Faculty Review Process - FAQs

The following questions have been raised by faculty during previous review cycles, and the responses are those of the Committee on Teaching Staff and Tenure (TS&T), most recently revised in March 2021. These responses are intended to offer general guidelines only and to expand upon the formal Criteria for Evaluation and Review Procedures listed in Chapter 9 of the Faculty Handbook. Because individual situations vary widely and evaluation of each faculty member is a holistic process, there will inevitably be differences between individual cases. Also, because departmental and program cultures vary widely, faculty members are advised to consult with their chairs about the expectations specific to their fields. 

Questions About the Criteria for Evaluation

What is general value to the College?

General value may be understood as the collective obligation of the faculty to maintaining the life of the College, and individual faculty are assessed in terms of whether they are doing their fair share of this work, acknowledging that a faculty member’s level of activity will evolve over the course of their career and time in the Wooster community. 

Review Committee

What is the role of faculty who are on Leave in colleagues’ reviews?

Faculty members who are on leave normally may not participate in a review and do not sign a formal review letter from the department or program. They, and anyone else, may, however, write an individual letter about a faculty member under review.

What if a tenured member of my department is on TS&T?

Any member of TS&T who is a member of the department/program of a faculty member under review is recused from the process. They do not participate in the committee’s discussion of a case nor do they have access to the letter composed by TS&T. However, the TS&T member typically participates in the review at the departmental level. 

Preparation of Materials

How should I list my scholarship and research on my CV?

Generally speaking, faculty should follow the conventions of their discipline in listing their work. It is especially important to distinguish clearly the character and status of individual pieces (i.e., separate publications from presentations, and refereed publications from those that are not refereed). You should also indicate when a piece of work has been accepted for publication and, if it has not yet appeared in print or digitally, you should also include a letter from the editor of the journal or press that confirms acceptance of your work. Works under review should be listed separately and not as publications.

Are materials from institutions at which I have worked previously relevant to the review process?

Generally speaking, you will be assessed upon your work at Wooster. If previous scholarship and research are relevant to your ongoing activities, it may be appropriate to discuss this in your reflective statement. Service at and teaching evaluations from previous institutions will usually not be relevant, unless the length of your previous experience results in your being considered for early promotion and/or tenure; in such cases, it may be helpful to TS&T to see such evaluations and compare them with those you have received at Wooster. If your situation is an unusual one (for instance, if you have had extensive service at another institution and are being considered for early tenure and/or promotion), you may wish to consult with your chair and/or the Dean for Faculty Development (DFD) about what to include in your dossier.

Materials from Others

How are letters from external reviewers obtained?

The Provost contacts potential reviewers from the list you provide (See text of that message here). In some cases, additional reviewer names may be required. 

How are letters from students obtained?

Faculty members are asked to submit lists of names of current and former students to the the Provost. The Provost writes to approximately ten of the students you have named and requests letters from them (See text of that message here). You should not solicit students to write on your behalf or follow up to see whether they have done so.

Assessment of Teaching and Research

Should my department discuss its observations of my teaching with me?

Faculty will be able to review the departmental evaluation after the review by department colleagues is complete. The practice of having in-person discussions during the review semester varies by department. It is TS&T’s expectation, though, that departments should be having formative discussions about teaching with their colleagues at multiple points in the pre-tenure years.

How is co-authorship assessed?

The role of co-authorship varies. In the sciences, multiple authorship is the norm; in the social sciences, it is common practice; in the humanities, it has become more common in recent years. Faculty members should consult with their chairs and the DFD on the development of their research agendas and progress in scholarship and research.  TS&T encourages faculty to expand on the nature and extent of their collaborations in their self-evaluation. Candidates are also encouraged to consider external reviewers who can comment on scholarly collaboration or other contexts that may be specific to the field.

Process and Timeline

Is it possible to apply for tenure earlier than in the sixth year?

In cases where a faculty member has extensive teaching experience prior to joining the faculty at the College of Wooster, and in other exceptional cases, faculty members may be reviewed for tenure before the sixth year. If you are interested in this possibility, you should discuss it with your chair and the Provost.

When is it possible to apply for promotion to Full Professor?

Faculty at The College of Wooster normally are in their seventh year in rank as Associate Professor when they are considered for promotion to full Professor. Promotion to Professor before the seventh year is possible for candidates based upon exceptional achievement. The College expects that faculty portfolios for promotion to Professor will demonstrate significant and sustained achievements in the areas of teaching, scholarship, research, and general value to the College beyond those that led to tenure and/or promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. Please see “Guidelines for Promotion to Professor” (Faculty Handbook, Chapter  9.B.3) for additional information.

Is it possible to withdraw an early application for promotion or tenure during the review process?

Yes.

If I have been in a visiting position that becomes tenure-track, do all of the years count towards the timing of the tenure decision?

You should discuss this with your chair and the Provost.

If I decide to submit a response to the Departmental/Program Evaluation, do members of my department/program see my response?

The chair and tenured members of your department and/or program have access to your file and the chair is notified by the Office of Academic Affairs when new material is added to your file. Ideally, you will share a response with them.

Under what circumstances can a review be postponed?

  • Following a full year leave (one-semester leaves do not delay reviews, other than to the spring semester following a fall semester in which a review would normally have taken place)
  • Following a parental leave course reduction (requested within six months of completing leave; up to one year on a maximum of two occasions)
  • Following a family or medical leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (requested within six months of ending leave; up to one year)
  • Following mandatory military or alternative service
  • In other situations that significantly affect the workload of faculty and/or conditions affecting their research productivity; the global health pandemic starting in 2020 was an example of such a situation affecting all faculty; all faculty scheduled for review in 2021-22 and 2022-23 are automatically granted a delay if they choose. Those scheduled for review in later years may request a delay if they believe it is warranted.

There may be individual situations in which a one-semester postponement of a review is appropriate.  In all cases, a faculty member should consult with the Provost if they wish to postpone a review.

If I wish to file a grievance, what is the procedure?

The full procedures and timelines for the grievance process are described in The Statute of Instruction (II.10). Faculty wishing to file grievances should pay special attention to the deadlines for doing so, as outlined in The Statute, particularly the requirement that a written petition of grievance be submitted "within one month of learning of the alleged offense." For further information, the Provost and/or the President may be consulted.