- Relevant Policies
- Beginning the Tenure Review Process
- Notification of the Candidate
- Establishing the Tenure Committee
- Appointment of the Committees
- Assembling of the Documentation
- Written Appraisals by External Referees
- Summary of Evidence in the Dossier
- Tenure Committee Deliberations
- The Tenure Dossier
- Approval Process
- Appeals Against Tenure
- Better Practices in Tenure Review
- Templates and Appendices
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. This section is for tenure stream faculty covered under the 2015 Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA, Sections I to V) and any subsequent versions of that policy. For those tenure stream faculty who were not hired under or did not elect to be covered under the 2015 PPAA or later versions, please contact the VPFAL Office at email@example.com. For teaching stream faculty, consult the Continuing Status Review section (Part VII) of the PPAA.
- Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments
- The Provost’s memorandum, The Tenure Review Process and Tenure Check List (PDAD&C #134, revised 2004-05)
Beginning the Tenure Review Process
Review of Candidate’s Personnel File
Prior to beginning the tenure review process, the Chair should review the candidate’s personnel file to ensure that there are no procedural implications arising from the candidate’s appointment history (e.g., a late interim review). If any questions arise, please contact your Dean’s Office or the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life.
Timing of the Review
A candidate’s tenure review normally occurs in the sixth year of their appointment. The candidate’s letter of appointment and subsequent documents in the personnel file should be reviewed to confirm the timing of the tenure review.
Candidates may make a written request for a delay of the tenure review based on pregnancy and/or parental or adoption leave or serious personal circumstances beyond their control such as illness or injury or damage to their research facilities. Delays may be granted for one year but not more than two years (except in exceptional circumstances) with approval in writing of the Vice-President & Provost. Written requests by a candidate for further delays based on the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code will be considered by the Provost on a case-by-case basis. Such requests must be made at the earliest opportunity in the tenure process.
In exceptional circumstances will a candidate be considered for an early tenure review. Experience suggests that early consideration does not necessarily serve the individual or the University well. For approval by the Provost, the request for an early review must first be approved by the Dean and will include the candidate’s consent in writing, as well as the assurance that the individual has been fully briefed as to the procedures of the tenure review and the consequence of proceeding early in terms of the lost opportunity to add to the dossier. Early review cases will be assessed against the same criteria for awarding tenure as all tenure cases and no allowance will be made for a shorter time period.
The Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (Section 10) states that “no Assistant Professor should be granted tenure until he or she has served a minimum of three years at this University at the Assistant Professor rank except in extraordinary circumstances upon the approval of the Vice-President and Provost.”
Starting the Review
Candidates should be formally notified, normally no later than June 30 that they will be considered for tenure in the following spring and when the process of review, including assembling of documentation, is about to begin and when it will be completed. However, Chairs may wish to begin the tenure review process in advance of this date. This can be useful because it allows time for the Chair and tenure candidate to carefully consider the process and will assist in the early identification of external reviewers and the timely gathering of relevant materials. PDAD&C #134 The Tenure Review Process emphasizes the need for a fair review including the “careful selection of individuals to serve and the preparation of a full and fair dossier.” An early start to the process will support the ability to fulfill the requirements of the PPAA. During the summer, all divisions are asked to provide the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life with a full list of tenure candidates who are being considered in that academic year.
Notification of the Candidate
Template letter: 1st Notification of Candidate of Tenure Review Process
Template letter: 2nd Notification of the Candidate
As noted above, divisions may wish to begin the process earlier, but the Policy requires that the Chair notify the candidate no later than June 30 that they will be considered for tenure in the following spring (use template: 1st Notification to Candidate). This formal notification should include information on when the process of review will begin and when documentation such as teaching and research dossiers should be assembled and submitted. Candidates should normally be provided with a period of at least six weeks to assemble and prepare the documentation required from them and will not normally be asked to submit their research dossier prior to July 1 of the academic year in which they will come up for tenure.
In keeping with emerging best practice across the University, two template letters of notification are provided above. The first must be used in the spring prior to the year in which a candidate will come forward for review and gives details of their responsibilities under the Policy. The letter should inform the candidate of the following:
- The text of the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments.
- The approved divisional teaching evaluation guidelines and procedures to be used to evaluate teaching and, where appropriate, guidelines to evaluate creative professional activity.
- The timing of the assembling of documents.
- The requirements to provide an updated and complete CV.
- The requirement to provide a teaching portfolio.
- The requirement to provide a list of outside appraisers, named by the candidate.
The candidate must then receive a second letter (2nd notification to candidate) which provides further details of:
- The tenure review process.
- The proposed Tenure Committee members (with the request that any objections to the membership, including the Chair, be registered, in writing, within two weeks, stating the reasons for the objection).
- The timing of the Tenure Committee meeting.
In each case, the candidate should acknowledge receipt of the letter. Copies of these letters and the candidate’s acknowledgement should be included in the dossier submitted to the President.
Establishing the Tenure Committee
Template letter: Invitation to serve on Tenure Committee
The Tenure Committee should be constituted to avoid conflicts of interest and made up of individuals who are in a position to evaluate the candidate fairly and objectively.
Emeritus faculty no longer hold tenure and cannot serve on Tenure Committees.
All members of the committee must hold tenure. A person who has collaborated with the candidate or who has supervised his or her graduate work should not normally be appointed to the tenure or internal evaluation committees. PDAD&C #134 suggests that in order to avoid bias, “the Chair may wish to discuss with the candidate whether there are persons who are in the candidate’s opinion clearly not able to make an unbiased judgement.” This information should then be taken into account in the selection of individuals as seems appropriate.
The candidate should be given the opportunity to object to the selected members of the Tenure Committee. It is the responsibility of the unit head “to notify formally the candidate as to the individuals whom he or she intends to ask to serve on the Tenure Committee. This notification will normally happen in the fall. If the staff member has reason to believe that any member of the committee, including the division head or chair, cannot make his or her decision solely on the basis of the evidence available at the time of the Tenure Committee meeting, he or she should indicate this to the division head or the appropriate Vice-Provost. The division head or chair shall then formally notify the staff member of the final composition of the Tenure Committee.”
Fundamental to the selection of Tenure Committee members is their ability to make a judgment or a decision on the basis of the criteria and evidence before the Tenure Committee in an unbiased manner and in conformity with the requirements of the PPAA. Qualified individuals from outside the department can be included when appropriate to ensure that interdisciplinary work is appropriately assessed.
Committee Composition in Multi-department Divisions
In general, it is recommended that the four faculty members are not currently or have not recently been academic administrators.
- Chair of the department acts as Chair of the Tenure Committee (except in exceptional circumstances and with the prior written approval of the division head and the Provost).
- Head of the division (or their designate who should not be a member of the candidate’s home department).
- Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (or their designate who should not be a member of the candidate’s home department).
- Graduate Chair (where the Graduate Chair and the Budgetary Chair are different. This expands committee membership to eight).
- Four tenured faculty members — at least two from within the department. A further two may come from cognate departments or divisions.
Committee Composition in Single-Department Divisions
In general, it is recommended that the faculty members are not or have not recently been academic administrators.
- Division head (or their designate) acts as Chair of the Tenure Committee.
- Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (or their designate).
- Five tenured faculty members — at least two from within the division. The remainder may come from cognate departments or divisions.
Committees Where the Candidate has a Budgetary Cross-Appointment
In general, the head of the division or unit of primary appointment takes on responsibility for the tenure review. They are responsible for notifying the candidate of the review, gathering material for the Tenure Committee, establishing the internal committees and the Tenure Committee and for contacting external referees. The PPAA states that “the preparation of documentation must be done in collaboration with the appropriate officers of other divisions in which the candidate holds or has held cross-appointments, and the evidence of this collaboration must be placed before the Tenure Committee.”
The unit of primary appointment is the one where the candidate holds an appointment of 51% or more.
The PPAA provides specific detail on the formation of the Tenure Committee in the case of a faculty member with a budgetary cross-appointment. The head of the unit or division of primary appointment will contact the head of the unit or division of the secondary appointment and/or Graduate Chair where applicable concerning membership of and documentation for the Tenure Committee. With the inclusion of the Chair or other academic officer from the cross-appointed division, the Tenure Committee will have eight voting members instead of the usual seven. In no case should more than eight people serve on the Tenure Committee.
Therefore, in the case where a faculty member holds one budgetary cross-appointment (including those faculty members with primary appointments in programs based at St. Michael’s College), membership of the Tenure Committee will be as follows:
- Chair of the unit or head of the division where the faculty member holds their primary appointment acts as Chair of the Tenure Committee.
- In multi-department Faculties, the committee will also include the Dean (or their designate who should not be a member of the candidate’s home unit).
- Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (or their designate who should not be a member of the candidate’s home unit).
- A faculty member from the primary division of appointment; or in the case where the Graduate Chair and the Budgetary Chair are different, the Graduate Chair.
- Three other faculty members — at least one from within the primary unit of appointment.
- Chair of the unit or head of the division where secondary appointment is held.
For faculty members whose primary appointment is in a single-department Faculty, the normal membership will be expanded by one member to include the Chair of the unit or head of the division where the secondary appointment is held.
Where a candidate has more than one budgetary cross-appointment, the Dean of the division of the primary appointment will decide on and appoint the additional member from one of the units of secondary appointment after consultation with the heads of divisions or Chairs of units. The Chairs of the secondary units will provide written evaluations of the candidate but will not be entitled to representation on the committee, or to participate in the selection of committee members or the preparation of the documentation.
Assessments of teaching and scholarly activity should be obtained from all the units/divisions in which a candidate has taught. These should be taken fully into account by the Tenure Committee. Where a candidate holds a cross-appointment to University College, New College, Innis College, and Woodsworth College, the Chair must request an evaluation of the candidate’s contribution to the College from the College principal. This will be shared with the Tenure Committee.
Appointment of the Committees
Appointment of the Tenure Committee
Template letter: Invitation to members nominated to serve on Tenure Committee
Prior to the formal appointment of the Tenure Committee, the Chair should write to the candidate providing the full list of the proposed members. This notification will normally happen in the fall. Written acknowledgement from the candidate of the proposed Tenure Committee should be included in the tenure dossier submitted to the President. Any subsequent changes to the Tenure Committee composition must also be acknowledged, in writing, by the candidate. The Chair will then proceed to appoint the Tenure Committee (sample letter to members nominated to serve on Tenure Committee. The letter should indicate that the individuals agreeing to serve must make their decisions on the basis of the evidence available to them at the Tenure Committee meeting and should be reasonable in light of the standards that were generally applied in the division in recent years.
Appointment of the Internal Reading Committee
Template letter: Invitation to members of the Internal Reading Committee
The Chair establishes an Internal Reading and Evaluation Committee to assess and prepare a written evaluation of the candidate’s scholarly and professional accomplishments against the criteria for tenure. The committee should normally have a minimum of two tenured faculty members who are competent to review the research dossier carefully and rigorously. There should not be any overlap with the membership of the Tenure Committee. Former supervisors, collaborators, or co-authors should not be on the Internal Reading and Evaluation Committee. The names of the committee members should not be given to the candidate. While it is recommended that both committee members are tenured, in some cases (e.g., in a small department or because of particular expertise), one committee member could be a clinical or emeritus faculty member.
The Internal Reading Committee should not be privy to the external appraisals of the candidate’s research or have access to the candidate’s Interim Review. While the committee does not make a recommendation for or against tenure, it is imperative that the committee state clearly its evaluation of the candidate’s work against the published criteria in Section 13, paragraph (a) of the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments and advise whether or not the candidate’s work demonstrates the achievement of excellence in research (including equivalent creative or professional achievement), or if not, whether or not it clearly establishes competence.
Evidence of creative professional achievement should be assessed according to the relevant divisional guidelines on the assessment of creative professional activity and the Hollenberg Report (1984).
The committee should provide a single report signed by all members of the committee. While it is necessary to provide a single report, it is not necessary for the committee members to come to a consensus on excellence or competence.
Appointment of the Teaching Evaluation Committee
Template letter: Invitation to members of the Teaching Evaluation Committee
Most divisional teaching guidelines recommend that a separate internal Teaching Evaluation Committee is struck to prepare a written evaluation of teaching accomplishments. The committee should normally have a minimum of two tenured faculty members who are in a position to evaluate the teaching of the candidate carefully and rigorously. As with the Internal Reading Committee, there should not be any overlap with membership of the Tenure Committee; and former supervisors, collaborators, or co-authors should not sit on the committee. The names of the committee members should not be given to the candidate. While it is recommended that both committee members are tenured, in some cases (e.g., in a small department or because of particular expertise), one committee member could be a teaching stream faculty member with continuing status, a clinical faculty member, or an emeritus professor.
Divisional guidelines for the assessment of teaching must be followed in the preparation of the report. The report should go beyond summarizing course evaluations and consider the documentation provided by the candidate of both undergraduate and graduate teaching and graduate supervision. Committee members are encouraged to observe a candidate teaching a class. The Teaching Evaluation Committee should comment on the candidate’s success as a graduate supervisor, if applicable, and their future prospects as a graduate supervisor.
The judgment that the candidate’s teaching meets or does not meet the standard of competence or excellence must have clear grounds based on the divisional guidelines. While an internal teaching evaluation committee may not make a recommendation for or against tenure, it is imperative that the committee state clearly its evaluation of the candidate’s teaching against the stated criteria. The committee should advise whether in its view, excellence or competence has been found or not found.
Links to all divisional guidelines for the review of teaching can be found in the teaching evaluation guidelines.
In cases where the Teaching Evaluation Committee is of the view that the candidate has demonstrated excellence in teaching, the grounds for this, based on the divisional guidelines, must be stated in its report.
Assembling of the Documentation
It is the responsibility of the division head or Chair of the department, in consultation with the Graduate Chair, “to ensure that the fullest possible documentation is made available” to the Tenure Committee and to assist the candidate in identifying and supplying appropriate documentation. Candidates will normally be provided with a period of at least six weeks in which to assemble and prepare the documentation required from them and will not normally be asked to submit their research dossier prior to July 1 of the year in which they will come up for tenure.
Documentation to be Supplied by the Candidate
For candidates who have taken pregnancy and or parental or adoption leaves or have experienced other delays, the Chair should discuss with candidates whether they wish to reflect this in their Research Statement or CV.
- CV — An outline of the materials to be included in the candidate’s CV and the format to follow is provided in the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments, Section 15 (i).
- Research and Teaching Statement — It is a best practice for the candidate to supplement their CV with a general description of the direction that his/her research and teaching have taken. This is a useful addition to the dossier and should be circulated to referees.
- Collaborative Work — The candidate should provide a list of any collaborative work, indicating their contribution to each item.
- Published Works — For the assessment of scholarship and publishing the following should be included:
- Parts of books, books, monographs, articles, reviews, review articles, papers published in conference proceedings, research reports.
- Significant works of art or scholarly research expressed in media other than print.
- Evidence of creative or professional work including community service of an intellectual calibre comparable to scholarly production and related to the candidate’s academic discipline.
- Unpublished writings: papers presented at conferences, unpublished research reports, etc.
- Where appropriate, a statement of work in progress indicating its stage of development and plans for future work.
- “Unwritten scholarship”: displayed in public lectures, formal colloquia, informal academic discussions; evidence to be supplied in CV, to be considered in exceptional circumstances only.
- For Assessment of Teaching Ability:
- Teaching portfolio: list of all courses taught to be provided in CV.
- Course outlines, reading lists, essay topics, any other evidence of quality of scholarship, teaching skills, etc.
- Copies of student papers, especially any that have been published.
- Copies of student theses.
- Any other documents deemed by the candidate to be valuable as evidence of teaching ability or as required by the divisional guidelines.
Documentation to be Collected by the Chair
Template: Email to collaborators
Template: Email to colleagues
- Assessments by external referees (recommended minimum of six, at least one from a list provided by the candidate).
- Report of the Internal Reading Committee on scholarly work.
- Report of the Internal Teaching Committee on teaching effectiveness.
- Letters from students commenting on teaching and supervision.
- Student evaluations, as comprehensive and objective as possible.
- Any other documents required by the divisional guidelines for the assessment of teaching and creative professional activities.
- Statements from collaborators confirming candidate’s contribution to scholarly work.
- Colleagues who have co-taught or collaborated with the candidate may be invited to submit written opinions.
Written Appraisals by External Referees
Template letter to referees requesting written assessment
Referees should be individuals of international stature in their field and will normally be distinguished senior members of the faculty of universities which are major centres of activity in the candidate’s field. A well-constructed dossier will contain a minimum of six external appraisals, at least one of which will be drawn from the list provided by the candidate, with the remaining proposed by the Chair who may consult with members of the Tenure Committee or other senior faculty members in the candidate’s field. Thorough reviews from senior scholars of international stature carry much more weight than cursory judgments or letters from individuals early in their careers or less well placed to assess accomplishments in an internationally significant research university. An opinion may be sought from the candidate’s former supervisor but, in general, external referees should be chosen for their ability to judge the quality of the candidate’s work at arm’s length. Collaborators should not be referees, although they should be asked to clarify the extent of the candidate’s contribution to joint work.
PDAD&C #134 states that, “the reviewers should be able to judge the quality of the candidate’s work at arm’s length. In general, former supervisors or collaborators would not be appropriate reviewers.”
It may sometimes be appropriate to use some referees who are not in academia but who can comment on the candidate’s creative professional achievement. Such referees should be provided with a statement of what the division regards as creative professional achievement, which is to be distinguished from routine consulting or professional practice, as well as the description of creative professional achievement in the PPAA (Section 13a). In any case, no dossier should depend primarily on non-university referees. At least three letters should be from senior faculty members of other universities as described above.
Referees should be invited to assess the candidate’s work against the published criteria as stated in Section 13 of the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments for the granting of tenure and advise whether or not the candidate’s work demonstrates the achievement of excellence in research (including equivalent and creative or professional work); or, if not, whether or not it clearly establishes competence.
The assessors should not be asked to make a recommendation either for or against tenure, or to rank the candidate against peers in their field, but to use the criteria which are specific to tenure at the University of Toronto. Letters from assessors, whether received in hard copy or electronically, must be on institutional letterhead and must be signed. An email assessment must be followed by a signed letter.
Summary of Evidence in the Dossier
Template letter to the candidate at the time of the conveyance of the dossier to the Tenure Committee
At least one week prior to the first meeting of the Tenure Committee, the Chair must provide to the candidate a written summary of the appraisals and evaluations collected, without identifying their source (Summary of Evidence). At the same time, the Chair must invite (in writing) the candidate to make a written and/or oral submission to the Tenure Committee.
The summary of appraisal and evaluations from the external referees and the internal reading and teaching committees must be in writing and must be given to the candidate at least one week in advance of the Tenure Committee meeting. It is essential and a requirement of policy that the summary be sufficiently detailed that the candidate knows the evidence before the committee and could, if desired, supplement the dossier with a written response, or by appearing before the Tenure Committee to make a statement. The summary should include extracts of any significant information from all letters and reports while maintaining confidentiality. The names of the internal teaching and reading committee members should not be given to the candidate. It is also important that neither the names of the external appraisers nor any identifiers be provided in the summary.
Tenure Committee Deliberations
In addition to the tenure dossier, all committee members should be provided with the relevant divisional guidelines on teaching and creative professional achievement.
The tenure dossier may be shared as a hard-copy binder or as a soft-copy file using one of two methods only. See detailed instructions on the secure circulation of tenure dossiers for more information.
Convening the Tenure Committee
The Chair convenes the Tenure Committee. All members of the Tenure Committee must be present throughout any and all meetings of the committee. If a member is absent, the committee must not proceed. If a member leaves the meeting, the meeting must be adjourned. Meetings are held in camera — this means that no one other than the Tenure Committee members can be present. The meeting must be in person; conference/video calls or telephone participation are not allowed for in the PPAA.
The Chair should remind members at the first meeting that the deliberations of the committee are confidential and how individual committee members vote is confidential to the committee.
All members of the Tenure Committee must specifically address the criteria for tenure as outlined in the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments. The PPAA requires that the candidate’s accomplishments over the complete period of the professional career be evaluated. For some individuals, especially those who hold the rank of Associate Professor, this may span a considerable length of time. In determining future promise, committee members may look for an established pattern of scholarly or teaching accomplishments, consistent over time. However, in some cases the accomplishments of the candidate prior to joining the University, or earlier in their career, stand in marked contrast to the recent record at the University of Toronto. It is important in such situations that the committee comment explicitly on the significance of recent work in assessing future potential. The Tenure Committee should also ensure that work-in-progress is considered and evaluated.
“Clear promise of future intellectual and professional development […]. Demonstrated excellence in one of research and teaching, and clearly established competence in the other…”
The Tenure Committee must make its decision solely on the evidence available to the committee at the time of their recommendation and should be reasonable in light of the standards that were generally applied in the division in recent years. Provision is made for a recess of up to one month if additional information is required. If additional information is requested then a revised summary of evidence must be prepared and provided to the candidate. The candidate will again be invited to provide a written and/or oral submission to the Tenure Committee.
In the case of a positive recommendation, the committee must ensure that the case for tenure is fully demonstrated by the evidence before the committee; and be persuaded that the candidate meets the criteria stated in the PPAA. Where the candidate fails to meet one or more of the criteria, tenure must be denied. When all of the criteria are found to be met, tenure should be recommended.
The Committee Recommendation
Template letter to the Dean communicating Tenure Committee’s decision
The committee may recommend only that tenure be granted or denied. A recommendation to grant tenure must be approved by at least five of the seven members of the committee, or by at least six of eight members of an expanded committee. An abstention is a negative vote. The vote on whether tenure is granted or denied is by private ballot. Following the vote, the Chair of the committee announces to the committee how each member voted and the total number of votes for and against the granting of tenure.
Some suggestions on conducting the vote are included in the better practices in tenure review section.
The recommendation of the committee must be based on the evidence available to them at the meeting. The Tenure Committee recommends as a committee, not as a collection of individuals; this means that a positive recommendation requires that the committee comes to agreement on one of the following statements:
- demonstrated excellence in both research and teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development,
- demonstrated excellence in research, clearly established competence in teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development, or
- demonstrated excellence in teaching, clearly established competence in research and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development.
If the committee does not reach consensus on one of these statements then tenure cannot be recommended. Please note: If a preliminary negative result is returned, the Chair should rephrase the motion (as per one of the options outlined above) and again ask the committee members to vote. It is critical that the Tenure Committee vote on the criteria for tenure and not simple for or against tenure. Some suggestions on conducting the vote are included in the better practices section below.
In the final written Statement of Reasons to the President, the Chair of the Tenure Committee will provide the number of votes in support of the recommendation that tenure be granted or denied. The vote reported will be on the motion as a whole and not on the criteria individually. Individual ballots are confidential to the committee and should not be transmitted with the tenure dossier.
The committee cannot recommend that a tenure decision be delayed because there has not been sufficient time for the results of the candidate’s work to become fully apparent. In the event that the committee is unable to come to a decision, the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life must be informed and a new committee must be established immediately, unless the Provost’s Office is convinced that the circumstances are sufficiently unusual to delay the appointment of a new committee for a period of up to one year. This is a decision for the Provost, not the Tenure Committee.
Proposed Negative Recommendation
Template letter to the candidate at the time of a proposed negative recommendation
Template letter to the candidate when decision is not to recommend tenure
In the event of a proposed negative recommendation, the committee recesses and writes to the candidate with a statement of reasons for the proposed negative decision and with an invitation to respond either in writing or orally within 15 days.
Thereafter, the Tenure Committee must meet again to make its final decision whether or not to recommend tenure, taking into consideration any response provided by the candidate. The committee will then prepare and adopt a statement of reasons for the decision and in the case of a negative decision, a summary of the evidence. The summary of the evidence should be prepared in sufficient detail to enable the candidate to make a particular response to all of the significant components if they appeal to the Tenure Appeal Committee.
The Tenure Committee’s recommendation is communicated to the head of the division who informs the candidate whether or not tenure has been recommended to the President. After the President has made his or her decision on the recommendation of the Tenure Committee he or she will notify the head of the division and the candidate. In the case of a tenure denial, the division head and Chair will consult and determine the length of the candidate’s terminal contract, which should be for either one or two years followed by automatic termination with no further review.
Notification of the Candidate of a Positive Recommendation
Template letter to the candidate at the time of a proposed positive recommendation
While the PPAA provides for the head of the division to advise the candidate of the Tenure Committee’s recommendation, it is absolutely essential that it be made clear that this is the recommendation by the Tenure Committee to the President who makes the final decision to grant or deny. When told of the Tenure Committee’s recommendation, the candidate should also be advised of the remaining steps in the approval process. A template letter to be used for this purpose is found above. The candidate should be notified of the recommendation in their particular case no later than April 15.
The Tenure Dossier
The tenure dossier may be shared as a hard-copy binder or as a soft-copy file using one of two methods only. See detailed instructions.
Tenure dossier checklist
Section 1: Recommendation of the Tenure Committee and the Statement of Reasons
In the case of a positive recommendation, the letter must state explicitly that the committee’s recommendation is being made on the basis of one of the following:
- demonstrated excellence in both research and teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development,
- demonstrated excellence in research, clearly established competence in teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development, or
- demonstrated excellence in teaching, clearly established competence in research and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development.
The letter should also state whether the vote was unanimous and if not, the number of votes for or against tenure based on one of the above.
In the case of a negative recommendation, the letter should also state the final recommendation. The number of votes for or against the recommendation should also be indicated.
Whether the recommendation is to grant or deny tenure, the letter from the Chair should state clearly the basis of the decision with reference to the criteria laid out in the Policy as in a, b, or c above and with reference to the evidence in the dossier. A Statement of Reasons should be appended to the letter or directly incorporated into the body of the letter. It is very important that the reasons for the recommendation, whether positive or negative, be fully articulated. The Statement of Reasons should reflect and summarize the committee’s deliberations, including the interpretation of the evidence placed before the committee. All members of the committee should be copied on the reporting letter and statement of reasons.
In the event of a negative recommendation, the statement of the reasons for the recommendation and summary of the evidence sent to the faculty member must also be attached to the Chair’s letter to the Dean and copied to the members of the Tenure Committee. The same statement of reasons is provided to the President. The only difference between the copy provided to the candidate and that provided to the President is that the version to the candidate must not contain a record of the vote. As the faculty member with the only difference being the vote is not disclosed in the statement of reasons provided to the faculty member.
Section 2: List of Committee Membership
The final list of committee membership (and the candidate’s approval of the membership) including the representatives of the Dean or Provost and the Dean of SGS should be included in this section, along with a copy of the letter inviting members to serve on the Tenure Committee. The list of members should include the full name, department, faculty, and rank of each member. The candidate’s confirmation of the Tenure Committee (and their subsequent confirmation of any changes which are made to committee membership) should be included here.
Section 3: Copy of the Letter Notifying the Candidate of His/Her Tenure Consideration
A copy of the letter informing the candidate of his/her tenure consideration and any reply from the candidate should be included as section 3.
Section 4: Copy of the Candidate’s CV, Research, and Teaching Statement
The candidate is required to provide an updated and complete CV which will be supplemented by the candidate with a general description of the direction that his/her research and teaching has taken. A copy of the CV must be sent or, if more appropriate, simply be made available to all persons who are asked to evaluate the candidate as part of the tenure review.
The CV should also contain a list of all collaborative work with an indication of the candidate’s contribution to each publication/research project. This should be made available to collaborators for assessment (see section 9 below).
Section 5: Report of the Internal Reading Committee
The Report of the Internal Reading Committee must be a single document signed by its members (minimum two) and should indicate whether in their view excellence or competence has or has not been found. These individuals should normally be tenured and cannot be members of the Tenure Committee. The letter of invitation to the committee members should be included.
Section 6: Report of the Teaching Evaluation Committee
The Report of the Teaching Evaluation Committee must be a single written assessment of the candidate’s teaching ability prepared by at least two people who are in a position to evaluate the individual’s teaching carefully and rigorously in accordance with the applicable divisional guidelines. These individuals should normally be tenured and cannot be members of the Tenure Committee. The letter of invitation to the committee members should be included in this section of the dossier.
Section 7: List of External Referees Chosen by Candidate and Chair
The dossier forwarded to the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life should contain a list of the referees proposed by the candidate and of those selected by the Chair and a brief explanation of the basis of choice of all of the referees who were selected and their qualifications. It is useful to include a sample of the letter of invitation sent to the referees. A well-documented file will contain a minimum of six (or more) external referees. At least one of the referees should be from the candidate’s list. The referees should be individuals of international stature in the candidate’s field and normally be distinguished senior faculty members of universities that are major centres of activity in the field. Where referees that do not meet these criteria are selected, the Chair should provide an explanation of the appropriateness of the reviewers and the statement of reasons should explicitly reflect the committee’s deliberations on the appropriateness of the referees.
Section 8: Copies of the Letters From the External Referees
All letters should be signed and on official letterhead. Mark the upper right corner of each letter with the referee’s name, title, and university and indicate whether the referee was selected by the Chair or the candidate. Emailed appraisals must be followed up by a signed letter.
Section 9: Annotated List of Publications and Verification by Collaborators
Collaborators who have worked with the candidate should be asked to verify the contribution by the candidate to shared work. As part of their CV, candidates should be asked to include an annotated list indicating their contribution to each collaborative project or publication (see the example provided below in better practices). This should be circulated to collaborators for verification. Collaborators should be discouraged from writing letters of reference, but instead should be directed to simply verify the candidate’s stated contribution. (See: Email to Collaborators.) Verification can be submitted by email.
Section 10: Letters From Colleagues
Colleagues may also provide letters in support of the candidate. This sample letter — Email to Colleagues — can be used when requesting letters from colleagues in a position to comment on the candidate’s teaching and research.
Section 11: Letters From Students
Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to comment on a candidate’s teaching. A sample copy of the letter requesting comments from students should be included in the dossier. Copies of student comments and summary course evaluations should be included in the dossier. Please note that students are being invited to provide assessments and not testimonials.
Section 12: Summary of Evidence and Invitation to Appear
The summary must be sufficiently detailed that the candidate knows the evidence before the committee and could, if desired, supplement the dossier with a written response, or by appearing before the committee to make a statement. The summary should include extracts of any significant information from all letters and reports while maintaining confidentiality.
Section 13: Letter to Candidate With Committee’s Recommendation
Section 14: Proposed Negative Recommendation (If Applicable)
Where applicable, a copy of the letter to the candidate advising them of the Tenure Committee’s proposed negative recommendation in line with the details provided above should be included. Any written response by the candidate should also be included in this section. Also include any correspondence with the candidate concerning any oral presentation.
In the event of a negative recommendation, the statement of the reasons for the recommendation and summary of the evidence sent to the faculty member must also be attached to the Chair’s letter to the Dean and copied to the members of the Tenure Committee.
In multi-departmental Faculties, the Chair conveys the Tenure Committee’s recommendation to the Dean who forwards it to the Vice-President & Provost. The Vice-President & Provost forwards the recommendation to the President. In single-departmental Faculties, the Dean forwards the recommendation directly to the Vice- President and Provost who then sends it to the President. The file is first reviewed in the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life for completeness and to identify any procedural errors before going to the President for consideration and a decision.
Common procedural pitfalls can be found in the section, better practices in tenure review.
Positive recommendations should include a summary of the evidence and indicate explicitly whether the candidate is being recommended for tenure on the basis of demonstrated excellence in both research and teaching or demonstrated excellence in research or teaching and clearly established competence in the other.
Details of the President’s Review can be found in PDAD&C #134, page 11.
The President will notify the Dean/Chair/candidate of their decision. In most cases, a decision to grant tenure will automatically involve promotion to the Associate Professor level. Approval of awards of tenure is forwarded to the Academic Board for information. Where tenure has been denied a one- or two-year terminal contract is determined by the President in consultation with the division head.
Appeals Against Tenure
The candidate must write to the Chair of the Tenure Appeal Committee within 30 working days of being informed of the President’s decision. The potential grounds of the appeal are set out in Section 23 of the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments. It should be noted that the launching of an appeal does not extend the terminal contract of the candidate. The Tenure Appeal Committee will invite the candidate and the Chair to appear before the committee.
The Tenure Appeal Committee has the authority to either dismiss the appeal or remit the case to a second Tenure Committee which is normally to be set up by the President.
Better Practices in Tenure Review
The following are best practices that have emerged from the tenure process and have been identified by assessors, Chairs, Deans, and others who are actively engaged in the process.
PDAD&C #134: The Tenure Review Process and Tenure Check List recommends that “if the candidate has collaborators, information must be sought by the Chair from them and from the candidate about the nature of the collaboration and the nature and extent of the candidate’s contribution.” Frequently, tenure dossiers do not include this information or collaborators respond by providing letters of reference that do not verify the candidate’s contribution.
As a matter of good practice, Chairs should ask candidates to prepare an annotated list which provides a description of the contribution they have made to any article or research grant in which they worked collaboratively. For each work, the collaborator will be asked to provide a confirmation of the information or an appropriate adjustment. A template email requesting verification is available. If the collaborator does not agree with the candidate’s assessment, the candidate should be given an opportunity to respond.
Information Provided by the Candidate
Professor A.J. Scientist — List of Coauthored Articles with contribution
Statement of Collaboration with Professor B. Wheel, Harbard University, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
: Scientist, A.J. and B. Wheel. 2009. ‘Pitfalls and perils.’ Journal of Endless Academic Administration. 36(1): 15–24.
I am the lead author for this article and I took the lead role in writing and data analysis. The paper relies on data collected as a result of a shared grant where we are both principal investigators. I developed the framework for analysis, Wheel wrote the introduction and we jointly developed the conceptual framework. I took the lead in writing, data analysis and interpretation.
Statement of Collaboration with Professor H. Air, Pincerton University. Email: email@example.com
Air, H., Wheel, B and A.J. Scientist. 2010. ‘Meeting the bar.’ Education Administration. 24(4): 76–132.
I am the third author for this article. The paper relies on data collected by Air and Wheel. We were all involved in the conceptualization of the research question and interpretations of the data. Air and Wheel took the lead in writing the text while I developed and integrated the quantitative analysis for the paper.
In the case of publications or grants with multiple authors, the candidate should identify the senior corresponding author to be approached to confirm the collaboration.
Voting Procedures for Tenure Committees
A number of different voting practices within Tenure Committees are used across the University. The Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments states that: “A recommendation to grant tenure must be approved by at least five of the seven members of the committee (or six of eight). Voting is to be by private ballot. When the voting is concluded, the Chair of the Tenure Committee will announce to the committee how each member voted, and the total number of votes for and against the granting of tenure.”
It is important that the voting procedure used makes it clear that the committee votes as a whole, rather than as individuals; and that each vote is determined on the basis of a complete recommendation for or against tenure.
Good practice would suggest that Chairs of Tenure Committees consider the following procedure:
- In most cases during the discussions of the Tenure Committee it will be clear that a consensus is developing. At this point, the Chair should move the most appropriate statement. In the case of a positive recommendation, this could be one of the following:
- I move that this candidate should be granted tenure on the basis of excellence in research, competence in teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development, or,
- I move that this candidate should be granted tenure on the basis of competence in research, excellence in teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development, or,
- I move that this candidate should be granted tenure on the basis of excellence in research, excellence in teaching and clear promise of future intellectual and professional development.
- To comply with policy, each Tenure Committee member should be given a ballot which indicates whether they are for or against the motion.
- Upon completion of voting, the Chair announces how each committee member voted and the total number of votes for and against granting tenure.
- If a preliminary negative result is returned, the Chair should rephrase the motion (as per one of the options outlined above) and again ask the committee members to vote, sharing the results at the end of each motion.
Reporting Course Evaluations
In the review of the teaching dossier submitted to the Provost’s Office, reliance is placed on the Report of the Teaching Committee to provide a thorough review and summary of the candidate’s course evaluations, along with other sources of data regarding teaching. Judgements and conclusions must be based, to the extent which is practically possible, with a detailed examination of the primary reports (e.g., scores of all items for particular courses, an examination of the frequency plots for scores for particular courses, a holistic examination of the comments). With that in mind, large amounts of course evaluation materials can be difficult to review and summaries are practically useful for providing an overview of the overall trends in scores. In order to simplify matters, it is recommended that a summary table be provided that at a minimum, summarizes the response rate, Institutional Composite Mean (ICM), as well as any other item(s) which are deemed important. If not using the online centralized Course Evaluation Framework, it is advised to summarize either an aggregate scale equivalent to the ICM (which is comprised of five items) or a number of separate representative items.
The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation can provide a summary template. An example is below:
|Introduction to Example 1||EXAMP101-LEC0101||FALL 2016||15||21||4.1||4.0|
|Intermediate Example 1||EXAMP201-LEC0101||WINTER 2018||21||34||3.2||4.3|
|Intermediate Example 2||EXAMP201-LEC0101||WINTER 2018||32||67||3.1||3.7|
|Advanced Topics in Example||EXAMP501-LEC0101||SUMMER 2018||5||11||4.0||4.1|
|ICM: Institutional Composite Mean||Average of Q1 to Q5|
|Q9||The course provided opportunities to expand my understanding of the profession|
A brief statement that summarizes the overall trend(s) in scores over time, how the scores relate to other data/evidence, and which considers the quality of the data (e.g., low response rates, heavily split responses on frequency plots) and/or teaching context (e.g., class size, content taught) is highly recommended. See University of Toronto Course Evaluation Interpretation Guidelines for Academic Administrators (CTSI, 2018).
As with the reporting of teaching scores, there is wide variance in the reporting of grants. The information provided is often inconsistent or omits important details (e.g., amount, duration, whether candidate is PI or co-applicant). In order to ensure consistency and reporting of all details, it is often helpful to prepare a chart similar to that outlined below:
|#||Applicants (PI is bolded)||Agency||Title||Duration||Funds|
|1||Doe, J & Smith, J||CIHR||Grant Title||Ended March 2009||65,000.00|
|2||Doe, J & Smith, J||SSHRC||Grant Title||Ends April 2010||135,000.00|
|3||Doe, J & Smith, J||Heart & Stroke Foundation||Grant Title||October 2009 to October 2011||400,450.00|
Common Procedural Pitfalls
Recommendations under the PPAA are made to the President through the Provost. When the dossier is sent to the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life it is reviewed for completeness and to identify any errors in process and procedure. The following is a list of errors to avoid:
Tenure Committee Composition
- Too many members on Tenure Committee.
- Non-eligible Tenure Committee members (i.e., non-tenured members — status-only, teaching stream faculty member, assistant professor, clinical).
- No evidence candidate approved composition of/changes to Tenure Committee.
Internal Committee Issues
- Candidate was informed of committee membership.
- Supervisor/collaborator on the internal reading committee.
- Internal committee(s) had access to Interim Review.
- Assistant Professor on reading committee.
- Teaching committee report did not adhere to and reference divisional guidelines, did not include classroom visits where required by divisional guidelines.
- Reports were not signed by committee members.
- No collaborator statements or candidate solicited own collaborator statements.
- Inappropriate collaborator statements (e.g., statements read like letters of reference rather than confirming candidate’s contributions to research publications).
- Ballots included in dossier.
- Incomplete CV from candidate (e.g., grad supervision, grant monies received not included).
- Full CVs of external referees included in dossier.
- Biographies for external referees do not state reason for choice.
- No quantitative teaching evaluations.
- No student letters or used student letters solicited for Interim Review.
- Not clear that undergraduate students were randomly chosen.
Summary of Evidence
- Very short Summary of Evidence, not sufficient detail to enable the candidate to know the evidence before the committee and supplement the dossier with a written response or appearing before the committee.
- Summary of Evidence does not provide an overall picture of the evidence (e.g., merely summarized external and internal reviews, no student comments, no negative comments, Chair counsels candidate).
- Summary did not include extracts of significant information from letters and reports while maintaining confidentiality.
External Referee Letters
- More letters received from external reviewers selected from the candidate’s list rather than Chair’s list.
- Unsigned letters of reference or letters not on official letterhead.
- Inappropriate external reviewer (e.g., collaborator, former supervisor).
Statement of Reasons
- Statement of reasons did not include record of discussion of the Tenure Committee — i.e., simply a summary of external letters and internal committee reports /letters, does not discuss issues).
- Statement of reasons did not demonstrate how the committee assessed the evidence in the dossier against the criteria for tenure in the policy.
- Assessment of teaching did not apply/refer to the divisional guidelines.
- Statement of Reasons did not reflect the way in which the Tenure Committee dealt with the evidence before it, particularly when evidence was contradictory.
- Candidate sent Statement of Reasons in case of a positive recommendation (candidate should receive SOR in case of a tentative negative).
Correspondence With Candidate
- Copy of the letter informing candidate of Tenure Committee membership sent to the candidate not included in dossier.
- Letters to candidate not included (e.g., no evidence candidate approved Tenure Committee composition/changes to committee membership).
- Candidate response to Summary of Evidence not included.
Templates and Appendices
Tenure review templates (PPAA)
Divisional guidelines for assessment of teaching effectiveness in promotion and tenure decisions