Skip Navigation and Go To Content

Handbook of Operating Procedures

Faculty Promotion

Policy Number: 43


Promotion of faculty members



Date Reviewed:
March 2019
Responsible Office:
Office of the Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
Responsible Executive:
Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer


This policy is used by the units within The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) to:  present minimum requirements for recommending faculty promotions; explain the criteria applied to a faculty member eligible for promotion; and describe the mandatory flow of paperwork needed to accomplish the task.

To be considered for promotion, a faculty member must meet certain criteria, including outstanding performance in the areas of research, teaching and service. The university expects every member of the faculty to contribute to the educational programs of the university, whether with professional students, graduate students, postgraduate residents or fellows. Likewise, every member of the faculty is expected to engage in productive scholarship, as defined in the Statement on Scholarship.

Beyond the criteria listed above, units may have other criteria faculty must meet to be considered for promotion. The units must set forth such criteria and any other promotion guidelines in writing and distribute them to all faculty. Each unit’s promotion guidelines must at least contain those items listed in the Guidelines for Faculty Promotion. Each unit’s promotion guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer ("EVP/CAO") to ensure consistency and academic standards.

While in most cases, the promotion process will be initiated by the Department Chairs/equivalent, faculty in all units may initiate their own candidacy for promotion and must receive a complete and unbiased promotion evaluation.


A. Unit Procedures for Promotion

Each unit must establish written procedures regarding annual promotion review that must include at least the following:

  1. provision for annual opportunity for promotion consideration;
  2. definition of who may initiate the process for promotion review that must allow for nomination by the candidates themselves;
  3. any unit’s specific time constraints on individuals who choose to nominate themselves;
  4. deadlines for each stage of the process;
  5. a description of materials to be included in the promotion file; at a minimum, those materials should include:
    • a curriculum vitae;
    • letters from the Dean or administrative equivalent and Department Chair/equivalent;
    • three letters from faculty within the candidate's unit or summary statements of department/module, section, or unit-wide opinions and votes;
    • a minimum of three, preferably five, letters from outside the university;
    • a letter from the chair of the unit's appointment, promotion and tenure committee, if appropriate; and
    • any other letters that are appropriate.
  6. written nominations that include a list of suggested professionally-qualified persons whom the unit committee may use as references;
  7. a description of the process for soliciting letters of reference and the role of the candidate, the Dean or administrative equivalent or the unit's appointment, promotion and tenure committee in this process; and
  8. a timetable/schedule of the annual review cycle and timely publication of procedural or schedule revisions.

The Department Chair will distribute a copy of the unit’s promotion criteria and guidelines to each faculty member at the time of initial appointment, and any revisions of these guidelines must be distributed to all faculty in a timely fashion.

Recommendations regarding tenure or promotion within the tenure track of each unit's appointment, promotion, and tenure committees are submitted to the University Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee for review by March 1 of the following year and are then forwarded to the President for endorsement. All promotions to tenure are awarded by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

B. Advancing Candidacy

The faculty member or Department Chair (or equivalent) will submit for review a letter and supporting materials to the committee responsible for recommending promotion as provided by the unit’s guidelines. The candidate may supply a list of individuals believed to be well qualified to serve as references.

The candidate has the option to advance his or her candidacy, even with negative recommendations from the Department Chair and/or Dean, through all of the following levels of consideration: (1) the Department Chair and departmental promotion committee (when applicable), (2) the unit’s appointment, promotion and tenure committee, (3) the Dean or administrative equivalent, and (4) the University Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee (for tenure track promotions).

An individual who seeks promotion should follow the procedure(s) within his/her unit.

C. Notification

Once the candidacy has advanced beyond the departmental level, the Dean is responsible for correspondence with the candidate at all stages of the process and will notify the candidate in writing of the outcome of his/her candidacy for promotion at each stage including, in the case of denial, reasons for denial.

If the department or unit appointment, promotion and tenure committee makes a recommendation for denial of promotion, the candidate may advance his or her candidacy to the next level within 10 working days. If the candidate believes that denial was based on incomplete or inaccurate information, the candidate may provide corrective materials at this time. The University Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee will be provided all materials added at any stage. Any new materials added to the package in such cases must be evaluated by the parties involved in any prior reviews.

D. Complaints

All individuals involved in the promotion process have the responsibility for assuring the integrity and fairness of the process, but the EVP/CAO has ultimate responsibility for this assurance. The candidate may at any time during the review process take complaints regarding procedural inadequacies or improprieties to the EVP/CAO, who has the authority to resolve such matters.

E. Promotion of Without Salary (WOS) Faculty

Promotion of faculty in “without salary” titles should follow the same guidelines as appointment of WOS faculty. (Refer to HOOP Policy 189 Faculty and Administrative and Professional Appointment.)


    • Office of the Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
    • 713-500-3062