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Criteria for Promotion

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Criteria for Promotion From Associate Professor to Professor

Associate Professors are normally considered by the department for review for promotion to Professor in their sixth year.  Strong justification is required for an earlier recommendation for promotion.  There is no upper limit to the time a tenured faculty member may serve in the rank of Associate Professor.  Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor is based on the quality and impact of research, effectiveness of teaching, and scope of educational and professional activities on and off campus.  To be eligible for promotion the candidate must be judged as outstanding in research, excellent in education, and actively engaged in professional activities.  There must be clear evidence that the candidate has fulfilled the promise on which tenure was granted and has achieved national or international stature in their field.

The following factors are among those considered in evaluating the candidate's qualifications for promotion.   

A. Research
1. The initiation, development, and direction of significant research projects.

2. The quality and impact of research contributions, as evidenced by publications in recognized journals of high quality and other highly-rated scholarly disseminations.  

3. The opinions of recognized authorities from outside Cornell with regard to the candidate's ranking in scholarly accomplishment; also the opinions of knowledgeable individuals from within Cornell.  Strong consideration should be given to letters expressing these opinions.

4.  The candidate’s record in attracting quality graduate students, stimulating their research efforts, and promoting and directing significant thesis research.

5. Development of programs and facilities at Cornell that contribute to research. 

6. Other evidence of research recognition such as: citations in publications, success in obtaining research support from outside agencies, patents, adoption of the candidate’s software, consulting activities with demonstrated research impact, and invited research presentations.

B.  Education
1. Effectiveness as a teacher in the classroom and laboratory at both the undergraduate and  graduate levels, as judged by the report of a peer teaching committee, letters from students solicited by the department chair,  student course evaluations and other indications of effectiveness.  This includes adopting efficient teaching styles appropriate to each classroom environment, motivating the students, and reacting with sensitivity to the needs of a student body with diverse backgrounds.

2. Effectiveness in guiding and advising graduate students, as judged by the number and  quality of students supervised, the opinions of these students regarding the candidate, and their accomplishments after leaving Cornell. 

3. Maintaining knowledge of current developments in the candidate’s field and applying these to teaching through timely development of new courses and modernization of existing  courses.  

4. Publications related to teaching, including textbooks, new teaching methods and aids, non-print media used for instruction, and the introduction of laboratory experiments.  

5.  Development of programs and facilities at Cornell that contribute to education. 

6. Active interest in student affairs and welfare, and effectiveness as a student advisor on both   undergraduate and graduate levels.

C. Professional Service
1. Participation and leadership in important faculty assignments and committees within the  University, College, or departmental division, such as those concerning curricular  development, educational policy, research matters, and university affairs.

2. Professional recognition outside the Cornell University community as evidenced by  appointments to editorial posts for scientific and engineering publications and by  membership on significant professional and scientific committees, councils, boards, and  review panels.

3. Outside industrial and governmental experiences that contribute to the advancement of the  engineering profession or practice and to their effectiveness as a faculty member.

4.  Leadership and participation in: diversity initiatives, outreach, cross-campus activities, and mentoring.

Given the spectrum of differences in individual attitudes and preferences, it is not expected that an individual would rate highly on every point in each of these three categories. Yet the quality of the candidate's performance in regard to the listed items and the number of those in which the candidate has proved successful should lead to reasonable uniformity of judgment in considering promotion.  The ad hoc committee may consider the candidate’s future potential in teaching, research, and professional leadership and other criteria that it deems appropriate.  

Additional information on criteria and procedures for promotion from Associate to Full Professor can be found in the Cornell Faculty Handbook including Appendix 6: “Procedures for Appealing a Negative Decision on Promotion to Full Professor.”