Apr 14, 2024  
Faculty Handbook 2023 - 2024 
    
Faculty Handbook 2023 - 2024

3.6 - General Expectations for Promotion and Faculty Performance for Non-Tenure Track Faculty in Professorial Ranks


Some KSU faculty are non-tenure track with professorial rank. These non-tenure track individuals will hold the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. The workload for these individuals in the appropriate performance areas (Teaching, Scholarship and Creative Activity, and Professional Service) is outlined in their situational context and set forth in the Faculty Performance Agreement (FPA). In many cases, faculty in these positions may be assigned roles and responsibilities to meet specific needs related to the University, college, and/or departmental missions.

The holder of a non-tenure track faculty position with professorial rank is not eligible for consideration for the award of tenure or probationary credit toward tenure. Non-tenure track faculty members may apply for a declared, open tenure track faculty position and be considered through the normal search and screening process. Consistent with BoR Policy (USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook 4.1), administrative transfers from a tenure track faculty position with professorial rank to a non-tenure track faculty position with professorial rank require the approval of the department chair, dean, Provost, and President. The BoR request form to convert a tenure track position to a non-tenure track position is on the KSU Faculty Affairs webpage.

Departments and colleges with non-tenure track faculty with professorial ranks must incorporate into their guidelines the criteria for the promotion review for these faculty members. Departments and colleges may also establish an optional third-year review for non-tenure track faculty to provide feedback for an optional promotion review. As indicated in the KSU Faculty Handbook Section 3.1 (Introduction), establishment and revision to guidelines must be approved by the full-time permanent faculty in the department or college, as appropriate, the department chair (for department guidelines), the College P&T Committee, the dean, and Provost.

A. Promotion for the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Professorial Ranks

The professorial ranks are typically linked to the different stages of career development and accomplishment for university faculty. Faculty members at the different stages of an academic career tend to have different levels of experience, expertise, accomplishment, effectiveness, and productivity. They also tend to have different opportunities for contribution, leadership, and mentorship. Consequently, KSU’s general expectations for faculty performance and for promotion in rank will be dependent on experience levels and the faculty member’s career path.

Experience is correlated with professorial rank, but years of service or successful annual reviews alone are not sufficient to qualify for a promotion in rank. When a faculty member’s experience, accomplishments, and career development evolve to the point where expectations applicable to the beginning level of the next highest rank are being met, the faculty member can make a strong case for promotion. A decision of promotion will result from a thorough review of a faculty member’s accomplishments and contributions to the University by KSU teaching and administrative faculty colleagues. This review is accomplished in consideration of the faculty member’s situation and context and in relation to their stage of academic career development.

Only faculty who were hired in professorial rank with credit toward promotion (USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook 4.6) can undergo a promotion review before the fifth full academic year of service at KSU. A faculty member who was hired without credit toward promotion may apply for promotion during the fifth year of service (after serving a minimum of four years in rank).

Board of Regents policy allows for consideration of early promotion. According to USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook 4.6, strong justification must be provided to support any consideration of “early” promotion wherein the individual has served fewer than the minimum number of five years in rank at the current institution.

At KSU, before a faculty member submits an application for early promotion, the faculty member should seek guidance from the department chair, dean, and Provost. However, in the rare case where a faculty member has served less than four years in rank at the current institution, prior presidential approval to be reviewed for promotion is required.

In addition to the minimum criteria above, promotion to the non-tenure track ranks of associate or full professor requires the terminal degree in the appropriate discipline or its equivalent in training, ability, and/or experience (BoR Policy Manual 8.3.6.2). Kennesaw State University takes the view that the qualities of knowledge, experience, and ability that would qualify as equivalent to the earned doctorate or terminal degree must be demonstrated at a high level of achievement. Equivalency should be awarded only in cases when the demonstrated evidence is clear and convincing. In addition, the judgment of equivalency depends on many variables specific to the particular discipline in question and to the individual achievements of the person making the case for equivalency.

The following criteria are established as a guideline for faculty committees and administrators who will use their professional judgment to recommend doctoral or terminal degree equivalency for hiring and promotion and tenure.

Required criteria for terminal degree equivalency include:

  1. Demonstrating broad and in-depth knowledge and understanding of the body of information in the discipline beyond a masters’ degree
  2. Demonstrating the ability to implement one’s own scholarship and creative activity agenda, to apply research and creative methodologies, and to produce scholarship that meets the criteria for quality and significance outlined in departmental guidelines

A variety of other factors may be considered in determining doctoral equivalency. Additional supporting evidence might include the following:

  1. Holding a master’s degree in the appropriate discipline
  2. Completing graduate coursework in the discipline beyond what would be expected for a masters’ degree
  3. Holding appropriate professional licensure or certifications in the discipline
  4. Achieving a leadership position in and/or honors and awards from a professional society or societies which indicates regional, national, and/or international peer recognition of professional accomplishments
  5. Having professional work experience relevant to the faculty member’s teaching assignments that are significant in level of responsibility and duration
  6. Having already been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor

In addition to the criteria mentioned, there may be other discipline-specific achievements that constitute doctoral or terminal degree equivalency that colleges and/or departments have outlined in their promotion and tenure guidelines.

Faculty members submitting portfolios for promotion to associate or full professor who do not hold the doctorate or terminal degree must address the criteria for equivalency in their portfolios. The review committee or administrator will consider equivalency at the time the promotion recommendation is considered. Candidates without a doctorate or terminal degree can be promoted if, in addition to the criteria for promotion, they meet the requirements for equivalency as stated in departmental, college, and University guidelines. Each level of review will make a recommendation for promotion and a decision on doctoral or terminal degree equivalency.

The criteria for the optional promotion review are based on criteria established for non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank for the beginning level of the next higher rank as articulated in department, college, and University guidelines. The same committee structure that is used for promotion review of tenured and tenure-track faculty will be used for the promotion review of non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank.

Non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank must prepare a portfolio for the optional promotion consideration. The portfolio contents will follow the guidelines for tenure track faculty who are reviewed for promotion, (see KSU Faculty Handbook Section 3.12 (Faculty Review Process - Portfolio Guidelines and Contents)). 

Annual reviews and/or portfolio feedback indicating poor performance with little or no improvement over time and based on the department and college promotion and tenure guidelines, provide the basis for nonrenewal of non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank. Non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank have the option to respond in writing within 10 calendar days after receiving reviews of their performance, should an appeal be necessary. Response letters are directed to the reviewing committee or administrator and copied to the next level of review. This response will become part of the portfolio that will be forwarded to the subsequent levels of review. The response letter should address the interpretation of the information in the portfolio, but it should not include new evidence to be considered in the review process. The reviewer (committee or administrator) does not respond to this letter.

B. Faculty Performance Expectations for Non-Tenure Track Faculty with Professorial Rank

Faculty performance is evaluated for non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank through annual reviews. Non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank will follow the annual review processes and timelines outlined for non-tenure track faculty in the KSU Faculty Handbook Section 3.13.

Consistent with BoR Policy (BoR Policy Manual 8.3.4.2), all non-tenured faculty members who have been awarded academic rank and who have served full-time for the entire previous year under written contract have the presumption of renewal for the next academic year unless notified in writing by the Provost or the President of the institution of the intent not to renew. Notice of intent to renew or not renew a non-tenure track faculty member with professorial rank should follow the schedule outlined by the Board of Regents in the USG Academic & Student Affairs Handbook 4.8.1. (Renewal and Nonrenewal of Contracts of Non-Tenured Faculty).

Below are the general expectations for non-tenure track faculty with professorial rank:

Assistant Professors

Assistant Professors ordinarily hold the earned doctorate or terminal degree in their fields of specialization. A rare exception to this requirement may be made when there is evidence of outstanding achievements and professional recognition in the candidate’s field of expertise. In most fields, the doctorate will be expected.

Adapting to the expectations of the academy and of KSU and getting established in one’s scholarly work are typically the primary concerns of an assistant professor. A typical pattern of effective and productive scholarly work for the assistant professor is one that begins modestly in the early years, perhaps with a limited or local significance, and expands in depth, focus, significance, recognition, and productivity in later years.

Associate Professors

Associate Professors make contributions to knowledge as a result of their scholarly work. High quality and significance (see KSU Faculty Handbook Section 3.4) are the essential criteria for evaluation. The specialty areas, expertise, and professional identities of associate professors should become more advanced, more clearly defined, and more widely recognized as their academic careers progress. Typically, as the faculty member’s roles and contributions grow towards significance, leadership, and initiative, the faculty member establishes a strong record of accomplishments with broader impact and recognition within and beyond the University. Based on BoR policy (BoR Policy Manual 8.3.6.2), promotion to the rank of associate professor requires the terminal degree in the appropriate discipline or its equivalent in training, ability, and/or experience. Neither the possession of a doctorate nor longevity of service is a guarantee per se of promotion. Initial appointments to the associate professor rank should have a terminal degree in the appropriate discipline or the equivalent in training, ability, or experience (BoR Policy Manual 8.3.1.3).

Professors

Professors are experienced and senior members of the faculty who have become highly accomplished in their scholarly activities. They are faculty whose careers have advanced to mature and high levels of effectiveness and productivity. Professors have strong records of contribution to and leadership in their respective areas of emphasis. A professor is typically characterized as a leader, mentor, scholar, expert, and/or distinguished colleague. Professors make significant contributions to knowledge as a result of their scholarly work, whether demonstrated through the scholarly work of scholarship and creative activity, teaching, or professional service. Professors have a documented record of distinguished accomplishments using the criteria for quality and significance of scholarly work (see KSU Faculty Handbook Section 3.4). These accomplishments will merit regional, national, or international attention and recognition. Professors continue to grow and develop in their respective areas of emphasis. Based on BoR policy (BoR Policy Manual 8.3.6.2), promotion to the rank of full professor requires the terminal degree in the appropriate discipline or its equivalent in training, ability, and/or experience. Neither the possession of a doctorate nor longevity of service is a guarantee per se of promotion. Initial appointments to the full professorial rank should have a terminal degree in the appropriate discipline or the equivalent in training, ability, or experience (BoR Policy Manual 8.3.1.3).

C. Joint Appointments for Non-Tenure Track Faculty

If a non-tenure track faculty member has a joint appointment in two or more academic departments or across two or more divisions, a joint appointment agreement (Memorandum of Understanding; MOU) must be developed. This agreement must delineate how the home unit and the sharing unit(s) will provide input during the promotion process. The joint appointment agreement must specify who can provide input into the faculty member’s annual and promotion reviews and who will write the review(s). Normally, the chair of the academic home department will be responsible for completing annual reviews. The joint appointment agreement must also specify the composition of the promotion committee and how members of the committee will be elected.

D. Conversion Between Non-Tenure Track Faculty Positions

If a non-tenure track faculty requests and is granted a conversion to another type of non-tenure track faculty position, the individual’s clock is reset, because this is a different faculty type with a different set of expectations and guidelines. Thus, the faculty member will begin the first year in the new non-tenure track faculty position at the beginning of the next academic year after the approval of the conversion and the faculty member will follow all performance evaluations appropriate for that new faculty type and rank.