Promotion of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

How the Promotion Process Works

Recommendations for appointment, reappointment, promotion, or tenure originate in the candidate’s school and proceed through several levels of review prior to the President’s recommendation, the final step in the process.

At Georgia Tech, reviews related to reappointment, promotion, and tenure are either “administrative reviews” or “full reviews.” Promotion and tenure cases require a full review. This means that the review occurs at all levels of the school, college, and Institute.

Promotion recognizes the faculty member for meeting the criteria of the next higher level in the professional hierarchy. The decision is based on an evaluation of the individual’s scholarly activity including instruction, creativity, and service.

Process and Package Contents for Promotion

See Section 3.3.6-3.3.8 of the Faculty Handbook for further details.

  1. Packages are prepared by the candidate and submitted to the school chair containing the following: (about  April-May)
    1. Candidate’s Biographical Sketch (1 paragraph) – This is a summary of the candidate’s career at Georgia Tech. It should be a short paragraph, no more than 150 words in 12 point font or larger, written in the third person.  The biosketch should begin with the candidate’s name, rank, and school; degrees; and history of time at Georgia Tech. The biosketch should explain the candidate’s research area briefly, including why it is important. A sentence or two on awards and impact may be included. No picture of the candidate should be included in the biosketch or anywhere else in the file. The biosketch is now entered into the PROMOTE system.
    2. Candidate’s Summary of Instruction Opinion Survey (CIOS) – A summary of all courses taught by the candidate at Georgia Tech must be included in table format along with normative data for the college and the subject for those seeking promotion to Associate Professor. If you are seeking promotion to Professor, then the table should only include courses for the last five years per the Faculty Affairs Guidance document to RPT. Refer to the CIOS template for instructions and format.
    3. List of External Reviewers with a biosketch for each potential reviewer – External letters of evaluation are required for promotion cases. Reviewers should be “clear leaders in the field” of the candidate, such as full professors at equivalent or better institutions or senior leaders in industry research. The list should include at least one international reviewer for promotion to full professor. The list of individuals from whom letters are to be obtained should be developed independently  by the candidate for promotion and the school chair and submitted to a third party (e.g. RPT committee chair, school RPT coordinator). The final decision regarding who shall be selected to provide recommendations from the list shall rest with the school chair and the school RPT committee. The candidate is required to submit a minimum of three names as potential external reviewers. These names are entered into the PROMOTE system.
    4. Candidate’s Personal Narrative – Candidates must write a brief summary of their major accomplishments at Georgia Tech with regard to teaching, research, and service with student success embedded within each criterion. This is the candidate’s “voice” in the file, the place that provides an opportunity to explain context and significance. Candidates should point out innovative elements of their scholarship and educational contributions, and the impact they are having. They can use the personal narrative to clarify their contributions in collaborative work and describe their advising styles and results. Outreach and activities to broaden participation and inclusion can be described, as they relate to scholarship, education, or service. The personal narrative should not merely summarize the examples of creative contributions but rather place them in the context of the school, college, Institute, and discipline. The narrative should be written in the third person, with a three-page minimum and five-page maximum limit with one inch margins, standard single-spaced, and 10-pt minimum font.
    5. Candidate’s Vita In Standard Format – Refer here for format. The CV must include a table of contents and page numbers. The CV should not use a type font less than 11 points nor margins less than 3/4 of an inch.
    6. Candidate’s Statement of Completeness – It is the candidate’s responsibility to prepare and review his/her package after it is assembled and sign a statement to that it is accurate and complete. Each document covered by the statement should be dated and should not change after this is signed. This will be done within the PROMOTE system once package is submitted.
    7. Waiver of Right to Access Confidential Statements – By signing this statement, the candidate will indicate that he/she will or will not ask to review the external reviewer letters or know the identity of the reviewers. This is now completed within the  PROMOTE system.
    8. Examples of Relevant Work – Candidates are required “to submit evidence of three to five examples of their relevant, creative capabilities. These may include published papers, books, software, patents, art productions, or other relevant examples.” (GT Faculty Handbook, Section 3.3.8)  These are submitted for evaluation by the external reviewers and the area committee. These products are typically described within the candidate’s personal narrative relative to the candidate’s scholarship, education, and service.  
  2. External Reviewer Letters (provided by the school chair)
    External reviewer letters are then added to the package. The Board of Regents requires a minimum of three letters; the Provost requires at least five letters from reviewers who are clear leaders in the candidate’s field. The list of external reviewers should be updated with an indication of letters received or not received and a brief biosketch of reviewers selected. This is now done in PROMOTE.
  3. Area Committee’s Letter (provided by committee chair – about August). The area committee’s letter should provide an in-depth assessment of the candidate’s most scholarly accomplishments in their field. This assessment is independent of the external letters of reference, and no vote is taken. The memo generated should be signed by all committee members and forwarded to the school chair.
  4. School Committee’s Recommendation Letter (provided by committee chair – about August)
    The school committee’s letter should comment on all review criteria considered for promotion – scholarship, education, and service, indicating clearly in their letter whether or not the candidate meets the standard for promotion and/or tenure in that unit with regard to that criterion. The committee will carefully review the candidate’s package and recommend, by vote, the outcome to the school chair. Split votes should be explained in the letter submitted.
  5. School Chair’s Recommendation Letter (provided by school chair – mid to late September)
    The school chair will carefully assess each candidate’s performance, addressing (1) scholarship, (2) education, and (3) significant service to their profession, and school, college or Institute. The letter is addressed to the dean with recommendations for or against promotion and/or tenure. The chair’s recommendation will be forwarded with the rest of the candidate’s packet to the dean’s office for review by the College RPT Committee.
  6. College Committee’s Recommendation Letter (provided by committee members – early October)
    The college committee’s letter will review the candidate’s package, including the previous letters (area, school, and chair), vote, and contain a recommendation to the dean. This letter should include a summary of the deliberations of the committee, explaining split votes, for each candidate. This letter is then forwarded to the dean.
  7. The deans and school chairs meet to review the packages and advise the dean. (November)
  8. Dean’s letter of recommendation to the Provost. (December)
    The Dean reviews all of the packages and makes his recommendations to the Office of the Provost. This letter completes the College of Engineering portion of the process.
  9. Provost’s Committee (Institute Promotion and Tenure Committee; meets in January)
    This is an advisory committee to the Provost. They will review the packages of all candidates from the institute, record their votes, and forward their recommendations to the Provost.
  10. Office of the Provost
    The Provost considers all the information that has been compiled for each candidate and transmits his/her recommendation to the President.
  11. Office of the President (March or later)
    The President reviews the documentation presented and forwards his/her recommendation. The faculty member is then notified by letter from the President, through the dean’s office.

Referenced Files

Criteria for Promotion

See Section 3.3.6 of the Faculty Handbook for further details.

Minimum expectations for all professorial ranks are:

  • Superior teaching
  • Outstanding service to the institution
  • Academic achievement
  • Professional growth and development

Noteworthy achievement in at least two of the four areas is expected. The faculty member’s length of service with the Institute will be taken into consideration in determining if the faculty member should be promoted.

Eligibility for Promotion

See Section 3.3.6 of the Faculty Handbook for further details.

“Early” promotions, or promotions requested for timeframes other than specified, are unusual and only considered when the performance of the candidate is outstanding and exceptional. Each case must be justified by the school chair before the faculty member is added as a candidate for promotion into the PROMOTE system.

From Assistant to Associate Professor: Generally, five (5) or more years in grade are expected. Four (4) years in rank at the time of promotion, at least two (2) of them at Georgia Tech, or two (2) years of relevant professional experience plus two (2) years as an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech, are a minimum requirement. Credit for previous academic or professional experience must be explicitly stated at the time of employment.

From Associate Professor to Professor: Six (6) or more years in rank are expected. Four (4) years of relevant professional experience at the time of promotion, at least two (2) of them at Georgia Tech, or two (2) years of relevant professional experience plus two (2) years as an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech are considered a minimum requirement before promotion. Credit for previous academic or professional experience should be explicitly stated at the time of employment. 

Hiring date, prior service credited awarded at time of hire, and leaves of absence can lead to questions about the “right” time for a faculty member to be considered for tenure or promotion. We encourage faculty to contact their school human resources coordinator or Assistant Dean Terri Lee or Associate Dean Kimberly Kurtis with any questions regarding their timeline for these decisions.

Decisions for Promotion

The effective date of promotion is July 1 for faculty members on a fiscal year contract and August 15 for faculty members on an academic year contract. A positive decision grants promotion to the candidate; a negative outcome means the candidate has not met expectations for promotion at Georgia Tech.