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Chapter 4
Tenure and Promotion

Return to Office of the Secretary of the Faculty

Faculty Committee on Tenure and Promotion

The Committee on Tenure and Promotion is composed of six tenured members of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering elected by the faculty, and the provost ex officio without vote. Prior to taking a final vote, T&P meets with members of the administration to discuss the merits of the case. When the committee has completed its deliberations, the chair communicates its recommendations to the school dean and to the candidate and his/her chair. Then the deans of the School of Arts and Sciences or the dean of the School of Engineering, in conjunction with the provost, consider the matter and send a recommendation to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. Ordinarily the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees considers tenure and promotion matters at the spring meeting, just prior to Commencement. The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees acts, and only then is tenure officially conferred. This action is reported by the school dean and to the chair of the candidate's department, who communicates it to the candidate.

The Committee on Tenure and Promotion periodically issues statements and reports that clarify the standards and procedures involved in evaluating faculty members for tenure and promotion. The majority of these statements are procedural in nature and have been superseded by more current statements from the committee. Statements 1 (issued in 1970 and revised in 1986 and 1989) and 12 (issued in 2005 and revised in 2013) are the most recently published documents and appear below, along with a link to the current version of Statement 11, which typically changes on an annual basis to accommodate changes in procedure. Copies of previous statements are available in the Office of the Provost from the Secretary of the Faculty.

Statement 1 (1970; Revised 1989)

The criteria for awards of tenure and/or promotion are in general terms familiar to all: quality of mind, creativity, scholarship, teaching effectiveness, and contributions to the university and the profession. The committee looks for evidence of excellence in all of these areas in every candidate, but does not apply a rigid formula.

We expect evidence of excellence in scholarship in all tenure and in all promotion cases. In tenure cases, clear promise of continued productive scholarship is particularly important. Cases involving promotion of previously tenured faculty should confirm that initial promise is being realized and that the candidate has achieved substantial professional recognition. The quality of scholarship is traditionally judged by one's peers through published works. Papers read at meetings of learned societies, lectures to knowledgeable public groups, and participation in colloquia or panel discussions at one's own or other universities may also be given consideration. Creative works—literary, artistic, engineering, and other professional—are further kinds of evidence for the judgment of quality of mind.

We look for excellent teaching and advising. Innovative teaching in all areas is valued. We hold that research is directly and indirectly related to quality and substance of teaching and believe that creative engagement in new developments within the field is essential. Among the criteria used are student evaluations, peer assessments, and other appropriate measures. Unless a teacher is renewed intellectually, a high quality of teaching cannot be maintained.

Participation in the academic community is also part of the normal expected responsibilities of a Tufts professor. The quality of this kind of activity constitutes part of an individual's credentials, as does the role an individual plays in the wider community. In the area of service, the committee does distinguish between tenure and promotion-only cases. In promotion-only cases, we expect a solid record and commitment to university and professional life. Our expectations are less in tenure cases, but we always look for demonstrated capacity to serve and quality of service.

Statement 11, Application and Review Procedures for Tenure and Promotion

Review Statement 11, which changes regularly >

Statement 12 (March 30, 2005; Revised 2013)

The general criteria for the award of tenure and promotion at Tufts University have remained essentially unchanged since they were first articulated in Statement 1 (1970, revised 1986 and 1989). Nevertheless the Tenure & Promotion Committee has periodically found it useful to clarify these criteria, first by publishing Statement 12 in 2005 and subsequently revising it in 2013.

The Committee reiterates that recommendations for tenure and for promotion are based on a comprehensive evaluation of each candidate's scholarship, teaching, and service. We emphasize that there is no universally applicable standard of scholarly productivity that entitles a candidate to a positive recommendation. Because expectations regarding forms of scholarly output (e.g. books, journal articles, translations, artistic works) vary among the disciplines, the departmental statement should clarify such expectations. In addition to scholarship, serious consideration is also given to teaching and service. To evaluate teaching, the Committee examines course evaluations and letters from mentees. Comparisons of the candidate's course evaluation scores with averages from other faculty teaching the same or similar courses are important. The Committee also welcomes additional evidence of enthusiasm for and innovation in teaching. In evaluating service, the Committee considers participation in the academic community at the departmental, university and professional levels.

Tenure & Promotion to Associate Professor

In evaluating scholarship for tenure cases, the Committee looks for evidence of significant scholarly accomplishments coupled with the clear promise of continued productivity. The general criteria used to evaluate tenure cases are as follows:

  • Scholarly productivity. The totality of the candidate's scholarly works in relation to time will be considered. Periods during which the tenure clock has been stopped will not be included.

  • Evidence of scholarly contributions distinct from those of mentors and collaborators. In many fields collaboration is necessary and highly valued, and the ability to establish fruitful collaborations with excellent colleagues is viewed positively. Nonetheless it is essential that the candidate's individual contributions be clearly explained and demonstrated.

  • Significant contributions to the candidate's field of study. The letters written by outside experts provide an indispensable measure of the candidate's scholarly impact. It is therefore of the greatest importance that these letters be obtained from distinguished colleagues with an arms-length relationship to the candidate who can objectively evaluate the significance of the candidate's scholarly contributions.

  • Teaching: The Committee looks for evidence of excellence in teaching and mentorship.

  • Service: Candidates are expected to have demonstrated a willingness to contribute to the greater academic community at the departmental, university or professional levels.

Promotion to Full Professor

The typical interval before candidates would put themselves forward for promotion to full professor is six years post-tenure. In the belief that the strength of a university is based on the intellectual achievements of its faculty, promotion will be based primarily on evidence of scholarly contributions and stature within the candidate's field. However, recommendations for promotion are based on a comprehensive evaluation of the candidate's scholarship, teaching, and service, and the Committee expects demonstrable contributions in all three areas. The general criteria used to evaluate promotion cases are as follows:
  • Scholarly productivity. The Committee expects candidates for promotion to show a level of scholarly accomplishment since tenure that equals or exceeds whatever was required to earn tenure.

  • Significant contributions to the candidate's field of study. Candidates for promotion should have well-established reputations in their fields; this includes international recognition in fields where it is appropriate.

  • Teaching: Candidates for promotion are expected to demonstrate a continuing commitment to excellence in teaching and mentorship.

  • Service: The Committee looks for evidence of active participation in departmental, university and professional life.