English Department Policy Statement on Personnel
[MAY 1995, with subsequent amendments]
In all personnel matters, the English Department follows all-college procedures specified in the Skidmore College Faculty Handbook. The English Department Policy Statement on Personnel is intended as a supplement to all-college procedures.
Two committees assist the Chair in conducting personnel business. A Search Committee engages in the hiring process for a particular tenure-track position or a position as writer-in-residence. Members of a Search Committee are appointed by the Chair and their term of service concludes with the conclusion of the search. The Personnel Committee is a standing committee of elected members, charged with review of Personnel policy and implementation, and the review of candidates for reappointment, tenure and promotion. [amended 2009]
THE SEARCH COMMITTEE FOR HIRING TENURE-TRACK FACULTY AND WRITERS-IN-RESIDENCE
Function: To read applications for tenure-track and writer-in-residence positions, select candidates for interviews, participate in interviews, select candidates for campus visits, and advise the Chair on hiring decisions. The Chair and/or Search Committee members will convey information to the department in a timely manner throughout a search, including sharing the names of interviewees.
After on-campus visits, the Search Committee members will present their conclusions about the final candidates as part of a departmental discussion; after that meeting, all full-time English Department faculty and those on renewable half-time positions may send their recommendations to the Search Committee. In exceptional circumstances, with compelling justification presented to the department, this procedure may be waived or altered. [amended 2009]
Composition: Three full-time tenured/tenure-track members of the department, one of whom may be untenured, chosen by the Chair from a pool of faculty willing to serve. Each Search Committee will include at least one male and one female.
THE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE
Function: To advise the Chair on personnel decisions, especially those requiring a recommendation to ATC, Promotions Committee, and/or the Dean of the Faculty.
Composition: Four elected full-time members of the department, each to serve a two-year renewable term. Ideally, terms of office will overlap to ensure continuity: two members will be in their second year of service when two new members come to the committee. At least one male and one female shall always sit on the committee, but no more than one untenured faculty member shall serve in any given year.
A committee member shall not participate in deliberations about his or her own case nor about the case of a domestic partner or family member. Any member of the department sitting on CAPT shall not sit on the Personnel Committee, but all other full-time members of the department are eligible for election to the Personnel Committee. In addition, the Associate Chair, if not a member of the Personnel Committee, may be invited to meetings for consultation when deemed appropriate by the Personnel Committee. [amended 2007]
Function: To read applications for tenure-track positions, Writer-in-Residence positions, and positions subjects to a national search; select candidates for interviews; participate in interviews; select candidates for campus visits; and advise the Chair on hiring decisions. The Chair and/or Search Committee members will convey information to the department in a timely manner throughout a search, including sharing the names of interviewees.
STEP-BY-STEP CALENDAR FOR REVIEWS OF FACULTY ON TENURE-TRACK APPOINTMENTS
The Chair of the department and the department’s Personnel Committee will hold informational meetings for candidates for reappointment, tenure, and promotion on a schedule coordinated with the ATC and Promotions Committee calendars.
The Personnel Committee will provide the department with the names of all candidates for reappointment or tenure at the start of the academic year, along with the due dates for letters of recommendation to be forwarded to PC and/or ATC/Promotions Committee.
Third-Year Reappointment: The Chair will invite full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty in at least their third year of service, and those on renewable half-time appointments, to indicate clearly support or lack of support for reappointment in letters that will be forwarded to the PC and the Chair. The PC submits a report indicating support or lack of support to the Chair, and the Chair writes a consensus letter which is made available for eligible faculty to review and sign. Faculty who do not wish to sign the Chair’s consensus letter for any reason must submit an individual letter of recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty.
Files for candidates in their third year must normally be completed by the Monday following the first week of classes. Student evaluations for the current semester will be added after they are collected.
Candidates for reappointment will be notified of decisions by the Dean of the Faculty.
The tenured faculty of the department shall meet as a group to discuss and exchange
evaluations of tenure candidates at the start of the fall semester. During that meeting,
the Chair will present a summary of the letters already solicited from untenured members
of the department (in at least their third year of service) and offer a preliminary
assessment of each candidate from the Personnel Committee, including their perceptions
of class visits during the fifth year. Following that meeting, the Chair will invite
tenured members of the department to indicate clearly support or lack of support for
the candidate in written statements which will be forwarded to the Personnel Committee
and to ATC according to the committees’ respective deadlines. Tenure candidates who
wish the Personnel Committee and all eligible members of the department to consider
letters of reference from outside the department or College will submit names of referees
to the Chair according to the deadline established by the ATC calendar (typically
May of the candidate's fifth year). The Chair will then write to all the referees
Candidates for tenure will be advised of ATC and English Department procedures and deadlines by the Chair of that committee and by the Chair of the Department. Eligible members of the department will receive separate invitations to write recommendations by the Chair of ATC. All written recommendations in tenure cases are delivered to the Dean of the Faculty by the Chair of the department.
Files for tenure candidates must be completed by the date set down in the current ATC calendar. Candidates for tenure will be notified of the President’s recommendation to the Board of Trustees according to the ATC calendar. The Chair of the department will have no communication with candidates regarding the department’s recommendation until that time.
Department policy on time of review for promotion is as follows: for the rank of assistant professor, in the year of or immediately following completion of the Ph.D. or its equivalent; for the rank of associate professor, normally in the sixth year of service as an assistant professor at the time of tenure consideration; for the rank of professor, normally in the seventh year of service as an associate professor at Skidmore. Service in a professional rank at other institutions may be considered in determining the time of review. Review does not imply recommendation: promotion at Skidmore is granted on the basis of merit and not guaranteed by years of service.
The Personnel Committee and the Chair shall assess eligibility of associate professors at least every two years after they have served seven years in rank and will request additional information if the committee and the Chair determine that promotion consideration is warranted. However, members of the Department may request review for promotion by the committee and the Chair in any year.
Files for promotion candidates must be completed by November 15. Student evaluations for the current semester will be added after they are collected.
Candidates for promotion will be notified of the President’s recommendation to the Board of Trustees according to the college PC calendar. The Chair of the department will have no communication with candidates regarding the department’s recommendation until that time.
GUIDELINES FOR CLASS VISITS [amended 2017]
- The Chair will observe first-year faculty once in either fall or spring semester (as
selected by the candidate), and may choose, or be invited, to visit classes at any
- The Chair and members of the Personnel Committee will visit the classes of candidates
for reappointment once during their second year of service.
- New members of the Personnel Committee only will visit the classes of reappointment
candidates once in the fall semester of their third year of service.
- The Chair and all members of the Personnel Committee will observe tenure candidates
once in their fifth year of service.
- Candidates may invite members of the department other than Personnel Committee members
to visit their classes at any time. Those visitors may incorporate their observations
about class visits in letters of recommendation at the time of second-year review,
reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
- The Personnel Committee members should confer with the candidate to schedule visits
so as to cover as wide a range of courses, instructional methods, and materials as
possible, while also respecting the candidate’s wishes to concentrate visits in as
few classes as practicable.
- Class observations will be scheduled and visitors will not appear at a class unannounced.
- Candidates will supply visitors with copies of the syllabus, any relevant assignments,
and any relevant information they wish to provide about the design and goals of the
course and the particular class meeting.
- Visitors will remain for the duration of the class.
- Visitors should not participate directly in the class unless invited to do so by the
- Visitors shall report to the candidates either orally or in writing shortly after
the class visits.
- If the report has been delivered to the candidate orally, the candidate has the right
to summarize the comments and request that the visitor sign the summary.
- In order to continue a dialogue on pedagogy, the candidate may request to observe
the classes of the visitor.
- Additional class observations may be requested at the discretion of the Chair, the Personnel Committee, or the candidate
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT POLICY REGARDING
FULL-TIME NON-TENURE-TRACK EMPLOYMENT
1. This is a non-tenure track position renewable indefinitely in three year periods upon the recommendation of the Department Chair and the approval of the Dean of the Faculty. When possible, the position will be filled through a national search, conducted according to our procedures for tenure-track and Writer-in-Residence searches. If a national search isn't possible, the Chair will consult with the PC during the hiring process.
2. Hiring, reappointment, and teaching assignments will be based on departmental need, as well as the candidate's experience and qualifications.
3. Non-tenure-track faculty are not required to serve as faculty advisors or to participate in other forms of departmental service, including the direction of independent student work.
4. The teaching load for non-tenure-track faculty is determined by the Dean of the Faculty, and is currently 20 hours per academic year.
5. During the initial three-year appointment, the Personnel Committee shall conduct second- and third-year reviews by procedures analogous to those observed for reappointment candidates on the tenure track, as set forth in the Faculty Handbook, the English Department Policy Statement on Personnel, and the CAPT calendar, with two exceptions: a) the second-year review will be conducted entirely by the Personnel Committee, with no letters required from the department, and b) the standards for advancement are specific to non-tenure-track employment. Excellence in teaching is the primary criterion for reappointment. Expectations for professional involvement (i.e., writing, publication, participation in the discipline, etc.) will be shaped by the structural differences between non-tenure-track and tenure-track appointments, and will be communicated to candidates in annual letters from the Chair.
6. In the third year of each subsequent contract cycle, the Department Chair and the Personnel Committee shall review student evaluations of the candidate's teaching and evidence of professional involvement. Class visits may take place at the discretion of the committee and/or the candidate. On the basis of this review, the Chair shall submit to the Dean of the Faculty a recommendation either to offer or to deny an additional three-year contract. This recommendation must be submitted by the date set for full-time reappointment recommendations.
7. For interdisciplinary appointments in which the majority of the candidate's responsibilities are in English, the procedures in #5 and #6 above will be followed, with this addition: the Chair will request input from the candidate's other supervisor(s), and will incorporate that input into the English department's review.
8. A candidate who is denied an additional three-year contract beyond six years of service may be offered an additional one-year contract if departmental need is demonstrated.
9. For the first five years of the candidate's appointment, the Chair shall write annual letters of evaluation. Subsequently, the Chair shall follow the pattern for tenured faculty members and write a letter of evaluation every three years at the time of the Personnel Committee's review.
10. In situations involving short-term need, appointments will be for one year, renewable twice. After the second renewal, the candidate can be offered a three-year, indefinitely renewable position, if long-term departmental need is determined. Absent such need, the candidate is no longer eligible for full-time appointment.
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT POLICY REGARDING
- This is a non-tenure track position renewable indefinitely in three year periods upon the recommendation of the Department Chair and the approval of the Dean of the Faculty.
- After the initial appointment, the department shall conduct second and third year reviews by procedures analogous to those observed for reappointment candidates on tenure track, as set forth in the Faculty Handbook, the English Department Policy Statement on Personnel, and the CAPT calendar. The Chair shall establish the calendar appropriate to each review.
- In the third year of the second contract cycle (sixth year of service), the Personnel Committee shall conduct a review to determine whether or not the candidate shall be reappointed for a subsequent, three-year contract, following the standard explained in the Faculty Handbook, Part V: "Evaluative Criteria for Continued Service." Candidates for reappointment will submit to the Chair names of five referees outside the department or the college by June l of the fifth year. In the sixth year, the Chair will invite tenured members of the department to indicate clearly support or lack of support for reappointment in written statements which will be forwarded to the Personnel committee.
- In the third year of each subsequent contract cycle, the Department Chair and the Personnel Committee shall review student evaluations of the candidate's teaching and the candidate's record of publications and college service. Class visits may take place at the discretion of the committee and/or the candidate. The Chair shall solicit the advice of the Director of Creative Writing and of such other department members as either the Personnel Committee or the candidate recommends.
On the basis of this review, the Chair shall submit to the Dean of the Faculty a recommendation either to offer or to deny an additional three-year contract. This recommendation must be submitted by the date set for full-time reappointment recommendations, if the candidate teaches during the fall term; or by April 15, if the candidate teaches during the spring term. (amended April 2001)
- A candidate who is denied an additional three-year contract receives a terminal one-year contract.
- For the first five years of the candidate's appointment, the Chair shall write annual letters of evaluation. Subsequently, the Chair shall follow the pattern for tenured faculty members and write a letter of evaluation every three years at the time of the departmental review.
- In the event of a disagreement between the Chair and the Dean of the Faculty over the decision to offer an additional contract the case shall be concluded as specified in the Faculty Handbook
8. Promotion reviews shall be conducted according to departmental procedures.
PROCEDURE FOR THE SELECTION OF THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHAIR
1. The English faculty will meet to discuss the position: what it entails, the Department's directions for the future, and other concerns relating to the status of the position and obligations that come with it.
2. The Dean of Faculty will solicit names--nominations and self-nominations--of the English faculty willing to become candidates for Chair of the English Department. The Dean will consult with individuals in the Department about their willingness to serve.
3. The Dean will make known to the Department the names of all faculty who have been nominated and are willing to serve. The Dean will then seek written recommendations from the Department. Recommendations may include proposals for recruiting an outside candidate or for redefining the position.
4. The Dean will confer with the English Department Personnel Committee prior to making and announcing the appointment.
Appointments to the Chair are for one year and are renewable; four to eight years is the normal length of service.
PROCEDURE FOR REVIEW:
The Chair shall be reviewed once every four years. In the event of an intervening sabbatical or leave of absence, the review will take place in the fifth year. The review of the Chair will be conducted by the Dean of Faculty, following the procedures stipulated in the Faculty Handbook. The English Majors Coordinator works with English majors elected as student representatives to the department to ensure student involvement in the review.
The duties of the Chair are those stipuled as "Obligations Pertaining to Department Chairs" in the Faculty Handbook.
THE ASSOCIATE CHAIR
The Associate Chair must hold a full-time, tenure-track position in the department.
PROCEDURE FOR THE SELECTION OF THE ASSOCIATE CHAIR:
The Chair with whom the Associate Chair will be serving solicits advice from all members of the department and appoints the Associate Chair after consulting with the Personnel Committee and the Dean.
Appointments to the Associate Chair are for two years and are renewable. When a new Chair of the department is appointed, the term of a continuing Associate Chair automatically comes to an end.
PROCEDURES FOR REVIEW:
Associate Chairs shall be reviewed once every four years. In the event of an intervening sabbatical or leave of absence, the review will take place in the fifth year. The review of the Associate Chair will be conducted by the Chair.
The Associate Chair helps the Chair to ensure the smooth functioning of the department. In particular, the Associate Chair is responsible for advising new transfer students, and for providing information and guidance for students who study abroad or take summer school courses off campus. To facilitate this advising, and to assist the Chair in routine advising of English majors, the Associate Chair maintains regular office hours. The Chair works with the Associate Chair to determine faculty teaching schedules, which the Associate Chair then arranges. The Associate Chair oversees the Graduate Advisors, the Senior Research Coordinators, and the department awards process, working with the Director of Creative Writing and the Chair of the Awards Committee to establish the calendar and to ensure notification of the department and the students. The Associate Chair also oversees the proofreading and production of department publications such as the Prospectus and the English Majors Handbook.
In the event that the Chair is unable to lead a department meeting or to attend an academic staff meeting, the Associate Chair will stand in for the Chair.
POLICY ON ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE
All full-time members of the department, and those in shared half-time appointments, are eligible to vote at department meetings. Only those present at the meeting may vote. Faculty who must miss a meeting may still make their opinions known to the department for the purposes of discussion.