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Alan K. Cline (computer sciences) filed with the Secretary of the Faculty Council the following report of the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility.


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Mid-Probationary Period Review of Assistant Professors

During the tenure track probationary period, assistant professors shall receive a formal review. The purpose shall be developmental and advisory and is to provide feedback to the faculty member and the department regarding the faculty member's progress toward meeting the standards for promotion with tenure. The review should begin no later than the beginning of the sixth semester of employment and should be concluded by the end of that semester. A favorable review should not be read by candidates as an implied assurance that tenure will be granted.

For the review, the faculty member's teaching, research, and service records will be evaluated. Evidence reviewed should parallel the categories and materials typically included in promotion and tenure files (see HOP 3.17).

The review shall be conducted by the department's Budget Council or an appropriate faculty committee which shall produce a written draft of its recommendations. The report should include appropriate recommendations to address problem areas.

The department chair will communicate the draft results of the Budget Council/committee's evaluations to the faculty member in a meeting with the faculty member and one other member of the Budget Council/committee chosen by the faculty member under review. The faculty member under review will have an opportunity to respond to the draft. After the meeting, the department chair and faculty member from the Budget Council/committee will inform the Budget Council/committee of the responses of the faculty member under review. The Budget Council/committee and the department chair will produce a final written version of their recommendations. The faculty member under review may provide a written response to the final written evaluation if he/she chooses. The department chair will communicate to the dean that the review has occurred.

The department must have a written document explaining the guidelines and procedures to be followed in the conduct of the review. The faculty member should be given this at the time of his/her initial appointment to a tenure-track position as well as updates as they occur.

Rationale for Mid-Probationary Review Proposal

Reasons for formal mid-probationary reviews generally stress providing clear, productive, and informative guidance to a candidate during the probationary period toward tenure and promotion. Annual reviews are not usually adequate for giving candidates an overall assessment of their progress toward tenure. Additionally, cursory or uncritical mid-probationary reviews may not give candidates signals they need in time to make


improvements. It was for these reasons that the primary recommendations of the UT System Committee on the Advancement of Women, fall 1996, included a recommendation that "each institution shall adopt a policy establishing a mandatory formal mid-probationary period review." Chancellor William H. Cunningham endorsed this recommendation in March 1997. Guidelines for such a policy were suggested, and this proposal from the ACCFR follows those guidelines.

This report was posted on the Faculty Council Web site ( on March 8, 2000. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.