Faculty Handbook

Guidelines for Academic Unit Peer Review Committee Composition

Last updated: 5/5/1993


The following advisory statement was issued by the Office of the Provost on December 2, 1987 and revised on May 5, 1993.

University Policy

Each academic unit (department, school, non-departmentally organized college) is charged to establish procedures so that its faculty can provide advice to the academic administrator regarding recommendations for various academic personnel actions, e.g., merit salary increases, appointments, reappointments, promotion, and tenure. Advisory procedures in matters of appointment, reappointment and promotion and tenure must involve peer review usually reflected in the work of faculty committees which may vary in size and composition, although in some cases faculty advice is sought individually. For merit salary increases, peer review advice also is required, but procedures may range from faculty advice to the chairperson or director on standards and criteria to specific commentary on individual faculty by an elected peer review committee. In all cases the academic unit administrator at a minimum is required to obtain the advice of the unit faculty on merit salary standards, criteria and procedures. For example, Section, of the Michigan State University Bylaws for Academic Governance, states that a department chairperson or school director "is responsible for the educational, research, and service programs, budgetary matters, physical facilities, and personnel matters in his or her jurisdiction, taking into account the advisory procedures of the unit."

The policy statement on non-tenured faculty in the tenure system also states that the bylaws of each basic administrative unit: "shall provide for a designated group to make recommendations with respect to reappointment, tenure, or promotion" (Michigan State University Faculty Handbook).

Guidelines for Peer Review Committee Composition

These guidelines have been developed in consultation with and the concurrence of the Council of Deans, the University Committee on Faculty Affairs, and the University Committee on Faculty Tenure (for the latter on tenure matters only).

The members of the Council of Deans agree to seek implementation of the guidelines set forth below within the specific bylaws or other procedures established for the applicable peer review process in academic units within their area of responsibility:

  1. Eligibility for membership on academic unit peer review committees should be limited to individuals appointed in the tenure system at Michigan State University and/or at peer higher educational institutions.
  2. Eligibility for membership in academic unit peer review committees, to the fullest extent possible and particularly for personnel actions involving the award of tenure, should be limited to individuals holding tenured faculty appointments at Michigan State University and/or at peer higher education institutions.
  3. The composition of an academic unit peer review committee should be representative of that unit's diverse academic interests.  Additionally, unit selection procedures should include provisions to encourage participation by women and minority faculty members.  Specific procedures for involvement should be developed as consistent with University procedures, college/academic unit bylaws and practice and may include, but are not limited to, the following possible arrangements:
    • Regular peer review committee membership.
    • Service as a consultant to the peer review committee (with or without vote).
    • Participation in the pool of individuals from both within and outside Michigan State University identified by the academic unit, in accordance with regular procedures, to evaluate the candidate's record.
    • Service as a member of or a consultant to (with or without vote) a college-level peer review committee (if such a body exists).
    • Participation in the pool of individuals from both within and outside of Michigan State University identified by the college-level peer review committee and/or dean to evaluate the candidate's record.

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