Academic Affairs Manual (ACD)

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Effective: 7/1/1982

Revised: 11/1/2019

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ACD 506–05: Faculty Promotion

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To describe faculty promotion

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Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual - 6–201
Office of the Provost of the University

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The purpose of promotion is to recognize and reward accomplishment. Promotion is awarded on the basis of proven excellence. Tenure-eligible faculty members are promoted because they have demonstrated excellence in teaching and/or instructional contributions, research, scholarship and/or creative activities, and service (see ACD 202–01, “Faculty Responsibilities.”) Fixed-term faculty are promoted based on excellence in the specific area(s) of assignment. This excellence is achieved in the context of the program in which faculty members work. It is understood that academic units will have different criteria for promotion in rank that depend upon the unit’s mission and goals.

Review for Promotion: Tenured and Tenure-Eligible Faculty

Tenure-eligible assistant professors being reviewed for promotion must also be reviewed for tenure whether the review is early, mandatory, or expedited. Associate professors may be reviewed for tenure without also seeking a promotion in rank. Tenured associate professors may be candidates for promotion at any time after the award of tenure. Faculty members serving in administrative positions may have administrative contributions evaluated as a component of service to the university.

The promotion review is designed to ensure a fair and impartial process that is clear, unambiguous, comprehensive, and applied consistently and uniformly. This process is conducted in the following order where all of the constituent levels exist or are stated in unit bylaws (e.g., some colleges do not have departments and may only have two levels of review): the academic unit personnel committee, the chair/director, the college personnel committee, the supervising dean, the university tenure and promotion committee, the provost of the university, and the president. Each of these units or individuals makes independent recommendations that are informed by previous recommendations. The president ultimately makes the promotion decision. The promotion review process is a confidential process with specific notification requirements and restrictions at each stage of the process.

See P3, “University Faculty Probationary, Tenure, and Promotion Requirements for Academic Unit Bylaws” for information about university promotion review requirements that should be in academic unit and college bylaws. Specific information is required of candidates being reviewed for promotion. The material reviewed includes information provided by candidates, external review letters solicited by the academic unit, and may include additional information requested by an individual or committee to clarify or explain information provided at an earlier stage that has been approved by the next-level administrator. Recommendations for external reviewers are made equally by the candidate and the academic unit chair/director; the selection of reviewers will be equally divided between the candidate’s and the chair/director’s list. The chair/director also consults with the supervising dean about her or his list of external reviewers. Typically there should be a minimum of five external reviewers who are professors in highly respected colleges/universities (e.g. peer or aspirational peer institutions). These reviewers typically will not have a close professional or personal connection with the candidate (e.g. co-author, co-PI, or member of the candidate’s dissertation committee). For information about promotion file content requirements, see P5, “Tenure and/or Promotion Process Guide.”

Notification of Recommendations and Final Decision

Academic unit level: the chair/director shall provide an oral statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the case to the candidate based on the reviews at the academic unit level; the candidate may choose to withdraw from further consideration at this point.

College level: the supervising dean shall provide an oral statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the case to the candidate based on the reviews at the college level; the candidate may choose to withdraw from further consideration at this point. In units without departments or similar types of units (e.g., divisions), deans should advise candidates for promotion and/or tenure of the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

University level: no notification is made by the university committee.

Final decision: the final decision regarding the award of promotion is made through written notification to the candidate by the president.

External review letters shall not be shared with candidates. Review/personnel committee members at every level shall not discuss deliberations with candidates.

Promotion to Associate Professor

Promotion to associate professor requires an overall record of excellence and the promise of continued excellence. The candidate must have achieved excellence in teaching and instructional activities as well as in research, scholarship and/or creative activities. Service must at least be “satisfactory” or “effective.” Academic units in which public service is a central aspect of their mission also may require excellence in public service.

Promotion to Professor

Promotion to full professor must be based on an overall record of excellence in the performance of responsibilities. The candidate must also demonstrate continued effectiveness in teaching, research, scholarship and/or creative activities, and service since the promotion to associate professor and evidence of contributions at a level beyond that reflected in the promotion decision to associate professor. Generally, an overall record of excellence requires national and/or international recognition for scholarly and/or creative achievement.

Expedited Review for Promotion: Tenured and Tenure-eligible Faculty

Current Faculty

The university reserves the right to conduct an expedited review for awarding promotion to a faculty member when such action will serve the best interests of ASU. The decision to conduct an expedited promotion review is an exception to the regular promotion review described above and will be approved only in extraordinary circumstances, which could include, but are not limited to:

  1. the decision of the university to respond to an offer of other employment to a current faculty member whom ASU desires to retain
  2. the receipt of an extraordinary award or honor by a faculty member that is likely to generate offers of employment or brings distinction to the individual and the institution


  3. other circumstances that the provost of the university determines warrant expedited promotion review.

ASU has no obligation to consider or approve an expedited review at the request of the faculty member even for the circumstances listed above. For information about the expedited review process, see P4, “Expedited Review for Tenure-Eligible Faculty Process Guide.”

Every effort will be made to conclude an expedited review within 21 calendar days following the initiation of the review or as soon as possible thereafter.

Candidates Requesting Promotion at the Time of Hire

For candidates who are requesting promotion to a higher rank, an expedited promotion review will be conducted, including faculty and administrative review(s) at all levels. To accommodate the need for prompt decision-making:

  1. the college personnel committee review may be bypassed so long as there is faculty review at the unit and university levels


  2. the university faculty review may be conducted by a subcommittee of the university promotion and tenure committee. The review will include external review letters solicited from the candidate’s and the unit head/dean’s lists.

See P4, “Expedited Review for Tenure-Eligible Faculty Process Guide.” for more information about this process.

In all cases, the final decision on hire and rank rests with the university president.

Review for Promotion: Fixed-Term Faculty

Individuals with fixed-term faculty appointments as lecturer, clinical faculty, and research faculty are eligible for promotion in rank. The promotion review for fixed-term faculty is designed to ensure a fair and impartial process that is clear, unambiguous, comprehensive, and applied consistently and uniformly. The review is conducted in the following order, assuming each level exists: academic unit personnel committee, chair/director, college committee, supervising dean, and provost of the university. The provost of the university makes the final decision for promotion.

Due to the differences in types of work performed by persons in fixed term appointments, academic units must clearly define the criteria for promotion to each rank. For information about university promotion review requirements for academic unit bylaws, see P22, “Fixed-Term Faculty Promotion and Renewal Requirements for Academic Unit Bylaws.” For information about promotion file content requirements, see P6, “Fixed-Term Faculty Promotion Process Guide.” The date when promotion files are due in the Office of the Provost of the University is specified annually in the schedule of personnel actions released by the Office of the Provost of the University.

Denial of Promotion

The denial of promotion, tenure, or retention need not be construed as due to failure or poor performance on the candidate's part. Considerations such as the need for a different area of specialization or for a new emphasis within the unit, the lack of a continuing position, the need to shift a position or resources to another department, or the opportunity for a more vigorous program in teaching, research, or service may dictate that the individual not be retained or granted tenure. Insufficient evidence of or lack of proven excellence may lead to a decision to deny promotion.

Decisions of the president on the granting or denying of promotion are final unless the faculty member alleges that a material violation of regular university procedures occurred in the review or decision, or that the results were based on the discriminatory or other unconstitutional grounds, as outlined in ACD 509–02, “Grievance Policy for Faculty.”

Grievance based solely on claims of discrimination are to be initially referred to the Office of University Rights and Responsibilities for investigation.

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  1. ACD 505–02, “Faculty Membership, Appointment Categories, Ranks, and Titles”
  2. ACD 506–03, “Faculty Probationary Appointments”
  3. ACD 506–04, “Tenure.”


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