Faculty Handbook

Promotion of Fixed Term Faculty

Last updated: 1/24/2013


This policy was issued by the Office of the Provost on January 24, 2013 (to be effective fall semester 2013). It reflects advice by the University Committee on Faculty Affairs and the Faculty Senate.

Policy Statement

Each department, school and college regularly employing fixed term faculty must have evaluation and review procedures for the promotion of fixed term faculty.[1] It is recognized that provisions and practices in units may vary; however, all procedures must incorporate, at a minimum, the principles included in this policy and must be applied consistently to similarly situated fixed term faculty.


  1. While the mix of duties performed by fixed term faculty may vary within and across units, academic rank at Michigan State University must be based on standards that result in a progressively stronger faculty. A fixed term faculty member's level of accomplishment, even if limited to a narrow range of duties (e.g. only teaching), should reflect the same level of accomplishment for that set of duties as is required for a tenure system faculty member being promoted to the same rank.
  2. Procedures adopted must minimally include:
    1. Review and recommendation by a faculty review committee at the unit and college levels that make recommendations to the chairperson/director and dean.
    2. Provide an opportunity for the fixed term faculty member to confer with the faculty review committee before a recommendation is made.
    3. Each chairperson, director, and dean must make a recommendation taking into consideration faculty evaluations and other supporting information, yet unit administrators are responsible as individuals for the recommendations made.
    4. Candidates for promotion will be asked to provide materials for the review, using the "Recommendation for Reappointment, Promotion or Tenure Action form, (Form on Progress and Excellence), as a guide, but must include:
      1. Current curriculum vita,
      2. Reflective essay about accomplishments over the reporting period (5 page maximum),
      3. A representative sample of scholarly work, and
      4. Evidence of excellence in performing assigned duties, e.g. significance, impact, and innovation of research/creative activities, instructional activities, and service.
    5. Because of the diversity in assignments of fixed term faculty, unit administrators must prepare a description of the candidate's assignment, including, for example, the percentage of the appointment devoted to research/creative activities, teaching, service, etc.
  3. External review letters may be used, to the extent relevant, following the principles in the policy, "External Letters of Reference."

With the exception of the sample of scholarly work, all materials, along with the recommendations of the department chairperson/school director and dean, must accompany each promotion recommendation for Provost Office review.

[1] The policy must address promotions from the rank of assistant professor to associate professor and from associate professor to professor. It does not apply to promotions from the rank of instructor to assistant professor.

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