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  • F. Guidelines for Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion
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Approved by the faculty February 9, 1976. Revisions approved by the faculty March 22, 2010.

Decisions about reappointment, tenure, and promotion at Colgate University are based on the quality of performance in three areas: teaching, scholarship, and service to the University. Colgate University seeks a faculty of teacher-scholars of high quality. Excellence in teaching is the most important consideration. Yet excellence in teaching, though necessary, is not alone sufficient for retention or advancement; it cannot compensate for scholarship that is not of high quality. Similarly, no degree of excellence in scholarship and service to the University can compensate for teaching that is not of high quality. Service to the University is the third area of consideration. Different candidates may contribute to the University in different ways, but service of high quality is expected of all.

While performance in these three areas will govern decisions on all levels of retention and advancement, it should be understood that reappointment, tenure, and promotion represent different kinds of commitment on the part of the University and that expectations will consequently vary with the decision under question. It should further be understood that these decisions, especially those involving promotion with tenure, are made on a highly selective basis. In decisions about promotion to Associate Professor with tenure, excellence in teaching and scholarship are the principal criteria, while service is a third, though less, important criterion. Candidates for promotion to Full Professor are expected to demonstrate excellence in teaching and in scholarship, and to have made significant service contributions to the University. The relative weighting of scholarship, teaching, and service may be different in decisions for promotion to Full Professor than in decisions for reappointment and tenure because tenured faculty may contribute to the University in ways that differ from junior faculty. The goal of the university is to promote qualified candidates between six and ten years after tenure; earlier promotion is contingent upon a record of outstanding scholarly achievement.


1. Teaching Teaching is a complex task that helps students gain knowledge, understanding, and skill in an academic subject or discipline, and enables students to use ideas and think for themselves in a liberal, open-minded manner. Its evaluation requires consideration of several characteristics which should be reflected in the instructor’s performance: commitment to teaching, effectiveness as a teacher, and knowledge and mastery of the discipline.

Colgate considers teaching to be a professional commitment on the part of the instructor. Enthusiasm for teaching need not be overtly demonstrative. A quiet and deliberative manner may serve as well as a more dramatic approach, but there should be evidence of a sustained interest in teaching as a vocation.

An instructor should also be an effective teacher. Though difficult to measure, effectiveness should include an ability to inspire enthusiasm in students for the discipline and for independent work, an ability to convey central insights into the subject, and an ability to evaluate fairly and constructively the work of students, while maintaining high standards of excellence, as well as the ability to teach in a fashion that both reflects and encourages the spirit of critical intellectual inquiry and discourse consistent with principles of academic freedom and intellectual integrity.

The instructor should possess knowledge and mastery of the discipline. The instructor’s teaching should reflect both depth and breadth: a responsibility to the best and most rigorous work in the subject, as well as to the broader outlines of the discipline, including its connection with the liberal arts in general.

These qualities of teaching should be evident in departmental courses, as well as all other courses taught in the Colgate program.

Since the quality of teaching is an important criterion for reappointment, tenure, and promotion, solid evidence of it must be secured. (Peer Review of Teaching is described in Section G.3. below.) Tenured colleagues should be in a position to assess the classroom effectiveness of the instructor, particularly if they have participated in team-taught courses, attended several of the instructor’s classes, or discussed various approaches to teaching with the instructor. Senior members of the department and directors of other University programs in which the instructor participates should comment on the candidate’s knowledge of the discipline as a whole (in addition to the candidate’s specialty), capacity to contribute courses that effectively articulate departmental or programmatic needs and objectives, and willingness to work with students in classroom functions, in advising, and outside of class.

Students are in a position to provide important evidence on teaching. Student evaluations of teaching from recent semesters form an important part of the dossiers of members of the faculty who are being considered for reappointment, continuous tenure, or promotion. In the evaluations, students are asked to describe the effort they put into their courses, how the teaching contributed to their intellectual growth and development, and to comment on the specific strengths and weaknesses of the teaching in the course. These evaluations, which reflect student perception, provide evidence regarding the degree to which the instructor’s teaching is challenging, demanding, and effective. They are one of several indicators of teaching quality. Additional evidence bearing upon the quality of an individual’s teaching may include the following: course development, curricular revision in a department or program, or pedagogical innovation; participation in Core, interdisciplinary courses, or First-Year Seminars; teaching on study groups; directing senior theses, independent studies, or undergraduate research; incorporating service learning. As always, the standard of judgment in evaluating contributions of these kinds must be one of professional excellence.

Departments may also attempt to obtain outside evaluations of teaching excellence. Examples include student performance after graduation and evaluations of course-related materials prepared by the instructor. In addition, colleagues within the University might be asked to evaluate the individual’s contributions within the University which bear upon the qualities of teaching excellence discussed above.


2. Scholarship Colgate University expects that its faculty will be productive scholars of high quality. Scholarship is important in its own right for the advancement of knowledge; it is important also in the institution’s role as a leader of the educational community and for the improvement of teaching, as a means by which teaching is continually refreshed and revitalized. The quality of a candidate’s scholarship, therefore, is another important criterion for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.

In its highest form, scholarship denotes original research in a scholarly field or discipline, or its equivalent expression in the creative arts. At this level, research seeks to advance the frontiers of the field or provide new insights into old problems and dilemmas. Scholars seek to make the results of their research available to professional colleagues for their evaluation and judgment through publication. In music, theater and the visual arts, performances and exhibitions are among the means by which artists present their work to a critical audience of professional colleagues. Publication of original research in scholarly journals, chapters in edited volumes, monographs, book-length studies, edited volumes, integrative work that makes a genuine theoretical contribution to a field, and presentation of papers at scholarly conferences, serve to insure that faculty members have a continuing involvement with their professional peers and that their scholarly work has been subjected to the criticism and insights of those best able to evaluate it.

Scholarship may also be reflected in publications that examine pedagogical aspects of one’s scholarly field or interpret one’s scholarly field to a general audience, or in activities such as editing a journal or reviewing manuscripts. Textbooks and other publications that synthesize the original research of others provide evidence of scholarship. Scholarly activities such as editing a journal serve to ensure that faculty members have an ongoing connection with their professional peers.

The evaluation of the quality of scholarship is made in a number of ways. In all cases the University should seek evidence appropriate to each discipline. Members of the department should be asked to evaluate a candidate’s published and unpublished work, which may include work presented in divisional colloquia and departmental seminars. Reviews in professional journals of the candidate’s work offer an independent evaluation of that work by professional peers, and those reviews should be systematically collected. Awards and grants to support scholarly research and creative activity may be yet another measure of evaluation of scholarly endeavors by a candidate’s professional colleagues. In the creative arts, evidence of the quality of professional activity should be gathered from department peers, members of similar departments at other institutions, other artists in the same field, or published reviews.

Departments are asked to evaluate the quality of venues in which the faculty member’s work has appeared. Department chairs or, where appropriate, division directors should solicit confidential evaluations of a candidate’s scholarly work from professional peers outside the University. The candidate should be informed of the individuals who are being asked to make such evaluations. The procedures for soliciting external evaluations of scholarship depend on the type of review being conducted. For promotion cases brought forward beyond the 15th year after tenure, the candidate, in consultation with the division director and department chair, shall have the option of selecting external reviewers who are appropriate for the appraisal of his/her scholarship after tenure. Specific procedures can be found in the guidelines (approved by the Committee on Promotion and Tenure and the Dean’s Advisory Council) that are sent to candidates and departments each year by the Dean of Faculty.


3. Service A faculty member contributes to the life of the University outside of the classroom in a number of ways — as a colleague, adviser, administrator, counselor, and participant in campus decision-making and governance. Such contributions are vital to Colgate as a residential college. The quality of a candidate’s service to the University community therefore constitutes a third important criterion for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.

Some types of service are very closely related to the teaching function. Advising students, whether academic, vocational, or personal, is an important responsibility of each faculty member. The accessibility of faculty members and their willingness to serve as undergraduate advisers help to distinguish the learning environment at Colgate. Furthermore, participation in departmental, divisional, and college-wide programs of lectures, seminars, colloquia, performances, exhibitions, readings, study groups, field trips, and the like enriches the entire intellectual life of the University. It is expected that faculty members will help develop library and laboratory resources in their field.

A faculty member exists among colleagues. All members of a department contribute to the scholarly and intellectual growth of the others — by reading one another’s papers, exchanging views on issues of common professional concern, discussing scholarly books and articles. The common educational enterprise unites departmental colleagues in various ways, as in planning a departmental curriculum, recruiting new faculty members, working with concentrators, developing honors programs, etc.; candidates interact with colleagues outside their departments in interdisciplinary endeavors, including the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum program. Colleagueship may be subtle and not always easy to evaluate, but it is important to developing and maintaining mutual respect, openness, and scholarly commitment.

Service on the various committees, commissions, task forces, planning groups, etc. is a normal part of each faculty member’s duties at the University. Activities that support the University’s goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community are a valued component of service. Service is also valuable when extended beyond the campus. Activities such as serving as an officer in a scholarly organization or organizing a conference session, or advancing primary or secondary education, contribute to the intellectual community and bring recognition to the University. In such broader community service, as in direct service to the institution, judgment should be based on the quality of an individual’s contribution.

Considerable flexibility is needed in evaluating a candidate’s service to the University community because of the great variety of activities that are subsumed under this term. Departmental colleagues should be asked to evaluate the candidate’s contributions to the work and intellectual life of the department. Others in the University (or, perhaps, beyond it) in positions to evaluate the candidate’s contributions in other areas should be asked to do so by the department chair or division director. Care must be taken at all levels to insure that the evaluations of the quality of the candidate’s service are fair and based on adequate evidence and that the academic and personal freedoms of each faculty member have been preserved.


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