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Rank and Status Policy

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1. Introduction

1.1 Overview

Continuing faculty status (CFS) is a status that may be granted to members of the university’s faculty, which provides for an automatic renewal of the faculty member’s annual appointment. CFS is comparable to tenured status at other colleges and universities, in that it is designed to ensure the quality and consistency of the permanent faculty and to protect individual and institutional rights of academic freedom. The rights and privileges of CFS are governed exclusively by the policies and procedures of Brigham Young University, including this policy and its related procedures. Unless a faculty member’s employment is terminated for adequate cause, the faculty member with CFS will receive a contract for the following academic year (see Faculty Discipline and Termination Policy). A faculty member who rejects a contract thereby resigns from the university, relinquishes CFS, and ends the employment relationship with the university upon expiration of the current contract.

This policy describes the university’s standards for granting CFS candidacy, CFS, and rank advancement. Specific review procedures for implementing this policy are detailed in the Rank and Status Professorial Faculty Review Procedures, the Rank and Status Professional Faculty Review Procedures, and the Rank and Status Independent Examination Procedures.

1.2 Individual Responsibility

Individual faculty members are responsible for becoming familiar with the university’s policies, procedures, and standards for review, and for presenting persuasive evidence to the university that they qualify for CFS candidacy, CFS, or rank advancement. Although the university is not obligated to grant CFS candidacy, CFS, or rank advancement to any individual, the university agrees to provide a fair review process as described in this policy and the associated procedures.

1.3 College and Department Expectations Documents

Colleges and departments should create their own rank and status expectations documents and review and update them periodically to reflect current expectations; department, college, and university needs; and current standards within the relevant academic disciplines. College documents should describe standards that apply to all academic units within the college, and department documents should describe standards for the disciplines within the department. College and department rank and status documents must be approved by the dean and the academic vice president. If no approved department document exists, the college document serves as the standard for review. College and department rank and status expectations documents may not contradict or waive any requirement of this policy or the associated procedures or apply a lower standard. If there is a conflict between a college or department document and university policy or procedures, the university policy and procedures govern.

1.4 Nondiscrimination

The standards in this policy and the processes in the associated procedures will be applied in accordance with relevant nondiscrimination laws, as required by the university’s Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy. Complaints of unlawful discrimination in the application of this policy or the associated procedures must be submitted under the Discrimination Complaint Procedures and will not be reviewed under the Rank and Status Independent Examination Procedures. At the request of the faculty member, chair, dean, or academic vice president, the rank and status review process may be stayed while allegations of discrimination are investigated and resolved.


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2. Expectations of Professorial and Professional Faculty

2.1 Faculty Standards

BYU is a private university with unique goals and aspirations rooted in the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a faculty member’s responsibility to contribute affirmatively to the full realization of human potential and to a university environment enlightened by living prophets and sustained by those moral virtues which characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God (see Mission Statement). Faculty members should also provide students an education that is spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building and that leads to lifelong learning and service (see Aims of a BYU Education).

It is a condition of employment that faculty members act in accordance with university policies, including the Academic Freedom Policy, the Church Educational System Honor Code, and the Dress and Grooming Standards. Faculty who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and who accept an offer of university employment on or after January 27, 2022, also accept as a condition of employment that they will hold and be worthy to hold a current temple recommend. Those hired prior to January 27, 2022, are invited to voluntarily accept this same standard as a condition of employment. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ hired before January 27, 2022, who have not voluntarily accepted the temple recommend standard continue to accept as a condition of employment the standards of conduct consistent with qualifying for temple privileges.

As integral members of the university community, faculty are expected to be role models of a life that combines spiritual values and personal integrity with intellectual rigor and academic excellence, and to conduct their work in a professional manner consistent with the principles and values espoused by the university and the Church of Jesus Christ. They are expected to live lives reflecting a love of God, a commitment to keeping His commandments, and loyalty to the Church of Jesus Christ. They should engage in continuing faculty development and maintain high levels of performance throughout their careers.

2.2 Effectiveness in All Areas of Responsibility

Professorial faculty members are expected to engage in high-quality teaching, scholarship, and citizenship, including mentoring of students. Professional faculty members are expected to engage in high-quality teaching, scholarship, or other specialized assignments as detailed in the position description, including mentoring of students if not precluded by the position description, and in high-quality citizenship. The allocation of time among these areas may vary for each faculty member or over a faculty member’s career in response to changes in assignments or university, department, and disciplinary needs and opportunities. For example, early in their careers, most professorial faculty members should emphasize teaching and scholarship, and should be given lighter committee and other administrative assignments. Reviewers in the rank and status process should consider any differences in assignments and expectations among individual faculty members.


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3. Performance Standards for Professorial Faculty

3.1 Mentoring of Students

BYU is a student-centered university focused on student development. By mentoring individual students outside regular classroom activities, faculty members contribute significantly to an education that is spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building and that leads to lifelong learning and service (see Aims of a BYU Education). Faculty mentoring of students is therefore central to the university’s mission and should permeate the work of its faculty. Mentoring may take many forms, including involving students in research or creative projects, providing experiential learning opportunities outside the classroom, or advising students about career and educational opportunities. Colleges and departments should include discipline-specific definitions of mentoring within their own rank and status expectations documents.

Mentoring should be integrated within one or more of the three key areas of faculty responsibility—teaching, scholarship, and citizenship—and should not be addressed as a separate (fourth) area in rank and status review portfolios. Because the nature of mentoring will differ significantly by discipline and assignment, it is vital that faculty members describe their mentoring efforts in the context of their own discipline and assignment.

3.2 Teaching

Teaching that results in significant student learning is, and should be, the most important activity of university faculty. Faculty members should engage, therefore, in continuous and ongoing efforts to become more effective teachers. Effective teachers are eager learners who imbue their teaching with the excitement of learning. They master the content of their courses and stay current in the literature and practices of their disciplines. Seeing all students as capable learners, they adapt their pedagogies to maximize learning, set clear expectations, and help students perform at high levels. They create clear and appropriate learning outcomes, employ effective learning activities, and design assessment instruments that are valid measures of student learning. The learning environment they create is inspiring, positive, supportive, inclusive, and motivating. They evaluate student work in a helpful and timely manner and are regularly available to students outside class, serving as mentors and role models. The education they provide is spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building, and leads to lifelong learning and service (see Aims of a BYU Education).

3.3 Scholarship

Excellent scholarship is valued at BYU primarily for the impact it can have on students, both by enhancing the quality of teaching and by providing opportunities to mentor students. Scholarship should inform teaching, directly and indirectly. Faculty members should strive to involve and mentor students in their scholarly research and creative work efforts.

Scholarship at BYU should discover, pursue, and seek to understand truth and spread it throughout the world. It should address pressing problems, explore consequential questions, and enhance the quality of people’s lives. Highly regarded scholarship extends the university’s influence and reputation, serves local and worldwide communities, and forges relationships for the university and the Church of Jesus Christ. Involving and mentoring students in high-quality scholarship can deepen their learning and expand future opportunities. Professorial faculty members are expected to produce influential scholarship throughout their careers.

Each discipline has its own scholarly traditions and its own venues for communication. Accordingly, each department should clearly define those forms of scholarship required to fulfill the scholarship requirement, including creative work where appropriate for the discipline, and should establish criteria for defining and evaluating the faculty member’s scholarship within the discipline. Quality, quantity, originality, impact, and the level of student involvement are primary factors to be considered when assessing a faculty member’s scholarly record. While the expected type, pace, and quantity of scholarly productivity will vary by discipline, subject area, and assignment, the quality must always be high.

3.4 Citizenship

BYU expects all employees to adhere to the highest standards of personal behavior, to exemplify honor and integrity, to support and further the principles outlined in the Mission Statement and the Aims of a BYU Education, and to observe all university policies. Faculty members should willingly serve on committees and in other assignments at the department, college, and university level. They should mentor, encourage, advise, and collaborate with colleagues. They should actively participate in the life of the university community by attending department, college, and university meetings. Although professionalism requires rigorous review and critique, faculty members should always be civil, fair, inclusive, and respectful to colleagues, students, and others. They should promote collegiality and harmony in their departments. They should not denigrate other faculty members or students, and they should never be disruptive, manipulative, or contentious. Faculty members should be aware of and abide by the personal conduct principles in the Personnel Conduct Policy, which are incorporated into these citizenship expectations.

Faculty members should be involved in their respective disciplines by serving as scholarly referees, serving and leading in professional organizations, and participating in other citizenship activities consistent with their disciplines.


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4. Performance Standards for Professional Faculty

4.1 Mentoring, Teaching, Scholarship, and Citizenship

The mentoring standards described in section 3.1 apply to professional faculty members insofar as mentoring is not precluded by the position description. The teaching and scholarship standards described in sections 3.2 and 3.3 apply to professional faculty members insofar as teaching and scholarship are part of their position descriptions. The citizenship standards described in section 3.4 apply to professional faculty members, except that service in the discipline is only required if consistent with the position description.

4.2 Clinical Service

Clinical faculty members are professional faculty who provide professional service to students and clients. Clinical faculty should be trained in and observe the best practices of their disciplines. They should demonstrate sound clinical skills and effectively help students develop their own clinical skills. Effective clinical faculty are mentors and role models to students.

4.3 Librarianship

Librarians are professional faculty and information specialists who gather and preserve recorded information, make that information accessible, and use it to facilitate the scholarly activities and professional development of others. Often, they have dual expertise in librarianship and a specific domain of knowledge or practice. They belong to and participate in the university’s community of scholars.


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5. CFS Reviews

5.1 Purpose of CFS Reviews

CFS reviews ensure that a faculty member’s present qualifications and future promise justify the university’s ongoing commitment to that faculty member. Granting CFS creates a long-term relationship that significantly affects the university’s ability to fulfill its mission and influence the lives of its students. CFS reviews help secure the best education for students by promoting faculty development and establishing ongoing performance expectations. Assessments and recommendations by reviewers at all levels should be candid, thorough, and fair. Reviewers should fully discuss the faculty member’s strengths and weaknesses and clearly explain their recommendations.

5.2 Reviews During the Pre-CFS Period

A faculty member’s years of service prior to being granted CFS are probationary. New faculty members should counsel with wise and experienced mentors during this period. To receive CFS, faculty members must pass two formal university reviews. During winter semester of the third year, an initial review will assess a faculty member’s progress and determine whether he or she will advance to CFS candidacy. If the faculty member continues to meet expectations after passing the initial review, they will undergo a final review to determine whether CFS will be granted. The final review will begin during fall semester and typically occurs during the faculty member’s the sixth year. To receive CFS, professorial faculty members must clearly demonstrate in their final review that they have met department, college, and university standards in teaching, scholarship, and citizenship, including student mentoring within one or more of these areas. Professional faculty members must clearly demonstrate that they have met citizenship standards and have successfully fulfilled the professional assignment as defined in the position description, including student mentoring if not precluded by the position description. If the review is positive, CFS will take effect at the beginning of the next fall semester.

The CFS review process is mandatory, and a faculty member who does not submit a timely application for the initial or final CFS review or who does not pass either of these reviews will not be employed in a CFS-track position after his or her contract expires at the end of the contract period. A faculty member who begins an initial or final CFS review process may withdraw from the process at any stage, but withdrawal constitutes resignation from the university, effective at the end of the contract year. The university, at its sole discretion, may grant such an individual a one-year temporary position while the person seeks employment elsewhere.

Complete procedures for initial and final CFS reviews are detailed in the Rank and Status Professorial Faculty Review Procedures, Rank and Status Professional Faculty Review Procedures, and Rank and Status Independent Examination Procedures.

5.3 Colleges Adopting a Seven-Year CFS Review Period

A college may ask to extend the pre-CFS period from six to seven years to achieve consistency with disciplinary norms. Permission to extend the pre-CFS period must be requested in writing by the dean and granted in writing by the academic vice president. Initial reviews will still be held in winter semester of the third year.

Faculty members in colleges that have adopted a seven-year schedule for CFS reviews may apply for final CFS review in their sixth year by notifying the department chair in writing during winter semester of the fifth year, no later than the deadline established by their college. The same criteria will apply, regardless of whether the final review occurs in the sixth or seventh year. If a faculty member applies for final CFS review in the sixth year, and if that review is negative, or if the faculty member withdraws at any point after external reviews of scholarship have been requested, he or she may not apply for subsequent review in the seventh year. Accordingly, deciding whether to seek review in the sixth or the seventh year should follow careful consultation with the department chair and the dean.

5.4 Changes in Timing of CFS Reviews

The timing of the initial and final CFS reviews is mandatory, except as provided in this policy or in the following university policies:

Semesters or terms spent on professional development leaves prior to the final review count as part of the probationary period. By contrast, parental and personal leaves usually lead to an extension of the CFS clock (see Faculty Leaves Policy). When the CFS clock is extended due to a personal or parental leave, the criteria for evaluation are unchanged; additional scholarship or other expectations do not accrue during the year of extension.

A faculty member may also request a one-time, one-year delay in the schedule of CFS reviews for extenuating personal or family reasons (e.g., special parenting needs, personal or family illness). Prior delays granted for parental or personal leaves do not preclude such a request. Delays of CFS reviews that are not linked to parental or personal leaves are exceptional, however, and must be approved in writing by the chair, the dean, and the academic vice president before the review process begins (that is, before external reviews of scholarship are requested, or before the portfolio submission deadline for initial reviews).


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6. Rank Advancement for Professorial Faculty

The three academic ranks for professorial faculty are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. CFS-track professorial faculty are typically hired at the rank of assistant professor. Minimum university requirements for rank advancement are as follows:

6.1 Associate Professor

  1. A sufficient record of mentoring students within teaching, scholarship, and/or citizenship contributions.
  2. A sufficient record of high-quality teaching.
  3. A sufficient record of high-quality scholarship since appointment as an assistant professor.
  4. Constructive university citizenship and a sufficient record of meaningful and collaborative service within the department, college, university, or academic discipline.
  5. Demonstrated proficiency over time in teaching, scholarship, and citizenship. Accordingly, the review for rank advancement to associate professor will normally occur at the same time as the final CFS review during the faculty member’s sixth year of service as an assistant professor, unless an alternative timeline was adopted by the college or agreed upon at hiring.

6.2 Professor

  1. An established record of mentoring students within teaching, scholarship, and/or citizenship contributions.
  2. An established record of high-quality teaching.
  3. An established record of high-quality scholarship since becoming an associate professor.
  4. Constructive university citizenship and an established record of substantive, reliable, and collaborative service within the university and the academic discipline.
  5. Continued proficiency over time in teaching, scholarship, and citizenship. Accordingly, a review for rank advancement to full professor cannot occur before the faculty member’s fifth year of service as an associate professor.

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7. Rank Advancement for Professional Faculty

The academic ranks for professional faculty include the following:

  1. Assistant teaching professor, associate teaching professor, and teaching professor.
  2. Assistant research professor, associate research professor, and research professor.
  3. Assistant clinical professor, associate clinical professor, and clinical professor.
  4. Assistant librarian, associate librarian, and senior librarian.

Any other rank designations must be approved by the academic vice president. CFS-track professional faculty are typically hired at the rank of assistant teaching, research or clinical professor or assistant librarian. Minimum university requirements for rank advancement are as follows:

7.1 Associate Teaching, Research, or Clinical Professor; Associate Librarian

  1. A sufficient record of mentoring students if not precluded by the position description.
  2. Constructive university citizenship and a sufficient record of meaningful and collaborative service within the university, and within the academic discipline or profession if such external service is consistent with the position description.
  3. A sufficient record of high-quality fulfillment of the professional assignment as defined in the position description.
  4. Demonstrated proficiency over time in citizenship and the professional assignment. Accordingly, the review for promotion to associate professor or associate librarian will typically occur at the same time as the final CFS review during the faculty member’s sixth year of service as an assistant professor or assistant librarian, unless an alternative timeline was adopted by the college or agreed upon at hiring.

7.2 Teaching, Research, or Clinical Professor; Senior Librarian

  1. An established record of mentoring students if not precluded by the position description.
  2. Constructive university citizenship and an established record of substantive, reliable, and collaborative service within the university, and within the academic discipline or profession if such external service is consistent with the position description.
  3. An established record of high-quality fulfillment of the professional assignment as defined in the position description.

Continued proficiency over time in citizenship and the professional assignment. Accordingly, a review for rank advancement to full professional or senior librarian cannot occur before the faculty member’s fifth year of service as an associate professor or associate librarian.


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8. Calendar for Rank Advancement Reviews

The normal calendar for rank advancement reviews is the same as for final CFS reviews (see Rank and Status Professorial Faculty Review Procedures; Rank and Status Professional Faculty Review Procedures). If the review is positive, rank advancement will take effect at the beginning of the next fall semester.


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9. Policy Updates

This policy and the associated procedures may be changed from time to time by the President’s Council. Changes apply to all faculty regardless of when they were hired or what standards and procedures prevailed at that time unless the faculty member has been granted a written exception by the academic vice president to accommodate unusual circumstances.