Third–Year Review Policy in the College of Fine Arts

During the tenure-track probationary period, assistant professors receive a formal review, the mid-probationary or Third-year Review. This review is developmental and advisory in nature. It provides feedback both to the faculty member and department chair/director regarding their respective contributions toward satisfying standards of promotion with tenure.

Third-year Reviews should provide assistant professors with clear, productive, and informative guidance relative to building and presenting a promotion and tenure case. They should endeavor to go well beyond on annual merit reviews. These reviews should explain how an assistant is progressing toward a strong promotion and tenure case, or may be failing to do so. It should make explicit for the candidate and anyone reviewing the case what department and discipline-specific standards apply for promotion and tenure.

The review should also provide a mentoring opportunity for a junior faculty member and her chair or senior colleagues. Consultations with the candidate by the chair/director should be twofold; they are both evaluations and occasions for chairs/directors to consider the needs of candidates for assistance or resources in advance of tenure review.

The Third-year Review and mentoring should give equal attention to evaluating and mentoring professional activity and teaching. A well documented history of teaching evaluations and peer teaching observations should be underway at the time of review. If that is not the case, a detailed plan of teaching evaluation and mentoring should be established by the chair/director as an outcome of the Third-year Review. Attention should be given to protecting assistant professors from onerous service burdens.

Chairs/directors are expected to meet with and advise assistant professors at the conclusion of a Third-year Review. This must be documented in a memo to the dean. Deficiencies in any of the areas of research/creative activity, teaching, and service, as well as planned remedial actions to rectify those deficiencies, should be documented in this memo.


The schedule for third-year reviews requires the following steps:

  • I. Spring semester of candidate’s second year (4th semester)
    • 1. Department/school notifies assistant professors who are to be reviewed the following academic year, copies Dean’s Office.
  • II. Fall semester of candidate’s third year (5th semester)
    • 1. Candidate assembles review dossier. It should include:
      • a. Three written statements (each approximately one page in length) provided by candidate emphasizing his/her perceived strengths in 1. Research/creative activity, 2. Teaching, 3. Service
      • b. Curriculum vitae
      • c. Faculty annual reports (a copy of each one completed while in rank)
      • d. At least two peer evaluation/observation reports (coordinated by the department/school chair/director)
      • e. Instructional activity report of all courses taught while in rank
      • f. Course instructor survey summary evaluations for all course taught while in rank
      • g. List of students supervised for theses and dissertations
      • h. Supplemental material (per candidate’s discretion)
  • III. Spring semester of candidate’s third year (6th semester)
    • 1. Dossier submitted to chair/director, by due date determined by department/school.
    • 2. Department/school executive committee reviews dossier, informs chair/director of results.
    • 3. Dossier, chair/director written report due to Dean's Office by April 15.
    • 4. COFA promotion and tenure advisory committee reviews dossier.
    • 5. Chair/director meets with promotion and tenure committee to discuss merits and weaknesses in each dossier and plausible remedies. The dean will attend each of these meetings.
    • 6. The chair or director meets with the candidate to share the results of the Third-year Review and advise the candidate.
    • 7. Chair/director documents the process, the evaluation of the candidate, and any resultant advisement in a memo to the dean.

    During the course of third-year review, the following questions should be considered by the chair/director and the promotion and tenure committee:
    • 1. Has the chair/director articulated a specific standard for promotion and tenure in the candidate’s field?
    • 2. Are standards in this field obscure or in need of articulation, and if so, what has been done to clarify them for the candidate, for senior colleagues, for the dean and other senior administrators?
    • 3. Does the candidate have an appropriate senior faculty mentor? If not, should one be assigned?
    • 4. Is the candidate on track in achieving the professional accomplishments essential to a successful tenure case?
    • 5. Is there a compelling and consistent record of mentoring and evaluation of the candidate’s teaching? Do these indicate strong teaching?
    • 6. Is the candidate overburdened with service obligations? Or insufficiently involved with departmental service?
    • 7. Has the chair/director provided feedback relative to progress toward promotion with tenure?
    • 8. Are there conspicuous deficiencies in the candidate’s output vis-à-vis professional scholarship/creative activity, teaching and service?
    • 9. Are standards for promotion and tenure too obscure or esoteric in the candidate’s field for reasonable reviewers to know how to evaluate the dossier?
    • 10. How might a chair or director advise a candidate to strengthen his or her case?