ECE Business Operations

ECE Business Operations

Governing Policies

Promotion & Tenure

Revised:  April 17, 1998



Scholarship and involvement in professional activities, teaching, and service are all expected of Faculty Members in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and they must strive for excellence in all three areas.  Promotions to a higher rank, and/or the granting of tenure, are to be made as a result of demonstrated accomplishments in scholarly and professional activities, a demonstrated competence in and commitment to teaching, and a demonstrated willingness to provide service to the Department, College, and University.  In addition, an especially important part of tenure decisions is an assessment of the potential for a full, productive career.

The purpose of this document is to define policies, criteria and procedures to enable informed, consistent and orderly promotion and tenure judgments to be made. The assessment of scholarly accomplishment and the potential for continued active scholarship is an important part of all promotion and tenure decisions.  A long career of quality teaching in a dynamic field, such as Electrical and Computer Engineering, requires ongoing scholarly work as well as a commitment to teaching.  Experience has shown that an early demonstration of excellence in teaching, without a companion commitment to quality, relevant scholarship, is not a good indicator of future teaching ability. The same can be said for the prospect of valuable service to the profession and University.

This document is in compliance with the University Guidelines for Faculty Promotion and Tenure, henceforth referred to as the University Guidelines.  It is focused on the additions and clarifications under the special circumstances and needs of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


Deadlines relevant to the promotion and tenure process are the same as in the University Guidelines, i.e.:

15 March:

Candidate should give the chairman a written notice of his/her intention to apply for promotion.  Department Promotion and Tenure Committee begins the process of soliciting peer evaluations.

1 September:

Dossier to Department Committee and Chairman.

1 October:

Department Committee’s recommendation to the Chairperson.

15 October:

Department chairman’s recommendation to the College Committee and Dean.

The rest of the schedule at the college and university level can be found in the University Guidelines.


For each candidate, the Department will create a Department Promotion and Tenure committee consisting of all tenured faculty at or above the rank to which the candidate seeks promotion, except the Department Chairperson, any candidates, and those faculty excluded by the College and University Guidelines.  Each committee may, at its discretion, expand its membership to include other faculty within the Department but such inclusions must adhere to the University Guidelines.

The Department chair will choose a chair of each department committee.  Once the chair is chosen, each committee is autonomous.  The committee may ask the Department Chairperson to meet with them, but the Chairperson will not be eligible to vote.

When the committee has completed its deliberation it will prepare a letter of recommendation, stating its recommendations and the reasons for its decision. The letter will indicate the composition of the committee, a numerical vote of the committee or a statement that the decision is unanimous, and it will be signed by all members of the committee. The candidate will receive a copy of this letter.  Any members of the committee who wish may attach signed minority opinions as appendices to the letter of recommendation of the Department Committee.


The department stresses certain qualifications for promotion; the Department Promotion and Tenure Committee is required to consider these qualifications in reaching its evaluations and recommendations.  To this end, candidates for promotion are expected to have demonstrated achievements in scholarly and professional activities, demonstrated competence in and commitment to teaching, and demonstrated willingness to provide service to the Department, College, and University.

3.1.      Promotion to and Tenure for Associate Professor

Promotion to Associate Professor and the granting of tenure to non-tenured Associate Professors will be based on demonstrated accomplishments in scholarship and teaching, following the guidelines stated above.  The candidate for a tenured Associate Professor position must have established at Delaware a program of quality research that has demonstrated his or her independent contributions.  He or she must have been effective in attracting students from among the pool of graduate students at Delaware to his or her research program and in providing sound graduate training as a part of this research program. To recommend a candidate for a tenured Associate Professor position, the committee must conclude that the candidate has demonstrated accomplishments in research and shows promise for a position of leadership in the Electrical and Computer Engineering profession.  In addition, the candidate must also show high promise of meeting the requirements for Professor in a timely fashion. The candidate for a tenured Associate Professor position must have shown a commitment to teaching and an adequate competence in teaching and organization of course material. He or she should have  demonstrated his or her teaching ability in several courses, including both introductory and advanced courses and have achieved a high level of classroom teaching effectiveness.

  • Promotion to Professor

Promotion to Full Professor requires demonstrated national stature in research demonstrated excellent quality in teaching.  Service to the Electrical and Computer Engineering profession will also be considered. A willingness to serve the Department, College and University is important. The candidate for Full Professor should have shown substantial growth in his or her scholarly activity as an Associate Professor. The candidate’s scholarly output should have remained of high quality and should have broadened substantially during his or her tenure as an Associate Professor, as measured by both the internal and external evaluators. The candidate should have become prominently  involved with the appropriate professional groups. The candidate for Full Professor should have maintained a dedication to quality in teaching and should be recognized as an effective classroom teacher.

3.3.      Evaluation

3.3.1.   Evaluation of Scholarship

Quality of scholarship may be evidenced in many ways, but a primary one will be the assessment by the outside referees of the candidate’s scholarship.  Other evidence will normally include publication in refereed journals and refereed conference proceedings of recognized reputation and receipt of research support from granting and contracting agencies which normally support research in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The candidate should show good judgment in problem selection, in the approach to his or her research, and in determining the point of diminishing returns.  Additional evidence of scholarly activity is provided by the candidate’s collaboration with peers and student and by his or her management of student research programs. The candidate’s summary of his or her ongoing research and funded and pending proposals can also be used in evaluating the quality of the candidate’s research, as can the candidate’s participation in professional meetings. The quantity of research results can also serve to measure scholarship, but the number of publications, per se, is not necessarily an adequate measure. The outside referees will be asked for an assessment of the quality and the committee should evaluate the sum of the publications considering such factors as the overlap between publications and the truly new material in each publication. A broad range of scholarly interests is desirable, and quality papers on several substantially different problems within the candidate’s general area(s) of specialization should be counted more than a comparable number of papers of closely related facets of the same problem.  Flexibility and adaptability in research interests can be indicative of the potential for a full productive career.  For tenure decisions, the committee should determine that the candidate has done more than just continue his or her thesis research.

3.3.2.   Evaluation of Teaching

Candidates should demonstrate competence in and a strong commitment to teaching.  Evidence considered should include:  teaching evaluations, letters from students, development of new teaching laboratories, and the assessment of other faculty as to the preparation of students for courses which follow. Lecture visits may be appropriate, but require pre-arrangement with the candidate.  Quality teaching in Electrical and Computer Engineering requires a thorough knowledge of the underlying principles, an awareness of trends within the profession, a basic ability to communicate verbally, and a willingness to devote the necessary time and energy to teaching. Student teaching evaluations, supervised by the College of Engineering, will be used primarily to demonstrate that the candidate is prepared aware of student needs, and possesses the necessary communications skills.

3.3.3.   Evaluation of Service

Service to the profession and University are an important part of the duties of faulty. It is important for non-tenured faculty to establish themselves in the profession and take seriously whatever University service is required of them. Candidates will be valued on their willingness to serve and effectiveness in carrying out essential service rather than the quantity of service work.


4.1.      Preparation of Dossier

The preparation of the dossier is the responsibility of the candidate. The dossier must conform in form and content to the specifications contained in the University Guidelines.  Any candidate who does not prepare a dossier in a timely fashion, as defined in this policy and the University Guidelines, cannot be considered  for promotion and tenure.

The candidate may request help from any member of the faculty in preliminary evaluation of his or her dossier. The chairperson of the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee may, with the concurrence of the candidate, appoint a faculty member to work with the candidate in editing and revision of his or her dossier. However, the candidate remains solely responsible for the content of the dossier, except for the items to be added by the Department Chairperson or the Committee Chairperson as required. The candidate may review all such additions to his or her dossier, except the confidential letters of evaluation.  Once the confidential letters of evaluation have been included in the dossier, the candidate may not see the dossier, unless it is feasible for the Committee Chairperson to retrieve the dossier and temporarily remove the confidential letters. Additions are not normally made to the dossier once it has left the Department. However, at the request of the candidate additions may be made through the Department Committee chairperson according to the University Guidelines. It is the responsibility of the Department Committee chairperson to arrange for any person or committee who has made a negative recommendation to review their decision fully in light of the new and old information.

  • Content of Dossier

To repeat, the preparation of the dossier is the responsibility of the candidate, except for the addition of the confidential letters of recommendation and the letters of evaluation and recommendation added by the Departmental Committee, Departmental Chairperson, College Committee, Dean, University Committee and Provost.  It is extremely important that the dossier be well organized and carefully prepared.  All dossiers should be organized under the headings specified in the University Guidelines (Section 9).

  • Outside Referees

Confidential letters of evaluation shall be obtained from at least four highly qualified referees in the candidate’s research area.  All letters of evaluation shall be included in the dossier. The purpose of these letters of evaluation is to get several independent assessments of the quality and quantity of the candidate’s scholarly work, and to assist in determining the candidate’s stature in the profession.

The procedures for selecting the outside referees and obtaining their letters of evaluation are described in the University Guidelines. The procedures may be summarized as follows.  The candidate will supply a list of potential referees. The committee will expand the list with other choices and will select a subset to be possible referees. The candidate will be given the opportunity to comment in writing on this subset. Finally some number, at least four, of this subset will be contacted and asked to write letters. The candidate may not know the identity of those referees asked, nor may the candidate see their letters. In soliciting letters, the committee may provide the referees with the candidate’s curriculum vitae and samples of publications. Each letter solicited will be included in the dossier and will be accompanied by a copy of the letter asking ;for the reference, a brief biography of the referee, and a statement describing the relationship, if any, between the referee and the candidate.

References from other faculty at the University may be obtained and included in the dossier, but do not diminish the number of outside referees needed.


A candidate has the right and responsibility to know all relevant departmental, college and university promotion criteria, policies and practices. Appeals are possible at every level.  Any candidate who wishes to appeal the decision at the Department Committee level must notify the committee chair in writing no later than five working days following receipt of the decision. The Department Committee will schedule hearing, which will be convened by the chair of the committee.  Evidence in support of the appeal must be submitted to the committee at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.  Likewise, an appeal of the decision of the Department Chairperson must be made in writing no later than five working days following receipt of the chairperson’s decision.  Evidence in support of the appeal must be submitted to the Department Chairperson prior to a personal meeting.


The document may be revised by the Faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering  Department. Such revision must be approved by a majority of the faculty with each full-time member, including the Department Chairperson, having one vote. The revised departmental document must then be submitted for further approval as described in the University Guidelines.

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