Department of Biology Handbook

The Department of Biology

SUNY Fredonia

Academic Personnel Policies and Procedures

Table of Contents

  • Mission Statement 
  • Preamble
  • General Criteria for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure
  • Specific Criteria for Reappointment and Continuing Appointment (Tenure)
  • and Promotion to Associate Professor 
  • Specific Criteria for Promotion to Full Professor
  • Procedures for Recommending Academic Reappointment,
  • Promotion and Tenure 
  • Procedures for Recommending Discretionary Salary Distributions 

Mission Statement

Consistent with the College at Fredonia's Vision Statement, the mission of the Biology Department at SUNY Fredonia is to be part of a larger community of learners throughout our campus and community.  Through our well-trained and committed faculty, the Biology Department strives to provide excellent instruction in the Biological Sciences both to the major and non-major. Our goal is to increase the scientific literacy of all students and thereby achieve in our students a greater understanding of biological processes and a greater ability of our students to master the technological and scientific challenges of the modern world.  The Biology Department encourages and supports continued faculty scholarship and research both as a means of advancing our knowledge of the natural world and as a cornerstone for providing current and innovative teaching for our students. The Biology Department faculty are fully involved in service to the university and extramural community and to furtherance of our discipline through service for government and professional organizations.  The Biology Department is committed to the goals of a public, liberal arts, comprehensive College.


This Personnel Policy and Procedures document is designed to provide a reference both to the mechanics of the reappointment, promotion, tenure and discretionary salary process, and also to the values of the Biology Department and to how those values are translated into our personnel decisions.  The Biology Department hires individual faculty with the strong hope and expectation that each new hire will be successful as a teacher, a scholar, and as an integral element to the functioning of the Department and the College. The Department, therefore, actively supports faculty in their professional development and strives to do so on a continuous basis.  

Criteria for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure

General Criteria

  1. The procedures and principles as set out in HARP are the guiding principles behind these departmental criteria for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.  No part of these departmental guidelines shall be in conflict with those of HARP.
  2. The usual three areas of faculty responsibility will be assessed: Teaching, Research/Scholarship, and Service.  In accordance with the teaching mission of SUNY Fredonia, the order of priority for these three areas of faculty responsibility will be Teaching, Research/Scholarship, and University Service.
  3. Effectiveness in one area of faculty responsibility will not compensate for a lack of performance/achievement in another area of responsibility.

Specific Criteria

Reappointment and Continuing Appointment/Promotion to Associate Professor

  1. During the probationary period (i.e. for those candidates undergoing reappointment) the process serves the additional purpose of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate's professional portfolio to date, offering suggestions and encouragement for improvement in weaker areas, offering reinforcement and further encouragement for continued success in areas of strength, and offering sets of goals for achievement and the means by which these goals can be accomplished within the timeframe. 
  2. During the probationary period the guiding principle will be "reasonable progress" towards achievement of tenure/promotion.  To this end candidates for reappointment should demonstrate a consistent progression of increased competence/achievement in the three areas of faculty responsibility, and, in particular, in the areas of teaching excellence and scholarship/research.  As a corollary, professional activities that are judged adequate in a candidate's early career at Fredonia may not justify reappointment at a later time.
  3. Teaching: The Biology Department expects good to excellent teaching by all of its faculty consistent with the Policies of the SUNY Board of Trustees as interpreted by the Faculty of the College at Fredonia.  We see the purpose of the evaluation as two-fold: l) to help each faculty member continue to improve his/her teaching and to help the department promote and reward good teaching, and 2) to furnish evidence to be used in decisions relating to reappointment, promotion, tenure, and discretionary salary increases. The Biology Department recognizes that evaluation should be a continuous process for everyone. All dossiers on teaching effectiveness must include the results of the university course and instructor evaluation for each evaluated course taught during the period of evaluation, and course syllabi.  In addition the candidate may identify some or all of the following items for inclusion in the dossier:
  • Self evaluation and philosophy of teaching (a written statement prepared by the candidate);
  • Representative tests and examinations;
  • Grade distribution;
  • Examples of laboratory work;
  • Reports of class visitation (by invitation of the candidate only);
  • Student results on standard tests;  
  • Success of former students; 
  • Development of new and/or experimental courses;
  • Development of new and/or experimental teaching methods or aids;
  • Outcomes of student research; and
  • Other items of the candidate's choice.

4. The faculty will evaluate the teaching effectiveness of the candidate by examining the currency of material as evidenced by the syllabus, the appropriateness of content coverage, and student and faculty perception of the instructor and his/her courses.

5. Scholarship/Research.  The Biology Department expects all faculty to be active in the pursuit of their disciplinary scholarship.  During the probationary period there should be a sustained activity that produces tangible measures of achievement.  Scholarly activities leading to achievement are expected to result in the peer-reviewed publication of the candidate's research performed while at Fredonia.  For reappointment, faculty will evaluate the package of activities, which may include:

Submission of manuscript(s) for publication in respected peer-reviewed journals;

   a. Submission of intramural and extramural grant proposals that support disciplinary research;

   b. Presentation of results at regional, national, or international meetings and symposia;

   c. Submission of grant proposals for programs designed to improve undergraduate research opportunities;

   d. Submission of grant proposals for equipment purchases, both for teaching and research;

   e. Devotion to lab/field research; and

   f. Supervision of graduate research.

6. While collaborative research is perfectly legitimate and encouraged, it must be clear what each member of the collaborative team contributes to the enterprise.

7. To obtain tenure, the candidate will turn activities into achievements.  There are many ways to demonstrate achievement. Along with sustained activities, the generation of two peer-reviewed publications in respected journals would be sufficient for tenure.  The equivalent package of achievements will, however, vary from candidate to candidate but must include some form of external measure of scholarship such as: publication in peer-reviewed journals, funding of extramural proposals for disciplinary research, funding of extramural proposals that support undergraduate research, funding of extramural equipment grants, and invitations to present at national or international symposia.  Internal measure of achievement includes funding of intramural grants and completion of graduate theses.


8. Service.  The Department expects all faculty to be involved with departmental, university and disciplinary service as is appropriate for the individual's rank and experience.

Criteria for Promotion to Full Professor

Promotion to full professor is contingent upon:

    1. A significant demonstration of continuing effectiveness in teaching that takes into consideration any changes in scholarship or teaching practice that may have occurred since attaining the rank of Associate Professor;
    2. Substantial evidence of sustained and high level of scholarly activity and accomplishment since attaining the rank of Associate Professor; and
    3. Noteworthy service to a level typical for the department/discipline at this rank.

Procedures on Academic Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure – Procedures are detailed in HARP

Procedures on Discretionary Salary Distribution Recommendations

  1. The Biology Department will recommend individuals for salary increases whenever the opportunity to do so exists. Opportunity in this instance is defined as whenever directed by the administration in compliance with the negotiated terms of the union contract. The Department will follow a procedure consistent with contractual obligations and administrative guidelines.
  2. The Department Chair will announce at least one week in advance that a vote on discretionary salary will be taken and will invite those faculty eligible and interested to prepare supporting documentation
  3. Faculty may nominate themselves or others in the Department for discretionary salary increases. An individual who wishes to be considered for a discretionary salary increase will prepare a two- or three- page summary of accomplishments in all three areas of faculty responsibility for the time period under consideration.  This will be placed on file in the Department Office at least 72 hours prior to the Department vote.
  4. Voting is by secret ballot and all candidates will be ranked. All Department faculty who are eligible for consideration for discretionary salary increases in the Department academic salary pool, whether they were nominated or not, are eligible to vote.  Normally, the Department Chair will not participate in the vote.
  5. The Department recommendation will be determined from the order derived from that vote. Depending upon yearly variables, such as the pool of money available, the number of faculty under consideration, performance differences, administrative directives, etc., the faculty will decide how many individuals to recommend and how the money should be distributed.   If necessary, these items will also be decided by secret ballot.
  6. The Department Chair will report the results of the voting to the Dean, and will also submit a separate recommendation along with rationale.  Should the chair's recommendation differ from that of the Department, the chair will inform faculty of his/her recommendations, including the names of those faculty recommended and the amounts of discretionary awards recommended.

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