Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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Promotion & Tenure: A Guide for Administrators

Feinberg's promotion and tenure process occurs on an annual cycle, with approved promotion/tenure taking effect on September 1 of the year following application.  The resources on this page are intended to help administrators navigate the process.

 View Announcements about Promotion & Tenure (updated 3/23/2018)

  • Faculty proposed for promotion/tenure effective 9/1/2018 are still being reviewed. Outcomes will be communicated after the Provost has reviewed and made decisions, typically by mid-June.
  • FSM will next be accepting applications for promotion/tenure effective 9/1/2019. Please review this page for information about the application process.
  • The description of promotion criteria for faculty on the Research Track has been updated.  Please view the Information Guide for Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure

The Administrator's Role in the Promotion & Tenure Process

Department administrators are expected to coordinate the submission of a candidate's promotion/tenure dossier to the Faculty Affairs Office, which includes collecting the promotion/tenure dossier from the candidate, working with the Department Chair to establish and coordinate an internal departmental review process to evaluate the candidate's qualifications for promotion or tenure, and ensuring each promotion/tenure application is complete with supplementary documentation prepared/obtained by the department (e.g., evaluation from departmental APT Committee, recommendation letter from Department Chair, letters from external referees).  Administrators often play an important role in advising faculty candidates on the promotion process and faculty may even look to you for guidance on how to strengthen their promotion/tenure applications. Given this, it is important that you become familiar with FSM's different faculty career tracks. The better you understand faculty career tracks and the expectations for achievement in each track, the better you will be able to support your faculty in their career advancement.

 Learn Faculty Career Tracks
Access resources to become knowledgeable about faculty career tracks and understand how they relate to the promotion/tenure process

2018-2019 Promotion & Tenure Cycle

The Feinberg School of Medicine next will be accepting applications for the 2018-2019 cycle, with approved promotion/tenure taking effect on September 1, 2019. Department administrators are expected to coordinate the submission of a candidate's promotion/tenure dossier to the Faculty Affairs Office. Refer to the table below for an overview of the requirements. 

Promotion Checklist

Administrator Resources

 Visual Timeline of the Promotion & Tenure Process


 Important Deadlines for 2018-2019 Promotion & Tenure Cycle

Nomination Deadlines 
Promotion and tenure nominations are due to Faculty Affairs Office on the following dates.
     Promotions to NTE Assistant Professor: 11/2/2018  
     All other promotion/tenure nominations: 9/12/2018
Appointment Changes for Promotion Candidates Due 9/1/2018 
Submit appointment changes (e.g., change in basis, domains, etc.) separately PRIOR to promotion requests, effective no later than 9/1/18. Exception: Changing from Undifferentiated to a specific career track can be requested in conjunction with the promotion. Evidence of a national search (as opposed to a waiver) is required for changes to the tenure-eligible Investigator track.

 Administrative Checklists

Administrators should use the appropriate checklist to guide preparation of the promotion or tenure application, with the checklist becoming the cover sheet for each application.  See also the 2018-2019 Promotion Memo. 

     Promotion Checklist #1: Promotions to Assistant Professor 
     Promotion Checklist #2: Promotions to Associate Professor Without Tenure 
     Promotion Checklist #3: Award of Tenure, Promotion with Tenure, and Promotion for Those Already Tenured 
     Promotion Checklist #4: Research Faculty Promotions
     Promotion Checklist #5: Promotions to NTE Professor 

 Resources for Soliciting Reference Letters

Promotion and tenure candidates should never contact referees to request their own reference letters.  In cases where the department is responsible for soliciting letters, an administrator in the Department Chair's Office should contact the referees to request letters.

     Request to external referees for promotion (letter template)

The documents below summarize the promotion criteria for each career track by rank and may be provided to referees to help them evaluate the candidate: 
     Investigator track (tenure track) 
     Clinician-Educator track (non-tenure-eligible)  
     Team Scientist track (non-tenure-eligible) 
     Research track (non-tenure-eligible)

 Required Forms and Templates for Candidates

Administrators should direct faculty to this page to download the required forms and document templates for the promotion packet: 
     Prepare Your Promotion/Tenure Packet

Administrators are encouraged to read that page as well, for it includes guidance from the FSM APT Committee on how to prepare each element of the packet effectively. See also Promotion & Tenure: A Guide for Faculty.

 Resources for Departmental APT Committees

Most departments have their own Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) committees that review promotion dossiers and make a recommendation to the Department Chair before she or he prepares a nomination letter.  Where a departmental APT Committee exists, the Committee's report should be included as part of the promotion dossier.  

     Departmental APT Committee narrative for promotion (letter template) 

 Resources for Department Chairs

Department Chairs use the appropriate letter template below to prepare nomination letters which are added to the candidate's promotion dossier: 

     Chair's Recommendation Letter Template #2 (Investigator)
     Chair's Recommendation Letter Template #3 (Clinician-Educator)
     Chair's Recommendation Letter Template #4 (Team Scientist)
     Chair's Recommendation Letter Template #5 (Research Faculty)

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