Scroll/swipe this table left and right to see more information.
What is the difference between promotion and tenure?
The criteria for tenure and the criteria for promotion are similar, but not identical. Tenure is granted to a faculty member for maintaining high standards of excellence in their work during the probationary period with respect to continued growth and productivity. It is based on a documented record of achievement that meets defined standards for the department, school, and campus, together with evidence and a plan that demonstrates the level of achievement that is likely to continue and grow. Tenure acknowledges achievement in light of its promise for the future. In return, the university provides academic freedom and economic security. Tenure is campus-specific. Tenure-track faculty hired in the School of Medicine have a nine-year tenure probationary timeline.
Promotion, on the other hand, is the recognition of achievements in the faculty member’s respective fields of work, their accomplishments and level of expertise at key intervals. For faculty, publications and presentations in rank at another institution prior to appointment at IUPUI will be considered part of the candidate’s record. The overall pattern of productivity over time will be scrutinized, with emphasis placed on recent work and scholarly trajectory. For probationary tenure-track candidates, promotion to the associate level is normally sought toward the end of the probationary period in conjunction with the tenure decision. Non-tenure-track candidates may seek promotion in rank when their achievements warrant this recognition. All promotions to full, and all promotions in the non-tenure-track ranks, are based on standards in effect at the time of application.
What is considered in-rank?
Time in-rank is the work being assessed as the basis for promotion or tenure will have been completed since either the initial appointment or last promotion. For faculty, publications and presentations in rank at another institution prior to appointment at IUPUI will be considered part of the candidate’s record. The overall pattern of productivity over time will be scrutinized, with emphasis placed on recent work and scholarly trajectory.
How many votes are needed for a dossier to move forward?
Committees should have a minimum number of members sufficient to result in at least four approve/disapprove votes being recorded (in case members cannot vote for any reason). If there are insufficient faculty to comprise a committee resulting in at least four votes from members of the proper rank, the dean should seek additional members (either from another department within the school or from another school) in consultation with the duly constituted committee. Clinical track faculty cannot serve on promotion and/or tenure review committees for tenure-track faculty. Those voting for tenure must hold tenure. Those voting for a promotion must at least hold the rank being sought by the candidate.
How many peer reviews of teaching are needed?
Review of teaching is a formative activity to facilitate improvement and skill development in teaching. Peer review of instruction is most effective when it is based on multiple visits and examination of materials; isolated observations are rarely helpful. The school recommends at least two peer reviews done between an interval of time. Learn more about peer review of teaching.
I am on the tenure track but I am going on service as my area of excellence. Do I need grant funding in the research section?
To be satisfactory in research, you will need significant contributions to a research program that clearly demonstrate the attributes of scholarly work associated with obtaining external support. The faculty member should note the degree to which the process was competitive. External funding strengthens a faculty member's research section, but the faculty member does not need to be the PI to be satisfactory in research.
If I am on the research/scientist track, how much independent funding do I need?
Independent funding is not required but evidence of a program of scholarly work that has contributed to knowledge base and improved the work of others including helping a senior investigator achieve funding is expected. Significant contributions to the knowledge in the field that clearly demonstrate attributes of scholarly work associated with research, including peer refereed presentations and publications and national recognition of the quality of research.
Can I switch tracks if I don’t think I will make tenure?
Yes, you may switch tracks at any point. If your dossier is progressing through the tenure review and you wish to switch tracks, you would need to do this before it gets to the campus committee level review.
Can I switch my area of excellence?
Yes, you may switch your area of excellence to accommodate changes in your career focus and interests. For example, if you were on the tenure track and went up to the associate rank with Service as your area of excellence. If your focus later changed to Research, you may choose go up to full professor, with Research as your area of excellence.
Can part-time faculty be promoted?
Yes, part-time faculty are reviewed with the same criteria as full-time faculty on the same track appropriate to their percent effort.
What are the expectations for external funding?
If you are on the tenure track and research is your area of excellence, you must demonstrate success in securing external funding as PI or Co-PI; or in unusual circumstances with significant external funding as Co-I with unique, independent contributions to team science. You also must demonstrate a high likelihood of sustaining future funding as an individual or essential member of a research team. While an R01 is not specifically required, peer-reviewed grants from national agencies (e.g. National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense) have the greatest prestige. Grant support from national societies that offer a competitive grant program (such as the American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society) is viewed very positively. See the Standards of Excellence in Research for more information.
Do I have to have an international reputation for promotion to full professor?
Advancement to professor requires a sustained national reputation. A sustained international reputation strengthens your case but is not required.
Do non-peer reviewed publications count?
Peer-reviewed scholarship is required for promotion. Other types of scholarship that are not peer-reviewed are considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, the proceedings of a meeting, while not without merit, would normally be considered less important and given less weight than an invited review in a prestigious journal, a chapter in a major text book or an important editorial. Many of these types of publications may contribute to establishing recognition in your field and contributing to building a case for an emerging or sustained national reputation.
Does impact factor matter?
As part of the dossier, your department chair or primary committee chair is expected to provide an assessment of your dissemination outlets. Journal impact factor is often one component of such an assessment. The stature of the journals in which you publish is thus one important consideration when your overall scholarly activity is evaluated. Publication in the premier peer-reviewed, high impact general science or medical journals e.g.(Science, Nature, Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet) is a clear demonstration of peer appreciation of the published work. More commonly, publication in the “top tier” journals of your discipline, such as major society journals, is a significant indicator of the quality of your work and an expectation of IU School of Medicine.
The advent of social media and other dissemination venues has generated interest in additional metrics such as h-factors and alt metrics (defined as the measurement of the impact an article has on social media). Information about assessing scholarly impact can be found on the Ruth Lilly Medical Library page.
How are the criteria different for promotion to associate vs. full professor?
For those on the tenure track, advancement to associate professor requires the demonstration of an emerging national reputation through such evidence as invited talks, service on external committees (e.g., your professional society), requests to provide peer review of scholarship or grants, and a body of external funding and scholarship aligned with the area of excellence. For faculty members on the clinical and research scientist non-tenure tracks, promotion to associate rank requires a reputation beyond the institution—that is, regionally or beginning to emerge nationally.
Advancement to full professor requires the demonstration of a sustained and sustainable national reputation through similar activities that are sustained and/or increasing over time, such as continued invited talks, service on national professional societies, editorial boards, study sections, and a robust body of scholarship aligned with the area of excellence.
What are the criteria by which my dossier will be evaluated?
Your dossier will be evaluated based on the criteria delineated in the IU School of Medicine Standards of Excellence documents. Pay particular attention to your area of excellence. You must also meet the requirements for satisfactory in the other area(s) for which you’ll be evaluated. Additional information can be found in the policies specific to your faculty appointment track.
What are the differences between tenure track and non-tenure tracks?
For the purpose of promotion, tenure track faculty are evaluated in all three mission areas (teaching, research and service), with a requirement of excellence in one area and satisfactory performance in the other two.
Clinical non-tenure track faculty are evaluated for promotion in the two missions of teaching and service with the requirement of excellence in one area and satisfactory performance in the other.
There are several additional differences between the tracks beyond expectations for promotion, such as distinct titles, the probationary period (or “clock”), duration of appointments, and due process and governance rights. Consult IU and IU School of Medicine policies for specifics.
What is meant by a sustained/sustainable national reputation?
The concept of a sustained and sustainable reputation implies that your reputation for your unique niche or area of expertise is maintained and/or increasing over time. Documentation of a sustained or sustainable national reputation often includes such activities as: invited visiting professorships at major universities or hospitals, election as an officer or to a major committee in a national society or other professional organization, invited talks at highly prestigious national or international meetings, appointment to an editorial board of a national or international publication, membership on study sections and grant reviews, election to exclusive or prestigious societies or organizations, and the receipt of national awards. Confirmation of these achievements is not only through the evidence you provide in your dossier, but also by independent external reviewers who can attest to the importance of your accomplishments and to the national prominence that is required for promotion.
How can I determine if I’m ready to be promoted?
Regular feedback along the way will be critical. Discuss your readiness for promotion with your department chair, division chief, regional campus dean, and/or mentor. Your annual faculty review is a terrific opportunity to have this discussion. We also highly recommend that you meet with a member of the Faculty Affairs and Professional Development team early on in your faculty appointment to understand the criteria and expectations for successful advancement.
How do I figure out what my timeline is?
Non-tenure track faculty do not have a specific timeline and can submit their dossier for promotion whenever they are ready.
Tenure-track faculty have a set timeline and must submit their dossier by their eighth year of appointment.
How do I prepare for promotion and tenure?
We highly recommend that you start your preparation early and develop a system to stay organized.
Organize an on-going filing system to document your activities in research, teaching and service (or criteria appropriate to your appointment). This folder may include teaching evaluations, peer evaluations, grant summary sheets, etc.
Additionally, begin writing a personal statement that will serve as a roadmap for your career path. Review and revise annually and seek feedback from peers, your mentor, and others.
Most importantly, with a mentor, intentionally plan your academic work, making sure that your time commitments are consistent with your track.
Create peer accountability groups with those who are also preparing to go up for promotion and/or tenure around the same time as you are. This will help keep each other accountable to make progress towards your efforts.
I don’t have a mentor, what should I do?
While some departments and divisions assign mentors or mentor panels to their junior faculty, others don’t. Sometimes the most productive mentoring relationships occur naturally. It’s important to seek out mentors who can help you develop specific areas of your work, and several people have multiple mentors for various activities. You should meet with your division chief and chair or regional campus dean to discuss who might be good mentors for you. Other resources include the FAPD mentoring website and a career development consultation. Finally, talking to colleagues at the rank you’re seeking or higher can be very helpful in determining who might be good mentors for you and what you should look to gain from those relationships.
What is the benefit of promotion if I’m on a non-tenure track?
There are several reasons to seek promotion including recognition of your academic accomplishments, eligibility to serve on certain committees, personal satisfaction, role-modeling for junior colleagues, students and trainees. In addition, there may be a salary increase.
How many publications do I need for promotion?
Our standards do not articulate a minimum number of publications per year or minimum number required for promotion; candidates are reviewed holistically. However, some peer-reviewed, retrievable scholarship is required for all promotions. Thus, a common concern among faculty is whether they have enough to be successful.
FAPD has gathered data from a document review of successful candidates from 2015–2020 sorted by rank, faculty track, and area of excellence.
Tab 1 shows the range and median number of peer-reviewed publications per year, and Tab 2 shows the median number of peer-reviewed publications over the five-year window. You will note that publications can range widely from year-to-year and by track, rank, and area of excellence—suggesting many unique pathways to promotion and consistent with the holistic review conducted by the committee.
Am I required to have both a third-year and fifth-year review for assessment of my progress toward tenure?
No, all faculty members on the tenure track undergo the third-year review, however, you have the option of a second formative review during the fifth year. You may, however, choose to forgo the fifth-year review and submit a dossier for tenure and promotion at that time. This depends on the candidate’s readiness for tenure and the decision should be made in consultation between the faculty member, department chair, and/or primary committee chair.
Can I extend my tenure timeline?
Yes, it is possible to request a one-year extension of your tenure review for unique circumstances due to either a professional or a personal emergency. This is also referred to as “stopping the tenure clock.” Examples include but are not limited to FMLA (e.g. parental leave), a substantial change in one’s health or work environment (e.g. lab fire), public service or caregiving responsibilities. Faculty members are expected to submit their request in writing along with their CV to their department chair. The chair ads a letter of support and submits the packet to the executive associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development for school-level approval. The packet is then forwarded to campus for final approval.
Can I go up early on the tenure track?
You may only submit your dossier for tenure once, so you should seek feedback to make sure you are ready if you are considering seeking tenure early. You must undergo a third-year review, so an early tenure review occurs after that but before the traditional timeline (5th year or later) taking place between your third-year review and sixth-year review.
What happens if I do not obtain tenure?
You are given a one year notice that your employment with the university will end. Faculty members do have the right to seek reconsideration at the level the first negative vote occurs. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to seek advice and feedback from your chair, FAPD, and colleagues early and throughout the process.
What happens if my dossier receives a poor review for promotion?
For non-tenure track promotions or promotions of tenured faculty going from associate to full rank, a negative outcome does not automatically impact your employment. Faculty members can reapply in a future year.
What if I receive negative votes for tenure?
Indiana University policy allows candidates to seek reconsideration. Note, this policy applies only to tenure cases where a candidate receives a negative recommendation, which consists of a majority vote against awarding tenure rather than a single negative vote. The request for reconsideration must be made within two weeks after the faculty member receives notification of the negative recommendation and before the review at the next level is completed. Reconsideration is not an appeals process but an opportunity to correct the record while review is still underway. If a faculty member believes the recommendation against tenure results from inadequate consideration of professional competence or erroneous information, they can offer factual corrections and/or add comments or materials that are relevant to the recommendations of the review.
What if my department does not have enough members to constitute a primary committee?
Primary committees must have at least four eligible voting members. Departments without enough qualified faculty to constitute a full committee may identify faculty on their own from other departments to supplement their committee, or may contact FAPD for assistance with identifying members of the School committee who may willing to serve as ad hoc members.
What is the timeline for submitting my materials?
Every department establishes their own timeline such that they can complete the required departmental steps prior to the deadline for dossiers to be submitted to the Dean’s office—which is July 1st. Consult with your department for your exact deadlines. However, below is a general timeline followed by many of our departments.
By March 1st – Materials to be sent out for external review (e.g., CV and candidate’s statement) are due to department chair
By March 15th – External review letters solicited with deadlines of six to eight weeks
By May 1st – Deadline for completed dossiers submitted to primary committee
By May 31st – Primary committee conducts review
By June 30th – Department chair conducts review
By July 1st – Dossier due to dean’s office
When is the final decision made and how am I notified?
You will receive copies of the review letters along the way, following the varying levels of review. The process is complete after the board of trustees acts on the president’s recommendations. A formal notice of final action is provided to faculty shortly after the board of trustee’s meeting where that action takes place.
When should I talk to my department chair, division chief, or regional campus dean about the process?
It is never too soon to have a discussion with your department chair, division director, or regional campus dean about your readiness for promotion. You should discuss your plans for promotion each year at your faculty annual review. We also recommend that you talk with other senior colleagues in your department and if possible, the primary committee chair, or others familiar with your area of expertise.
Who are the key contact people in my department?
Important leaders involved in the department include your department chair, division chief, regional campus dean if applicable, and members of your primary committee. Typically, there is an administrator or administrative assistant in each department who can also assist you with the preparation process and dossier examples.
Who will review my dossier and how long does it take?
The review process takes one year. It begins with a review by your primary committee and department chair, then moves to the school level promotion and tenure committee or lecturer and clinical ranks promotion committee and dean. Subsequently, the dossier is reviewed by the campus promotion and tenure committee, executive vice chancellor, chancellor, president, and finally the board of trustees. You will be notified of the votes taken and receive copies of the letters submitted by each committee during the process.
Are external referees required to hold an academic appointment?
External referees are essential to the process and it is in the best interest of candidates to have the strongest pool of letter writers as possible. It is highly recommended that they hold academic appointments wherever possible. Non-academic external reviewers may be included when a clear explanation of the relevance of such a review is presented by the chair. Academic referees must hold at least the rank for which the candidate is being considered.
Can someone I collaborate with serve as an external referee?
External referees must be at “arm’s length,” which means they should have no personal, professional, or academic relationship with the candidate that would cause them to be invested in their promotion. Specific examples of reviewers to avoid include (but are not limited to): 1) former or current mentors and 2) co-authors or scholarly collaborators in the last five years. Exceptions can be made in the case of very large national clinical trials where multiple authors have a very distant relationship or in the case of serving on national research or service panels. The department chair needs to specifically make the case for including such a reviewer.
In contrast, a collaborator may be asked to write a reference letter, which is in a different category and dossier section than the external referee letters. That is, they may be asked to evaluate the quality and importance of shared work as in the context of team science, but they should not be confused with external assessment letters.
I have several projects underway that haven’t yet been submitted and/or accepted, can I list them on my CV?
Works in progress may also be included on your CV or described in the relevant dossier section, but they do not carry the same weight of those “in press.” If you choose to include such activities, you must clearly indicate the status of the work in progress e.g., “in preparation,” “second review,” “submitted,” “in press.” If you have questions about what should or shouldn’t be included, consult with your department chair and/or senior colleagues.
Your department chair, primary committee chair and department administrators are responsible for preparing the following items for your dossier:
Assessment of Dissemination Outlets
Solicited letters (assessments from local faculty colleagues)
Internal letters (review letters from the primary committee, department chair, and regional campus dean)
How do I prepare my personal statement?
The personal or candidate statement is a written narrative of your accomplishments and is one of the most important and scrutinized sections of your dossier. It requires thoughtful and deliberate action on your part. It’ s your story and no one tells it better. Most notably it’s your only opportunity to speak directly to your reviewers and committee members throughout the multi-level review process. Words of wisdom: start early. Ask trusted colleagues to review and provide feedback on drafts. We also recommend asking someone who is not familiar with your work or discipline to read the statement since the evaluators at the campus level will NOT have a medical background. Do not use jargon. Readers should ask: is it clear and appropriately focused? Does it transmit the story of your career, niche and successes?
Your written narrative should clearly identify your area of excellence and reflect an assessment of your accomplishments in the mission areas. Consider the following as a general framework for your candidate statement.
What is the focus of my career?
Why am I doing it? What problem, issue, or challenge am I addressing?
How am I doing it (methods/strategies)?
How well am I doing it? What are the outcomes or impact of my work?
What do I plan to accomplish in the future for this aspect of my career?
What is the overall vision for my career? Briefly comment on what you aim to achieve in the next phase of your career growth
You will also need to include a brief section summarizing your contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), per the updated promotion and tenure guidelines approved in 2022. This section should be clearly marked with a section header. Learn more about this expectation.
It’s important to describe the integrated aspects of your work. Clearly articulate how your unique niche is aligned across the missions of teaching, research and professional service (appropriate to your track).
The personal statement can be either a maximum of seven single-spaced pages, or five single spaced pages plus an additional two single-spaced pages as an introduction to the section for your chosen area of excellence (teaching, research, or service).
What information should be included in the external referee bios?
The dossier should contain a brief statement of professional qualifications for each referee sufficient to establish their authority in relation to the specific case under review; ordinarily, two or three sentences should suffice. The candidate should not be the person to write the statements of qualification for external reviewers.
Who requests my external referee letters and how are they identified?
Department chairs or their designees (e.g., primary committee chair) are responsible for soliciting external referees. The faculty member should not be involved in the process of selecting external reviewers, with two exceptions:
the candidate should be allowed to list those they would definitely not want to serve as an external reviewer, and
the candidate may provide a list of key scholars in the field if these are not known to the chair or the chair’s designee.
Here are some key considerations for chairs or those identifying external referees:
Reviewers for tenure track faculty must be tenured
Reviewers must have at least the rank the candidate is seeking
Reviewers are to speak to the candidate’s reputation (emerging or sustained, regional or national)
Reviewers must be arm’s length, meaning they have no vested interest in the candidate’s career success (e.g. former or current mentor, supervisor; cannot have collaborated with them in the last five years).
The candidate should not solicit or provide any external review letters. If letters are added by the candidate, these must be clearly designated as reference letters and candidates should recognize that letters solicited by them do not have the same value as letters solicited by the chair; candidate-solicited letters should be placed in an appendix of the dossier. The value of external assessment letters is greatly enhanced by the objectivity and credibility of the author.
Area of Excellence
How do I choose an area of excellence?
Your area of excellence should be the area that best aligns with your unique academic niche and focus of your career. Selecting your area of excellence is an important consideration because it anchors the evaluation of your dossier around those particular standards. Consult with your department chair, regional campus dean, division chief, or a member of the FAPD team should you have questions or concerns with your area of excellence.
How do I document excellence in teaching, research, and service?
The Standards of Excellence documents provide clear-cut guidelines as to the expectations of the IU School of Medicine Promotion and Tenure and Contract Committees for what constitutes excellence as well as satisfactory performance. It is also very helpful to review successful dossiers in your area of excellence to see how other faculty have documented their work and assembled a dossier. FAPD also holds annual information sessions specifically on how to document your work in your dossier.
What is eDossier?
eDossier is a university-wide electronic dossier system for faculty members applying for promotion and/or tenure. The eDossier system provides the ability for an IU School of Medicine faculty candidate for promotion and/or tenure to upload an electronic dossier to submit for approval. eDossier organizes a promotion and/or tenure candidate’s dossier according to the various sources of evidence typically used to make a case for excellence.
When will I be required to use eDossier?
Your dossier must be submitted in eDossier to the IU School of Medicine Dean’s office by July 1 and will be due at an earlier date to your department chair or regional campus dean and primary committee. Faculty names must be submitted by the department or regional campus to the dean’s office no later than March 1 for faculty to be given access to eDossier.
Faculty Activities in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Why were the promotion and tenure expectations changed to add expectations for activities contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion?
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are core values of IU School of Medicine. This change better aligns faculty expectations and the school’s core values as articulated in the Honor Code.
What are the updated requirements for activities in DEI?
Candidates for promotion and/or tenure must demonstrate efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the school, health system, university, the local community or at the state, national, or international level.
Although faculty members can and are strongly encouraged to make contributions toward DEI across multiple mission areas, to be satisfactory, faculty members will be required to show effort toward advancing DEI in at least one mission area for which they are evaluated once the expectation is fully implemented (2025-2026).
Activities related to DEI do not have to be within the candidate’s area of excellence. For example, because tenure track faculty members are evaluated in research, teaching, and service, a candidate can document DEI activities in any of these areas. A clinical track faculty member would be expected to document DEI activity in either service or teaching or both. There will not be a separate vote by reviewers as to whether specific DEI activities are satisfactory or not.
What documentation will be required?
Once the expectation is fully implemented in the 2025–2026 cycle (dossiers due Spring 2025), the below information will be required. Until that time, these materials are optional.
Candidates will include a brief narrative summary of their efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. This should be part of the same file containing the candidate’s personal statement, but clearly marked with a header. It will not count as part of the five or seven page limit, although it does count toward the overall 50 page limit for the dossier.
On the required CV format, the following distinctive markings may be used:
Asterisk (*) to indicate work in rank or use a grey font for not-in-rank work.
Dagger (†) to indicate student/mentee co-authors
Number sign (#) to indicate diversity, equity and inclusion items
Confirm in a footnote what each symbol indicates
Candidates are encouraged to list their pronouns on their CVs at the top of the document, with their other contact information
What was the approval process?
Consistent with how changes to the Standards of Excellence have been vetted and approved in the past, approval rested with the Faculty Steering Committee. The FSC voted on the proposal in June 2022, with 28 members present, representing 65% of the voting membership. There were 22 votes in favor and 6 votes against.
What is the timeline for implementation?
The expectation will be phased in over three years. In the 2023-2024 promotion and tenure cycle, DEI statements and designated CV activities are optional; they would be considered expected for dossiers in the 2024-2025 cycle but dossiers would be allowed to go forward if missing. However, dossiers missing these requirements in the 2025-2026 cycle would be sent back to the candidates and departments.
What level of DEI activity satisfies this requirement?
Since activities within DEI will look different for each specialty and across different faculty appointment types, it is expected, allowable, and encouraged that one faculty member’s activity will look different from the next. There are multiple ways faculty members can meet the requirement. Many examples are provided in a brochure about the DEI expectations. Note that engaging in professional development activities is an acceptable way to fulfil this requirement, and there is no expectation that the DEI activity be formal scholarship.
How long do I have to complete this requirement?
Faculty members will have several years within rank to meet these expectations.
I’ve been asked to write a promotion and tenure letter for a faculty member at a different institution. What should be included?
Before drafting your letter, read the invitation letter and promotion criteria carefully, as some institutions have specific instructions. Review this guide to help you write an external letter for promotion and tenure.