Statement on Promotion and Tenure to the Library Faculty at UIUC


The University of Illinois Library faculty curate and provide access to information and scholarly resources in the advancement of the University’s goals for teaching, research, and service. Librarians create and apply professional knowledge, as well as lead innovative and collaborative programs, services, and teaching. Library faculty further the Library mission to provide world-class library services and collections, acting as informed stewards of collections and content comprising a current and retrospective record of human knowledge.

The faculty of the UIUC Library is governed by University statements on promotion found in Article IX of the Statutes, in Communication Number 9 from the Office of the Provost, and in Communication Number 13 from the Office of the Provost regarding “Review of Faculty in Year Three of the Probationary Period.”

Promotion and Tenure

Tenure is granted when retention of the faculty member is expected to advance the quality of the University Library, as evidenced by the candidate’s performance in the areas of 1) librarianship and 2) research, creative, and scholarly activity, with consideration also given to 3) valuable professional service. It is the policy of the UIUC Library that the level or scope of administrative responsibility shall not in and of itself be a criterion for advancement in rank; however, administrative responsibilities can demonstrate and contribute to excellence in librarianship. Excellence in librarianship is one of the key factors in obtaining tenure.

The University Library employs a two-level review process for tenure and promotion cases. The Faculty Review Committee, composed of one tenured faculty member of the rank of associate professor or professor elected from each of the Library’s nine divisions, serves as the first level of review.  The Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee, composed of seven elected associate professors or professors who may not simultaneously serve on the Faculty Review Committee, serves as a second level of review. Each review committee submits official votes and recommendations to the Dean of Libraries. In order for a case to advance to the campus level, it must be independently endorsed by the Dean of Libraries.

For promotion to Associate Professor

Candidates for promotion to Associate Professor shall show tangible evidence of achievement and a high likelihood of sustaining contributions to the field and to the department in the future, including:

  • Excellence in librarianship, including a demonstrated high level of expertise;
  • A strong record of scholarly publishing, constituting a significant contribution to the literature;
  • Evidence of valuable service at national or international levels. Local and regional service may also contribute.

For promotion to Professor

Candidates for promotion to Professor shall demonstrate promise fulfilled, including:

  • Excellence in librarianship through outstanding performance over a sustained period of time;
  • A sustained record of research and publication demonstrating a major impact in the field;
  • Evidence of attainment of national or international stature in the field.

Review for Promotion and Tenure

Areas of review for promotion to all ranks are expressed in a general fashion in the Statutes. Section 3e of Article IX states:

In determining appointments to, and salaries and promotion of the academic staff, special consideration shall be given to the following: (1) teaching ability and performance; (2) research ability and achievement; and (3) ability and performance on continuing education, public service, committee work, and special assignments designed to promote the quality and effectiveness of academic programs and services.

Within the UIUC Library, these areas are defined as librarianship; research, creative and scholarly activities; and service. Elements of these areas for review are described below:

A. Librarianship

As members of the academic community, academic librarians do a number of key things: communicate knowledge, discover knowledge, preserve knowledge, and apply knowledge. Academic librarians also play a preeminent role in the provision of knowledge for students, scholars, and society at large. Reviewers who comment on the quality of the candidate’s librarianship are drawn from among a pool of people the candidate serves (whether internal to the campus or to the Library faculty). Reviews are included in the materials used by every level of review up to and including the Provost.

Library faculty responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Selecting, evaluating, acquiring, and preserving Library materials;
  • Describing and providing intellectual access to our broad, diverse collections in all formats;
  • Providing leadership in administrative and operational responsibilities;
  • Providing robust and innovative library reference, research and access services;
  • Educating library users in research methods and in the selection and evaluation of relevant information resources;
  • Creating new information resources including instructional and interpretive guides.

B. Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activities

A candidate’s scholarly and creative work shall be evaluated in terms of its originality, depth, and significance in the field. The candidate shall demonstrate an intellectual and professional identity and a cohesive body of research. There must be evidence that the faculty member has been progressively and effectively engaged in scholarly activity of high quality and significance. The Faculty Review Committee and the Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee shall look for evidence that the scholarly accomplishments of the candidate make a significant contribution to the field of librarianship or other discipline.

The Committees shall consider the type, scope, and impact of the research or other creative work, and consider both the evidence offered by the candidate and that solicited from external referees at other research institutions. The dossiers of candidates must demonstrate a strong record of publication. The faculty member’s degree of responsibility for jointly produced scholarship and creative works shall be considered in the evaluation.

Research may be theoretical or applied, and may be specific to the fields of library science and information studies or may pertain to a disciplinary area to which the faculty member brings particular expertise. Methodologies shall be appropriate to the type of research conducted. Both single- and multi-authored publications are a strong part of the tradition in librarianship. There is no standard pattern for the order of authors in multi-authored works.

Research publications will be considered as part of the tenure review when they meet the following criteria:

  • Articles formally accepted for publication.
  • Books, chapters, or other monographic material when the final manuscript has been accepted by the publisher.
  • Uncompleted manuscripts or works not accepted for publication will be considered only as supplemental evidence in the promotion decision.

In general, works that undergo considerable scrutiny before publication (e.g., by referees, editorial boards, anthology editors, etc.), will be deemed of highest value. Consideration will be given to the significance and reputation within its field of a journal or publisher.

Specifically, publications and creative works, in print or digital form, are evaluated in the following manner:

  • Books, monographs, critical editions, refereed articles, chapters in books, and other publications based on original research shall be accorded special importance as evidence of scholarly achievement.
  • Papers in published conference proceedings shall be evaluated in terms of the extent to which they present original research.
  • Reference works shall be judged scholarly works when they present new data, knowledge, or theoretical frameworks, widely disseminate practical or theoretical knowledge in new and needed forms, and/or incorporate scholarly research findings and interpretations.
  • Guides to the literature shall be evaluated according to the level of scholarship, the impact of the work in its field, and the quality of the publication itself.
  • Reviews of scholarly works shall be evaluated in terms of the depth and scholarship of the review and the type and quality of the journal in which it is published and the importance of the work being reviewed.
  • Editorships shall be evaluated in terms of the depth and degree of scholarship demonstrated and the importance of the publication to the field.

C. Professional Service and Public Engagement

Participation in the work of professional organizations sustains and enhances a faculty member’s capabilities. Professional activities are regularly carried out within organizations at the local, regional, national, and international levels. For these reasons a strong professional service profile is valued. Special recognition shall be given to committee work and offices held at the state, national, or international level. Participation in faculty governance at the college and campus levels also constitutes an important service component. Service may include such activities as holding offices or committee memberships in professional societies, delivering invited papers or public lectures, serving on editorial boards, refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, organizing conferences, preparing grant proposals for campus or public agencies, and serving as a consultant. Public engagement, as defined by Provost Communication 9: Promotion and Tenure, may also contribute to a strong service profile, depending on the candidate’s terms of appointment.

Supplemental documentation:

University Library Bylaws 

Communication Number 9: Promotion and Tenure

Communication Number 13: Review of Faculty in Year Three of the Probationary Period

University Library Calendar for Promotion and Tenure

University Library Strategic Plan

This document supersedes the following previous statements:

“Statement of Criteria and Procedures for Faculty Appointment, Promotion and Tenure, and Termination,” adopted April 3, 1981 by the Library Faculty; “Criteria and procedures for appointment, promotion, and tenure approved by the University of Illinois Library faculty February, 1975,” and “Criteria for tenure below the rank of associate Professor” adopted April 30, 1976 and amended July 28, 1976; Statement on Promotion, Tenure, & Appointments to the Library Faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” adopted June 17, 1994. This document was approved and adopted by the University of Illinois Library Faculty February, 2000, then updated by faculty vote December, 2014.