Promotion and Tenure Procedure, American Studies
To articulate the standards and procedures for promotion and/or tenure for the Department of American Studies.
Faculty within the Department of American Studies.
Scope and Purpose. The award of tenure and/or promotion in rank are among the most important and far-reaching decisions made by the department because an excellent faculty is an essential component of any outstanding institution of higher learning. Promotion and tenure decisions also have a profound effect on the lives and careers of faculty. Recommendations concerning promotion and tenure must be made carefully, based upon a thorough examination of the candidate’s record and the impartial application of these criteria and procedures, established in compliance with the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations (FSRR) Article VI.
It is the purpose of this document to promote the rigorous and fair evaluation of faculty performance during the promotion and tenure process by (a) establishing criteria that express the department’s expectations for meeting University standards in terms of disciplinary practices; (b) providing procedures for the initial evaluation of teaching, scholarship, and service; (c) preserving and enhancing the participatory rights of candidates, including the basic right to be informed about critical stages of the process and to have an opportunity to respond to negative evaluations; and (d) clarifying the responsibilities, roles, and relationships of the participants in the promotion and tenure review process.
Each level of review, including the initial review, the intermediate review, and the University level review, conducts an independent evaluation of a candidate’s record of performance and makes independent recommendations to the next review level. Later stages of review neither affirm nor reverse earlier recommendations, which remain part of the record for consideration by the Chancellor. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the review process to exercise his/her own judgment to evaluate a faculty member’s teaching, scholarship, and service based upon the entirety of the data and information in the record. No single source of information, such as peer review letters, shall be considered a conclusive indicator of quality.
Academic Freedom. All faculty members, regardless of rank, are entitled to academic freedom in relation to teaching and scholarship, and the right as citizens to speak on matters of public concern. Likewise, all faculty members, regardless of rank, bear the obligation to exercise their academic freedom responsibly and in accordance with the accepted standards of their academic disciplines.
Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest. Consideration and evaluation of a faculty member’s record is a confidential personnel matter. Only those persons eligible to vote on promotion and tenure may participate in or observe deliberations or have access to the personnel file (except that clerical staff may assist in the preparation of documents under conditions that assure confidentiality).
No person shall participate in any aspect of the promotion and tenure process concerning a candidate when participation would create a clear conflict of interest or compromise the impartiality of an evaluation or recommendation.
If a candidate believes that there is a conflict of interest, the candidate may petition to have that person recuse him/herself. If a committee member does not recuse him/herself, a decision about whether that person has a conflict of interest shall be made by a majority of the other committee members.
General Principles. The University strives for a consistent standard of quality against which the performance of all faculty members is measured. Nonetheless, the nature of faculty activities varies across the University and a faculty member’s record must be evaluated in light of his/her particular responsibilities and the expectations of the discipline. These criteria state the department’s expectations of performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service necessary to satisfy the University standards for promotion for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor and for promotion to full professor, or equivalent ranks.
Teaching and scholarship should normally be given primary consideration, but the particular weight to be accorded to each component of a faculty member’s activities depends upon the responsibilities of the faculty member. The College has traditionally recognized the 40-40-20 formula for weighting research, teaching, and service, except when weight is differentiated for unclassified academic staff members pursuant to their job description.
Teaching. Teaching is a primary function of the University, which strives to provide an outstanding education for its students. The evaluation of teaching includes consideration of syllabi, course materials, and other information related to a faculty member’s courses; peer and student evaluations; a candidate’s own statement of teaching philosophy and goals; public representations of teaching; and other accepted methods of evaluation, which may include external evaluations.
High quality teaching is serious intellectual work grounded in a deep knowledge and understanding of the field and includes the ability to convey that understanding in clear and engaging ways.
The conduct of classes is the central feature of teaching responsibilities at KU, but teaching also includes supervising student research and clinical activities, mentoring and advising students, and other teaching-related activities outside of the classroom.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate effective teaching, as reflected in such factors as command of the subject matter, the ability to communicate effectively in the classroom, a demonstrated commitment to student learning, and involvement in providing advice and support for students outside the classroom.
In the Department of American Studies, the following teaching expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor: An assessment of teaching documented through multiple sources of evaluation (as outlined above) must demonstrate that the candidate is carrying his/her load-appropriate share of the Department’s curriculum, advising, and mentoring of students. This includes offering a balanced slate of courses including core requirements and unique contributions, at various levels of the Department and with large and small enrollments. The faculty member should support his/her assigned advisees, supervise independent undergraduate projects as requested, and serve on graduate committees. Untenured members of the graduate faculty are not expected to serve as chairperson of a PhD dissertation. Faculty members at this level have also provided evidence of active and on-going development of teaching techniques and materials, including peer reviews of teaching, measures taken to respond to feedback from reviews, and development and revision of course materials. The candidate should not only be an effective presenter of information, ideas and/or practice discovered or constituted by others, but know how to analyze and critique the evidence and/or methods that form the basis for the knowledge he/she is responsible for sharing. The record must also give indication of responsible fulfillment of duties associated with teaching and advising, including prompt and regular holding of class sessions and office hours, timely and sufficient grading and comment on assignments, acceptable and fair expectations and criteria for student work (as judged by disciplinary standards), adequate class preparation and effective use of class time, and reflection about pedagogy.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate continued effectiveness and growth as a teacher, as reflected in such factors as mastery of the subject matter, strong classroom teaching skills, an ongoing commitment to student learning, and active involvement in providing advice and support for students outside the classroom.
In the Department of American Studies, the following teaching expectations to meet University standards apply for the promotion to the rank of professor: An assessment of teaching documented through multiple sources of evaluation (as outlined above) must demonstrate that the candidate is carrying his/her load-appropriate share of the Department’s curriculum, advising, and mentoring of students. This includes offering a balanced slate of courses including core requirements and unique contributions, at various levels of the Department and with large and small enrollments. The faculty member should support his/her assigned advisees, chair dissertation, exam, and/or thesis committees, serve on graduate committees, and supervise independent undergraduate projects as requested. Candidates at this level must also provide evidence of sustained excellence in teaching, including willingness to teach required graduate and undergraduate courses as needed and to propose and develop new courses. Evidence of efforts to develop teaching beyond basic expectations can include participation in training events such as the Teaching Summit, workshops at professional meetings, NEH summer institutes, innovative course design or redesign, collaborative research projects with students, collaborative teaching efforts, and others. Faculty members evaluated at this level have also provided evidence of significant contributions to students’ learning. Evidence of this may be, for example, demonstrated in volunteered or solicited course feedback, achievements of advisees and supervisees, campus-wide or national awards, number of graduate advisees completing their degrees, and presentations or publications on pedagogy, and other ways. The record must also give indication of responsible fulfillment of duties associated with teaching and advising, including prompt and regular holding of class sessions and office hours, timely and sufficient grading and comment on assignments, acceptable and fair expectations and criteria for student work (as judged by disciplinary standards), adequate class preparation and effective use of class time, and reflection about pedagogy.
Scholarship. The concept of “scholarship” encompasses not only traditional academic research and publication, but also the creation of artistic works or performances and any other products or activities accepted by the academic discipline as reflecting scholarly effort and achievement for purposes of promotion and tenure. While the nature of scholarship varies among disciplines, the University adheres to a consistently high standard of quality in its scholarly activities to which all faculty members, regardless of discipline, are held.
In the Department of American Studies, an interdisciplinary Department that draws faculty members from multiple disciplines, as well as those with interdisciplinary background, both the qualitative and quantitative expectations of research are contingent on the standards and criteria of interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and disciplinary fields in which the faculty member works. Whereas one field may encourage the publication of books, another may emphasize publication in journal article form, while still another may utilize evaluation of such creative pursuits as theater production and direction. As a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary Department the need for an inclusive evaluation system for scholarship as well as the need for the evaluator to be sensitive to the variability of research production across fields is recognized. Each jointly-appointed faculty member will be regularly evaluated in her/his primary and secondary units. Faculty holding any percentage of full-time equivalency (FTE) in the Department will be evaluated by AMS standards relative to their FTE in the Department.
The Department accepts as scholarship a variety of research and creative activity that contributes to the interdisciplinary discourse of American Studies and the aims of the Department. Due to the diversity in the training and scholarly projects of American Studies faculty, individual dossiers of scholarship will take different forms. To evaluate the quality of scholarship, the Department draws on criteria developed by the disciplines, by peers involved in similar creative work, and by American Studies as a distinct field. In addition to traditional publication, American Studies scholarship can include curated exhibits, electronically disseminated work, films, and other contributions to the field.
AMS faculty focus their social and cultural research on people in, of, and affected by the United States. This includes research that traverses national, geographical, and cultural boundaries. Faculty members utilize theoretical frameworks and methods that cross disciplines. Documentation of scholarly and creative activity includes information on the extent of research and publication and creative outputs, presentation of research at meetings both within the discipline as well as interdisciplinary conferences, reviews from publishers and peers, reputation of the journals where articles appear, published reviews of books written, citations of publications, and seeking and attaining research grants and/or fellowships.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor, the record must demonstrate a successfully developing scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as the quality and quantity of publications or creative activities, external reviews of the candidate’s work by respected scholars or practitioners in the field, the candidate’s regional, national, or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly agenda.
In the Department of American Studies, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards apply for the award of tenure and/or promotion to the rank of associate professor: Scholarship that merits tenure is defined as a body of published work that represents a sustained and significant contribution to the field. This should take the form of a scholarly monograph and supporting publications, or an equivalent combination of published articles, essays, dramatic productions, edited books, critical editions, research-based textbooks, exhibitions or other peer-reviewed publications, as appropriate to the subfield. The candidate’s record must demonstrate clear evidence of a scholarly or creative program that goes well beyond research or creative activity completed for the terminal degree, that has already resulted in products of high quality, and that exhibits promise of continuing productivity. Publications should appear in scholarly outlets (presses, journals, collections, etc.) that are well respected in the subfield. The record may also include invitations to present one's work at national conferences or events, the awarding of external and internal funding, and reprints of one's work.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate an established scholarly career, as reflected in such factors as a substantial and ongoing pattern of publication or creative activity, external reviews of the candidate’s work by eminent scholars or practitioners in the field, the candidate’s national or international reputation, and other evidence of an active and productive scholarly career.
In the department, the following scholarship expectations to meet University standards also apply for the promotion to the rank of professor: In terms of scholarly output, scholarship that merits promotion to full professor is defined as continued scholarly production that represents a sustained and significant contribution to the field well beyond the record prior to tenure, in the form of a scholarly monograph (not included in the tenure record) and supporting publications, or an equivalent combination of post-tenure published articles, essays, dramatic productions, edited books, critical editions, research-based textbooks, exhibitions or other peer-reviewed publications, as appropriate to the subfield. The record may also include invitations to present one's work at national conferences or events, the awarding of external and internal funding, and reprints of one's work. Other information about the quality and types of scholarship that merit consideration is consistent with the expectations for tenure described above.
Service. Service is an important responsibility of all faculty members that contributes to the University’s performance of its larger mission. Although the nature of service activities will depend on a candidate’s particular interests and abilities, service contributions are an essential part of being a good citizen of the University. The department accepts and values scholarly service to the discipline or profession, service within the University, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level.
In the Department of American Studies, service activities include service to scholarly and professional organizations in American Studies and/or related fields, service to journals and/or presses in American Studies and/or related fields, service within the university, and public service at the local, state, national, or international level. The appropriate distribution of service responsibilities will be evaluated in light of rank-appropriate expectations and will take account of the multiple responsibilities of jointly appointed faculty members.
Under the University standards for the award of tenure and/or promotion to associate professor, the record must demonstrate a pattern of service to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to the local, state, national, or international communities.
For promotion to associate professor in the Department of American Studies, the majority (though not all) of a candidate’s service contributions may be focused at the departmental level. Candidates are expected to take on Departmental service roles beyond standard attendance at Department and steering committee meetings (e.g., committees, taking leadership roles in department service obligations, etc.); to participate in service to the College, University, professional, and/or community (including campus talks, serving as faculty adviser to KU student organizations, and participating in talks, workshops, etc. at community venues such as the public library), and to engage with relevant regional, national and/or international scholarly and professional organizations.
Under the University standards for promotion to the rank of professor, the record must demonstrate an ongoing pattern of service reflecting substantial contributions to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to the local, state, national, or international communities.
In the Department of American Studies greater amounts of service at the College and University level (and in national or international professional organizations and the larger community) will be expected of the candidate to meet University standards for the award of promotion to the rank of professor. The candidate should demonstrate an ongoing pattern of service reflecting substantial contributions to the University at one or more levels, to the discipline or profession, and/or to local, state, national, or international communities.
Ratings for Performance. Using the criteria described above, the candidate’s performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service will be rated using the terms “excellent,” “very good,” “good,” “marginal,” or “poor,” defined as follows:
(a) “Excellent” means that the candidate substantially exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(b) “Very Good” means the candidate exceeds expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(c) “Good” means the candidate meets expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(d) “Marginal” means the candidate falls below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
(e) “Poor” means the candidate falls significantly below expectations for tenure and/or promotion to this rank.
Absent exceptional circumstances, no candidate may be recommended for promotion or tenure without meeting standards in all applicable areas of performance.
The American Studies Department conducts the initial review of the candidate pursuant to the procedures and requirements of section 5 of Article VI of the FSRR in connection with the candidate’s responsibility in the department.
Promotion and Tenure Committee. The department review committee shall evaluate the candidate’s teaching, research, and service. In the Department of American Studies the initial review committee – called the Personnel Committee - is composed of all tenured faculty in the Department. The Chair of the Department participates in a non-voting, ex-officio capacity.
No students or untenured faculty members, except unclassified academic staff with the rank equivalent to or higher than associate professor, shall serve on the Personnel Committee or vote on any recommendation concerning promotion and/or tenure. In cases involving promotion to the rank of Full Professor, participation is restricted to Full Professors. If an insufficient number of Full Professors are available to serve, the Chair may appoint an ad hoc Personnel Committee that includes Full Professors from other CLAS units.
Initiation of Review. Prior to the beginning of the spring semester, the Provost notifies all faculty whose mandatory review year will be the following academic year, with copies provided to the unit administrators. Upon receipt of this notice or if a faculty member requests it prior to the mandatory review year, the department shall initiate procedures for evaluating the candidate for the award of promotion and/or tenure. In the Department of American Studies, the Chair of the department will request each Fall that any faculty member who wishes to be a candidate for promotion and/or tenure in the following academic year so inform the Chair.
As part of the annual faculty evaluation process, the department shall consider the qualifications of all tenured faculty members below the rank of full professor, with a view toward possible promotion in rank during the following academic year. After considering a faculty member’s qualifications, if the department determines that those qualifications may warrant promotion in rank, it shall initiate procedures for reviewing the faculty member for promotion. After seven years in the rank of associate professor, a faculty member who believes he or she has the qualifications for promotion may initiate the promotion review process him/herself.In such cases the unit will treat the candidate in the same way that it treats other candidates for promotion to the rank of full professor.
Preparation of the Promotion and/or Tenure File. NOTE: Candidates who hold joint appointments prepare only one set of promotion and tenure materials for review by both units in which they hold an appointment. The initial review units (i.e., departments, centers, etc.) shall consult with each other on their evaluations and the evaluation process, but each initial review unit must provide a separate evaluation of the candidate’s performance in the unit. Please refer to the College’s Promotion and Tenure Statement for detailed instructions. For each promotion candidate, the Department Chair and the chair of the Personnel Committee offer to work with the candidate to identify relevant information and materials for the review process. It is the responsibility of the candidate to complete the appropriate portions of the form and provide necessary documents and information in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines, with assistance from the department.
The Personnel Committee shall receive the form and accompanying materials from the candidate and finish compiling the record of the candidate’s teaching, scholarship, and service in accordance with the Provost’s guidelines.
The Chair of the department, in consultation with the review committee, shall provide for the solicitation of outside reviewers to assist in the evaluation of a faculty member’s scholarship and in accordance with College procedures. Emphasis shall be placed on selecting independent reviewers in the same or related discipline who hold academic rank or a professional position equal to or greater than the rank for which the candidate is being considered. The committee shall give the candidate the opportunity to suggest individuals to be included or excluded from the list of reviewers. The committee, however, is responsible for using its judgment in the final selection of reviewers.
When soliciting external reviews of a candidate’s scholarship, the department Chair shall inform prospective reviewers of the extent to which the candidate will have access to the review. The College's confidentiality policy regarding soliciting external reviewers for the promotion and tenure review process is as follows:
"As a part of the promotion and/or tenure review process, we are soliciting assessments of Professor ____’s research contributions from academic colleagues and distinguished professionals. These letters will become part of the candidate's promotion and tenure dossier and are treated as confidential by the University to the extent we are permitted to do so by law."
Recommendations. Upon completion of the record, the committee conducting the initial review shall evaluate the candidate’s record of teaching, scholarship, and service in light of the applicable standards and criteria and make recommendations in accordance with the voting procedures detailed below.
In the Department of American Studies, voting procedures are as follows: the Personnel Committee, the composition of which is described above, meets and discusses the candidate’s teaching, research, and service record. By secret ballot, each member rates the candidate in these areas according to the Rating for Performance described above. On the same ballot, each member votes whether to recommend promotion and/or tenure. A simple majority shall be required for recommendation of promotion and/or tenure by the department. Voting rights are not transferrable. In the case where a member of the Department Promotion and Tenure committee is unable to attend, the member provides the Department Chair with a vote in the form of a sealed ballot.
The committee shall prepare the evaluation and summary evaluation sections of the promotion and/or tenure forms. The forms and recommendations shall be forwarded to the department Chair, who shall indicate separately, in writing, whether he or she concurs or disagrees with the recommendations of the review committee. The department Chair shall communicate the recommendations of the initial review, and his or her concurrence or disagreement with the recommendation, to the candidate and provide the candidate with a copy of the summary evaluation section of the promotion and tenure form. Negative recommendations shall be communicated in writing and, if the review will not be forwarded automatically, the chair shall inform the candidate that he or she may request that the record be forwarded for further review.
Favorable recommendations, together with the record of the initial review, shall be forwarded to the College Committee on Appointments Promotion, and Tenure conducting the intermediate review. Negative recommendations resulting from an initial review shall go forward for intermediate review only if it is the candidate’s mandatory review year or if the candidate requests it.
The candidate may submit a written response to a negative recommendation by the department, or to a final rating of teaching, research, or service below the level of “good” included in the evaluation section of the recommendation. The written response goes forward with the dossier to the next level of review at CCAPT The written response is sent separately by the candidate to CCAPT.
A request for information by the intermediate review committee (CCAPT) shall be sent to the department Chair who shall immediately provide a copy to the candidate and inform the Personnel Committee. The Chair and the Personnel committee shall prepare the department’s response in accordance with the initial review procedures.
The candidate shall be afforded an opportunity to participate in the preparation of the department’s response and/or to submit his/her own documentation or comment to the CCAPT.
American Studies Department
University of Kansas
1440 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594
09/02/2015: Made updates to boiler plate text and corrected approved by dates.
04/14/2013: Approved by The Faculty Senate Committee on Standards and Procedures for Promotion and Tenure
04/01/2013: Approved by the Department of American Studies