The Offer Letter
Several versions of a model offer letter, tailored to appointments with or without tenure and at different ranks, are available from your HR Rep. The department submits the draft offer letter with the Search and Selection Summary (workflow) for approval by the College, the Office of the Provost, and EOD.
The DEO forwards the following forms and materials to the Associate Dean's office via the Search and Selection Summary in workflow, who reviews them before forwarding them to the Office of the Provost and the Office of Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. (The department should allow 2–4 working days for the materials to be processed in College and central offices before it can proceed with the offer.)
- A justification from the DEO, explaining why this individual was selected from among those interviewed and confirming the oral communication competence of the candidate
- The draft of the offer letter
- Three letters of recommendation
- Start-up information (if applicable)
The DEO may not make an offer, formal or informal, to any candidate until the recommendation has received final approval from the Office of Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and that all aspects of the offer of appointment have been approved. Offers of appointment should not be made on the telephone, nor by e-mail, although notice that a written offer is forthcoming may be conveyed to the candidate by these means. An exception may be made to this policy if the candidate is a faculty member at another college or university and a written offer may not reach the candidate by May 1.
The DEO notifies the group as soon as an offer is accepted or rejected. To confirm the terms of appointment when a candidate accepts an offer, the DEO initials the final written offer, which must be signed by the candidate to indicate acceptance.
Candidates Who Have Not Yet Completed the Terminal Degree
In the rare instances when the College allows an offer to be made to a candidate who has not yet completed all requirements for the PhD (or other terminal degree), the offer letter specifies that, if all degree requirements have not been met by the beginning of the appointment, the candidate will receive a one-year, non-renewable appointment at the rank of instructor. There is a difference in salary of $5,000 between the ranks of instructor and assistant professor. It must be clear that all degree requirements must be completed by the end of that non-renewable appointment if employment as a faculty member is to continue.
When all terminal degree requirements have been completed, the department may promote the instructor to the rank of assistant professor. The department generates a Change of Status form using the HR Web Transaction System and submits it to the Associate Dean's office with a letter from the graduate college of the degree-granting institution specifying the date on which all terminal degree requirements were completed.
Candidates Who Are Not U.S. Residents
If the person who accepts the offer is not a citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S., the department works closely with Faculty and Staff Immigration Services, 121-20 USB, to apply for appropriate visa status.
Establishing the Tenure Timetable
In the offer of appointment, the DEO specifies a tenure timetable for a new probationary faculty member. The DEO explains in a cover memo the reasons for recommending any probationary period other than the typical one, with the tenure decision in the sixth year. The new faculty member must agree to the tenure timetable at the time he or she accepts the offer of appointment.
If a candidate has had previous tenure-track experience at another institution, the DEO consults with the Area Associate Dean on the appropriate length of the probationary period before the offer letter goes out.
Appointment of New Faculty at the Rank of Associate or Full Professor
New faculty appointed without tenure at the rank of associate professor normally receive a three-year probationary period. If an individual is to be appointed at the rank of full professor, the tenure review should be conducted as part of the recruitment process as outlined below.
When a potential faculty member holds a tenured rank at a comparable university, the department may recommend an appointment with tenure. The DEO submits the Search and Selection Summary and uses the appropriate template for a “review in progress” at the appropriate rank. This offer letter must give a timeline for the tenure review. The DEO submits the Search and Selection Summary to the Dean, who signs and forwards it to Kevin Kregel, Associate Provost for Faculty. Once the Search and Selection Summary, including the draft offer letter, has final approval, this offer letter may be sent to the candidate.
At the same time, the DEO prepares a tenure dossier comprising these documents:
- Complete CV
- Three letters of recommendation that were submitted with the application
- The Departmental Consulting Group report to the DEO that cites the vote breakdown
- The DEO’s recommendation to the Dean
The Dean transmits the dossier to at least three members of the Collegiate Consulting Group (CCG) on tenure and promotion, who report their recommendations to them individually. The Dean also consults with the associate deans and then writes their recommendation to the Provost, including the votes of each CCG member. The Dean will notify the DEO of the Provost’s final decision, and the DEO in turn will notify the candidate in writing with a second letter that uses “tenure notification” language. Only then should the candidate sign and return both offer letters. Upon receipt, the DEO will initial and date both letters to confirm the terms of the appointment and, as usual, send a copy of each to the Office of the Dean.
Managing a Conflict of Interest in Employment
If, during the process of formulating an offer, the department becomes aware of a situation that falls under the University's Conflict of Interest in Employment (Nepotism) Policy, it must develop a management plan before the offer of appointment is made. The College and the University must approve this plan before the offer of appointment can be approved.
The Committee on Conflict of Interest in Employment has developed a summary of actions that may be included in a management plan, depending on the situation, and a template for proposing a management plan for a conflict of interest in employment.
To provide for a new junior faculty member’s moving expenses, the College will typically contribute up to $1,500 in a dollar-for-dollar match with the department. The department is free to contribute more than $1,500 toward moving expenses. For new faculty hired with tenure, the department may negotiate with the Dean for a greater contribution from the College.