Faculty Affairs

Searches: Procedures for Tenured Appointments

Search Committee Responsibility:

The committee: 

  • discusses the specific affirmative action goals for the department with the Dean and the Office of Institutional Equity; 
  • drafts an advertisement inviting applications and nominations (containing a description of rank, beginning date, tenure-track status, teaching expectations, application deadline, name and address of search committee chair, and Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity statements). The advertisement must be approved by the Divisional Dean and the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and placed in appropriate publications;
  • contacts colleagues in other universities to identify possible candidates; 
  • contacts promising candidates for expressions of interest; 
  • when appropriate, interviews potential candidates at professional meetings; 
  • acknowledges all applications and requests that candidates complete the Equal Employment Opportunity Form – Self Declaration for Candidates;
  • develops dossiers for candidates under serious consideration. These dossiers include a current curriculum vitae, the candidate's intellectual development statement, and any materials such as course outlines or sample course evaluations that are likely to illuminate the effectiveness of a candidate's teaching. The committee will request other evidence of professional development and activity, such as significant articles and books published, papers read before learned societies, and research in progress; 
  • solicits, whenever desirable, evaluations of specific strengths and weaknesses of the candidates with respect to research, teaching, rank among peers, and potential. If written opinions are solicited, use the sample letters in the Provost's procedures; all email exchanges should be retained and included in the dossier and all telephone conversations should be fully described; narrows the list of candidates and, following the procedures prescribed in department bylaws, prepares a written report to the department. This report should recapitulate the search process and attach a copy of the published advertisement, give a candidate-by-candidate assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates on the short list, and justify to the faculty its recommendation for the top candidates;
  • the Chair seeks the Dean's approval to invite the candidates for a campus visit. In addition to all supporting academic documentation, the request to the Dean should include the EEO Reporting Form for Faculty Positions; with the Dean’s approval, the committee makes invited candidates' dossiers available to the department, as specified in the department's bylaws, and to all administrative officers who are to interview the candidates; 
  • provides an opportunity for candidates to give an oral presentation and to meet colleagues in the department and in related disciplines; 
  • schedules interviews with the Dean of Faculty, the appropriate Divisional Dean, the Dean of the Graduate School, and with other university administrators as appropriate, and prepares a written report to the department.

Department Action:

When the interviews have been completed, the faculty discusses the candidates and selects the top candidate to be reviewed for appointment. The Chair forwards the department's recommendation to the Dean, with an appropriate cover letter, and includes the nominations for a full tenure-review committee, which should not include the Chair as a voting member. The Dean reviews the department's request and committee nomination and, if appropriate, approves the committee, thus authorizing the tenure review to begin.

Review Committee Responsibility:

The review committee, using the materials collected by the search committee where possible, assures that the dossier addresses all those items required by the Provost's procedures. Appendix II below offers a template for soliciting items from the candidate.

Department Action:

The department discusses in confidence the report of the review committee and votes on it by secret ballot at a meeting of the appropriate members of the department. The Chair does not vote except in a tie. It is expected that the required vote on tenure for such candidates "by secret unsigned ballot of tenured faculty members" will not take place until after members of the tenured faculty have had an opportunity to study and discuss the complete dossier, including the review committee's report and the external letters. At least five tenured Duke faculty must vote on all candidates for appointments with tenure. At least five tenured Duke faculty at the rank of Full Professor must vote on all candidates for appointments at the full rank. 
(In small departments where the review committee comprises all faculty eligible to vote, the Chair should be present for all discussions as a non-participating observer so that the Chair's letter to the Dean is fully informed by the committee discussions, which also double as departmental discussions. The vote of the review committee on the recommendation should be by written, secret ballot, with the Chair attending but not voting.) 
The numerical vote is to remain confidential among those faculty present at the meeting where the vote was taken, except as revealed in the Chair's transmittal letter to the Dean; elsewhere it should be reported only as positive or negative and its nature (split or unanimous) should not be revealed. Department bylaws should contain a definition of voting rights and of the Chair's voting role. Departmental voting policy must respect the University's Confidentiality Policy, which limits access to the file more rigorously for internal promotions than for the vote on search committee reports in the case of external appointments.  
Response to Department Action: If the department's recommendation is unfavorable, the Chair transmits to the Dean one copy of the complete dossier, which includes the Chair's letter addressing the items required by the Provost's procedures. (Note: Beginning with the 2009/10 academic year, this copy must be submitted on a CD rather than on paper.)  If the department's recommendation is favorable, the Chair forwards to the Dean three copies of the complete dossier (one paper and two CD), assuring that the Chair's transmittal letter addresses the items required by the Provost's procedures. The paper copy should be contained in ring binder(s) labeled on the spine with the candidate's name, and the CDs should be clearly labeled. The department should retain a copy of the file. (Note: Beginning with the 2009/10 academic year, paper dossiers will no longer be accepted; three copies of the CD will be required.)
Department members who so wish may communicate directly with the Dean. 
After receiving the department's full written recommendation and candidate's dossier for an appointment with tenure, the Dean reviews the dossier and checks it for procedural completeness. The Dean may seek supplementary information to inform his or her recommendation, which will address those items required by the Provost’s procedures. All such requests and their responses should be added to the dossier and kept confidential. The Dean

APT evaluates the dossier forwarded to the Provost, consistent with the standards enunciated by the Faculty Handbook. In its review, the committee may supplement specific portions of the dossier by consulting with individual experts and by requesting, through the Dean, additional information from the originating department. Information gathered by APT is confidential to the Committee and to those to whom it reports, except in the case of additional external evaluations it may solicit, which are shared with the Dean only. 
APT may feel it is necessary to invite an ad hoc panel of experts to provide additional advice, following the committee's internal rules. 
After its scrutiny, APT makes a recommendation to the Provost, who examines the record and APT's recommendation, considers departmental needs and University priorities, consults with the Dean and other administrative officers, and informs the Dean of the decision reached. The Dean transmits the Provost's decision to the Chair and, if appropriate, prepares an appointment letter for the candidate's acceptance.