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Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Committees

Service on committees that evaluate faculty candidates for appointment, promotion, and tenure is an important contribution to the school. There are several such committees at Feinberg:

  • Feinberg APT Committee 
    Feinberg's standing appointments, promotion and tenure (APT) committee is an advisory body to the dean. The committee is composed of 18 professors representing basic science and clinical departments. Committee members are appointed by the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs with the agreement of the appointee's department chair for a five-year term of service. The committee evaluates and recommends approval or disapproval of department applications for initial faculty appointments and promotion/tenure at the rank of associate professor and professor. View the committee roster.
  • Ad Hoc Promotion and Tenure Committees 
    Feinberg assembles ad hoc promotion and tenure committees to review applicants for the award of tenure and promotion for those already tenured. These committees review candidates and provide recommendations which become part of the packet reviewed by the standing Feinberg APT committee, the Dean, and Provost.
  • Departmental APT Committees
    Most departments have APT committees that serve as advisory bodies to the department chair, with the methods for selection and length of service set by the department chair. Departmental APT committees help to determine whether a candidate should be proposed to the Dean's office for promotion or tenure.

Committee Resources

The resources below are intended to help members of school and departmental APT committees, as well as ad hoc promotion and tenure committees, carry out their duties.

 Understand Faculty Career Tracks & Appointment Criteria

Members of school and departmental APT committees should familiarize themselves with the following resources to understand Feinberg's faculty career tracks, the promotion/tenure criteria and processes for each track, and the guidance provided to promotion/tenure applicants:

 Review Cases in the Feinberg Faculty Portal

Members of the Feinberg APT committee and most departmental APT committees review cases within the Feinberg Faculty Portal (FFP), the same system used to maintain public faculty profiles and complete faculty performance reviews. In the future, promotion/tenure applicants will prepare their packets within this system, but for now administrators upload packets to the FFP for review by the APT committee.

After the administrative coordinator of the APT committee notifies you that cases are ready for your review, do the following:

  1. Open Chrome or Safari as your web browser
    The Feinberg Faculty Portal does not render correctly in Internet Explorer; users of Firefox have reported occasional experiences of pages not loading promptly.
  2. Log in to the Feinberg Faculty Portal 
    Use your university netID and password to log in. If you are already logged into another university application that uses Northwestern's single sign-on (SSO) technology, you will be taken directly to the Feinberg Faculty Portal home page without needing to enter your netID/password again
  3. On the Home page, under My Tasks, find the names of promotion/tenure candidates in your review queue
    Alternatively, press Cases in the left navigation to access your review queue. If your home page has not refreshed to show new cases in your queue, you may need to use this alternate navigation path.
  4. Click on a candidate name to open a case 
  5. Press the Read Case button to open a packet for review
    • Use the left navigation to traverse packet sections.  
    • If you wish to leave annotations on the packet (visible only to you) or use other more advanced features of the system, view this quick reference guide on reviewing cases.
    • Note: APT committee members do not upload reports or evaluations to the FFP. If you are responsible for preparing a written recommendation for a case, send it to the administrative coordinator of the committee.

 Assess Journals / Obtain Journal Rankings

As an APT committee member, you will review promotion/tenure applications for faculty outside your field of expertise. If you need to orient yourself to journals/journal rankings for fields with which you are unfamiliar, the Scimago Journal and Country Rank may be a useful tool. It computes a Scimago Journal Rank (SJR) score and has an interface for filtering by field (here’s a Cardiology example) so that you can see the range of scores within a field.

To use this tool:

  • Go to the Scimago Journal Rankings page and apply filters to limit the results to the field of interest
  • You may use the search box in the upper right corner of the page to search for a specific journal (the SJR will be towards the bottom of the journal-specific page)

About the SJR Metric

The Galter Health Sciences Library and Learning Center has provided this summary of the SJR metric, including its strengths and limitations.

  • Metric Definition: The SJR score is meant to measure the prestige (not necessarily quality) of a journal within the scientific community. Journals with high prestige are those that receive the most citations per article, while taking into account publishing patterns among and across research fields.
  • Metric Strengths: The SJR is size-independent (so journals that don’t publish frequently and have a low article volume are not penalized) and field-independent (so comparisons can be made between journals in different fields). 
  • Metric Calculation: Basically, all the journals indexed in Scopus can be formed into a citation network (connections are made when one paper cites another paper in its reference list). When aggregated to the journal level, these connections can determine the amount of influence each journal has in the network. Highly influential journals are those that are cited more often by other journals. These highly influential journals lend their influence to the journals they cite; thereby increasing the influence of those journals in the network and raising their SJR Score. In contrast, journals that are not highly cited and/or not cited by influential journals are not considered influential in the network and will not have high SJR Score.
  • Metric Limitations:  The SJR is not a determination of research quality, but instead measures the prestige of a journal within the publishing landscape. If a journal is not indexed by Scopus, it will not receive an SJR score. The SJR is calculated using a 3-year citation window, which is sufficient, but often criticized over the use of a 5-year window that better takes into account any major changes in a journal’s publishing history.