Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Promotion and Tenure

The Arts and Sciences has a comprehensive review system for its full-time, non-tenured faculty in the professorial ranks. Reviews for renewal of appointments are conducted in the first, third, fifth and seventh counted years of service. The types of reviews conducted by the Arts and Sciences are as follows. For simplicity, the year refers to the counted year of service.

1st year: Confirming review The first year of service at Columbia is probationary and a decision is made as to whether or not to extend the statutory initial appointment. Those who successfully complete the probationary period are typically renewed through the fourth year. Where performance has been inadequate, the review may result in notification of a terminal first year, no later than March 1 of the first year of service.

3rd year: Developmental review This review is designed to guide junior faculty in their development as scholars and teachers and may result in a departmental recommendation to the Executive Vice President to extend through the sixth year. Where performance has been undistinguished, the review may result in a terminal fourth year.

5th year: Critical review This review evaluates achievement and what further achievement seems likely by the time of the tenure review. Further renewal and promotion to non-tenured associate professor are offered only to those for whom there is the demonstrable likelihood of scholarly achievement necessary for tenure at Columbia or an institution of comparable stature. This review may result in a departmental recommendation to the Executive Vice President to extend through the up-or-out date. Where performance has been undistinguished, the review may result in termination at the end of the sixth year, unless there are extraordinarily compelling reasons to extend through a terminal seventh-year. In no case can a non-tenured faculty member remain at Columbia at the rank of assistant professor beyond the seventh year. Fifth year reviews are received by the Promotion and Tenure Committee whose recommendation is presented to the Executive Vice President in an advisory capacity.

The Department's Role Reviews are as thorough and searching as possible. Faculty members that are scheduled for review are invited by the department chair to submit a curriculum vitae and a statement of teaching and research, along with other evidence of professional accomplishments. The department supplements these materials with other readily available evidence relating to the record of teaching, scholarship and university service. After reviewing the faculty member’s work, the department decides whether to recommend reappointment for an additional term of service. This decision is based on three considerations: (1) effectiveness as a teacher; (2) accomplishments and potential as a scholar, scientist, or artist; (3) service to the department and the University.

7th year: Tenure review This review evaluates whether or not a candidate is or has the potential of becoming a leading figure in a field that is intellectually vital and important to the University. Preparations for the tenure review begin in the candidate's sixth counted year of accrued service when the department solicits the candidate's dossier and decides by April 1st whether or not to proceed with the review. If the department decides to proceed with the review, it asks the Executive Vice President of the Arts and Sciences to solicit referee letters during the summer and, on the basis of a searching review votes in the fall whether or not to recommend the candidate for tenure. Appointments of candidates not promoted to tenure normally end on June 30 of the eighth counted year of service.

The Promotion and Tenure Committee’s Role The Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences depends on a standing committee to conduct an Arts and Sciences level evaluation whenever a department or school recommends a candidate for tenure. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess whether the department or school level review was rigorous and substantive and to ensure that all Arts and Sciences candidates meet the same high standards. In this way, a faculty of the highest quality and distinction will be maintained. The standing committee – the Promotion and Tenure Committee (PTC) – serves in an advisory capacity to the Executive Vice President who determines whether or not the candidate should be recommended to the Provost for tenure. The Arts and Sciences standing committee is administered by the divisional dean for the humanities. The PTC consists of 12 full professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, representing the three divisions, who serve for terms of up to three years. The PTC members are appointed by the Executive Vice President in consultation with the Planning and Policy Committee (PPC). The chair of the PTC is appointed by the Executive Vice President in consultation with the PPC.

A&S Tenure Review Guidelines

The tenure review guidelines can be downloaded here

Provost's Office Tenure Review Guidelines

The tenure review guidelines can be downloaded here

Other Review Guidelines 

The non-tenured faculty review guidelines can be downloaded here.
The professors of professional practice review guidelines can be downloaded here.
The lecturer in discipline review guidelines can be downloaded here.
The lecturer in language review guidelines can be downloaded here.
The promotion to full professor review guidelines can be downloaded here.
The promotion to full professor of professional practice review guidelines can be downloaded here.