling recommended involves followup on the part of the department, it is the responsibility of the Unit Head to see that this is done.

Mentoring of the Faculty Member

  • Assign all new faculty members a mentor prior to their arrival at the University.
  • Make mentoring of new faculty members a regular part of their early years in the division/department. Provide them with a sense of the divisional/departmental culture and expectations for performance.
  • Start early in assisting new faculty to gather appropriate materials for the Interim Review and provide them with clear guidelines about what should be included and how to frame their teaching statements and assemble their teaching dossiers.
  • Clarify for new faculty the relationship between the Interim Review and the Tenure Review. The Interim Review assesses whether a candidate’s performance has been sufficiently satisfactory to be given a further probationary contract. It also provides advice to the candidate about strengths and weaknesses. However it should not predict or comment on the tenure review. Similarly, the tenure review committee should not take into consideration the outcome of the Interim Review.
  • Ensure that the faculty member is meeting regularly with their appointed mentor and that a beneficial relationship is developing.

After the Review

  • In the event of a positive decision by the Review Committee, the Unit Head should take a significant role in ensuring that the recommendations of the committee are clearly conveyed to the faculty member and are acted upon. Regular review meetings may be an effective way to help the faculty member work towards their goals.
  • In the event of a decision by the Review Committee that a faculty member’s contract should not be renewed, the Unit Head should continue in the role of mentor, providing career advice and alternatives for the faculty member.
  • If the faculty member has a mentor, this person should be encouraged to continue in their role.