Length of Faculty Appointments and Timing of Promotion and Tenure Reviews
The intent of these guidelines is to give departments/sections/programs in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences flexibility in the timing of promotion and tenure cases within the context of the Institute's general tenure rules, from which the guidelines are drawn.
The Institute's tenure rules are set out in MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 3.1 and MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 3.2 and department heads should meet with their junior faculty to review these guidelines at the beginning of their initial appointment and at regular intervals thereafter.
Initial assistant professor appointments in the School are normally for three years and require the approval of the Dean. An internal (departmental) review is conducted in the spring term of the second year to determine whether the appointment should be renewed. If renewal is decided upon and approved by the Dean, a new two-year appointment is offered (to be effective AFTER the initial three-year appointment, for a total of five years).
Usually, in the spring term of the third year the department decides whether to prepare a case for promotion to associate professor (without tenure). If the decision is positive, the department brings the promotion case forward in the fall of the fourth year, and if it is approved by School Council and Academic Council, the department may offer a three-year appointment as associate professor without tenure (to be effective AFTER the fifth year of appointment, for a total of eight years).
If the department decides to postpone the promotion case until the fall of the fifth year, a one-year reappointment would be offered to extend the appointment as assistant professor through six years. If a fifth-year promotion case succeeds, a two-year appointment as associate professor (without tenure) would follow, to be effective AFTER the sixth year of appointment, for a total of eight years. If the department decides not to prepare a promotion case, or the promotion case is not approved, the appointment would terminate at the end of the fifth year (or sixth year, if a one-year reappointment had been made). If the department decides not to bring forward the tenure case, or the promotion case is not approved, the faculty member must be notified by June 30th of the fourth year that the fifth year is his/her last year of appointment (or June 30th of the fifth year that the sixth year is his/her last year of appointment, if a one-year reappointment has been made).
At the start of the seventh year, the department decides whether to prepare a case for tenure. If it decides to bring the case forward, and it is approved by School Council, Academic Council and Executive Committee, tenure commences at the beginning of the eighth year. If the department decides not to prepare a tenure case, or the tenure case is not approved, the appointment would terminate at the end of the eighth year. If the department decides not to bring forward the tenure case, or the tenure case is not approved, the faculty member must be notified by June 30th of the seventh year that the eighth year is his/her last year of appointment.
Junior faculty members who are hired by MIT several years after receiving their doctorates and who are initially appointed as associate professors without tenure will be reviewed for tenure on a different time scale that will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In these cases, however, the tenure review will normally commence no later than the fourth year of appointment. The Dean may require a different time scale for junior faculty members who are hired as assistant professors by MIT three years or more after receiving their doctorates.
In Faculty Recruitment, Promotion, and Tenure Reviews
Letter of April 14, 2008
MIT's Policies and Procedures include provisions designed to ensure that candidates for appointment, promotion, and tenure receive a thorough and fair review of their qualifications and accomplishments. Implicit throughout these provisions is the need for appropriate confidentiality of sensitive information. Among other things, P&P specifically says, "An essential component of the evaluation process at MIT is the solicitation of written assessments from persons familiar with the individual's character, research and teaching capabilities, and academic qualifications. In order to assure the most candid and useful evaluations, MIT has traditionally accorded such assessments the highest degree of confidentiality."
Honoring these policies is an obligation of everyone at MIT, but especially of faculty members. MIT requires all faculty members who participate in faculty recruitment and in promotion and tenure reviews, and all those faculty and staff who may otherwise come to know confidential information, to safeguard that information, including the identity of authors of such assessments and their specific content. Not only is a breach of confidentiality a serious violation of MIT policy, but without conscientious diligence, we will eventually find that this essential component of our process is unavailable or unreliable.
L. Rafael Reif (then Provost)
Bish Sanyal, Chair of the Faculty