(updated April 2021)
Third Year Review
These Guidelines for Third-Year Review of Assistant Professors in the Arts and Science are circulated annually to all Department Chairs as well as to all full-time faculty members in their first, second, and third year of probationary service at NYU.
The President and Board of Trustees have mandated a formal performance review of tenure-track Assistant Professors in their third year of service at New York University to determine whether they should be allowed to continue their progress towards tenure, and if so, what advice they should be given about strengthening their records.
The Third Year Review will be included in the docket of all Arts and Science tenure candidates, and standards for tenure in FAS should be kept in mind in framing the report.
The Third Year Review should therefore take into account that standards for the award of tenure are extremely rigorous, and that they set particular importance on high scholarly accomplishment. If the department has any doubts about the potential of a junior person to become a published scholar of national prominence at a later stage in his or her career, its doubts should be clearly outlined in the review.
If such doubts are serious, the department should not recommend reappointment, since the overwhelming likelihood is that reappointment would simply result in an even more painful and professionally costly negative decision at the time of a subsequent tenure review. In the event of reappointment, any reservations must ultimately be shared in writing and in person with the probationary colleague, so that he or she may be under no misunderstanding over the likelihood of tenure being awarded. If reappointment is not offered as a result of the Third Year Review, the faculty member being reviewed will be given terminal employment for one academic year beyond the year in which the review took place.
To comply with this policy, the department must examine the performance of third year Assistant Professors, and the Chair must communicate the substance of that review to the Deans with a recommendation for reappointment or termination.
1.1 GUIDELINES & PROCEDURES
- All Assistant Professors in their third year of service must be reviewed. The only exception is the case of an Assistant Professor who has a prior written agreement specifying review for tenure and for promotion in 2021-22. Such an agreement must be specific. A copy of any such prior agreement must be submitted to the FAS Office of the Associate Dean for Faculty Advancement.
- The review is to be undertaken by the Chair and a departmental committee consisting of three tenured professors, or a committee of all tenured professors in the department, or an ad-hoc committee of three tenured faculty. The review must include an assessment of the quality of the Assistant Professor's scholarship and research, both published and unpublished, obtained through critical evaluation by at least two senior members of the department. The review may be written by the department Chair or a member of the committee, but all members of the committee should read the review before it is submitted to the department. The review should represent a collective judgment of the committee or, in the case of a divided opinion, a majority of the committee. If there is a division, the dissenting opinion should be appended to the majority review.
- In the case of a review undertaken by a subcommittee of all tenured members of the department, the review must be presented to and discussed by the full tenured faculty. The committee's review should be made available to tenured members of the department in advance of a meeting at which all tenured faculty discuss the report. Tenured faculty members in the department may propose amendments to the report.
- The whole tenured faculty of a department is authorized to vote and collectively to make a recommendation for or against renewal. Note: the formal vote of the eligible faculty must be a secret vote. Chairs of departments with fewer than three available tenured faculty should consult with their Divisional Dean about drawing upon tenured faculty from other departments to form an ad hoc committee consisting of three of more members. A reasonable effort must be made to enable eligible faculty on leave to receive all relevant materials and to participate in the discussions and vote. When faculty members are unable to attend the meeting because of a leave or other absence, he or she shall be invited to make their views known to the eligible members through written or electronic communication, but their votes must be recorded separately to distinguish them from those made with the benefit of the open discussion of the case.
- In the case of appointments between two departments or a department and a program, both units must participate in the review. (see section 5.2, Guidelines for Faculty Appointments in More than One Unit, #8-10).
- The Chair must then communicate through a written report to the Dean the recommendation of the committee and vote of the faculty, as well as his or her own recommendation. The report of the committee should include the following materials in pdf format, most of which have been submitted to the committee by the candidate:
An up-to-date curriculum vitae of the Assistant Professor, including a list of all courses taught at New York University, all committee service, all publications, papers and activities at conferences, etc., and a list of all grant and fellowship proposals submitted with a notation as to which proposals have been funded, indicating amounts requested and received.
A three-page statement by the assistant professor, assessing his or her academic career and professional goals.
An evaluation of teaching performance which includes a judgment of the quality of syllabi and of classroom performance.
A copy of the departmental committee review (from item 3, above).
An assessment of the quality of the Assistant Professor's scholarship and research, both published and unpublished, obtained through critical review by at least two senior members of the department.
A Chair's letter which must characterize the tenor of the full departmental discussion, indicating any areas of concern and of possible dissent. If the sense of the department discussion was that of unanimous support for the review, the Chair should so indicate.
A draft of the summary of report that the chair will present to the candidate (see items 9 and 10, below).
Finally, there should be a clear statement of the candidate's progress towards tenure and recommendation as to reappointment after the fourth year.
7. In some instances, the department may also wish to request outside evaluations from recognized experts in the candidate's field. While such evaluations are not required, they may well prove valuable, particularly in cases in which the progress of the Assistant Professor's scholarship is in serious question.
8. Following approval by the Divisional Dean, a summary of the committee report, in the form of a letter of advice characterizing its reception by the tenured faculty, must be given to the candidate and discussed with him or her by the Chair. The candidate must sign the letter to indicate that he or she has read it and discussed it with the Chair. This summary must cover both strengths and weaknesses of the candidate's performance to that time.
*** Before giving the letter of advice to the candidate the full review packet and a draft of the letter of advice must be sent to the Divisional Dean for review and approval. Once the Dean responds, you can provide the candidate with the letter of advice. ***
9. The summary letter must include the following:
"This is a letter of advice; regardless of the merits for reappointment at this time, it does not constitute a guarantee of tenure."
"Tenure standards are continually rising and, per established guidelines, candidates will be judged by those standards in effect at the time of their tenure review."
"I have read this letter of advice and understand its contents."
Signature and date block for the candidate
10. The Dean will acknowledge receipt of the Third Year Review and signed letter of advice and communicate his or her decision regarding reappointment or termination directly to the chair and the candidate. In the case of a Dean’s recommendation contrary to that of the department, the Dean will provide the Chair with the reasons prior to contacting the candidate. The Chair will then have ten days in which to provide further information or counter-argument.
11. Assistant professors who started their appointment on the tenure track prior to the 2020-21 academic year have been granted a one-year COVID related extension of the tenure clock, unless they specifically opted out of the extension by August 31, 2020.
Please note the COVID extension of the 3rd year review or tenure review is separate from and in addition to any other tenure clock extensions.
12. The recommendation must reach the Divisional Dean and the Dean of the Faculty by May 2, 2022 for faculty hired September 1, 2018, and by November 8, 2021 for faculty hired January 15, 2018. Third Year Reviews must be submitted through Interfolio Review portal. Cases will be created for submission. Any questions regarding the review procedures should be directed to the FAS Office of Faculty Advancement.
Tenure track faculty who have successfully passed their Third-Year Review are eligible for a semester of leave with full pay in the following year. The timing of the leave (Fall or Spring term) will be determined in consultation between the recipient and the department Chair. The faculty member must complete a Goddard Fellowship Form. See section 4.6. Refer to Academic Appointments : Goddard Leaves for more details.