Promotion Guide for Non-Tenure-Track Instructional Faculty

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 UNR 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, typically the chair, Associate Dean (overseeing Faculty matters), or Dean.

Annual evaluations and progress toward promotion letters

Non-tenure-track regular lecturers—0(II), 0(III), 0(IV) — will be evaluated annually in two ways: the annual evaluation of job performance and progress-toward-promotion letters.

  1. The NSHE Code, Chapter 5, Section 5.12.1 and 5.12.2, establishes that written performance evaluations of academic faculty and administrative faculty shall be conducted at least once each calendar year by department chairs, supervisors or heads of administrative units. One of the purposes of annual performance evaluations is to provide constructive, developmental feedback to the faculty member. (B/R 9/05) 2. All performance evaluations shall include a rating of “excellent,” “commendable,” “satisfactory,” or “unsatisfactory.” No other rating terminology shall be used. The areas of evaluation and procedures for evaluation of academic faculty and administrative faculty are established in institutional bylaws (UNR Bylaws 3.3.2). Evaluations of instructional faculty shall include an assessment of teaching evaluations completed by their students. All annual evaluation reports must be generated using Interfolio. Review Interfolio tutorials.
  2. UNR Bylaws (3.3.5) stipulate that Rank 0(I), Rank 0(II), or Rank 0(III) faculty 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 times shall not be construed as a minimum time in rank before a faculty member decides to seek promotion. Any rank may be a terminal rank should the faculty member decide not to seek promotion. 

    Progress-toward-promotion letters are based on an academic year. They should provide formative judgments that help you know how your case for promotion is developing and what you still need to do.

The standards, procedures, and criteria that govern the promotion of non-tenure-track faculty members in regular positions are contained in the College of Liberal Arts Bylaws (V.23.A-E).

Reappointment and Promotion: Non-tenure-track Faculty as outlined in UAM 2,505 Faculty Position Titles, Rank & Degree Requirements

  1. Reappointment. Non-tenure-track faculty members may be reappointed annually.
  2. Promotion. Non-tenure-track faculty members in regular positions may be eligible for promotion within Rank 0.
  3. Standards for Promotion. The faculty member shall demonstrate a record of achievement in teaching, and professional development or service, consistent with the faculty member’s role statement and with the mission of the department or unit. Recommendation for promotion shall be based upon an “excellent” evaluation in the major area of responsibility of the faculty member, as determined by the department or unit involved, and at least a “satisfactory” evaluation in other areas of responsibility.
  4. Procedures and Criteria. Department and unit bylaws shall establish fair and equitable procedures consistent with university bylaws and NSHE Code provisions for conducting evaluations for promotion. Those procedures shall apply the following criteria.
    1. Promotion to Rank 0(III). A non-tenure-track faculty member in Rank 0(II) shall be eligible for promotion to Rank 0(III) when the faculty member has established a substantial record of achievement in his or her major area of responsibility.
    2. Promotion to Rank 0(IV). A non-tenure-track faculty member in Rank 0(III) shall be eligible for promotion to Rank 0(IV) when the faculty member has established a sustained record of excellence in his or her major area of responsibility.
  5. Negative Recommendations. If a negative recommendation for promotion is received at any level, the faculty member has the right for reconsideration of the decision following the procedures in the university bylaws section 3.2.4 and the NSHE Code (5.2.3 & 5.2.4).

It is the standard practice in CLA that promotion shall not be reviewed sooner than 5-6 years in rank, understood to be the typical, and necessary amount of time needed to demonstrate a “substantial record of achievement” for promotion to rank 0(III) and a “sustained record of excellence” for promotion to rank 0(IV). Should the candidate/department wish to make a case for promotion with fewer than 5 years in rank, it will be required to demonstrate not only that the faculty member has clearly met or exceeded our standards in all three areas of teaching, professional development, and service, but also that there is a substantial probability for a continued high rate of quality teaching, professional development, and service.

Each department should have a clear mechanism, described in their bylaws, by which candidates can initiate consideration and by which departments can determine whether to approve the candidate’s request. The formation of the department personnel committee should follow the CLA Bylaws, which state, “Departmental voting rights on promotion recommendations shall be restricted to those department members who are at the rank in consideration or higher.” Approval for a non-mandatory review in no way commits the personnel committee, the department chair, or any other party to the review to making a positive recommendation. Nor does a decision to permit a non-mandatory review obligate candidates to go through with the review should they subsequently choose to wait. A member of the academic faculty may request consideration by the faculty member’s department for promotion in any year (UNR Bylaws, 3.3.5).

Candidates’ responsibilities and promotion application timeline

  • Please begin your process by reviewing the Provost’s Directions for Preparing and Submitting the Application for Promotion of Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty.
  • The application form is available on the Office of the Provost website. There is an option in Interfolio for creating a first rough draft of the application.
  • Summer [exact date determined by department]: Candidate completes the Application for Promotion of Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty form and compiles all teaching, professional development, and service materials, including teaching portfolio and supplemental materials.
  • Mid-August to first week of September: Department meets to determine the merits of the candidate’s case. Candidate should receive notification of the results of this meeting and of the chair’s recommendation on his/her 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. The College Personnel Committee reports their decision on the case to the Dean. The Dean makes a recommendation in writing to the Provost and reports his/her decision to the department and candidate.
  • November-December: University Non-Tenure-Track Promotion 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.

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 begins at the point of the first negative decision.
  3. Pay attention to the notification deadlines.
  4. If the result of case or reconsideration request is negative, the decision is final for that year. The faculty member may reapply the following year, or later.


It is important to read carefully and follow closely the instructions for preparing and submitting the application for promotion (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. Application for promotion of non-tenure-track instructional faculty (proofread carefully)
  2. Letter from department personnel committee (if applicable)
  3. Letter from department chair
  4. Letter from college personnel committee
  5. Letter from dean
  6. Teaching portfolio*
  7. Table of contents and/or summary overview of additional supplemental materials

*The teaching portfolio should include:

  • A statement of teaching philosophy: This serves as the introduction to your teaching portfolio. It consists of a one-to-two page description of your essential teaching philosophy and pedagogical practices.
  • A summary of teaching responsibilities: 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).
  • A summary of student teaching evaluations: You may repeat the information from the application here.
  • Summary reports of all student teaching evaluations—numeric and written (since appointment or last promotion): You should include here your complete student evaluations of teaching for each course you have taught.
  • Peer evaluations of teaching: Include copies of all peer evaluations of your teaching that were completed during the period in rank. It is highly recommended that non-tenure-track instructional faculty have regular peer observations of teaching to ensure a robust teaching portfolio.
  • Example course syllabi: Make certain that your course syllabi are complete, pedagogically sound and include all the required statements. See guidelines for course syllabus creation. (You may also include sample exams or materials).
  • Letters of support regarding teaching.

The supplemental materials should be organized in an orderly way with section tabs that direct the reader to each component of the contents. The materials may be organized following the outline below.

Table of contents and corresponding tab numbers

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Role statements
  3. Teaching-related activities: Provide evidence of achievement in teaching-related activities such as assessment, course development, supervision of graduate teaching assistants or LOAs, administrative duties as director/co-director of a departmental instructional program and so on
  4. Published research or creative writing (copies of all publications with complete bibliographic citation information).
  5. Recordings and multimedia productions produced (copies of all released CDs, DVDs, etc., or links to digital media)
  6. Letters regarding professional service and/or outreach or engagement