Revision of Guidelines for Promotion of Fixed-term Faculty to Senior Instructor

Revision of Guidelines for Promotion of Fixed-term Faculty to Senior Instructor

Background and rationale

The current Guidelines for Promotion of Fixed-Term Faculty to Senior Instructor attempts to provide a step-by-step process for promotion (and recognition) of full-time faculty who are not in the University’s tenure system. The Guidelines outline faculty eligibility requirements, criteria for promotion, review procedures, and required supporting documentation. According to this document, a faculty member seeking promotion to Senior Instructor must be nominated by his/her Division Head. Once nominated, the faculty member will assist the Division Head in the preparation of supporting documents to be used in the promotion review process.

Documentation for the review consists of Faculty Activity Reports (FARs) for the eight or more academic years prior to the review, including SRTEs, a representative number of peer evaluations, and accompanying annual letters of evaluation.

On the basis of recommendations from members of the Altoona College and Division Promotion and Tenure Committees, as well as from the College’s Senate leadership, the Committee on Faculty Affairs has drafted a revised set of guidelines for promotion of fixed-term faculty to Senior Instructor. The revised guidelines document addresses several interpretive and operational problems noted by divisional and college review committees while implementing the original form of this document. The revised guidelines addresses all of these past concerns and makes explicit the eligibility, criteria, and course(s) of action for faculty seeking promotion to Senior Instructor.

The revised set of guidelines as recommended by this committee incorporates the following improvements:

  1. The criteria for promotion are now explicitly stated. Promotion and tenure review committees will be better able to assess a candidate’s performance in three basic areas: teaching, efforts to remain current in the discipline(s) being taught, and service.
  2. Candidates for promotion will now prepare a dossier in consultation with the Division Head and the Promotion and Tenure Coordinator for the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in lieu of the 8-year collection of FARs. Past promotion and tenure review committees found the 8-year FAR documentation to be cumbersome and generally difficult to assess. Promotion and tenure review committees have more experience evaluating dossiers. In turn, candidates will be better able to communicate their cumulative accomplishments and contributions to the College.
  3. If there is disagreement between the faculty member and the Division Head about the presented case for promotion, an alternative means of nomination is now possible via the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee.
  4. For the review of faculty for promotion to senior instructor (including any reviews for nomination), the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee will include one senior instructor who will be elected from within the division. In addition, the College Tenure and Promotion Committee will include one elected senior instructor from the College.

Committee on Faculty Affairs
2012-13
Brad Pinter, Chair (EHDSS)
Kay Chick, Vice-Chair (EHDSS)
Marc Agee (B&E)
Sohail Anwar (B&E)
Mary Kananen (MNS)
Sharon LaCue (EHDSS)
Ilse-Rose Warg (A&H)

Guidelines for Promotion of Fixed-term Faculty to Senior Instructor

Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a process for promotion to recognize the cumulative accomplishments and contributions of regular full-time faculty who are not on the tenure track. This promotion is based on consistently demonstrated outstanding performance related to the individual's assignments in teaching and related activities, scholarship, and service.

Eligibility

These Altoona College guidelines cover all regular full-time faculty not in the University's tenure system who are subject to the review and evaluation procedures of the Altoona College.

Criteria for Promotion

The faculty member must have served the Altoona College full-time for at least five academic years or the equivalent of ten consecutive academic semesters.

A candidate for promotion to senior instructor must meet the criteria described below in the areas of teaching, efforts to remain current in the discipline(s) being taught, and service. Based on a 4- point scale (4=excellent; 3=very good; 2=satisfactory; 1=unsatisfactory), he or she is expected to demonstrate level-4 performance in teaching and at least level-2 performance in the remaining two categories; or, he or she must demonstrate level-3 performance in teaching and in one additional category, and demonstrate no less than level-2 performance in the remaining category.

Elaboration of the Three Basic Criteria for Promotion to Senior Instructor

  1. Teaching. Evidence of performance in this area should include, but is not limited to, SRTEs, written student evaluations, peer evaluation, student interviews, letters from former students, and advising evaluations. Other documentation that will attest to the candidate’s performance in teaching include record of supervision of internships, supervision of clinical experience, supervision of undergraduate research assistants, contributions to the development of curriculum, and pedagogical improvements.
  2. Efforts to remain current in the discipline(s) being taught. Evidence of performance in this area may include, but is not limited to, continuing education, creative accomplishments, professional publications, participation in professional meetings and symposia, obtaining grants, and outreach activities utilizing the candidate’s expertise.
  3. Service to the College, University, public, and the profession. Evidence of performance in service may include, but is not limited to, service on division, college, and university committees, professional service to the local community, organizing workshops or programs for the College and local community, administrative support work, and service to student groups.

Promotion Review Procedures

Faculty who have completed the requisite years of service and are interested in being considered for promotion to senior instructor should meet with their respective Division Head during the spring semester to discuss their potential candidacy. If there is a consensus that the faculty member is ready to move forward with a case for senior instructor, the faculty would then work with the corresponding Division Head to prepare a dossier documenting the candidate’s credentials and evaluative evidence with respect to teaching; efforts to remain current in the discipline(s) being taught; and service to the College, University, public, and the profession. The Division Head has the responsibility for preparing the dossier in consultation with the candidate. The dossier will be submitted to the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee at the start of the fall semester promotion cycle.

If there is disagreement between the faculty and the Division Head about the presented case for promotion, the faculty member may solicit a letter from a faculty member of the rank of senior instructor, associate professor, or professor in her/his discipline to support the promotion request. If a member of the discipline is not available, a faculty member from the same division should be sought. This letter, together with other supporting documentation, should be submitted to the chair of the corresponding Division Tenure and Promotion Committee. The committee will then review the supporting materials and write an independent recommendation letter by the end of the spring semester. If the faculty member is not recommended for nomination at that time, formative feedback will be provided in writing from the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee. If the recommendation is to move forward with a case for senior instructor, the faculty would then prepare a dossier for submission to the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee at the start of the fall semester promotion cycle.

Preparation of the dossier

For all faculty members seeking promotion to senior instructor, the Division Head has the responsibility for preparing, in consultation with the candidate, the dossier documenting the candidate’s performance in teaching, efforts to remain current in the discipline(s) being taught, and service. The dossier will include the candidate’s written narrative statement of no more than three pages identifying her/his accomplishments and/or contributions of her/his Penn State career that support the promotion. Candidates shall assist in supplying relevant information for their dossiers. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Chancellor to ensure that each dossier follows the proper format and is accurate and complete.

Evaluation of teaching shall be based on both student and peer rating information about the quality of the teaching. Student ratings shall be obtained using the Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTE) in accordance with the University Policies. The Division Head in consultation with the candidate will supplement this survey by other forms of student evaluation such as student comments on course evaluation questionnaires and letters solicited by the Division Head from former students. Peer evaluation of teaching will be performed by the members of the Peer Review of Teaching Committee, including those appointed by the Division Head to ensure appropriate disciplinary representation.

Evidence of efforts to remain current in the discipline(s) being taught, and service to the College, University, public, and the profession will be provided through information about these activities from the candidate and from previous annual letters of evaluation. Each division may identify additional materials to supplement these areas.

Levels of Review

The Division Tenure and Promotion Committee will review the dossier and write a joint letter indicating their recommendation(s) to the Division Head. For the review of faculty for promotion to senior instructor (including nomination reviews), the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee will include one senior instructor who will be elected from within the division.

The Division Head will review the dossier and the letter from the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee and write a letter indicating his/her recommendation to the College Tenure and Promotion Committee.

The College Tenure and Promotion Committee will review the dossier, the letter from the Division Tenure and Promotion Committee, and the letter from the Division Head and write a letter to the Chancellor indicating their recommendation(s). For the review of faculty for promotion to senior instructor, the College Tenure and Promotion Committee will include one elected senior instructor from the College.

The Chancellor will review the recommendation from the College Tenure and Promotion Committee and notify the candidate of the outcome of the review by the end of the spring semester. Approved promotions will become effective July 1 for the following academic year.

Promotion Award

A salary increase in addition to an annual merit increase will accompany the promotion. The income in salary will be based on a standard dollar increase and will be given to all faculty approved for promotion to Senior Instructor.

A regular full-time, non-tenure track faculty member with the title of instructor or lecturer who is promoted according to this procedure will receive the rank of senior instructor. A faculty member with the title of assistant professor may choose to retain their current title or change their title to senior instructor.

Approved by the Senate 2/19/2013
Approved by the Chancellor 4/2/2013