Tenure Lines

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Your Guide to Tenure Line Search Proposals

Process and Required Elements of a Proposal

Proposals for tenure line searches should include the following elements:

  1. A curricular rationale for the position.
  2. Data relevant to the provost’s qualitative and quantitative metrics.
  3. A narrative to guide EPC and the Provost in how to think about the supporting value of this position to the department and institution.
  4. A draft of the job ad.

    After a search is approved, the department will submit to the Provost’s office:
  5. A timeline of the search.
  6. A draft plan to create a diverse applicant pool, as described in Faculty Search Procedures and Guidelines.

Deadline for submission

Proposals should be submitted to the Provost and EPC (epc@kzoo.edu) by Friday of 6th week winter term. EPC makes recommendations to the Provost. Final approval for a search comes from the President. See complete timeline below.

Elements and Descriptions

Curricular rationale

Departments should convene as a full department to discuss, in detail and depth, how the new hire will contribute and maintain a well-conceived, robust, innovative representation of the contemporary discipline within K’s liberal arts environment. EPC is looking for a rationale and vision for how the position creatively and thoroughly responds to the current and future needs of the college and department, including a description of how the position meets the strategic objectives of the College. The rationale should also explain how the position is reflective of and responsive to the current state and cutting-edge future of the field or discipline. This might be supported with various professional associations documents that outline how the discipline might be structured and administered for undergraduate instruction, and the department might itemize, not only the position’s course contributions, but also the role such will play in representing the discipline in the terms the professional association document lays out. Departments may also include a statement indicating current best practices at peer institutions and reports from external reviewers. If there are new and important areas of scholarship in the discipline that the department seeks to represent, these should be carefully described and documented. If the line contributes to other departments and programs, these should be listed and described carefully to provide a full view a new hire’s potential contributions and responsibilities. The discussion should respond to EPC’s central responsibility of ensuring the curricular integrity of a department’s representation of its discipline.

Relevant data

The institutional Research Office will provide data in support of the following quantitative metrics arrived at after discussions between the Provost, FEC, and EPC.

For the person vacating the line, the following information for the most recent five years (Fall 2018 – Spring 2023):

  • Number of SIPs advised. EPC encourages departments to talk about how the SIPs associated with this position contribute to curricular integrity in their rationale for the position.
  • Total student units taught. In your department narrative, be sure to note any leaves or course releases for the person vacating the line during the five-year period.
  • Number of student units per course taught (total student units taught/number of course units taught by the person)
  • Number of unique students taught
  • % of students identifying as BIPOC within course enrollments
  • Number of 100/200 sections enrolling fewer than 10 and 300/400 sections enrolling fewer than 5 students

For the department (all course contributions, regardless of subject code or units, taught by those whose primary assignment is the department) for fall 2018 to spring 2023:

  • Number of SIPs advised
  • Number of student units per full-time continuing faculty (total student units taught/number of full-time continuing faculty).
  • Number of student units per course taught (total student units taught/number of courses units)
  • Number of students graduating with majors and minors
  • % of students identifying as BIPOC among total course enrollments and among majors
  • Number of unique students taught
  • Number of 100/200 sections enrolling fewer than 10 and 300/400 sections enrolling fewer than 5 students

Notes: Independent study courses and similar practicum courses that are not part of a

faculty member’s regular teaching load will not be included in analyses, as they will

artificially lower student units per courses taught and artificially increase number of courses enrolling fewer than 10 (100/200 level) or 5 (300/400 level) students. Departments can provide information about independent study courses or practicums in their narrative.

Departments with unusual teaching responsibilities (i.e., other than 6 courses or 4 courses + 4 labs annually) should include that information in their narrative rationale in the search request so that can be accounted for.

All department-level quantitative factors will be gathered by primary department of faculty member. Data means and standard deviation will be provided for the division for context and notes on each tab of the departmental data report will identify the search parameters.

Departmental analysis

Departments are encouraged to analyze the relevant qualitative and quantitative metrics in a way that makes the strongest possible case for the line. The metrics are factors to be considered and may not apply equally to all departments. They are also encouraged to explain other ways of valuing the position that may not be captured by the provost’s metrics, and they are encouraged to bring any relevant materials to bear (comparisons to other GLCA institutions, outside studies of trends in their discipline or the position itself or the value of their discipline or the position itself, etc.).

The quantitative metrics are listed above. The qualitative metrics your proposal should discuss are as follows:

  • Contributions of the open position and the department to other units/academic programs across the college, including contributions to Shared Passages
  • Links to specific strategic initiatives at the college
  • Uniqueness/unique elements of the open position and department (including pedagogy).
  • Ability of the program to be sustained with remaining faculty
  • To the extent knowable, contributions in attracting students to the college and retaining them once here

Timeline for the search

Draft of the plan for developing a diverse applicant pool

Timeline for Proposals

Departments that plan to submit a request for a tenure line should let the Provost know of their intention as soon as possible. 

  • Weeks 1-3 (Winter Term): The Institutional Research Office (IRO) provides departments with data relevant to their line and department. Departments should ask any questions or address any concerns about the data as soon as possible.
  • Week 6 (Winter Term): line proposals are due to EPC by 6th Week Friday. 
  • Week 10 (Winter Term): EPC makes recommendation to Provost regarding curricular nature of each requested position and whether it should be searched. 
  • Week 11 (Winter Term) – Week 4 (Spring Term): Provost begins deliberations, combining comparative data, etc.
  • Weeks 4-6 (Spring Term): Provost offers to meet with departments that have a line under consideration; during meetings, lays out her view of the most salient metrics and data (both quantitative and qualitative) for that department’s proposed line, hears the department’s take on the data and the metrics, and asks clarifying questions about their line/position, needs, etc.
  • Weeks 6-8 (Spring Term): Provost prepares a memo detailing all data relevant to the lines that are being considered and her current thinking; also receives information about extent of budget cuts that are needed and how many lines can be searched; shares all of this information with FEC.   
  • Week 8 or 9 (Spring Term): Provost meets with FEC to discuss her current thinking regarding the lines. FEC can invite representatives from EPC, PBCC, and/or others to attend this meeting. FEC (and invited guests) consult with the Provost to assure that:
    a) the metrics that were outlined are being considered in a fair and unbiased way;
    b) the vision of the faculty for the future of the institution is being considered;
    c) pauses to faculty lines have a compelling justification.
    FEC will not participate in “ranking” the departments or positions but will offer advice about factors that need to be considered as well as how much weight various kinds of things should be given in the ultimate decision.  
  • Weeks 10-11 (Spring Term): Provost finalizes decision and notifies departments regarding whether their search will proceed. 

Note on Suspended or Cancelled Searches

Permanent cancellation of a search triggers Sec. II. E. of the Plan of Employment, which governs the elimination or reassigning of regular faculty positions.

Pausing a search for more than three consecutive years would be considered tantamount to canceling the search and would also trigger Sec. II, E. of the Plan Of Employment.

Sec. II. E. of the Plan of Employment reads as follows:

“The Administration shall consult with members of the affected department(s) or program(s) and with the Educational Policies Committee before creating, reassigning, or eliminating a regular or renewable faculty position, and before converting a term appointment to a regular or renewable appointment. As a general rule, when a term position is converted to a regular, tenure-track position, the affected department conducts a national search to fill the regular, tenure-track position.”