Promotion & Tenure Process

The promotion and tenure process can feel like one of the most daunting of your career. However, as you prepare to submit your dossier for review by your colleagues, external referees and senior academic administrators, you can be confident that the Faculty Association is there to ensure a fair and thorough process.

Start the process early

The Faculty Association recommends that you start thinking about, and planning for, your promotion and tenure review within the first year after you are hired. Although you have 5 to 7 years, depending on your rank, before your mandatory review, getting an early start will help ensure that your file is as strong as possible when it is submitted. This means meeting with your Head of Unit within the first year of your appointment to discuss the standards and expectations for tenure and promotion. The meeting (often called the 5.02 meeting after Article 5.02 in Part 4 of the Collective Agreement) is also your opportunity to explain your program of scholarly activity or educational leadership to your Head so that she/he is fully aware of the context of your work. Pre-tenure faculty members should continue to have such meetings annually and tenured faculty members are encouraged to meet with their Head at least 2 years before applying for promotion.

In the weeks after the 5.02 meeting, your Head will issue a letter summarizing the contents of the meeting and any advice given to you to ensure that there is a clear understanding of issues and recommendations, the nature of materials to be collected, how documents ought to be arranged and when they are to be submitted. You do not have to agree with your Head’s appraisal of your work, but you should review the letter to ensure that it accurately reflects the discussion. (Ref. CA Part 4, Conditions of Appointment for Faculty, Article 2.03 Pre-Tenure Appointments and Reappointments, and; Article 5.02 Meetings with the Head).

The Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Timelines:

The reappointment, promotion and tenure review processes are the same, with the exception that reappointment reviews normally do not include letters from external referees and are not reviewed by the Senior Appointments Committee (“SAC”).

Assistant Professors have two 4-year contracts and are reviewed for reappointment in their 3rd year of employment and tenure in their 7th year. All other ranks, including instructors, have two 3-year contracts and are assessed for reappointment in their 2nd year of employment and tenure in their 5th.

Assessments for promotion are optional and can occur in any year.1 If promotion is granted prior to a tenure review, then tenure will be automatic. If a review for promotion is not successful, you must wait 3 years from the date of submission to reapply. 

[1] Note: A review for promotion to Associate Professors is now mandatory in the 7th year for all Assistant Professors hired after 1 July 2017. If promotion is not awarded, the candidate will be provided a terminal year of employment. For Assistant Professors hired before this date, it is possible to be tenured at the level of Assistant Professor. 

Your Dossier

It is important to review the list of materials you intend to submit for promotion and/or tenure with your Head during the 5.02 meeting prior to your submission date. Normally these materials will include an up-to-date CV, samples or other evidence of scholarly or educational leadership activities, your teaching dossier, and a list of at least 4 potential referees. Your Head may suggest changes or clarifications to your CV. Your dossier must be submitted to the Department for consideration by September 15th.

The review process

Once materials have been submitted, the file will be sent to the department’s Standing Review Committee for consideration. Please see this chart which outlines voting eligibility.

Should any concerns arise during deliberations on your file, you will be informed in writing and given an opportunity to respond before the Committee casts its vote. You will also be provided with redacted or summarized copies of the external referee letter (See Article 5.06 of Part 4: Conditions of Appointment for Faculty.) If you would like assistance in drafting your response, please contact the Faculty Association.

The Department Head and the Committee have separate recommendations. Your Head will prepare a letter for the Dean, summarizing the department’s deliberations, the recommendation of the committee and the Head and the reasons for them. If either of the recommendations is negative, you will be provided a summary of the reasons and be given an opportunity to respond in writing prior to the Dean’s review of your file.

Faculty and Senior Appointments Committees:

Your file will then proceed to the Faculty Level, at which point the Dean will consult with an advisory committee normally comprised of 6 (but not fewer than 4) tenured full professors and professors of teaching. If there are further concerns raised at this level, you will be provided with an opportunity to respond prior to the Dean and the advisory committee making a recommendation to the President on tenure and promotion. If the recommendation is negative, you will be provided an opportunity to respond.

The file will be then be forwarded to the Senior Appointments Committee (a University-level committee of full-professors) which will submit their recommendation to the President. The President will then issue his decision to you in writing.

Important Considerations

In preparing a dossier it is strongly recommended that you seek the guidance of both senior faculty in your Unit and from others who have recently been through the process.

CVs should be continuously updated throughout the process with new relevant information (i.e. publications, conference presentations, grants). Information can be added right up until the file goes to the President.

Normally, the Faculty Association does not intervene formally until after the President’s decision has been made. If, however, there are any concerns about fairness or transparency in the process, or if you need help addressing concerns that have been raised in letters from the Head or the Dean, please contact the Faculty Association for assistance.

Resources
  • The University has prepared a detailed flowchart outlining the typical review process, including approximate timelines available on the Faculty Relations website. The entire process normally takes about 10 months, but can take longer if additional information is needed.
  • The Senior Appointment Committee Guide to Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Procedures at UBC (the “Guide”) supplements Part IV of the Collective Agreement Conditions of Appointment for Faculty (the “Agreement”). This is a document prepared by the University meant to summarize the process and provide guidance to Heads and Deans. It has not been negotiated with the Faculty Association. Unless otherwise noted, references in the Guide to articles in the Agreement refer to the articles found in Part IV of the Agreement, while any references in the Guide to Sections refer to sections within the Guide.