View our Personnel Calendar for important dates and deadlines.

Departmental Guidelines

Departmental APT documents are explicit in describing the guidelines for evaluating teaching and the expected teaching loads for the department, the kinds of scholarship considered appropriate to the discipline, the quantity and quality measures used in determining appropriate scholarship for rank, and the department’s system of weighting the relative importance of teaching, scholarship, and service.

Departments can only make personnel recommendations. Only the President (in consultation with the school deans and academic VP) makes personnel decisions. These department APT documents are reviewed and approved by the deans and the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs and represent the minimum guidelines agreed to by University Administration in making these decisions. The guidelines in these departmental documents describe a set of minimal (necessary) performance expectations. Minimal expectations will be taken into consideration as part of a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the candidate’s professional performance and contributions. The comprehensive evaluation should consider both retrospective and prospective points of view (e.g. the candidate’s potential for achieving and/or performing at, the highest academic rank).


Re-appointment, promotion and tenure reviews follow a common path:

  • Departmental APT committee recommendation
  • Department (as committee-of-the whole) vote on agreement/disagreement with the APT Committee’s recommendation
  • Department chair recommendation
  • Dean recommendation
  • Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs recommendation
  • Presidential decision (in consultation with School Deans and Academic Provost & Vice President)

Faculty should consult with their chair, dean, and/or the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, for information and guidance in putting together their nomination dossiers.

University-wide Guidelines for Faculty Appointment Renewal

The University typically considers three primary categories as the basis for review in all personnel actions:

  • Teaching/learning effectiveness
  • Scholarship, research, and creative work
  • University, community, and professional service

The other two Board of Trustee’s criteria (Mastery of Subject Matter and Continued Growth) are reflected by sustained contributions and demonstrated excellence in the above-noted three categories.

Teaching/Learning Effectiveness

Teaching and Learning encompasses promoting, guiding, facilitating, and evaluating student learning. Faculty members are catalysts for creating and adapting learning environments in and outside the classroom that stimulate students to learn, to be curious, to be critical thinkers, effective writers and speakers, and creative problem solvers.

Effective teaching and learning are dependent upon faculty utilizing a variety of teaching techniques and designing and revising curriculum to produce student learning outcomes. Included within teaching/learning are the professional development processes of attending workshops and conferences and efforts necessary to maintain mastery of subject matter and teaching methodologies. This also includes are the teaching-related activities of independent study and thesis supervision, field supervision, mentoring of students, and student involvement in research.

Scholarship, Research & Creative Work

Scholarship and Creative Activity

Encompasses producing an identifiable product subject to systematic internal and external evaluation by professional peers and resulting from:

  • Creation of new knowledge or artistic expression within the discipline (Discovery).
    • Original research as reported in articles, books, and presentation of papers; performances; grant proposals; inventions and patents; software development.
  • Synthesizing of existing knowledge or creative work within one or more disciplines into new patterns and/or for new audiences (Integration).
    • Publication of interpretive studies or criticism; critical reviews or editing of scholarly work; development of public policies or of interdisciplinary programs.
  • Utilization of discipline-based knowledge to solve problems (Application).
    • Development and implementation of innovative clinical practice or public school programs; environmental impact analyses; consultant work in the public or private sector based on the faculty member’s discipline-based knowledge and expertise.

University, Community & Professional Service

Service encompasses governance of the department, the school, the university, or the profession, as well as discipline-based or university mission-oriented contributions to the community that are not included in Scholarship. Examples of governance and service include, but are not limited to:

  • Department – department meetings and committees, advisement, registration, Saturday Information Sessions, Accepted
  • Student Open Houses, and peer review
  • School – grade appeals, Deans’ committees
  • University – Faculty Senate, University-wide committees, University-wide student organizations
  • University – University Faculty Senate, SUNY ad hoc Committees
  • Profession – leadership and other service in discipline-based organization at local, state, national, or international levels
  • Community – work related to faculty member’s area of professional expertise or to the mission of the University

Performance at Rank

The University values the individual and unique contributions of each faculty member in each of the three categories of the professional obligation. All faculty members are therefore expected to continue performance at rank once continuing appointment or a promotion is achieved. An individual faculty member’s talents may affect the balance among the three categories.

The department chair is responsible for balancing faculty workload among all three categories. If the performance is not evenly distributed across the three major categories of the professional obligation, department chairs may reassess. The goal is to create equitable assignments within the unit; workload adjustment assures that teaching, scholarship, and service responsibilities of the department are met.

Promotion Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor & Distinguished Professor

Most new faculty at the University are appointed at the rank of Assistant Professor. In cases where the doctoral dissertation is not complete, a faculty member may receive an initial appointment as Instructor or Visiting Assistant Professor. The former is a tenure-accruing rank; the latter is not.

Teaching Portfolio

At all levels of promotion, a teaching portfolio must be provided. the following requirements must be included:

  • Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Focus
    • List courses taught including contact hours and the number of students enrolled in each
  • Improvement of Teaching
    • Professional development as a teacher (workshops, conferences, etc.)
  • Peer Evaluation
    • Review of course syllabi, assignments, and examinations

Faculty are encouraged to provide a plethora of evidence in their teaching portfolio for their promotion including, but not limited to:

  • Student Evaluations
  • Student Outcomes and Accomplishments
  • Teaching Related Activity Beyond the Classroom

Promotion to Assistant Professor

Achievement of the appropriate terminal degree (e.g., M.F.A., Ph.D., Ed.D., D.S.W, etc.) establishes a person as qualified in the discipline/profession. In addition, there is the expectation that the person has the potential for achieving excellence in the discipline/profession and for attaining the highest rank in the department.


The candidate should provide a portfolio of teaching materials that addresses the multiple aspects of the instructional role. This includes demonstration of knowledge of the discipline/profession, skills of pedagogy, including clear and precise communication and methods of instruction, and interest in the educational achievements of students. Documentation should include course syllabi and related materials. Reviewers of these materials will look for demonstration of the use of contemporary sources and good correlation of content, method, and student interest and need; and relationship to the academic standards of the institution.


In the area of scholarship, successful completion of a doctoral dissertation or project required for the terminal degree demonstrates competence. In addition, evidence of a commitment to, and ability to achieve, continued scholarly or creative productivity is necessary. Each academic department has developed criteria for evaluation of scholarship and creative activity.


The candidate will prepare a statement of all relevant service activities with a brief description of the individual’s responsibilities, participation, and any product developed.

  • Number of advisees (undergraduate, graduate)
  • Evidence of advising quality (surveys, letters, etc.)

Where service is community-based, the service should have a direct relationship to the candidate’s disciplinary expertise.

Promotion to Associate Professor

There must be evidence that the faculty member has made sustained high quality contributions to the Department and the University as an Assistant Professor. The faculty member must have established a commendable reputation beyond the campus for scholarly work in the field. There is also the expectation that the person has made discernible progress toward achieving excellence in the discipline/profession and for attaining the highest rank in the department.


The section on Assistant Professor should be included for the period since continuing appointment or the last review period, whichever is more recent. For promotion to the rank of Associate Professor, teaching excellence and commitment should extend beyond that demonstrated at the rank of Assistant Professor. For this purpose, the teaching portfolio should include evidence of achievement in two or more of the following areas:

  • Providing active mentoring of a new faculty member through a delineated program of activities
  • Revising courses to assure a continuous state of development and use of extensive and current resources
  • Undertaking new course assignments successfully
    • Providing team or course leadership, by designing, developing and successfully teaching new courses not previously part of a department’s offerings and/or by participating successfully in -university-wide instructional programs
  • Providing whole-class student evaluations of teaching effectiveness in a variety of courses over a reasonable period of time since appointment or promotion to the rank of Assistant Professor
  • Confirming teaching excellence by departmental colleagues (peer review of class or videotape)
  • Demonstrating consistent, successful involvement with independent studies, research projects, final major student works, and/or theses


The candidate must show significant advancement in the area of scholarship beyond the level of Assistant Professor and beyond the presentation of doctoral dissertation results to new areas of investigation. The demonstration of scholarship must include products/performances that are subject to external peer review and contribute to the body of knowledge in the field. Each academic department has developed guidelines for evaluation of scholarship and creative activity.

The candidate will prepare a Scholarship Focus and Summary. This statement must include the following:

  • Overview of the area of scholarship
  • List of each scholarly product with a brief description of the peer review process and reputation of each product/piece
  • Brief reflective critique


The candidate should demonstrate excellence on a continuous basis in the area of service during the period of tenure as Assistant Professor. The level and impact of service should have expanded significantly in at least one arena (campus, community, profession, etc.) Community-based service must have direct relevance to the candidate’s area of disciplinary expertise.

The candidate should prepare a summary of service activities including specific responsibilities and leadership roles assumed. These service contributions should relate to (or lead to):

  • Development into a competent academic advisor
  • Leadership roles on departmental, university, community, and/or professional committees
  • Participation in service activities beyond the department
    • Some faculty may become focused in one area of service outside the department, while others may participate at many levels
  • Evidence of participation and leadership may be provided through several types of evaluation:
    • Peer review
    • Letters from committee chairs citing specific contributions to the work of their committee
    • Substantive letters of recommendation from colleagues and/or community agencies that cite contributions and successful initiatives
    • Active leadership in disciplinary professional organizations

Promotion to Professor

The candidate must demonstrate professional growth and excellence on a continuous basis in the rank of Associate Professor in all three performance areas, The candidate’s work must have established them as a leader in the department and at the University and that their contributions are of high quality, have been sustained over a reasonable period of time as an Associate Professor, and suggests likelihood of continued productivity.

The faculty member should hold a national (possibly international) reputation for scholarship in the field. All the following criteria should be met to warrant favorable consideration for promotion to the rank of Professor.


Teaching excellence and commitment should extend beyond that demonstrated at the rank of Associate Professor. For this purpose, the teaching portfolio should include two or more additional items from the following:

  • Demonstrating that the courses taught are in a continuous state of development and provide students with extensive resources
  • Undertaking successfully new course assignments and by designing, developing, and successfully teaching new courses not previously part of curricular offerings
  • Providing whole class evaluations in a variety of courses since promotion to the rank of Associate Professor
    confirming teaching excellence by departmental colleagues who are directly familiar with the person’s work
  • Evidence of a major contribution to the department or university-wide instructional program
  • External assessment or reviews of student and graduate accomplishments or creative works that have a direct link to the faculty member


Accomplishment in this area should be significantly greater than was expected to achieve the rank of Associate Professor, with evidence of new and more sophisticated levels of achievement. Successful scholarship has led by now to publication or creative work that has been subject to further review. The significance of the person’s accomplishment is attested to by peers and reputable figures in the field away from campus:

  • Recognition of the quality of the work (publications, work of art, or performance record) should be made evident and available in the form of reviews, comments and citations in the works of others, and direct letters of assessment by recognized authorities off-campus solicited by the department, or invitations from leaders in the field to contribute to publications, conferences, and exhibitions, to serve on editorial boards, to review books, to choreograph, or to perform
  • Reputation of the — journal, gallery, theatre — in which their works (articles, research projects, poems, etc.), have appeared will be an important consideration, as will the publishers or sponsors
  • Honors or awards that serve to recognize the person’s contributions for long term work in the field and/or new interpretations and applications of scholarship


Accomplishment in this area should be significantly greater than was expected to achieve the rank of Associate Professor. Not only has the candidate consistently played a constructive role in departmental meetings, committees, academic advisement and University-wide faculty governance since the last promotion, they are now an acknowledged leader in the Department, the University, and the profession.

Promotion to Distinguished Professor

Promotion to the highest ranks (Distinguished Teaching Professor, Distinguished Service Professor, and Distinguished Professor) is governed by the Policies of the SUNY Board of Trustees
These awards are a rank above full professor and only one Distinguished Professorship in each category can be authorized for our campus each year.

A campus committee is convened each January to review nominations for each award. Nomination dossiers must have the approval of the departmental APT Committee and Chair and Dean prior to being sent to the review committee. More information on Distinguished Faculty Ranks (including guidelines for nomination) can be found at the bottom of the following webpage.

Distinguished Faculty Ranks