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Appendix D

Procedures for the Third Year Review of Assistant Professors

The Third Year Review is the first comprehensive review of a non-tenured officer of instruction in the rank of Assistant Professor. It provides the College and the department with an opportunity to review and comment on the individual's record as a teacher, scholar, and citizen of the academic community, and to develop a general set of expectations for projects to be undertaken during the Special Assistant Professor Leave (SAPL) and for the balance of the individual's appointment period in a non-tenured rank. If a tenure line was not assigned when the search was initiated, the Third Year Review also requires the College and the department to study the individual in the context of a current staffing profile recommended by the Faculty Budget and Planning Committee (FBPC).

The faculty member should assemble material for the tenured faculty to review.  Generally included are: 

  • a complete c.v.;
  • a personal statement reflecting on experience in teaching, scholarship and service;
  • the latest syllabus for each course taught;
  • representative additional course material;
  • all published work and work-in-progress;
  • grant applications;
  • other information as deemed useful by the individual or the Chair. 

Faculty should refer to appendices F (on methods to evaluate teaching), G (on the preferred format of the curriculum vitae) and C (on the timeline) in the Chair’s Manual for guidance in preparing these materials for the departmental review. 

Note that at least one observation of a class taught by the faculty member undergoing review is required for the Third Year Review; see Appendix F for more information.

In addition, the faculty member should prepare an application for a SAPL to the Grants Committee for consideration in its spring review session (due mid-February).

The Third Year Review is a responsibility of all tenured members of a department, not the Chair alone. (In departments with a single tenured member, the Advisory Committee on Appointments, Tenure and Promotion (ATP) will recommend appointment of one or two senior faculty from other departments who will serve, with the Chair, as the department’s tenured faculty in the review process.) 
In cases where the faculty member has been hired with the expectation to teach regularly in more than one Barnard department or interdisciplinary program, the chair or director (or a senior member of the department or program committee) will become a voting member of the Third Year Review Committee; this additional member is expected to provide evidence of the candidate’s performance and to ensure that the perspectives of the interdisciplinary program are incorporated into the review.

Departments should solicit three to five outside letters as part of this review.  These letters may be from among those who wrote letters of reference at the time of the initial appointment, members of the Columbia faculty, or other appropriate experts.  Chairs should indicate the number of letters requested and the number received.  Departments choosing not to solicit outside letters should provide a statement explaining their decision.

The Chair assembles material associated with the review of teaching, i.e. student course evaluations, report of peer review of classroom visitation in the third year, evaluations prepared by those from other Barnard and Columbia departments or programs in which the individual has taught, and other appropriate and available evidence.  

Prior to the meeting of the tenured members of the department with the faculty member undergoing the Third Year Review, the Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development reviews all primary evidence of achievement in the area of teaching, e.g. syllabi, course evaluation data, observation report, etc., to assure that institutional expectations are being met regarding the completeness of the process by which evaluation of teaching is occurring.  The Dean will also be available as a consultant to the Chair with regard to the content and organization of the Third Year Review document, to ensure that the purposes of the Third Year Review as both a formative and summative review are being met.
The Third Year Review includes a formal interview between the individual and the tenured members of the department. This interview should encompass the following:

             1) a detailed analysis of the individual's professional record in all its aspects: teaching, scholarship and service; and

             2) a discussion of the individual's plans for the development of his or her professional career during any succeeding years of a non-tenured appointment. If tenure consideration is possible (i.e. a tenure line has been assigned or is being requested), the discussion should include a general outline of scholarly work which is planned for completion before tenure consideration.

If a tenure line was not assigned when the search was initiated, the Third Year Review interview must also cover a thorough review of the current status and projection of the department's profile, and the individual's place within it, including a review of any communications between the department and the individual at the time of the first appointment.
The conclusions and recommendations of the review should be communicated orally to the individual being evaluated at a formal meeting. Those conclusions and recommendations, informed by the responses of the individual under review, should then be communicated in the form of a letter that will be reviewed by the Provost and ATP.  The department chair will incorporate suggestions and changes from the Provost and ATP into the letter and will then share the letter with the individual under review.
The first communication constitutes the “Third Year Review.”   While it should contain a summary of past professional development and achievements, it should focus on a thorough evaluation of the quality of performance and should provide specific advice on future efforts the individual should make in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and service.  The report should also:

  • make explicit reference to the standards for tenure articulated by Barnard and Columbia, and provide appropriate context to such standards from within the particular discipline of the candidate;
  • address issues of productivity and impact in interdisciplinary fields in which the candidate is working;
  • contain information as to how the department has been evaluating, and will continue to evaluate, the individual's teaching; and
  • clarify the department’s expectations as to whether a fifth year review (optional from the College’s perspective) will be performed; a final decision by the department about undertaking a fith year review may be postponed to the end of the candidate’s fourth year of counted service.

If there are dissenting views among the tenured faculty on the progress made by, or the recommendations given to, the faculty member under review, the reasoning behind such dissenting views should be incorporated into the Third Year Review report; alternatively they may be submitted separately as a minority report.

The Third Year Review report  will be shared with the ATP; the Chair will meet briefly with the ATP to discuss the report, and will amend the report as deemed necessary to provide the candidate with appropriate critique and guidance.  Approval of the Third Year Review by the ATP and the President affirms eligibility for a SAPL.

Following the issuance of the final Third Year Review report, the Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development will meet with the faculty member to ensure that the individual has read the report carefully, and has a good understanding of the department’s expectations going forward.  If questions arise, they should be brought to the attention of the Chair and the Provost so that clarifications may be made to the individual and the report may be modified as appropriate.

The second communication is needed only if 1) a tenure line has not been assigned previously to the search or to the individual involved and 2) the department’s tenured faculty have voted to request assignment of a tenure line to the candidate under review. It is treated separately because this communication will be shared with members of the FBPC.  Eligibility for a SAPL is contingent upon assignment of a tenure line by the FBPC and the President.  This request for assignment of a tenure line should discuss the department's staffing profile and the individual's place in it with respect to field coverage.  (The individual’s merits are the subject of review by the ATP.)

The Third Year Review is deemed complete and the SAPL is approved when:

a) the ATP and the President have approved the Third Year Review document evaluating the individual’s merits with respect to teaching, scholarship and service;
b) the FBPC and the President have approved assignment of a tenure line based on continuing need for specific field coverage; 
c) the Grants Committee has approved the plans outlined in the application for a grant for the SAPL; and
d) the Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development has met with the faculty member to ensure clarity of the content and recommendations contained in the Third Year Review report.

Post-SAPL Procedures

A brief summary of work accomplished while on the SAPL becomes part of the faculty member’s Annual Personnel Form to be submitted in May or June of the year on leave. In the following fall semester (no later than the end of September), the Chair arranges a meeting with the individual to review progress made since the Third Year Review.  If there have been substantial changes in the progress expected or plans outlined in the Third Year Review, the Chair should write an addendum to the Third Year Review, copies of which should be given to the individual and to the Provost.

In all subsequent years of the individual's reappointment to a non-tenured position, the Chair should briefly review and update the Third Year Review memorandum after discussing with the individual his or her professional progress and any changes in the department's situation. This update need not be elaborate and need not involve persons other than the Chair, unless particular problems call for special consideration.

Copies of the Third Year Review report and any addenda become part of the individual's personnel file in the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty; all will be made available to the ATP when the tenure case is presented.  Note:  While Third Year Review reports and addenda become part of the dossier reviewed by the ATP, they are not sent to external referees or to the corresponding Columbia department, and they are not included in the dossier forwarded to Columbia for the ad hoc committee.

Revised May 2009