Academic Affairs Manual (ACD)

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Effective: 2/21/1990

Revised: 9/16/2015

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ACD 507–07: Academic Professional Promotion

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To describe promotion for academic professionals

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Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual - 6–301
Office of the Provost of the University

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Academic professionals

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The purpose of promotion is to recognize and reward accomplishment. Academic professionals are promoted based on proven excellence in position effectiveness, professional contributions, and institutional, professional, and community service. Excellence is achieved in the context of the program in which the academic professional works. It is understood that libraries or academic units will have different criteria for promotion in rank that depend on the library’s or academic unit’s mission and goals. Promotions occur in this sequence: from assistant to associate, and from associate to full.

Promotion in rank occurs only through specific notification from the president and may not result from inaction or inadvertence.

Evaluation for Promotion

At the university level, there is no specified correlation between the award of promotion and the award of continuing appointment. Probationary academic professionals may apply for promotion and continuing appointment in the same or different years unless unit criteria dictate that they must be applied for concurrently.

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: the library or academic unit personnel review committee, the library or academic unit administrator, the college peer review committee, the college dean/university librarian, the University Promotion and Continuing Appointment Committee, the provost of the university, and the president. Each of these libraries or academic units or individuals makes independent recommendations that are informed by previous recommendations. No person may participate in more than one level of review. 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.

Requirements for promotion evaluations in library or academic unit by-laws may be found at P8, “University Academic Professional Probationary, Continuing Appointment, and Promotion Requirements for Academic Unit Bylaws.” Specific information is required of candidates being reviewed for promotion. The material reviewed for promotion includes information provided by candidates and any additional information required by an individual or committee to clarify or explain information provided at an earlier stage. External review letters are also required for probationary academic professionals going up for promotion and academic professionals with continuing status going up for promotion. The library or academic unit administrator, in consultation with the college, has primary responsibility to procure review letters from experts who are qualified to evaluate the candidate’s accomplishments. Candidates will be asked to suggest reviewers, but the administrator of the library or academic unit has the ultimate responsibility for identifying a selection of well-qualified reviewers. In consultation with the library or academic unit administrator, the dean/university librarian of the candidate’s college approves the choice of reviewers.

For information about promotion file content requirements, see the following:

  • P9, “Probationary or Conditional Review for Academic Professionals Process Guide”
  • P11, “Continuing Appointment for Probationary, or Promotion for On-Track, Academic Professionals Process Guides”
  • P12, “Promotion for Fixed-Term Academic Professionals Process Guide”
  • P13, “University Fixed-Term Academic Professional Promotion Requirements for Academic Unit Bylaws”

Notification of Recommendations and Final Decision

Library or Academic unit level: the administrator may provide an oral statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the case to the candidate based on the reviews at the library or academic unit level; the candidate may choose to withdraw from further consideration at this point.

College level: the supervising dean/university librarian may 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.

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.

Review/personnel committee members at every level shall not discuss deliberations with candidates. Internal/external evaluation letters shall not be shared with candidates.

If an academic professional withdraws the application for promotion review, the materials submitted by the candidate for the review shall be returned to the academic professional. Confidential materials will be placed in the personnel file of the academic professional in the supervising dean’s/university librarian’s office. In these instances, nothing will be forwarded to the Office of the Provost of the University unless promotion is sought along with continuing appointment in the final year of a probationary appointment, when the request package must go forward unless the candidate submits a resignation.

Promotion to Associate

Academic professionals appointed at/promoted to associate rank must exceed the criteria for initial appointment at assistant rank, and meet the criteria for appointment to the associate rank as defined by the library or academic unit. They must have attained considerable expertise in the areas of competence required of their positions. Associate academic professionals must demonstrate excellence in position effectiveness, continued professional contributions, and growth and involvement in university and community service.

Promotion to Full

Academic professionals appointed at/promoted to full rank must exceed the criteria for associate rank, have substantial professional experience, and meet the criteria for appointment to the full rank as defined by the library or academic unit. Academic professionals at this rank must demonstrate a high level of effectiveness and should be considered experts in their chosen fields. At this rank, both professional contributions and service activities must involve sharing knowledge and experience with others by providing substantial guidance and leadership in areas of professional or academic interest. Although there is no prescribed timeline for promotion from associate to full, it would be unusual for a person to accumulate the record of accomplishment expected for this rank without working for several years at the associate level.

Expedited Review for Promotion

The university reserves the right to conduct expedited review for promotion in extraordinary circumstances when such action will serve the best interests of the university. An expedited 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 academic professional whom the university desires to retain
  2. the receipt of an extraordinary award or honor by an academic professional 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 determine warrant expedited continuing appointment review.

The university has no obligation to consider or approve an expedited review at the request of the academic professional or for any other circumstances, including the circumstances listed above. For information about the expedited process see P10, “Expedited Review for Probationary and Continuing Appointment Academic Professionals 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.

Denial of Promotion

If promotion is denied, the academic professional may apply again. There is no limit on the number of times an academic professional may apply for promotion. In either case, continuing appointment status is not affected.


Decisions of the president on the granting or denying of promotion are final unless an academic professional alleges that the review or decision was not made in accordance with regular university procedures or that the results were based on discriminatory or other unconstitutional grounds, as outlined in ACD 509–03, “Grievance Policy for Academic Professionals.”

The schedule of personnel actions is available on the Web site of the Office of the Provost of the University.

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  1. ACD 202–02, “Academic Professional Responsibilities.”
  2. ACD 507–05, “Academic Professional Probationary Appointments.”
  3. ACD 507–06, “Continuing Appointment for Academic Professionals.”
  4. ACD 509–03, “Grievance Policy for Academic Professionals.”


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