Tenure and Promotion | Department of Sociology Handbook | Kent State University

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.