November 25, 2014

Scientific Appointments, Reviews, Reappointments, and Promotions Track I

Marine Biological Laboratory
Policy No. A.1.2.1

Director’s Office

Initiated by: Science Council
Approved by: MBL Director
Date: May 28, 1993
Revision: October 1, 2011
Distribution: MBL Scientific Community

1.0 Policy Statement
The MBL Director makes all scientific appointments, reappointments, and promotions. The MBL Science Council is principally responsible for providing advice, recommendations, and guidance to the MBL Director on Track I appointments and promotions.

2.0 Review and Oversight
The Institutional Committee ordinarily will be informed of, and will provide input on all Track I portfolios that are being submitted to Science Council. Science Council functions as the Committee on Academic Appointments and Promotions for Track I positions, formally reviews the candidate’s file, and recommends to the MBL Director whether or not to appoint, reappoint, promote or terminate. The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees will be informed of all Track I appointments, reappointments, promotions and terminations.

3.0 Principal Track I Titles and Appointment/Promotion Processes
Track I is the principal track for professional-level independent scientists at the MBL, approximating an academic appointment at a research university or professional school. However, the MBL does not award tenure and all scientific appointments are conditional on continued external funding. The titles for Track I include: Assistant Scientist, Associate Scientist, Senior Scientist, Distinguished Scientist and Senior Scholar. The individual to be appointed is ordinarily identified through a competitive national search, is hired with institutional commitment from the MBL, and is or wishes to be the principal investigator of an independent research program and the supervisor of other professional scientists including postdoctoral scientists and graduate students. Track II scientists and other scientists at the MBL are not ordinarily promoted directly to Track I but are eligible, and encouraged to apply for, available Track I positions through nationally advertised searches.

3.1 An Assistant Scientist will ordinarily receive an initial appointment of three years, with a second appointment of three years following a favorable review, before consideration for a promotion to Associate Scientist. All Assistant Scientists will be reviewed annually as part of the Performance Review policy of the MBL. A more extensive internal review will be completed by the Center/Program/MBL Director in consultation with the Institutional Committee before the end of three years. Given a favorable review, the Institutional Committee will make a recommendation to the MBL Director to extend the initial appointment, ordinarily for an additional three years (six years in all). If this review is unfavorable the MBL Director may terminate the appointment at the end of the third year. The second review, initiated at the end of the fifth year, will follow the procedures established by the Science Council (available from the Human Resources or CASO office). A favorable review will result in promotion to Associate Scientist. Following a negative review, the MBL Director may terminate the appointment at the end of the seventh year. In some cases, an individual with considerable experience at the equivalent of an Assistant Scientist level may be appointed for an initial three-year term followed by a review at the end of two years and a consideration for promotion. The candidate or the Center/Program/MBL Director may request early consideration for promotion and may also request an extension of this timetable in consideration of family leave or other extenuating circumstances.

3.2 An Associate Scientist, with an active MBL laboratory, will ordinarily receive an initial appointment for five years. All Associate Scientists will be reviewed annually as part of the Performance Review policy of the MBL. Appointment of a new scientist at the Associate Scientist level will follow the basic procedures for promotion of Assistant Scientist to Associate Scientist. A more extensive review including external comments will be initiated by the Center/Program/MBL Director in consultation with the Institutional Committee at the end of four years, leading to a formal review by the Science Council. This review will follow the procedures established by the Science Council (available from the Human Resources or CASO office) and can result in a recommendation to the MBL Director for promotion to Senior Scientist, renewal of the appointment as Associate Scientist, or termination. The MBL Director in consultation with Science Council and the Center or Program Director will make this decision. The candidate or the Center/Program/MBL Director may request early consideration for promotion and may also request an extension of this timetable in consideration of family leave or other extenuating circumstances.

3.3 A Senior Scientist, with an active MBL laboratory, will ordinarily receive an indefinite appointment subject to MBL Policies and Procedures for Unfunded Scientists (A.1.1). Appointment of a new scientist at the Senior Scientist level will follow the basic procedures for promotion of Associate Scientist to Senior Scientist. All Senior Scientists will be reviewed annually as part of the Performance Review policy of the MBL. In addition, Senior Scientists will be reviewed for productivity as part of their Center/Program External Review which is ordinarily conducted every five years.

3.4 The foregoing appointments and promotions will carry salary and/or other financial commitments, only as approved by the MBL Director and, in general, will be dependent largely or solely on research grant funds of the scientist.

3.5 The promotion timetable may be extended in consideration of personal or family obligations or other extenuating circumstances.

3.6 Joint appointments of faculty from Universities and Institutions affiliated with the MBL (e.g., Brown University) will be reviewed following procedures similar to those applied to primary MBL appointments as detailed in this section. Ranks will ordinarily be those of the primary appointment designated as follows: e.g., Assistant Scientist (Brown), etc. The Science Council reserves the right to waive reference letters and subcommittee review for senior tenured faculty.

3.7 The MBL Director or designee, in consultation with the Chair of the Science Council may modify the application and promotion requirements subject to ratification by the Institutional Committee and Science Council.

4.0 Science Council Review Process
Science Council may empanel an ad hoc sub-committee to review a candidate’s record with the goal of providing guidance to Science Council as a whole. This ad hoc committee may contain members external to Science Council in addition to membership drawn from its ranks. Science Council may also solicit external letters in addition to those provided in the review package (See section 3.5 for exception for Joint Appointments with affiliated Universities and Institutions). Appointments and promotions will follow the procedures established by the Science Council (available from the Human Resources or CASO office).

4.1 Evaluation criteria will include scientific strength, publication and funding record, accordance with the goals of the MBL, and collegial qualities. Track I scientists will also be evaluated on their ability to raise independent research funds.

a. Track I positions are contingent upon the maintenance of an active laboratory, defined as a year-round, externally supported, productive laboratory at the MBL.

b. Initial appointments may be made before an active laboratory is established in order to secure external funding.

4.2 Review by Science Council will be expedited in certain circumstances. Track I initial appointments may occasionally need urgent action any time during the year. Science Council will conduct an accelerated review ordinarily within four weeks from the time the complete review document package is presented to Science Council. Science Council will then (1) distribute the material, (2) constitute a subcommittee, (3) let the subcommittee deliberate, write its report and distribute its report and recommendation, (4) vote on the recommendation and (5) report to the MBL Director. This may be done electronically between formal quarterly meetings.

5.0 Other Track I Titles:

5.1 The title of Distinguished Scientist can be bestowed upon Track I MBL Senior Scientists or Senior Scholars of exceptional international stature and is intended for life. Candidates can be proposed by the MBL Director or by Science Council resolution. Science Council will make a recommendation to the MBL Director for his/her consideration. After approval by the MBL Director, the appointment will be presented to the Board of Trustees for their ratification.

5.2 Senior Scholars are individuals who have retired at the rank of Senior Scientist. This position gives formally retired employees who meet certain requirements a defined set of privileges that allow them to remain active as scholars at the MBL.

5.2.1 The requirements to qualify for these appointments are:

  • Formal retirement, requiring a written notification (addressed to the Human Resources Department) of the employee’s intention to retire and termination of year-round employment.
  • At least a decade of full time employment, or the equivalent, at the MBL as a Senior Scientist.
  • Sponsorship by an MBL Center or Program.
  • Review by the Institutional Committee.
  • Appointment by the MBL Director without review by the Science Council.

5.2.2 The terms and privileges of the appointments are:

  • 3-year appointment, renewable upon review by the Institutional Committee and appointment by the MBL Director.
  • No financial commitment by the MBL.
  • Office and or lab space as negotiated with the sponsoring Center or Program.
  • Library privileges, an email account and an appropriate parking sticker in accordance with the parking policy.
  • Eligibility to write grant applications and earn (from grant funds) up to 45% of an appropriate annualized salary for the position from which the individual retired.

6.0 MBL Scientific Review

6.1. Annual Review. All Track I scientists at the MBL will be reviewed annually according to the procedures described separately in the Performance Review Policy.

6.2. Periodic Program Review. Each MBL Center and major research and education program will be reviewed on a regular basis, ordinarily on a five-year cycle. As part of that review process, the scientists within that program will be collectively reviewed including all Senior Scientists. These program reviews will be shared with the Institutional Committee, the Science Council and the Academic Affairs Committee.

6.3. Appointment or Promotion Review Initiation

6.3.1. The Human Resources Office, CASO Office, and appropriate Center or Program office will keep a timetable for each scientist. HR and the CASO Office will remind Center, Program and Laboratory Directors to initiate reviews.

a. Within Centers or Programs it is the responsibility of Center or Program Directors to initiate and complete timely reviews.
b. For scientists without Center or Program affiliation, the CASO will insure that the Laboratory initiates timely reviews.
c. Candidates can request early initiation of the review/promotion process.

6.4. Review Process:

6.4.1 The review procedure is available from the CASO or Human Resources office and will be sent with the notification that a review is appropriate.

6.4.2 The MBL Director may request a review at any time. Reviews initiated by the MBL Director should include an ad hoc consulting group of at least three senior scientists from within or without the MBL.

6.4.3 Accelerated review by Science Council is possible under exceptional circumstances and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

7.0 Appeal process
In the event that a Track I candidate desires to contest a negative promotion or reappointment assessment by the Center or Program director or by the MBL Director the following appeal process should be followed:

7.1 The candidate will request that all promotion materials be submitted to Science Council for an assessment of the candidate’s fitness for promotion or reappointment.

7.2 Science Council will empanel an ad hoc subcommittee to review the action; this subcommittee will contain members of Science Council and may contain external members.

7.3 Considering the report of this subcommittee, Science Council as a whole shall arrive at a recommendation on whether or not to promote or reappoint the candidate and forward its recommendation to the MBL Director, who makes the final decision.

7.4 Probation: In the case of a recommendation not to promote or reappoint, the MBL Director may elect to place the individual in question on probation. Following the probationary period (generally not to exceed two years) there may be a re-evaluation for promotion or re-appointment.

8.0 Termination
Scientific appointments may be terminated by the scientist or by the MBL. See Policy and Procedures regarding Termination. See also Policies and Procedures regarding Unfunded Scientists and Separation from the MBL.

9.0 Procedures
Written procedures for implementing this policy are available from the CASO office or the Human Resources Office.

10.0 Policy Clarification and Updates
Policy clarification and updates are available from the Office of the Chief Academic and Scientific Officer or the MBL Director’s Office.