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Promotion Procedures for Research Scientists

Office of Research
Research Scientist Promotion Recommendations

Instructions for Assembly of the Promotion Dossier

Oversight and administration of the Research Scientist Track is the responsibility of the Office of Research.  The Vice President for Research has delegated to units the authority to make promotions to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist without review or approval by UMOR.*  Promotion recommendations to ranks of Associate Research Scientist and Research Scientist must be submitted to the Office of Research according to instructions below.  (Promotion recommendations to the Research Professor Track must be submitted to both the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Research.)

The deadline for submission of promotion recommendations to be effective September 1, 2017 is:

February 8, 2017

The Process

Consistent with the process for all other faculty promotions, casebooks are to be submitted electronically.  Please upload a PDF file for each casebook to the CTools website.  Instructions for formatting and uploading casebooks are available at the Office of the Provost website: http://www.provost.umich.edu/faculty/promotion_guidelines/  For further information, contact Bekah Ashley in UMOR, bekahb@umich.edu.

Form RS-1 is the cover page/signature form for recommending RS promotions to the Vice President for Research.  Form RS-2 is used to acknowledge Bridging Support commitments associated with the RS appointment. These forms can be downloaded as fillable PDF files from the web by going to: http://research.umich.edu/promotion-procedures-research-scientists

They are also available as an email attachment.  To obtain forms or if you have any questions or problems, contact UMOR at 764-5409.

PLEASE NOTE:  The approval and signature of the Dean or Director of the appropriate school or unit is required on the RS-1, which signifies that the Dean or Director has reviewed and approved the promotion dossier being forwarded for consideration.  If the research faculty member under consideration holds appointments in multiple units, please contact all of the units to determine whether the promotion process can be consolidated.  No promotion requests from an “additional” unit will be considered after the February 8 deadline.

Documents required for all promotions submitted to UMOR (Promotion packets will not be acted on until all required documents are present.):

1.     Table of Contents

2.     Form RS-1 (Cover Page/Signature Form).

3.     Form RS-2 (Statement of Understanding Regarding Responsibility for Bridging Support).

4.     A current curriculum vitae (please be sure to include all current sponsored project funding and a current publications list).

5.      A copy of the letter used to solicit candid assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate for promotion in light of his/her role and functions.  Please see sample solicitation letters (Attachments F-1 and F-2) available at the Office of the Provost website: http://www.provost.umich.edu/faculty/promotion_guidelines/.  For legal reasons, it is strongly encouraged that you use these sample letters.

6.     A brief explanation of the choice and qualifications of peer reviewers.  For promotions to Associate Research Scientist and Research Scientist at least 5 external evaluations are required; reviewers must be from above the rank of the candidate being considered.  Please take care in selecting arms length non-UM reviewers of the candidate’s work to get the most objective view.  We do not consider former teachers, advisors, mentors, or current colleagues to be “arm’s length.”  Co-authors or major research collaborators/former faculty colleagues are also not “arm’s length” unless the most recent association occurred over 10 years prior to the promotion.  External reviewers should only be contacted by the school/college/department. The candidate should not have contact with the external reviewers.

7.     All evaluation letters received must be submitted regardless of whether a letter is supportive of the candidate’s promotion.

8.     A transmittal letter from the Dean or Director to the Vice President for Research in support of the nomination including the following:

  • Provide a subject line with the candidate’s name, all current titles, and Employee ID number.
  • If the candidate holds joint appointments, please indicate the fraction of effort for each title - for example, Associate Professor, without tenure (100%), and Research Associate Professor (0%).
  • Indicate both the total years in rank for the current appointment and the years in rank at Michigan.  Please note that to be consistent among all schools/colleges, the years in rank should include the year of the promotion review.
  • Indicate whether any of the candidate’s years of service have been excluded from the tenure clock for childbirth, dependent care, medical or other reasons. For privacy reasons (HIPAA - the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), please do not provide details of the reason behind a medical leave.
  • The assessment should be written from an evaluative, not an advocacy, perspective and should present a balanced summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the case.  Be sure to discuss any negative reports or reviews included in the casebook.
  • It is important that non-traditional forms of scholarly production are given as much scrutiny as the more traditional/disciplinary work.  It is important to ensure that individuals receive full credit for their contributions to interdisciplinary and/or collaborative scholarly projects.
  • Describe the outcome of the promotion review at each stage of evaluation in the unit(s) in which the candidate holds an appointment.  We understand that all cases require careful consideration of strengths and weaknesses; please summarize the evaluative comments of each unit’s promotion review committee and/or executive committee and include the final vote tally (such as 4-2 – no names) of any faculty group (department review, promotion advisory committee, and/or executive committee) that voted on the promotion recommendation.  If a departmental decision is reversed or a recommendation rejected by the school/college, explain the reversal or rejection in detail.
  • Explain your reasons for recommending or not recommending promotion.
  • Highlight and discuss in detail any special circumstances concerning this individual (e.g., early promotion request).
  • The cover letter should be signed by the Dean(s)/Director(s) from all units in which the candidate is being promoted.

9.   Please provide any letters from department or division chairs to the Dean/Director or school/college recommending a decision for or against promotion.  If the recommendation is at odds with the decision of a sub-unit or a review committee, that should be explained.        

10.  A letter from the Review Committee summarizing its rationale for recommending the promotion.

11. (Optional) Individual letters from members of the Review Committee.

12. Documentation of Research (if appropriate) or Creative Work (if appropriate)

  • Please provide a brief description of the candidate’s most significant research or creative contributions.  Keep in mind that this will be read by non-specialists and needs to be accessible to a broad audience.  Convey a sense of the candidate’s subfield of scholarship or artistic expression and of the candidate’s place within that subfield.  This discussion should enable the reader to understand the substance of the work and its importance.  Potentially relevant topics include conventions of publication in the field, sources of external funding, expectations about co-authorship in research teams, norms about work with doctoral and post-doctoral mentors, significance of awards, and other topics as appropriate. 
    • For faculty with interdisciplinary appointments, please comment on his/her contributions to interdisciplinary activities with regard to research.
    • Please include the candidate’s own research statement. 
    • Include reviews of the candidate’s research or creative work by internal or departmental committees (e.g., ad hoc committee, casebook committee, and/or promotion and tenure committee) and the candidate’s response to the reviews, if any. 
    • Do not include copies of portfolios of drawings and photos, journal articles, other manuscripts, CDs, or DVDs (note:  copies of any reviews of the candidate’s books are acceptable). Do not include copies of grant applications.

12.   Summary Memorandum from Dean/Director

  • The Dean/Director should include a summary memorandum indicating the names of all individuals being recommended for promotion and the promotion action.
  • The summary memorandum must include an Employee ID number for each individual being recommended for promotion.
  • For faculty holding joint appointments (including Instructional, Research Professor, and Clinical appointments), please include details of the recommendation from each unit in which they hold an appointment.
  • Please download to the CTools website the signed summary memorandum as a separate PDF document.

Completed promotion packets are to be uploaded to the CTools website. 
For access to CTools, please contact Tina Sedgeman at tsedge@umich.edu


* Units that report to UMOR must submit recommendations for promotions to the Vice President for Research for promotions to the ranks of Assistant Research Scientist or higher.

References and Resources