Scholarship is an essential and critical component of University activity, and the three areas most valued by the Physics Department are peer-reviewed publications, extramural grants, and external recognition. These terms are characterized more specifically in footnotes to Table 2.   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.  A brief vita (typically one paragraph) of each such reference should be provided at the same time.   The candidate’s file should contain 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. A Faculty’s activity or accomplishment in scholarship often translates into one or more forms of external recognition by peers.  Such recognition is separately valued and weighed because it adds positively to the national and international reputation of the department and university.  Specific characterizations occur in the footnote to Table 2.

i)Kent Campus Faculty

All Faculty of the department are expected to seek excellence in scholarly activity.   Typical characterizations of four levels of performance are provided in Table 2.    For each level, the listed characterizations are meant to convey a clear sense of standards; they are not meant to be an exhaustive list or a mandatory check-list.    It is recognized that individual cases can bring accomplishments in areas that can’t be listed ahead of time.   Likewise, individual cases can sometimes display exceptionally high levels of accomplishment in some matters that outweigh lesser accomplishments in other matters.[1]  As footnotes to Table 2, characterizations are given for the key terms: publications, grants, proposals, and recognition to indicate in more depth the standards that are intended.


[1] E.g., it can happen that a scientific idea, thought by all to be of small importance, and published without peer-review, is subsequently found to be of supreme importance by the whole field; more so than most peer-reviewed papers.  It is appropriate to recognize this as an important publication.  It can also happen that a research grant award is so large and prestigious that it overshadows a below average publication record while the grant proposal and the supporting research were developed.


The Department particularly values a publishing record, of both quality and quantity, in refereed journals, as well as significant extramural funding of a Faculty’s scholarly program. 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 sub-areas.    Of particular importance for promotion to Professor is demonstrated impact upon the field as evidenced by citations.

Performance Level


Typical Indicators


Nationally/Internationally recognized research program

Sustained record of publications1 and grant2 support, invited Natn/Intn conference presentations, significant external academic recognition3.

Very Good

Emerging nationally

recognized research program

Record of publications, 1 grant award, sustained record of external grant proposals4, some Natn/Intn conference presentations, some external recognition.


Active research program

Some publications, some external proposals, some external presentations.


Limited or no research program

Occasional or no publications or meeting presentations, no grants, no external proposals.

Table 2. Kent Campus:  Characterizations of Performance Levels for Evaluations of Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion.

Note: definitions in footnotes below refer to the meaning of “publications,” “grants,” “proposals,” and “recognition” throughout Table 2.

[1] Publications include: papers published in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters published with editorial standards that include peer-review, and patents granted.  Quality of the journal or publishing house will weigh into the evaluation.  Papers of exceptional impact, quality, and those appearing in a major review journal are given particular consideration. 

2 Grants refers to extramural funding of a physics project that significantly reflects the Faculty’s role, typically at a co-principal investigator level, with the funds providing comprehensive support for the Faculty’s role in the project.  Ingredients that will be weighed include graduate student support, postdoctoral support, travel, Faculty summer salary, research instrumentation, and potential for renewal.

3 Recognitions include citations of peer-reviewed publications; invited or keynote presentations at international/national conferences; awards, prizes and honors; election to office in academic/professional societies; membership of editorial boards; membership on advisory or program committees of national/international conferences or review panels of federal funding agencies, etc.

4Proposals refer to principal investigator (or co-principal investigator) of one or more proposals submitted for grants to support a Faculty’s research and scholarship.  Weighting will depend on the number and potential of the grant proposals.  Higher weight is given to external proposals that request stipend support for dissertation students carrying out part of the program.


ii) Regional Campus Faculty:

Departmental criteria are used to assess the scholarship of Department Faculty who are assigned to the Regional Campuses; however, due to differences in the missions of the Kent and Regional Campuses, resources that may be available for research, and differences in the nature of Faculty appointments on the Kent and Regional Campuses, the weighting of the categories of scholarship, teaching and University citizenship for Regional Campus Faculty in the Department of Physics is established by the Regional Campus to which the Faculty member is assigned.  Thus, the Kent Campus Ad Hoc RTP Committee and Chair will provide recommendations based on the Departmental criteria, as weighted by the Regional Campus.

To this end, Regional Campus Faculty should ensure that a copy of their particular campus handbook weighting of criteria are included with the Reappointment, Tenure, and/or Promotion materials submitted to the Department for evaluation.


iii) Quality of Publication Journals

In assessing performance in the area of publication, the quality of journals must be taken into account.   Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, the impact factor, whether they are refereed or not, their relative quality among the journals that cater to the subfield, and the nature of the scholarship being reported. For example, the journals Nature and Science have high impact factors that reflect a readership that caters to several large but specifically limited sub-areas of science.   A very small proportion of physics papers are suitable for publication there; for many sub-areas of physics the top journals are others.   In evaluation of Faculty scholarship in a particular sub-area, it is more relevant to determine the quality of journals that cater to that sub-area.   If the paper is published in the top ranks of those area-specific journals, then the journal quality is high.  

The comparison of short letter-size papers with full-length comprehensive papers also has a number of considerations, besides impact factor and sub-area journal quality, that must be weighed to get a true picture. Not all research results are appropriate to the short letter rapid communication format; nor are all appropriate to a full length comprehensive exposition.   Research on a new system with a well-established technique can often be best communicated in a letter journal, while a newly formulated technique often needs a full-length comprehensive exposition to make a publishable and appropriate case.  Again, the key consideration is: given the nature of the material, is the paper published in the top ranks of the context-specific journals.