Inside Fletcher: Faculty

Chapter 2 - Appointments Tenure and Promotions

Regulations on Tenure and Promotion of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Tufts University

Approved by the Executive Faculty on November 18th, 2013.

I. Peer Review

(1) A Tenure and Promotion Committee shall be established to evaluate all full-time tenure-track faculty members for promotion or tenure and in each case to make a formal recommendation and report. The Committee is also seized in cases where tenure is offered to new faculty at the time of hire.

(2) On each decision, the Committee shall provide all faculty members with the opportunity to present their views on the candidate before arriving at its recommendation.

(3) If no such person is already a member of the Committee, or if the candidate so requests, the Committee, in all its deliberations, shall invite a senior faculty member in the area of expertise of the candidate from either the Fletcher School, another School at Tufts, or, if necessary, another university to provide contextual background and expectations of the candidate’s field. This person shall not judge the candidate’s work or vote. The candidate shall be consulted in the choice of this person.

(4) The recommendation and report of the Tenure and Promotion Committee shall state the majority opinion of the Committee. It shall also reflect the full range of opinion of members of the committee, record the numerical vote, and be signed by all voting members. When committee members cannot agree on a single statement, one or more signed minority statements shall be submitted.

(5) In each case the Committee’s recommendation, together with a report, shall be forwarded to the faculty group appropriate to each type of decision:

(a) For tenure decisions, the tenured members of the faculty.

(b) For promotion decisions, members of the executive faculty at the level of the individual’s proposed new rank and above.

(6) The Tenure and Promotion Committee shall be composed of members representing the disciplinary/field variety of the School and shall be chaired by the Academic Dean on a non-voting basis. Only tenured faculty are eligible to serve as members of the committee.  Appointments to the Committee shall be made annually by the Dean. Terms are staggered and shall run for four years. At the end of their term, one year should elapse before reappointment to the Committee. The Dean has discretion to make exceptions in appropriate circumstances,

(7) The Committee shall also evaluate appointments and promotions of affiliated faculty as per the Affiliated Faculty Appointments at the Fletcher School regulations.

II. Criteria

(1) In general, three broad criteria shall be applied in evaluating candidates for tenure or promotion: scholarship, teaching, and service. Distinction in research is essential, as well as strong performance in teaching.

(2) Scholarship is interpreted to mean: significant and original contribution(s) to the individual’s field of specialty. It shall be judged in accordance with the standards and expectations of the discipline/fields of the candidate. Measures of scholarship are:

(a)   The quality and number of scholarly articles and books. This does not include commentary, policy briefs, consultancy reports, which shall be considered under service (see art. II, (4)).


(b)  Scholarly recognition and impact, including but not limited to scholarly reviews of the candidate’s work, citations in scholarly publications, invited talks, research funds raised, manuscript peer review (refereeing) of work by other scholars, membership on journal boards and review committees and  academic awards. 


The following criteria, while they cannot on their own justify tenure or promotion, will be considered as relevant additional contributions to the candidate’s scholarship


(c)   Authorship of textbooks or case books


(d)  Scholarship about teaching & learning


(e)   Measures of policy and practice recognition and impact, including but not limited to references and mentions in policy statements, non-scholarly citations, invitations to serve in significant policy advising capacities and testimonies to relevant bodies,

(3) Teaching is interpreted inter alia to encompass:

            (a) Classroom performance and coursework

                        (i) Student evaluations

(ii) Initiative in course development (including development of both existing and new courses).

(iii) Degree of innovation and originality in content and method to advance pedagogy.

(iv) Availability outside classroom for discussion of or consultation on coursework.

            (b) Mentoring and supervising research

                        (i) Supervision of PhD dissertations

                        (ii) Supervision of Master’s capstone projects         

                        (iii) Other mentoring and advising of students

(4) Service at a minimum encompasses active participation in the regular governance opportunities and duties of a faculty member, both within the Fletcher School and Tufts University as a whole.  In addition, service can encompass such activities as administration, program development and management, fund raising, and support of student activities within the School and the University. In the wider community, both in the United States and abroad, service can encompass activities in the individual’s profession or academic discipline, the private sector (profit or non-profit), and the public sector (national or multilateral).

III. Outside evaluations

(1) For each candidate coming up for tenure or promotion, a minimum of twelve outside evaluators must be selected by the Committee. It is recommended that the Committee obtain a minimum of eight letters from outside evaluators before making a recommendation to the Dean and faculty on a tenure and promotion case. Outside evaluators should be prominent individuals in the candidate’s area of expertise or related areas. If the candidate’s scholarship is inter-disciplinary, then the evaluators should include scholars who do similar inter-disciplinary work. The list should comprise mainly scholars, but may include some senior individuals with policy and practice backgrounds, especially if the candidate considers such impact to have been an important part of  his or her work. The list of evaluators may include some individuals with whom the candidate has worked closely but must include mostly people who are not personally well-acquainted with the candidate (“arm’s length”). To the extent possible, the list of outside evaluators should contain some people who are employed outside of the US.

(2) The list of evaluators shall include people suggested by the candidate and people added by the members of the Tenure and Promotion Committee. The candidate shall be given an opportunity to comment on the suitability of possible evaluators, which shall be considered by the Committee. Dismissal of possible evaluators is only acceptable for situations where a good-faith case can be made that animus may prevent the possible evaluator from making a fair and objective judgment about the work of a candidate for promotion or tenure.

(3) Outside evaluators shall be asked to evaluate the candidate, to the extent they can, in terms of the three criteria to be applied by the Committee itself—scholarship, teaching, and service—comparing the candidate with others at a comparable stage of professional development in the same general field or discipline and, ideally, in schools that are similar to Fletcher. Evaluators should also be invited to add any other information that they might regard as relevant.

(4) All members of the Committee shall maintain the highest professional standards and impartiality in carrying out their functions. The discussions in the Committee are confidential. Its members shall not share with others details about these discussions or about the particular position of individual members. Members shall only publicly divulge information about the deliberations in the Committee upon request by the Dean or the University administration, or in the context of the appropriate faculty meeting where the Committee recommendation is being reviewed.

IV. Further action on Committee recommendations

(1) Once the Committee’s recommendation is forwarded, the designated faculty group shall vote on it. Concurrence with a positive recommendation of the Committee requires a two-thirds majority. The recommendations of both the Committee and the faculty group, together with the Committee report, shall then be forwarded to the Dean. The Dean shall make the final decision within the School, taking into account all relevant information. The Dean will prepare a final report to the Provost, which will include the Tenure and Promotion Committee recommendation and report (including any minority reports that may exist) as well as the vote of the faculty.  

(2) At each stage of the process (i.e., after the vote of the T&P Committee, after the vote by the Faculty, and after the decision by the Dean), the candidate shall immediately be informed of the decision taken and shall have an opportunity to provide additional information as seems appropriate. The candidate shall provide such information within one week either of having received the report of the T&P committee (including any minority report that may exist) or of having been notified of the faculty vote or of having received the Dean’s final recommendation to the Provost.  

 (3) In the event of a negative decision by the Dean overriding a positive recommendation by the designated faculty group, the candidate has the right to appeal to the Tenure and Promotion Committee for reconsideration of his or her case. The Committee may, if circumstances appear to warrant, request that the Dean reconsider his/her decision before it is forwarded formally to the appropriate University authorities.

(4) In the event of a positive decision by the Dean overriding a negative recommendation by the designated faculty group, the Dean shall meet with the Tenure and Promotion Committee and the designated faculty group to justify this decision. The Committee and faculty group may, if circumstances appear to warrant, request that the Dean reconsider his/her decision before it is forwarded formally to the appropriate University authorities.

(5) Once a tenure process has begun, it must be completed within a period of eight months from the day the candidate hands the Academic Dean his or her tenure packet.

V. Tenure decisions

(1) Standard contracts for untenured faculty at the Fletcher School are for seven years. New faculty members, if they so request, may receive contracts for shorter durations by receiving credit obtained for teaching or other professional experience elsewhere.

(2) Although appointments without tenure may be made at any rank, tenure may be awarded only at the rank of Associate or Full Professor.

(3) At the end of the second and the fourth years, the untenured tenure-track faculty member shall meet with the Tenure and Promotion Committee for feedback. The faculty member may use his or her annual self-evaluation and any other material he or she may wish to submit to explain goals, achievements, constraints, and plans for the future. The Committee will provide feedback to the faculty member. The purpose is to provide collegial feedback on past trends and future plans. The results of this exchange are not binding on either the Committee or the faculty member. They are intended to guide both in exercising their judgment when it comes to decisions about research, teaching, and service.

(4) Except as specified in para. (7) below, the Tenure and Promotion Committee shall commence and finish the tenure process in the sixth year of an untenured tenure-track faculty member’s contract. Early tenure review may be requested by an individual any time after the first year of his/her service. Before the fourth year, early review may be granted at the Dean’s discretion. In or after the fourth year, early review is obligatory if requested by the faculty member.

(5) In the event of a positive decision, tenure begins with the start of the next academic year.

(6) In the event of a negative decision, the candidate has the right to continue service in the School for one additional academic year. There shall be no second tenure review.

 (7) The timetable for tenure review will not be affected or delayed by sabbatical leave(s) of absence. In case of any other leave(s) of absence, a delay may be negotiated with the Dean at the time leave is granted. The school shall provide reasonable delays for pregnancy, child birth and adoption or prolonged illness in accordance with University policy.

(8) When new faculty is hired with an offer of immediate tenure, the Tenure and Promotion Committee shall employ an expedited procedure to issue a recommendation either supporting this offer or rejecting it. After this decision by the Committee, the process described in section IV above shall be followed. In the event of a negative recommendation on immediate tenure, appointment without tenure is possible. In such cases, the candidate is subject to the standard timetable for tenure review outlined above.

VI. Promotion decisions

(1) For an Associate Professor with tenure, review for promotion to Full Professor may be requested by the individual at any time. In the first five years of service after tenure is initially awarded, such a request may be granted at the Dean’s discretion. After five years of service with tenure, review for possible promotion is obligatory if requested by the individual. 

(2) As in the case of tenure decisions, the timetable for promotion may be accelerated by credit obtained for teaching or other professional experience elsewhere. For new members of the faculty, such "credit" must be negotiated with the Dean at the time of initial appointment. For individuals already serving on the faculty when these procedures first become effective, such "credit" may be negotiated with the Dean at any time.

(3)  There shall be no promotion from the rank of Assistant to Associate Professor other than as part of a tenure-granting process. The School can, however, hire new untenured faculty at the Associate Professor level.

VII.  Application of regulations to existing faculty


(1) All untenured faculty members hired before these regulations were adopted may choose by February 1, 2014 whether to be governed by the new regulations or the old ones. If they elect to be governed by the new regulations, their contracts will be modified in such a way as to adapt the tenure and promotion procedure to their particular circumstances. Arrangements will be made to ensure the candidates have the opportunity to meet with the Tenure and Promotion Committee for feedback, as contemplated in article V (3) above.