Procedures for Faculty Appointment, Promotion & Tenure

Approved by the Engineering Faculty Council, March 2024

Faculty Appointments

  1. When the strategic plan for a department includes hiring new faculty, or when a vacancy is created by resignation, retirement, or other causes, the department chair may ask for authorization from the dean to initiate a faculty search. The request should contain, as appropriate, details about the expected field of specialty of the new faculty member, faculty track, desired experience level, departmental resources to support the search and hire, search committee membership, including identification of proposed committee chair and diversity advocate, and plans for ensuring an equitable search, including details for how the search will be advertised.
  2. Upon approval to proceed with a search, the department chair will send to the dean a written description of the position that constitutes the announcement for the position. The Dean’s Office (DO) will review and approve the ad language after which the position can be posted. The department chair will also ensure all committee members take or have taken over the past two years the Equitable Hiring Practices Workshop offered by the Duke Office of Faculty Advancement.
  3. When the priority application deadline has passed, the department chair will request the dean’s approval to proceed with evaluating the applications. The request should contain a summary of the pool, actions taken to advertise the search and attract a diverse pool, and plans for rigorous, equitable, and holistic evaluation of all candidates.
  4. After the department has identified one or more highly desirable candidates for the position, the department chair will request the dean’s authorization to invite them to the campus for an interview.
  5. At the completion of all on-site interviews, the search committee should collect feedback from all departmental stakeholders including faculty, staff, and students, and make a recommendation to the department faculty regarding whether to proceed with making an offer to one or more of the candidates.
  6. With support of their departmental faculty based on a vote of eligible faculty (according to departmental bylaws), the department chair will request to make an offer to the candidate(s) to the DO. Upon dean’s approval of offer terms, an offer letter will be written by the DO, with copies to the department and Provost’s Office. Copies of acceptance or rejection letters should also be provided immediately upon receipt.
  7. The departments are responsible for maintaining complete files of all correspondence relative to an appointment, which should be detailed enough to provide proof that equal opportunity procedures have been respected. Please refer to the DO for current file standards.

Promotion & Tenure

A. Candidate Solicitation & Dossier

  1. The promotion and/or tenure action begins with a discussion between the candidate faculty member and department chair, such as during an annual review. The faculty member should consider this feedback as well as their own self-assessment relative to the unit’s published tenure and promotion standards document. Through this consultation and consideration, the faculty member determines whether to begin their promotion and/or tenure process.  
  2. Once the candidate faculty member determines to start the process, the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs is informed by the department chair and provides approval to the department chair. The Dean’s Office (DO) provides instructions regarding the candidate faculty member’s timeline and an outline of the APT process to the chair to officially begin the promotion and/or tenure process.
  3. The department chair sends the candidate faculty member the solicitation letter, which outlines the candidate materials needed and the due date to submit the materials. Following the solicitation letter, the DO sends the candidate faculty member access to their secure Duke Box folder, detailed instructions about the required materials, and the approximate timeline for their case.
  4. The candidate faculty member prepares a dossier that includes CV, intellectual development statement, synopsis of intellectual interests, top-ten publications, alphabetical list of collaborators, course syllabi, and records of funding and mentoring activities. For all tenure-track cases and promotion to full professor of the practice, the faculty member may suggest up to three scholars outside of the university who are familiar with their work and are capable of writing an independent evaluation. They may also identify three scholars who they prefer not be contacted for a letter, with a brief explanation as to why they should be excluded.
  5. The candidate faculty member submits their completed dossier to the DO for review. A confirmation email is sent to the faculty member when all materials are received and a status update of their dossier progressing to the department level.

B. Review Committee

  1. The department chair proposes a review committee for the case and submits it to the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs for approval. For tenure-track cases, the committee should consist of three or more faculty with primary appointments in Pratt and one faculty member from outside the primary department (if the faculty member holds a joint appointment, then the outside department representation should be the joint department). For nontenure-track cases, the committee should consist of at least three faculty with one being from outside the primary unit and one being of the same position type and rank of the proposed reappointment or promotion level (it is also recommended that one of the members be a tenure-track faculty member). Once approved, the department chair will inform the candidate faculty member of the review committee’s membership. The DO provides the committee with access to the candidate faculty member’s secure Duke Box folder.
  2. For all tenure-track cases and promotion to full professor of the practice, the review committee will develop a list of arms-length evaluators to solicit external evaluations of the candidate faculty member. This list can be comprised of the three suggested scholars provided by the candidate faculty member. A minimum of six evaluations are required for tenure-track cases and three for full professor of the practice. The Provost’s Office has eligibility criteria for the external evaluators depending on the rank the candidate faculty member is pursuing. Please view the Provost Office APT website for the most current criteria and requirements. The official requests for evaluations are sent by the DO on behalf of the review committee chair. External evaluators receive a view link to a secure Duke Box folder of the candidate faculty member’s CV, intellectual development statement, and copies of their top-ten publications.
  3. Once all evaluations are received, the review committee prepares a report and supplementary materials, evaluating the candidate faculty member’s dossier (research, teaching, and service) along with all external letters and a comparison to peers in the field.

C. Department Vote & Chair Materials

  1. The review committee’s final report (with recommendation) and supplementary materials are included in the candidate faculty member’s dossier, which is circulated to the appropriate faculty of the faculty member’s department. Only faculty who are regular rank and at equal or higher ranks than that for which the candidate faculty member is being reviewed are eligible to review the case and cast a vote. A faculty meeting is held to discuss the case with eligible voting faculty. Faculty members respond by a confidential vote either for or against the promotion recommendation, providing whatever explanations they consider necessary to support their vote.
    • The agenda for the faculty meeting discussion and vote must be disseminated at least one week prior to the meeting.
    • Conditions for a quorum must be met in the faculty meeting and vote per departmental bylaws.
  2. The department chair writes a letter to the dean summarizing the faculty deliberations and vote along with their own opinion on the case. The candidate faculty member is informed of the outcome of the faculty vote (not specific tally, but overall outcome).

D. Dean & Submission to Provost

  1. The DO provides a status update to the candidate faculty member of their dossier progressing to the dean level.
  2. If the candidate faculty member is recommended for promotion through a majority departmental vote, their full dossier is forwarded to the dean who performs a thorough review of the case; for tenure-track cases this includes review with the Pratt School of Engineering APT Committee (comprising the dean, associate dean for faculty affairs, and all department chairs). The dean then forwards the case to the provost with a letter describing their own evaluation and recommendations along with a reporting of an advisory vote provided by the Pratt APT Committee.
  3. The DO provides a status update to the candidate faculty member of their dossier progressing to the provost level.
  4. The Provost’s Office has their own timeline and processes to review APT cases which Pratt has no control over. The Dean’s Office will receive official communication of the outcome of the University APT and BOT approval from the Provost’s Office. The dean will communicate the outcome to the department chair, who will communicate to the candidate faculty member.

More Information

For a full and authoritative discussion of current university policy on tenure and promotion applicable to the Pratt School of Engineering, see Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook.

Governance Contact

Aaron D. Franklin Profile Photo
Aaron D. Franklin Profile Photo

Aaron D. Franklin

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs