Department of Special Education Promotion and Tenure Criteria and Procedures

Approved by the Faculty Senate Committee on Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure, April 2019

General Provisions

Scope and Purpose

The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank are among the most important and far-reaching decisions made by the Department of Special Education because an excellent faculty is an essential component of any outstanding institution of higher learning. Promotion and tenure decisions also have a profound effect on the lives and careers of faculty. Recommendations concerning promotion and tenure must be made carefully, based upon a thorough examination of the candidate’s record and the impartial application of these criteria and procedures, established in compliance with the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR) Article VI.

It is the purpose of this document to promote the rigorous and fair evaluation of faculty performance during the promotion and tenure process by (a) establishing criteria that express the Department of Special Education’s expectations for meeting university standards in terms of disciplinary practices; and (b) providing procedures for the initial evaluation of teaching, scholarship, and professional service that protect the rights of candidates and clarify the responsibilities, roles, and relationships of the participants in the promotion and tenure review process.

Each level of review, including the initial review, the intermediate review, and the university level review, conducts an independent evaluation of a candidate’s record of performance and makes independent recommendations to the Chancellor. Later stages of review neither affirm nor reverse earlier recommendations, which remain part of the record for consideration by the Chancellor. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the review process to exercise his/her own judgment to evaluate a faculty member’s teaching (or professional performance), scholarship, and service based upon the entirety of the data and information in the record. No single source of information, such as peer review letters, shall be considered a conclusive indicator of quality.

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Academic Freedom

All faculty members, regardless of rank, are entitled to academic freedom in relation to teaching and scholarship, and the right as citizens to speak on matters of public concern. Likewise, all faculty members, regardless of rank, bear the obligation to exercise their academic freedom responsibly and in accordance with the accepted standards of their academic disciplines. Tenured faculty members may be dismissed only for adequate cause, in cases of program discontinuance, or under extraordinary circumstances caused by financial exigency.

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Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

Consideration and evaluation of a faculty member’s record is a confidential personnel matter. Only those persons eligible to vote on promotion and tenure may participate in or observe deliberations or have access to the personnel file (except that clerical staff may assist in the preparation of documents under conditions that assure confidentiality). No person shall participate in any aspect of the promotion and tenure process concerning a candidate when participation would create a clear conflict of interest or compromise the impartiality of an evaluation or recommendation. If a candidate thinks that there is a conflict of interest, the candidate may petition to have that person recuse him/herself. If a committee member does not recuse him/herself, a decision about whether that person has a conflict of interest shall be made by a majority of the other committee members.

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Promotion and Tenure Criteria

General Principles

The University strives for a consistent standard of quality against which the performance of all faculty members is measured. Nonetheless, the nature of faculty activities varies across the University and a faculty member’s record must be evaluated in light of his/her particular responsibilities and the practices of the discipline. These criteria state the Department of Special Education’s expectations of performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and professional service must be met to satisfy University of Kansas standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor and for promotion to full professor, or equivalent ranks.

Teaching and scholarship will be given primary consideration but the particular weight to be accorded to each component of a faculty member’s activities depends upon the role and related responsibilities of the faculty member. The School of Education and Department of Special Education recognize the traditional 40-40-20 formula for weighting research, teaching, and service. While long-term modifications of this weighting for tenured faculty are considered in annual evaluation and merit salary recommendations, such modifications do not supplant application of the 40-40-20 criteria for promotion reviews.

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Teaching Expectations

Teaching is a primary function of the University and the Department of Special Education; KU strives to provide an outstanding education for its students at all levels of post-secondary education. Evaluation of teaching includes consideration of syllabi, course materials, and other information related to a faculty member’s courses; peer and student evaluations; a candidate’s own statement of teaching philosophy and goals; public representations of teaching; and other accepted methods of evaluation, which may include external evaluations.

High-quality teaching is serious intellectual work grounded in a deep knowledge and understanding of the field and includes the ability to convey that understanding in clear and engaging ways.

The conduct of classes is the central feature of teaching responsibilities at KU but teaching also includes the supervision of student research and clinical activities, mentoring, and advising undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students, and other teaching-related activities outside of the classroom.

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University Standards

Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate effective teaching, as reflected in such factors as command of the subject matter, the ability to communicate effectively in the classroom, a demonstrated commitment to student learning, and involvement in providing advice and support for students outside the classroom.

For promotion to the rank of professor, the candidate’s teaching record must demonstrate continued effectiveness and ongoing teaching skills development, as reflected in such factors as comprehensive understanding of the subject matter; strong classroom teaching, advisory, and mentoring skills; and active informal and intentional involvement in student learning and development.

Specific Department of Special Education teaching expectations. Successful candidates for tenure and promotion to associate professor or promotion to full professor in the Department of Special Education must possess the knowledge and skills required to effectively transmit discipline content, facilitate student growth and development, and nurture of a spirit of intellect and professional inquiry. Such skills and capacities spring from the same qualities that lead to successful scholarly inquiry and effective professional practice.

The following teaching expectations to meet University standards apply to the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor:

Candidates must demonstrate high overall level of teaching effectiveness with appropriate weight given to performance in undergraduate and graduate courses. Candidates must also demonstrate current professional knowledge and skills related to effective adult learning, curriculum development, instructional technology, and pedagogy. Command of the subject, clarity in oral and written communication, and sensitivity to the learning needs of diverse students are all indispensable assets of effective teachers. Overall teaching performance should reflect a strong commitment to ongoing professional engagement and lifelong learning.

The following teaching expectations to meet University standards apply for the promotion to the rank of professor:

Candidates must demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills related to effective adult learning, curriculum development, and pedagogy. Comprehensive command of the subject, clarity in oral and written communication, and sensitivity to the learning needs of diverse students continue as indispensable assets of effective teachers and is effective in mentoring doctoral students and supervising their research. Overall teaching performance should reflect the candidate’s continued commitment to ongoing professional engagement and lifelong learning.

Below are examples of teaching evidence that would demonstrate a candidate’s teaching qualifications for tenure and promotion to associate professor or full professor in the Department of Special Education.

  • National, regional, state, university, and SOE awards and recognition for teaching excellence
  • Student evaluations, including written comments
  • Evidence of leadership in curriculum development and/or personnel preparation
  • Evidence of innovative course development and evaluation or evidence of leadership in the development of new courses and the introduction of new methods of instruction
  • Ongoing professional learning related to effective adult learning, instructional innovation (including, e.g., new course content, team teaching, use of a problem-solving approach, and/or use of technology), and discipline-specific knowledge and skills
  • Evidence of effective student advising and direction of graduate studies, including mentoring and supervision of graduate student projects, theses and/or dissertations
  • Evidence of external funding supporting professional development and personnel preparation

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Scholarship Expectations

Scholarship encompasses not only traditional academic research and publication, but also the creation of other products or activities accepted by the academic discipline as reflecting scholarly effort and achievement for purposes of promotion and tenure. While the nature of scholarship varies across disciplines, the University adheres to a consistently high standard of quality in its scholarly activities to which all faculty members, regardless of discipline, are held.

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University Standards

Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor, the record must demonstrate a successfully developing scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as the quality and quantity of publications or creative activities, external reviews of the candidate’s work by respected scholars in the field, the candidate’s regional, national, or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly agenda.

For promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate an established scholarly career, as reflected by factors such as a substantial and ongoing pattern of funded research, external reviews of the candidate’s work by eminent scholars in the field, the candidate’s national or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly career.

Specific Department of Special Education scholarship expectations. As a national leader in our field, the Department of Special Education expects candidates for promotion and tenure to exemplify the highest standards of scholarly performance and to pursue lines of inquiry that will advance the field’s knowledge and understanding of topics, such as teacher quality, professional preparation, special education policy, student outcomes, self-determination, equity, and lifespan learning of individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

The following scholarship expectations to meet the University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor:

Candidates for tenure and/or promotion to associate professor are faculty members who already have achieved, and who show strong promise of continuing to achieve, a level of excellence in their contributions to research and scholarship appropriate for this field. Indicators of excellence include originality, logical rigor, distinctiveness of ideas, independence of thought in identifying projects and framing issues for analysis, advancement of a theoretical viewpoint or perceptive and balanced criticism of such viewpoints and perspectives, and significant and important intellectual impact. Successful candidates must be active scientists, scholars, and critics.

By the time of the tenure review, candidates must have completed and published, in the form of books, articles, and book chapters, research and scholarship of sufficiently high quality as to gain favorable recognition within the discipline at a national level. The scholarship of a candidate for tenure and promotion to associate professor should demonstrate the ability to work independently and with others. A combination of single- and multi-author publications, proposal submissions, and conference presentations are appropriate. Both in past achievement and anticipated future promise, the quality and quantity of completed work is used to help determine the recommendation for tenure and/or promotion to associate professor.

In the Department of Special Education, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards apply for the promotion to the rank of full professor:

Candidates for promotion to full professor are faculty members who have achieved national or international recognition for their research and scholarly pursuits. They are recognized for an established and ongoing pattern of funded research, the contribution and impact of which are widely acknowledged in the field.

Below are examples of the types of scholarship that would demonstrate a candidate’s research qualifications for tenure and/or promotion to the rank of Associate Professor or Professor in the Department of Special Education:

  • Research publications in top professional journals
  • Publication of books, book chapters and monographs relevant to the authors field of scholarship
  • National, regional, state, university, and SOE research awards
  • Ongoing proposal development and submission
  • Obtaining externally-funded research grants
  • Refereed presentations and invited keynote addresses at national and international professional and research conferences

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Service Expectations

Service is an important responsibility of all faculty members that contributes to the University’s performance of its larger mission. Although the nature of service activities will depend on a candidate’s particular interests and abilities, service contributions are an essential part of being a good citizen of the University. The Department of Special Education accepts and values scholarly service to the discipline and profession, service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national or international level.

Department of Special Education faculty members have obligations that go beyond research and teaching, particularly in departmental and school activities and University governance. In addition, members of the KU Department of Special Education faculty have the responsibility to engage in state and community outreach, special education and disability advocacy, and leadership in professional and learned societies.

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University Standards

Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate a pattern of ongoing service to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to the local, state, national, or international communities. Service of a candidate for tenure and promotion to full professor should exemplify ongoing engagement and dedicated efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of the community at several levels (e.g., Department, University, state, region, national).

Department of Special Education professional service expectations. In the Department of Special Education, the following service expectations to meet University standards apply to the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor:

Service of a candidate for tenure and promotion to associate professor should exemplify ongoing engagement and dedicated efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of the community at several levels (e.g., Department, University, state, region, nation). Both in past achievement and anticipated future promise, the quality and quantity of completed service is used to help determine one's eligibility in meeting the standards for tenure/and or promotion to associate professor.

In the Department of Special Education, the following service expectations to meet University standards apply to the promotion to the rank of professor:

The record must demonstrate an ongoing pattern of appointed and elected service leadership reflecting substantial contributions to the Department, the University, the profession, and national or international communities.

Below are examples of professional service that would demonstrate a candidate’s qualifications for tenure and promotion in the Department of Special Education:

  • Ongoing service to Department and School committees and active engagement in governance and program development
  • Editing or serving on an editorial board of a scholarly or professional journal
  • Ongoing service on local, state, and regional committees associated with the profession
  • Service on appointed state, regional, or federal advisory committees
  • Service on one or more state or federal proposal review committees
  • Service as committee chair on one or more committees for a national or international scholarly or professional organization
  • Engaging in extensive administrative work for the department, an institute or center, and the School or the University
  • Working with schools to improve educational outcomes
  • Participating as a committee member or providing leadership in a state, regional, national or international scholarly or professional organization
  • Participating as a member of or providing leadership on a state or national curriculum committee
  • Consulting with state, regional or national educational agencies or institutions, including proposal review

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Evaluation of Performance in Teaching, Scholarship and Service

Rating of performance. The candidate’s performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and professional service will be rated using the terms “excellent,” “very good,” “good,” “marginal,” or “poor,” defined as follows:

  • "Excellent" means that the candidate substantially exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
  • “Very good” means the candidate exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
  • “Good” means the candidate meets expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
  • “Marginal” means the candidate falls below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
  • “Poor” means the candidate falls significantly below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.

Recommendation criteria. No candidate may be recommended for tenure or promotionwithout meeting University standards in all applicable areas of performance and a rating of very good or above in teaching and research.

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Promotion and Tenure Procedures

The Department of Special Education Personnel Committee conducts the initial review of the candidate pursuant to these procedures and the requirements of section 5 of Article VI of the FSRR.

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Promotion and Tenure Committee

The Department of Special Education Personnel Committee shall evaluate the candidate’s teaching, scholarship, and professional service. The Personnel Committee consists of a minimum of five tenure-line Special Education faculty members appointed by the chair to serve three-year terms. If the Personnel Committee lacks sufficient tenured members (i.e., minimum of five) at the time of a tenure and promotion review, the chair will appoint other tenured Special Education faculty to serve on the review committee.

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Initiation of Review

Prior to the beginning of the spring semester, the Provost notifies all faculty whose mandatory review year will be the following academic year, with copies provided to Dean of the School of Education and the Department Chair. Upon receipt of this notice or if a faculty member requests it prior to the mandatory review year, the Department of Special Education shall initiate procedures for evaluating the candidate for the award of tenure.

As part of the annual faculty evaluation process, the Department of Special Education shall consider the qualifications of all tenured faculty members below the rank of full professor, with a view toward possible promotion in rank during the following academic year. After considering a faculty member’s qualifications, if the Department of Special Education determines that those qualifications may warrant promotion in rank, it shall initiate procedures for reviewing the faculty member for promotion. After seven years in the rank of associate professor, a faculty member who thinks that he or she has the qualifications for promotion may initiate the promotion review process himself or herself.

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Preparation of the Promotion and Tenure File

It is the responsibility of the candidate to complete the appropriate portions of the form and provide necessary documents and information in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines, with assistance from the chair and assigned faculty mentor. The Department of Special Education shall receive the form and accompanying materials from the candidate and finish compiling the record of the candidate’s teaching, scholarship, and service in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines.

The Department of Special Education Personnel Committee shall provide for the solicitation of outside evaluators to assist in the evaluation of a faculty member’s scholarship and in accordance with School and University procedures. Emphasis shall be placed on selecting independent and nationally-respected evaluators in the same or related discipline who hold academic rank or a professional position equal to or greater than the rank for which the candidate is being considered.

Selection of external evaluators will be carried out as follows.

  • The criteria and process for selection of external evaluators will be communicated to the candidate.
  • Candidates are asked to provide up to 6 names of potential external evaluators to the chair/director/dean, and may identify up to 2 individuals that they would not wish included as external evaluators.
  • Candidates will not themselves solicit external evaluators, nor will they be involved in the final selection of external evaluators.
  • The department, through the Personnel Committee, will be responsible for using its judgment in the final selection of external evaluators.
  • In the case of joint appointments, the two units will consult on the selection of the external evaluators.
  • The final list of external evaluators will include no more than 3 evaluators suggested by the candidate.

When soliciting external evaluators of a candidate’s scholarship, the Personnel Committee shall inform prospective evaluators of the extent to which the candidate will have access to the review. The School’s confidentiality policy regarding soliciting external reviewers for the promotion and tenure review process is as follows:

"As a part of the promotion and/or tenure review process, we are soliciting assessments of Professor ____’s research contributions from academic colleagues and distinguished professionals. These letters will become part of the candidate's promotion and tenure dossier and are treated as confidential by the University to the extent we are permitted to do so by law."

Except as set forth below, the entire contents of the dossier, including all solicited or unsolicited letters regarding appointment, renewal, promotion, or tenure that will be included in the candidate’s file for transmittal to the Dean, must be available for review by the Department of Special Education Personnel Committee members prior to their vote.

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Department Review and Recommendations

Upon completion of the record, the Department of Special Education Personnel Committee shall evaluate the candidate’s record of teaching, scholarship, and professional service in light of the applicable standards and criteria following procedures. The Personnel Committee is charged with reviewing, evaluating and making the Department’s final recommendation for promotion and tenure. There is no further review of the recommendation by the faculty as a whole or a designated subset. The Personnel Committee will conduct a secret-ballot vote; a majority affirmative vote is required for a recommendation for tenure or promotion.

The Personnel Committee shall prepare the evaluation and summary evaluation sections of the promotion and tenure forms. The forms and recommendations shall be forwarded to the department chairperson, who shall indicate separately, in writing, whether he or she concurs or disagrees with the recommendations of the committee.

The chairperson shall communicate the recommendations of the initial review, and his or her concurrence or disagreement with the recommendation, to the candidate and provide the candidate with a copy of the summary evaluation section of the promotion and tenure form. Negative recommendations shall be communicated in writing and, if the review will not be forwarded automatically, the chair shall inform the candidate that he or she may request that the record be forwarded for further review.

Favorable recommendations, together with the record of the initial review, shall be forwarded to the School of Education Personnel Committee for review. Negative recommendations resulting from an initial review shall go forward for intermediate review only if it is the candidate’s mandatory review year or if the candidate requests it.

The candidate may submit a written response to a negative recommendation by the chair or the Department of Special Education Personnel Committee. A response may also be submitted to a final rating of teaching, research, or service below the level of “good” included in the evaluation section of the recommendation. The written response goes forward with the dossier to the next level of review at the School of Education level.

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School Review

If the School Personnel Committee determines that more information is required as a result of its deliberations, a request for information shall be sent to the chairperson, who shall immediately provide a copy to the candidate and inform the Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee shall prepare the Department of Special Education’s response in accordance with the initial review procedures and in consultation with the chair and the candidate.

The candidate shall be afforded an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the Department of Special Education’s response and/or to submit his/ her own documentation or comment to the School Committee.

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policies

School of Education & Human Sciences - Policy Index

See also: KU Policy Office's School of Education and Human Sciences page.

Policy document title Link to Content
School of Education and Human Sciences Undergraduate & Graduate Travel & Research Support Guidelines view
Department of Special Education Promotion and Tenure Criteria and Procedures Approved by the Faculty Senate Committee on Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure, April 2019 view
Department of Special Education Post-tenure Review Criteria and Procedures Approved by Special Education Faculty, April, 2014 view
Department of Special Education Code (Revised October, 2016) view
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Guidelines for Tenure and/or Promotion and Third Year Progress Toward Tenure Review view
School of Education and Human Sciences Code view
School of Education Grade Dispute Procedures view
School of Education, University of Kansas Post-tenure Review Criteria and Procedures view
School Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure view