Criteria for Tenure and Promotion

The Ad Hoc RTP Committee shall consider faculty performance in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and university service when making recommendations on tenure and promotion. The following is designed to facilitate assessment of performance of those candidates who are being evaluated for tenure and promotion. During the probationary period, these criteria should be used for developmental assistance and projection of future success in achieving tenure and promotion.

For promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor the faculty member must receive an evaluation of “excellent” in either scholarship or teaching with at least a “very good” in the other category as defined below. University citizenship must at least meet the minimum Department criteria. These same categories and criteria apply for tenure decisions.

A candidate for promotion to Professor must meet the criteria for an “excellent” rating in scholarship and teaching. University citizenship must exceed the minimum Department criteria.

  1. Scholarship

    Scholarship is an essential and critical component of University activity. The Department places major emphasis on research and scholarly activity. Within this context, during annual reappointment reviews, each Kent Campus 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, funding history and plans, 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. Research and scholarship may be documented by publication in reputable refereed professional journals, by papers presented at professional meetings, by research grants and contracts, and by reputation of good scholarship recognized by respected members of the Earth Science community. In addition, ongoing research programs involving active participation with, and direction of, students at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels will be used as evidence of scholarly 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. These latter activities complement scholarly publications and grant funded research. Faculty members are expected to participate in professional activities such as holding membership in professional societies, attending and participating in institutes and seminars, or organizing institutes, seminars, and workshops, insofar as such activities enhance their professional competency. 

  2. Standards for the Evaluation of Scholarship and Research

    All faculty of the department are expected to seek excellence in scholarly activity. Indicators of the quality of a faculty member’s research record include a combination of the quality and quantity of published work, the quality of written reviews of grant proposals submitted, as well as the faculty member’s success in obtaining extramural funds. 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.

    A ‘very good’ evaluation for successful tenure and promotion to Associate Professor can be earned by RTP Kent Campus faculty who publish on average one to two first-tier manuscripts per year, who have supervised graduate students, who have applied on a regular basis for external funding, and who have been awarded a major external grant. An ‘excellent’ evaluation is earned when the RTP KC faculty exceeds the standard of ‘very good’ on a regular basis. In addition, to achieve “excellence” in the category of scholarship at the time a Kent Campus faculty member stands for tenure and promotion, she/he should have established a research program which demonstrates an impact upon her/his discipline.  In addition to achieving “excellence” as defined above, awarding of additional external grant support will be considered excellent for promotion to Full Professor for Kent Campus faculty. Kent Campus Faculty being considered for promotion to either Associate or Full Professor must have achieved and maintained F4 Graduate Faculty status.

    It is ‘very good’ for a Regional Campus faculty member to have demonstrated a record of pursuit of external funding for research or teaching and to have published on average a first tier manuscript every other year in being considered for Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion. An ‘excellent’ evaluation for promotion to Associate Professor is earned when the RTP Regional Campus faculty member exceeds the standard of ‘very good’ on a regular basis. Continuation of this standard is required for consideration of promotion to Full Professor.

  3. Teaching

    Peer reviews and summaries of Student Surveys of Instruction (SSI) must be submitted as part of a candidate’s file for reappointment, tenure and promotion; these data must be cumulative in the file so that comparison can be made from year to year. In interpreting student evaluations, factors likely to affect student evaluations for specific courses should be taken into account (e.g., whether the class is large or small, required vs. elective course, etc.). Copies of representative syllabi, examinations, and other relevant teaching material should also be available for review. Additionally, course development and efforts to improve instruction via technology, innovation, and awareness and usage of current pedagogical practices will be considered in the evaluation of teaching. Documentation related to graduate student, undergraduate student, and post-doctoral fellow training should be included in materials provided by a candidate for reappointment, tenure and promotion. Other information such as written comments from students and/or colleagues within and beyond the Department, College, or University administrators shall be considered when available.

    Paragraph revised to remove reference to SSI norms (approved by faculty Sept., 2017)
    A very good evaluation of teaching can be earned by achieving positive peer evaluations, and by Student Surveys of Instruction (SSI) responses that show a trajectory of improvement or are generally “good” or better for CORE courses and “very good” or better for non-CORE courses. SSI responses and peer evaluations should demonstrate that the faculty member has had a constructive and positive impact on students’ learning experience overall. Faculty members at the Kent Campus are expected to mentor graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows. A very good evaluation in graduate student advising is measured, in part, by advisee timely degree-completion and by publications that follow from the degree. An excellent evaluation of teaching can be earned by exceeding these criteria for CORE and non-CORE courses, and, in part, by innovative instructional practices and outcomes at the undergraduate and/or graduate level, grants related to instruction, nominations for, or receipt of, teaching awards given by the University, College or a professional organization, in addition to other measures of excellent teaching.

  4. University Citizenship

    It is very good for faculty members to be involved in department, campus, or university affairs, as well as in professional and/or community service, and public outreach, and this is the expected departmental minimum. The merits of University service should be evaluated as to (1) whether or not the candidate chaired the committee, (2) the importance of the service to the mission of the unit served, and (3) tangible evidence of contributions as a committee member. Less tangible components of citizenship include active participation in department events such as faculty and graduate student recruitment, seminars, department meetings and seminars, etc. Being an active and useful citizen of the Department, Campus, College, and University is very good; however, service of any magnitude cannot be considered more important than a candidate's research and other scholarly activity and instructional responsibilities. Expectations in service for promotion to Professor are higher than for promotion to Associate Professor. Professional public service may involve service in professional organizations, advising to governmental agencies or community groups, journal editing, manuscript/proposal reviewing, or speaking engagements with local organizations.


    Appointment to Faculty Ranks

    1. Faculty Appointments

      Normally, an earned doctoral degree in a related discipline is required for all faculty appointments to a tenure-track position in the Department.

    2. Faculty Ranks

      The basic definitions of faculty ranks are the following:

      1. Instructor

        This rank is intended for persons initially hired with a master's degree. Normally, the Department does not hire at the rank of Instructor except under unusual circumstances

      2. Assistant Professor

        This rank is normally the entry level rank for tenure-track or non-tenure-track faculty holding the doctorate in an appropriate discipline. 

      3. Associate Professor

        Hire to or promotion to this rank presumes prior service as an Assistant Professor, significant academic achievements, and possession of the doctorate in an appropriate discipline (See, Section V of this Handbook). 

      4. Professor

        Promotion to this rank requires credentials and achievements beyond those required for promotion to Associate Professor, and it is reserved for senior faculty members who have achieved significant recognition in their discipline (See, Section V of this Handbook). 

      5. Research Associate and Research Assistant

        These ranks are reserved for individuals who are engaged in research and who are not normally assigned teaching responsibilities.  Such positions are typically supported by extramural grant funds and are not tenure-track appointments.  Faculty who hold these ranks do not vote on Department committees and do not participate in Department governance.

      6. Adjunct Faculty Appointments

        These appointments are held primarily by faculty from other departments or institutions or professional on the staffs of government or industry-based agencies and organizations. Adjunct faculty appointments are made at the discretion of the Chair in consultation with the FAC. Adjunct faculty members do not vote on Department Committees and do not participate in Department governance.

      7. Visiting Faculty Appointments

        Visiting faculty appointments at an appropriate faculty rank may be made when leaves of absence occur or special needs arise and funds are available. A visiting faculty member is typically a faculty member from another institution who is employed by the Department for a period not to exceed one (1) year.  Visiting faculty do not vote on Department Committees and do not participate in Department governance.

      8. Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTT) Appointments

        Full-time non-tenure track faculty (NTT) appointments are made on an annual basis (See, Section VI of this Handbook). NTT appointments are not included under the umbrella of the University policy and procedures regarding faculty tenure (See, University Policy Register 3342-6-14) and NTT faculty members are not entitled to any rights with regard to tenure.

      9. Part-Time Faculty Appointments

        When the Kent Campus Department cannot meet its teaching needs from the ranks of its full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, full-time non-tenure track (NTT) faculty and graduate students, part-time faculty appointments will be made to qualified applicants not currently on regular appointment at the University.

      10. Graduate Faculty Status

        As a doctoral degree granting department, the Department normally requires that all faculty hired for tenure-track positions be eligible for appointment to the graduate faculty as associate or full members. The Administrative policy regarding graduate faculty is included in the University Policy Register.  (See, University Policy Register 3342-6-15.1) The Department recognizes that members of the Faculty who advise and mentor graduate students have a special responsibility to maintain their expertise and knowledge in the areas of research in which they advise students. Faculty may demonstrate the currency of their expertise and knowledge by peer-reviewed publications that meet basic editorial criteria. To ensure that all faculty have equal access to a list of journals fulfilling these criteria, the Department accepts journals listed in the Thomson-ISI master journal list ( at the time status is determined. Other manuscripts will also be considered at the discretion of the Chairperson following consultation with the FAC. Additionally, the Department accepts maps with accompanying text published by National, State, or Provincial Geological surveys as the equivalent of publication in a peer-reviewed publication as defined above. The Department explicitly excludes publications which appear in proceedings volumes of meetings because they do not provide sufficient documentation of currency of their expertise and knowledge in the field. The Department recognizes the following graduate faculty categories and qualifications for inclusion therein:

        Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty:  This status shall be assigned to faculty who have the Ph.D. but whose record of publications does not meet the standards provided below for full member. There are two categories of Associate Membership; numbering of categories corresponds to that of Recommendation for Appointment to the Graduate Faculty form.

        Associate Member 1: An Associate Member who may teach graduate courses and serve on master's committees:  This category is assigned to a faculty member who is well qualified to teach specific courses, and who has published one manuscript as defined above within the last five years.

        Associate Member 2: An Associate Member who may teach graduate courses, serve on master's committees, and direct master's theses: This category is assigned to a faculty member whose qualifications match those stated above for AM1 status and who is an active scholar who has published at least two publications as defined above within the last five years.

        Full Member of the Graduate Faculty:  This status shall be assigned to those faculty members who have attained the Ph.D. degree, who have produced scholarly research of sufficient quality to merit professional recognition, and who are effective in providing appropriate training of graduate students. All Full Members also qualify for membership levels 1) and 2) as listed on the Recommendation for Appointment to the Graduate Faculty form. The Department recognizes two levels of Full Membership, corresponding to those listed on the Recommendation for Appointment to the Graduate Faculty form as follows:

        Full Member 3: A Full Member of the Graduate Faculty who may direct Master's theses, serve on doctoral committees, and co-direct with departmental approval doctoral dissertations with a Graduate Faculty member who qualifies for full member 4 status (below). This category shall be assigned to those who, in addition to the basic requirements necessary to be qualified as a Graduate Faculty Member, are active scholars who have published at least three publications as defined above within the last five years.

        Full Member 4: A Full Member of the Graduate Faculty who may direct doctoral dissertations. This category shall be assigned to those who, in addition to the basic requirements necessary to be qualified as Full Members of the Graduate Faculty, are active scholars who have published at least four publications as defined above, within the last five years and who have actively pursued external funding to support graduate students and research expenses.  When proposals are not funded, the Graduate Faculty Committee may consider all proposal reviews as part of the documentation for Full Member 4 status. In the case that a newly-hired faculty member, has at least one publication as defined above, that person shall serve as a Full Member 4 and that person’s credentials will be reevaluated after three years and then on the customary departmental schedule thereafter. F4 faculty who have successfully advised a Ph.D. student to degree completion will be designated F4D.

        Temporary Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty: This status shall be assigned to a faculty member or an individual from another university, from a governmental agency, or from industry, whose participation in the graduate program is desired by the department for a limited time and for a limited objective.  This status is assigned to allow the appropriate instruction of a graduate course for a semester or service on a Master’s thesis or Doctoral dissertation committee.  Upon completion of the temporary assignment, the status of Temporary Associate Member is withdrawn.

        The assignment of Graduate Faculty members to teach graduate courses, serve on master's or doctoral committees, direct master's theses, direct doctoral dissertations, and to otherwise conduct the affairs of the graduate program of the department, remains the responsibility of the departmental Chairperson following customary procedure and consultation. Faculty members may request a review of their graduate faculty status at any time. If the review results in a positive recommendation, the graduate faculty status will be changed to include approvals for additional graduate faculty involvement according to the processes contained in the Graduate Faculty Membership Procedures of the College. The graduate faculty status of the faculty will be reviewed every five years by the Graduate Faculty Committee. Announcement of a periodic review will be made by the department at least one year in advance of the review and in consultation with the Graduate Dean.  Recommendations resulting from a review of graduate faculty status will be forwarded according to the Graduate Faculty Membership Procedures of the College. When a faculty member disagrees with the departmental Graduate Faculty Committee's recommendation, the faculty member may appeal to the Dean of the College who will institute a review of the graduate faculty status of the faculty member.