Faculty FAQ

Executive Committee Tenure and Promotion Process

Can the candidate attend the meeting?
Tenure candidates have the right to demand that the departmental tenure review process, including deliberations and the tenure vote, be held in open session. If the candidate does not demand an open meeting, under UWM Policies and Procedures, candidates should be allowed an opportunity to make a statement to the committee. This should be communicated to the candidate in writing prior to the meeting. If the meeting is closed, the candidate does not have the right to be present during the deliberations and voting stage of the meeting.


Can we use secret ballots during a tenure vote?

Per UWM Policies and Procedures, all tenure/promotion votes must be taken by written ballot (UWM P&P 5.162).
Each ballot should contain:

  1. the motion before the committee
  2. the date
  3. the individual’s vote (Yes, No, Abstain)
  4. the signature of the executive committee member

No additional information should be placed on the ballot. These ballots should be retained in departmental files and maintained confidentially for the duration of the employee’s career at UWM. While the motion and the vote (ballots) are public records under the Wisconsin’s Public Records Law, any requests to review the ballots should be referred to UWM’s Records Custodian to determine whether release is appropriate. This includes requests by department members and the employee who was the subject of the vote.


Do we need a ballot?
See answer to Can we use secret ballots during a tenure vote? above.


How is abstention counted in the vote tally?
An abstention is an indication that the individual does not wish to vote. As such, an abstention is not counted in the tally of votes in the sense of determining if a motion passes. For example, a. vote of 4 yes, 3 no, 4 abstain is a positive vote as the abstentions are not counted. In this case, there were 7 votes; 4 positive and 3 negative. Four individuals abstain from voting.


Is the information discussed in closed session confidential? Can I discuss this information with others?

“Confidential university information” means information relating to university financial operations or personnel which is obtained from university records or in the course of official university business and which is not available to the general public upon request. Wis. Admin. Code s. UWS 8.02(6). There is an obligation to keep this information confidential.

Also see SAAP 11-02 and UWS 8

Members of the executive committee (departmental or divisional) or invitees to the meeting are expected to maintain in confidence all information discussed in the closed sessions of committee meetings, including all documents circulated in closed session and any minutes of the closed session. This obligation of confidence does not extend to information which: (a) is generally available in the public domain or becomes available to the public domain through no act of yours; (b) was independently known to members prior to participation in the closed session meeting; (c) is required to be disclosed by law; or (d) the Committee or the University directs a member to disclose. Committee members’ obligations under this policy shall continue indefinitely.


What do you do in cases where bylaws specify that a 2/3 majority is necessary for a motion to pass and the number turns out to be a fraction (e.g., 2/3 of 20 votes equals 13.3)?
The default logic or practice is that the number be rounded up to the nearest whole number. In the case of the 13.3 above, it would be rounded up to 14. Therefore, fourteen votes would be necessary for the motion to pass. If a department wants to round down rather than up, it must specify such in its policies and procedures and must apply this policy to all voting decisions.


What is the process of moving into closed session for tenure/promotion consideration?

A committee may meet in closed meetings for the reasons defined under Wisconsin Statute s. 19.85. A closed session occurs when only members of the body (such as the executive committee) or invitees are permitted to be in attendance. Section 19.85 (b) allows for a closed session when considering the grant or denial of tenure for a faculty member.  Section 19.85(c) allows for a closed session when promotions or performance evaluations are being considered by the committee. Tenure candidates have the right to demand that the departmental tenure review process, including deliberations and the tenure vote, be held in open session.

Prior to the executive committee’s meeting on promotion/tenure, notice shall be posted of the intent to hold a closed meeting. Notice of the meeting must be posted on a departmental bulletin board to which students, faculty and staff routinely have access, or on University Relations website, at least 24 hours before the meeting. If the committee will be meeting in closed session, a motion must be made to move into closed session pursuant to Wisconsin Statute s. 19.85(1)(b) or (c), as applicable, and the motion to be considered must be stated. A roll call/ballot vote is then taken and recorded, unless the motion is unanimous.


What is the role of the observer?
The observer attending a closed session of an executive committee (departmental or divisional) is expected to maintain the same standards of confidentiality that any member of the executive committee maintains. The role of the observer is to ensure that campus policies and state and federal laws are not violated. If the observer notes any violation of campus policies, he or she should report this to the dean or the provost. If the observer notes evidence of discrimination for race, gender or other protected status, he or she should report this directly to the Office of Equity and Diversity Services (EDS). The observer does not participate in the discussion of the committee or speak on the candidate’s behalf during the meeting.


Personnel Information

How does an academic department chair conduct a review of an Academic Staff member?
Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures Chapter 105 describes the annual review process. Please see: https://uwm.edu/secu/wp-content/uploads/sites/122/2014/07/105.pdf


How does one obtain an extension of the probationary period?

The faculty member needs to make a request in writing for an extension to the department executive committee in a timely manner. If the request is approved, the executive committee forwards the request with its recommendation to the Dean and the Provost In the event of childbirth, adoption and requests related to disability or chronic illness, requests are forwarded directly to the Provost. See the UWM P&P 5.135 at Policies and Procedures: Chapter 5: FACULTY PERSONNEL.

The request for extension of probationary period must be made prior to commencement of the tenure or contract renewal process.


How is the probationary period for faculty calculated
The length of the probationary appointment for assistant professors is usually seven years, but there may be exceptions. The calculation of the probationary period for assistant professors is detailed in UWM Policies and Procedures 5.13. This period cannot be more than 7 years, with limited exceptions as detailed in 5.13. Periods of leaves of absence are excluded in the calculation of the probationary period. A tenure decision must be made at least 12 months prior to the completion of the maximum probationary period unless the candidate waives the right to be reviewed. Please see these policies at: Policies and Procedures: Chapter 5: FACULTY PERSONNEL


What are the ranks for faculty?
The ranks for faculty are: instructor and; assistant, associate and full professor. The rank of instructor and assistant professor are usually probationary appointments. Wisconsin Stats. s. 36.05(8) and 36.13(4)(c), which define the ranks are available at: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/36


What are the steps in the promotion process from associate to full professor?
Promotion of individuals to the rank of full professor follows the same procedure as promotion to associate and is detailed above.


What are the steps in the promotion process?

All probationary faculty are evaluated by departmental executive committees per UWM P&P 4.05(2)
(Policies and Procedures: Chapter 4: THE DEPARTMENT) and divisional executive committees per UWM P&P 3.13
(Policies and Procedures: Chapter 3: FACULTY DIVISIONAL SYSTEMS) in accordance with written standards and guidelines. Department guidelines are available from the department chair. Divisional guidelines are published by the divisional committees each year. These are available from the Secretary of the University’s Office. Teaching, research and service are all to be considered in any judgment concerning promotion.

The executive committee of a department initiates the review process. The entire process is detailed in UWM P&P Chapters 4 and 5:
Policies and Procedures: Chapter 4: THE DEPARTMENT
Policies and Procedures: Chapter 5: FACULTY PERSONNEL


What do I do if I have a grievance?
There are two faculty committees that handle grievances- the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee and the Faculty Appeals and Grievances Committee. Tenure questions are usually handled by the FAGC. Grievances against other faculty members are handled by the FRRC. Information on these two committees is available at:


Grievances and complaints are defined under Wis. Admin. Code Ch. UWS 13:


What if the request for an extension of the probationary period is denied?
UWM P&P 5.135(6) provides an appeal process if a request is denied:
Policies and Procedures: Chapter 5: FACULTY PERSONNEL


What is the probationary appointment for faculty?
A probationary appointment is an appointment preceding the granting of tenure. See Wis. Stat. s. 36.13(4)(c): https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/36