Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion

The Department of Sociology criteria for the evaluation of Faculty have as their foundation the assumption that all Faculty are scholars and professionals; that as scholars each is committed to the University's missions of teaching, research and service.  As professionals, each is committed to advancing the discipline of sociology and criminology.  In both arenas, our Faculty are committed to the highest ethical standards in relations with students, in the conduct of research, and in presentations to the public.  In all our professional and scholarly roles all members of the Department adhere to the statement of the Code of Ethics of the American Sociological Association (June, 1997; or the Code of Ethics of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (March, 200; and to the “Redbook” (or the Policy and Documents Report, 1995) of the American Association of University Professors.

  1. Reappointment

    The policies and procedures for reappointment are included in the University policy and procedures regarding Faculty reappointment (See, University Policy Register 3342-6-16).  In reviewing the terms and conditions of reappointment, tenure, and promotion, these policies should be consulted.  Each academic year, reappointment guidelines for Kent and Regional Campus Faculty are distributed by the Office of the Provost.  Probationary tenure-track Faculty members are reviewed by the Department’s Ad Hoc RTP Committee (See, Section III of this Handbook).  The unit administrator will make copies of the guidelines, timetables and other information concerning reappointment reviews available to all probationary Faculty members no later than three weeks before the deadline for submission of materials, which is at the end of the first week of the semester.   The Chair, in consultation with the FAC, assigns Faculty members to evaluate the classes of each probationary Faculty member’s teaching performance.   A written report of the evaluation is submitted to the Chair for placement in the Faculty member’s reappointment file. 

    Each probationary Faculty member is discussed by the RTP committee which then votes on the Faculty member’s reappointment. Members of the RTP committee must vote one of three alternatives, ‘yes,’ ‘yes, with reservations,’ or ‘no.’ A simple majority of the reappointment committee members will constitute an endorsement to the unit administrator for reappointment.  A vote of ‘yes with reservations’ counts as a positive vote to reappoint the probationary Faculty member, but it should be considered by the candidate to indicate an expression of concern regarding progress.  Upon reappointment, the candidate is encouraged to take note of the written comments associated with any “yes, with reservations” and /or “no” votes and should address these concerns in the next years’ review.

    The Chair independently assesses the accomplishments of each probationary Faculty member and forwards her/his recommendation and the committee's recommendation to the Dean.  The Chair 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 Chair are forwarded to the Dean and the appropriate Regional Campus Dean.

    In the event that concerns about a candidate’s performance are raised during the reappointment process, the Ad Hoc RTP Committee and the Chair shall provide detailed, prescriptive comments to serve as constructive feedback.  The Chair, in consultation with the FAC, will advise and work with the candidate on a suitable, positive plan for realignment with the Department’s tenure and promotion expectations; however, the candidate is solely responsible for her/his success in implementing this plan.  For Faculty members following the traditional tenure clock for Assistant Professors, the review after completion of three (3) full years in the probationary period at Kent State University is particularly critical.  The review will give candidates specific feedback on their progress toward tenure and that message is both instructive and evaluative.”

    From time to time, personal and/or family circumstances may 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 3342-6-13)

  2. Tenure and Promotion

    The three missions of university Faculty are: (1) Teaching; (2) Research; (3) Service.


    Generally, Faculty are expected to contribute to each of these missions, though not all in the same way nor with necessarily the same emphasis.  The relative emphasis is guided by the terms of the initial appointment as modified by University and Department needs, the career stage of the individual, the professional expectations of the discipline, and the talents of individual Faculty members.


    As a community of scholars, the Department welcomes the diversity of approaches that scholarship can take.  Sociological and criminological scholarship embraces a number of different research paradigms and methodologies including quantitative, qualitative and multidisciplinary research programs.  Hence, sociological and criminological scholarship agendas and career trajectories vary based on these different paradigms.  In this Department, for Faculty involved in graduate instruction, publications in sociology and criminology journals and presentations at sociology and criminology regional, national and international meetings carries the highest weighting.  For Faculty appointed primarily as undergraduate instructors, the teaching mission carries the highest weighting. 

    For Tenure, the documented performance relative to the missions of the University and Department must clearly show that the candidate has achieved the levels of performance appropriate to the expectations set forth at the time of appointment and as reflected in the annual reappointment reviews.  The policies and procedures for tenure are included in the University policy and procedures regarding Faculty tenure (See, University Policy Register 3342-6-14) and the policies and procedures for promotion are included in the University policy and procedures regarding Faculty promotion (See, University Policy Register 3342-6-15).  Each academic year, tenure and promotion guidelines for Kent and Regional Campus Faculty are distributed by the Office of the Provost.  While tenure and promotion decisions are separate, the Department generally expects to recommend tenure and promotion in the same year.  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.  The awarding of tenure must be based on convincing documented evidence that the Faculty member has achieved a significant body of scholarship that has had an impact on her/his discipline, effective instruction, and has provided an adequate level of service.  The candidate is also expected to continue and sustain, over the long term, a program of high quality teaching, scholarship and relevant to the mission of the candidate’s academic unit(s) and to the mission of the University.  Tenure considerations can include evaluation of accomplishments prior to arrival at Kent State University to examine consistency, as well as grant proposals submitted but not funded, proposals pending, papers “in press,” graduate students currently advised, and any other materials that may reflect on the candidate’s potential for a long-term successful career.  The tenure decision is based on all of the evidence available to determine the candidate’s potential to pursue a productive career. On the other hand, promotion is recognition based on a candidate’s accomplishments completed during the review period and promotion decisions are based on papers published, grants received and graduate students graduated during the review period, as well as teaching evaluations and service to the University.

    For Promotion, the documented performance relative to the missions of the University and Department must clearly show that the candidate is performing at an acceptable level in research, teaching and service.  In the case of promotion to full professor in addition to acceptable performance in other areas, the candidate must also supply documented evidence of outstanding scholarship in research.  Consideration for promotion to Professor differs from consideration for promotion to Associate Professor.  Promotion to Associate Professor is recognition for establishing a career likely to achieve national/international prominence as evidenced by extramural grants activity, papers published in the refereed scientific literature, students graduated, etc.  Promotion to Professor recognizes the highest level of university achievement and national/international prominence.  Evidence for this prominence includes a record of extramural grant activity and a record of increased prominence in and impact on the field. 

  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 tables and text below are designed to facilitate assessment of performance of those candidates who are being evaluated for tenure and promotion.  During the probationary period, these tools should be used for developmental assistance and projection of future success in achieving tenure and promotion.

    Tables 2, 3 and 4 provide guidelines for the assessment of a Faculty member’s performance in scholarship, teaching and service. For promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor the Faculty member must meet the criteria for an acceptable rating in scholarship, teaching and service. These same categories and assessment tools apply for tenure decisions.

    A candidate for promotion to Professor must meet the criteria for exceptional scholarship as evidenced by excellence in one or more of the following: publications, grant activity or presentations.  Additionally, teaching and service must be acceptable.  


    Scholarship is an essential and critical component of University activity. The originality, quality, impact and value of the work must be assessed.  To assist this process, the candidate shall submit the names of at least five (5) experts in her/his field who are considered capable of judging the candidate's work.  Moreover, 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 number and size of grants received and in the scope and time required for research and the resulting publications. 

    In addition to funded research and scholarly publications, other scholarly activities including but not limited to serving on national grant review bodies, presenting at refereed professional meetings, chairing society committees, and presenting papers before learned societies should be considered. 

    Standards for the Evaluation of Scholarship:  

    From Soc Handbook: Measures of  Performance:  Scholarship

    1.         Recognition in one's major field may be offered as evidence of scholarly activity.  This recognition may be in the form of:

    a.         Professionally publications and papers presented.

    b.         Awards, prizes and lectureships.

    c.         Extramural grant activity.

    2.          A minimum of three letters of reference from scholars outside the University attesting to the candidate's scholarly reputation are required for promotion to any rank.


    All Faculty of the Department are expected to seek excellence in scholarly activity.  Indicators on which the assessment of the quality of scholarly activity is based are provided in Tables 2.

    Indicators of the quality of a Faculty member’s research record include the quality and quantity of published work as well as the Faculty member’s extramural grant activity.  All Faculty members in the Department are expected to produce records of scholarship that reflect their disciplinary focus and the attributes of an individual Faculty member’s scholarly activity will vary across disciplines.

    To achieve “excellent” in the category of the scholarship at the time a Faculty member stands for tenure and promotion, she/he should have established a research program which demonstrates an impact upon his/her discipline.

    Within this context, during annual reappointment reviews, each Faculty member who will seek tenure or promotion is obligated to provide evidence supporting his/her scholarly record.  This obligation will be met by providing specific information about article and journal quality and impact, extramural grant activity, and description in the Faculty member’s supplementary materials of any other evidence of scholarship that the Faculty member deems appropriate.  In turn, the members of the Department’s Ad Hoc RTP Committee and the Chair shall evaluate a candidate’s record in light of the Department’s expectations for a successful tenure decision.    

    Table 2. Tenure and Promotion: Research1




    Demonstrated record of publications1 in top tier journals or publishers, extramural grants funded, and presentations at national meetings. 


    Demonstrated record of publications and extramural grant activity, and presentations at regional and national meetings.


    Promising record of publications and presentations.


    Limited record of publications and presentations

    1Publications include peer-reviewed journal articles, books, book chapters, and other scholarly publications.  Evaluation of publication record will include assessment of  quality and impact on the field (e.g., journal impact factor, quality of publisher, citations, etc.). 

    2.  Teaching

    Criteria for the evaluation of teaching are listed in Table 3.  Course revision is defined as making a substantial modification to a course such as the addition of distance learning options.

    Other information such as written comments from students, colleagues within and beyond the Department, College or University administrators shall be considered when available.  Peer reviews and summaries of Student Surveys of Instruction (including all student comments) will be included as part of a candidate’s file for reappointment, tenure and promotion.  Copies of representative syllabi, examinations, and other relevant teaching material should also be available for review.  Documentation related to working with students should be included and provided by a candidate for reappointment, tenure and promotion.  Faculty members are expected to mentor graduate students.

    Table 3. Tenure and Promotion: Teaching




    Outstanding student and peer evaluation, recipient of teaching award(s), and successfully mentoring and chairing graduate student committees.


    Excellent student and peer evaluations, and successfully mentoring and chairing graduate student committees and/or undergraduate students in research.


    Good student and peer evaluations and working with students.


    Poor student evaluations significantly below Department means.

    3.  Service

    Being an active and useful citizen of the Department, Campus, College and University is expected and valued.  Expectations in service for promotion to Professor are higher than for promotion to Associate Professor. There are two aspects to the service mission:  service which is essential to the functioning of the Department and University, and service to the discipline of sociology and criminology.  The latter is typically done outside the University (e.g., professional associations, the community, etc.).  Service to the discipline includes such activities as the following: editor/reviewer of journal; manuscript/grant reviewer; major office/assignment in professional association.  Other components of service are also considered (including public outreach and public and professional service) in reappointment, tenure and promotion decisions and may differ in their importance among Faculty members depending on each Faculty member’s duties and responsibilities within the Department. 

    Table 4. Tenure and Promotion: Service




    Participates in Department, College, and University and/ or Professional organizations as evidenced by productive service on committees, active participation in significant events, effectively chairing committees, specific administrative assignments, meaningful professional engagement.


    Regularly serves on Department level committees.


    Does not regularly participate in service activities.