Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion

The School consists of educators in a variety of disciplines. Across all of these disciplines, high quality, dedicated teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels is valued. This includes, but is not limited to, sound pedagogy, effective and developmental clinical supervision, timely and effective advising, responsiveness to student questions and concerns, and an invigorating curriculum with high expectations for student success.

At the University, Faculty scholarship supports and informs teaching, as well as contributes to the disciplines and profession. Faculty scholarship advances individual careers but also attracts prestige, funding, and enrollment to the institution. Moreover, Faculty members serve the local, national, and global society in their epistemological function by creating new knowledge, advancing inquiry and thinking, and protecting intellectual thought and freedom—all towards nurturing a more just world.

The processes of hiring, reappointing, tenuring, and promoting Faculty enable the goals and objectives of the university community to be achieved. The balance of teaching, scholarship, and service are all components of academic positions. Hires are made to meet program needs, as well as develop and/or sustain high quality scholarship.

The hiring of Faculty is an investment in the individual and institutional future. Because of this, the University has a comprehensive system in place to provide oversight and feedback for Faculty. Probationary Faculty receive information in an initial appointment letter that sets the course for their academic life at the University. On an annual basis, probationary Faculty undergo review for reappointment according to University policy and procedures.

  1. Reappointment

    The policies and procedures for reappointment are included in the University policy and procedures regarding faculty reappointment (See, University Policy Register 6-16).  Each academic year, reappointment guidelines for Kent and Regional Campus faculty are distributed by the Office of the Provost.  Probationary Faculty members’ accomplishments in scholarship, teaching, and service are reviewed by the School’s Ad Hoc RTP Committee.  The file of materials should follow current University policy, with additional consideration given to Appendix C General Advice for TLC Probationary Faculty. Included in the file are a contextual statement and curriculum vitae outlining the Faculty member’s accomplishments in scholarship, teaching, and service. Additionally, probationary Faculty members are invited to work with the School Director to identify a tenured faculty member to serve as a mentor during the probationary period.

    Annually, probationary Faculty will update their files and present them to the Director who ensures that these materials are available to the Ad Hoc RTP Committee. Each probationary Faculty member’s file is discussed by the committee which then votes on the Faculty member’s reappointment. The Director independently assesses the accomplishments of each probationary Faculty member and makes available her/his recommendation and the committee's recommendations to the Dean.  The Director informs probationary Faculty of the committee's recommendation and provides a copy of her/his recommendation to the Dean.  Probationary Faculty members who are not to be reappointed must be notified according to the schedule established in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  For Faculty members whose appointment is in the Regional Campuses, recommendations on reappointment from the Director are forwarded to the Dean and the appropriate Regional Campus Dean. For probationary Faculty, reappointment is contingent upon demonstration of adequate progress toward the requirements for tenure.  Moreover, the Faculty member must have established and articulated short- and long-term plans for achieving their line(s) of inquiry.  Faculty preparing materials for reappointment must provide documentation of quality scholarship, teaching, and service. Advice on preparation specific to the curriculum vitae, contextual statement, teaching documentation and peer reviews can be found in Appendix C of this Handbook.

    This annual record should be considered a predictor of future success, meaning that quality and quantity of publications should grow over the probationary years, as should strength in teaching as documented by SSI evaluations; sufficient/expanding service should also be documented.  The hallmark of a successful candidate for tenure and promotion is evidence of the potential to have an impact upon the discourse of her/his discipline. This record must be demonstrated through peer-reviewed work, particularly in significant national/international journals, as well as other important scholarly contributions in one or more established lines of inquiry, as well as a clear and focused plan for building on this work.

    On an annual basis, the progress of untenured Faculty is reviewed by the Ad Hoc RTP Committee and the Director.  If concerns arise, both RTP committee members and the Director shall provide detailed, prescriptive comments to serve as constructive feedback.  The Director, in consultation with the Ad Hoc RTP Committee, will advise and work with the candidate on a suitable, positive plan for realignment with the School’s tenure and promotion expectations; however, the candidate is solely responsible for her/his success in implementing this plan. 


    Specific concerns expressed by the Ad Hoc RTP Committee and/or the Director during the probationary period should be addressed by the candidate in subsequent reappointment reviews. Finally, the overall evaluation of a candidate for reappointment must include consideration of the Faculty member's personal integrity and professional behavior as recognized by the University community.

    It is important to note that while it is the hope that creating a plan will help a candidate realign his/her goals toward expectations--with support as previously described, RTP Committee members may vote not to reappoint.  The Director may also vote for non-reappointment.  Thus, a candidate who fails to demonstrate adequate progress will be notified according to the guidelines for reappointment issued annually by the office of the Provost.

    From time to time, personal and/or family circumstances arise that require an untenured Faculty member to need to request that her/his probationary period be extended.  Upon request, a Faculty member may be granted an extension of the probationary period which has been traditionally called “tolling” or “stopping the tenure clock.”  The University policy and procedures governing modification of the faculty probationary period is included in the University Policy Register. (See, University Policy Register 6-13)

  2. Tenure and Promotion

    The awarding of tenure is a commitment to continuous employment with the University as outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. An award of tenure represents significant contributions in scholarship, teaching, and service. Taken as a whole, the awarding of tenure acknowledges not only accomplishments but also the promise of sustained productivity that will lead to promotion to professor at some point in the future. The awarding of tenure must be based on convincing documented evidence that the Faculty member has achieved a body of scholarship that has had an impact on her/his discipline. The candidate is also expected to continue and sustain, over the long term, a program of high quality teaching, scholarship and service relevant to the mission of the candidate’s academic unit(s) and to the mission of the University.  The granting of tenure is a decision that plays a crucial role in determining the quality of University Faculty and the national and international status of the University.

    Promotion signifies high quality, thoughtful scholarship that contributes to the discovery of new knowledge; emerging theories; the integration of theory, knowledge, and thinking; and/or to the application of known ideas, theory, and or technologies. Additionally, promotion denotes the Faculty member has been a successful teacher, University citizen and a scholar who has contributed significantly to his/her relevant disciplines(s).

    The policies and procedures for tenure are included in the University policy and procedures regarding faculty tenure (University Policy Register 6-14) and the policies and procedures for promotion are included in the University policy and procedures regarding faculty promotion (University Policy Register 6-15).  Each academic year, tenure and promotion guidelines for Kent and Regional Campus faculty are distributed by the Office of the Provost.  Tenure and promotion are separate personnel actions.

    All candidates for tenure and promotion must submit the names of at least five (5) persons outside the university who are qualified to evaluate their achievements objectively, as well as a paragraph providing a rationale as to the appropriateness of this person as an external reviewer.

    Providing these names in March or April is suggested in order to secure a commitment from reviewers who are sometimes overwhelmed with requests.  Faculty should give careful consideration to the potential reviewer’s status in terms of rank, expertise, and the institution’s Carnegie ranking; it should be at least equivalent to KSU’s.   Individuals with whom the Faculty member has a close professional relationship as evidenced by shared publications or mentorship relationships should be excluded from the list of outside reviewers.  Only in rare cases are emeritus or international faculty approved as reviewers.

    After the Dean approves the suggested reviewers, the Director will solicit evaluations from at least three (3) of the qualified individuals whose names have been submitted by the candidate. The candidate will be given a copy of the communication to be sent to outside evaluators and have the opportunity to comment before the letter is mailed. In cases involving regional campus faculty, copies of these letters are placed in both regional and Kent campus files. The Director will make the necessary contacts soon afterward, providing enough time for the receipt of reports from these external reviewers before the Ad Hoc RPT Committee meets early in the Fall semester. The candidate should be in close contact with the School Director in case any additional information is needed, especially in the case of needing additional names of potential reviewers.

  3. Criteria for Tenure and Promotion

    The Ad Hoc RTP Committee shall consider the following areas of Faculty performance when making recommendations on tenure and promotion.  The text which follows is designed to facilitate assessment of performance of those candidates who are being evaluated for tenure and promotion.  During the probationary period, this information should be used for developmental assistance and projection of future success in achieving tenure and promotion.

    All Faculty of the School are expected to seek excellence in scholarly activity.  Indicators of the quality of a Faculty member’s research record include the quality and quantity of published work. All Faculty members in the School are expected to produce records of scholarship that reflect their disciplinary focus. The attributes of an individual Faculty member’s scholarly activity will vary across disciplines as certain disciplines have opportunities for significant funding, while others may not. Additionally, various forms of scholarly publications and creative work are evaluated within and across professional communities. The contextual statement should provide evidence of how the body of work is valued within the Faculty member’s professional community, being sure to explicitly explain how Faculty publications and presentations support stated inquiry strand(s).

    1. Scholarship and Its Evaluation

      Scholarship is an essential and critical component of University activity. The originality, quality, impact and value of the work must be assessed.  The candidate must provide the Ad Hoc RTP Committee with ample descriptive evidence of his/her scholarly activity.  A Faculty member's specific area of specialization may be a factor in the availability of extramural funding and in the scope and time required for research and the resulting publications.

      Sustained scholarship which clearly supports a Faculty’s line(s) of inquiry is imperative.  Further, the merit of scholarship will be evaluated based upon the quality of the publication. Peer reviewed publications in national and international journals are highly regarded although large (more than $25,000), multi-year, highly competitive (like National Science Foundation) grants are also highly regarded.  While solo publications are highly regarded, author leadership is even more important and expected for a significant number of peer-reviewed publications.

      Other forms of scholarship such as books, chapters, conference proceedings, book reviews, smaller non-KSU-funded grants, and curricular materials are also valued.  Other scholarly activities which provide evidence of an established research agenda by demonstrating influence upon his/her discipline may include, but are not limited to, writing grant proposals, serving on national grant review bodies, presenting at refereed national/international professional meetings, chairing professional society committees, and presenting papers before learned societies are considered. Faculty members are expected to hold membership in professional societies and encouraged to serve in editorial capacities.  Faculty are also expected to attend, participate and organize institutes, seminars, and workshops, insofar as such activities enhance their professional competency.

      For Regional faculty, for whom teaching is a primary responsibility, excellence in teaching weighs more heavily than scholarship. While the expectations of the quality of scholarship is the same as that expected of Faculty on the Kent campus, the same quantity is not as expected for Faculty on the Kent campus.

    2. Teaching and Its Evaluation

      Teaching in the School is of utmost importance and may be defined as interactions with students including teaching in undergraduate and/or graduate classes, seminars, workshops and institutes; supervision of students in student teaching, practica, field components of methods and other courses, and internships; and advising of students with respect to coursework, programs, theses and dissertations, careers, and so forth.

      Peer reviews and summaries of Student Surveys of Instruction (SSI), including all student comments, must be submitted as part of a candidate’s file for reappointment, tenure and/or promotion.  Probationary Faculty should work with the School Director to invite at least one (1) faculty member each year to visit their class and evaluate their teaching performance.  A written report of the evaluation is submitted to the Director for placement in the Faculty member’s file.  Copies of representative syllabi, examinations, and other relevant teaching material should also be presented. Peer reviews are required for those Faculty submitting materials for promotion. The committee will use all available data to assess the quality of instruction, and will be looking for the following criteria:

      • High quality teaching as evidenced by positive peer reviews.
      • Positive student evaluations of instruction, including summaries of student comments, particularly through evidence of success (averages of 4.0 and above) by using Question 19 (or its equivalent) of the SSI
      • Evidence of reflective teaching and intentional revision of areas requiring improvement included within contextual statement.
      • Teaching materials such as syllabi and examinations that include disciplinary knowledge representing contemporary theoretical perspectives and relevant research.
      • Any other available data to assess the quality of instruction.

      Documentation related to graduate student, undergraduate student, and post-doctoral student mentoring should be included in materials provided by a candidate for reappointment, tenure and promotion.  Faculty members are expected to mentor graduate students (particularly at the doctoral level) and/or postdoctoral students.  Evaluation of teaching will account for differences in workload expectations across campuses.

      Development of a course portfolio which includes not only the items previously mentioned but also includes submission of observations and other feedback given to students during field supervision, as well as evidence of the successful completion of doctoral dissertations and master’s theses may be helpful to reviewers.

      As stated before, for Regional faculty, for whom teaching is a primary responsibility, excellence in teaching weighs more heavily than scholarship. While the expectations of the quality of scholarship is the same as that expected of Faculty on the Kent campus, the same quantity is not as expected for Faculty on the Kent campus.

    3. University Service and Its Evaluation

      Service includes activities that make significant positive contributions to the advancement of the educational, scholarly and governance goals and missions of the School, Campus, College, University, the profession, and/or the community.

      Being an active and productive citizen of the School, Campus, College and University is expected for all faculty; however, service of any magnitude cannot be considered more important than a candidate's research and other scholarly activity and instructional responsibilities.  In the School, Faculty members are expected to be involved in public outreach and other forms of professional service.  These expectations increase during the Faculty member’s career and, therefore, candidates for promotion to Professor will be held to a higher standard.

      In the School, service and citizenship frequently take the form of participation at School and program meetings (which may involve extensive program and course development, as well as evaluation) and membership on standing and/or ad hoc committees within the School, College, and University. On-going mentorship of undergraduate and masters students is expected; however, mentoring of doctoral students, especially membership on advisory and dissertation committees is essential.  Faculty are also encouraged to take active roles in their professional organizations (on the international, national, regional, state, and local levels) by holding elected or appointed office; serving on advisory boards or other committees; and serving as an elected delegate or representative to a meeting. Professional service includes but is not limited to membership on the board of a local school district or non-school agency; consultation with a committee from the State Department of Education or other public agency; membership on public advisory boards related to education and similar committees; and so forth. Similar to other areas of scholarship, it is the candidate's responsibility to document service activities, including, where appropriate, evidence of the quality of performance. Citizenship and service related commitments should be commensurate with the candidate’s role and experience within the unit.

      The merits of service activities should be evaluated based upon nature of contribution, and significance to the profession. University service should be evaluated as to (1) nature of the candidate’s involvement (e.g. leadership roles and quality of contribution), and (2) the importance of the service to the mission of the unit served.  Less tangible components of service include active participation in School events such as faculty and graduate student recruitment, seminars, School meetings, seminars, and such.  Again, understanding the difference in roles for Faculty on Regional campuses, service is a significant aspect of reappointment, and therefore of progress for tenure and promotion over the probationary period.  Faculty on Regional campuses are expected to be active participants in a variety of service activities.

    4. Promotion

      Granting promotion in academic rank is dependent upon demonstrated scholarship and teaching, as well as service to the University and to the profession.

      1. Overall consideration for promotion includes:

        ·    Documented evidence of outstanding scholarship
        ·    Documented evidence of effective teaching is necessary for promotion in rank for those whose assignment includes instruction. (Faculty whose responsibilities do not include teaching may use annual peer and/or administrative evaluation.)
        ·    Documented evidence of service

        Faculty whose appointment is at the regional campuses have a primary responsibility for lower-division instruction. Consequently, a major consideration for promotion shall be given to effective teaching and service activities.

      2. Promotion Criteria Specific to Rank

        1. Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

          Promotion to Associate Professor requires evidence of sustained scholarship and demonstrated potential for excellence. Promotion to Associate Professor is recognition for establishing a scholarly body of work representing expertise in one or more defined lines of research, which is likely to achieve national/international prominence as appropriate to the Faculty member’s respective field.

          An Assistant Professor who has completed five years in rank and who possesses a terminal degree may be considered for promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. In extraordinary cases, promotion may be considered for a person with fewer years in rank but “going up early” is not a decision to take lightly.  Extended conversations by the Faculty member with members of the School’s Ad Hoc RPT committee, the School Director and the Dean are strongly recommended.

          In either case, the candidate must have demonstrated consistently high quality teaching (SSI scores for Item 19 or current question concerning overall assessment of learning which typically average “Very Good” to “Excellent) and have developed a substantial record of scholarship. It is generally expected that the candidate will have achieved full membership, at either the F3 or F4 level, on the Graduate Faculty.

          Although co-authorship of published reports of collaborative inquiry is appropriate, a candidate for promotion to the rank of Associate Professor will generally need to have served as principal investigator or first author in multiple instances. It is also expected that the candidate will have served on a number of School, College, and/or University committees, demonstrating evidence of increasing leadership potential, and/or have demonstrated other forms of service within the University. The candidate will also have participated in professional organizations and/or other appropriate professional activities outside the University, demonstrating evidence of contributions to the profession at the international, national, state, and/or regional levels.

        2. Associate Professor to Professor

          Promotion to Professor requires demonstration of sustained excellence and national/ international recognition as a scholar. Promotion to Professor recognizes the highest level of University achievement, which must include a record of scholarly work of sufficient quality and quantity necessary to demonstrate increased prominence and significant influence in the Faculty member’s respective field.

          An Associate Professor who has completed five years in rank and who possesses an earned doctorate may be considered for promotion to the rank of Professor. In extraordinary cases, an associate professor may be considered for promotion to Professor after completion of fewer years in rank.  Again, extended conversations by the Faculty member with members of the School’s Ad Hoc RPT committee, the School Director and the Dean are strongly recommended before this action is taken.

          Demonstrated high quality teaching, as defined above, is a minimum expectation for promotion but alone, is not sufficient. The decision to promote a Faculty member to the rank of Professor carries additional considerations. At this rank, colleagues and the institution acknowledge that a Faculty member’s contributions since promotion to the rank of Associate Professor are exemplary. At this point, the expectation is that the Faculty member has provided evidence of the accumulated worth of his/her contributions through publications, grants, awards, peer acknowledgements, editorships, professional demand, or other evidence in one or a variety of academic roles, while simultaneously maintaining high quality teaching and advising as assigned. Reputation, influence, initiative, productivity, and disciplined leadership are all considerations. The rank of Professor carries with it certain prestige and responsibility toward being a model of good citizenship in the academy.

          As with promotion to Associate Professor, while the most significant and necessary attribute is peer-reviewed articles in significant research journals, these activities might take the form of, but are not limited to, scholarly books, monographs, articles in state or regional journals, book chapters, conference presentations, and other forms of dissemination. Promotion to the rank of Professor requires first authorship in several instances and suggests leadership within collaborative grants or consultations.  The candidate is also expected to have demonstrated continued contributions in the area of service to the School, College, and University; this is critically important and often takes the form of mentoring doctoral students through serving on coursework advisory committees and co-chairing or chairing dissertation committees. Demonstrated, increased scholarly leadership in the profession at the national and/or international level is also an expectation, such as international teaching and outreach efforts.

  4. Promotion Considerations for Regional Faculty

    Regional Faculty standing for promotion to Associate Professor should use the criteria for promotion for Kent campus faculty as a basis for creating a scholarly agenda.  As with reappointment and tenure, while the expectations of quality remain the same, given the emphasis on teaching and service on the regional campuses, the same quantity is not expected.

    For Promotion to Professor, once more, the School’s expectations of regional campus faculty standing for Professor, while generally the same in terms of quality, would not be as extensive in terms of quantity.  A Professor at the regional campus would have a sustained record of strong teaching, as evidenced by “Very Good” to “Excellent” scores for Question 19 (or its current equivalent) on the SSI; consistent service across a variety of committees/projects/initiatives across the regional campus and which has grown since the awarding of tenure, along with some professional leadership roles within the Faculty member’s discipline—with again, an increase in responsibility and influence since promotion to Associate; and scholarship which supports disciplinary impact as evidenced by the Faculty member’s contextual statement, and documented by both status of publications and external review letters.

  5. Annual Review for Faculty

    Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, full-time, tenured Faculty are responsible for documenting their accomplishments for the previous year.  Faculty are to follow the timeline and guidelines supplied within the CBA

    At the request of either party, the School Director will meet with a faculty member to review her or his accomplishments from the past year. When appropriate, the Director can offer guidance for the improvement of performance. Also, this annual review may be linked more formally to merit consideration, when Faculty Excellence Awards are available. See Section IV for more information about these awards.