Updated August 2017 by Susan Williams (williams.488@osu.edu)

According to the university’s Faculty Rules, newly appointed or re-appointed department chairs or school directors must revise their departmental patterns of administration (POAs) and appointments, promotion and tenure (APT) documents by the end of their first year of appointment. This rule is intended to ensure that documents are updated on a regular basis and that the documents reflect the practices and leadership agenda of the current chair or director. The rule does not apply to acting or interim chairs or directors.

The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for final approval of all current governance documents. Departments should date and retain previously approved documents. Candidates for promotion and tenure can use the document that was in place at the time of hire or promotion for a period of up to ten years. In addition, these documents are key elements of every department’s history and should be archived on a regular basis with the university archives. Contact Tamar Chute (chute.6@osu.edu), the university archivist, for further information.

The College of Arts and Sciences is responsible for ensuring that documents are in line with the college POA and APT and for approving any exceptions to the guidelines in the college documents. The college also reviews documents to make sure that they address any department-specific issues that have been identified through a program review or procedural question.

Vice Dean Susan Williams is in charge of this review process for the college. Drafts of revised documents should be sent to her for review and comment, and she will then forward them to the Office of Academic Affairs for review and comment. Melinda Nelson in the Office of Academic Affairs (nelson.19@osu.edu) coordinates the process and facilitates communication about what changes are needed before OAA gives final approval. Once approved by OAA, the departmental/school document becomes the document of record for all appointments and promotion and tenure reviews in that unit, as well as for the governance of that unit.

The following guide is intended as a supplement to Volume 1, Chapter 1 of the OAA Policies and Procedures Handbook [pdf], which identifies the main components of POAs and APTs, and of the sample documents that OAA provides. Please note that the Handbook establishes required policies and components, while the sample provides language that is suggested but not required.

The most recent updates to Volume 1 of the OAA handbook are highlighted here: OAA Updates [pdf].

Pattern of Administration

The format (including outline) of a POA is more flexible than that for an APT document, but must contain the information specified in the OAA handbook.

I. Introduction

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

II. Department Mission

Should be the same as in the APT.

III. Academic Rights and Responsibilities

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

IV. Faculty

This section describes the faculty appointed in your unit and the governance rights that they have, including joint-appointed faculty. Do not include the faculty categories in the sample OAA document if your unit does not appoint them.

Note that the faculty rules now allow lecturers and other associated faculty members to participate on committees and vote on non-personnel matters if a majority of the tenure-track faculty approve. The same is true for the three ASC units that appoint clinical faculty. This should be considered in revisions to the document. The college is supportive of involving lecturers but understands that in many cases their assigned duties are only in formal classroom teaching, which limits the time available for service on committees (see section IX below).  

The titles for various faculty appointments have changed in the faculty rules in the last few years. The university no longer uses the term “auxiliary” or “regular” to describe any of its faculty appointments, and these should be revised in the governance documents. In general, descriptions of “regular faculty” in the POA should be changed to “tenure-track faculty” and descriptions of “auxiliary faculty” changed to “associated.” This associated category includes all non-tenure track faculty except for clinical, research and emeritus appointments. It does not include tenure-track faculty who are on joint or courtesy appointments in a unit.

V. Organization of Department Services and Staff

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

VI. Overview of Department Administration and Decision-Making

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

VII. Department Administration

Describe the duties of the chair and other administrators (e.g., vice chair; director of graduate and undergraduate studies) and of committees. Make sure that the committees are updated to reflect current structure. Include a description of terms (whether annual or not); whether members are appointed or elected; and of membership structure.

VIII. Faculty Meetings

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

IX. Distribution of Faculty Duties and Responsibilities

Look at this section with particular care. It needs to spell out not only the usual teaching assignments for tenure-track faculty, but also expectations regarding service and research. It must include a citation to the university’s Faculty Conflict of Commitment Policy [pdf]. It should also describe departmental guidelines and expectations regarding office hours.

The section on teaching should include descriptions of how a teaching assignment can be reduced or enhanced based on other duties and responsibilities. This section is a particularly important reference in conducting annual reviews and assigning teaching and service, in mentoring faculty, in providing course releases, and in explaining to those outside the department—including the general public—the various kinds of duties that faculty in a major research institution conduct. Please note that the college currently has a target guideline of an 85% yield in tenure-track faculty teaching. This means that course reductions should be limited to 15% of the total standard course load for the department. For example, if a unit has 25 full-time tenure-track faculty who each are expected to teach four courses a year (total of 100 courses), the course reductions in that unit should not exceed 15 unless they are a) balanced by enhanced loads by some other faculty members; b) are covered through paid course releases outside the department; or c) are the result of personal leave (FMLA or unpaid leave). This specific guideline does not need to be included in an individual unit’s POA, but it should be kept in mind in setting principles for reduced or enhanced teaching assignments.

This section of the POA should include a paragraph on special assignments and how they are utilized within the department or school. Special assignments represent a temporary modification of duties (usually a reduction in teaching for the year) and in that sense, are part of the overall duties rather than “leaves.” Faculty members who have special assignments are on duty. Faculty who are off duty must be on an approved leave (which includes a faculty professional leave), described in section XII below. Releases provided as part of a start-up package do not count as special assignments but do count toward the unit’s overall tally of course reductions.

This section must also include a description of duties for non-tenure-track faculty. The college standard for a lecturer teaching 100% FTE during the academic year is 4-4. This is based on a university-wide standard that is reported to the IRS as part of the Affordable Care Act, which requires a basis for establishing FTE for part time faculty (in this standard, one course is generally 25% FTE). However, the faculty rules allow appointments where full-time lecturers also have some portion of their FTE devoted to out of classroom teaching responsibilities such as advising, course development; mentoring of other instructors; and development of on-line learning modules and courses. These duties must be clearly defined in an appointment letter and are subject to approval by the divisional dean. Note that at Ohio State, faculty who are at least 75% FTE have the same benefits as those who are appointed at higher than 75%.

X. Course Offerings and Teaching Schedule

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

XI. Allocation of Department Resources

This section reiterates the responsibility of the chair for assigning courses and teaching schedules within the unit and also for assigning office space and, if relevant, lab space.

XII. Leaves and Absences

This section describes the various leaves that faculty can take (paid and unpaid). Faculty who are on leave are not counted in the quorum for personnel decisions. Note that the university and the college both require that FPL applications be peer-reviewed within the department—typically this is done by an executive committee or other advisory committee to the chair, or by a small ad-hoc committee.

XIII. Supplemental Compensation and Paid External Consulting

A recent revision to the OAA Handbook states that the POA must describe a process for a faculty member to request permission to use a textbook(s) or other material that is authored by that faculty member and sale of which results in a royalty being paid to him or her. The college and OAA suggest that this information go into this section, along with the links to the university policies and any unit-specific procedures.

XIV. Financial Conflicts of Interest

See the OAA sample document for suggested language for this section.

XV. Grievance Procedures

The language in the OAA sample POA is generally the best guide to writing sections XIV and XV. Chairs and directors need to be familiar with the university policies that govern these sections. Faculty who have financial conflicts can jeopardize their ability to apply for external grant funding and also face disciplinary action. These sections are important both in terms of describing faculty rights in our shared governance system and also institutional rights with regard to having its faculty maintain their primary professional commitment to the university.

Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Document

OAA requires that the main outline provided in the Handbook be followed exactly; this helps committees, upper-level reviewers, the ombudsman, and others who are looking at units across the university be able to cross-reference sections easily and address any procedural issues.

I. Preamble

Provide any departmental practices about the approval process for governance documents here.

II. Departmental Mission

This statement should be identical in both the APT and the POA. Any references to the college must be to the College of Arts and Sciences, not to one of the five legacy colleges that came together in 2010. The faculty in the unit should review this mission statement as part of the revision process.

III. Definitions

Most college units have added this section in the last revision, but if not present it is required and must be added. Information in this section should in general not be repeated elsewhere in the document; the reason for this is that there can be process errors if a particular number (such as quorum or percentage necessary for a positive vote) is updated in one part of the document but not in another.

  1. Committee of the Eligible Faculty
    1. This describes who in the department is eligible to vote in any particular promotion or tenure case. In some units this group has in the past been called “the promotion and tenure committee.” OAA, in accordance with the faculty rules, has established that the term “eligible faculty” should be used instead. Senior-rank faculty under consideration, regardless of type (tenure-track, clinical, research, associated) may be reviewed only by faculty of the rank at or above consideration (associate and professor for associate, and professor for professor). Some current language indicates that the eligible faculty must always be at the rank above, and should be revised to indicate “at or above”; suggested language is in the sample document.
    2. The chair of this committee is formally called the “chair of the committee of the eligible faculty,” but the working title “P and T chair” is acceptable both to the college and to OAA. Regional campus faculty whose TIU is in the department or school must be included in the eligible faculty. In most units of the college, the eligible faculty evaluate tenure-track faculty. If a particular unit has clinical or research faculty, their voting rights should be spelled out separately. Tenure-track faculty can vote on appointments and promotion of all faculty; clinical faculty have the right to vote on other clinical faculty and on research faculty, if they desire to do so; research faculty have the right to vote only on other research faculty. The college also follows OAA’s guidance that joint-appointed faculty can only vote in their TIU.
    3. This section should also describe the recusal process for conflict of interest and the minimum composition for an eligible faculty (the college and OAA define this as 3). If there are not professors to vote on a case within a department, the chair can appoint a faculty member from another unit to join, with approval of the college.
  2. Promotion and Tenure Committee
    1. This is the name of the sub-committee of the eligible faculty that in some units assists the chair and P and T chair with the logistics of the review (e.g., cite checking; dossier preparation; generating names of external reviewers; getting documents to the eligible faculty). It can also evaluate requests from assistant professors who are asking for an extension of their tenure clock for reasons other than childbirth or adoption and serve as the screening committee for associate professor who wish to be considered for promotion to full professors (full professor members only). If a department or school does not have a separate promotion and tenure committee, the members of the eligible faculty can fulfill these roles and this section can be left out of the APT.
  3. Quorum
    1. This is the number of eligible faculty who must be present at a review meeting for promotion and tenure or at a meeting voting on a whether to appoint a new hire. The number does not have to be the same for these two kinds of votes; this is an issue a chair can determine in consultation with the faculty. Regional campus faculty must be included in the denominator. For example, if there are 25 eligible faculty members in a unit on the Columbus campus and 5 on a regional campus, and the unit has a 2/3 quorum, there would need to be 20 faculty members present in order to hold the meeting. Faculty can be “present” if they are linked in through skype or other video link or through a conference call. The college recommends a 2/3 quorum but it can be determined by the unit if a lower or higher amount is warranted. Note that faculty who are recused from a review because of conflict of interest are not counted in the denominator determining quorum. Department chairs and school directors are not counted in computing quorum.
  4. Recommendation from the Committee of the Eligible Faculty
    1. This section defines what percentage of the faculty present (via quorum) in a meeting must vote yes in order for a recommendation to be considered positive. Abstentions do not count as votes. The college allows units to determine this percentage but it must at least be a simple majority. The size of the unit should be considered in setting the recommendation percentage.

IV. Appointments

This section gives the minimum requirements for appointments to the different kinds of faculty that the unit appoints. In general, the focus of ASC units will be on tenure-track faculty (assistant, associate, and full professors) and on associated faculty (primarily lecturers and visiting faculty). There is a tenure-track title of “instructor” that is for faculty who are hired on the tenure track but are still ABD. If your unit never employs such faculty (e.g., because faculty generally have postdocs before they are appointed), you do not have to include this category. However, having it in the APT makes it possible to use it if it ever happens that you want to hire someone who has not completed the dissertation.

The college supports a promotion path from lecturer to senior lecturer and encourages units to consider what the distinction would be. The college APT requires that senior lecturers must either have a PhD or equivalent terminal degree, or a master’s and at least five years of teaching experience. Units can decide if they want to be more restrictive, but these are baseline minimums. Units that wish to appoint research faculty should include provisions for their appointment. Units that are approved to appoint clinical faculty (School of Communication; Department of Psychology; Department of Speech and Hearing Science) should include information about those appointments, with particular attention to what terminal degrees are required (baseline from the university is at least a degree level above the level of students they are teaching).

The procedures section should include processes for appointing tenure-track and also non- tenure-track faculty (e.g., visiting faculty, lecturers). It should also specify minimum number of years of experience and/or demonstrated skills required if an exception is to be made for the minimum degree required for appointment.

V. Annual Review Procedures

This section includes processes and timelines for annual reviews of faculty, including fourth year reviews. Please note that the college and OAA require that all faculty receive an annual review every year that includes a face to face meeting with the chair or the chair’s designee (sometimes a vice chair). Promotion reviews (usually done in the fall) do not substitute for annual reviews, but are in addition to them.

The college does not require external letters at fourth year review and encourages units to state in their governance documents that they do not solicit them.

University policy and the college APT require that assistant professors update their core dossier each year as part of the annual review process. This section should specify what materials tenured faculty and clinical faculty must submit each year as part of their annual reviews, as well as any additional materials that probationary faculty must submit. The college requires that tenured faculty members submit a current curriculum vita, an annual report summarizing recent professional activities (specific contents of this report can be determined by the unit), and evidence of teaching effectiveness, including student evaluations and peer reviews by tenured members of the faculty at equal or higher rank (APT, p. 14).

The college APT document stipulates that annual review materials should be turned in by the first Friday of spring semester, with the understanding that the activity report will focus on the preceding calendar year (and the CV will be cumulative). Units can set a later deadline, based on the needs of the department, but should keep in mind the need to complete face to face meetings by the end of spring semester.

Since lecturers and senior lecturers can now be appointed for more than one year (up to a maximum of 3), units need to account in this section for who is responsible for annual reviews of lecturers.

VI. Merit Salary Increases and Other Rewards

The college APT document specifies that salary increases should take into account performance over a three-year rolling period, with attention to patterns of increasing or decreasing productivity.

VII. Promotion and Tenure and Promotion Reviews

The criteria sections for tenure and promotion should be reviewed very carefully and any substantive changes discussed with your divisional dean, with attention to the following questions (which may also be reflected in the list of required documentation; a sample list of criteria and documentation [pdf] is posted on the OAA website:

  • If particular publication outlets (e.g., certain flagship or “top tier” journals) are listed, are they still the ones that are considered the top outlets in the discipline? Is there room for multi-disciplinary work?
  • Is there language that provides parameters for evaluating multi-authored work if applicable?
  • Is there guidance about how the unit identifies that a candidate for tenure has “an emerging national reputation as a scholar or creative artist” and that a candidate for promotion to full professor has “an emerging international reputation”, as required in the college APT (pp. 19-20)?
  • Is there guidance about entrepreneurial activities (consulting, patents, licenses) if relevant?[1]
    • An example of such language in the Department of Physics is as follows: “Generally, invention disclosures and copyrights will be considered equivalent to a professional meeting abstract or conference proceeding. Patents should be considered equivalent to an original peer-reviewed manuscript. Licensing activities that generate revenues should be considered equivalent to extramural grant awards, and materials transfer activities should be considered evidence of national (or international) recognition and impact.”
  • Is there guidance about how faculty in the unit can specifically demonstrate excellence in teaching, which the college defines as “the provision to all students of the opportunity to realize their full capabilities for learning and, to the most capable and motivated students, an enhanced learning experience” (p. 19)?
  • For promotion to full professor, is there language that describes unit-specific examples of “excellence in service” as the “provision of a high level of professional expertise and experience to one or more publics – including the university, the Columbus community, the State of Ohio, the nation, and professional organizations” (p. 20)?
  • For promotion to professor, do the criteria help provide guidance for faculty who have “truly extraordinary contributions in the areas of teaching or service,” as indicated in the college APT’s provision that “Where a candidate has made truly extraordinary contributions in the areas of teaching or service, that record may warrant promotion in combination with a less extensive, though excellent record of continued productivity in scholarship and/or creative activity” (p. 19)?
  • If the unit has faculty on the regional campuses, is there a description of the specific criteria for their research productivity?

B Procedures

The sample document separately describes the responsibilities of the candidate, the promotion and tenure committee, the eligible faculty, and the chair. This can be a helpful way to make sure all of the tasks are identified, but this specific format (with bullet points) is not required as long as the information is provided in some form. The responsibilities of the candidate regarding external reviewers and deciding the APT of record to be used are particularly important to delineate. If there is no P and T committee used in a unit, it is helpful to describe the role of the P and T chair (chair of the eligible faculty).

This section also includes a description of the screening process used by the full professors of the promotion and tenure committee (or all of the full professors, depending on the unit’s preference) to review the records of associate professors who wish to be considered for promotion to full professor. Neither the university’s faculty rules nor the college requires that departments provide such screening, but the college does recommend that each unit have some process for giving feedback to associate professors about their readiness to be considered for promotion. Note that a P and T committee or other screening committee can only formally deny a review for full professor one time; after that, the candidate can request to go through a full review even.

The section on external letters should describe the process for soliciting letters and reflect the college’s guideline that for reviews of promotion to associate professor, the majority of letters should be from full professors, and that for reviews of promotion to full professor, all of the letter should be from full professors. The college requires that the associate dean for faculty affairs must review the list of suggested evaluators before they are actually contacted. The college also recommends using the college-specific templates for letters to external reviewers.

The documentation section should specify that in cases of promotion to full professor, teaching evaluations must only be provided and summarized for the time period since the last promotion or the past five years, whichever is less.

VIII. Appeals

There is no college appeals process; appeals of negative tenure decisions are made after the provost has made a final decision and are heard by two different committees of the university senate.

IX. Seventh-Year Reviews

The suggested OAA language is helpful here. Seventh year reviews (which provide a new review of a case not approved at the 6th or mandatory review) cannot proceed without the initial approval of the eligible faculty and chair in the unit.

X. Procedures for Student and Peer Evaluation of Teaching

The description of student evaluations should indicate that any discursive evaluations collected will be summarized by someone other than the candidate.

The document should specify that assistant professors coming up for tenure must have a minimum of five peer evaluations of teaching, which include classroom visits (one per year).

The document should specify the specific number of peer evaluations of teaching that associate professors should have before being reviewed for promotion to full professor. The college gives units discretion to set this number. The OAA minimum is two but the college recommends a minimum of three.


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