Letters of Transmittal and Recommendations from Reviewing Officials

 

After each step of the review process, the corresponding meeting minutes or letter from a university official should be numbered and placed into the file. These documents — prepared in the normal course of evaluation by Chairs, Deans, the Provost, and first and second level academic review committees — are non-confidential.

Copies of meeting minutes and administrative letters of review will be made available to the candidate, who will have the opportunity in reply in writing. That reply will also become a part of the record.
 

 

Step 1: Initial Academic Review

The initial academic review occurs in the department (or in the school/college for units where there are no departments). When an ad hoc faculty committee prepares a written summary of the case in advance of the departmental meeting, that summary should be inserted into the file before the faculty meeting minutes.

The meeting during which the department/school faculty discuss and vote on the case should be scheduled at a time when it is possible for faculty to attend. The department/school should consider the candidate in accordance with departmental/school by-laws. The discussion should be fact-based and related to the applicable criteria for promotion.

The department Chair or Dean may be present during the discussion but may not vote. Attendees should be reminded of the confidential nature of the discussion.

Minutes of the meeting should be prepared as follows:

  • The minutes must be prepared by a member of the faculty or staff, not by the department Chair or Dean.
     
  • The minutes must be approved by a majority of the department/school's faculty in attendance and the date of such approval should be indicated in the minutes.
     
  • The attendance at the meeting must be recorded and any absences must be explained, if possible.
     
  • The minutes should include a summary of all major issues discussed.
     
  • Specific information should be included to explain concerns reflected in the departmental vote.
     
  • The minutes must be a separate document in the file, meaning reports of department personnel committees or recommendations from a department Chair or Dean may not substitute these meeting minutes.
     

Voting should be carried out as follows:

  • Promotion to associate professor and continuing appointment are concurrent activities and addressed by a single vote, except when a candidate was hired as an associate professor without tenure. In that instance, the vote will only be for continuing appointment.
     
  • Voting should be anonymous (identified by tenure status only) and carried out by written ballot.
     
  • Voting should be carried out only by those who have reviewed the dossier and who are physically present for the meeting.
     
  • The vote of eligible department members must be tabulated by tenure status (meaning tenured and non-tenured), and recorded in the minutes. If department procedures include non-tenure-track faculty or student votes, those should be recorded separately and explained in the “Summary of Department Faculty Composition” document.
     
  • If categorizing votes by tenure status jeopardizes the anonymous nature of the vote (for example: if a department only had a single tenured or non-tenured faculty member), then only the total vote should be reported and this should be explained in the minutes.
     
  • The vote should also be recorded on the “Summary of Action” form.
     
  • Visiting faculty not in tenure track positions at UAlbany are not eligible to vote.
     
  • A faculty member unable to be present for the meeting discussion and vote may provide a letter to the Chair or Dean indicating their position on the case. Such a letter should be read at the meeting, before the vote is taken, and be accounted for in the summary of the departmental discussion. However, such a letter does not constitute a vote. Letters from faculty members unable to be present for the discussion and vote shall be inserted into the file as unsolicited letters.
     

Access to the meeting minutes and the results of the departmental/school vote should be given to the candidate. The candidate has five business from the date of receiving the recommendation to submit a response if they wish. That response is then added to the file.

Step 2: Initial Administrative Recommendation (Chair or Dean’s Letter)

After the departmental meeting, the Chair (or Dean, in circumstances with no departments in the School or College) shall prepare a written recommendation and evaluation of the candidate. This letter should:

  • include references to the criteria set forth in these Administrative Procedures and should discuss both the positive and negative aspects of the case.
     
  • represent the Chair's or Dean’s individual evaluation and recommendation (either positive or negative) on the issue.
     
  • present a detailed synthesis of evidence obtained from internal and external sources on behalf of the requested personnel action, unless it has been provided in a prior document, such as an ad hoc committee summary.
     
  • address in detail each of the three criteria (scholarship, teaching and service) for promotion and/or continuing appointment.
     
    • The statement should interpret the significance of the candidate's scholarly contributions and also discuss the candidate's role and effectiveness as a faculty member in the department or school.
       
    • The statement should describe the candidate’s effectiveness and skills as a teacher.
       
    • The statement should discuss both the quantity and quality of the candidate's contributions and performance related to university, professional and relevant community service.
       
  • provide, for each criterion, a context within which to evaluate evidence in the file. For example, the performance should be compared with productivity norms and expectations for the candidate's academic discipline. The department’s written document explaining expectations for tenure and promotion should be included in the dossier to help explain the context in which the candidate was evaluated.
     
  • contain information about norms in the discipline(s) regarding co-authorship, and about the meaning of first, last or senior authorship.
     
  • include an explanation, if possible, of negative votes at the initial academic review level. If it is not already recorded, the statement should also indicate the number of faculty members who did not attend the initial academic review meeting and, where known, the reasons for their absence.
     

A copy of the Chair's (or Dean’s) report should be provided to the candidate and should also be available to the department/school faculty. The candidate has five business from the date of receiving the recommendation to submit a response if they wish. That response is then added to the file.

For an additional resource, see "Guidelines for Writing a Chair’s Letter."

Step 3: Subsequent Academic Review

The "Subsequent Academic Review" (referred to in Article 33.1.c of the UUP’s Agreement between United University Professions and the State of New York) shall be the formal action of a "committee of academic employees" as follows:

  • For faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, the committee will be the College's Tenure and Promotion Committee.
     
  • For faculty of the School of Business, the committee will be the School's Personnel Committee.
     
  • For faculty of the School of Education, the committee will be that School's Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee.
     
  • For faculty of the School of Public Health, the committee will be the School’s Appointment, Promotion, and Continuing Appointment Committee of the School’s Faculty Council.
     
  • For faculty of the Rockefeller College, the Schools of Criminal Justice and Social Welfare, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, and the University Libraries, the committee will be the Council on Promotions and Continuing Appointments (CPCA). Please see Appendix B for more information.

For all cases of promotion and continuing appointment, when a member of the candidate’s department of primary appointment is also a member of the school or college’s personnel committee, such individual will be excluded from the school or college personnel committee meetings at which the candidate’s case is being considered.

The subsequent academic review committee shall report its vote to the Dean or Provost (where applicable) and the candidate. The committee shall also provide a brief statement explaining the reasons for the committee's recommendation. The statement should also explain any dissenting votes and describe, where applicable, any reservations about the case. The committee's vote and report must be included in the dossier.

A copy of the report must be provided to the candidate. The candidate has five business from the date of receiving the recommendation to submit a response if they wish. That response then is added to the file.

Step 4: Dean's Recommendation

The Dean will review the file for completeness and adherence to procedural rules, and prepare a written statement. The Dean’s statement may comment on procedural or substantive issues as appropriate.

The Dean’s statement will include a detailed review of the candidate's qualifications in scholarship, teaching and service. In addition, the Dean will describe special circumstances, as well as distinctive values and contributions, that the candidate brings to the school or college. Finally, the Dean’s statement will provide, if possible, an explanation of negative votes at the second level review.

A copy of the Dean’s comments and recommendations must be provided to the candidate before the case is sent to the next level of review. The candidate has five business from the date of receiving the recommendation to submit a response if they wish. That response is then added to the file.

The Dean must give an electronic copy of the entire dossier, along with any appendix materials that must be presented in alternate formats, to the Office of the Provost on a flash drive or disk. A signed paper and PDF version of the “Summary of Action Form” should accompany the dossier. See Appendix D for instructions on how to assemble an electronic copy.

Step 5: Recommendation by the Council on Promotions and Continuing Appointments (CPCA)

The staff member who supports the CPCA shall review the file for completeness and will then forward the material to the CPCA for review. The Council will review the case first as to form, for conformance with these administrative procedures. If the Council finds the file in order, the review will focus on an assessment of the merits of the case, using evidence in the file that supports the conclusions reached at prior review levels.

For all cases of promotion and continuing appointment, when a member of the candidate’s department of primary appointment is also a member of the CPCA, such individual will be excluded from the CPCA meetings at which the candidate’s case is being considered.

A written recommendation, containing the results of the CPCA vote and a summary of the Council's decision, will be developed and approved by the CPCA.

A copy of that recommendation must be provided to the candidate. The candidate has five business from the date of receiving the recommendation to submit a response if they wish. That response is then added to the file.

Step 6: Recommendation by the Provost

After the Council on Promotions and Continuing Appointments (CPCA) has completed its deliberations, the Provost will review the case and prepare a letter of transmittal to the President with a recommendation.

A copy of this recommendation will be provided to the candidate. The candidate has five business from the date of receiving the recommendation to submit a response if they wish. That response is then added to the file.

Step 7: Decision by the President

In accordance with Article 31 of the UUP’s Agreement between United University Professions and the State of New York, the President or a designee will advise the candidate upon receipt of the case and provide at least five working days for the candidate to examine and respond to the non-confidential portions of the file before a review and decision is made.

Following this opportunity for review and response, the President makes a decision about the case and notifies the candidate. The case moves forward to the Chancellor for confirmation and notification.

Step 8: Confirmation by Chancellor and final notification to candidate

This concludes the review.