Dossier Preparation Handbook

Handbook Review History

Revised—09/22/2017, 02/28/2019, 1/15/2021

On this page:

1. Definition of Terms

Academic Rank (Tenure)

Two classifications provide recognition for tenure (track) status; they are identified as Research Scholars and Clinical Scholars.

From: Jacobs School Policies, Procedures and Criteria for Faculty Promotions, page 1.

Distinterested

Refers to evaluators who should be disinterested, i.e., not having a personal or close professional relationship with the candidate: friends, students, former teachers and colleagues, mentors, co-authors and co-investigators.

From: From: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.9. Letters of Evaluation

ePTF

Electronic Personnel Transaction Form generated by the candidate’s department and stipulating title, effective personnel action date and salary associated with the change in rank (if applicable).

Jacobs School

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

President's Review Board (PRB)

The UB faculty advisory body to the President and Provost on matters of appointments, promotion, and tenure. The Board is comprised of a Chair, who must be a senior Professor or Librarian (non-voting), nine tenured faculty holding the rank of Professor or Librarian (voting), and two student representatives (non-voting).

From: President's Review Board

Qualified Academic Rank (Non-Tenure)

Qualified ranks are used primarily to designate faculty members whose primary contributions will be in one area of academic activity. For example, the “Research” prefix is appropriate for faculty members whose activities are primarily in research; “Clinical” for those teaching and performing scholarly activity and service in a clinical environment as part of an established academic program. Lecturer is also a qualified title used primarily for appointments restricted to teaching. These appointments do not lead to consideration for continuing appointment. Faculty in these appointments are eligible to seek promotion in rank. These positions may be full time, part time, or voluntary.

From: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section I.B. Qualified Academic Rank

Rank on Rank Voting

Only those faculty holding the same or a higher rank as the action being considered may vote on a faculty personnel action.

From: Faculty Voting Eligibility Policy

Tenure

At SUNY, “tenure” is termed “continuing appointment”. Academic employees granted Continuing Appointment cannot be non-renewed. This is similar to permanent appointment for professional employees.

From: UUP’s Guide for Academics at SUNY, pages 8-9.

2. Jacobs School Office of Faculty Affairs Contacts

We are happy to assist faculty with preparation of the Curriculum Vita and development of the Personal Statement, the foundational pieces of a candidate’s dossier.

Additionally, should you have questions pertaining to any aspect of the promotion or appointment dossier – from its preparation to submission – feel free to contact us.

3. Dossier Submission Calendar

3.1 Tenure dossiers for Professor and Associate Professor and Qualified Rank Research Educator Professor

  • September 1: original + PDF

3.2 Non-tenure (Qualified) dossiers including Clinical and Research Educators and Volunteers

  • November 1 (preferred): original + PDF
  • January 15: deadline for review during current academic cycle

4. Dossier Submission Office Address

Dossiers may be sent via campus mail, courier service or delivered to:

Office of Faculty Affairs
955 Main Street (Downtown Campus)
Suite 6130, Room 6155
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
University at Buffalo
955 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14203-1121

All PDFs should be emailed to Senior Staff Assistant, Sofia Tangalos (tangalos@buffalo.edu).

5. Dossier Preparation

The preparation of a promotion or appointment dossier is a collaborative effort, involving the candidate, department chair, department faculty and staff. The roles and responsibilities of the candidate and department chair are outlined below.

5.1. Candidate’s Tasks

A list of tasks follows. Each item that is designated to be provided should be submitted to the Department Chair or in some cases another individual designated to assemble the dossier.

  1. Provide a comprehensive and current CV following UB format.
    A revised CV may be included in the dossier at any time prior to PRB review. All changes to the original CV must be highlighted.
  2. Develop a Personal Statement that addresses scholarship, teaching and service.
  3. Secure an Advocate (optional) and notify the Chair of this decision.
  4. Provide teaching evaluations for at least the past 5 years.
  5. Provide the names and email addresses of 3-5 former mentees who could provide an evaluative letter addressing your impact on their education/training and career.
  6. Provide names of individuals who should NOT be contacted as external or internal evaluators.
  7. The candidate should NOT provide names of potential external evaluators.
  8. It is the candidate’s right to respond to an evaluation submitted at any supervisory level (i.e., Chair’s letter or Dean’s Letter or President’s Review Board (PRB)) according to the collective bargaining agreement up to any point prior to the provost or vice presidential decisions. In the event of a negative decision by the Chair or Dean or PRB not supporting the promotion, the candidate may submit a letter in response to those decisions to be included in the dossier.
  9. The candidate may review Part I of the completed dossier before the department vote. The only time the candidate receives a formal invitation to review the dossier and vote outcome is after the provost’s review or after the PRB meeting if there has been a negative outcome and advocacy is offered. The candidate does not attend the post-PRB advocacy meeting.
  10. Opt Out Statement

    Each UB employee who as of May 6, 2020 is currently serving in a position of academic rank, who has not yet attained continuing appointment status, and who is not currently under review, shall have an automatic one-year extension of the time to continuing appointment without change in title, full-time equivalent or other employment status.

    Any UB employee in a position of academic rank who has not yet attained continuing appointment status may OPT OUT of the automatic one-year extension and be considered for continuing appointment based on their original schedule.  Faculty wishing to opt out of the COVID-19 tenure extension must notify, in writing, their Department Chair, Dean, and the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs in the year they plan to be reviewed. The following template language is recommended:

    In compliance with the April 20, 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between New York State and UUP regarding the COVID-19 tenure extension timelines, I hereby elect to opt out of the one-year automatic tenure extension. I understand that my election to opt out is irrevocable and that I will proceed with consideration of my promotion in accordance with the UUP collective bargaining agreement and the Policies of the SUNY Board of Trustees.


    UB faculty who have previously been granted a tenure clock stop are eligible for the COVID-19 tenure extension. Accepting the COVID-19 tenure extension does not preclude future clock stop eligibility covered under UB’s standard clock stop policy.

5.1.1 Curriculum Vitae

Representing the academic and professional history of the candidate, the CV is an extremely important part of the dossier. It should be accurate, clear and up-to-date in every respect.  The candidate should provide the information as outlined in the UB Format for Curriculum Vitae. Gratuitous information such as the candidate’s marital status, number/names of children, religious affiliation etc., should not be included.

5.1.2 Personal Statement

Purpose

The Personal Statement should reflect your personal career highlights and what you are passionate about in your professional career. It should not be a review of your CV.

Content

You should identify for the evaluators the challenges and successes in your scholarship, teaching and service activities. How have you contributed to your field? What is your philosophy regarding your approach to teaching and what successes have you experienced that fulfill your goals for trainee achievement? Have you been able to make meaningful contributions through service? Be sure to include your plans for future scholarship, teaching and service. Promotion at any rank is a promise for continued success, so goals and plans for the future must be included in your Personal Statement.

5.1.2.1. Scholarship and Research Statement

Address accomplishments (no more than three pages) with reference to:

  1. Activities performed while employed at UB vs. previous experience.
  2. Assistant professors describe how your work at UB established your independence from previous advisors and work completed for the terminal degree. Associate professors describe how your work since your last promotion has contributed to/impacted the field.
  3. What are you most proud of or excited about regarding your accomplishments? Highlight any groundbreaking or seminal contributions to your field, significant findings, breakthroughs or innovations, patents, etc., and explain their importance.
  4. Evidence of influence in the discipline or profession, or industry.
  5. Describe your role and unique contributions to collaborative projects. What do you identify as your expertise that is valuable to collaborations or team science?
  6. For promotion to Associate Professor, the candidate is expected to highlight those accomplishments (i.e., publications, reviews, chapters, invited talks) that have raised his/her national reputation or even international reputation. For promotion to Professor, the candidate should highlight those accomplishments that have raised his/her international and national reputation.

Please also address future plans for:

  1. The focus and direction of the research/scholarship/clinical activities
  2. Plans for future development, collaboration, application to significant problems
  3. Status of funding with reference to past record and future plans, collaborations, etc.

5.1.2.2. Educational Activities and Teaching Statement

Describe your teaching accomplishments (no more than three pages):

  1. Describe your philosophy or approach to education and/or mentoring.
  2. Highlight innovations in teaching methods, materials, evaluation, i.e., software, self-directed learning activities; formative evaluation strategies.
  3. Curriculum development activities, i.e., new courses; remedial/enrichment activities.
  4. Contributions to course or program administration, i.e., course director and goals in this role.
  5. Advisement and mentoring activities – what is your goal in participating in these?
  6. Contributions to interdisciplinary or non-departmental program; continuing education.
  7. Comment on any modifications to teaching based on student feedback.

Please also address future plans for:

Teaching and mentoring – plans or hopes for continuing or expanding teaching roles?

5.1.2.3. Service Statement

This should be a concise description (no more than two pages) of the candidate's professional achievements and leadership which contribute to his/her and the University's regional and/or national and international stature. The major focus should be on evidence of significant and substantial service to professional societies and organizations and review bodies, as well as to the university and public sector. It should address in order of importance for the promotion review: Professional Service, University Service, and Community/Public Service (i.e., public health or educational programs). The description should include how the candidate has shared or applied his/her professional knowledge, skills, and abilities to benefit:

  1. His/her profession
  2. Public health, welfare, education
  3. The University at Buffalo/Jacobs School/Department
  4. Social or civic projects

Please also address future plans for service at the national and local levels.

5.2. Department Chair’s Tasks

  1. Provide a letter that addresses the candidate’s qualifications for promotion
  2. Solicit external evaluator letters preferably of professorial rank (see section 5.2.2 for details).
  3. For tenure dossiers, evaluators should be from AAU-member institutions unless justification is provided for not doing so.
  4. Solicit internal evaluator letters from colleagues familiar with the candidate and their research, teaching, service, etc. (see section 5.2.2 for details).
  5. Solicit a collaborator letter if the candidate has contributed to a multi-year project with a non-UB affiliate (optional).
  6. Gather formal teaching evaluations
  7. Solicit mentoring impact letters from candidate’s former mentees.
  8. To ensure a uniform process across all Jacobs School departments, this section specifies the chronology of three key elements concerning the departmental review and vote for promotion cases. Procedures and standards followed by individual departments may supplement but not supplant these policies, and in each instance they shall occur in the following order:

    First - Dossier
    : The complete dossier will be made available to eligible Associate Professors and Professors at least one week prior to the department meeting. Assistant Professors may be included at the discretion of the department Chair. The physical dossier – as a confidential document – should be kept in a secure location for eligible faculty to review. Additionally, the dossier may be made accessible for viewing electronically via a secure location, i.e., UB Box folder.

    Prior to the department meeting, faculty who have a conflict of interest regarding a candidate should self-identify and recuse him/herself from viewing the dossier and from the discussion and vote on the candidate.

    Second – Departmental Meeting
    : Department faculty will be invited to meet to discuss the dossier and hear the Advocate’s statement, if applicable. Assistant Professors may be invited at the discretion of the department Chair.

    Third – Departmental Vote
    : Eligible participating department faculty at the meeting will conduct a rank-on-rank vote by confidential ballot (ballot should include 3 options: for, against and abstain).

    Nonvoting faculty include secondary/affiliate faculty and volunteer faculty. Clinical qualified track faculty do not vote on tenurial promotions/appointments.
  9. Submit a complete dossier with required documentation.

5.2.1. Chair’s Letter

Purpose

This letter should be written with great care and clarity since it represents the Chair’s recommendation and is considered an endorsement to the Dean and subsequent review bodies at the School and University levels. The letter interprets and contextualizes the candidate’s work for reviewers from various disciplines.

Content

The Chair’s letter should address the three areas of the candidate’s contributions: Scholarship, Teaching and Service. For clinical faculty, the letter should also address the candidate’s clinical expertise and contributions.

The letter should include:

  1. The department’s quantitative vote outcome with commentary on the outcome, especially in the case of a split vote, to help evaluators understand the outcome.
  2. For tenure dossiers, the reasons for soliciting letters from evaluators at non-AAU institutions (if any) should be provided. The President’s Review Board prefers external letters be from AAU member institutions.
  3. The reasons for selection of specific evaluators (i.e., based upon reputation in their field, expertise, etc.) should be justified in the Chair’s letter.

Scholarship and Research

A thorough description of the candidate’s work, including an explanation or assessment of:

  1. The impact of the work on the discipline – highlighting seminal contributions, etc.
  2. Any limiting or mitigating factors to the candidate’s success
  3. The quality of publications and scholarly endeavors
  4. Grant awards and other external funding
  5. Past accomplishments
  6. Future promise

In cases where the candidate’s work occurs in collaboration with others, whether as co-investigator of a grant or co-author of a publication, care should be taken to indicate precisely the candidate’s degree of contribution in each instance.

Teaching

A description and analysis of the candidate’s teaching contributions.

  1. Importance of his/her contributions to the Department and School’s educational mission
  2. Any innovations in teaching or curriculum development or mentoring
  3. Scholarly productivity in relation to teaching and learning
  4. Leadership role in directing courses, workshops, etc.

Service

This section comprises three categories (which appear as five entries on the candidate’s CV); address only those applicable to the candidate.

Professional/Public: Describe the candidate’s contributions to the profession itself:

  1. Participation in professional organizations
  2. Editorial responsibilities with presses and journals
  3. Organization of conferences and symposia, etc.

In addition, describe the candidate’s professional or scholarly expertise that contributes to improving society’s welfare (i.e., serving on state or national task forces, providing technical or other assistance to social or government agencies, doing clinical work).

University/School/Department: summarize any administrative and committee service roles within the university, school and department.

Community: summarize any contributions to local service and community organizations.

5.2.2 Letters from Evaluators

A list of all invited evaluators contacted must be included in the dossier. If a potential evaluator declined to write a letter or did not reply to the invitation then this should be so indicated.

All letters of evaluation received must be included in the dossier.

All external evaluators must be disinterested, including those invited from UB for certain ranks. Disinterested refers to evaluators who do not have a close personal or collaborative relationship with the candidate. External evaluators should not be friends, students, former teachers and colleagues, mentors, co-authors or co-investigators, or anyone who claims a close personal relationship with the candidate past or present. However, they may know the candidate from professional interactions or as a member of a professional society/organization.

All dossiers should present a minimum of four letters from disinterested external evaluators (except Volunteer ranks, see below), solicited by the Chair.

Chairs should also recognize the special nature of cross-disciplinary scholarship and team science, and ensure that an appropriate evaluation from other participating departments or research centers be included.

5.2.2.1 Letters from External Evaluators for Tenure (Unqualified) Dossiers

The dossier should present a minimum of four letters from disinterested external evaluators, solicited by the Chair. It is strongly suggested that 1-2 additional letters from disinterested evaluators be included. The PRB prefers that letters be dated no more than 6-8 months prior to dossier submission. The evaluators must be distinguished scholars or professional practitioners from leading public or private research universities holding membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU). The evaluators must hold a rank equal to or above the rank to which the candidate would be promoted. However, letters from evaluators at the professor level are preferred in all rank promotions.

The Chair should avoid requesting letters from interested scholars - those having a personal or close professional relationship (present or past) with the candidate: friends, students, former teachers and colleagues, mentors, co-authors and co-investigators. If the Chair includes such letters, they should be in addition to the four required disinterested letters.  In all such instances, the Chair must explain in the Chair’s letter the rationale for their inclusion and why the assessments can be presumed disinterested and/or important to the case. Evaluators should be asked to describe the nature of their relationship to the candidate, if any, in their letter.

a) All names of potential evaluators must be searched in the candidate’s CV to ensure that they are excluded if they appear as co-authors on publications or collaborators on current or previous grants.

Generally, the evaluators should be selected by an ad hoc faculty committee appointed by the Chair, or by the Chair in consultation with faculty colleagues in the candidate’s field of expertise. The Chair is encouraged to seek the counsel of leading scholars from other peer institutions who work in the candidate’s field as well as those within the candidate’s department or school. The Chair may also consult the candidate for names of disinterested evaluators if necessary. However, if any letters are solicited from names on the candidate’s list they should be in addition to the four disinterested letters, not counted among the four, and the names not shared with the candidate.

5.2.2.2 Letters from Internal Evaluators for Tenure (Unqualified) Dossiers

Internal letters should be solicited from colleagues at UB, preferably from the candidate’s department or from center and institute directors and affiliated faculty where applicable. The Chair should seek internal evaluators who can best comment on the: extent and quality of the candidate’s research or creative activity; teaching and mentoring capabilities, including their ability to work with graduate students and trainees; willingness and skill in working with colleagues, serving on committees, and making other meaningful contributions to the university as well as other public or professional service as appropriate.

5.2.2.2.1 Letters from Internal and External Evaluators for External Candidates

In the case of external candidates who are being appointed from other institutions, the Chair should seek equivalent internal letters from colleagues in the department where the candidate was most recently employed. The Chair may provide a synopsis of the report of the local search committee as a substitute for internal letters from UB.

For such candidates, the Chair will also solicit a minimum of four letters from disinterested distinguished referees external to the appointee’s institution

5.2.3 Letters for Non-tenure (Qualified) Dossiers

External evaluators for non-tenure academic (clinical and research) associate professor ranks may be selected from extramural institutions or from another UB unit or department outside the candidate’s specialty or discipline. These external evaluators must hold a rank equal to or above the rank to which the candidate would be promoted and be disinterested; they may not have an adjunct/volunteer appointment with the candidate’s primary unit at UB. A minimum of four external letters are required, in addition to two internal letters from the candidate’s department or unit.

External evaluators for non-tenure clinical and research professor ranks must be disinterested leaders in their field and external to UB. There should be a minimum of four external letters and two internal letters.

5.2.4. Letters for Volunteer Dossiers

Promotion dossiers for volunteer faculty to associate professor ranks must include a minimum of five letters of evaluation from individuals at a rank equal to or above the rank to which the candidate seeks promotion. Two letters must be from external evaluators and two letters must be from internal evaluators; the fifth letter may be from either an internal or external evaluator at the discretion of the Chair. Internal evaluators must be selected from within the University department/unit and/or other schools and affiliated institutions (i.e., Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, VA of WNY). External evaluators must be disinterested and may be selected from outside the candidate’s department/unit at UB or an affiliated institution; external evaluators may also be external to UB, although this is not required.

For promotion of clinical volunteer faculty to professor ranks, a minimum of five evaluative letters must be solicited from peers at that rank: three external letters from disinterested leaders in their field and external to UB; two internal letters from faculty in the candidate’s department/unit.

For clinical volunteer faculty whose strength is teaching, the Chair is advised to solicit evaluative letters from peers with medical educator experience/credentials. For volunteer faculty whose strength is research, the Chair is urged to solicit evaluative letters from peers with a reputable record of scholarly contributions.

5.2.5. Letters from Former Trainees

In addition, it is recommended that the Chair solicit letter(s) from up to 3 former trainees/mentees who can address the faculty member’s strengths and effectiveness as a teacher and mentor. These letters – mentoring-impact letters – would appear in a separate section, and do not count as either external or internal evaluator letters.

5.3 The Evaluator Solicitation Letter

The Chair should address the following points in the invitation letter to evaluators:

  1. Rather than provide a general recommendation or unsubstantiated opinion, the evaluators should be asked to comment on the candidate’s credentials: the quality of the faculty member’s current research or creative activity; the quality of publications or other evidence of peer review; and the candidate’s potential for future growth and contribution to the discipline. The evaluator should also provide specific comparisons between the candidate and others in the field who, relative to the candidate, are at the same stage in their careers. It is particularly useful if the evaluators use non-specialized language and focus on the candidate’s accomplishments and the contribution to the discipline. A summary of the candidate’s CV is not sufficient without evaluative comments.
  2. The evaluators must be asked explicitly whether, in their best judgment, the scholarly accomplishments and recognition achieved by the candidate would warrant the same appointment, promotion, or granting of tenure at the evaluator’s institution, or at other distinguished public research universities.
  3. The letter of solicitation to the evaluator should not indicate in any way whether the candidate has or has not received the support of the Chair, the Department, or any other officer or unit of the university.
  4. Each letter must indicate that the evaluator’s response will be held in strict confidence unless the evaluator gives written permission for the candidate to see it.
  5. The Confidentiality Statement form is to be enclosed with each letter of solicitation, with the evaluator indicating which of three options is preferred: that the entire letter be held in confidence; that the letter be available to the candidate with all references to the author deleted; or that the candidate may see the letter in its entirety. This form must be signed and returned with the evaluator’s letter. If the evaluator does not provide a completed Confidentiality Statement form, their letter is categorized as confidential by default.

6. Jacobs School Promotions or Appointments Review Process for Tenure Track (Unqualified) Dossiers

The list below shows the review process for tenure promotion dossiers starting with the department faculty vote and ending with the review and approval by the SUNY Chancellor.

Appointments at the associate professor level must be approved within 3 years of appointment date. Appointments at the professor level must be approved within 1 year of appointment date.

The appointment dossier is identical in format to a promotion dossier, and follows the same review process as a promotion dossier.

Research Scholar and Clinical Scholar Faculty (tenure track)

  1. Department Dossier Review and Faculty Vote
  2. Department Chair’s letter* added to dossier
  3. Jacobs School Office of Faculty Affairs Receives Completed Dossier and convenes ad hoc school promotions committee
  4. Jacobs School ad hoc Promotions Committee (tenure) Discussion and Vote
    a) The report of the ad hoc Committee prepared by the Committee Chair will be shared with the Dean, but is not included in the dossier and does not move to the PRB.
  5. Jacobs School Dean’s letter* added to dossier
  6. President's Review Board (PRB) Vote*
  7. UB Provost*
  8. UB President*
  9. SUNY Chancellor*

*Letter sent to candidate

7. Jacobs School Promotions or Appointments Review Process for Non-tenure (Qualified) Dossiers

The list below shows the review process for non-tenure promotion dossiers starting with the department faculty vote and ending with the review and approval by the Dean.

Appointments at the associate professor level must be approved within 3 years of appointment date. Appointments at the professor level must be approved within 1 year of appointment.

The appointment dossier is identical in format to a promotion dossier, and follows the same review process as a promotion dossier.

Review Process: Research Educator, Clinical Educator, and Research and Clinical Volunteer Faculty

  1. Department Dossier Review and Faculty Vote
  2. Department Chair’ s letter* added to the dossier
  3. Jacobs School Office of Faculty Affairs Receives Completed Dossier and convenes ad hoc school promotions committee
  4. Jacobs School ad hoc Promotions Committee (non-tenure) Discussion and Vote
    a) Clinical Educator and Research Educator dossiers are reviewed by separate committees with members having appropriate expertise
    b) The report of the ad hoc Committee prepared by the Committee Chair will be shared with the Dean, but is not included in the dossier.
  5. Jacobs School Dean’s letter* added to the dossier

*Letter sent to candidate

Candidates in the non-tenure track who are seeking promotion to Research Professor will have their dossiers further reviewed by the PRB, Provost and President.

8. Voting Eligibility for Faculty Personnel Actions

Source: UB’s Faculty Voting Eligibility Policy

It is the policy of the University at Buffalo to adhere to “rank on rank” voting for all faculty personnel actions that require a vote of the faculty in the college, school or department. This means that only those faculty holding the same or a higher rank as the action being considered may vote on a faculty personnel action. The views of assistant professors may be taken into consideration regarding the suitability of the proposed candidate for promotion or appointment, but they may not vote on the rank or tenure recommendation.

Specific applications of this policy include:

  1. Only tenured faculty may vote on proposed initial appointments to the tenure track faculty. If the initial appointment is proposed for the rank of Associate Professor, faculty holding that rank or the rank of Professor may vote; if the appointment is proposed at the rank of Professor, all faculty members holding that rank may vote.
  2. Only tenured faculty at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor may vote on a proposed promotion to Associate Professor with tenure. Only tenured Professors may vote on a proposed promotion to Professor with tenure.
  3. If there are not a sufficient number (fewer than 3) of tenured faculty at the appropriate rank within the department, it is appropriate, in consultation with the Dean and/or Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, to establish an ad hoc committee to substitute for the departmental voting body. This ad hoc committee will be comprised of the appropriate rank members of the department as well as appropriate rank faculty from related disciplines who are suitable to assist with identifying external reviewers and with evaluating the candidate’s scholarship, teaching and service.
  4. If the Department Chair is not of the same or higher rank as the proposed action (i.e., an Associate Professor Chair in the case of a promotion to Professor, or a Chair holding a Clinical non-tenure track faculty position in the case of a proposed promotion to Associate Professor or Professor with tenure), the Chair may write the Chair’s letter summarizing the case and conveying the views of the appropriate rank departmental faculty or ad hoc committee, but the Chair may not vote and may not make an independent recommendation. It is also acceptable for the department/school, in consultation with the Dean, to designate a faculty member who holds the same or higher rank as the proposed action to serve as ad-hoc Chair in such instances.
  5. Eligible voters for initial appointments/promotions to qualified non-tenure track ranks include all non-tenure track faculty members holding the same or higher non-tenure track rank, as well as all tenure track faculty holding the same or higher rank. For example, in the case of an appointment to the rank of Clinical or Research Associate Professor, all faculty members holding a qualified or unqualified rank of Associate Professor or Professor may vote. In the case of a proposed promotion from Clinical or Research Assistant Professor to Clinical or Research Associate Professor, all faculty holding a qualified or unqualified rank of Associate Professor or Professor may vote.
  6. Newly-appointed faculty who have not yet been confirmed may not vote on a promotion or appointment confirmation dossier of another faculty member in his/her department until their own appointment has been approved.
  7. Faculty voting for appointments/promotions in any track have the choice to Approve, Disapprove or Abstain by closed ballot.

9. Dossier Preparation for Joint Faculty Appointments within the Jacobs School

In cases where a faculty member has joint appointment in two departments (not as an adjunct or volunteer appointment) in the Jacobs School, the dossier shall be assembled and submitted by the primary department (highest FTE /salary share).

The Chair of the secondary department may suggest names of potential evaluators to the Chair of the primary department. However, only the Chair of the primary department will solicit letters of evaluation or other materials to be included in the dossier.

The Chair of the secondary department should ensure that teaching evaluations, or any other materials pertinent to the dossier, are made available to the Chair of the primary department.

The dossier will be reviewed separately by both departments. The departmental faculty vote on promotion will be recorded for both departments on separate Quantitative Vote Sheets and included in the dossier.

The Chairs of the primary and secondary department will write a letter to be included in the dossier.

10. Dossier Preparation for Adjunct Faculty Appointments

For faculty who hold secondary adjunct appointment in a department, the primary department will prepare the promotion dossier.  For volunteer appointments in a secondary department, the primary department will prepare the promotion dossier. The Chair of the primary department will write a letter for inclusion in the dossier.

11. Dossier Preparation and Tenure Guidelines for Faculty Appointments in Jointly Operated Departments at the University at Buffalo

Certain departments at the University at Buffalo are co-administered by two different schools. Faculty hired into those departments have unique requirements in meeting the expectations of two schools.

The appointment and promotion process begins in the respective department. As a jointly administered department, everyone involved in the process must be sensitive to the different emphases placed on scholars whose profile is more or less similar to others in Engineering, Medicine, or Arts and Sciences. These differences will undoubtedly be reflected in the letters of evaluation and those provided by the department chair and advocate (if identified).

It is the intention of this policy to adopt a consistent process that reflects the best practices drawn from the three schools while maintaining a coherent whole that is supportive of the candidate. Such a process must include agreed-upon language that is to be used to solicit letters of evaluation, and in directions to the departments. It is also incumbent on the departments and the schools to develop a single set of mentoring materials.

11.1. Ad Hoc Committee for Promotion and Tenure to Academic Rank (Tenure Track)

  1. The composition of the Ad Hoc Committee for Promotion and Tenure to Academic Rank for faculty in jointly operated departments shall consist of 4 members from each school (8 members total) who hold rank equal to or higher than that of the candidate. A quorum will be satisfied by 6 voting members.
  2. Ideally, the members should be drawn from each school’s standing Committee for Promotion and Tenure. Selection of the members will be decided by the Dean or Dean’s designee for each School. One member from the Committee will be selected by the Department Chair to present the case. The Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee will be a voting member selected by the Department Chair.
  3. An advocate may be enlisted by the candidate and will include his/her written statement with the dossier, and appear before the ad hoc committee as described in the UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section II.C.4.
  4. The vote outcome will be included in the dossier and reported to the Deans of both schools, the Department Chair and to the candidate.
  5. The report of the ad hoc Committee prepared by the Committee Chair will be shared with both Deans. It will not be included in the dossier and will not move to the PRB or higher levels.
  6. The Deans of both schools will meet to discuss and decide on approval of the promotion/ appointment. The Deans will decide between them which Dean will be responsible for preparing the Dean’s Letter to be included in the dossier. The Dean’s Letter will be co-signed by both of the cognizant Deans. Should the Deans not be able to agree on approval, the decision will be considered a negative outcome and the promotion/ appointment denied in one letter signed by both Deans.
  7. Should the candidate choose to withdraw his or her dossier, both Deans must be so notified in writing.

11.2. Ad Hoc Committee for Promotion to Qualified Academic Ranks (Non-Tenure Track)

  1. For promotion in a Qualified Academic Rank, an equal number of committee members from each school (no less than 3 each) who hold rank equal to or higher than that of the candidate will be selected as an ad hoc Committee. If possible these members should be drawn from the school’s standing committee on Promotions to Qualified Academic Ranks. A quorum will be satisfied by 4 voting members.
  2. One member of the ad hoc Committee will be selected by the Department Chair to present the case. The Chair of the ad hoc Committee will be a voting member selected by the Department Chair.
  3. An advocate may be enlisted and will include his/her written statement with the dossier, and appear before the ad hoc Committee as described in the UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section II.C.4.
  4. The committee’s vote outcome and Chair’s summary will be reported to the cognizant Deans only.
  5. The Deans of both schools will discuss the outcome, prior to making their recommendation. If there is disagreement by the Deans on the decision to promote, then this will be considered a negative outcome and the promotion/appointment denied. The cognizant Deans will prepare one letter to be co-signed by both of them and transmitted to the candidate and the Chair of the department.
  6. Should the candidate choose to withdraw his/her dossier, both Deans must be so notified in writing.

12. Advocacy

12.1. Right of Advocacy

In making decisions so important to the university and the individual faculty member, the various review bodies must provide full and fair consideration of each case. In order to ensure this, the candidate must have an opportunity to designate an advocate of his/her choice.

There is no negative connotation associated with designating an advocate. As a person very familiar with the candidate’s career highlights and the expectations in their field of study, an advocate can provide clarity and answer questions that may be raised by review bodies.

12.2. Selection and Role of the Advocate

  1. An advocate is ideally designated by the candidate at the start of the review process, or at a subsequent stage as indicated later, if the candidate believes that the case will be strengthened or more fully presented through use of an advocate.
  2. The advocate must be a faculty member (or emeritus) at the university or at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center or VA Health Center, and must have direct personal knowledge of the candidate's professional and academic performance. Faculty members holding administrative titles in an academic unit or at the provost, vice president or president levels, may not act as an advocate.
  3. The advocate should be invited to attend the department promotions meeting. If he/she is not a member of the department, the advocate should leave the meeting prior to department discussion and vote. If the advocate is an eligible faculty member of the department, he/she may vote at the department meeting.  The advocate can speak at the department meeting and challenge assumptions verbally. If the advocate’s statement is included in the dossier prior to the department promotions meeting, then the statement cannot be amended after the department vote. After the department vote, an advocate may not participate in a discussion or vote as a member of a subsequent review body when it is considering the candidate's case. An advocate’s statement may not be revised after it is included in the dossier and reviewed at the School ad hoc Committee level.
  4. Review proceedings are not adversarial hearings or bargaining sessions. The advocate's task is to present the case for the candidate and to explain the candidate's work, contributions, and promise, and to point out to the review bodies and/or administrative officers the material or information in the dossier that would be especially helpful in evaluating the candidate's achievements and promise and that address academic challenges of prior critiques. The advocate should not critique the dossier compilation or the judgment of prior levels of review.
  5. The advocate shall submit a written statement that addresses the quality and impact of the candidate's academic work, professional growth and contributions, and promise for further development in these areas. The advocate may not add letters of evaluation to the dossier or include such letters in the statement. However, the advocate may, in his/her statement, suggest expert evaluators highly qualified to review the candidate's work.
  6. An advocate may resubmit a letter that has errors or typos if they so request. They may not resubmit a letter with new material in it if the dossier and the letter has already been reviewed and voted upon at the department or school levels.  No changes can be made to the dossier once voting has begun.  If there is a negative vote at any level, the candidate and the advocate have another opportunity to write a response to the prior levels of voting after the PRB has met and before it goes to the Provost. However, if at any level – department, school, or PRB – the vote is negative, the case then goes to advocacy following the PRB vote and the advocate may, at that time, write a new letter to be added to the dossier and for discussion at that advocacy meeting.
  7. The candidate is also invited to write a response to the dossier and recommendations (i.e., Chair’s letter or Dean’s Letter or PRB decision) up to any point prior to the provost or vice presidential decisions.
  8. In addition to submitting a written statement, the advocate is expected to make an oral statement to the department and Jacobs School ad hoc promotions committee, and respond to questions from members. The advocate does not make an oral statement to the PRB and only makes an oral statement to the provost or the vice president if there is a negative vote outcome by the PRB. The advocate attends the post-PRB advocacy meeting, but the candidate does not.
  9. The advocate may not question review body members or participate in debate at any level of review.
  10. Advocates must adhere to the rules on confidentiality. Since advocates may have access to confidential material not available to the candidate, they must avoid disclosure of confidential material to the candidate.

12.3. Time for Designating an Advocate

The advocate may be selected at any point along the dossier review timeline, and the advocate’s written statement may be included in the dossier at the time the advocate is selected. For example, if no advocate was selected at the outset of the process, but the school ad hoc promotions committee votes negatively, the candidate has a right at that time to select an advocate who may then write a statement to be included in the dossier before it goes to the Dean or to the PRB. 

If the candidate chooses to designate an advocate at the outset of the process, the decision and designation should be made known early enough for the advocate to present at the department promotions meeting and/or to the ad hoc promotions committee. The Department Chair should be notified of the selection of an advocate so that he/she is invited to present at the department promotions meeting. If an advocate is selected later in the process, the Office of Faculty Affairs should be notified so that the advocate is invited in a timely manner to present at the ad hoc promotions committee meeting. It is advisable that the advocate’s statement be included in the dossier following the department meeting.

Any administrative officer below the provost or vice president (i.e., Dean or Department Chair) who recommends against the personnel action in question during the process must so notify the candidate in writing at the time he/she makes the recommendation, and, if an advocate has not previously been designated, must advise the candidate of his/her right to designate an advocate within seven working days thereafter.

The candidate may also respond by letter to a negative recommendation, and have their letter included in the dossier. The candidate shall have at least five (5) working days to both examine such file and submit a statement in response to any item contained therein; however, confidential statements solicited in connection with the employee’s appointment or promotion and any documents which would identify the source of the statements, shall not be available to the employee. Any response should be addressed to the supervisor next to review the dossier whether it be Dean, Provost, or President. The response(s) shall be added to the candidate’s dossier by said supervisor.

The provost or the vice president shall inform candidates by letter of a negative recommendation of the PRB within seven working days after receipt of the report of the President's Review Board, and shall advise the candidate of the right to designate an advocate if one has not been designated previously. The advocacy process may not be invoked after the provost or the vice president has made a recommendation to the president.

13. Guidelines for Assembling a Dossier

Source: UB’s Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Dossier-Assembly

Please ensure that the following are strictly adhered to when assembling a dossier for tenure:

  1. Insert colored divider sheets between EACH section of the dossier as identified on the Dossier Checklist (i.e., Chair’s Letter, Advocate’s Statement, Curriculum Vitae, Teaching Evaluations, etc.).
  2. Use one color for all dividers in Part I (Available to Candidate) and a second color for dividers in Part II (Confidential, unavailable to the candidate).
  3. Do not staple or paperclip any sections, or have the dossier bound in any way – use binder clips or durable rubber bands to secure the original paper copy.
  4. Do not place any documents in Part I that contain names of external or internal evaluators who have not given permission for the candidate to see their letter; place unredacted letters in Part II. Redacted copies of the letters from evaluators who have not given their permission for the candidate to review can be placed in Part I with all identifying elements removed/obscured. If the Chair chooses to cite these confidential evaluators or their comments, each letter can be assigned a number in the upper right hand corner and the Chair may refer to them by number in the Chair’s letter. If the Chair’s letter does identify evaluators by name/location, a redacted copy of the Chair’s letter with all identities deleted must be placed in Part I (the non-confidential section), since the Chair’s letter is available for the candidate to review. The original Chair’s letter should be placed in Part II.
  5. Include an ePTF Summary Sheet of the appointment/promotion/tenure in the hard copy and pdf of the dossier.
  6. Do not include copies of articles/publications within the dossier—provide only one copy of materials in the Supplemental Material appendix included with the dossier. While the Dossier Checklist includes publications as an aspect of the teaching portfolio, it lists those publications as Appendices (supplementary materials). This includes PowerPoint presentations, website material, and other self-published course supplements. Dossiers containing inordinate amounts of publication materials in each copy may be returned for reconfiguration.
  7. Request a short biosketch (i.e., NIH style) from external evaluators, not a full CV.
  8. Do not include internal evaluator biosketches.
  9. Revised CVs are welcomed at any time during the promotions process in order to convey new/updated information for review. Please highlight the updated section(s), if the dossier has been reviewed by the Jacobs School’s ad hoc promotions committee.

14. Checklist for Promotion Dossiers

Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.1

Each section of the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers is referenced to UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions (formerly the UB Faculty/Staff Handbook) and explained below.

14.1. Part I (Available to Candidate)

  1. Candidate’s Letter - in response to a negative recommendation by the Dean (if applicable)
  2. Dean’s Letter - redacted if appropriate
  3. Candidate’s Letter - in response to a negative recommendation by the Chair (if applicable)
  4. Chair’s Letter - redacted if appropriate
  5. Opt Out Statement
  6. Quantitative Vote Sheey
    Quantitative Vote Sheet (32 KB)
  7. Advocate’s Statement

    Item 2 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.2.

    Should the candidate choose to appoint an advocate prior to the departmental level of review, the Advocate’s statement should follow the Chair’s letter. The Advocate’s statement should precede the Chair’s letter, if the Advocate is selected after the departmental review.
  8. Approved Search Report Cover Sheet

    Item 3 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section IIIA.I.3.

    Include this item only when the candidate is a new appointment. It should be placed in the dossier after the Chair’s letter. The UB employment email notification of approval to the posting administrator should replace the cover sheet.
  9. Curriculum Vitae

    Item 4 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section IIIA.I.4.

    Revised curriculum vitae with highlighted changes will be included in the dossier and precede previous versions. Each version of the curriculum vitae should have an update date specified on the first page.
  10. Candidate’s Personal Statement

    Items 5, 6 and 7 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Sections III.A.I.5. and III.A.I.6. and III.A.I.7.
  11. Teaching Portfolio – Appendices (optional)

    Item 7 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.7.

    The Teaching Portfolio is primarily for the purpose of promotion evaluation rather than for development purposes, to emphasize core materials designed for valid peer-review comparisons rather than a flexible range of materials geared toward professional development. It is to be concise in its focus, selective in its documentation, and economical in its format. The primary purpose is to provide materials explicitly representative of the candidate’s teaching goals, strengths, and accomplishments. This material should be presented in a form that can be peer reviewed by both the department and by internal evaluators. The Chair is to include the Portfolio among the materials sent to each internal evaluator.

    Appendix
    : The materials should be selective, representing the candidate’s best and most important teaching accomplishments. The appendix should be organized clearly and coherently, and might include such materials as:
    1. samples of syllabi, assignments, tests, student research resources (documentation of website, CD-ROM, and/or other IT modalities if applicable);
    2. evidence of student learning or other measures of success (i.e., test scores, retention in the program, honors projects and student research accomplishments, job placements and outstanding instances of career achievement, etc.);
    3. documentation of teaching and learning innovations (i.e., development of new teaching techniques, significant interactive learning strategies, creative and effective applications of information technology that enhance learning, and evidence of pedagogical influence in the discipline or profession);
    4. external funding awarded for teaching-and-learning developmental activities.
  12. Quantitative Teaching Evaluations

    Item 8 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.8.

    The results of course/teaching evaluations by students, residents and fellows should be included in the dossier and presented in a standardized summary or tabular form, with an analysis of the summary as part of the Chair’s letter. Raw data should not be included but should be available for inspection in the department. Averaged results, based on data from the Department or School, should be presented as a basis for comparing the candidate’s individual teaching effectiveness with other faculty in the unit.

    Letters from former trainees, reports of student or faculty teaching evaluation committees, the placement and career record of former students, and similar materials may be included here. These should be in addition to the materials selected for the Teaching Portfolio, and should be arranged chronologically.
  13. Letters of Evaluation

    Item 9 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.9.
  14. Letters from External Evaluators

    These evaluators have provided written consent to allow the candidate to know their identity, or the identity of the evaluators has been redacted from the letters to protect their confidentiality if they did not consent.
  15. Letters from Internal Evaluators

    These evaluators have provided written consent to allow the candidate to know their identity, or the identity of the evaluators has been redacted from the letters to protect their confidentiality if they did not consent.
  16. Unsolicited Material

    Item 10 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.10.

    The dossier may include material that has not been solicited by those responsible for its preparation, for instance from other colleagues within or without the department or school, or the candidate themselves. These should be included here and available for the candidate to review.
  17. Conditions of Employment Letter

    Item 11 on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers.
    Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.I.11.

    This is the initial letter of appointment from the Chair or Dean to the faculty member outlining the expectations of the school or department and the specific duties to be performed. Please redact all information pertaining to salary and other dollar figures (i.e., start-up lab funds).

14.2. Part II (Confidential and Not Available to Candidate)

  1. Chair’s Letter
    An unredacted copy of the Chair’s letter should be included if a redacted copy was provided in Part I.
  2. Personnel Transaction Form (ePTF)

    Item 1 Part II on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers. Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.II.1.

    This form is created by the department and indicates the recommended action, proposed title and the effective date, in the context of the dossier. The Effective Date should be consistent with the date on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers and the Quantitative Vote Sheet. The date will appear three times on the ePTF, including the Note field. The Note field should include a 1-sentence explanation (i.e., “Promotion to [new title] effective [effective date] pending positive outcome of dossier review.”).
  3. Letters of Evaluation

    Item 2 Part II on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers. Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.II.2.

    This item pertains only to those letters of evaluation designated by the evaluator as confidential or requesting all information indicating evaluator’s identity be redacted and therefore not available to the candidate. Please provide a complete (non-redacted) letter for each evaluator requesting confidentiality in Part II.
  4. Background Information on Evaluators
    Item 3 Part II on the Checklist for Promotion Dossiers. Source: UB’s Policies, Procedures, and Criteria for Faculty Personnel Actions; Section III.A.II.3.
    To aid reviewers, this item of the dossier should include the following materials:
    1. A statement of the method used to select the evaluators, including special reasons for selecting any particular evaluator. The purpose of this statement is to present clear and convincing evidence that the external evaluators are disinterested (i.e., have nothing personal and/or professional to gain by providing the evaluation).
    2. A list of all evaluators who were asked to write letters (please note that the final list of evaluators is not to be shared with the candidate).
    3. A statement indicating those evaluators who did not respond, and also including those who did respond and declined to provide a letter (provide a brief reason for the declination).
    4. One copy of the Chair’s letter of solicitation to the evaluators.
    5. A biographical sketch for each external evaluator.

      Biographical sketches establish the evaluator’s scholarly reputation. They are only needed for external reviewers and ideally, are a 3-5 page summary (NIH biosketch is recommended) and not a complete CV. If the internal evaluator is from a former institution, then a biosketch should be requested and included. Letters from collaborators should also be accompanied by a biosketch.

      If the evaluator does not provide his/her biographical sketch, we recommend that the department search for an equivalent summary online. At a minimum, please ensure that this version includes their name, title, current position, and education/training. If available, also provide degrees awarded with the institutions conferring these degrees, positions held, current research, honors awarded and recent publications.

15. Sample Letters and Documents