a glimpse into the college of engineering promotion and tenure advisory committee
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A Glimpse into the College of Engineering Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee. Prof. R. Bruce Darling, Dept. of Electrical Engineering Former PTAC Chair over 2001-2002 Presented to CoE ADVANCE Program, Sept. 10, 2003. P&T Advisory Council Membership.

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a glimpse into the college of engineering promotion and tenure advisory committee

A Glimpse into the College of EngineeringPromotion and Tenure Advisory Committee

Prof. R. Bruce Darling, Dept. of Electrical Engineering

Former PTAC Chair over 2001-2002

Presented to CoE ADVANCE Program, Sept. 10, 2003

p t advisory council membership
P&T Advisory Council Membership
  • One member from each of the 10 College of Engineering Departments.
  • 3-year term for each member, 1/3 of council rotates on/off each year.
  • Chair is a member in their 3rd year.
  • Meetings each Wednesday afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00pm.
  • Eligible faculty are full professors who will honor a commitment to meet each week and participate fully.
  • Email alias for whole committee: [email protected]
  • A faculty member in the same department as the candidate participates in discussions as a resource, but abstains from voting and any stance of advocacy for the candidate.
  • Established through Section 24-54 of the faculty code:
  • “The dean shall be advised by a committee or council of the college or school. This advisory group, elected by the faculty of the college or school, shall consider each case presented to it and submit its recommendations with reasons therefore to the dean. In a departmentalized school or college, when a candidate for promotion is under consideration, any member of the committee or council who is a member of the candidate’s department may be excused.”
  • Dossier is submitted by the department to the dean, who forwards it to the PTAC.
  • Dossier is copied and distributed to the PTAC members for thorough review prior to the meeting. (Cases that have not been properly prepared can be returned to the submitting department, if necessary.)
  • The case is scheduled for a specific PTAC meeting.
  • The dossier is discussed in detail, point-by-point:
    • Research
    • Teaching
    • Service
    • Outside referee’s letters
    • Candidate’s personal statement
    • Chairman’s letter
    • Department’s internal review, if performed
  • Chairman is interviewed to answer any outstanding questions.
  • PTAC members vote on the case; home department is a mandatory abstention.
  • Recommendation is submitted to the dean; all case materials are destroyed.
interaction with candidate
Interaction with Candidate
  • New procedures as of 10/11/2000:
  • Candidates are responsible for preparing their own dossiers.
  • Candidates can include any material they feel should be considered into the dossier.
  • Candidates shall include a “self-assessment” or “self-advocacy” statement.
  • If a departmental P&T advisory committee is used, their initial report must be in writing and shared with the candidate. The candidate can provide a written response to it within 7 days. A response must be provided to the faculty prior to their vote.
  • The chairman’s letter must be summarized to the candidate, who within 7 days can respond in writing to it. This response must be provided to the College PTAC prior to their meeting.
  • Referee names and vote counts are NOT to be revealed to the candidate! A redacted report and chairman’s letter are provided to the candidate.
  • Candidates can suggest outside referees, BUT the P&T standards require referees which have not been suggested in this manner.
selection and contact with referees
Selection and Contact with Referees
  • Procedure for selection must be documented.
    • Why this institution? (What is its ranking/relationship?)
    • Why this person? (What are their qualifications?)
    • What relation does this referee have with the candidate?
  • All contact with each referee must be documented.
  • Candidate’s role in the selection process must be documented.
  • Email is acceptable; hardcopy is best.
  • Phone conversations cannot be used other than to inquire or prompt a referee to send a letter.
  • See the website for an acceptable draft referee letter.
  • Try to get the referees to make direct comparisons and state whether the candidate would be promoted at their institution.
  • Assemble your own list of referees BEFORE asking the candidate!
  • Use the standard template for soliciting referees; do not bias the referee with a leading question or other communications. Simply transmit the dossier to the referee and let them do the rest.
class a and class b outside referees
Class A and Class B Outside Referees
  • Class A (Gold Standard) Outside Referees
    • A minimum of three are required.
    • They cannot be suggested by the candidate (no cronies).
    • They cannot be connected to the candidate (no former advisors, no former students, no co-PI’s, no funding agency heads, no co-authors).
    • They must be active in the candidate’s field (no retirees).
    • In general, a Class A Outside Referee must be respected in the field, irrefutable, and have no possible conflict of interest with seeing the candidate promoted.
  • Class B Outside Referees
    • Encompasses all others (can include co-authors, co-PI’s, former students, and any others who can provide valuable insight into the case.
    • A maximum of five may be used.
the candidate s statement
The Candidate’s Statement
  • This is one of the most informative parts of the dossier!
  • Candidates should work with their chairs and mentors to construct an accurate, complete, and lucid, narrative portrayal of their record.
  • It should state where they are going as well as where they have been…
  • It is the best place to clearly indicate what the scientific or technical impact of their work has been.
  • It is also the best place for a candidate to indicate what part of joint papers, projects, or awards were contributed by them, as opposed to their co-investigators or co-authors.
the candidate s dossier
The Candidate’s Dossier
  • Usually prepared by the candidate, but they should be assisted by their department.
  • Follow the format on the website!
  • Don’t hesitate to use graphics to explain trends or patterns, but be sure to include the raw data, too.
  • Always explain the basis for the data, e.g. were the teaching ratings the raw or the adjusted scores?
  • When in doubt as to which section to include a contribution, be safe and put it both places so that it does not get overlooked.
the candidate s dossier research
The Candidate’s Dossier - Research
  • Bottom line: The PTAC is looking for documentation of the IMPACT of the research.
  • Contrary to urban folklore, there is NO specific threshold number on published papers or research grant dollars.
  • Indicators of research impact:
    • Fully reviewed papers published in the top journals of the field.
    • Fully reviewed conference papers presented at the top meetings of the field.
    • MS and PhD students successfully trained in the field.
    • Endorsement of the research by competitive funding agencies.
    • Demonstrated technology transfer to industry or commercial world.
  • The dossier should explain the scope and manner of the candidate’s research field, the candidate’s position within the field, and the position of the leading researchers.
the candidate s dossier teaching
The Candidate’s Dossier - Teaching
  • Three measures of teaching effectiveness:
    • Student evaluations.
    • Peer evaluations.
    • Self evaluations.
  • Scope of the teaching enterprise:
    • Large classroom, required course, typically undergrads.
    • Small classroom, elective course, typically grads.
    • Laboratory, skill-building, survey, or theoretical.
    • Individual instruction: MS and PhD students, undergraduate research students, career guidance.
    • Collaborative teaching with colleagues.
the candidate s dossier service
The Candidate’s Dossier - Service
  • Service to the department, college, and profession is expected; however, excellence in service alone is NOT sufficient for promotion and/or tenure.
    • (Excellence in teaching and research are the criteria.)
  • A university is self-organizing and self-governing; ergo, participation in these processes are indicators of a faculty’s suitability for a long-term career within the university.
  • It is necessary that all faculty be able to lead and to last within the university environment; service provides an early indicator of this.
  • The PTAC is looking for a demonstration of engagement and participation in the enterprise of the university and the professional field of the candidate.
the chair s letter
The Chair’s Letter
  • See the website for specific contents:
      • http://www.engr.washington.edu/personnel/pt_web/pt_d.htm
  • More generally, the letter should contain:
      • Key points of the candidate’s record
      • Explanation of successes and failures
      • Interpretation of circumstances, trends, and future promise
      • Justification for P and/or T in relation to College standards and criteria
  • Don’t contradict the remainder of the dossier!
  • Don’t fail to address begging questions!
  • Document the tangibles as much as possible!
  • Don’t hesitate to use superlatives, but be level in their use!
  • Work with the candidate to learn all of the facts!
the chair s interview
The Chair’s Interview
  • This should be minimal IF the dossier and chair’s letter are well-prepared and obvious questions have been addressed.
  • Common P&TAC questions:
    • Why promote now? (As opposed to last year or next?)
    • What is the candidate’s most important contribution and why?
    • On multi-investigator awards or multi-author papers, what fraction was contributed by the candidate?
    • Where is the candidate likely to be in 5 years?
    • How come your numbers or dates do not match the dossier?
    • Why did some of your faculty vote no or abstain?
    • How does the candidate fit into the departmental strategic plan?
    • Why is the candidate being promoted to this rank or is working along this track? (Mainly for lecturer or research appointments.)
some final points
Some Final Points
  • “The College promotes dossiers, not people.”
    • ONLY documented facts contribute to a case.
    • Here-say anecdotes do not contribute to a case.
    • Passionate and animated advocacy performances by the chair do not contribute to a case.
  • The College PTAC procedures are an open architecture, but each specific case is fully confidential.
    • Email should not be used to discuss case specifics.
    • Discussions on general policies, procedures, and timelines are encouraged.
a key to success
A Key to Success
  • The preparation of a successful dossier should be treated as a research project unto itself:
    • The candidate, and particularly the departmental committee and chair, must all flesh out the supporting facts, design a proper slate of referees, interpret (not just recite) their comments, and place the overall case into the context of the candidate’s home department and field of research.
    • Conclusions should be drawn and supported by the data contained in the dossier.
    • The presented case should be logically compelling.