Faculty Promotions

Faculty and Professional Staff Handbook »

I. Eligibility for Promotion

Faculty members whose qualifications meet or exceed the requirements for higher academic rank shall be eligible for promotional consideration to that rank. Faculty on sabbatical are eligible to apply for promotion, subject to the same requirements of all faculty.

II. Qualifications for Rank (NJAC 9:6-3.5, as revised effective 5/85)

The following are the qualifications for academic rank:

A. Instructor

An earned Master's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution in an appropriate field of study, and enrollment in and actively pursuing an accredited terminal degree program in an appropriate field of study.

B. Assistant Professor

An earned doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution in an appropriate field of study or completion of all requirements for the doctorate in an accredited institution except for the dissertation.  For persons hired after January 1, 1986 who do not hold the appropriate terminal degree or its equivalent, no reappointment shall be made to the fourth year unless the Board of Trustees of the University determines that for rare and exceptional reasons reappointment is necessary to support the mission of the University.

The requirement of an earned doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree or its equivalent for promotion to the rank of Assistant Professor shall not apply to faculty members employed in the University prior to February 22, 1974. 

C. Associate Professor

An earned doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree from an accredited institution in an appropriate field of study and five years of professional experience.  Evidence of excellence in teaching, scholarly achievement and service beyond the level of accomplishment of those holding the assistant professor rank.

D. Professor

An earned doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree from an accredited institution in an appropriate field of study and eight years of professional experience.  Evidence of excellence in teaching, scholarly achievement and service beyond the level of accomplishment of those holding the associate professor rank.

E. Distinguished Professor

As established by the Board of Trustees, this rank is intended to provide for the individual who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, teaching ability, or distinction in a field.


The Board recognizes that in exceptional cases individuals may present qualifications as to education and experience that their faculty peers will recommend to be the equivalent of the above qualifications although not corresponding to the letter.  In such cases, the Board of Trustees may, upon recommendation of the President, appoint such individuals to the rank deemed appropriate.

In special fields in which the doctorate may not be the usual terminal degree, including, but not limited to, art, music, nursing, library science and librarianship, significant training and/or other professional experience or achievement appropriate to the field of specialization shall be determined equivalent to additional graduate work beyond the Master's degree.

Those who, in the judgment of and as substantiated by their professional peers within the institution possess exceptional qualifications, achievements, or experience deemed equivalent to the academic requirements outlined above, may be recommended for appointment or promotion to a given rank.

All decisions on equivalency promotions or appointments shall be made at the campus level.

Faculty peer is defined as a tenured Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and/or full Professor in the appropriate department, including department chairperson, whether or not he or she is tenured.  Those departments which regard the procedure as feasible and professionally preferable may determine that faculty peer in the instances of decisions as to promotions shall consist of only those tenured faculty members at a rank equal to or higher than the rank to which a faculty member is being considered for promotion. Professional personnel with dual appointments whose responsibilities include duties classified as managerial are not faculty peers.

Limitations for Professorial Classification (formerly NJAC 9:6-3.7)

Limitations for professorial classification by academic rank shall be regulated in accordance with the applicable provisions established by the Board of Trustees.

III. Criteria for Promotion

Decisions about promotion shall be governed by four broad and interrelated factors:

A. Effective teaching

B. Scholarly achievement and/or creative achievements

C. Contribution to University and community

D. Fulfillment of professional responsibilities

Although no set weighing scheme is suggested, in the case of the teaching staff, proficiency in teaching shall be considered essential.

IV. Department Promotion Committee

The department promotion committee is an elected committee of at least three tenured faculty members, with the exception of the department chairperson who shall be a member ex officio whether or not  tenured. This committee may be the department council. In the event that a department has fewer than three tenured members, the department will recommend additional members to serve on the respective committees to the Faculty Senate to be voted upon for its acceptance.  External committee members shall be in a department as closely related to the discipline in the department making the request as possible.

A department may establish by-laws requiring that the committees be comprised of at least three tenured faculty members at or above the rank of the candidate only if it is large enough to accommodate this practice without requiring external committee members.

Senate Due Diligence Procedures for External Committee Members:

1. The department chairperson in the department with an insufficient number of tenured faculty to serve on a retention and tenure, promotion, or range adjustment committee shall submit a written request for an external committee member/s to the Senate Chair and Vice Chair including the following: a. a statement specifying the reason for the external committee member/s, b. the name and the department/s of the recommended external faculty member/s, and c. confirmation of the external faculty member/s willingness to serve on the respective committee.

2. The Senate Chair will review the request, and if all required information is provided, will place the request on the subsequent Senate Agenda.

3. The Senate will formally vote on the request.

In any given academic year, candidates for promotion may not serve on either the Department or University Promotion Committee.

B. Applications for Promotion

A faculty member may make written application to the department promotion committee for promotional consideration and submit recommendations and supporting materials concerning scholarly and/or creative achievements and contributions to the University and community. A candidate must clearly specify the date (time frame) to which all teaching, scholarly and service materials refer. These must be submitted to the department committee on promotions on or before November 1; nomination of a faculty member for promotional consideration may be made by someone other than the individual.

In cases where a faculty member is nominated for promotion, notice of the nomination must be given to the faculty member. The promotion folder for the individual so nominated shall be processed according to the provisions of this promotion procedure.

Should the faculty member decline the nomination, the declination shall carry no negative or prejudicial connotation in any subsequent personnel action.

The committee is not, however, to consider the absence of such application or nomination as prejudicial to the case of any individual, nor is it to examine, without the individual's consent, any personnel files maintained by the University.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete and organized according to the instructions on the Promotion Checklist (rev. 2009) on the date of its submission to the Department Promotion Committee.

C. Criteria to be used

1. Effective Teaching - Areas to be evaluated

a. Knowledge of subject matter

b. Thorough preparation for classes

c. Ability to present material in a logical and thought-provoking manner

d. Enthusiasm for the subject matter

e. Ability to offer proper guidance and counseling of students

f. Use of a variety of teaching techniques

g. Use of fair evaluation procedures

h. Ability to communicate with and motivate students

i. Student evaluations (Brown Form Only)

The department promotion committee shall consider student evaluations of teaching effectiveness, utilizing the approved department questionnaire form.  Questionnaires are to be completed by students in class in the absence of the instructor and collected according to department by-laws or past practice. No candidate may collect or process his or her own questionnaires. Such questionnaires shall be distributed before November 10 to each of the classes of the faculty member being considered for promotion. The candidate is required to submit evaluations in every class taught in the same semester (the semester of application [fall] or one of the semesters in the academic year preceding the semester of application.

The same student evaluation forms (Brown) utilized for retention and range adjustments must be used for promotion. Student evaluations of on-line courses must be on forms approved by the department, reviewed by the AFT, approved by the Administration and administered through IRT. No other student evaluation form is to be considered by the department and/or University Promotion Committee. The student evaluations must be kept on file by the department.

j. Classroom observations

Every candidate for promotion shall be observed and evaluated independently by at least three faculty peers. Independent observations of the same course section may be conducted by the faculty peers. Each evaluation report must be signed by the candidate and the faculty peer who conducted the observation within 15 days of the observation. The signing of the evaluation report merely indicates that the candidate has read the evaluation.  He or she may write a response to the evaluation, which will be added to his or her file.  These observations shall take place during the semester in which the promotion is sought (fall) or in the preceding academic year.

Each member of the committee, upon consideration of the results of all observations and the questionnaires, shall decide whether the criteria for effective teaching have been satisfied.  Any candidate who refuses to be observed by the faculty promotion committee removes himself or herself from consideration for promotion at the departmental level.

k. Refer to the “Expanded Criteria List (Career Development Program Scope of Assessment”- Attachment I and the “Faculty Retention and Promotion Clarified Criteria”- Appendix III for additional information.

2. Scholarly achievements

Scholarly achievements shall be measured by the academic background and professional growth of the individual.

In evaluating the academic background of an individual, the following areas should be considered: The attainment of academic and professional degrees, pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships won, scholarships obtained, and academic honors received.  Other pertinent attainments must also be considered.

The evaluation of professional growth should include critical consideration of the research, writing, publications exhibits, compositions, or other creative work accomplished by the individual.  Professional experience, inside and outside of the academic area, should also be considered. Effective contribution to professional organizations and services rendered to the community, state, national, or international organizations are to be considered, along with the promise the faculty member has for continued professional growth and development.

Refer to the “Expanded Criteria List” (Career Development Program Scope of Assessment- Attachment I and the “Faculty Retention and Promotion Clarified Criteria”- Appendix III for additional information.

3. Contributions to University and community

Contributions to the University shall include such things as faculty and University committee service, grants, symposia, exhibits, student club advisement, etc.  Contributions to the community shall include individual contributions and representation of the University at community organizations.

Refer to the “Expanded Criteria List” (Career Development Program Scope of Assessment- Attachment I and the “Faculty Retention and Promotion Clarified Criteria”- Appendix III for additional information.

4. Fulfillment of Professional Responsibilities shall include the following:

a. Careful preparation of the material, with which the course deals, aimed at the appropriate level, following approved guidelines established by the appropriate curriculum council.

b. At the start of each course, the instructor shall inform students of the following: objectives of the course, outline of the course, the methods of evaluation, major teaching procedures, and course requirements, and the instructor's office hours.

c. The instructor shall present the subject matter in an appropriate manner, which reflects the intent and emphasis of the course.

d. The instructor shall give examinations and/or papers which reflect the emphasis of the course and which are designed to provide both the instructor and the student with information about the progress of the latter.  Such examinations and papers should be given at the proper time following established University policies.

e. An instructor may not arbitrarily dismiss his or her class.  In the event of illness or other reason for cancellation of classes, the faculty member shall notify the department chairperson or departmental secretary as early as possible so that arrangements may be made to cover the class or to notify the students.

Faculty members with non-teaching assignments should follow similar procedures for reporting absences to the appropriate administrative officer.

f. The instructor should meet his or her class for the full time allotted.  He or she should start and release his or her class at the time specified, with due exception for illness and other exceptional situations.

g. If a staff member must be absent from an extension class for which he or she is receiving extra compensation, he or she is expected to arrange for a substitute and to assume all expenses involved.

h. Every faculty member shall be available to confer with students, in his or her classes or during his or her office hours, concerning their progress, and, where applicable, with his or her advisers concerning their programs.  Office hours shall be posted and announced to the students.  Since individual students may have classes at the time of the announced hours, it may be necessary to arrange additional conference time by mutual agreement between students and faculty members.

During the periods of registration and advisement, faculty members are expected to be available for student conferences outside of the regular office hours.  Such times and days are to be determined by the appropriate Deans.

i. Attendance regulations and the maintenance of appropriate records shall follow established University policies.  All grades must be submitted on the specified dates.

j. Faculty members shall not knowingly violate, or attempt to violate or bypass, duly promulgated and approved University policy or regulations.

k. Each faculty member shall, in the performance of his or her University duties, conduct himself or herself in a manner consistent with his or her professional responsibilities.

l. Faculty members are expected to assume their share of committee assignments and student advisement responsibilities in accordance with University and department policies.

m. All faculty members must attend committee and faculty meetings.

n. All first year faculty, at their option, may be exempt from all committees.

o. Faculty members shall be subject to periodic evaluations concerning teaching and professional competence, according to established University policies. Such evaluations shall include both student and peer evaluations, using forms prepared by the faculty.

D. Procedure for department promotion committee (including timetable)

All individual faculty members with academic rank may submit application for promotion together with written substantiation to the claim for promotion no later than November 1.  Applications should be submitted to the appropriate department chairperson or department committee.  Nomination of a faculty member for promotional consideration may be made by other than the individual.

 In all cases, an application must first receive consideration at the department level.  An application not approved at the department level may be submitted to the University-wide promotion committee (UPC) by the candidate.

 Upon request, all written material submitted to and collected by the department promotion committee and placed in the candidate’s file concerning the qualifications of a candidate seeking promotion shall be made available to said candidate for review.

 The department committee on promotions is to send written notification, by November 25, to each person whom it has decided to recommend for promotion.  Persons who have not been recommended are to be notified in the same way at the same time.

 Those recommended for equivalency shall be notified that their recommendations are subject to approval of the University Promotion Committee.

By November 23, all department recommendations for promotion, together with a written statement and supporting materials justifying each such recommendation, are to be sent to the University Promotion Committee. A majority vote determines the nature of the recommendation. All members of the committee and the candidate must sign the recommendation as acknowledgement of their review.

 The name of every candidate for promotion shall be placed on one of three lists: the professor's list, the associate professor's list, or the assistant professor's list.

 Persons not recommended by the department promotion committee may appeal by December 7 to the University Promotion Committee.

 A copy of every item dealing specifically with the employees promotion, shall be transmitted to the employee immediately after it has been submitted. The employee shall then be given a reasonable opportunity to respond in a timely fashion to any such item and the response shall be attached to the item.

 Every candidate is permitted to provide additional non-required items (those not specified on the application checklist) to his/her promotion folder at any time during the promotion process, prior to the President’s announcement of his/her decision regarding the candidates recommended for promotion by the University Promotion Committee.

E. Procedure for University Promotion Committee

1. Composition of committee

The Faculty Senate Elections Council will be responsible for conducting the election for members of the University Promotion Committee.  Such election shall be completed by November 30.

The University Promotion Committee shall be comprised of tenured faculty representing all the colleges as determined by the University.  The committee shall consider student opinion and may in its discretion seek the input of the Provost and Senior Vice President and the appropriate College Dean.

The local union shall be entitled to appoint an observer to the committee, pursuant to Article IX D of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

2. Procedure

a. At the first meeting of the academic year of the University Promotion Committee, in addition to that committee, there shall be in attendance the President of the University, the Provost and Senior Vice President, and such others as the Administration designates, the President of the Collective Bargaining Organization, and the Union Observer. At this meeting, the University Promotion Committee shall be informed by the President or his or her designee of the number of promotions available at the various ranks. This occurs subsequent to the President’s meeting with the Union to discuss promotional opportunities. If the President has reason to believe that the number of promotions available at any rank will be zero, he or she will announce such information as soon as possible but not later than October 10. The Administration shall provide each member of the UPC with a current copy of the Promotion Policy and addenda one week prior to convening of the UPC.

b. The Administration will review each application and folder for completeness before being reviewed by the UPC. Completeness means that all items required by the “Promotion Checklist (rev 2009) are included in the folder. If items on the “Promotion Checklist” (rev 2009) are missing the Administration will assist the UPC in notifying the candidate. The folder will be forwarded to the UPC for review. Based on policy, UPC members will determine whether the folder meets the minimum requirements. If any candidate adds new (non-required) items to the folder, while the folder is in the possession of the Provost’s office, the UPC Chairperson will be notified by the Provost’s Office. The UPC Chairperson will in turn notify all members of the UPC.

c. The University Promotion Committee shall have the right to consult with the appropriate department committee, department chairperson, or individual submitting the request for promotion.

d. The individual applicant for promotion shall have the right to request, and receive an appearance before the University Promotion Committee to speak on his or her own behalf.

e. The voting process shall be conducted jointly by the Chairperson of the UPC and the Union Observer.

f. The University Promotion Committee shall meet with the President to discuss its recommendations no later than February 4, unless amended by Local Agreement. The total number of applicants recommended by the Committee shall not exceed the number of promotions available at any rank.  These recommendations shall be confidential for the President and members of the University Promotion Committee.

g. The University Promotion Committee shall submit its final recommendations to the President on or before February 10, and shall include all pertinent information. The University Promotion Committee Chairperson shall notify in writing both recommended and not recommended candidates.  Should the President decide to make a recommendation for promotion to the Board of Trustees which is inconsistent with the recommendation of the committee, he or she shall meet and provide the committee with his or her reasons for the action. The President shall provide timely notice to all candidates whom he intends to recommend for promotion to the Board of Trustees.

h. A faculty member may initiate a grievance at step one based on an allegation that, after timely filing of his or her application, the promotional procedure was violated or that there was a breach of the rights of the faculty member concerning discrimination or concerning academic freedom within seven days after receipt of the final recommendation to the President. Such a claim, if sustained, will result in reprocessing of the application on an expedited basis.  A final recommendation in such cases shall be made to the President not later than March 1.

F. Procedure for President and Board

Promotion shall be made by the Board of Trustees upon recommendation of the President and all applicants for promotion shall be notified in writing of the Board's decision no later than May 6.

 Revised 6/2019