Guideline UL-ACG16 Promotion of Full Time, Non-Tenure-Line Faculty (Formerly UL-HRG16)

Main Policy Content


  • Preamble
  • Criteria
    • Scholarship of Librarianship
    • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
    • Professional Engagement and Creative Accomplishments
    • Service to the Libraries, University, Profession and Society
  • Nomination Process
  • Supporting Documents
  • Definition of Ranks
    • Assistant Librarian
    • Associate Librarian
    • Librarian
  • Cross References


The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a process for promotion to recognize the cumulative exceptional accomplishments and contributions of University Libraries’ faculty with full-time continuing appointments who are not on the tenure-line.  This promotion is based on consistently demonstrated outstanding performance related to the individual’s assignment in librarianship and related activities and service.

Full-time non-tenure-line faculty members with continuing appointments may be considered for promotion to the rank of associate librarian after five years at assistant rank. There is no fixed time period for promotion to full rank.


Promotion decisions are based on the performance of each candidate relative to their duties and responsibilities. The criteria of Librarianship, Teaching and Learning, Professional Engagement and Creative Accomplishments, and Service as they pertain to the faculty member’s specific duties and responsibilities will be used for evaluating qualifications for promotion.

Scholarship of Librarianship

The scholarship of librarianship is the most important criterion for faculty in the University Libraries and is given the most weight in promotion decisions. The scholarship of librarianship includes but is not limited to:

  • The ability to collect, organize and ensure long term durable access to information in all of its forms
  • The ability to teach students, faculty, staff, and community members how to discover, evaluate, use, organize and create information
  • The ability to apply professional knowledge and judgment in the management of library collections, services, and departments to further the teaching, research, and service missions of the University
  • The ability to partner within the academic community to create and promote new forms of scholarly communication

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (when assigned)

The scholarship of teaching and learning is demonstrated by classroom instruction of credit-bearing courses and is evaluated by peer review letters and by student feedback as summarized by the Student Feedback Review Committee Efforts to assess and improve one’s teaching are especially valued, as is evidence of reflective and creative use of a variety of teaching methods that advance learning. A variety of evaluative methods strengthens the assessment and is encouraged.

Professional Engagement and Creative Accomplishments

Excellence in professional engagement and creative accomplishments depends heavily on maintaining currency in librarianship. While publication in scholarly and peer-reviewed journals is not required for non-tenure-line faculty, all faculty members in the University Libraries are expected to maintain current knowledge of their field and to demonstrate scholarly engagement in the profession. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Attendance at conferences and workshops to develop skills related to the faculty member’s position and area of librarianship
  • Participation in a panel discussion or presenting a paper or poster
  • Completion of continuing education courses or programs appropriate to librarianship
  • Pursuit of advanced degrees
  • Grants received to support the librarian’s area of expertise
  • Professional honors or awards or other evidence of significant professional accomplishment appropriate to librarianship
  • Acting as a consultant to non-Penn State libraries or museums
  • Service on review panels or accreditation boards
  • Service as a journal reviewer
  • Publications
  • Creating artistic products and forms appropriate to librarianship
  • Participation in Libraries’ initiatives to implement new technologies, services, etc.

Service to the Libraries, University, Profession and Society

The University Libraries highly value active participation and leadership in service to the campus, Libraries, University, profession and society. While non-tenure-line library faculty are expected to maintain an active level of service, participation in state, regional, national, or international associations or organizations is not required. Contributions in this category may include but are not limited to:

  • Participation in committees at all levels
  • Participation in task forces and other problem-solving activities
  • Mentorship
  • Contributions to the University’s programs to enhance equal opportunity and cultural diversity
  • Assistance to student organizations
  • Participation in academic governance
  • Participation in community affairs as a representative of the University
  • Assistance in the faculty member’s field of expertise to groups, organizations, corporations, government, and communities


A member of the University Libraries non-tenure line faculty may be nominated for promotion by their Department Head/Campus Head Librarian, provided that their Department Head/Campus Head Librarian is at a rank commensurate to or greater than the rank sought in the promotion. In cases where the candidate’s Department Head/Campus Head Librarian is not at an eligible rank, the nomination will need to come from an administrator who is parallel to or above the Department Head/Campus Librarian in the hierarchy and is at an eligible rank.

Non-tenure line faculty who are interested in promotion are encouraged to discuss the path to promotion and/or their readiness for promotion with their Department Head/Campus Head Librarian as part of their annual reviews. These conversations may be initiated by either the faculty member or the supervisor; faculty members are encouraged to advocate for themselves, and supervisors are expected to mentor their faculty. These conversations may occur outside the annual review as well, but they should occur during annual reviews at a minimum. To conform to the Calendar for Non-Tenure-Line Faculty Promotion, nominations for non-tenure-line faculty are made in the fall.

If the faculty member and the Department Head/Campus Head Librarian, who is at eligible rank, agree that the faculty member is ready to be a candidate for promotion, the nomination should be made. If the Department Head/Campus Librarian is not at eligible rank or does not agree that the faculty member is ready to be a candidate for promotion and the faculty member disagrees with this assessment, the faculty member may consult directly with the appropriate Associate Dean, provided that the Associate Dean is at an eligible rank. If the Associate Dean supports the nomination, it can go forward. Faculty members who report directly to an Associate Dean may consult with the Dean in cases of disagreement.

If neither the Department Head/Campus Librarian nor the Associate Dean are at eligible rank, the Dean will appoint an appropriate administrator to consult with the candidate on a nomination.

Nominations should be submitted via email to the Dean, with a copy to the Faculty Affairs Specialist and the Promotion and Tenure Coordinator.


For promotion to associate rank, supporting materials that document the most recent five academic years (minimum) up to the most recent ten years (maximum) will be reviewed. For promotion to full rank, supporting materials that document accomplishments since the previous promotion will be reviewed.

The faculty member going up for review should submit the narrative statement and dossier to the Office of the Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. All other materials will be collected by the Dean’s Office.

The following documents will be considered for the promotion review:

  • A full, non-tenure line dossier
  • Narrative statement of no more than three pages explaining the responsibilities, accomplishments, and contributions of the faculty member’s Penn State career that support a promotion
  •  Annual review letters for the years leading up to the review
  • When appropriate to the assignment, representative number of peer evaluations of course-related instruction
  • If credit instruction is a regular part of the faculty member’s assignment,  a report on student feedback from the Student Feedback Review Committee is required

Resources and support are available to help candidates prepare the narrative statement and dossier. See the Online Dossier Exhibit for examples of other non-tenure line dossiers.


Assistant Librarian:

The Assistant Librarian should possess a graduate degree in library or information studies or other appropriate degree; must have demonstrated potential ability as a librarian; and must have shown promise of growth in professional engagement and service.

Associate Librarian:

The Associate Librarian should possess the same qualifications as the Assistant Librarian, demonstrate excellence in librarianship, show evidence of professional engagement, and have a strong record of service.


In addition to the qualifications for Associate Librarian, the Librarian should demonstrate sustained excellence in librarianship, give evidence of creativity in his/her field of specialization, show evidence of leadership in the profession, and demonstrate ongoing excellence in service. The rank of Librarian should be reserved for persons of proven stature in librarianship, service, and commitment to the profession.



Guideline UL-ACG13 Faculty Peer Review Committees

Guideline UL-ACG14 General Promotion and Tenure Working Guidelines

Effective Date: July 1, 2007
Date Approved: July 23, 2007 (Dean)
Date Approved: March 21, 2007 (Library Faculty Organization)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • October 2023 - Revised to clarify nomination process and update supporting documents required. Approved by LFO on 10/25/2023.
  • April 2023 - Revised to update language from "non-tenure track" to "non-tenure-line" to keep in line with language used by VPFA.
  • January 30, 2019 - Revised to reflect legislation passed by the Library Faculty Organization
  • February 2018 - Categorization changed from UL-HRG to UL-ACG in line with university-wide policies
  • April 26, 2017 - Revised to reflect legislation passed by the Library Faculty Organization 
  • July 1, 2007 – New guideline