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Outline for Contract Renewal & Tenure Dossiers

Tenure Timeline

Each new faculty member is on a tenure timeline, which is created based on whether or not he or she has been hired with years of credit toward tenure. Each faculty member will be provided with a tenure timeline document in the fall of his/her first semester during the NFI session.

Basic Outline for Contract Renewal Dossiers and Tenure Dossiers

Contract Renewal reviews take place for your 3rd/4th year contract and your 5th/6th year contract. It's always a good idea to ask a colleague in your department who has recently gone through this process if you can take a look at his/her contract renewal dossier.

Section One: Primary Documentation

  1. Your file should include a cover letter addressed to your department Faculty Evaluation Committee (FEC), which is first committee that reviews your work.
  2. Include a copy of an updated CV.
  3. Your file opens with a pre-document, which we have been referring to as your file narrative, that points out to your departmental FEC and your chair, as well as subsequent reviewers up the line (Academic Council; Dean; Provost) the work you have accomplished. This pre-document is a narrative. There are key questions you should be answering: How is your research contributing to your field of study? How do your teaching practices and advising contribute to student learning and departmental objectives? In what ways have you contributed to your department and college in terms of service? Your narrative should be 3-5 pages in length.  

Note: Please talk with your department about the pre-document. Some departments like each contract section of your file to open with a narrative. Most departments prefer a narrative report up front in the primary documentation section that addresses the three contract areas and your contributions to them. The discussion here is based upon a file that uses a narrative up front and then explains the organization of each contract section.

  1. Include copies of all annual report(s) in chronological order.
  2. Include copies of evaluations from FEC, Chair, Academic Council, Dean, Provost. (For your first contract renewal file in the fall of your second year, you will have responses to your first annual report from May of your first academic year, which comes from your departmental FEC, your departmental Chair, and your College Dean).

Section Two: Teaching Effectiveness and Advising

Tip: You should begin to collect evidence of teaching methodologies and achievement of student learning. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure each course syllabus clearly states your learning objectives.
  • Collect examples of student work from different points of the semester (i.e., mid-semester exam and final exam…these can be used to demonstrate how student learning progressed. You should white out the student names. It is recommended that you ask students for permission to use their work anonymously in your file.)
  • Ask someone in your department (preferably a tenured professor) to evaluate your teaching. Work on an evaluation process that is more than just one class visit. Here are some suggestions:
    • Class visits should be unannounced.
    • 2-3 visits in a semester is more effective for a more holistic evaluation. Visits need not be for the entire class period. A 30-minute drop-by would work.
    • Have the faculty member critique your course syllabus.
    • Give the faculty member examples of graded student work (with student names whited out) so that your formative and summative feedback can be evaluated.
    • At the end of each semester, write up a short narrative about each course and what you did to achieve student learning. Discuss how your course contributes to the learning goals of your department. Consider as well what you have changed from previous times that you taught the course. Set aside assignment sheets or examples of student work that document those changes.
    • Consider having someone in your field outside of the university write a critique of your course syllabus that documents how your course "fits" into the objectives of the field.

Documents for Teaching and Advising Effectiveness Section:

  1. Include syllabi and representative course handouts.
  2. Include peer reviews of your teaching.
  3. Include discussions of any professional development activities for teaching in which you engaged (i.e., participation in Center for Teaching Excellence workshops; courses taken; etc.)
  4. Include copies of student evaluations. Create an overall cover sheet with total evaluations (make sure your department wants this information).

Section Three: Scholarship and Professional Activities

This section is where you provide copies of publications, conference presentations (including copy of a program page listing your name and copies of your acceptance letters); grant proposals; etc. You may want to set up categories within this section to separate your work.

Tip: Office supply stores sell plastic binder folders that can hold your articles; these folders provide easy access to your work and mean that you do not have to put each page in a plastic sheet holder.

Section Four: University Service

  1. Include an opening document sheet listing university service work so that, at a quick glance, reviewers can easily see your campus service contributions.
  2. Include letters/documentation for your work.

Tip: Each time you complete a service activity, make sure that you receive a letter documenting your service work from the committee chair. You don't want to have to track these letters down at the end of each year.

Section Five: Public Service (if you choose this category)

  1. Include an opening document sheet listing public service work and a narrative addressing how your service has contributed to the community (or include this information in a pre-document depending on your department preference).
  2. Include letters/documentation for your work.
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