Tenure of Tenure-Track Faculty

How the Tenure Process Works

Recommendations for appointment, reappointment, promotion, or tenure originate in the candidate’s school and proceed through several levels of review prior to the President's recommendation, the final step in the process.

At Georgia Tech, reviews related to reappointment, promotion, and tenure are either "administrative reviews" or "full reviews." Promotion and tenure cases require a full review.  This means that the review occurs at all levels of the school, college, and Institute. This review occurs when a faculty member has completed a probationary period of at least five (and no longer than six) years of full-time service at the rank of assistant professor or higher.  Tenure is then awarded upon recommendation of the President.

Process and Package Contents for Tenure

See Sections 3.3.5 and 3.3.7-3.3.8  for further details.

  1. Packages are prepared by the candidate and submitted to the school chair containing the following: (about May)
    1. Candidate’s Biographical Sketch (1 paragraph) - This is a summary of the candidate’s career at Georgia Tech. It should be a short paragraph, no more than 150 words in 12 point font or larger, written in the third person on a separate page.  The biosketch should begin with the candidate’s name, rank, and school; degrees; and history of time at Georgia Tech. The biosketch should explain the candidate’s research area briefly, including why it is important. A sentence or two on awards and impact may be included. No picture of the candidate should be included in the biosketch or anywhere else in the file.
    2. Candidate’s Summary of Instruction Opinion Survey (CIOS) - A summary of all courses taught by the candidate at Georgia Tech must be included in table format along with normative data for the college and the subject. Refer to the CIOS template for instructions and format.
    3. List of External References with Biosketch for each potential reference- Letters of reference are required for promotion cases. Reviewers should be “clear leaders in the field” of the candidate, such as full professors at equivalent or better institutions or senior leaders in industry research. The list should include international reviewers for promotion to full professor. The list of individuals from whom letters are to be obtained should be developed jointly by the candidates for promotion and the school chair. The final decision regarding who shall be selected to provide recommendations from the list shall rest with the school chair and the school RPT committee.
    4. Candidate’s Personal Narrative - Candidates must write a brief summary of their major accomplishments at Georgia Tech with regard to teaching, research, creativity, and service. This is the candidate’s “voice” in the file, the place that provides an opportunity to explain context and significance. Candidates should point out innovative elements of their scholarship and teaching, and the impact they are having. They can use the personal narrative to clarify their contributions in collaborative work and describe their advising styles and results. The personal narrative should not merely summarize the examples of creative contributions but rather place them in the context of the school, college, Institute, and discipline. The narrative should be written in the third person, with a three page minimum and five-page maximum limit with one inch margins, standard single-spaced, and 10 pt minimum font.
    5. Candidate’s Vita In Standard Format - Refer here for format.
    6. Candidate’s Statement of Completeness - It is the candidate’s responsibility to prepare and review his/her package after it is assembled and sign a statement to that it is accurate and complete. Each document covered by the statement should be dated and should not change after this form is signed. If a candidate updates the CV or provides an addendum update to the CV at a later date in the process, then a new statement of completeness must be signed to match the date of the new updated document.
    7. Waiver of Right to Access Confidential Statements - By signing this statement, the candidate will indicate that he/she will or will not ask to review the external letters of reference or know the identity of the referees. 
    8. Five Intellectual Products – Candidates are required “to submit evidence of three to five examples of their relevant, creative capabilities. These may include published papers, books, software, patents, art productions, or other relevant examples.” (GT Faculty Handbook, Section 3.3.8)  These are submitted for evaluation by the external reviewers and the area committee. These products are typically described within the candidate’s personal narrative relative to the candidate’s teaching, research, and service.  
  2. Package Cover Sheet   (provided by Faculty Affairs with input from the School RPT Administrator and Dean's Office)
    Cover sheet for  Promotion and/or Tenure is added by the school RPT coordinator to the submitted documents.
  3. Sample of the Reference Request Letter (provided by the school chair – about May)
    One sample of the letter used by the school chair to solicit references, which must include reference to the waiver or non-waiver statement of the candidate.
  4. Letters of reference (provided by the school chair)
    The letters of reference are then added to the package. The Board of Regents requires a minimum of three letters; the Provost requires at least five letters from referees who are clear leaders in the candidate’s field. The List of External References should be updated with an indication of letters received or not received and a brief biosketch of referees selected.
  5. Area Committee’s Letter (provided by committee chair – about August)1.     The area committee’s letter should provide an in-depth assessment of the candidate’s most scholarly accomplishments in their field. This assessment is independent of the external letters of reference, and no vote is taken. The memo generated should be signed by all committee members and forwarded to the school chair.
  6. School Committee’s Recommendation Letter (provided by committee chair – about September)
    The school committee’s letter should comment on all review criteria considered for promotion – creativity, teaching, and service, indicating clearly in their letter whether or not the candidate meets the standard for promotion and/or tenure in that unit with regard to that criterion. The committee will carefully review the candidate’s package and recommend, by vote, the outcome to the school chair. Split votes should be explained in the letter submitted.
  7. School Chair’s Recommendation Letter (provided by school chair – early October)
    The school chair will carefully assess each candidate’s performance, addressing (1) creativity, (2) teaching, and (3) significant service to their profession, and school, college or Institute. The letter is addressed to the dean with recommendations for or against promotion and/or tenure. The chair’s recommendation will be forwarded with the rest of the candidate’s packet to the dean’s office for review by the College RPT Committee.
  8. College Committee’s Recommendation Letter (provided by committee members – end of October)
    The college committee’s letter will review the candidate’s package, including the previous letters (area, school, and chair), vote, and contain a recommendation to the dean. This letter should include a summary of the deliberations of the committee, explaining split votes, for each candidate. This letter is then forwarded to the dean.
  9. The deans and school chairs meet to review the packages and advise the dean. (November)
  10. Dean’s letter of recommendation to the Provost. (December)
    The Dean reviews all of the packages and makes his recommendations to the Office of the Provost. This letter completes the College of Engineering portion of the process.
  11. Provost’s Committee (Institute Promotion and Tenure Committee; meets in January)
    This is an advisory committee to the Provost. They will review the packages of all candidates from the institute, record their votes, and forward their recommendations to the Provost.
  12. Office of the Provost
    The Provost considers all the information that has been compiled for each candidate and transmits his/her recommendation to the President.
  13. Office of the President (March or later)
    The President reviews the documentation presented and forwards his/her recommendation. The faculty member is then notified by letter from the President, through the dean’s office.

Criteria for Tenure

See Section 3.3.5 of the Faculty Handbook for further details.

Tenure may be awarded upon recommendation of the President upon completion of a probationary period of at least five (and no longer than six) years of full-time service at the rank of assistant professor or higher, including any prior service credit awarded upon hire to the tenure track. Given an appropriate level of performance, the primary criterion for tenure is the compatibility of the candidate’s performance and interests with the objectives of the school, college, and Institute.

Eligibility for Tenure

See Section 3.3.5 of the Faculty Handbook for further details.

Only assistant professors, associate professors, and professors who are employed full-time (service on a 100% workload basis for at least two of three consecutive academic terms, usually fall and spring) are eligible for tenure.

Decisions for Tenure

The effective date of promotion is July 1 for faculty members on a fiscal year contract and August 15 for faculty members on an academic year contract. A positive decision grants tenure to the candidate as a member of the Georgia Tech faculty. A negative outcome means the candidate has not met expectations for tenure at Georgia Tech. The fall of the seventh academic year is the last opportunity for the candidate to be considered for tenure.