General Information for Tenure Candidates and Department Chairs

The primary criteria for awarding tenure at Boston University are a) teaching, b) research and publication, and c) service to the University and the profession, as determined through the evaluation of faculty performance. Faculty seeking tenure at Boston University are expected to demonstrate excellence in at least two of these areas. Additionally, institutional needs and goals are also considered in the granting of tenure.

A complete description of institutional procedures and guidelines for granting tenure at Boston University is located in the Faculty Handbook.

Candidates and Department Chairs should refer to the Questrom Tenure & Promotion Timeline for a complete timetable for the review process.

Tenure Clock Calculations & Extensions

  • The total standard probationary period for tenure-track Assistant Professors, also known as the tenure clock, at Boston University is 7 years.
  • Faculty with prior tenure-track service at other institutions are not assigned the full 7-year probationary period; prior service is taken into consideration at the time of hire.
  • Tenure clock extensions. The total extension of a faculty member’s tenure clock may not exceed two years, regardless of the combination of circumstances that resulted in the extensions. The following circumstances typically result in the deferral of a candidate’s tenure review year:
    • Childbirth Leave and/or a period of Primary Caregiver Workload Reduction results in an automatic one-year extension of the tenure review deadline, as described in the Boston University Faculty Handbook.
    • Extraordinary circumstances beyond a faculty member’s control, including medical leave of a semester or more, may have a significant negative impact on the ability of the faculty member to pursue his or her University responsibilities during the probationary period. In these circumstances, the Dean may request that the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs postpone the tenure review deadline for one year, provided that the request is made within one year of the beginning of the period of impact, and before the submission deadline for the candidate’s tenure application within Questrom. The faculty member retains the right, after consultation with his or her Department Chair and/or the Dean, to request review at the originally specified time.
  • Early Tenure Review. Any tenure-track faculty member may request tenure review before his or her mandatory tenure review year. The request for early tenure review must have the support of the faculty member’s Department Chair. Approval by the Dean and the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs to is also required. Requests for early tenure review must be submitted in writing by the candidate to the Dean’s Office. Cases that have been approved for early consideration will be scheduled to be heard during Questrom’s standard fall cycle. This timing is contingent on submission of a complete dossier and external evaluator letters.

Please contact Faculty Actions in the Dean’s Office with any questions or concerns regarding tenure clock extensions and/or to confirm a junior faculty member’s tenure review year.

External Evaluator Letters

Under a standard seven-year tenure clock, the tenure review process begins in the spring of the candidate’s 6th year. Please refer to information regarding tenure clock calculations (above) for adjustments to this timeline.

The first stage of the review process involves the solicitation of external evaluations by the Dean’s Office. Per Provost Office requirements, 10-12 external letters are sought. Candidates may provide their Department Chair with the names of up to three external evaluators who could effectively evaluate their scholarly and professional activities. Both arm’s length and non-arm’s length names can be provided. The final evaluator list is put forth by the candidate’s department and approved by the APT and Dean’s Office. The names furnished by candidates may or may not be used in the Dean’s Office solicitations.

Beyond the submission of a maximum of three names, the evaluator list and status of solicitations is not discussed with the candidate by the Department Chair or anyone else involved in the review process. The identity of solicited evaluators is deemed strictly confidential and cannot be released to candidates. Further, only the Dean’s Office can approach external evaluators. Candidates should never reach out to possible letter writers, even if they will be submitting their names. This confidential process must be carefully governed.

Candidate Deliverables

  • External evaluator packet (due late April). The materials listed below must be electronically submitted to Faculty Actions in the Dean’s Office by late April of the academic year preceding the candidate’s tenure review year. All materials must be reviewed and approved by the candidate’s Department Chair prior to submission.
    • Current CV (prepared according to the below guidelines)
    • 3 publications & 1 work-in-progress
    • Personal statement to include: (a) summary of, reflections on, and trajectory for research, teaching, service, and (b) reflections on future role at the University/School. 
  • Part II Form & supporting materials (due August 1). The Part II Form and supporting materials, as described below, must be electronically submitted to Faculty Actions in the Dean’s Office by August 1 of the candidate’s tenure review year. Supporting materials must be submitted as a bookmarked PDF. Hard copy materials are not required unless they are unavailable in electronic format. Candidates and/or Department Chairs are encouraged to contact Faculty Actions with any questions or concerns about the content and/or submission format of their Part II Form and supporting materials. Part II & supporting materials must be reviewed and approved by the candidate’s Department Chair prior to submission. 
    • Part II Form: Part II is a key document for review at all levels. It is a comprehensive and current annotated CV containing detailed information about the candidate’s research publications, teaching contributions, service leadership, awards & grants, etc. Part II also lists the names of the candidate’s three chosen external evaluators. Please remember that no review level of the tenure process is required to use the evaluator names furnished by candidates.
    • Supporting materials: Supporting materials should consist of the following:
      • CV & personal statement (updated from external evaluator packet submission, if necessary)
      • All publications, works-in-progress, and other scholarly works
      • Teaching materials, syllabi, and ratings history
      • Grant applications, if applicable (only necessary if a grant application is pending)
      • Any other materials addressed in the Part II Form that the candidate deems important and relevant to his or her tenure case.

NOTE: Candidates should send updated materials and/or information (e.g., a paper is accepted for publication, receipt of an award, funding of grant, etc.) to Faculty Actions in the Dean’s Office at any time throughout the review process. Faculty Actions will ensure that updates are distributed to all levels of review.

Guidelines for Preparation of a Complete & Accurate CV

Candidates often submit CVs that are missing information that is useful to the evaluation of their tenure case. In order to stand as a complete and accurate record of a candidate’s research, teaching, and service, CVs must include the following information:

  • Years of completion for all earned degrees
  • A complete record of all publications and works-in-progress
  • Order of authorship must be clearly delineated
  • Complete citations for published work, including page numbers
  • Clear identification of targeted journal and stage of review for all papers in the pipeline (i.e., working paper, 1st round review, R&R, conditional acceptance, etc.)
  • Teaching record, including courses and years taught
  • All service assignments, internal and external to the Department and School, including years of service
  • Grant information should include dollar amount awarded, the granting agency/source, term of grant, grant versus sub-contract award, PI status, and names/affiliations of Co-PIs.

NOTE: The CV is the most important component of the candidate’s dossier. Faculty should continually update their CVs throughout the review process and provide Faculty Actions with revised CVs as soon as new information is made available. Faculty Actions will ensure that the updated CV is added to the candidate’s dossier and distributed to all levels of review.