The purpose of a College level of review for promotion and/or tenure is to apply criteria related to the College mission and standards, and to ensure that criteria are applied evenly across Divisions. Thus, the College review will bring broad faculty and administrative judgment to bear and will also monitor general standards of quality and equity of academic unit policies and procedures. It is at the academic unit level that specific expectations and standards are given and evaluated.
Each committee shall consist of five members elected from the Altoona College faculty as follows:
Each division will provide at least two candidates for a college-wide election in which the faculty will vote for one person from each division and one additional person from any division. The candidate in each division receiving the greatest number of votes will be the division representative and the person receiving the most votes among the remaining candidates will be the member at-large. All standing faculty members are eligible to vote.
The term of committee membership will be two years. Terms shall be staggered so that half the committee is elected each year. In the first year, half of the terms will be for one year. After each term, members are eligible for re-election.
In the case of ties for division members, the division will be responsible for resolving the tie. Ties for the at-large member and replacements for elected members who become unable to serve will be decided by the Dean of the College.
The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall be responsible for ensuring that the election of these committees is completed by the end of the second week in April.
Each committee will select its own chair.
Any tenured Altoona College faculty member, regardless of locus of tenure, is eligible to serve on the Altoona College Tenure Review Committee.
Any tenured Altoona College faculty member holding the rank of Associate Professor, Associate Librarian, or higher, regardless of locus of tenure, is eligible to serve on the Altoona College Promotion Review Committee. Only those members of higher rank than the candidate shall make recommendations concerning promotion. In cases of a candidate being considered for promotion to Professor or Librarian when there is not a sufficient number of Professors or Librarians to constitute the full 5-member committee, a minimum of three members should be at this rank. The candidate's Division should be represented among these three and, if necessary, a division representative of appropriate rank may be selected from another location jointly by the Division Head and Dean.
The Altoona College Promotion and Tenure Review Committees shall be responsible for
conducting the college-level review of faculty whose locus of tenure is in the Altoona
College, and the campus-level review of faculty whose locus of tenure is in the academic
department and college at University Park.
The Committee has carefully considered input concerning the composition of the promotion and tenure committees. Specifically, suggestions have been made to ensure discipline representation on the College-level committee. We have decided against recommending this for several reasons.
Our primary reason is that the College committee serves a different function than the Division-level committees. The division specifies discipline-related standards and criteria and should evaluate the candidate on that basis. Therefore, we do recommend that Division-level committees should ensure discipline representation. The College presents more general standards related to the College mission and should evaluate candidates in light of those standards. These standards have been described in the Altoona College Promotion and Tenure Policy. The Division review is the first level of review and a detailed qualitative evaluation of the candidate's discipline-related activities is passed along from this level to the College level along with external letters of review. The College review looks at discipline-related activities in the broader context of supporting College standards and also ensures that criteria are applied evenly across divisions. This can be done by individuals outside of a candidate's specific discipline using the input provided.
There are also a number of practical issues we considered.
1. We will most likely continue to have a fair number of one and two person departments. Since membership on multiple committees is generally considered undesirable, this would necessitate bringing in more committee members from outside of Altoona College. At the discipline-level review this is appropriate, but it is much less acceptable in our thinking at the College level.
2. If a discipline-specific member was required for each candidate, we could very likely have different committees for each candidate. For example, if we had three candidates, e.g. in Theatre, Psychology, and Economics, and the Division representatives on the College committee were not from these areas, the at-large member would have to be chosen for each candidate from his/her discipline, resulting in three somewhat different committees. There would be a greater chance of complications and unevenness in applying College criteria. Any irregularity of procedure may lead to a negative decision being appealed to the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee. There would also be more work for the committee in discussing guidelines and general criteria.
3. We even considered the likelihood that if a candidate is not on the best of terms with his/her discipline colleague(s) in a small department, they would be at a disadvantage if that colleague had to serve on the College committee. This does seem to occur more within disciplines than between.
Overall, we believe that the benefit of having additional discipline input at the College level is surpassed by the negatives. Indeed, we have been unable to find any other College that specifically stipulates that a department or discipline representative must be on the College review committee, indicating that this is not widely seen as a problem. (We surveyed other Colleges at University Park, Behrend College, UPJ, Ohio State, and University of Alabama at Huntsville.) We may want to consider some measures to ensure that the College committee gives due consideration to the Division input, such as including a specific statement to that effect in the College committee review letter. Consultation between the College committee and the Division committee chair or Division Head can also be encouraged if discipline-related questions arise. In addition, there are built-in safe-guards, such as the overview review by the University-level committee and the possibility of appeal to the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee in cases of negative decisions.