Promotion Guide for Associate Professors

Guidelines: Criteria, Policies and Procedures

The University of Nevada, Reno is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education and is governed by its Board of Regents. The NSHE Code is incorporated into faculty contracts. The NSHE Board of Regents Handbook establishes major NSHE procedures; the University of Nevada, Reno Bylaws establish major UNR procedures. Both NSHE and UNR procedures and policies govern University practices. Colleges, schools, and departments have bylaws and internal policies that govern practices within those units.

For NSHE procedures and policies, see: Board of Regents Handbook (Title 2 is the NSHE Code) and Board of Regents Procedures and Guidelines Manual.

For University procedures and policies, see: University of Nevada, Reno Bylaws and University Administrative Manual.

For College, School, and Department procedures and policies, see their bylaws and additional
policy documents. The Faculty Senate maintains a list of the major unit bylaws.

If you have questions about policies and procedures, start by contacting the responsible party in
your department or college.

Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor

The UNR Bylaws state that a “rank III faculty member shall be evaluated in writing by the department and/or the dean regarding progress toward promotion no later than the end of the sixth full academic year in rank. The above specified shall not be construed as a minimum time in rank before promotion (UNR Bylaws 3.3.5)

  1. It is recommended that departments develop procedures for evaluating progress toward promotion to rank IV. At a minimum, departments should establish procedures for reviewing faculty members who have been in rank six years and provide them guidance on readiness or progress toward promotion.
  2. Promotion to Professor (Rank IV): A faculty member in Rank III shall be eligible for promotion to Rank IV when the faculty member has established a sustained record of excellence in a professional field. The record shall document publications and/or creative work as defined in Chapter V, 18.B of the CLA Bylaws and as judged significant by peers in the field; distinguished professional service; and distinction in teaching and related activities such as graduate student advising. The record should, where relevant, document exceptional administrative achievement as well. Departments and units shall obtain appropriate external evaluations of the faculty member’s achievement according to procedures established by the Office of the Provost and in accordance with CLA and department bylaws.
  3. Initiation of consideration: Each department should have a clear mechanism, described in its bylaws, by which candidates can initiate consideration and by which departments can determine whether to approve the candidate’s request. Non-mandatory review does not commit the personnel committee, the department chair, or any other party involved in the review to making a positive recommendation. Likewise, a decision to permit a non-mandatory review does not obligate candidates to go through with the review should they subsequently choose to wait to apply in a future cycle.
  4. As with promotion to Associate Professor, a strong record of teaching effectiveness and service are expected. However, the Provost has made it clear that one cannot get promoted to rank IV on a record of excellence in teaching and service alone. Promotion is based primarily on research/creative activity and one’s reputation as a scholar/artist. It is essential to demonstrate that the candidate has gained a national/international standing in their discipline. This includes not only additional publications/creative activity, but evidence of a well-rounded professional profile that would include such professional service as leadership or other high-profile roles in professional organizations and associations; reviewing activities such as service on national grant review panels, review of research and creative publications for refereed journals, manuscript reviews for university/academic presses, program reviews for other universities, external reviews for promotion and tenure; editorial activities such as holding a position as editor-in-chief of a journal, book review editor, membership on editorial boards, or editing a book series with a university/academic press, organizing research conferences or panels at research conferences. Outreach and engagement, where appropriate and relevant, should also be reported and documented.

Candidates’ responsibilities and timeline for promotion

  • Please begin the process by reviewing the Provost’s Directions for Preparing and Submitting Applications for Promotion and Tenure.
  • The application form is available on the Office of the Provost website in Microsoft Word. There is an option in Interfolio for creating a first rough draft of the application.
  • February/March: The department/department chair will ask the candidate for a list of 5-6 potential external reviewers, including contact information and a brief description of their area of expertise. The candidate should bear in mind that half or more of the reviews will come from individuals not on the candidate’s list. The reason for this is to avoid selecting a set of reviewers that are strongly biased in favor of the candidate. Therefore, the candidate should think carefully about how many reviewers to put on the list, and who to include. For example, if the candidate lists the top 20 people in the field, the committee may have relatively few additional qualified reviewers to call upon. The candidate may also submit names of potential reviewers that the candidate feels should not be used, with an explanation of why. Avoid reviewers that have or could reasonably be perceived to have a conflict of interest. For example, they should not be a current or former research collaborator, a former graduate mentor or thesis advisor, co-authors, or a former contemporary at another institution. Avoid reviewers who hold a position at an institution where the candidate has earned a degree, performed postdoctoral research, or had any other official appointment, regardless of whether the reviewer’s appointment at the institution overlapped with that of the candidate. Do not solicit letters from more than one individual at a single institution. Minimize the number of reviewers from non-U.S. universities. Researchers from non-U.S. universities often do not understand the U.S. tenure system and the importance of writing a detailed evaluation. Thus, any non-U.S. reviewers should be selected with care, with the recommendation being to limit the number to two or less. Each reviewer must be tenured, hold the rank of Professor, and be in programs at institutions with a research stature that is comparable or superior to that of the University of Nevada, Reno. At least half should come from institutions classified by the Carnegie Foundation as R1. Reviewers from institutions that are classified below R2 should be avoided, unless the reviewer is a specialist in the candidate’s field whose qualifications can be clearly justified.
  • April/May: Candidate should prepare his/her research/artistry package, to be sent to peer reviewers. This package should be completed no later than the first week in May and should include:
    • Current C.V.
    • Statement of research/artistry profile, major accomplishments, and future plans.
    • List of all publications, recordings, or other materials that external reviewers will consider. Compiling this list may require consultation with the chair and/or personnel committee as it may not be desirable to send every manuscript/CD, but certainly the most crucial.
  • Summer [exact date determined by department]: Candidate completes P&T application and compiles research/creative activity, teaching and service materials. These should be organized with a Table of Contents and labeled section tabs. For research, candidates should focus on including work produced, cited, and reviewed since becoming an Associate Professor, although the full research record can be included in the c.v. Candidates should also provide supporting indicators of influence and quality, bibliometric information on journals, book series, university presses, artistic venues, etc. (e.g., what is their acceptance rate, review process, circulation), a list of citations of their work by other scholars or artists, reviews of their work, research or creative awards, external grants received, and other relevant indicators. Include evidence of effective teaching, in addition to student evaluations of teaching. Such evidence may include but not be limited to, a statement of teaching philosophy, summary of courses taught at the rank of Associate Professor, sample course syllabi, sample course exams and assignments, grade sheets (with student names redacted), peer evaluations of teaching, evidence of teaching awards. The summary of service should not merely be a list of service commitments held at the rank of Associate Professor, but any materials that provide evidence of service performed (letters from committee chairs, and so on). It is important to fully describe the nature of the service. State the amount of time spent, the level of effort involved, and the duration of each service commitment. Do not rely on readers to know or guess what your service entailed. See addendum to this document for an example of how these materials could be organized.
  • Late summer/early fall (Mid-August to first week of September): Department meets to determine merits of the candidate’s case. Candidate should receive notification of the results of this meeting and of the chair’s recommendation on their case to the Dean.
  • September-October: College Personnel Committee meets to discuss candidate’s case, including the results of the department-level review and the chair’s recommendation. College Personnel Committee reports their decision on the case to the Dean. Dean makes a recommendation in writing to the Provost and reports their decision to the department and candidate.
  • November-December: University Promotion and Tenure Committee meets to discuss candidate’s case and provides a recommendation to the Provost. Candidates are typically informed of the Provost’s decision before the start of winter break.
  • Mid-spring semester: Promotion to the rank of Professor is approved at the university level by the President. It does not require NSHE approval or a vote by the Board of Regents. Promotion to Professor becomes effective on July 1.

Negative decisions

  1. Candidates have rights to reconsideration under NSHE Code 5.2.3 and 5.2.4 and should be notified of these rights.
  2. Reconsideration is possible at the point of the first negative decision.
  3. Pay attention to the notification deadlines.


It is important to read carefully and follow closely the instructions for preparing and submitting the application for promotion and/or tenure (link above).

The department will review the application and all the supplemental materials provided in support of the application. Only the application will be forwarded to the College Personnel Committee and the Dean, though the supplemental materials may be requested by subsequent committees.

The application consists of the following items:

  1. Promotion and Tenure Application Checklist
  2. Application for Promotion and/or Tenure (proofread carefully)*
  3. Department Chair Evaluation Form
  4. Letter from Department Personnel Committee (if applicable)
  5. Letter from Department Chair
  6. Letter from College Personnel Committee
  7. Letter from Dean
  8. Chair’s Report of External Reviewers
  9. External peer review letters
  10. Copy of Chair’s letter to outside reviewers
  11. Table of Contents and/or summary overview of supplemental materials*
  12. Supplemental materials*

* To be submitted by the candidate

The packet of supplemental materials should be organized in an orderly way with a Table of Contents and section tabs that direct the reader to each component of the contents. The binder may be organized following the outline below. Items 3-8 constitute the teaching portfolio, which provides evidence of the scope and quality of teaching.

Supplemental materials

The packet of supplemental materials should be organized in an orderly way with a Table of Contents and section tabs that direct the reader to each component of the contents. The supplemental materials, as a separate file, should be sent forward to the college/school. Physical products that may be evaluated during the review process by the department, college/school, or external reviewers should not be forwarded to the Office of the Provost. For books or physical scholarly/creative products ensure proper documentation of their existence is in the application and supplemental materials, such as a citation, including DOI if applicable, photos of creative work, flyers of a performance or showing, etc. Forward physical products to the college/school if they request it.

Supplemental materials must include:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Statement of Teaching Philosophy: This serves as the introduction to your Teaching Portfolio. It consists of a 1-2 page description of your essential teaching philosophy and pedagogical practices.
  3. Summary of Courses Taught: Include here a list of the different courses you have taught with a brief description of your goals for the course, innovations you have incorporated if this is a course that you have taught several times. Was this a course you created or significantly re-designed? Describe what your approach is to this course and what you want students to take away from the course. (Some of this information may be included in the application itself.)
  4. Sample Course Syllabi: Make certain that your course syllabi are complete, pedagogically sound, and include all the required statements. See guidelines for course syllabus creation.
  5. Sample Course Exams and Materials: You don’t need to include every test or assignment you have created here, but do include a sampling that provides readers with a good sense of the type of materials you assign to your students and the kind of tests you use to assess learning outcomes.
  6. Student Evaluations: Include here your complete student evaluations (numerical ratings and student comments) of teaching for each course you have taught.
  7. Peer Evaluations of Teaching and/or Teaching Awards: Include copies of all peer evaluations of your teaching that were completed during the probationary period. You may also include information on any department, college, university or NSHE teaching/advising awards you have received.
  8. Statement of Research/Creative Activity Profile and Future Plans: This is the same statement you prepare to be sent out with your research/creative activity materials for the external reviewers.
  9. Scholarly Publications or Creative Activity Materials: Book(s), articles, book chapters, book reviews, and other published materials here. If any of your publications or creative activities are collaborative work, be certain to include an explanation of your percentage of effort and the type of work contributed.
  10. Service: Include here not only a list of your service commitments during the probationary period, but any materials that provide evidence of service performed (letters from committee chairs, and so on). It is important to fully describe the nature of the service. State the amount of time spent, the level of effort involved, and the duration of each service commitment. Do not rely on readers to know or guess what your service entailed.
  11. Annual evaluations since appointment to current rank. Include a summary table as indicated below.

Evaluation summary example table

Include a summary table of annual evaluations percentages and ratings for relevant years since appointment at UNR, or since appointment to current rank.

Evaluation summary
Evaluation Year Rating: Teaching Rating: Research Rating: Service Rating: Overall

40% Excellent

40% Excellent 20% Commendable Excellent