Criteria for Appointment, Reappointment, and Promotion of Lecturers and Senior Lecturers

Guidelines and Criteria for Appointment, Reappointment and Promotion of Lecturers and Senior Lecturers


The purpose of this document is to provide decision guidelines regarding appointment and reappointment to the titles of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer for faculty, administrators, ad hoc committees, and future candidates within the College of Engineering. Guidelines are also provided for promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer.


Lecturer and Senior Lecturer are academic positions within the university focused primarily on teaching, and within the College of Engineering this typically includes undergraduates and Master of Engineering students. Specifically both Lecturers and Senior Lecturers are expected to

● excel in classroom teaching
● contribute to the development of courses, both syllabi and teaching materials
● participate in advising of students as well as their academic and honorary societies

Additionally Senior Lecturers are expected to

● make substantial contributions to course design, syllabi, organization and lasting teaching materials

● provide leadership in supervising and training teaching assistants and new Lecturers

● provide educational contributions and leadership in areas of importance to the department, college and, where appropriate, to the university and nation

With the approval of the Dean, departments may modify the above requirements and develop additional requirements as best serve the academic needs of the department.

For both Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, teaching performance and pedagogical achievements are expected to be at a high level and in an area of major importance to the department (for purposes of this document a school is treated as a department) and the College of Engineering. Distinctions between the two titles are related to extent and depth of education and experience, degree of responsibilities in developing teaching materials and syllabi, extent of supervisory responsibilities and general stature as a teacher both inside and outside of the University as viewed from the perspective of both peers and students.

As part of the process of establishing such a position the department must submit to College HR a request that includes a full position description. Classification review is conducted by College HR prior to conducting search for a suitable candidate. Short term appointments to these titles for less than one year do not require a formal search under University policy. Appointment or reappointment to these titles for the duration of more than one year, however, require a formal search or granting of a waiver of a search approved by the Dean and the Vice Provost in cases where the University waiver of search criteria applies. If the position has the strong potential of being on-going for several years it is best to conduct a search prior to a first appointment. The search or waiver request must include a dossier-based review. Appointment or promotion to Senior Lecturer typically follows a dossier based review with teaching standards similar to those of faculty appointments and promotions.

The appointment must be voted on by the faculty of the department. In particular Lecturer appointments are voted on by all tenure-track faculty in the department as well as any Lecturers. Senior Lecturer appointments are voted on by all tenured associate and full professors as well as Senior Lecturers in the department. These voting guidelines are in accordance with University by-laws as stated in the Faculty Handbook.

For a Lecturer, when the departmental vote is positive, the Dean may directly approve the appointment, or at his or her discretion, appoint a committee to review the dossier and make a recommendation on the appointment. For a Senior Lecturer, when the departmental vote is positive, the Dean will appoint a committee to review the dossier and make a recommendation on the appointment. In both cases the committee may be a one-time ad hoc committee (where anonymity is critical) or a standing committee, one of whose responsibilities is to review such cases for the Dean. The Dean has final approval on the appointment. The makeup of the committee in either case shall include at least two faculty members and one Senior Lecturer from outside the department and who has suitable background for judging the case. At least one of the committee members may be from outside the College, typically a faculty member but possibly a Senior Lecturer particularly when no suitable Senior Lecturer can be found inside the College.

The titles do not carry tenure and do not normally carry voting rights in the department or College except as granted by the department or Dean under special circumstances. Typically the circumstances for granting voting rights to Lecturers and Senior Lecturers involve issues that are directly related to their roles within the college or department. The Dean and department chair have the responsibility of identifying such issues, in their respective domains.

Criteria for Appointment

It is desirable for Lecturers or Senior Lecturers to have a PhD. PhD.s are expected for Senior Lecturer appointments. Special experience in subject matter relevant to the courses to be taught is of special importance as well as strong evidence of the potential for a high level of performance in teaching, developing teaching materials and/or developing and supervising student projects when those are important responsibility of the position. Also student advising and serving as faculty advisor to student groups may be an important responsibility in certain appointments. Supporting evidence for excellence in these aspects must be provided in dossiers assembled for the appointment.

While the current document provides general guidelines on qualifications and criteria in appointing Lecturers and Senior Lecturers in the College, details of qualifications may vary by department. While the Dean is responsible for determining the appropriate qualifications for such positions, departments are encouraged to develop more detailed qualifications that best serve the needs of the department, and to submit them to the Dean for approval.

To be appointed to Senior Lecturer a candidate should have, or have potential for, exceptional contributions beyond those typically required of a Lecturer. These may include the development of such materials as a textbook with national visibility, a special website making available important teaching materials in the field, development of educational software of value to courses taught elsewhere or unique experience of great value to the department. Supporting evidence for excellence in these aspects must be provided in the dossier assembled for promotion.

Standard course evaluations and evaluation letters by students must reflect dedication, organization and an ability to communicate. The candidate should be effective as a representative of the field as a whole and view their particular course offering in a broader and integrated educational picture for the Department. A Senior Lecturer should demonstrate broad knowledge of the field as a whole, and be able to draw on that knowledge to make connections between introductory courses and advanced level courses.

A Senior Lecturer should be highly respected in the broader campus community and any national recognition for his/her educational contributions should weigh very favorably in appointment, reappointment or promotion to the position.

Criteria for Reappointment

Appointments to the position of Lecturer are for up to three years in duration and are renewable. The length of an appointment must be stipulated at the time of appointment and decisions on renewal are at the discretion of the appointing unit depending on departmental needs and availability of funding. The process for renewing a Lecturer is carried out within the department and is typically guided by a chair-appointed review committee. The standards for performance are the same as for the initial appointment, but the documentation may be mainly supplemental to that of initial appointment at the discretion of the review committee. Lecturer reappointments are voted on by all tenure track faculty in the department as well as any Lecturers.

Appointments for the position of Senior Lecturer are for up to five years in duration and are renewable. At the beginning of the final year of the first five year appointment, a renewal process must be carried out similar to that for the initial appointment and subject to the same performance standards. Thereafter a review every ten years for such individuals (and for Senior Lecturers recently promoted from Lecturer) is sufficient, unless early review is requested by the Senior Lecturer or deemed desirable by the chair. Senior Lecturer reappointments are voted on by all tenured associate and full professors as well as Senior Lecturers in the department.

At five year midpoints between reviews, the decision to reappoint a Senior Lecturer may be made by the department chair based on continuing review of course evaluations, annual reports, curricular needs and resources. Non-renewal of a Senior Lecturer’s contract may not be decided on academic performance grounds by the chair without the opportunity for a full review.

Criteria for Promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer

Renewable Lecturers with sufficient experience (typically with six years of service) may be reviewed for promotion to Senior Lecturer. The procedures and qualifications for promotion to Senior Lecturer are similar to those for initial appointment at that level.

Documentation and Dossier Materials

The candidate is expected to assist in the evaluation by supplying a curriculum vitae and summary of teaching philosophy and future goals. The candidate should also provide a short list of potential reviewers, including external reviewers who may be able to shed special light on candidate’s educational contributions. In strict confidentiality, the Department will contact a subset of these reviewers together with individuals not on the candidate’s list (including students and advisees).

The dossier for a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer should provide supporting evidence of the candidate’s contributions as follows (with the latter’s dossier necessarily being more extensive in coverage):

A summary of the contributions made by the candidate to the educational mission of the department;

Teaching and development of courses as evidenced in teaching materials and instructional aids;

Laboratory notes or manuals, and any teaching software or textbooks (with adoption of such materials outside of Cornell being highly significant);

Participation at national conferences on education;

Academic advising of individual students at all levels, and advising student academic and honorary organizations;

Course evaluations and analytic summaries of course evaluations;

Letters from students, including a sample of the solicitation letter and a list of individual solicited;

Letters of evaluation by professorial and Lecturer faculty with first hand knowledge of the candidate’s teaching;

Additional materials following any special guidelines and criteria developed by the department.


EPC Approved, 5/18/08 Dean Approved, 2/22/09