9.33 – [Effective AY 18/19] Faculty Promotion and Tenure: The Professorial Ranks

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 9 | HR - Performance Evaluation, Promotion and Tenure

Responsible Executive: President

Responsible Administrator:

Last Updated: 05/10/2017



ARP 9.31 – [Effective AY 18/19] Annual Performance Evaluation – Regular Faculty

ARP 9.32 – [Effective AY 18/19] Faculty Promotion and Tenure: Purpose and Guiding Principles

Combined P & T Rules Through 08/12/2018 (PDF)

Combined P & T Rules After 08/12/2018 (PDF)

Revision History:

2017 Recompilation, formerly part of Rule 5.90
05/10/2017 Adoption approved by Chancellor with 08/13/2018 Effective Date
10/21/2015 former Policy 5.90  replicated by Board of Regents as initial Rule 5.90
07/15/2008 Amendments to Policy 5.90 ratified by Board of Regents, with 08/01/2008 effective date
Prior revision history as Policy 5.90 not available

College and Research Faculty will be eligible to be considered for advancement in rank, but are not eligible for consideration for tenure. Generalized descriptions of the professorial ranks as they relate to the promotion and tenure time table are described below.  (See  ARP 9.31, Part 3 and ARP 9.32, Part 2 for standards and evaluation criteria)



  1. Demonstrates expertise within their discipline through practical, applied, and/or related experience.
  2. Individuals new to this rank may not have demonstrated ability to conduct independent scholarship and creative activity, but there must be substantive evidence of likely success at university teaching or its equivalent.
  3. Instructors may be working toward a terminal degree.
  4. An instructor’s job description primarily relates to teaching or its equivalent and usually does not include scholarship and creative activity.
  5. An instructor is not eligible for tenure.



  1. Tenure-Track Assistant professors normally holds the highest terminal degree in their field of expertise.
  2. Outstanding experience and recognition in a professional field may be considered the equivalent of the terminal degree.
  3. An assistant professor is expected to have a thorough command of the subject matter of some segment of the discipline, in addition to a comprehension of the whole.
  4. Assistant professors are Tenure-Track Faculty members hired on a yearly, renewable contract for a maximum of seven years.
  5. During the sixth year, assistant professors typically are evaluated for promotion and tenure simultaneously, having submitted their Portfolio at the beginning of that year.
  6. However, an assistant professor may elect to apply for tenure or promotion at any time with the written approval of department head and dean or their equivalents.
  7. A faculty member may only apply for tenure once.



  1. An associate professor is often a mid-career faculty member who has been awarded tenure.
  2. If a faculty member is initially employed at the rank of associate professor without tenure, the probationary period may vary depending upon agreements stipulated in writing at the time of initial hire.
  3. Once tenured, associate professors may hold this rank indefinitely or apply for promotion.
  4. Promotion to professor should not be considered to be forthcoming merely because of years of service to the university, or because tenure has previously been awarded.
  5. In accordance with the Principal Unit’s timelines, a faculty member may present a promotion Portfolio in any given year.
  6. An associate professor must demonstrate competence, continuous progress, and a command over a large part of the academic field.
  7. It is expected that evidence showing high quality of teaching and advising, scholarship and creative activity and/or extension and outreach or service has been provided and is current.



  1. A professor, sometimes referred to as a “full professor,” has established disciplinary, intellectual, and institutional leadership.
  2. The professor demonstrates command of the disciplinary field as evidenced by teaching and advising, scholarship and creative activity, extension and outreach, and service.
  3. Faculty members initially hired at the rank of professor are often awarded service credit or awarded tenure on appointment.