Skip to main content

Policy Regarding Participation in Personnel Decisions

Purpose of Policy

Schools and departments at Northwestern have traditionally had considerable discretion in determining eligibility to vote on various matters. However, it is reasonable that the central administration set guidelines regarding eligibility to vote in matters regarding promotion and tenure, where school recommendations are sent on to the Provost and President.


In schools where a single, school-wide committee reviews all tenure-track promotions and/or appointments to tenured status, all members of such a committee should be tenured and the majority should be tenured full professors.

In school and departmental consideration of current Northwestern faculty members for promotion and/or tenure, participation in the review process should be limited to faculty members who have already achieved the status for which the colleague is being considered.

The same practice should obtain in the final school review – typically a school-wide promotion and tenure committee – for an external appointment: Committee members of lower rank should not participate in the review process on the recommended appointment of a faculty member to a status higher than their own. In schools where a single vote is taken regarding external appointments (i.e., where there is no multi-step process such as a departmental vote followed by further consideration by a faculty group at the school level), the school may permit participation by tenure-track faculty who have not already achieved the status for which the appointment is being considered.

In no case should persons ineligible to vote on a school promotion and tenure committee have access to documents generated by the school such as confidential school ad hoc committee reports, external letters solicited by the dean in connection with the review, etc.

Responsible Office: Office of the Provost

Who Needs to Know This Policy: All Northwestern faculty members


If you have any questions on this Policy, contact  

Dated: May 1, 2013