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Learning and Performance Systems 2018

Part I: Policy on Promotion and Tenure Criteria

Definitions, Expectations, Methods of Assessing

This policy sets forth the tenure and promotion criteria to be employed in evaluating the academic excellence of faculty members within the Department of Learning and Performance Systems under the peer review procedures set forth in the Department Policy on Tenure and Promotion Procedures and in accord with University Policy AC-23, revised Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations, Section II, entitled, Criteria for Promotion and Tenure, and also in accord with the current Administrative Guidelines for the conduct of the University Promotion and Tenure review Process.

Definitions and expectations of the Department in each of the University's three areas of academic excellence are given in this document. The Introduction describes how a faculty member's quality in each of the three areas of academic performance is to be rated in determining recommendations to be made for tenure and promotion.

(Revised, September 10, 2018)

*Department guidelines are supplemental to the guidelines of both the College and of AC-23.


This section outlines the criteria and expectations comprising the basis of judgments to be made in each of the three categories currently provided for in AC-23. At this time, AC-23 recognizes the following three categories: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments; and Service and the Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and the Profession. The criteria, kinds of judgments to be made, and the nature of supporting evidence to be considered in making these judgments in the promotion and tenure categories are extensions of, and consistent with, the guidelines provided in AC-23 for college-level promotion and tenure reviews.


A candidate's professional responsibilities in the scholarship of teaching and learning, including regular classroom instruction, independent study, thesis direction and assistance, and academic advisement and consultation with students, will be used by the committee to evaluate the candidate within the context of the candidate's job responsibilities. The basis for judgment and the typical evidence used by faculty members to support their proficiencies in this area are explicated below.

The committee will more heavily weigh evidence that consists of systematic, theoretically based, and impartially monitored observations of teaching ability and effectiveness gathered as part of the normal arrangements of a department for the development and guidance of its faculty. The committee will base its judgments on objective data and reliable evidence.

The committee will judge regular classroom instruction in courses and workshops taught in support of outreach-based instruction, including continuing and distance education, service learning courses, international programs, and cooperative extension programs in terms of: (a) suitability of instructional alignment to the level of student ability and to the development of professional competence; (b) the degree to which classroom instructional activity contributes to student development and achievement or levels of performance commensurate with these objectives; and (c) the correspondence of evaluation procedures to these course objectives and instructional activities. Evidence may include current or proposed course outlines, syllabi, and study materials; written critical judgments by students, colleagues, and administrators; and course and colleague evaluation of instruction.

For formal and informal individual instruction (i.e., directing or assisting in independent study, thesis research, or individual projects), the instruction should be responsive to student needs and should enhance curricular and professional goals of the program and department. Evidence supporting a faculty member's proficiency in this area may include illustrative programs, research projects, and study topics developed for and with students. Typical evidences of teaching and learning, advising effectiveness (e.g., evaluation by faculty and students) emerging from this individual instruction and advising, along with descriptions of the faculty member's role in this type of instruction, are possible sources of documentation.

Judgments regarding academic advisement and informal consultation will rest on the faculty member's responsiveness to student needs and their effectiveness in achieving program goals with minimal confusion and conflict. The candidate may provide satisfactory evidence through impartial department procedures, using such things as faculty and administrators' observations and periodically solicited comments from currently enrolled and/or previously graduated students.


Contributions in this category consist of the scholarship of research, and creative accomplishments, and mastery of subject matter. Research and creative accomplishments consist of original works disseminated to an audience of peers. The promotion and tenure committee will base its judgments on the quality of such efforts, determined by the extent to which the research and creative accomplishments are: (a) conceptual rather than merely technical, (b) the products of sustained and programmatic activity as contrasted with unrelated and unfocused activity, and (c) significant in their effects on thought and practice.

Typical evidence of research and creative accomplishments includes articles in refereed journals, especially those that are considered prestigious representations of the faculty member's principal orientation; books and monographs; chapters or parts of books; a record of success in research proposal development and receipt of external grants and contracts; research reports to funding agencies; and development of new computer software programs.

Implicit in these illustrations of evidence of research and creative accomplishments is that the product has been subjected to the judgment of professional peers who are sufficiently informed to evaluate its quality. Research and creative accomplishments, which imply favorable evaluations by professional or academic peers, will be weighted more significantly than those that have not.
However, promotion and tenure committees are also required to evaluate the quality of the faculty member's publications and make their decisions based upon the quality and not the quantity of the faculty member's work and assigned duties. Within the constraints described in this section and the candidate's assigned duties, publications jointly written with students and dissertations, papers, or theses published will be considered. The extent to which the faculty member stimulates research and creative accomplishment in students and peers is also important.

Contributions in this category describable as scholarship or mastery of subject matter should reveal the candidate's continued growth in his/her discipline. Clearly involved are performance in both curricular development and research or creative activities.

Evidence concerning scholarship might include a listing and description of recent unpublished research, advanced study, record of participation in seminars, presentations, and/or workshops. Other evidence, adequately documented, might include edited textbooks; published, original computer programs; descriptions of speaking engagements; presentations of professional papers, research proposals submitted and funded and/or other activities in which there was use of the candidate's expertise; descriptions of new (or appreciably revised) courses, including service learning and outreach courses, reflecting that the candidate is "on the forefront" in his/her field; and honors and awards for scholarship, creative production, and professional activity. Particularly significant evidence of scholarship and mastery of subject matter would include invited addresses to professional groups, the candidate's presentation at advanced professional symposia, and colloquium addresses at other universities. Papers, presentations, and exhibits with students presented at professional and technical meetings will also be considered.

The candidate's active memberships in professional societies (when there was recognition through election to major offices or committees) constitute another source of evidence of scholarship and mastery of subject matter when such information is accompanied by descriptions of the contributions made to these organizations.

Candidates are not necessarily expected to present evidence of every type of scholarship and mastery of subject matter suggested above.


On the one hand, service to the University, society, and the profession encompasses those activities that are internal to the University, College, department, or program that contribute to governance, management, and administration for effective achievement of the institution's goals. Such activities, for example, include committee work at the University, campus, College, or departmental level, representation and participation in College Faculty Council, University Faculty Senate, Graduate Council; and administrative support work such as professor-in-charge of a program, graduate officer, or administrator of project funds and personnel.

On the other hand, service to the University, society, and the profession encompasses those activities that involve the faculty member's professional expertise; that are external to the University community; and/or that are responsive to Commonwealth, federal, and international needs; and/or responsive to the needs of professional organizations and learned societies. Such activities, for example, include consulting to assist the Pennsylvania Department of Education, schools, businesses, and other institutions or agencies; providing formal and informal credit and non-credit education programs for youth and adults; organizing conferences and service on conference committees, making speeches and other responses to requests from citizen groups; and membership and significant participation in task forces, meetings of public, non-profit, or private organizations, governmental agencies, and industry; and service on committees and other invited work for professional organizations and learned societies.

The quality of service will be determined by such indicators as type and scope of professionally related service; offices held within governmental and related organizations; and letters or other written documents from, or by, constituents and colleagues that attest to the value and effectiveness of the candidate's contribution. Articles or other written materials that elucidate the intellectual grounds and plans underlying a faculty member's service activities provide excellent documentation. The committee will assume that the amount and kind of service are a function of the faculty member's assigned responsibility and specialization within the field of education.

Part II: Process of Tenure and Promotion Review

Procedures stipulated in AC-23 are to be followed with the following additions:

A. The decision is made to prepare materials for promotion/tenure as the result of the faculty members being subject to 2nd, 4th, 6th year tenure review.

B. Preparation of the dossier is the responsibility of the Department Head. Another staff member in the Department may be asked to assist. The Department Head will work with the candidate in:

1. Identifying evidence of work in the three major areas, The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments; and Service and the Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and the Profession. The dossier will be divided into three major sections based on these areas. The Department Head will meet with the candidate at least two months before the deadlines, discussing the process and determining equivalent/alternative kinds of evidence that might be used to document amount and quality of work in each area.

2. In the case of teaching effectiveness, an evaluation of the candidate's teaching will be conducted by at least two peers appointed by the Department Head in consultation with the candidate. This evaluation will be formulated following a review of course materials, discussion with the candidate and observations of the candidate's teaching. The Department Head will also conduct an independent assessment of the candidate's teaching and/or advising.

C. For the sixth-year review faculty members will be asked for names of potential references, in addition to those suggested by the Department Head.

1. Letters from faculty external to PSU should emphasize the candidate's scholarship and research, with additional perceptions on teaching and service where appropriate.

D. When the dossier of evidence is complete and organized according to the guidelines provided by the University, College and Department, it will be submitted to the Department Committee responsible for tenure and promotion (through the Department Head) no later than November 1 of the year which the review will be completed.

E. The Department Review Committee will review the materials submitted by each candidate and data about the candidate gathered by the Committee using the following procedures:

1. The Department Review Committee will review a candidate's materials and set a tentative date for final recommendations concerning tenure and/or promotion. The Committee must meet all University, College and Department regulations concerning the membership of such committees. The committee shall consist of five faculty members: one faculty member from each of the three programs and two at-large members. A minimum of three members must be "Full Professors." The members of the committee will serve two-year terms. Three members of the Committee will be elected by written ballot distributed in the Spring semester of any year in which vacancies occur. The ballot will have columns of candidates reflecting the different academic programs, and the candidates listed in each will include all associate and full professors who are not serving as Department Head. The candidate from each program who receives the most votes will be elected. In case of a tie, a run-off election will be held. To ensure diversity of the Committee, the two at-large members will be selected by the Department Head in
consultation with the PICs. Since associate professors who are elected to the P&T committee may not review the dossiers of candidates for promotion to full professor, the Department Head will appoint a replacement for any associate professors for the review of these dossiers.

2. Once the Review Committee is set, each member will individually review the materials of the candidate and apply the Department expectations to those data.

3. The Committee will then meet as a group to discuss the evidence provided and apply the expectations to the evidence as a total group.

F. Once the Review Committee has examined all the evidence and has reached a decision concerning tenure/promotion, it will forward its written recommendation to the Department Head.

1. These recommendations will include statements concerning both quantity and quality of the candidate's work.

2. In situations where the Committee recommends forwarding the candidate's materials to the College Tenure and Promotion Committee, the written recommendations should identify specific evidence which the Committee believes gives strong support to the candidate's case for tenure and/or promotion.

3. In situations where the Committee does not recommend forwarding the candidate's materials to the College Tenure and Promotion Committee, its written recommendations should identify specific reasons why the Committee does not believe the candidate meets the expectations.

4. In situations when there is a divided opinion both points of view should be given in a single letter.

G. Upon the receipt of the Review Committee's recommendations, the Department Head will complete his/her review of the candidate's materials. This review will include:

1. an independent review of the evidence, using the Department expectations;

2. reaching a tentative independent decision concerning the tenure and/or promotion of each applicant;

3. reviewing the Faculty Committee's recommendations concerning the degree to which a candidate meets the Department expectations;

4. meeting with the Faculty Committee to discuss areas of divergence if they occurred;

5. making final written recommendations concerning each candidate's tenure and/or promotion.

H. If either the Department Head's recommendations or the Faculty Review Committee's recommendations or both are positive for promotion, the candidate's dossier of evidence plus the written recommendations of both the Review Committee and Department Head are forwarded to the Dean of the College of Education. If the department committee and the department head do not support a promotion after reviewing the completed dossier, the candidate should be so informed and given the option of withdrawing his or her candidacy. Materials for tenure candidates are forwarded regardless of the nature of the Review Committee's or Department Head's recommendations to the Dean of the College.

I. According to University policy, the general results of the evaluation will be made known to the faculty member by the Dean after the University Promotion and Tenure Committee has acted -- and the Dean should indicate the extent to which colleagues judged that his or her performance, in comparison with others in the profession, meets high academic performance standards. This evaluation should include guidance to the faculty member in ways to improve performance. A record of the general nature of the review and the data of transmission to the faculty member shall be retained by the Department Head.