Guidelines for Faculty Promotion Recommendations

I. Introduction
II. Definitions
III. Minimum Rank Criteria
IV. Terminal Degree Designation
V. Criteria to Consider in Tenure and Promotion Recommendations
Nashville State Process for Faculty Promotion

Faculty Promotions at Nashville State Community College are made on the basis of this policy, consistent with Policy 5:02:02:30 Guidelines for Faculty Promotion Recommendations of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). The college's policies must, at a minimum, satisfy the criteria established by TBR guidelines, but maybe more rigorous than the criteria stated therein. Changes to this policy must be approved by the TBR Office of Academic Affairs prior to implementation on the campus.

Beyond this point, the content of this policy that is published in italics is content specific to Nashville State Community College. All non-italicized content, unless noted otherwise, is taken directly from TBR Policy 5.02.02.30. The section entitled "Nashville State Process for Faculty Promotion" is specific to the college.

I. Introduction

Promotion in rank is in recognition of the past achievement of the individual being considered for promotion. In addition, the advancement in rank is in recognition of future potential and a sign of confidence that the individual is capable of even greater accomplishments and of assuming greater responsibilities. The policy is to make promotions strictly on consideration of merit tempered by college and fiscal considerations. The purpose of this policy is to help ensure that promotions are made objectively, equitably, impartially, and in recognition of merit consistent with the following policy guidelines.

The president of the college is responsible for the master staffing plan of the college. In developing such a plan, the president will consider the fiscal impact of each promotion recommended to the Board.

II. Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research will be defined as follows.

A. Teaching

Teaching applies to any manner in which information is imparted so that others may learn, and may include, but is not limited to, a variety of techniques including instruction, development of course materials and courseware, and development of innovative approaches to teaching.

B. Service/Outreach

Service applies to service within the community as defined by the college's role and mission; service to the college, as in student advising and/or mentoring; and service within the bounds of the applicant's academic discipline and budgeted assignment.

C. Scholarship/Creative Activities/Research

Research applies to the studious inquiry, examination, or discovery that contributes to disciplinary and interdisciplinary bodies of knowledge. Scholarship/creative activities/research may include, but are not limited to, typical professional growth and development activities, disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities that focus on the boundaries of knowledge, community-based scholarship, creative activities (e.g., performances or other artistic creations), and the development of cutting-edge teaching approaches.

III. Minimum Rank Criteria

The following defines the minimum criteria that distinguish between academic ranks for purposes of initial appointment and promotion. Promotion must be sequential in each rank.

A. Instructor

  1. Potential ability in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. As determined to be appropriate for the instructional discipline, either an Associate or Baccalaureate degree (i.e., Career Studies) or an earned Master's degree or higher from an accredited institution in the discipline or related area.
  3. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

B. Assistant Professor

  1. Documented evidence of ability in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. As determined to be appropriate for the instructional discipline, either a Baccalaureate degree (i.e., Career Studies) or an earned Master's degree or higher from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
  3. At least two years in rank.
  4. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

C. Associate Professor

  1. Documented evidence of high-quality professional productivity in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. As determined to be appropriate for the instructional discipline, either a Baccalaureate degree (i.e., Career Studies) or an earned Master's degree or higher from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.
  3. At least three years in rank.
  4. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

D. Professor

  1. Documented evidence of sustained high quality professional productivity in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. Earned doctorate or TBR-recognized terminal degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area.

    TBR recognizes the following degrees as terminal (incorporated herein by reference of the TBR Terminal Degree Listing):
    1. M.F.A. in Studio Art or Creative Writing (NASAD guidelines)
    2. M.L.S in Library Science (or Master's in Library Science)
    3. M.M. in certain Music specialties (NASM)
    4. Master's in Engineering or Master's with Major in Engineering (Engineering Technology, University or Community College)
    5. The J.D. degree is not recognized as a doctorate; however, it may be considered as a terminal degree in disciplines directly associated with legal studies.
  3. At least 5 years in rank.
  4. Documented evidence of teaching excellence and superior contribution to student development or superior scholarly or creative activity. The absence of such evidence may prevent advancement to the rank of professor. Since there is no higher rank, promotion to professor is taken with great care and requires a substantial level of achievement. This rank is not a reward for long service; rather it is a recognition of superior achievement within the discipline with every expectation of continuing contribution to the college and the larger academic community.
  5. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, professional integrity, and a high degree of academic excellence and responsibility.

Note: Minimum criteria may be waived if approved by the college president when a candidate offers extraordinary qualifications in lieu of the stated minimum rank criteria. Such approval must be supported by evidence of the extraordinary nature of the qualifications. For example, a candidate with recognized national prominence and expertise might qualify for such a waiver. An exception to the minimum rank criteria must be recommended by the president to the Chancellor or designee. Upon approval of such an exception by the Chancellor, the faculty member’s recommendation for promotion will go forward to the Board as meeting the minimum rank criteria.

IV. Terminal Degree Designation

The Board will use national discipline standards to determine which degrees are considered to be "terminal" within each discipline and will provide each community college with a list that delineates these degrees. Each community college may request blanket exceptions to these standards by classification based upon its mission and hiring practice. Each community college may also petition the Board for "equivalent work experience credit" when a candidate has not obtained a terminal degree but has a record of extraordinary achievement in a given field. The equivalent work experience credit may include relevant teaching experience or other experiences such as experience gained as an administrator, counselor, librarian, journeyman, or the like.

V. Criteria to Consider in Promotion Recommendations

Candidates applying for promotion should provide evidence of their accomplishments in the following three categories: Teaching/Service and Outreach/Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research. Faculty must assign a weight to each category that determines the relative importance of each in comparison to others within the following guidelines: Teaching (60%-75%), Service and Outreach (10%-30%), and Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (10%-30%). Total category weights should sum to 100%. Candidates for promotion should reference the evaluation checklist for faculty promotion distributed by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs each fall.

Performance Criteria: Teaching

Teaching activities shall constitute 60% to 75% of the weight of the total promotion decision, as determined by the applicant. Evaluation of teaching shall be conducted by the Instructional Dean, peers, and students. The evaluation shall be based on the following criteria (evidence of each should be submitted):

  • Curriculum and/or program development.
  • Development and application of current instructional techniques (including the development of online and computer-assisted course development), etc.
  • Documentation of teaching methodologies.
  • Documentation of staying current in his/her field of discipline/specialization.
  • Student evaluations of the teaching performance.

Performance Criteria: Service and Outreach

Service and outreach activities shall constitute 10% to 30% of the weight of the total promotion decision, as determined by the applicant.

Evaluation of the service component should be based on performance in three areas:

  1. Service to the college, such as performance in the advisement and mentoring of students, and College committee and administrative responsibilities; and
  2. Public service to the community as defined by the college's role and mission; such as community service programs; public service consultation; and
  3. Service within the bounds of the applicant's academic discipline and budgeted assignment, such as active contributions to professional or publications.

Evaluations should be based on all three areas although it is realized that differences in emphases may exist.

Performance Criteria: Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research

Scholarship, creative activities, and research shall constitute 10% to 30% of the weight of the total promotion decision, as determined by the applicant.

The following are examples of, but not limited to, appropriate activities for this criterion:

  1. Scholarly pursuits in support of the discipline or the teaching profession, which should include typical professional development activities such as taking classes, etc.
  2. Implementation and use of cutting-edge teaching approaches, such as instructional technologies and learning theories, etc.
  3. Performances, compositions, and other artistic creations that are evaluated by written reviews and by qualified peers, either in person or aided by other forms of reports, or both.
  4. Professional or scholarly papers presented at international, national, or regional/state meetings.
  5. Publication of research or scholarly works such as books, journal articles, and other scholarly papers.

Nashville State Process for Faculty Promotion

  1. The individual faculty member will initiate a request for promotion by notifying their Instructional Dean in writing of their intent to submit an application not later than the third Monday of September in the year in which they intend to apply. The faculty member may submit an application for promotion during their last year required in rank. The Instructional Dean will verify that the faculty member has served the minimum number of years in rank to be eligible.
  2. After choosing to apply for promotion, the faculty member will prepare a promotion application to be submitted to their Instructional Dean not later than the fourth Monday in October. The promotion application should include documentation on all of the following three categories: Teaching, Service and Outreach, and Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research. Candidates for promotion should reference the evaluation checklist for faculty promotion distributed by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs each fall term.
  3. At any step in the promotion application process, those responsible for reviewing the application may contact the applicant for needed information or clarification of material in the application notebook. Faculty applicants must not approach members of the Campuswide Promotion Review Committee for information. Faculty members serve on these committees as part of their professional service to the college and must not discuss the deliberations of the committee.
  4. Promotion applications will be reviewed by a Promotion Peer Review Committee from the applicant’s division. The role of the Promotion Peer Review Committee is to support the application by reviewing their materials and making suggestions for improvements. Updates can be made to the application by the applicant prior to submission to the Instructional Dean. The Promotion Peer Review Committee will consist of three to five faculty members elected annually from the division. Members of the Promotion Peer Review Committee must have successfully gone through the promotion process at least once at Nashville State. No individual can serve on both the Promotion Peer Review Promotion Committee and the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee at the same time. The Promotion Peer Review Committee will make a recommendation regarding the promotion application and provide the application and their recommendation to the Instructional Dean by the fourth Monday in November.
  5. The Instructional Dean, in consultation with an off-campus Director, if needed, will evaluate the candidate's application and prepare a recommendation letter regarding promotion and submit the letter and the application to the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) by the third Friday in December.
  6. The VPAA will distribute applications for promotion to the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee by the first business day in January. The Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee will consist of eleven members, two representatives elected from each division, and one representative from the Faculty Senate. Members of the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee must have successfully gone through the promotion process at least once at NSCC. Members will serve staggered, two-year terms. Instructional Deans are not eligible to serve on this committee and no faculty member may serve on both the Promotion Peer Review Committee and the Campus-wide Promotion Review committees at the same time.
  7. The Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee selects its own chairperson and will determine the distribution of assignments in order to manage its workload appropriately. The Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee might decide, for example, that each application will be reviewed by three members and presented to the entire Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee by those reviewers. In no case should an application be reviewed by fewer than three members of the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee. The Campus-Wide Promotion Review Committee makes a recommendation concerning the promotion of the faculty applicant and submits the application to the VPAA by the second Monday in February.
  8. The VPAA makes a recommendation concerning the promotion of the faculty applicant and submits the application to the President by the first Monday in March.
  9. The President makes a recommendation concerning the promotion of the faculty and the faculty member is notified of the President’s decision by the last Monday in March.
  10. A faculty member wishing to appeal the president’s recommendation relative to his or her promotion request must do so in writing to the President by the first Monday in April. The applicant must state the basis for the appeal and provide evidence that the appeal is justified in writing at the time of the appeal. Appeals may be based only on improper evaluation or unfair and biased evaluation of an application.
    1. The improper evaluation shall mean that the decision made was based upon inadequate consideration of materials provided in the portfolio or from a determination of inaccurate information provided in the portfolio.
    2. The unfair and biased evaluation shall mean that the decision was based upon factors other than the promotion criteria as stated in this policy.
  11. If an appeal is filed, a three-person ad hoc appeal committee will be formed to consider the appeal. Ad hoc appeal committee membership will consist of one administrator appointed by the President, the Chair of the Faculty Senate, and an additional faculty Senator appointed by the Faculty Senate Chair. No member of the ad hoc appeal committee may have either submitted a tenure or promotion application in the same year or have served in the promotion review process of the candidate filing the appeal in any capacity.
  12. The ad hoc appeal committee will review the appeal request and all promotion recommendations to determine if the decision was reached in accordance with college policy.
  13. The ad hoc appeal committee will submit a report of its findings to the president within five working days after the committee reviews the appeal. After receiving the report from the ad hoc appeal committee, the president will determine whether or not to rescind or uphold the original recommendation and notify the faculty member of the final decision.
  14. The President makes a recommendation concerning the promotion of the faculty applicant to the Chancellor during the third week in April.
  15. The Tennessee Board of Regents receives the recommendations and makes a decision regarding the promotion of the faculty applicant during their Board meeting in June.
  16. If approved, the promotion will become effective in the following academic year.

Promotion Application Timeline

Date Deadline
4th Monday in October Applications due to Instructional Deans for distribution to Promotion Peer Review Committees.
4th Monday in November Recommendations due to Instructional Deans from Promotion Peer Review Committees.
3rd Friday in December Recommendations due to VPAA for distribution to Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee.
First Business Day in January Applications available to Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee from VPAA.
2nd Monday in February Recommendations due to VPAA from the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee.
1st Monday in March Recommendations due to VPAA from the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee.
Last Monday in March Recommendations from President due to applicant.
1st Monday in April Last day for Faculty Applicant to file an appeal.
3rd Week in April Campus recommendations due to Tennessee Board of Regents.
June Action by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Changes approved by TBR June 2021.