VIII. Standards for Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion

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  • Amended by Faculty approval, February 5, 2014
  • Amended┬áby Faculty approval, October 14, 2009.
  • Endorsed by vote of the Faculty, 8 May 2002.
  • Altered in view of changes in Section IX by the Faculty.
  • And in view of changes recommended by the Faculty and Educational Program Committee of the Board of Trustees, October 2002.
  • Altered by action of the FEC, November 2002 to remove direct reference to salary administration, except for the introduction.
  • Approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, April 15, 2003.
  • Altered by action of the FEC, May 2004, to include a grandfather clause governing change of criteria for tenure; approved by the Dean of the College and the President, June 2004.

Section VIII establishes the standards of evaluation assigned to each of the three areas of faculty work. Assessments using these standards provide the basis for decisions on retention, tenure and promotion. The College expects a record of excellence in all three areas of assessment (indicated below). Candidates for tenure and/or promotion must meet the standard in each area.

If evaluation criteria are changed within the two-year period prior to tenure evaluation, a tenure candidate may, at his or her request, be evaluated by the criteria in effect during the year of the candidate’s fourth-year review. Such a request must be submitted to the Dean of the Faculty in writing as a part of the tenure application.

Teaching: Effective teaching is central to Rhodes’ educational mission. Teaching includes traditional classroom and laboratory instruction (disciplinary or interdisciplinary), leading internships or fellowships, and supervising directed inquiries, honors projects and/or other forms of student research or creative activity. In evaluating performance in this area, the following standards apply:

  • Faculty members sustain in their classes a consistent engagement with matters of substance and importance in the subject area.
  • Faculty members demonstrate command of the subject material and the critical issues surrounding it.
  • Faculty members construct syllabi that make grading policies and course goals clear.
  • Faculty members design student assignments and projects that demonstrably advance course goals.
  • Faculty members organize courses in ways that reflect an effective pedagogy, and result in successful educational outcomes.
  • Faculty members develop in students the ability to think critically on the subjects studied and to communicate effectively about these subjects.

Rhodes College evaluates teaching by gathering input from students, departmental colleagues, a committee whose charge is specifically to review a faculty member’s in-class performance and teaching materials, as well as by members of the Tenure and Promotion Committee that have access to all of the materials relevant to a particular faculty member’s promotion.

Scholarship: Appointment to the Rhodes Faculty is made with the expectation that faculty members bring with them a commitment to advancing scholarly knowledge and/or producing creative works in their field. In evaluating a faculty member’s performance in this area, the following general standards apply:

  • Faculty members demonstrate their ongoing engagement in original research or creative activity by the regular appearance of original scholarly work which includes peer-reviewed products, juried exhibits/performances, and products that have undergone rigorous scholarly evaluation appropriate to the discipline.
  • Each academic department of the College provides a statement of expectations that articulates in more detail the specifics of each discipline as regards appropriate forms of peer review and scholarly products. The departmental expectations are subject to review and approval by the Dean of the Faculty.
  • The quality and the quantity of juried or peer-reviewed work are both important indicators of achievement in scholarship. The quality and quantity of a candidate’s scholarly work is evaluated internally by departmental colleagues and externally by peer evaluators within the candidate’s discipline(s). The Tenure and Promotion Committee, drawn from representatives of all College divisions, gathers all of these materials together, reviews and evaluates them, and forwards a recommendation to the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean considers all of these evaluations in determining a final recommendation to the President of the College.
  • Faculty members, particularly those at the rank of associate professor and professor, are expected to participate in the activities associated with effective professional citizenship, such as reviewing articles and manuscripts for scholarly publications, organizing conferences and panels, serving as a commentator on a scholarly panel, delivering invited talks, taking on leadership roles within professional organizations, and the like. While not a substitute for the appearance of scholarly work as defined above, these activities provide a means by which scholars remain actively involved in their scholarly communities as well as engaged and up to date in their own scholarship.

Service: Effective professional service involves contributing to the operation and welfare of the College, the department, and the larger community. The operation and welfare of the College involve a number of important responsibilities invested in the Faculty. The governance structure of the College serves to distribute these collegial duties in a fair and effective manner. Normally, major leadership responsibilities (such as chairing standing committees, academic departments, or academic programs) should be assigned to senior faculty members. In evaluating a faculty member’s service, the following standards apply:

  • A faculty member is an effective advisor to students and regularly advises both incoming students – through the students’ declaration of major – and continuing students within the major. Aiding students who seek post-graduate scholarships and/or admission to professional and graduate schools by providing counsel and, where appropriate, preparing letters of reference is also expected. A faculty member’s work as an advisor is assessed by the Tenure and Promotion Committee using a student survey of all of a faculty member’s advisees, past and current.
  • Faculty members participate in the administrative work of their department. This work includes participating in department meetings, faculty development and evaluation activities, curriculum reviews, and implementation of curriculum changes; overseeing library and other academic resources; aiding in the recruitment of students and new faculty; and supporting departmental co-curricular activities. Department colleagues are expected to include in their letters to the Tenure and Promotion Committee their assessment of a candidate’s contributions to the work of the department.
  • Faculty members participate in the governance of the Faculty and the College. Faculty members are expected to serve the College through such channels as membership on standing committees of the Faculty, administrative committees of the College or Board of Trustees, ad hoc committees or task forces, engaging in and/or providing leadership for appropriate co-curricular activities, and/or activities that develop and sustain the College’s connections to external communities. Faculty members are also expected to work with other departments to help with faculty recruitment, development, and evaluation. The Tenure and Promotion Committee relies in this case on the evaluation of a candidate’s contributions in service by colleagues and College staff members who have served with the candidate during the probationary period.

Effective service means not only becoming a member of one or more of the many committees on campus, but also participating in a significant and effective way. As such, faculty members are expected to work productively and respectfully with students, staff, and colleagues in both the department and the College. Tolerance for differing points of view and the capacity to give civil expression to one′s own position are highly prized. Evidence of such collegiality in the past and the prospect of continuing collegiality are thus important factors in decisions about reappointment, promotion, and tenure.

Levels of assessment: As noted above, the College expects a record of excellence in all three areas of assessment. Faculty work is assessed as either meeting or not meeting the high standards expected by the College. In the second- and fourth-year reviews particular attention will be paid to the trajectory of work exhibited by the probationary faculty member with an eye towards the level of achievement necessary for a successful sixth-year review.

Contributions to the tenure decision are made by students, faculty colleagues, outside evaluators, the Dean of the Faculty, and the President of the College. A decision to recommend tenure remains a matter of judgment by the relevant individuals at the College, based on their reading of the evidence and projection of the candidate′s future performance. The recommendation is reached after careful attention to the procedures authorized in Processes and Procedures to be followed in the Evaluation of a Member of the Faculty (Section IX).

The importance of the three areas of the work of the Faculty: All faculty members are required to be engaged in teaching, research/creative activity, and service throughout their career at the College. Care should be taken by the faculty member and those in academic administrative positions to ensure that no one component threatens to compromise a faculty member’s overall performance over extended periods of time.

The College therefore affirms the following:

During the probationary years (normally, the first year through the sixth year of service to the College): The focus at this stage should be on a faculty member’s work as a teacher and scholar/artist – on becoming skilled in the classroom and established as an authoritative contributor to one’s discipline. Service to the College is not a substitute for meeting the standard in teaching and in research or creative activity, so care should be taken to ensure that a junior faculty member’s service involvements do not interfere with his or her development as a teacher and scholar/artist. Service activities early in a faculty member’s career should focus on developing skills and competency as an advisor to students and as a departmental colleague. By the beginning of the fourth year, service should normally expand to include work on college-wide committees and/or on campus-wide initiatives.

Following the probationary years (normally, the seventh year of service until retirement): Becoming a senior member of the Faculty entails assuming a more prominent role in faculty governance (e.g., by serving as department chair, providing effective service and leadership on college-wide faculty committees or task forces, initiating curricular reform or program development).

Concentrated efforts in pedagogical and/or curricular development may take away time from research/creative activity and service. The awarding of a major grant may involve a reduction in teaching load and in service commitments for the grant period. While such shifts are appropriate, they should be carefully monitored. The post-tenure evaluation cycle provides room for such shifts while also monitoring them to prevent more extensive involvement in one area from compromising a faculty member’s performance in other areas.

Normally, heavy service commitments should not last longer than six consecutive years in order to ensure that every faculty member remains an active and energized teacher and scholar. Care should be taken by each faculty member and those in academic administrative positions to ensure a profile for each faculty member that is in keeping with the College’s standards. The equitable distribution of workload across the Faculty is done with the intention of making possible this profile.