All appointments to the tenure track are made by the Director of the Research Center. Subsequent promotions are made by the Director of the Research Center, based on recommendations from a Tenure Performance Review Committee (TPRC). Tenure track positions are divided into Assistant Tenure Track Scientist, Associate Tenure Track Scientist, and Full Tenure Track Scientist (a tenure track scientist may be hired at any level). Normal progression consists of promotion through these ranks. Unless granted an extension, a scientist cannot be employed in the tenure track for longer than six years without being awarded tenure or given a terminal appointment. Tenure reviews can be requested by the staff member or recommended by the TPRC at any time. If the conclusion of the tenure review is to deny tenure, the individual will continue, with a terminal appointment, for at least one year after notification. Denial of tenure has no implication for the individual’s ability to apply for another position in the non-tenure track.
While recognizing that tenure represents a commitment of continuing employment by AUI at a specific Research Center until the appointee’s retirement, or until tenure is terminated by the AUI Board in exceptional circumstances, and with due process, it is the case that for any individual, the balance between functional and independent research activities may change significantly with time, and that both Research Center and individual staff member goals and interests may evolve. In order to monitor the continued productivity of the tenured scientific staff in the context of the mission of the Research Center, and to further motivate individual staff, each tenured staff member shall be reviewed every five years. The review will cover the individual’s contribution to the Research Center, in terms of both service and research, and examine the planned future direction their activities.
The five year review shall be conducted by a committee appointed by the Research Center Director. Normally post-tenure reviews will be conducted internally, but external letters may be solicited if deemed appropriate. The Committee will report its findings to the Director, including any possible recommendations for promotion, and any determination that the staff member is performing below expectations in their service and/or research activities. The Director will report summary results of such reviews through the AUI President to the Board of Trustees.
- Assistant Tenure Track Scientist –An appointee to the rank of Assistant Tenure Track Scientist should hold a doctoral degree or, in exceptional circumstances, have achieved the equivalent level of accomplishment, and normally have several years of postdoctoral experience. The appointee should have demonstrated promise of a superior level of creative ability and independent research accomplishment in his or her field and possess skills which are required for the Research Center’s mission. Appointees should be qualified and competent to direct the work of others such as technicians, graduate students, and other research personnel.
- Associate Tenure Track Scientist — In addition to the qualifications of an Assistant Tenure Track Scientist, the appointee should have demonstrated extensive experience and accomplishment in scholarly and creative research related to the Research Center’s mission, functional work, and professional activities. In addition, appointees to this rank should have demonstrated an ability to propose, develop, and manage forefront research projects. Tenure decisions are generally made at the rank of Associate Tenure Track Scientist.
- Full Tenure Track Scientist — In addition to the qualifications of an Associate Tenure Track Scientist, the appointee should have demonstrated a degree of proficiency in research sufficient to establish an excellent reputation as an authority in the field at a national or international level. Appointees should have a record of outstanding, scholarly production of research, publications, and professional achievements. There should be a clear record of accomplishment in furthering the mission of the Observatory.