Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

The guidelines given in this document are to be read in the context of the statement “New York University Promotion and Tenure Guidelines” (available at and of the policy statements on academic tenure in the NYU Faculty Handbook (available at

These guidelines recognize the special circumstances of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (“ISAW”), including its small faculty size and the absence of a departmental structure.

Should ISAW substantially grow or change its structure, these guidelines will be modified accordingly through the same process by which they were adopted.

1. Standards.

1.1. A high standard of excellence and effectiveness in tutorial instruction, research seminars, and the direction of research in the context of a research university, together with the promise of effective contributions toward the work and intellectual life of ISAW and NYU, are prerequisite for tenure and promotion at ISAW. Once these prerequisites are met, a candidate must have a record of outstanding scholarly research and publication. In the absence of such a record, tenure or promotion will not be granted.

1.2. The process of evaluating a candidate for tenure and promotion is an inquiry. Is the candidate for tenure or promotion among the strongest in his/her field, in comparison with other scholars in the same field at similar points in their careers, taking into consideration the goals of ISAW? It is neither desirable nor possible to define an abstract and universal standard of measurement. Each case must be examined in detail by making explicit comparisons, by delineating special strengths, and by acknowledging limits or weaknesses that may be improved.

2. Promotion and Tenure Committees.

2.1. Because of its relatively small size and lack of a departmental structure, the Director of the ISAW will appoint an ad hoc Faculty Review Committee for each case of tenure or promotion, with members typically chosen from ISAW as well as other NYU faculties.

2.2. In the case of initial appointment to tenure rank, the Faculty Review Committee will be composed of the tenured members at or above the proposed rank of the candidate who served on the search committee. If there are fewer than three such members on the search committee, the Director of ISAW will appoint additional members from among the eligible faculty of ISAW or from other faculties in the University to create a quorum of three. The Director will appoint a Chair of the Faculty Review Committee from among the members of the Committee, who will administer the business of the Committee.

2.3. In the case of reviews of faculty members already serving at ISAW, the Faculty Review Committee will be composed of three members at appropriate rank who will be appointed by the Director. If there are too few ISAW faculty members suitable for service on a particular Committee, the Director of ISAW will appoint appropriate members from other faculties in the University to create a quorum of three. The Director will appoint a Chair of the Faculty Review Committee, who will administer the business of the Committee.

2.4. It is the responsibility of the Faculty Review Committee to gather the relevant materials for the case, both from the candidate and from a minimum of five external referees. All letters to outside referees are sent by the Chair of the Faculty Review Committee on behalf of the committee. The materials gathered by the Faculty Review Committee, together with its assessment of the candidate, form the docket that goes to the full tenured faculty of the Institute for its consideration.

3. Materials included in the docket.

3.1. Current curriculum vitae.

3.2. Assessment of teaching performance and potential. This assessment is to be specific to the character of ISAW’s doctoral program, focusing on the leading of research seminars, the supervision of research, and the conducting of tutorial instruction. The docket may include the following information:

  • Candidate’s statement of teaching philosophy and practices
  • Syllabi or descriptions of seminar
  • List of doctoral students directed and committees served on
  • Record of observation of teaching
  • Student evaluations, including letters solicited from students or former students

3.3. Assessment of the candidate’s record of contributions to the work of the Institute, of the University, and of the larger academic community, or of potential for such contributions.

3.4. Assessment of the candidate’s scholarly work. This assessment should consider not only the quality of the candidate’s published and forthcoming work but its specific suitability to ISAW’s distinctive mission. The docket should include, as appropriate, the following information and documents:

  • Candidate’s statement of research aims and plans
  • Copies of major and representative scholarly publications
  • External assessments of the candidate’s publications, including reviews
  • Copies of any earlier reviews (in the case of internal candidates for tenure)
  • List of the external referees, with brief indication of their scholarly interests and reason for their selection
  • The external referees’ letters

3.5 The five referees should not be scholars with whom the candidate has had a close association, such as a dissertation adviser. (Co-authors should not be included unless the association is relatively minor or unless the candidate’s work is in a narrow field where it would be difficult to find enough equally qualified referees.) The referees should be suggested by members of the Faculty Review Committee or in consultation with external experts, not by or in consultation with the candidate. In the event that five independent scholars cannot be identified, additional letters may come from scholars who have an association with the candidate, but any such connection shall be disclosed.

4. Review by the ISAW Faculty.

4.1 The docket prepared by the Faculty Review Committee will be made available to the entire tenured faculty of ISAW, except that in the case of promotion to the rank of Professor only those members at that rank may participate in the process. The faculty will vote whether to accept the recommendation of the Faculty Review Committee and will submit its recommendation to the Director.

5. Review by the Director.

5.1. The Director of ISAW is responsible for evaluating the docket and making a recommendation to the Provost. The Director will consider the recommendation of the Faculty Review Committee and the vote of the full ISAW faculty in preparing this recommendation. The Director will inform the Chair of the Faculty Review Committee and the candidate of the recommendation. In the case of a recommendation contrary to the vote of the faculty, the Director will provide the Chair of the Faculty Review Committee with reasons for the recommendation, and the Chair of the Faculty Review Committee will have an opportunity for further information or counter-argument before the Director makes a final recommendation to the Provost.

5.2. In the case of internal candidacies, the Director of ISAW ordinarily will submit the docket to the Provost with a recommendation no later than March 1.

6. Joint Appointments.

6.1 In the case of a Joint Appointment between ISAW and another school of the University, the Faculty Review Committee must include members selected from ISAW and the relevant academic department in the other school. The eligible faculty of ISAW and the eligible faculty of the other school shall vote whether to accept the recommendation of the Faculty Review Committee, and the votes shall be forwarded to the Director of ISAW and the Dean of the other school, respectively. The ISAW Director and the Dean will forward a joint decision to the Provost. If the ISAW Director and the Dean find themselves in disagreement, they will discuss the case jointly and individually with the Provost.

7. Review by the Provost.

7.1. The Provost will evaluate each docket, including the ISAW Director’s recommendation. The Provost may convene an ad hoc committee to advise him or her on ISAW promotion and tenure cases.

7.2. The Provost will support or oppose the ISAW Director’s recommendation in his/her final decision and will inform the Director of his/her pending decision. In those cases in which the Provost’s decision is contrary to the recommendation of the Director, the Provost will provide the Director with the reasons and give the Director an opportunity to provide further information or counter-argument before the Provost issues a final decision. The Provost will notify the Director of the final decision, along with reasons for the decision if the Director’s recommendation is disapproved.

8. Guidelines for Appeal.

8.1 In the event of a negative decision on tenure or promotion, the candidate shall have the right to file a grievance in accordance with the provisions of NYU's Faculty Grievance Procedures appearing at pp. 48-50 of the NYU Faculty Handbook (available at

Approved July 2011. Amended August 9, 2017. Updated links November 29, 2021.