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Engineering: Faculty/Staff Resources

College of Engineering Procedures For Annual Evaluations, Promotion and Tenure

Effective May 9, 2011

I. Introduction and Mission

The ability of a college to function, progress, and develop excellence depends both on the individual performance of each faculty member and on the collective performance of the faculty. Thus, the success and reputation of a college are highly dependent upon the talents that exist among its faculty and how effectively those talents are marshaled to accomplish the mission of the college. To achieve and maintain high quality, a faculty evaluation system is essential. Properly administered, an evaluation system will encourage professional growth of individual faculty members, assure retention of only those faculty members who demonstrate a high level of scholarship, academic performance and service, and permit appropriate recognition of achievement.

The work of faculty members as independent professionals is not easily categorized or measured. Because it is inherently judgmental, the evaluation of faculty must be constrained by principles and procedures designed to protect academic freedom and to ensure accuracy, fairness, and equity. The purpose of this document is to outline these broad principles and to establish the rigorous and common procedures necessary to maintain these qualities in the faculty evaluation process. These procedures shall be considered adjunct to the current Guidelines for Evaluation of Faculty of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The College of Engineering (CoE) embraces its unique role as the singular intellectual and cultural resource for engineering and technology instruction, research and outreach within the state. The College provides students with comprehensive engineering and technology programs to fulfill their highest aspirations and ambitions.

Accomplishing the CoE's mission requires a creative, collective intermingling of individual faculty talents. Consequently, each individual faculty member likely will have a unique role in the CoE and a special assignment in terms of the focus and apportionment of faculty responsibilities among teaching, research, service, extension, and administration. The evaluation criteria and processes must accommodate such differences.

II. Statement of Faculty Workload

The apportionment of faculty in the CoE is, in general, divided among the areas of teaching, research, service, extension, and administration. It is recognized that individual departments and other administrative sub-units that have independent promotion and tenure processes (hereafter referred to as Units) within the CoE have differing emphasis on each of these areas dependent upon the mission particular to the Unit. Faculty members shall work with their respective chairs to reach a written agreement on the apportionment for the specific calendar year.[1] & [2] During the Promotion and Tenure process, faculty members shall be evaluated on the basis of this apportionment using criteria specific to their particular discipline. These criteria shall be applied to faculty members such that the apportionment is equitably reflected.2 & 3 The Promotion and Tenure material submitted to the Dean’s office shall have a clear description of the Unit’s process for achieving the apportionment. The material submitted to the Dean’s office shall include documentation of this distribution for each year. In cases in which the apportionment is modified during the calendar year, adequate documentation of such changes is also required by the University of Nebraska. For information about the activities associated with these apportionment areas, please refer to documentation contained in the College of Engineering Criteria for Promotion and Tenure.

III. Promotion and Tenure Timeline

The College of Engineering Promotion and Tenure (CoE P&T) committee must be given adequate time to consider each case before it. The members of the CoE P&T committee shall work together so that they can perform the evaluations in an efficient manner. Included in this process is the necessity of reconsideration at each step. Following the notification of the initial decision of the CoE P&T committee, candidates may request reconsideration by the committee within three working days. Below is the Promotion and Tenure timeline to be followed by all Units of the CoE. Specific dates for each year will be provided in a memorandum from the Associate Dean in charge of academic affairs in September of the fall semester. The flowchart shown below schematically outlines the Promotion and Tenure process from the Unit level to the level of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (SVCAA). It is essential that all Units abide by these deadlines when planning the Unit promotion and tenure schedule.

1 See Bylaws of the Board of Regents
2 See Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty: Annual Evaluations, Promotion, and Tenure
3 See College of Engineering Criteria for Promotion and Tenure

Timeline for the Promotion and Tenure Process College of Engineering

Description Deadlines
Organization meeting for CoE P&T Committee Before Thanksgiving Break
Material due in the Dean’s Office Monday following Thanksgiving
Promotion and Tenure Meeting In the week prior to the start of classes, spring semester
Promotion and Tenure Reconsideration Meeting (if necessary); single meeting to hear all reconsideration cases No sooner than 10 business days following submittal of draft reports to candidates
Material due in the Vice Chancellor’s Office with the Dean’s recommendation TBD by SVCAA

Reconsideration Reconsideration Chart

2 If the dean and the CoE P&T committee concur on a recommendation against promotion, the process terminates (promotion only). The candidate and department each may appeal the decision to the vice chancellor.



A. Formation, Composition and Duration
The CoE P&T committee shall consist of one member from each CoE Unit. Each Unit shall elect one faculty member to serve a three year term as a member of the CoE P&T committee. No substitutions are allowed during deliberations within any given year. For the first cycle of implementation of these procedures, one third members shall serve on the P&T committee for one year, and second one third members for two years, and the remaining one third members for the full three year term. After the first year, one third members shall be elected each year. This will provide the Committee with experience, continuity and appropriate representation. All CoE tenured full Professors except those with full-time administrative appointments such as Deans and Heads/Chairs are eligible to become the members of the CoE P&T committee. In case a Unit does not have full Professors, an Associate Professor shall be elected. Only one faculty member can be elected from each Unit to serve on the CoE P&T committee. The duration of each member’s service on the P&T committee for the first cycle of implementation will be decided by the CoE Dean. In the case when a member is incapacitated, a formal replacement will be made following the election process mentioned above.

B. Selection and Responsibilities of the Chairperson
The entire CoE P&T committee will elect the chairperson. The chairperson shall hold a full Professor rank. Candidates for the position of chairperson must be in the second or third year of their term on the CoE P&T committee except for the first cycle.

The chairperson may not serve more than two consecutive one-year terms. The chairperson shall be elected by secret ballot administered by the CoE Associate Dean in charge of academic affairs at the first meeting of the CoE P&T committee. The vote shall be on a single ballot in which each member lists the candidates in order of preference. The candidate with the highest overall ranking shall be elected chairperson.

The chairperson’s responsibilities include ensuring the appropriateness, fairness and completeness of the discussion on each candidate’s file. The chairperson shall also make sure that each participating member of the CoE P&T committee is well-informed before the committee discusses and votes on the promotion and tenure recommendations. All the deliberations of the CoE P&T committee must be kept confidential.

C. Responsibilities of Members
Committee members should attend all committee meetings and familiarize themselves with the appropriate procedures, guidelines and bylaws. It is of paramount importance that each committee member thoroughly evaluates the promotion and tenure files of each candidate before the scheduled meeting of the CoE P&T committee.

Each year, the CoE P&T committee shall have a first meeting only to become familiar with the review process. At this first meeting of the CoE P&T committee, the CoE Associate Dean in charge of academic affairs shall provide an overview of the process and the criteria for evaluating candidates according to their faculty apportionment to the committee and distribute the following materials to each member:

1. Bylaws of the Regents of the University of Nebraska
2. Bylaws of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln
3. University of Nebraska - Lincoln Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty: Annual Evaluations, Promotion and Tenure
4. College of Engineering Procedures for Annual Evaluations, Promotion and Tenure
5. College of Engineering Criteria for Promotion and Tenure.


A. Discussion of Files

All members of the CoE P&T committee must read and evaluate each file prior to the beginning of the meeting. The chairperson shall solicit discussion from all participating committee members. Any committee member with conflict of interest shall excuse himself/herself from voting. A Unit representative member shall not vote on a candidate from his/her unit. The CoE P&T committee voting shall not be by secret ballot. The chairperson shall ensure that discussion is based solely on material in the candidate’s promotion and/or tenure documentation file in accordance with University policy.

B. Role of the College Deans during CoE P&T Committee Meetings
The CoE Dean may be present at CoE P&T committee meetings, but shall not participate in any discussions or vote. The CoE Associate Dean in charge of CoE academic affairs shall attend each meeting of the CoE P&T committee to ensure that all rules and procedures are properly followed, but not to participate in any discussions or vote. The Associate Dean, as well as the CoE P&T chairperson, will keep the committee discussions limited to the material contained in the candidate’s file.

C. Final Committee Reports
The CoE P&T committee chairperson shall draft a written report for each faculty member evaluated for promotion and /or tenure. This report, prepared with assistance from committee members, shall contain at least the following: a final vote count, a clear statement of recommendation for approval or denial of promotion and/or tenure, and a brief of the evidence supporting the recommendation. This report shall also contain a summary discussion of any dissenting views. The draft recommendation shall then go to the candidate and the candidate’s Unit Head/Chair.

D. Appeal Procedures
A candidate shall have three working days after receiving the draft report to request in writing to the CoE P&T committee chairperson for reconsideration. The chairperson shall arrange a time and date for reconsideration. The chairperson shall inform the candidate of the time and date for reconsideration presentation in writing immediately following his/her request. At least seven working days must be given to the candidate for the preparation of his/her presentation. Candidates appealing shall represent themselves at the reconsideration meeting. The meeting shall last until the issues in dispute have been completely discussed. The duration of the discussion shall be at the discretion of the chairperson of the CoE P&T committee. The committee shall revote after the discussion. Only then shall the chairperson send the recommendation to the Dean, with copies, to the candidate and Unit head/chair. The Dean shall also send the candidate a draft of his/her recommendation before forwarding it to SVCAA.

The Dean shall also provide an opportunity to the candidate to appeal to the Dean before he/she makes his/her letter final. The candidate must submit the appeal in writing within five working days of receiving the letter from the Dean.


A. Unit Promotion and Tenure Committee:
The Procedures for Annual Evaluations, Promotion and Tenure for the College of Engineering shall take precedence over procedures and guidelines of any Unit within the College. Units within the CoE may supplement these procedures and guidelines with more detailed descriptions and interpretations of the criteria and standards that, when approved, will apply to faculty members in the particular unit.

A.1 Composition of Committee:
All tenured faculty at the rank of Associate Professor or Full Professor shall be eligible for inclusion on the Unit Promotion and Tenure (U P&T) committee. The U P&T committee shall have at least three members. When a promotion to Full Professor is being considered, only the Full Professors on the U P&T Committee shall participate in the evaluation and discussion. A minimum of three Full Professors shall be members of the U P&T Committee in any year in which a promotion to Full Professor is being considered. The U P&T Committee shall elect a member of the committee to serve as the committee chair.

A.2 Supplementing the U P&T Committee:
The Unit may not have sufficient qualified faculty to meet the requirements of Sec. VI A.1 of this document, either because less than three faculty are tenured, or because the committee will consider promotions to the rank of Full Professor, and less than three faculty members hold the Full Professor rank. The Unit Head/Chair in consultation with Full Professors in the Unit shall contact several possible eligible faculty from other Units to ask if they are willing to serve on the U P&T committee. A group at least twice the number required to reach the minimum of three Full Professors should be created. Additional faculty members will then be appointed from this group by the Dean to serve on the U P&T committee to make up the required number of Full Professors.

B. External Reviewers:
The external review procedure shall conform to Sections V-D-4 and VI-D-5 of the University of Nebraska’s “Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty: Annual Evaluation, Promotion and Tenure” The external review shall be of the candidate’s scholarly performance and capability.

Specific details may be found in Appendix A.
C. Unit Promotion and Tenure Procedure:
The U P&T committee shall consider each promotion and tenure file presented to it. The Unit Head/Chair may participate in the meetings of the U P&T committee as a resource but shall not vote. The U P&T committee shall make a positive or negative recommendation concerning each file to the Unit Head/Chair. The vote of the committee in deciding this recommendation shall be by secret ballot. The letters of recommendation from the Unit Chair/Head and U P&T committee shall be included in each candidate’s file before it is submitted to the COE P&T committee.

The Unit P&T committee letter communicating the vote(s) of the Unit P&T should also communicate justification for the unit P&T committee vote(s).

D. Unit Promotion and Tenure Verification Requirement:
The U P&T committee shall be responsible for the verification of all evidence contained in the candidate’s promotion and tenure file, such as journal articles accepted but not yet published, external grants announced but not yet awarded, record of graduate student advising and graduation history, and any other items that may require verification. The letter of recommendation from the U P&T committee shall contain a statement stating that the U P&T committee has verified the evidence in the candidate’s promotion and tenure portfolio.

E. Responsibilities of the Candidate

Candidates will:


Familiarize herself or himself with all relevant University, College and Department procedures, guidelines and bylaws on an annual basis;


Understand and meet all deadlines;


Submit all documentation to the Unit P&T committee in the format as specified by the College of Engineering Promotion and Tenure Documentation Guidelines and distributed by the Associate Dean. The candidate will be responsible for providing adequate proof of all components of their promotion and tenure file including papers accepted for publication but not yet published, graduate student lists, research projects broken down according to UNL guidelines (i.e. UNL office of research tracking information, external and internal research, UNL research percentage effort etc.); and


Discuss with the unit administrator all promotion requirements (i.e. peer review of teaching, what constitutes external/internal research projects, what constitutes national impact of scholarly work, etc.) to ensure that they understand the University, College and Unit Promotion and Tenure requirements.


1. On the CoE blackboard site or easily accessible location the Dean’s Office will make the following available to all CoE faculty

  1. CoE Promotion and Tenure procedures
  2. CoE Promotion and Tenure Criteria
  3. CoE CV guidelines

2. A representative from the Dean’s office will meet with potential P&T candidates and unit committee chairs during the Spring semester to acquaint them with the CoE procedures and documentation requirements.


The annual evaluation of a probationary faculty member is essential to assess the progress of his/her performance each year and to develop goals and objectives of future achievements. The annual evaluation process shall follow the UNL guidelines.


Out of cycle candidates who have already spent several years as faculty members at a university should provide a CV which at a minimum contains the following:

1) evidence of successful scholarly creative activity and associated education and supervision of graduate students through to graduation, i.e. at minimum, detailed listing of:
  1. peer-reviewed archival publications,
  2. supervision of research / creative activity by Ph.D. and M.S. students, and
  3. Ph.D. and M.S. students graduated;

2) evidence of funding of the scholarly creative activity -- at minimum, a detailed listing of grants and contracts, each with all investigators identified and with the total funding level specified;

3) evidence of successful teaching involvement, i.e. listing of courses taught at undergraduate and graduate levels and other teaching-related activity;

4) evidence of academic and professional service; and

5) evidence of recognition, external evaluation, and impact of academic / professional efforts in research / creative activity, in teaching, and in academic / professional service.


This document can be modified by a majority vote of approval by the COE Faculty.

Approved February 2004

First Modification April 28, 2005 (added section VI.D)

Second Modification April 27, 2006 (modified sections VI.B, added VI.E and XII (Appendix A)

Third Modification May 14, 2010 (added Section VIII. F. Responsibilities of the Deans Office; added Section X. Out of Cycle Cases and changed all text references from the “College of Engineering and Technology” (COET) to the “College of Engineering” (CoE). Also added a clarification regarding Unit P&T Committee Letters in section VI. C.

XI. Appendices

Appendix A
Procedure for Outside Reviews for Promotion and Tenure Considerations
College of Engineering

1. Outside reviewers will be obtained from a list of no fewer than five individuals prepared by the Unit P&T Committee and a list of no fewer than five individuals prepared by the candidate. The two lists will be mutually exclusive (should have no common entries)

2. In general, the potential reviewers should be Full Professors at universities with similar missions to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with active research and education programs in the candidate’s area of interest (it is recommended that universities are recognized as Carnegie Comprehensive Doctoral University). The reviewer should have an active research program in the candidate’s area of specialty and have the background to provide a knowledgeable review of the state of the art in the candidate’s research area as well as be able to judge the relevance of the candidate’s work.

According to the UNL guidelines the reviewers must be independent. According to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs this means “individuals who have had no (or only limited) professional or personal relationships with the candidate and who have been chosen by the unit administrator (or the U P&T committee or dean, as appropriate) for their ability to provide a disinterested ("objective") assessment; these would not include dissertation advisors, current or former collaborators, former colleagues, personal friends or others who have any special relationship to the candidate.”

The list should include 1) detailed contact information (including phone number and email address and, if applicable, the potential reviewers’ web address) for each reviewer and, 2) a short paragraph describing the potential reviewers’ qualifications. Note that the potential reviewers should not be contacted directly by either candidate or the U P&T committee members.

The candidate shall have the right to review the list developed by the U P&T committee and to object to any individual who, in the opinion of the candidate, has a conflict of interest or is unqualified to judge the quality of the candidate’s work. The candidate’s objections shall be in writing, with explanations of the reasons for the objection. The final identification of the reviewers, however, remains the responsibility of the U P&T committee.

The final selection of the reviewers will be done by a random draw by the U P&T committee chairperson and the unit administrator. Three potential reviewers will be chosen from each list.

3. Material sent to each reviewer will be standardized and will consist of: A cover letter in which the reviewer will be asked to provide an objective assessment of the quality and significance of the candidate’s work and a current C.V.. The contents of the letter will be approved in writing by the candidate and will follow UNL promotion and tenure guidelines.

A copy of the College Waiver of Right to See Information Form

Candidate statements identifying that portion of the candidate’s work that in the candidate’s judgment represents his or her most significant work in teaching, research and service.

Examples of scholarly and creative accomplishments. The College Promotion and Tenure committee anticipates that these would consist of copies of peer reviewed journal articles as chosen by the candidate (it is recommended five articles are provided).

An updated resume of the candidate.