Promotion

Appointment and Promotion Policies

Research FacultyLecturer Track Faculty | Bluhm Legal Clinic | Communication and Legal Reasoning Program (CLR)

Research-Intensive Faculty

Promotion and tenure recommendations for faculty are made by the tenured faculty to the Dean. If the Dean concurs, the Dean will recommend the promotion to the Provost.

Substantive standard

Recommendations of appointments to the research-intensive faculty are made by the research faculty to the Dean. Recommendations of the promotion to the rank of Associate Professor without tenure and Professor with tenure are made by the tenured members of the research faculty to the Dean. If the Dean concurs in such recommendation, the Dean will recommend the promotion to the Provost.

Voting Rules (adopted by the research-intensive faculty on September 17, 2007)

For each appointment to the research-intensive (tenure-line) faculty or promotion of an existing research-intensive faculty member, the appropriate committee shall recommend such candidate to the Eligible Faculty (as defined below) and provide for inspection (in the Dean's office or other place and in a form that the Dean or Dean's designate may specify) a report evaluating such candidate (along with other appropriate information) at least 5 business days prior to the meeting of the Eligible Faculty at which such recommendation shall be considered. In the case of promotion, the report shall be prepared consistently with the Substantive Standards and Procedures for Ascertaining the Candidate's Qualifications set forth below.

Appointments: Any recommendation of the faculty to the Dean that an appointment be made to the research-intensive (tenure-line) faculty must be approved by a vote of the entire research-intensive faculty of:

  • 60% of those Present in the case of an appointment without tenure
  • 66% of those Present in the case of an appointment with tenure

Promotions: Any recommendation of the faculty to the Dean that an existing research-intensive faculty member be promoted to the specified rank must be approved by a vote of the tenured members of the research-intensive faculty of:

  • 60% of those Present in the case of a promotion to Associate Professor without tenure
  • 66% of those Present in the case of a promotion to Professor with tenure

A faculty member must be Present in order to vote. A faculty member is "Present" if he or she is actually physically present or Constructively Present (as defined below).

Postponements: A vote on a candidate shall be taken and be final during the meeting called to consider such candidate. The vote may be postponed to a later meeting if:

  • The chair of the committee recommending such candidate determines that there is insufficient time in that meeting for the faculty entitled to vote to thoroughly discuss the candidate's case; or
  • Upon a motion to postpone a final vote, at least 33% of the faculty entitled to vote vote in favor of such motion.

Quorum. For the purposes of such votes, a quorum is met if at least 50% of the Eligible Faculty are Present. "Eligible Faculty" means the total number of research-intensive faculty entitled to vote on the matter minus each faculty member on approved leave of absence from the University (whether visiting at another institution or otherwise) unless such faculty member is Present.

Constructively Present: A faculty member is "Constructively Present" and may vote:

  • by absentee ballot delivered to the Dean or Dean's designate if he or she is away from the campus on University business (as determined by the Dean or Dean's designate) or is assigned to teach a class during the time of the meeting; or
  • by teleconference (audio or video) provided that he or she participates in such way in the meeting from the call to order through the time of the vote

if he or she has notified the Dean or Dean's designate at least 48 hours prior to the meeting and he or she has reviewed the candidate's file prior to the meeting.

Standards and Procedures for Promotion Decisions (adopted by the research-intensive faculty on May 14, 1998)

Procedures for Ascertaining the Candidate's Qualifications

A candidate's eligibility for promotion or tenure will be assessed by a standing committee on promotion and tenure, appointed by the dean.

Scholarship
Candidates for promotion or tenure must demonstrate excellence in scholarship. Candidates will submit a current curriculum vitae to the committee together with a brief statement of their research plans. The members of the committee will read and evaluate the candidate's publications, and unpublished work in progress as submitted, will urge the faculty to do likewise, and will facilitate such faculty participation by ensuring that adequate numbers of copies of these works are readily available. The committee will make certain that no fewer than five professors in peer institutions, who are well qualified to evaluate the candidate's published work, submit written evaluations. These external evaluators will be selected by and in the sole discretion of the committee, which may ask the candidate to suggest suitable external evaluators. If they chose to do so, members of the faculty, and other persons properly qualified to render an opinion concerning the quality of the candidate's work, may submit memoranda for the record.

Teaching
Once a candidate satisfies the criterion of excellence in scholarship, the committee will determine whether he or she also has been a conscientious and effective teacher. In order to ascertain whether this standard has been met, the committee will: (a) arrange for members of the committee to visit and observe a number of the candidate's classes; (b) interview members of the faculty who have observed the candidate in the classroom; (c) interview students as follows: procure copies of the class lists of all courses and seminars taught by the candidate in the current year and (at least) the previous year, review all available teaching evaluations completed by students, place these lists in chronological order by term and in alphabetical order by course name within a term; strike from these lists the names of all students who are no longer enrolled in the Law School; select every tenth name, beginning with one of the first ten names selected at random; and privately discuss the candidate's teaching effectiveness with an many of the students so selected as is possible. Additional interviews with students and former students may also be scheduled at the discretion of the committee.

Citizenship
Candidates for promotion or tenure are expected to be contributing citizens of the Law School , University and professional and civic communities. One or more members of the committee will discuss with the chair of every Law School or University committee on which the candidate has served during the current and at least the previous school year the caliber of his or her contribution to the work of the committee. Other members of committees on which the candidate has served may also be consulted. Non-university activities that may be germane to the promotion or tenure decision will be identified and evaluated by the committee to the extent it believes them to be important.

Procedures for decision

The committee
When the committee has completed the foregoing evaluation, it will prepare loose-leaf binders (with as many duplicates as necessary), that will include the candidate's curriculum vitae and research plan, all the of candidate's published writings and significant unpublished writings, all of the written evaluations from intramural or outsides sources, and any other exhibits the committee deems relevant to the promotion and tenure decision. The committee will prepare a memorandum, addressed to the dean, which will state the facts it has found and the conclusion it draws from those facts concerning the candidate's eligibility for promotion and tenure. The record will be available for inspection by the tenured faculty in the dean's suite or faculty commons.

The faculty
The tenured faculty will meet to consider the promotion or tenure questions, and following discussion will express its view by recorded vote. The recorded vote shall be treated as confidential by the Dean and the tenured faculty, and will not be shared with non-tenured faculty members or people outside of Northwestern University. The result of the ballot is not binding on the dean, but does become a part of the record.

The dean
In order to recommend that a candidate be tenured or promoted, the dean shall be satisfied that such a recommendation is appropriate according to the standards set forth herein. In order to reach this judgment, the dean may consult privately with members of the faculty, students, or with other person's within and outside the Law School concerning a candidate's suitability. If the dean decided that the tenure or promotion is not justified, that decisions will serve as the final decision of the University. If her or she decides to recommend promotion or tenure, the Provost will decide whether to accept that recommendation.

Timing of decisions
Ordinarily candidates with no prior teaching experience are appointed to the faculty as assistant professors with a three-year appointment. The decision whether to promote a candidate to associate professor is ordinarily made in the third year of this appointment, but may be made sooner if the candidate and dean so agree. The dean will ordinarily allow an unsuccessful candidate for promotion to associate professor to serve a fourth and final year at the rank of assistant professor. The rank of associate professor is untenured with rare exceptions. Associate professors are normally appointed to a three-year appointment. The decision whether to promote an associate professor to full professor with tenure is ordinarily made in the third year of this appointment, but may be made sooner if the candidate and dean so agree. Candidates who are denied tenure will be so notified by the dean before the end of the third year of their appointment as Associate Professor.

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Lecturer Track Faculty

  • Appointments at the Lecturer and Senior Lecturer level, and promotions from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer, will be made at the discretion of the Dean, subject to the appointment standards stated below, with final approval by the Provost. 
  • Appointments at or promotion to Professor of Practice will be by recommendation of a Professor of Practice appointment committee, empaneled specific to each candidate, subject to the Dean's confirmation and Provost approval. All Professor of Practice appointment committees shall include representation from the research-intensive faculty and currently appointed Professors of Practice
  • Appointments at the Lecturer rank will be pursuant to one-year contracts. Faculty promoted to or hired at the rank of Senior Lecturer may be eligible for a continuing appointment, or any other renewable or long-term contract protocol, under the standards applicable thereto, as may be established by the Law School subject to Provost approval.
  • Appointment at or promotion to the rank of Professor of Practice will be pursuant to a continuing appointment, or any other renewable or long-term contract protocol as may be established by the Law School subject to Provost approval.

Appointment Level Criteria

These criteria are presented as factors which will be considered and weighted overall on a case-by-case basis and not minimum required credentials in total:

Lecturer  

  • Record of academic excellence
  • 1-3 years experience in law practice or government service
  • Evidence or promise of excellence in law teaching
  • Sophisticated understanding of an area of law relevant to Law School curricular needs

Senior Lecturer

  • 3-5 years experience in law practice, government service or legal education
  • 1-3 years established excellence in law teaching
  • Experience practicing in an area of law relevant to Law School curricular needs
  • Record or promise of scholarship in an area of law relevant to Law School curricular needs
  • Graduate degree beyond or in addition to the JD

 Professor of Practice 

  • Current Senior Lecturer rank at the Law School with continuing or long-term appointment
  • 5 or more years of experience in law practice, government service or legal education
  • 3-5 years established excellence in law teaching
  • Extensive experience practicing in an area of law relevant to Law School curricular needs
  • Record of scholarship or externally recognized expertise in an area of law relevant to Law School curricular needs
  • Graduate degree beyond or in addition to the JD
  • Record of service to the Northwestern Law community

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Clinical Faculty (Bluhm Legal Clinic)

Promotion recommendations for clinical faculty in the Bluhm Legal Clinic are made to the Dean pursuant to the Standards and Procedures for Non-Tenure Track Clinical Appointments in the Bluhm Legal Clinic (approved by the faculty on November 11, 1999) set forth below:

Types of Appointments in the Bluhm Legal Clinic

Members of the Law School's clinical faculty play an important role in the education of our students through their supervision of live client work by students and their teaching in classroom and simulation courses. The Law School wishes to increase its recognition of the clinical faculty's contributions and accomplishments by establishing a system of professorial faculty titles to be modified by the adjective "clinical" (the "clinical track").

Clinical Professors at the Law School may receive the following non-tenure track appointments: Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, and Clinical Professor of Law.

Clinical Lecturers are appointment for the purpose of teaching students in live client, simulation, and externship programs a the Law School under the supervision of a tenure track or clinical faculty member.

Responsibilities of Clinical Appointments

Clinical faculty appointments are non-tenure track faculty appointments. Such appointments are generally made only one for academic year, and the Law School is under no obligation to renew any such appointment, regardless of rank. Consistent with the above, all clinical faculty are entitled to the benefits provided by the University and Law School to faculty of similar rank and service.

Clinical faculty may attend all faculty meetings except those dealing with appointment and promotion discussion of research-intensive faculty. Clinical faculty may not vote at faculty meetings. Clinical faculty shall serve on Law School committees if so appointed by the Dean.

Clinical faculty shall undertake course assignments and other responsibilities and tasks as assigned by the Dean of the Law School or his or her designate.

Standards and Procedures for Appointment of Clinical Professors

Standards
Nothing in these standards should be construed to prohibit the Dean from recommending the appointment or promotion of persons to the various positions described below without regard to the time periods set forth below as long as the person(s) appointed or promoted meet the substantive standards for appointment or promotion set forth below. Clinical faculty members are not entitled to promotion solely on the basis of the number of years as members of the clinical faculty.

The title of Clinical Professor of Law may be conferred only on a person who has:

  1. Demonstrated excellence in clinical teaching and traditional classroom teaching. Excellence in clinical teaching shall include consideration of the following: supervision of student's casework and writing, preparation and selection of teaching materials, selection of actual or simulated cases, instruction in contributions to the methods and substance of clinical teaching, and service to clients;
  2. Made a substantial contribution to the academic or professional legal community in at least one of the following ways or through comparable activities:
    • Publication of scholarly work regarding a substantive area of law or legal education or improvement to the system of justice;
    • Successful leadership in working with the supervising students in the reform or improvement of our laws and legal institutions;

The title of Associate Clinical Professor of Law may be granted to a person who has made substantial progress toward meeting the requirements for appointment to Clinical Professor of Law set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 above and who has demonstrated a substantial probability that she or he will meet the standards within three years.

The title of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law may be granted to a person who has demonstrated that potential to meet the standards for promotion to Clinical Professor of Law.

Procedures
The Dean may appointment any personal to the position of Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, who in the Dean's sole discretion meets the standard set forth above.

The Dean, with such advice of the faculty that he or she deems appropriate, may initiate the appointment or promotion of any person to the positional of Associate Clinical Professor of Law who has been an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law or who has served in a similar position for at least three years and who meets the standards set forth above.

Upon recommendation of the full voting faculty, the Dean may initiate the appointment or promotion of any person to the position of Clinical Professor of Law who meets the standards set forth above. When considering the appointment or promotion of a Clinical Professor of Law, the Dean shall ordinarily appoint a committee of three persons, which shall report to the full voting faculty whether, in the committee's view, the candidate meets the standards for such an appointment or promotion. If the committee's recommendation is favorable, the full voting faculty shall take an advisory vote on the appointment or promotion, but the Dean is not obligated to follow the recommendation of the faculty. Normally, such a promotion will not occur until the clinical faculty member has been served as least a total of six years in the positions of Assistant and Associate Clinical Professor of Law or a similar position.

Appointments or promotions to the ranks of Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Professor within the Bluhm Legal Clinic require the approval of the University Provost. Materials required by the Provost include a letter from the Dean setting forth the case for appointment of promotion, the curriculum vitae of the nominee, a statement from the nominee regarding his or her achievements and plans as they pertain to the two criteria above, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and external letters regarding the nominee's achievements and/or promise as they relate to the criteria above. Two external letters are required for persons proposed for appointment at the Clinical Associate Professor level and three external letters are required for persons proposed for appointment at the Clinical Professor level.

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Clinical Faculty (Communication and Legal Reasoning Program)

Appointment and promotion recommendations for clinical faculty in the Communication and Legal Reasoning Program are made to the Dean pursuant to the Standards and Procedures for Non-Tenure Track Clinical Appointments in the Communication and Legal Reasoning Program (approved by the faculty on November 11, 1999) set forth below.

Types of Appointments in the Communication and Legal Reasoning Program ("CLR")

Members of the Law School's CLR faculty play an important role in the education of our students through their classrooms teaching, one-on-one instruction, and mentoring of first-year law students. The Law School wished to increase its recognition of the CLR faculty's contributions and accomplishments by establishing a system of professional faculty titles (the "CLR track").

CLR faculty at the Law School shall be appointed to non-tenure track positions under the following titles: Clinical Instructor, Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, and Clinical Professor.

Responsibilities of CLR Appointments

CLR faculty appointments are non-tenure track faculty appointments. Such appointments are for one academic year, and the Law School is under no obligation to renew any such appointment, regardless of rank. However, the Law School may renew an appointment at any level without regard to length of service. Except as otherwise specified, all CLR faculty are entitled to the benefits provided by the University and Law School to faculty of similar rank.

CLR faculty may attend all faculty meetings expect those dealing with appointment and promotion discussions of tenure-track faculty. They may not vote at faculty meetings. CLR faculty will serve on Law School committees if so assigned by the Dean. CLR faculty may undertake non-CLR course assignments and other responsibilities and tasks upon the invitation of the Dean of the Law School or his or her designate.

Standards and Procedures for Appointment of Professors of CLR

Standards
Nothing in these standards should be construed to prohibit the Dean from recommending the appointment or promotion of persons to the various positions described below without regard to the time periods set forth below as long as the person(s) appointed or promoted meet the substantive standards for appointment or promotion set forth below.

Substantive Standards for Appointment:
The title of Clinical Professor may be conferred only on a person who has:

1. Demonstrated excellence in teaching. Excellence in teaching shall include consideration of the following: instruction in legal analysis, writing, and research in classroom, small-group, and one-on-one sessions; editing and providing constructive feedback on students' written work-product; preparation and selection of teaching materials and assignments; and contributions to the methods and substance of CLR teaching; and

2. Made a substantial contribution to the academic or professional legal community or the CLR program in at least one of the following ways or through comparable activities:

  • publication of scholarly work regarding a substantive area of law or the process of law school instruction;
  • presentations at professional meetings and conferences or other involvement in professional organizations;
  • special projects to develop enhancements or innovations to the CLR curriculum;
  • contributions to the law school community, such as teaching in other courses; academic support and supplemental tutoring of students with additional needs; academic and personal counseling of students; reading and grading briefs submitted by upper-year students and judging oral argument rounds in the Julius Miner Moot Court Competition; counseling student organizations and coaching upper-year moot court teams; or promotion of students' job, externship, and clerkship searches.

The title of Associate Clinical Professor may be granted to a person who has made substantial progress toward meeting the requirements for appointment as a Clinical Professor set forth in paragraph 1 above and who has demonstrated a substantial probability that she or he will meet the standards set forth in paragraph 2 above within three years.

The title of Assistant Clinical Professor may be granted to a person who has demonstrated the potential to meet the standards for promotion to Clinical Professor. The title of Clinical Instructor shall be granted to a person at the time of initial appointment to serve on the CLR faculty.

Procedures for Appointment:
The Dean, with the advice of the Director of CLR, may recommend the appointment of any person to the position of Instructor or Assistant Clinical Professor who meets the standards set forth above.

The Dean, with the advice of the Director of CLR and such other faculty that the Dean deems appropriate, may recommend to the Provost any person for the position of Associate Clinical Professor who has been an Assistant Clinical Professor or who has served in a similar position for at least three years and who meets the standards set forth above.

Upon the recommendation of the full voting faculty, the Dean may appoint any person to the position of Clinical Professor who meets the standards set forth above. When considering the appointment of a Clinical Professor, the Dean shall ordinarily appoint a committee of three persons, which shall report to the faculty whether, in the committee's view, the candidate meets the standards for such an appointment. If the committee's recommendation is favorable, the faculty shall take an advisory vote on the appointment, but the Dean is not obligated to follow the recommendation of the faculty to make such an appointment. Normally, such a promotion will not occur until the faculty member has served at least six years in the positions of Assistant and/or Associate Clinical Professor or a similar position.

Appointments or promotions to the ranks of Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Professor within the CLR program require the approval of the University Provost. Materials required by the Provost include a letter from the Dean setting forth the case for appointment or promotion, the curriculum vitae of the nominee, a statement from the nominee regarding his/her achievements and plans as they pertain to the CLR program, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and external letters regarding the nominee's achievements and /or promise as they relate to the criteria set forth above. Two external letters are required for persons proposed for appointment at the associate professor level; three external letters are required for persons proposed for appointment at the full professor level.

Promotion to Chairs and Professorships

The conferral of chairs and professorships ("chairs") reflects the highest honor that the University can bestow on its faculty for excellence in research and teaching. Named professorships are conferred based upon the recommendation of the Dean to the Provost.

Named Professorships (Continuing)
Generally, a necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisite to a named professorship is the publication of a significant peer-reviewed university-press monograph, or in a field in which there is no such publication tradition, the publication of a series of peer-reviewed articles of substantial value. The Dean with the informal advice of other faculty decides on recommendations of individual faculty members for the named professorships. Named professorships will be conferred for five-year periods that are renewable if the holder continues to produce at a similar quality and rate to that which led to the conferral of the named professorship.

Named Professorships (Rotating)
The Law School also honors faculty for substantial research or teaching accomplishments through the conferral of temporary or "rotating" named professorships. Those named professorship are awarded for specific terms and not generally renewed upon the termination of the term. Holders of continuing named professorships are ineligible for rotating named professorships.

Professorships (Adjunct)
The Law School honors adjunct faculty for excellent teaching over an extended period and service to the Law School through the conferral of adjunct named professorships for set periods of time.

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