Tenure & Promotion Timelines: An International Track?

by Duncan Hollis

I’m up for tenure this year, which helps explain (I hope) in part my lighter-than-usual blogging of late.  One of the things that has come up in the process is how my home institution (Temple) compares to other law schools in terms of the timing at which tenure and promotion are offered.  Temple hires folks starting out in law teaching as Assistant Professors, with promotion to Associate Professor (without tenure) considered in year 3 or 4, tenure consideration coming in year 5 or 6, and then full professor a couple of years after tenure.  To try and see how this track compares with other schools, Dave Hoffman (of Concurring Opinions fame) and I conducted an informal survey of colleagues at other law schools to see when and how they make these decisions.  

We obtained data on 41 law schools from the top 100 in US News & World Reports (and yes, we know it’s a flawed ranking, but ended up using it anyway as our pool for reasons too complicated to explain here).  We found that tenure and promotion timelines could be divided into two broad categories:  1) schools that link tenure with promotion to full professor (a clear majority); and 2) schools that don’t.  More specifically, here’s what we learned:  

Category 1:  Schools that link tenure decisions with promotion to full professor:  25 out of the 41 schools link the tenure decision with promotion to full professor (ASU, Berkeley, BYU, Cardozo, Cincinnati, Cornell, Georgetown, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State, San Diego, Seton Hall, Texas, UC Hastings, UCLA, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Washington University).  Of these 25 schools —

  • 15 allow it to happen by year 5 (ASU, Cincinnati, Cornell, Georgetown, Illinois, Maryland, Miami, Notre Dame, San Diego, Seton Hall, Texas, UC Hastings, UCLA, UVA, and Washington University);
  • 6 schools allow it to happen by year 6 (Berkeley, BYU, Cardozo, Hofstra, Penn State, and Wake Forest); and 
  • 4 schools–Buffalo, Columbia, Loyola-LA, and Villanova–link the tenure and promotion to full professor decision but we didn’t get a timeline for when this happens.  

Category II:  Schools that do not link tenure with promotion to full professor:  Of the 16 schools that we learned do not link tenure with promotion to Full Professor:

  •  3 allow a professor to get both within 5 years (American, George Mason, and Missouri);
  •  2 do so within 6 years (Minnesota and Pittsburgh);
  •  10 take more than 6 years to get both tenure and promotion to full professor (Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida State, GW, Marquette, Northwestern, Rutgers Camden, Temple, and St. Louis).  Of these, GW at least appears to be actively considering a shorter time line; and 
  • 1 school–Lousiville–didn’t give a time line but apparently considers promotion to full one year after the tenure decision

Alternatively, if one thinks of this solely in terms of how long until a newbie professor can expect it will take before being considered for full professor, we found that of the 36 schools that gave us time-lines, 18 allow tenure and promotion to full professor one way or another in year 5 (American, ASU, Cincinnati, Cornell, George Mason, Georgetown, Illinois, Maryland, Miami, Missouri, Notre Dame, San Diego, Seton Hall, Texas, UC Hastings, UCLA, UVA, and Washington University).  By year 6, it’s 26 out of the 36 schools (those listed above, plus Berkeley, BYU, Cardozo, Hofstra, Minnesota, Penn State, Pitt, and Wake Forest).   I’ve provided more detailed data at the end of the post.  Comments, clarifications and, of course, corrections would be most welcome.

But before we get there, here’s my question for international law professors out there — does this data accurately reflect the timelines facing those who specialize in our field?  As collected, we asked for general information about timelines, and what is possible in terms of how quickly law professors might move through the process.  We don’t know how often schools depart from their own norm, let alone whether professors in particular specialities fare better (or worse) than that norm.  

Now, yesterday, Kevin made the point that when it comes to scholarship, there’s still a tendency in the U.S. legal academy to marginalize international law; although Peter Spiro has argued that the gap may be changing as more international law placements find their way into flagship journals).  My question is whether any marginalization of international law affects those who teach it in terms of their prospects and/or timelines for tenure and promotion.  I’d certainly hope that it does not, but would be interested in hearing comments from those with experience in such questions as to whether I’m right or wrong.  Is there a distinct international law professor track at law schools, or are they regarded today without distinction from those who focus on constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, or tax?  

 

SURVEY OF LAW SCHOOL TENURE & PROMOTION STANDARDS

CATEGORY I:  Schools that Tie Tenure and Promotion to Full Professor Together (25 Schools)
Tier 1:  Schools that tie Tenure & Promotion together where one can be a Full Professor by the end of year 5 (15 Schools)

  • ASU – Tenure & Promotion to Full Professor possible during 4th year of teaching (Full Prof. promotion requires being a nationally or recognized expert in your specialty, which is more than required for tenure)
  • Cincinnati – reappointment in year 2 (taking original 3 year contract out to 6 years); Assistant to Associate Professor considered in year 3 (two outside reviews); tenure and full professor status granted during year 5 
  • Cornell — promotes from Assistant to Associate (w/o tenure) in year 3 and then grants tenure and status as full professor in year 5
  • Georgetown – Entry-level hires come in at the rank of Associate Professor, and the next step is tenure & promotion to Full Professor simultaneously between the 3rd and the 7th year (at the professor’s option)
  • Illinois – New hires brought in as Associate Professors; a pre-tenure review occurs at year 3; tenure decision with an accompanying promotion to Full Professor occurs in years 5 or 6. 
  • Maryland – promotes from Assistant to Associate Professor (w/o tenure) in year 3 and then grants tenure and status as Full Professor in year 5
  • Miami – new hires brought in as Associate Professors; default for tenure and promotion to Full Professor is in year 6, but the norm is to do both earlier
  • Notre Dame – just moved to tenure and promotion to Full Professor in year 5 (most hires now also come in as Associate Professors)
  • San Diego – Promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor after year 2; from Associate to Full Professor with tenure in year 4 or 5
  • Seton Hall – most professors hired as Associate Professors; third year review (including outside reviewers); tenure and promotion to Full Professor in year 5
  • Texas – tenure and promotion to Full Professor consideration in year 5
  • UC Hastings – new hires brought in as Associate Professors; pre-tenure review in year 3; tenure and promotion to Full Professor during year 5
  • UCLA  — new hires brought in as Acting Professors; tenure with promotion to Full Professor during year 5
  • Virginia – new hires come in as Associate Professors; tenure and promotion to Full Professor consideration in year 5
  • Washington University – new hires come in as Associate Professors; mid-course review at year 3; tenure and promotion to Full Professor considered during fifth or sixth year, at the candidate’s option

Tier 2:  Schools that Tie Tenure & Promotion together where one can be a Full Professor by the end of year 6 (6 schools) 

  • Berkeley – hired as Acting Professor; mid-career review in year 4; tenure and promotion to removal of “Acting” designation in year 6 (although some have done it in year 5)
  • BYU – promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor in year 3; tenure and promotion to Full Professor usually in year 6
  • Cardozo – Move from Assistant to Associate Professor in Year 3; tenure and Full Professor decisions in year 6
  • Hofstra – New hires brought in as Associate Professors with 2 year renewable contracts.  Third renewal (year 6) is for promotion to Full Professor with tenure
  • Penn State – Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor in year 4; promotion to Full Professor and tenure in year 6
  • Wake Forest – promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor (without tenure) after four years; promotion from Associate to Full Professor (with tenure) after six years.

Tier 3:   Schools that link tenure and promotion to Full Professor (no timeline given) (4 schools)

  • Buffalo
  • Columbia
  • Loyola-LA
  • Villanova

CATEGORY II — Schools that Don’t Tie Tenure and Promotion to Full Professor Together (16 Schools)
Tier 1:  Schools where Promotion to Full Professor can occur within 5 years
(3 schools)

  • American – promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor in years 3 or 4, with promotion to Full Professor 2 years later (i.e., in years 5 or 6).  Tenure decisions occur in year 6 separate and apart from the professor’s titular status  
  • George Mason – Promotion to Associate Professor in Year 3; tenure decision in year 5; promotion to Full Professor follows (often soon thereafter).
  • Missouri – new hires come in as Associate Professors; tenure decision comes in year 3;  promotion to Full Professor an option beginning in year 5

Tier 2:  Schools where Tenure and Promotion to Full Professor can occur within 6 years (2 Schools)

  • Minnesota – new hire comes in as Associate Professor; tenure decision in years 4-5; promotion to Full Professor 2 years later  
  • Pittsburgh – Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor (with tenure) as early as year 3 and up to year 6; promotion to Full Professor three years after tenure (could be as early as year 6)

Tier 3:  Schools where tenure followed by promotion to Full Professor takes more than 6 years (10 schools)

  • Alabama – promotion to Associate (w/o tenure) in year 3; tenure in year 5-6; promotion to Full Professor 2-3 years later
  • Arizona – new hires brought in as Associate Professors without tenure; pre-tenure review in year 3; tenure occurs in year 6; promotion to Full Professor possible several years after tenure
  • Colorado – new hires brought in as Associate Professors without tenure; tenure occurs in year 7; promotion to Full Professor possible several years after tenure
  • Florida State – promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in years 5/6; promotion to Full Professor 2-3 years thereafter
  • George Washington – new hires brought in as Associate Professors; tenure decision made in year 5; promotion to Full Professor possible two years later (on-going conversation about accelerating this process)
  • Marquette – promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in years 5/6; promotion to Full Professor 2-3 years thereafter 
  • Northwestern – Promotion to Associate Professor in year 3; tenure by year 6; promotion to Full Professor anytime (often soon) thereafter
  • Rutgers Camden – Tenure during year six; three more years for promotion to Full Professor
  • Temple — hires as Assistant Professor; promotion to Associate Professor (without tenure) considered in year 3 or 4; tenure consideration in year 5 or 6; full professor consideration comes 2 years after tenure.
  • Saint Louis – promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in year 5; promotion to Full Professor 2 years later

 Tier 4:  Schools that Consider Promotion to Full Professor One Year after Tenure (no overall timeline given)

  • Louisville
http://opiniojuris.org/2008/09/12/tenure-promotion-timelines-an-international-track/

One Response

  1. The best advice I heard on tenure is that “all tenure is local.”  Good luck.
    Best,
    Ben

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