CRITERIA FOR TENURE AND PROMOTION
Source: Senate Document SD 88-25
Last Amended, March 15, 2010
The most important decisions in the academic profession, for the individual and for the institution, regard the granting of tenure and the awarding of promotion. The granting of tenure involves a commitment on the part of the University for the working lifetime of the faculty member. Further, promotion may be granted before tenure. Consequently, the granting of tenure is a more serious decision than the award of promotion, as it has a significant impact on the faculty member, the University community, its students, and the citizens of the state.
With tenure a faculty member receives the opportunity to teach, study, and serve for the duration of her/his professional career in a community which protects academic freedom, provides adequate material rewards, and encourages intellectual growth. The university, for its part, benefits from the confident and disciplined pursuit of excellence undertaken by tenured faculty.
The decision to grant tenure, usually made at an early point in a colleague's career and/or after only a relatively short time has been spent at this university, must depend in part on what has been achieved in teaching, research, and service, and, to a greater degree, on what the candidate can reasonably be expected to achieve in these areas in the future. Those responsible for recommendations and decisions regarding tenure must also pay due regard to the mission of the candidate's unit and her/his contribution to it.
The granting of tenure then results from positive university action rather than a legal obligation or a reward; tenure can be acquired only as a result of positive action. In contrast to tenure, promotion in rank is more heavily dependent upon evidence of professional achievement. Considerations of promise of continued development and the candidate's contribution to the particular mission of her/his unit are also important, but less crucial. The application of criteria in promotion decisions provides evidence of the university's values and the seriousness with which they are applied. Promotions measure, reward, and inspire accomplishment.
A. Criteria for Tenure in the Professorial Ranks
Tenure at any rank is based upon a record of satisfactory teaching, research, and service (see promotion and tenure guidelines in Senate Document SD 94-3).
The award of tenure at the end of the
probationary period as an assistant professor is linked to promotion. This
connection is appropriate and even natural. In many careers the duration of the
probationary period and the time needed to build a record in teaching,
research, and service meriting promotion to associate professor are equal, and
the university can address the separate decisions simultaneously. Both
1. a record of satisfactory achievement in teaching, research, and service
2. (for the award of tenure at the rank of assistant professor) the likelihood of promotion to a higher rank in the near future, and
3. the unusual importance of the individual's contribution to the university.
Cases for tenure in these exceptional circumstances must address each of these points.
B. Criteria for Tenure for Instructors
Tenure decisions for instructors should be based primarily on teaching and service. A recommendation to award tenure to instructors is based upon evidence of:
1. A high level of teaching performance (as attested to by such traditional measures of classroom instruction as student and peer evaluations, results of common examinations, review of classroom materials and student work, contributions to curricular development, and teaching awards).
2. A record of satisfactory achievement in service, particularly service related to teaching.
3. Other activities that support teaching, demonstrate a consistent pattern of professional growth, establish connections with professional peers in the region or nation, and maintain currency with pedagogic developments elsewhere (as attested to by such activities as the design and analysis of instructional innovations, presentations at conferences and workshops, or writing for publication).
C. Criteria for Advancement to Senior Instructor
A tenured instructor who has established a record of excellence in teaching and continued satisfactory achievement in the other duties under B above is eligible for advancement to the title of Senior Instructor.
D. Criteria for Promotion within the Professorial Ranks
A candidate who excels in teaching is one who guides and inspires students and stimulates their intellectual interest and enthusiasm; one who displays a spirit of scholarly inquiry which leads him/her to develop and strengthen course content in the light of developments of the field, as well as to improve methods of presenting material.
A candidate who excels in research is involved in scholarly or creative endeavor appropriate to the candidate's discipline. The results of research should have been evaluated by authorities in the field.
A candidate who excels in service contributes in one or more of the following areas: Institutional service, professional service to the community, or service to the profession. The evaluation of service should be supported by evidence drawn from various sources.
E. Application of Criteria to Professorial Ranks
When considered for promotion, the individual should be assessed in light of the criteria specified in section D above. Favorable action shall result when the individual has demonstrated, in one area of endeavor, a level of excellence appropriate to the proposed rank. Failure to promote may arise, however, from unsatisfactory performance in the other areas.
1. Promotion to Assistant Professor
Promotion to Assistant Professor is based upon a strong academic record, and the individual should have in most cases completed a terminal degree. There should be clear indications that the individual possesses those qualities which will eventually assure promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.
2. Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor
Promotion to Associate Professor is based upon actual performance and the potential for continued professional growth.
3. Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor
Promotion to Professor is awarded to individuals recognized by professional peers as authorities in their fields. It is expected that candidates will have made important and recognized contributions in at least one of the areas: teaching, research, and service. Candidates will be recognized and respected in state, regional, or national educational and professional circles.
Amended and Approved, 3/27/1989
Last Updated: March 30, 2010
Contact: Jacqueline Petersen, Secretary, 481-4160
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