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Guidelines for Three Year Review for Tenure Track Faculty

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From the Cornell University Faculty Handbook (2004): 
 Most commonly, a person entering a tenure-track academic career is given a three-year appointment at the assistant professor level. Toward the end of each year of this appointment, the faculty member should review his or her progress with the department chairperson or with a mentor among the department’s senior faculty members. In the third year, the department conducts a more thorough performance review. If the outcome is positive, it is normal for a renewal for a second three-year term to be recommended for approval by the dean.

Cornell Engineering Guidelines:  

1. The Three Year Review should be similar in scope to a tenure review (Note 1).  The review should include evaluation of teaching, advising, and research (publications, graduate student thesis advising, funding).    Unlike tenure or promotion reviews, external letters are not required (Note 2).  

2.  The faculty member being reviewed (candidate) should provide a curriculum vitae in a format similar to that required for promotion.  The candidate should also provide a brief statement summarizing research, teaching, and service accomplishments, and describing future research and teaching plans.  

3. Faculty Involvement. While the assessment will generally be conducted by a few faculty, it is important that the case be reported to and understood by the full tenured faculty.  

4. Dean's Involvement. The Department Chair or School Director will forward a copy of the review letter (report) and the faculty member’s curriculum vitae to the Dean and appropriate Associate Dean for approval before the letter is presented to the candidate.    The Dean must approve appointment renewal (reappointment).  

5. The  Director/Chair will provide the review letter to the candidate and discuss it personally with the candidate.  

6. The review letter will become part of the permanent file of the faculty member.   

Note 1. The faculty member should understand that this is a significant assessment.  The review is one component of the reappointment decision and it is also an opportunity for providing guidance regarding progress toward tenure.   However, the three year review should not be confused with the tenure assessment.  In particular, the candidate should demonstrate by the time of the three year review that he /she is developing excellence in teaching, research and other scholarly activities rather than having to show proof that these are now fully in place at the level required for tenure.  The candidate should be made aware that this is an evaluation of "work in progress".  The focus should be on progress and “trajectory”.    

Note 2. Although not required, some departments may wish to seek outside letters. If this is the department’s practice, it should be practiced consistently.