Tenure, Promotion, and Annual Evaluation Guidelines


The Reynolds College of Arts and Letters (RCOAL) is committed to the equitable evaluation of each candidate for tenure, promotion, and appointment, consistent with the highest professional standards of faculty activities. Every application will be accorded due attention to its merits, both general and discipline-appropriate. Each department within the College will develop its specific process and criteria for the various types of personnel decisions within the parameters of University and College guidelines. Further, each department will provide mentoring assistance to all faculty members. The College and departments regard the nurturing and development of faculty to be among their highest priorities.

In keeping with the Faculty Handbook(see Section 4.2.2) the College affirms the value of a variety of types of scholarship, including discovery, application, synthesis, criticism and creation.

The College recognizes that, though a department’s overall profile must present a balanced picture of teaching, scholarship, and service, faculty members may play different roles in ensuring the fulfillment of the departmental mission, and their roles are likely to change over time. Administrative duties and other special assignments are therefore valid activities for which due credit should be given in the adjudication of tenure, promotion, and annual appointment applications.

Structures and procedures established in the Reynolds College of Arts and Letters and its departments, and consistent with the Faculty Handbook, , assure that faculty seeking tenure, promotion, or annual appointment will understand what they must do and when they must do it in order to be recommended by their colleagues for the personnel action they seek. Moreover, the structures and procedures assure that decisions will be based on appropriate, properly documented criteria judged not just for quantity but for quality according to standards established and applied within their disciplines. These criteria will be communicated both to all parties responsible for making recommendations regarding the application.

The procedures and guidelines described here apply to ranked faculty and instructors.

  • Adjunct and per course faculty are evaluated according to procedures and guidelines developed within each department.
  • Probationary ranked faculty members are evaluated annually on their progress toward tenure and promotion by their personnel committee, department head and dean.
  • Department Heads evaluate all tenured faculty and instructors annually, and these evaluations should address progress toward promotion where relevant.

Procedures for Pre-tenure Evaluation, Tenure, and Promotion

These College-specific procedures are consistent with the University’s Promotion, Tenure, and Annual Appointment Guidelines approved by the Faculty Senate in 1996 and revised in 2007 and 2010. In addition, each department in the college has its own policy statement that specifies annual review, tenure, and promotion procedures and criteria.

  1. The University specifies deadline dates by which groups (i.e., the personnel committees) or individuals at each level of review must submit their recommendations regarding annual pre-tenure evaluation, tenure, and promotion. Each department, however, specifies deadline dates for the faculty to turn in their dossiers to the department.
  2. Each level of review has access to the dossiers and the written recommendations made at prior levels and in previous years at the University.
  3. The faculty member receives the written recommendations produced at each level of review.
  4. Recommendations made by department personnel committees must be based upon materials submitted by the candidate, written evaluations (internal and external), department heads’ evaluations and/or written reports, and other such documents.
  5. The department personnel committee (each department has its own procedures for constituting its personnel committee) forwards its recommendation to the department head by the specified University deadline.
  6. The department head forwards his/her recommendation to the Dean by the specified University deadline.
  7. The Reynolds College of Arts and Letters Personnel Committee, composed of one full professor from each department, reviews all applications for tenure and promotion; committee members and the dean meet to discuss these applications, with committee members providing oral assessments of each tenure and promotion dossier. The RCOAL Personnel Committee does not participate in the annual pre-tenure progress review of probationary faculty.
  8. The Dean forwards his/her recommendations to the Provost.
  9. The Provost forwards his/her recommendations to the President, who makes final recommendations to the Board of Governors.

Eligibility and Criteria

Eligibility requirements and criteria for tenure and promotion are established in the Faculty Handbook and in departmental guidelines. Additionally, the Reynolds College of Arts and Letters has established the following specific criteria for promotion to senior instructor.

Instructors seeking this appointment must show leadership in teaching, contribute to course and curriculum development and provide appropriate university service. More specifically, University and College criteria for promotion to Senior Instructor include: (1) evidence of successful student learning outcomes; (2) use of effective teaching modalities; and (3) leadership in curriculum development, advising, and/or other areas of service.

  1. Student learning outcomes include the abilities, knowledge, values and attitudes students who complete a course or graduate from a program are expected to have. Evidence of successful learning outcomes requires articulation of what these expectations are as well as measurement of the extent to which expectations are met.
  2. Effective teaching includes the abilities to adapt teaching methods to the needs of students; to incorporate feedback into teaching methods; to make appropriate use of instructional tools and technologies; to address multiple learning styles; to address cognitive, behavioral and affective learning goals; and to facilitate students’ understanding and application of the university’s public affairs mission.
  3. Leadership in teaching and other areas of service includes the willingness and ability to make significant contributions to one’s courses and to the department, college, university and community.


Faculty cannot assume that individuals or groups evaluating their dossiers are familiar with the traditions of the discipline from which they come. After the dossier leaves the department, those who review the applications may know nothing about the faculty member’s particular discipline. Therefore, it is important that faculty members make it easy for others to review their dossiers and to understand the relevance of the materials included within them. Materials do not speak for themselves; faculty members are expected to interpret their materials and make clear arguments describing the relevance and the significance of the materials. The dossiers for personnel decisions must be thoughtful compilations of materials that clearly reflect sufficient output of high quality work in the appropriate areas of professional evaluation. They should not be laundry lists of accomplishments, with fillers included simply to take up space.

A faculty member who is still in probationary status (i.e., has not yet been tenured) submits one binder with the required materials (maximum size, 4”). While in probationary status, the dossier (i.e., the materials in the binder) are reviewed by the departmental personnel committee, the department head, and the college dean. They are not forwarded to the provost.

A faculty member applying for tenure or promotion or both submits two binders with required materials. Binder One contains all the material required by the provost (e.g., items I through VIII listed below) and is forwarded to the provost following the dean’s review. Binder Two (maximum size, 4”) contains all the supplementary material required by the college (including additional material that a particular department may require). This binder should have three main sections, one each for teaching, research, and service. A fourth section discusses work in progress. Unless the provost has questions about a particular application, Binder Two is generally not forwarded on to the provost for review.

Overview and required materials:

  1. Each ranked faculty member and instructor applying for tenure, and/or promotion must provide all elements of the dossier described as follows, in the order listed below in the Contents of dossier section.
  2. Each applicant for tenure and promotion to associate professor, professor, or distinguished professor must provide at least three external letters of evaluation. (This does not apply for senior instructor applications.) “External” means “external to Missouri State University,” not “external to the department.” While each department has its own procedures for nominating and selecting external evaluators, these external reviews must be obtained according to guidelines and procedures issued by the Office of the Provost. External evaluators should possess an appropriate terminal degree and hold a rank at least equal to the rank sought by the applicant. Individuals with potential conflicts of interest, such as those having worked as collaborators or teachers with the applicant or with whom the applicant has personal relationships, typically are not acceptable as evaluators. Candidates should disclose any potential conflicts of interest to their department head prior to the selection of evaluators. The external evaluators do not make a recommendation about whether the dossier merits tenure or promotion at their institutions; instead, they evaluate the dossiers and provide assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant records. External reviews are not required for promotion to senior instructor.
  3. Tenure and promotion are decided separately. Although it is possible to be granted tenure without promotion and, in rare cases (usually when a faculty member is credited for work at another institution), promotion without tenure, it is generally expected that individuals meeting requirements for promotion to associate professor will also have met requirements for tenure. The same dossier may be submitted in support of each action.
  4. Continuing instructors who are evaluated for reappointment should follow the procedures and guidelines developed by their individual departments. Generally, their dossiers will not be required to supply all the elements listed here (although they may choose to include relevant elements from the list below and to follow the order required for ranked faculty).

Contents of dossier

A complete dossier should include the following, in this order, which is consistent with the provost’s checklist:

This material should be included in Binder One.

  1. Original application form
    Indicate for which action(s) you are applying.
  2. Table of Contents
    (Not specified in provost's checklist but required by RCOAL)
  3. Matrix (Table) with departmental tenure and promotion requirements listed in Column 1 and related faculty accomplishments in Column 2.

    See samples:

  4. Personal summary statement (provost allows 2-5 pages; RCOAL prefers 3 pages maximum). The applicant should use this opportunity to provide an overview of all aspects of his/her professional endeavors, detailing how s/he has integrated teaching, scholarly and service activities into a focused effort to support the missions of the department, college and university. This statement might also include an assessment of his/her career at the point of application and a projection of the future course of that career. The personal statement should highlight the merits of the application, conveying why the applicant deserves the desired status.
  5. Current curriculum vitae(in standard format):
    1. Name
    2. Education
      • Begin with most recent degree or program of study
      • Include title of dissertation, if applicable
    3. List teaching experience, beginning with most recent, including courses taught.
    4. Listing (in chronological order with most recent first) of scholarly and creative activity as deemed appropriate by the department (optional for senior instructor applications)
      • If multiple-authored work, list all author names (do not list “and others”)
      • If work has been accepted but not yet published, list it as “in press” (not “forthcoming”)
    5. List grants funded, honors, awards, etc.
    6. List departmental, college and University service assignments.
    7. List service in professional organizations. Indicate whether service is local, regional, or national.
    8. List professional and community activities relevant to the candidate’s discipline or research agenda.
    9. List other service activities.
  6. Previous letters of evaluation from personnel committee, department head, dean.
    • If applying for tenure or first promotion, these will be all the annual progress reviews.
    • If applying for subsequent promotion, these will be the yearly performance reviews since the previous promotion.
  7. External letters of review. Applicants for tenure and/or promotion to associate professor or full professor must supply three external letters. Additional letters (internal and external) should not exceed three in number. Applicants for senior instructor should consult departmental guidelines for any specific requirements regarding letters of recommendation.
  8. Guidelines at time of hire. Provide the Departmental Tenure and Promotion Guidelines at time of hire for faculty going for tenure and/or first promotion, and at time of most recent promotion for faculty going up for further promotion.

The previous items are included in the provost’s checklist (other than the Table of Contents).

The following items are required by RCOAL:

This material should be included in Binder Two.

  1. One-page evaluation of teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes along with appropriate supporting materials. Documentation should not provide an exhaustive compilation of all existing materials but rather should be thorough enough only to provide convincing evidence of one’s teaching effectiveness. Examples of appropriate materials may include a statement of teaching philosophy, examples of one’s use of assessment, examples of curricular development, examples of the integration of teaching and research, summaries of teaching evaluations (see sample numerical course evaluation summary), sample syllabi, examples of student projects which were successful, and peer evaluations.
  2. One-page evaluation of scholarly and creative accomplishments along with appropriate supporting materials. Documentation should not provide an exhaustive compilation of all relevant materials but rather should be only thorough enough to provide convincing evidence of one’s success in the arena of scholarship and creative activity. Examples of appropriate materials may include abstracts of published works, evidence of curricular development based on research, and reviews of scholarly and creative activity. This is optional for senior instructor applications.
  3. One-page evaluation and interpretation of leadership in teaching and professional service activities along with appropriate supporting materials. Documentation should not provide an exhaustive compilation of all relevant materials, but rather should be only thorough enough to provide convincing evidence of the significance and relevance of one’s service activities.
  4. Discussion of work in progress supported by relevant materials such as project description; outline; timetable; work already completed; letters from publishers, editors, meeting coordinators indicating that, for example, a book contract has been signed, a chapter in an edited compilation has been assigned, the applicant has agreed to speak on a panel at a national or regional professional meeting, etc. This is optional for senior instructor applications.

Construction of dossier

Please observe the following guidelines in assembling the dossier:

  1. Place materials in a single sturdy three-ring binder no larger than 4” in width.
    1. Probationary faculty submit one binder, maximum width 4".
    2. Faculty applying for tenure and/or promotion submit two binders (as described previously); the second binder's maximum width is 4".
  2. A CD or DVD may be used to store media such as artwork, music recordings, or video.
  3. Tabs should be used to separate and identify sections of the dossier.
  4. Label the spine and the frontof your binder with your name, department, and the purpose of your application (e.g., tenure and promotion to associate professor, promotion to senior instructor, promotion to professor, etc.)
  5. Protective page sleeves are optional.

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