Research Faculty Promotion Process FAQs

  1. Who is eligible?
    Research Scientist/Engineer/Technologist/Associate, or Extension Professional who are appointed as full time (75% FTE and above for the purposes of promotion) and have been in rank for at least the minimum time specified in the policy. Time in rank does not guarantee promotion.
  2. How do I count irregularities for time in rank, such as breaks in service or part-time hours?
    Time in rank is counted based on your start and end dates in each position.  For any full breaks in service, simply add the time before and after that break to determine your total time in grade.  Full-time is considered 75% time or more; time earned in a part-time status is not considered toward promotion to a higher rank.

  3. What is the standard raise increase percentage for successful promotion?
    The Institute Executive Leadership Team and Budget offices determine the standard amount for salary increases associated with the promotion process each year.  The offices of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Research have agreed that all successful faculty promotion cases (tenure- and non-tenure track) will be at the same level for consistency and equity.   While the standard increase rate has consistently been 6% for several years and what we can expect to be going forward, the amount is determined annually and subject to change. 
    Any additional salary increase request would be submitted via a GT-TRACS package where applicable under institute and USG policy for allowable increases, such as those associated with equity and salary compression, retention in the case of competing offers in hand, and additional scope/duties with appropriate justification.
  4. When should I include external letters of evaluation?
    Promotion candidates can always include external letters; however, they are only required for candidates for Principal Research titles.  External letters are recommended if they provide additional insight beyond the other materials included in the promotion package into the candidate’s qualifications for promotion. This will generally be in cases where special circumstances prevent the candidate from fully explaining their work (e.g. confidentiality agreements, classified work).
  5. Who requests external letters of evaluation for Principal Researcher titles?
    The process depends on the unit, and candidates should consult with their unit representative to determine the applicable procedures. However, the candidate shall never be the individual responsible for contacting potential evaluators.
  6. My unit requests more than the minimum number of external letters to ensure that they receive at least three.  How will they decide which letters of recommendation to include if they receive more than three?
    All letters of external evaluation received by the unit must be included in the package.
  7. How can the promotion process be stopped?
    The promotion process may only be stopped at the request of the candidate.  A promotion package advances through the process, regardless of any split or no decisions by a committee.
  8. I work for an IRI. Who should I contact about research faculty promotions?
    Please consult with your unit faculty affairs or human resources representative. If you are still unsure about who handles research faculty promotions for your unit, please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs at
  9. What are the committees looking for in a promotion package?
    Committees are looking for packages that demonstrate how the candidate meets the criteria for promotion outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Successful candidates clearly explain how they have met the appropriate promotion criteria. They speak specifically of accomplishments  (i.e."Mr. Burdell works on X grants and brings in Y funding" rather than "Mr. Burdell was responsible for completing sponsored research").
  10. What is the success rate for promotion?
    The success rate varies from year to year depending on the candidates because there is no set quota for successful promotions. Candidates are promoted based on the criteria outlined in the Faculty Handbook, and promotion packages are not compared against each other. The best way for a candidate to ensure that they are successful in the promotion process is to clearly demonstrate how they meet the promotion criteria as outlined above.
  11. When do promotion packages undergo only an administrative review at the Institute level?
    Researcher II promotion packages will undergo an administrative review process at the Institute level if the candidate is not an exception and there are no negative votes at the unit levels of review. All other packages including Researcher II candidate packages that receive a no-vote at the unit level receive a full review by the Institute Committee to ensure that they are successful in the promotion process and clearly demonstrate how they meet the promotion criteria as outlined above.


For other questions, please contact your unit human resources representative or contact Faculty Affairs at







>> 2021 Research Faculty Promotion Candidate Workshop -- video recording and slide deck

>> 2021 Workshop for Research Faculty Promotion Evaluators - video recording and slide deck

>> Research Promotion Peer Review Committee Memos - sample templates

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