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Northwestern University

Reappointment for Teaching-Track Faculty

The information here is for reappointment candidates and chairpersons.  
See also dossier deadlines and links to helpful documents.

A decision to reappoint is based on the performance of the candidate for reappointment.  It is also based on the department’s or program’s demonstration that the position occupied by the candidate meets essential needs, that those needs will continue for the foreseeable future, and that employing a member of the teaching-track faculty is the best way to meet those needs. The department or program must also provide evidence of adequate enrollments.

A decision not to offer reappointment to a candidate may be based on a restructuring of a department’s or program’s teaching mission, a change in its enrollment patterns, a change in the colleague’s capacity to meet teaching needs as defined by the College, or a change in the support base for the position in question. The authority to make decisions about reappointment rests with the Dean. 

Reappointment Process and Timeline

Late summer and early fall

In late summer and early fall, the Dean’s office notifies the department of the faculty whose contracts expire that academic year. These email notifications occur in late summer and early fall. Validation of the continued need for the position also takes place at this time. The Dean’s office may ask a department to justify the continuation of the appointment based on enrollment demands if there is concern.

Fall

In the fall, the chair, drawing upon the departmental by-laws or established practices, convenes the appropriate committees or executive committee to provide a consistent and thorough review of the faculty who will be considered for reappointment. Departments and programs that have not done so should codify their best practices to ensure fairness and consistency. During the year the department requests or gathers any additional information that they regard as necessary to make a robust evaluation. We strongly recommend departments schedule peer evaluations/ classroom observations at this time. A chair may want to request the faculty member assemble material that represents their curricular contributions such as syllabi, exams, and class slides.

February

In February, the chair receives an updated CV and an updated vita supplement form from the faculty member under consideration as part of the annual salary planning process. (Requests for updated vita supplements and updated CVs will be sent out from the Dean’s Office to all eligible faculty members in January.)

February-April

In the months February-April, the department evaluates a candidate based on the material they find essential to make a thorough and rigorous decision. This evaluation should culminate in a discussion and vote following the department’s normal and consistent practice for faculty evaluation. 

April/May

In April/May, the chair and faculty member meet in person to discuss the evaluation.

In May, the department submits a letter to the Associate Dean for Teaching-Track Faculty that outlines the evaluation for each of the faculty members, and specifically offers whether a further appointment should be offered. Departments may consider the following:

a. recommend renewal without reservation

b. recommend renewal with reservation 

c. do not recommend reappointment

The department letter includes:

May/June

In May/June, the Teaching-Track Promotion and Reappointment Committee convenes and, for each faculty member, makes a recommendation to the Dean for further reappointment, a limited or probationary appointment in order to address concerns, or non-renewal. The college committee draws on candidates self-evaluation via their CV supplements from the previous three years, aggregated CTEC numerical scores and student narratives, CV, grade distribution reports, department letter, and any other material, such a peer observations, all correspondence whether positive or negative gathered by the department as part of the evaluative process, and any external evaluations.

June/July

In June/July, the Dean conveys in writing his decision to each candidate. Renewal contracts for teaching-track candidates with outstanding records at the time of reappointment are typically four or five years in length, depending on rank. Appointment lengths may vary to facilitate further performance evaluations. Faculty who are not recommended for reappointment are given notification of a terminal year appointment. 

Dossier

1) Department letter

All eligible voting faculty should be familiar with the candidate’s teaching assignment and his or her teaching and curricular contributions.  The chair’s letter should outline the voting process: the vote, including abstentions; the number of eligible voters; and the names of those eligible faculty who voted and who did not. The body of the letter should present the department’s recommendation, indicating the degree of the department’s conviction in making its recommendation to the Dean. It is imperative that a full and candid account of departmental discussion, both positive and negative, be included in the department letter.  If the candidate’s teaching has not yet reached a high level, the department should outline potential corrective measures.  Finally, the letter should comment on the candidate’s service, his or her role as citizen in department, College, and University, and his or her professional and/or pedagogical advances. 

The criteria outlined below may help evaluators to think about the different aspects of a teaching-track position. It is unlikely that any one faculty member will (or should) meet all of these criteria, although a candidate’s teaching contributions will be of paramount importance. In the letter, please describe in some detail the evidence considered in making a recommendation, whether positive or negative (e.g., CTECS scores or narratives, peer observations, student feedback, sample syllabi, feedback from other faculty members).

Teaching Contributions
Engagement in the Northwestern Community
Engagement in the Profession

2) Curriculum Vitae and vita supplements

The candidate should follow College guidelines for preparing the CV.

3) CTECs and Grade Distribution Reports

4) Other evidence supplied by the department

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