Main Menu


Office for Faculty


Open Positions


Home Faculty Handbook Faculty Review Processes

Faculty Review Processes


Tenure-line Review Process

Retention, Promotion & Tenure (RPT) (Policy 6-303)

Unless they have prior experience elsewhere, a faculty member with a terminal degree is usually appointed to the tenure track in the rank of assistant professor. They will then progress through the ranks via the Retention, Promotion, and Tenure process. The promotion to the rank of associate professor is usually awarded at the time tenure is granted.

When a tenure-line faculty member is hired without tenure, the probationary period (time before tenure) for the rank of assistant professor is seven years unless the department/unit guidelines have set the probationary period at six years. If hired at the rank of associate professor or professor without tenure, the probationary period is five years.

The approved ways to shorten or extend the probationary period are listed below. A description of each option along with the process to request the adjustment can be found in Policy 6-311.

Shortening of Probationary Period

  1. Credit for Prior Service
  2. Extraordinary Progress

Extending the Probationary Period

  1. Leaves including Medical Leave of Absence, Serious Health Condition, Parental Leave or Family Leave, or other approved leaves.
  2. Effects of Administrative Assignment
  3. Extraordinary Circumstances

Each department/college has a set of guidelines used for review of faculty. The process and standards are provided to faculty upon hire. Also included are the materials a faculty member should include in their file. Please see the unit guidelines for specifics.

The steps for review include if applicable to the unit:

  1. Review by unit Student Advisory Committee (non-voting)
  2. Review by Unit Faculty with vote on recommendation for each considered action
  3. Review and recommendation by Unit Chair/Director
  4. Review by College Advisory Committee (if applicable)
  5. Review and Recommendation by the Dean
  6. University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (UPTAC) Review (if applicable)
    1. Single or two department colleges require review
    2. Files from multi-departmental colleges are referred if there is a negative recommendation from the prior levels
    3. SVP may refer case to UPTAC at their discretion
  7. Senior Vice President Recommendation
  8. President Decision

New Appointment Tenure:

New appointments with tenure are governed by Policy 6-303. Procedure follows the above requirements of unit criteria and guidelines along with review of the appropriate levels listed above. The review is expedited and does not require reviewed faculty response periods.

Informal reviews

Per Policy 6-303, informal reviews are required during the probationary period each year there is not a formal review for Retention, Promotion and/or Tenure. The procedure for the informal reviews is documented in the departmental/college RPT guidelines.

Formal Review(s) for Retention

The formal review for Retention is conducted in the year (or years for departments/colleges that have two retention reviews) designated in the departmental/college RPT guidelines. The review is to determine if the candidate is making adequate progress towards tenure. Most common timing is in year three or year four of the probationary period. Please see your unit’s guidelines for the schedule that applies for your review.

The action for retention is reviewed with recommendations commonly from the following participants: the student advisory committee (SAC), shared appointment unit (if applicable), the departmental faculty, the department chair, the college advisory committee, the college dean, the University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (if applicable, see Policy 6-303), and the senior vice president. If your unit is a single department college, the participants are as follows: the student advisory committee (SAC), the shared appointment unit (if applicable), the college faculty, the college dean, University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (UPTAC), and the senior vice president.

In an unsuccessful review for retention, the candidate is provided a terminal year with pay following a termination of employment with the University of Utah.

Formal Review for Tenure

The formal review for Tenure is conducted at the end of the probationary period. For those hired at the rank of assistant professor, the review for tenure with promotion to the rank of associate professor is usually conducted in year six or seven in accordance with the approved guidelines for the department/college. For the candidates hired at the rank of associate professor or professor without tenure, the formal review for tenure is conducted in year five and the award of tenure is done without a promotion.

The review for tenure (with or without promotion as described above) is used to determine if the candidate has met or exceeded the criteria in the approved departmental/college RPT guidelines. The action for tenure with or without promotion is reviewed with recommendations commonly from the following participants: the student advisory committee (SAC), shared appointment unit (if applicable), the departmental faculty, the department chair, the college advisory committee, the college dean, the University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (if applicable, see policy 6-303), the senior vice president, with the final decision made by the president. If your unit is a single department college, the participants are as follows: the student advisory committee (SAC), the shared appointment unit (if applicable), the college faculty, the college dean, University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (UPTAC), the senior vice president, with the final decision made by the president.

In an unsuccessful review for tenure, the candidate is provided a terminal year with pay following a termination of employment with the University of Utah.

Formal Review for Promotion to Professor

The review for promotion to the rank of Professor (often colloquially referred to as Full Professor or Full) is done following tenure on a timeframe that is chosen by the candidate. It most often happens at least five years after the award of tenure, but the required timeframe (if applicable) is documented in the approved department/college RPT guidelines. The reviewers will be asked to determine if the candidate has met or exceeded the criteria in the approved departmental/college RPT guidelines. The action for promotion to Professor is reviewed with recommendations commonly from the following participants: the student advisory committee (SAC), shared appointment unit (if applicable), the departmental faculty, the department chair, the college advisory committee, the college dean, the University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (if applicable, see policy 6-303), the senior vice president, with the final decision made by the president. If your unit is a single department college, the participants are as follows: the student advisory committee (SAC), the shared appointment unit (if applicable), the college faculty, the college dean, University Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee (UPTAC), the senior vice president, with the final decision made by the president.

Appeal of Denial of Retention, Promotion, and/or Tenure

A faculty member under formal RPT review may appeal an unfavorable final recommendation of the Senior Vice President through procedures and grounds provided in Policy 6-011. Click here to view the policy.

Tenured Faculty Review (TFR) (Policy 6-321)

The department chairperson administers a review of the work of each tenured faculty member of the department in five-year cycles, with the involvement of a faculty review committee. Procedures and criteria for post-tenure reviews are normally established by each department/college and are set forth in their approved guidelines.

Career-line Faculty Reviews

Reviews for Career-line faculty are governed by Policy 6-310 and the approved guidelines of the department/college. The reviews for this category are for reappointment or reappointment with promotion.

Adjunct Faculty Reviews

Reviews for Adjunct faculty are governed by Policy 6-310 and the approved guidelines of the department/college. The reviews for this category are for reappointment or reappointment with promotion.

Visiting Faculty Reviews:

Appointments in the Visiting Faculty category are limited to a cumulative term three-years. If hired on a year-to-year basis, reviews for reappointment are governed by Policy 6-310 and the approved guidelines of the department/college.