Governance Document for the Department of Chemistry


Several minor revisions were made throughout this document to bring it into conformation with the faculty handbook at a faculty meeting November 4, 2014 with unanimous vote.

General Governance

Revised: 29 April 2008. 

1.     Mission

The conduct of scholarly research and its dissemination, usually through peer-reviewed publications, scientific lectures, or scholarly monographs; the training of graduate students and postdoctorals in the methods of research; the education of graduate and undergraduate students, majors and nonmajors, in lecture and laboratory courses; the professional development of the faculty and technical staff; the procurement of funds to enable all of the above to be done to a high standard; and service to the profession and to the university.  Through these activities we strive to acquire and maintain a high national ranking among peer departments.

2.     Authority

Higher authority within ISU prevails if the practices set forth in this document contradict university policy.

3.     Other Documents and Sections of this Document

A  graduate  study  policy  manual  known  as  “Graduate  Manual”  is revised regularly and governs policies with respect to graduate student progress and degree completion.

4.     Governance

Governance responsibility rests with the Chair (formerly called “DEO”), who may consult with various bodies such as standing committees, an Executive or Advisory or Consultative committee, or with ad-hoc committees or delegate responsibility to these bodies.   The faculty as a whole may overrule any of the above by majority vote, although not every item of business is necessarily brought before the faculty.  The agenda is set at the discretion of the Chair or any of the committees.  A list of current standing committees is appended.

5.     Governing Faculty

The governing faculty consists of all tenured and tenure-track faculty in the Chemistry Department. Except on matters of promotion and tenure, where the requirements are described in the Promotion and Tenure (P&T) document, it is this body that holds the rights and bears the responsibilities for departmental governance.  For P&T decisions, no one with less than a 50% appointment in chemistry, i.e., teaching and service, is permitted to vote.

6.     Emeritus Faculty

Emeritus faculty may be accorded an office and limited laboratory space, at the discretion of the Chair.

7.     Meetings

The Chair or faculty committees may call departmental meetings.

8.     Quorum

No set figure defines a quorum for ordinary business, except as the Chair rules, as other departmental policies require, or as the assembled group votes at the time.  Some matters may be handled by mail or email. The P&T document defines its own rules.

9.     Chair Selection

The Chair is selected by the LAS Dean.  This is done after consultation with the department, which will constitute a committee to poll the faculty.   The department intends for this arrangement to continue, with the manner of polling and the term being flexible. The usual term has been three to five years, negotiated between the Dean and the nominee.  The department is able to nominate the same person for additional terms.

10.   Chair Responsibilities

The Chair is responsible for:

  1. constituting and charging all of the standing and ad-hoc committees of the department;
  2. overseeing the assignment and discharge of teaching responsibilities;
  3. discharging the duties prescribed by the P&T document;
  4. managing the financial affairs of the department;
  5. supervising non-faculty personnel;
  6. representing the department in the university and in the profession, and in meetings with public
  7. or corporate representatives;
  8. soliciting private funds for scholarships, fellowships, research equipment, etc.;
  9. valuating faculty regarding accomplishments, salary increments, external awards, prospects, etc.;
  10. allocating resources within the department and making recommendations as requested for
  11. resources available outside the department;
  12. assigning office and research space;
  13. recruiting and hiring new members of the faculty and staff and recommending such
  14. appointments to the Dean; for tenured appointments, the recommendations must be accompanied
  15. by the result of a faculty ballot;
  16. counseling departmental members in professional matters;
  17. discharging other duties as charged by LAS or the university administration.

11.   Chair Review

The Chair is reviewed annually by the Dean.  The Chair is expected to sustain professional activities, and the review covers them as well as administrative performance.

12.   Appointment of an Associate Chair

The Chair may (but need not) appoint an Associate Chair to assist in responsibilities as designated by the Chair. The term of one year is renewable.

13.   Short absences of the Chair

Short absences of the Chair are covered by the Associate Chair, if this position is filled, or by another faculty member designated by the Chair.  If an extended absence is anticipated, the faculty and Chair will act in consultation with the LAS Dean; in the event of an unexpected absence, the faculty and the Dean will act in consultation.

14.   Departmental Records

The Executive Assistant keeps and maintains all departmental records.

15.   Committees

A list of committees that currently serve or that have recently served is attached.  The Chair appoints the members annually, and may create, eliminate or consolidate committees, subject to overrule by the Faculty.  Another attached chart shows the administrative structure. Committee membership is usually drawn from the governing faculty, although at the Chair’s discretion Adjunct Professors or Lecturers may participate in committee duties.

16.  Ad-hoc committees

Ad-hoc committees are appointed by the Chair.

17.   Faculty Hiring

There is a Faculty Search committee, whose members are appointed by the Chair and represent broad areas of the discipline, to oversee the review of applications for faculty positions.  Faculty members from other departments may also be included at the discretion of the Chair.   The Chair may also appoint an ad-hoc committee consisting of faculty representatives of the sub-discipline of chemistry of the proposed hire, who report their assessments to the Faculty Search committee.    This group recommends to the Chair what appointments should be made, unless the appointment carries tenure, in which case a written vote of the governing faculty is taken. With this advice, the Chair makes a recommendation to the LAS Dean.  The minimum qualification for both a lecturer and a tenured or tenure track faculty member shall be a PhD in chemistry or a closely allied field.  Should the department wish to consider a candidate who does not meet the ordinary minimum requirements, approval by the Executive Committee of the department shall be required before any in-person interview takes place.

18.  Promotion and Tenure

Procedures for promotion to Associate Professor and Professor are given below, and are intended to be interpreted in a manner consistent with the policies expressed in the Faculty Handbook.

19.   Grievance Procedures

The grievance procedures for faculty are specified in the Section 9 of the Faculty Handbook (;  and for  students, in ISU Catalog (pp. 48-49 of the 07-09 Edition) and in the Graduate Manual.

20.   Amendments

This document can be amended by the majority of the governing faculty, provided that such an amendment is placed on the agenda in advance.

Standing Committees


Awards/Faculty Recognition: organize  and  arrange  nominations  to  organizations  and  units  both external and internal to ISU.

Chemical Services and Space: oversee work and assignment of space; provide faculty supervision for Chemical Instrument Services, Machine Shop, Glass Shop and Chemistry Stores.

Curriculum: oversee curricular issues at the graduate and undergraduate levels; supervise updating catalog entries.

Faculty Searches: review, discuss and vote on faculty candidates to make recommendations to the Chair; participate in the interviewing of candidates; make assessments on all written files.

Graduate Activities/Seminar and Library: oversee graduate student affairs; conduct annual reviews of all graduate students, oversee all diagnostic exams; make recommendations for use of graduate fellowships; arranges seminar schedule for academic year and supervises use of seminar funds; interacts with library staff and faculty to keep current journals and resources available.

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment:  oversees recruitment and selection of graduate students. The chair of this committee is appointed for two years, and may receive one semester free of teaching (if desired).  Supervises all recruiting events and activities; reviews applications; and make recommendations for offers.

Safety: interacts with ISU EH&S to ensure cooperation with regulatory agencies, proper chemical waste management and training of all personnel; conducts annual inspections.

Salary Advisory and Evaluation: conducts annual review of faculty members for salary increment recommendations to the Chair; supervises post-tenure review procedures as specified in the P&T document.

Undergraduate Activities: advise undergraduate majors; oversee undergraduate affairs and activities; make recommendations for use of undergraduate fellowships.

Procedures for Faculty Review, 3rd-Year Review, Promotion & Tenure, and Hiring of Faculty with Tenure

Revised 29 April 2008

This document, in conjunction with the current policies dictated by the Faculty Handbook ( and  the  College of  Liberal Arts  and  Sciences (, establishes the Chemistry Department’s promotion, tenure, and faculty review policies and procedures.


1.     Faculty Reviews of Assistant Professors and Associate Professors

1.1.  Introduction

Assistant  professors  and  associate  professors  are  evaluated,  and  their  progress  is  reviewed  at  least annually (but not during the first year in residence) by a group of faculty of higher rank.  This group will be referred to as the Review Committee.  It consists of all tenured faculty of academic rank higher than the individual under review who have a signed Position Responsibility Statement.

The Chair presides over the Review Committee meetings and serves as a non-voting member of the Review  Committee.    In  the  event  the  Chair  is  unable  to  fulfill  the  function  as  chair,  the  Review Committee elects its own chair by majority vote.  Persons under review are referred to as candidates in this document.

1.2.  Preparations in Advance of the Review Committee Meeting

At a time well in advance of the review period, if possible by the first business day of September, faculty members to be reviewed are asked by the Chair to bring their professional biographies up to date.  These files are kept in the main office, and usually include the following:

  • biographical data
  • educational honors and professional society memberships
  • committee assignments including those of a departmental, university or extra-university nature
  • an annotated list of publications, including books, book chapters, and manuscripts accepted and submitted
  • a list of book reviews
  • a list of M.S. and Ph.D. degree students supervised
  • a list of courses taught
  • a list of awards and grants
  • a list of invited and contributed lectures

Each individual is also expected to maintain a Teaching File, which must include the following for each course taught during the previous seven years:

  • course syllabus
  • representative examinations(s)
  • all student evaluations obtained using the standardized form and procedure directed by the    University

For both the Professional Biography and Teaching files, each faculty member is also encouraged to add any other information which he/she feels is appropriate to evidence his/her value to the department or university, etc.   These files are available for inspection by any faculty member or any member of the college or university administration.

In advance of the review by the Review Committee, the Chair appoints a Subcommittee from the Review Committee, consisting of at least four members, which is headed by a tenured Professor of rank higher than that of the faculty member under review (For 3rd-year review and P&T review, the subcommittee shall be chaired by a Professor—frequently referred to as Full Professor).  It is recommended that the Subcommittee be constituted so as to include representation within and outside the discipline of the individual under review.  (Members of the discipline are defined as the group of senior faculty who are most familiar with the research area of the person under review.)  When deemed appropriate by the Chair and the Subcommittee, the Chair and the Subcommittee head may ask one or two tenured members of the ISU faculty from outside the Review Committee to serve as nonvoting, ad hoc consultants to the Subcommittee.     Such  individuals  would  participate  in  the  discussion  in  the  same  fashion  as  a Subcommittee member.   Collaborators of the candidate may not serve as Subcommittee Chair, and no more than two other members of the subcommittee may be collaborators of the candidate.  (Here, collaborator is defined as a person who has coauthored a paper published or submitted within the last five years.)

The candidate is notified in writing of the composition of the Subcommittee.  Only the Chair of the Subcommittee acts as spokesperson for the group with the candidate on matters concerning the review. Subcommittee members are asked to study the file of the individual under review and to prepare separate written reports.

Any faculty member (including the faculty member under review) believing that a conflict of interest exists between a member of the Review Committee and the faculty member under reviewer may request in writing to the Chair that this member be excused from service on the Review Committee.  The Chair will present this request to the Review Committee, (excluding the faculty member with the alleged conflict of interest) for their consideration and action by majority vote at a duly scheduled meeting of the Review Committee.  All such actions are considered to reduce the size of the Review Committee for quorum and voting requirements.

Prior to the review, the Subcommittee meets to hear the written reports, to consider any other relevant materials, and to determine whether there are any questions of a substantive nature to which the individual under review could provide clarification.   This meeting is held sufficiently in advance of the review meeting so that the person under review may respond to concerns or provide necessary clarification.  The subcommittee chair, at the  instruction  of  the  Subcommittee,  advises  the  individual  in  writing  of  any  additional information requested by the Subcommittee, and the individual is given one week to supply this information.    The  Subcommittee  reconvenes  prior  to  the  Review  Committee  meeting  to  consider additional information supplied the individual under review.  The subcommittee will prepare a single report, to give to the chair, accurately representing the views of its members, including any substantive relevant differences of opinion among the members of the subcommittee.


1.3.  Review Committee Meetings

A meeting of the Review Committee is called by the Chair at least once during the academic year with the date and time being set by the Chair.   Normally, these meetings take place between October and mid- December.  The Chair should be guided by considerations of wide faculty participation and timeliness in the  university  review  process  in  setting  the  date  and  time.      

The  Review Committee  meetings  for individuals of the same rank are usually held concurrently.  A quorum consists of 2/3 of the Review Committee (of eligible voting faculty who are in town or who are not excused owing to exceptional incapacitating  circumstances).  In  procedural matters, unless  otherwise indicated in this document, Roberts Rules of  Order, latest edition, apply.  At  the  meeting the  written reports of  the  individual members of the Subcommittee are read along with any report by the Subcommittee as a whole, and all reports for other Review Committee members.  Any comments or additional information supplied by the individual under review are read and considered.  A discussion follows.  (In 3rd-year or P&T reviews, the Subcommittee and Review Committee must be apprised of  rules concerning double voting: if  an individual  makes  a  recommendation — in writing or orally — this prohibits him or her from voting subsequently, the recommendation being considered as the vote.)

In a review where promotion and tenure are not being considered, the Chair and the head of the Subcommittee take careful note of the tenor and substance of the discussion in order to prepare the Chair for a later meeting with the faculty member under review.  By a majority vote, the Review Committee can instruct its Subcommittee to reconsider the faculty member as a candidate for promotion.   In this case, if the faculty member consents, the review process for promotion previously outlined is activated.

1.4.  Faculty Conferences

Following reviews where tenure and promotion were not discussed, the Chair has a conference with the faculty member under review as soon as is reasonably possible.   Preserving confidentiality, the Chair informs the faculty member under review of the discussions which took place, makes helpful suggestions to improve the faculty member’s performance, and candidly answers questions.

1.5.  Confidentiality

To ensure an open, objective and thorough review and evaluation of each individual, the deliberations of the Review Committee and its Subcommittee are to be treated as strictly confidential. The only legitimate spokespersons for these bodies are the head of the Subcommittee and the Chair.

1.6.  Appeals

The candidate or any member of the Review Committee can appeal in writing to the Chair any aspect of the  review  process,  and  the  Chair  will  respond  in  writing  and  take  such  action  as  he/she  deems appropriate.  However, the appeal and response must take place in a timely fashion; delay of the review process on the basis of any appeal requires a vote of the Review Committee.

2.     Third Year Review

Procedures for 3rd-year review are similar to those outlined in Section 1.   The chairs of 3rd-year review subcommittees,  however,  must  be  Professors  (i.e.,  Full  Professors)  in  the  Department.    (See  the  LAS  and University documents concerning the timing of the 3rd-year review when prior credit has been given.)

Faculty under review should refer to the Faculty Handbook and the LAS procedures, which can be found in the links referenced at the beginning of this document.  Use of the appropriate review form is required. This form is the “LAS Preliminary Review Dossier Template” (, which comprises “Tabs 1-3” of the promotion and tenure dossier.

The 3rd-year review is a probationary review.  In keeping with Department of Chemistry culture, it is held in the Fall of the 3rd year.  If it is determined that the candidate is making sufficient progress towards promotion and tenure, no further review is required.  Tab 3 of this document has two parts:  a recommendation of the Review Committee and a recommendation from the Chair.  The Chair of the review subcommittee shall prepare the former in concert with the Review Committee. The Chair shall submit his or her own recommendation.

Tab 3 requests the report of a vote.  It is acceptable to indicate a vote “by acclamation.”

If it is determined that the candidate is not making sufficient progress in the Fall review, further review may be deferred until the Spring salary advisory review.

3.     Promotion and Tenure Cases

Procedures for promotion and tenure cases are similar to those outlined in Section 1.   The chairs of the subcommittees for these reviews, however, must be Professors (i.e., Full Professors) in the Department.

Faculty under review should refer to the Faculty Handbook and the LAS procedures, which can be found in the links referenced at the beginning of this document.  Use of the appropriate “tabbed” review form is required.

As specified in the Faculty Handbook:  “Tenure accompanies appointments to the rank of associate professor and professor unless a probationary period for new appointees is clearly specified in advance or it is indicated that the appointment does not carry tenure.”  The tradition in the Department of Chemistry is that the award of tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor are considered, and do occur, together.  In the event that this is not the case, the evaluation procedures are implemented at each of the separate reviews where promotion or tenure actions are considered.

By petition to the Chair before a date set each year by the Chair, any individual can have his or her case for the award of tenure, and/or promotion to the next higher academic rank, be considered at the next scheduled faculty review period.   The Chair should advise the candidate of the timeliness of this request with respect to the candidate’s career; however, rejection of the candidate’s case in one year does not prejudice his or her case in subsequent years.

With written consent of the candidate, the Chair can also instruct the Review Committee to consider the case of a candidate.   Petition for the award of tenure is taken to be automatic for individuals in their final year of consideration for the award of tenure.  This is the sixth year of total time on the staff (assuming no prior credited academic service at another institution).   An untenured faculty member in the sixth year may decline to be reviewed by so requesting to the Chair by 15 August in writing.  Before granting this request, the Chair must fully inform the individual, in writing, that the consequences of this action will be the certain forwarding of a negative tenure recommendation to the Dean.

In promotion and tenure cases, Review Committee members who are not on the Subcommittee but who are especially familiar with the candidate’s research or teaching are strongly encouraged to prepare written reports for the Review Committee meeting.  Such reports should be submitted to the head of the Review Subcommittee for consideration by the Subcommittee in its deliberations.  Evaluations from outside the department will be solicited from several outstanding people in the candidate’s field as an aid in gauging the impact and importance of a candidate’s scholarly work.  The Chair of the Subcommittee requests the candidate to provide a list of names of appropriate external reviewers, and why they are considered appropriate.  The Subcommittee and the Chair jointly choose a minimum of six external reviewers, utilizing at least two suggestions of the candidate, and seek to obtain the reviews in sufficient time to be considered by the Subcommittee in its work.  In the event that they cannot jointly make this decision, they each choose at least three reviewers, at least one of which in each case is from the candidate’s list.

Consistent with the Iowa State University policy, the  names of  the  internal and  external reviewers and the content of the external reviewer’s letters are considered confidential and will not be revealed to the candidate for promotion.

The Chair informs all potential members of the Review Committee about the approaching review, and whether the individual is a candidate for promotion, well in advance of the Review Committee meeting date.

A candidate who is not in the final year of consideration for the award of tenure can withdraw the petition for promotion/tenure at any time prior to the Review Committee meeting by written request to the Chair.


3.1.  Procedural Matters

In a review meeting where promotion and/or the award of tenure are being considered, it is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that there has been a complete discussion of the merits of the case (and, in particular, that the views of faculty in the candidate’s discipline have been fully elicited) based on the criteria for promotion given below.  The Chair also makes sure that there are no unresolved issues, which require further clarification and for which subsequent meetings may be required.

A secret vote is taken by mail ballot on the question:

Should candidate’s name be recommended for promotion to the rank of academic rank effective date?

     Yes;     No

To this question, as indicated above, members of the Review Committee may vote “yes” or “no.”  Each member seals his or her vote in an unsigned envelope, which is, in turn, placed in a signed envelope and delivered to a keeper appointed by the Chair.  The keeper makes a record of those who have voted, and safely stores, unopened, the unsigned ballot envelopes.  On the eighth business day of the vote, the keeper reminds those who have not yet cast a ballot.  After all the ballots are in, or after ten business days, the ballots are counted by two tellers appointed by the Chair.

Unreturned ballots or ballots lacking either a “yes” or “no” response are not counted in the voting base.

In the event that more than 10% of the members of the Review Committee fails to respond “yes” or “no” to the question, another ballot shall be taken (rounding from 0.5 to the next highest integer).  This process may be repeated no more than twice if at least 90% of the eligible voting faculty has not responded affirmatively or negatively to the question.  If at this point at least 90% of the eligible voting faculty still has not responded positively or negatively to the question, a third revote shall be taken where an absence of a “yes” or “no” vote will be interpreted as “yes.”

If revoting is required, five business days will be allotted for submitting a ballot.   Furthermore no information on the distribution of the votes shall be provided to the faculty except that more than 10%failed to answer “yes” or “no.”

At the discretion of the Chair, faculty with extraordinarily incapacitating circumstances may be excused from the voting base.  No other reason constitutes an excuse for failure to return a ballot.  Voting may be accomplished by communicating, by phone or email, with the Departmental Administrative Assistant, who shall keep the vote anonymous.

Tab 3 of the LAS P&T Dossier Template requires a single report and vote from the Review Committee and from the Chair. The Review Committee and the Chair shall submit separate recommendations and votes, as for the 3rd-year review (Section 2).  The Chair’s recommendation may take into account factors other than the strict outcome of the vote (e.g., the Chair may choose to give more weight to some opinions than to others).   The Chair’s recommendation, nevertheless, is also based on the criteria for promotion given below (Section 3.5).

In all cases, before any recommendation is submitted to the Dean, the candidate is given the opportunity to review the factual information (as opposed to the subjective opinions of external reviewers, committee members, etc.) which is to be presented in support of the recommendation.  The Chair will take the candidate’s suggestions under advisement in preparing the final submissions.

Materials submitted to the Dean shall include all external letters received.  Tab 5 of the LAS P&T dossier template provides guidelines for external letters:  “Departments should make every effort to secure a minimum of five external letters, with the ideal number being six.    No more than 50% of the letters should come from the candidate’s list.  Reviewers on both the candidate’s list and the committee’s list are counted as coming from the candidate’s list, so there may be value in initially soliciting a relatively short list from the candidate.  This list could be expanded later if necessary.  It is expected that the external reviewers will be from peer institutions or better and that they are of an equal or higher rank than the candidate’s proposed rank (e.g., associate and full professors may review cases for promotion to associate professors, and full professors may review cases for promotion to professor).”  This document also places limits on the relationship of the reviewer to the candidate:   “Note that the university has very clear language about who should not be asked to serve as an external reviewer (e.g., major professors, members of dissertation committee, post-doc supervisors, and co-authors should not be used as external reviewers).”

All letters that are received must be forwarded to the Dean.

After recommendations have been made, the Chair reconvenes the Review Committee and advises them of the outcome of the vote and of the recommendations that have been forwarded to the Dean.


3.2.  Faculty Conferences

In promotion and tenure cases in which the Review Committee and the Chair voted in the candidate’s favor, the Chair informs the candidate in writing of the outcome as soon as reasonably possible after the vote is counted. The Chair need not reveal the numerical distribution of the votes to the candidate unless:

  • the promotion and/or tenure is disapproved at a higher review level
  • the candidate explicitly request the information.

In cases where the Review Committee is not in favor, or in cases where the faculty vote is not endorsed by the Chair, the candidate is told promptly by the Chair the breakdown of the vote.  In the latter case, the Chair then prepares a confidential written report to the candidate, which the candidate should have an opportunity to discuss with the Chair.   The Chair also keeps the candidate informed of the results of college promotion and tenure recommendations.

3.3.  Confidentiality

To ensure an open, objective and thorough review and evaluation of each individual, the deliberations of the Review Committee and its Subcommittee are to be treated as strictly confidential. The only legitimate spokespersons for these bodies are the head of the Subcommittee and the Chair.

3.4.  Appeals

The candidate or any member of the Review Committee can appeal in writing to the Chair any aspect of the  review  process,  and  the  Chair  will  respond  in  writing  and  take  such  action  as  he/she  deems appropriate.  However, the appeal and response must take place in a timely fashion; delay of the review process on the basis of any appeal requires a vote of the Review Committee.

On the basis of new information, corrections to factual information, or a perceived faulty procedure, a candidate or any member of the Review Committee may appeal a vote or decision of the Review Committee, in writing, to the Chair before information is forwarded to the Dean.   Adjudication of the appeal is made by the Review Committee at a meeting.   By majority vote the Review Committee can decide to repeat all or any part of the review process or to dismiss the appeal.  Of course, the candidate retains his/her right of appeal at a level of higher adjudication according to College and University promotion and tenure procedures.

3.5.  Criteria for Promotion and the Award of Tenure

Through its tenure and promotion policies, the Department seeks to add innovative and creative scholars to its  senior ranks.    Since such individuals are  by their  nature unique, there  must  be  a  substantial subjective component to the criteria by which they are selected, and that component cannot be rationally quantified.  Also, in a department that seeks to improve itself, a candidate of untenured rank is not only compared with the existing staff but also with the type of individual with whom he/she could reasonably be expected to be replaced. There is obviously no completely objective way in which this comparison can be made, and it is acknowledged that reasonable people can hold different views on the matter.  The following criteria are thus general and not specific.

The candidate is judged by his/her contributions in research, teaching and service, consistent with the candidate’s Position Responsibility Statement.  Performance in these same areas also forms the basis for the periodic review of faculty members of all ranks (see Section 2).  The service component may include departmental, college and university service as well as a variety of other professional and outreach/extension activities.   Direction of graduate and undergraduate student research is judged as a matter of scholarship and teaching.   Although all faculty members fulfill their teaching and service responsibilities and conduct their research programs in the manner they, themselves, deem to be most effective and appropriate, they are expected to work in a productive manner with those with whom they deal in meeting these professional obligations.  By their efforts within the Department, they should seek to achieve its betterment; and, in meeting professional obligations outside the Department, they should strive to enhance its reputation.  In every case they should have a strong sense of professional ethics and recognize that their conduct and professional activities affect the University.

3.5.1.         Promotion to Associate Professor and the Award of Tenure

Usually the award of tenure and promotion to associate professor occur together and thus the criteria for both are the same.   Since this is a critically important decision for both the Department and the candidate, it is made with extreme care.  An important consideration is whether or not the candidate has demonstrated that he/she is a productive scientist, who is an asset to the Department, and who is building a national reputation through his/her scholarly efforts.   There are a number of measures that are commonly applied to the candidate in the course of this professional evaluation, such as the number and diversity of publications, significance and originality of work (as measured, for example, through literature citations to the candidate’s published work), growth and development of interests since graduate or postdoctoral studies, awards, grants and honors received, number and location of invited talks and presented papers, and demonstrated ability to attract research funding.  Service as a referee, consultant or editor in a professional capacity provides some measure of scientific reputation.  These factors are often weighted differently by different individuals on the Review Committee and hence they cannot be completely quantified.  However, the precedent of cases in recent years provides some guide as to the expected standard.  Another guideline is how the candidate compares with other chemists in the Department of the same academic rank, and with chemists in other universities who are in the same general research area and are at a similar state in their careers.

The  effectiveness  of  the  candidate  as  a  teacher  is  also  an  important  consideration  in  the promotion decision.    The candidate can have demonstrated this by his/her classroom performance, his/her technical competence, his/her use of current materials, and his/her ability to motivate students.   These factors may be measured by student performance, as well as by evaluations of alumni, students and colleagues.  In a more general sense, effective teaching can be demonstrated by the development of new courses and teaching aids, introduction of teaching innovations, and the authorship of textbooks or other educational materials.   A good teacher shows respect for the student as an individual, and adheres to his/her proper role as intellectual guide and counselor.  He or she makes every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that his/her evaluations of students reflect the students’ true merit.  It is important to note the difference between teaching and the scholarship of teaching, as enumerated in the LAS documents and in the Faculty Handbook.  Effectiveness as a teacher is not in itself sufficient to merit promotion.

Research advising of undergraduate and graduate students is one of the major responsibilities of a good teacher.   Formal academic advising of undergraduate students, as a departmental committee assignment, is considered to be a departmental service.

A candidate for promotion to associate professor should also be an effective contributor to the Chemistry Department, College and University, as evidenced, for example, through committee service.  Promotion to the rank of associate professor rarely takes place before the candidate’s fifth year total service to the university, and the successful candidate is often in his/her sixth year of service.

3.5.2.         Promotion to Professor

Promotion to Professor is intended to recognize status as a mature, excellent, and thoroughly productive scholar, with a national and international reputation.  The candidate also should have, at the least, maintained a high level of performance in teaching and service that was in evidence at the time of his/her most recent promotion.

4.     Hiring of Faculty with Tenure

Before an offer including tenure can be extended to an external candidate, the individual’s case is treated in much the same manner as that for promotion and tenure of someone within the Department.  The Department (usually, but not necessarily, the Chair) requests permission from the candidate to solicit external letters.  The criteria for these letters are the same as those for internal promotion and tenure cases.  The Chair appoints a Subcommittee to evaluate the  candidate’s dossier  (comprised of  at  least  a  vita  and  the  external letters).    The  Subcommittee facilitates discussion of the dossier and presents statements (usually including written ones) to the Review Committee.   A faculty vote is held in which the Chair may participate.   At least two-thirds of the tenure track must support the candidate in order for an offer to be extended, but the Chair makes an independent recommendation on the matter.

In rare cases, it may not be prudent to obtain typical external letters in advance of an offer of a tenured position.  Typical examples might include administrative hires (e.g., a dean or Ames Lab official) that will also hold an appointment in chemistry or joint appointment hires where the primary home will be outside chemistry.  In order to accommodate such cases, the requirement for external letters may be waived by a 2/3 vote by the full tenure track faculty.  If the letters are waived, no subcommittee of the tenure track faculty is required.

(Section 4. was modified by faculty vote on Sept 11, 2018,)


5.     Post-Tenure Review

A review of all professors is undertaken annually.  The Chair appoints a Salary Advisory and Evaluation Committee in the Department to review the Biographical and Teaching files of tenured faculty, who must update their biographical and teaching files by an announced deadline early in the calendar year. The content of these files should be the same as specified in Section 1.2.   Members of the faculty holding the title Chair/DEO, Dean, Provost, or President are reviewed by other authorities and are not subject to this review.

The review shall address the quality of the faculty member’s performance in the areas of teaching, research, extension/professional practice, and institutional service, consistent with the faculty member’s position responsibility statement. The Chair shall synthesize the evaluations of the committee together with the Chair’s own evaluation, and provide a written report to the professor under evaluation no later than four months after the deadline for updating files.   This report may offer recommendations for enhancing performance and plan for future development.  The professor under review then has four weeks to respond in writing to the Chair.   After this period, if there is no communication from the faculty member under review, the review is considered complete.

If there is written communication from the faculty member under review within the four-week period, the Chair may or may not revise the original evaluation.  The Chair must show the faculty member the revised version, must attach any written comments the faculty member wishes and may attach any other documentation related to the case at the Chair’s discretion. At this point, the review is considered complete.

Every seventh year after tenure is granted for any given faculty member, the annual review process shall be augmented in such a way as to constitute a post-tenure review as per section 5.3.5 of the Faculty Handbook.  Faculty members being reviewed for higher rank, those within one year of announced retirement, those on phased retirement, those holding the title of chair/DEO, dean, provost or president are exempt.  A faculty member may request an early review in years 5 or 6 after his/her last post-tenure review. 

The chair will appoint a committee of five (full) Professors to review the file of the faculty member under review, which may include members of the salary review committee.  As per the Faculty Handbook, it is this committee, rather than the chair, which is responsible for the review; this is in contrast to the annual reviews for which the salary review committee’s opinion is advisory and the chair is ultimately responsible.  The faculty member under review shall prepare his or her file for review — including documentation of research, teaching, and service activities covering the full period under review — on the same timeline as for the ordinary annual reviews.  A component of the evaluation of teaching by the committee shall include direct peer observation.  The committee is charged with developing a comprehensive review of the seven preceding years’ work (or shorter, in the case of early post-tenure reviews).

The committee shall rank the faculty members’ performance as “superior,” “meeting expectations,” or “below expectations” in each area of scholarship (research), teaching, and service, and shall also provide an overall ranking of the performance as “superior,” “meeting expectations,” or “below expectations.”  If the review contains a “below expectations” category or overall ranking, procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook, section, will be followed.  This may include development of action plans and recommendations for additional post-tenure reviews on an accelerated schedule.

The chair will review the post-tenure review and its recommendations with the faculty member, and work with him or her and the committee to generate action plans for improvement if required.  As with annual reviews, the faculty member will have 4 weeks to provide a response to the committee’s findings to the chair.  The chair will add his or her recommendation to the dean concerning a salary increase for professors who receive an overall “superior” ranking in all areas of professional responsibility.  As per the faculty handbook, post-tenure review reports are to be submitted to the dean.

In keeping with the Post Tenure Review Policy approved by the Faculty Senate and University President and Provost in April 2011, the ideal outcome of the post-tenure review shall consist of recommendations for enhancing performance and plans for future development.

6.     Requirements for Ratification, Amendment and Revision of This Document.

The faculty body which discusses and votes on this document consists of the tenured and probationary faculty, excluding emeritus faculty.  Ratification of this document requires discussion at a faculty meeting attended by half or more of the faculty body, followed by 60% approval, by vote, of the faculty body.  The vote is done by secret ballot and must be returned within 10 business days.

A proposed amendment can be written by any faculty member, but in order to be considered, it must bear the signatures of at least 20% of the faculty body. Upon receipt of such a proposal, the Chair is obligated to call a faculty meeting in a timely manner to consider it.  Although substance of the written draft amendment might be altered as a result of discussion and vote, completely new subjects cannot be acted upon without further written notice to the faculty.

Procedures for Adjunct Faculty Appointments

On February 12, 2013, more than half the Chemistry Faculty met to discuss this proposal. At the end of the discussion, a secret vote was initiated and completed on February 18, 2013. The vote was 23 in favor, 3 opposed, with 1 abstaining. This amendment has been ratified by the Chemistry Department.  William Jenks



Introduction: In addition to the customary tenure-track faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry, there can arise situations in which the department may benefit in providing an adjunct appointment to an outstanding scientist who is expected to contribute in a significant way to the mission of the department. The Department of Chemistry welcomes a limited number of applications of this type.

Departmental Guidelines for Adjunct Faculty Appointments. The department will offer three levels of Adjunct appointments:

  • Adjunct Professor
  • Adjunct Associate Professor
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor

All adjunct appointments will be three-year renewable, non-tenured positions. The positions are regarded as serious positions, which are intended primarily to strengthen the department. Adjunct faculty are expected to be active in original and productive scientific research and scholarship, though the expectations of previous productivity will vary with the three different appointments.

Although salary for that individual's regularly budgeted position will come from sources either outside the department or from external grants, adjunct faculty may also be asked to fill a teaching need within the department. Financial remuneration for teaching services will be made in accordance with standard procedures established in the Chemistry Department for temporary instructors.


1.     Adjunct Professor

Necessary qualifications of an Adjunct Professor in the Chemistry Department will be

  1. A doctoral degree in Chemistry or related field;
  2. Demonstration of independent productivity in original scientific research or scholarship by, e.g., publications in refereed journals, invited and participating presentations at national or international meetings, organization of symposia at national or international meetings, etc. The level of past productivity shall be generally construed as that comparable for promotion to Professor within the department, though it is understood that the background of the candidate may mean that this is demonstrated by somewhat different means than a traditional academic path.

The department regards an adjunct faculty appointment as a matter for serious consideration. The process of appointment will involve


  1. A written nomination submitted by a current Chemistry Department faculty member and seconded in writing by another Chemistry Department faculty member to the Chair of the Department. These nomination letters must describe the qualifications of the nominee for an adjunct appointment and a description of how the department and the nominee will benefit.
  2. A letter from the candidate stating his/her willingness to be considered for an adjunct faculty appointment together with his/her CV.
  3. A subcommittee of four Chemistry Department faculty members (selected by the Chair) will review the nomination and send a recommendation to the Chair of the Department.


This recommendation will remain confidential to the Chair and to members of the subcommittee. The Chair will decide whether the nomination process continues beyond this stage.


If the nomination process continues for a candidate, then

  1. At least six letters of recommendation will be solicited from scientists outside Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory. No more than 3 letters from individuals suggested by the candidate can be used; the department will identify others. These letters will be reviewed by the subcommittee described in point (3);
  2. The candidate will give a public research seminar to the department;
  3. The subcommittee will present a report to the voting faculty, which for adjunct positions, constitutes all tenured and tenure track assistant, associate and full professors. After discussion of the candidate's case, the faculty will vote by a secret ballot. Approval by at least 2/3 of the voting faculty is required.


Any faculty members of the Chemistry Department who have served as group leader for the candidate have a conflict of interest, and should, therefore, be excluded from votes and committee appointments where the candidate is being considered. These faculty members, however, may be asked to provide insight or answer questions about the candidate during discussions.

Adjunct Associate Professor

Necessary qualifications of an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department will be

  1. A doctoral degree in Chemistry or related field;
  2. Demonstration of productivity in original scientific research or scholarship by, e.g., publications in refereed journals, invited and participating presentations at national or international meetings, organization of symposia at national or international meetings, etc. The level of past productivity shall be generally construed as that comparable for promotion to Associate Professor within the department, though it is understood that the background of the candidate may mean that this is demonstrated by somewhat different means than a traditional academic path.

The appointment process for Adjunct Associate Professor shall be the same as for Adjunct Professor, save that half of the letters may come from members of the Iowa State and/or Ames Lab community.

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Necessary qualifications of an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department will be

  1. A doctoral degree in Chemistry or related field;
  2. Demonstration of productivity in original scientific research or scholarship by, e.g., publications in refereed journals, invited and participating presentations at national or international meetings, etc.  Potential for independent creativity is expected.

The appointment process for Adjunct Assistant Professor shall be the same as for Adjunct Professor, save that

  1. No committee of four is required. The chair may decide whether to proceed based on the nomination and seconding letter.
  2. In addition to the nomination letter and seconding letter, three external letters will be required. However, the candidate may supply the names of the letter writers and they may be past supervisors, such as Ph.D. and postdoctoral advisors.

A two-thirds vote of the faculty is still required.

Review Procedures:

  1. Adjunct faculty will be reviewed every three years in Fall semesters (before the end of the term of appointment) along with reviews of junior-level faculty in the Chemistry Department. A subcommittee of at least three faculty members will carry out the review according to standard departmental procedures for review of junior-level faculty.
  2. Re-appointment will be considered during this review, unless the adjunct faculty member notifies the chair by the end of the first week of the Fall semester before the end of the term of appointment that he/she does not wish to be re-appointed.

A criterion for reappointment consists of demonstrating productive and original scientific research and scholarly activities in accord with the time of the original appointment. The Faculty will also consider the adjunct faculty member's contributions to departmental activities.

“Promotion” within the adjunct ranks will be handled in the same way as a new adjunct appointment at the new, higher level.

In the Department of Chemistry

  1. An adjunct faculty member will be welcome to direct a graduate student in the department jointly with a tenured or tenure-track faculty member (for this opportunity, the adjunct faculty member must be nominated for and granted Graduate Faculty Term membership - see http://www.grad- Both are expected to play an active, significant role in the direction and research of the student;
  2. Should an adjunct faculty member submit a grant proposal which would be administered through the department, provision will be made to reimburse the department for support services (secretarial and financial administration, etc.) required for preparing the proposal and all related work (reports to funding agency, purchasing, manuscript preparation, etc.);
  3. An adjunct faculty member may be asked to fill a teaching need in the Chemistry Department. When this occurs, there will be a negotiated financial remuneration based on accordance with standard procedures in place for hiring temporary instructors in the Department;
  4. Adjunct faculty members are expected to participate in the activities of the department. Participation at faculty meetings is also encouraged (except for those meetings dealing with P&T matters), although they will not have voting privileges;
  5. An adjunct faculty appointment will be made only if it significantly strengthens the department.


Procedures for Courtesy (unbudgeted) Faculty Appointments in the Department of Chemistry

This document was modified on 27 February 2011 subject to a unanimous vote of the faculty on 12 October 2010. J. W. Petrich


Courtesy faculty will be at the ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Necessary qualifications of a courtesy faculty member will be

  1. a bachelor's, master's, doctoral degree in Chemistry or post-doctoral experience in
  2. Chemistry and associated fields;
  3. a member of the Faculty at Iowa State University;
  4. the ability to reasonably supervise Chemistry graduate students;
  5. an anticipation of active interaction with the Chemistry department.

The process of appointment will be

  1. nomination by a current Chemistry department faculty member and seconded by another
  2. Chemistry department faculty member;
  3. distribution of the candidate's CV to the department faculty;
  4. presentation by the candidate to the department faculty, if deemed appropriate;
  5. approval by at least 2/3 of the voting faculty (“Voting faculty” means in this case all tenured and tenure-track faculty.)

The appointment will be for a term not to exceed three years, and may be continued subject to review by the department faculty. For this review, the Chair will appoint a subcommittee of three faculty members who will present the case to the voting faculty for discussion and vote.

A courtesy faculty member may, subject to faculty approval:

  1. participate in the recruitment and serve as a major professor for graduate students;
  2. vote on the admission to candidacy for graduate students;
  3. participate in graduate course instruction;
  4. participate in other faculty activities as a non-voting member.


Elective buyout policy

This policy was approved by vote of the faculty, following a meeting held April 5, 2016.

The chemistry department values both its teaching and research missions. However, the department has always acknowledged that certain administrative posts require a release from teaching and will continue this practice.  This policy addresses the possibility of buying out from teaching responsibilities for a semester for the purpose of providing additional time for research to increase productivity.  In order to promote the research careers of our faculty, the department recognizes that occasional elective buy-outs are beneficial.  It is the sense of the faculty that buy-outs should be treated similarly to self-funded internal Faculty Professional Development Awards (FPDAs).

The chair will ask for proposals to buy out of a semester’s teaching assignment in spring prior to the upcoming academic year.  The chair will evaluate the proposals and approve or decline them in the spirit of the FPDA criteria for evaluation.  As a guideline, no more than 10% of the faculty will be allowed to buy out a teaching assignment each year.  Consistent with FPDA policy, faculty must have returned to regular duty for 4 semesters after the previous buyout to be eligible to take another one, i.e., the maximum frequency is once every 5 semesters.

Faculty will be charged 25% of their 9-month salary to cover the expense of their 1-semester buyout, with funds being transferred to the department to cover teaching replacement costs and other discretionary expenditures.

Procedure for Mediation of PRS for Faculty

This section approved February 22, 2017

The Position Responsibility Statement (PRS) defines responsibilities and expectations for faculty members, as described in section 3.4 of the ISU Faculty Handbook.  As noted in the Handbook, the PRS for a faculty member may be reviewed and revised from time to time.  In the event that the chair and the faculty member cannot agree on a PRS, the Executive Committee of the department (less the chair) will serve as the department’s PRS Mediation Panel, as described in section 3.4.4.  At his or her option, the faculty member may name one additional member to the panel from among the tenured faculty.  The faculty member should obtain agreement of the additional member to the panel prior to naming him or her.