Promotion and Tenure Policy

Promotion and Tenure Policy

The Pennsylvania State University policy governing promotion and tenure (HR-23) states that promotion and tenure decisions shall be based on criteria applied in light of the mission of the academic unit (e.g., division and college) and the professional responsibilities carried by the faculty member. The University criteria have purposely been made general in the expectation of further definition and elaboration by each academic unit. Penn State Altoona, the Altoona College, has adopted a policy that delineates its expectations and standards for tenure and promotion. The purpose of this document is to delineate the expectations and standards for tenure and promotion for the Division of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology. This document should be read in the context of the broader procedures and standards of the University and the Altoona College. The Division Head should convey a general knowledge about the expectations and standards contained in this document to faculty members under promotion or tenure review, especially to newly appointed faculty members. The criteria presented in this document are widely applicable to the variety of disciplines represented by the faculty in the Division of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology.

The promotion and tenure policies of the Division of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology should contribute to academic excellence and should also be consistent with the missions of the University, the Altoona College and the Division of providing a high quality education for its students; fostering research, creative activity, and scholarship; and enhancing the intellectual, cultural, and economic lives of the community.

Division Level Review

The initial review of a candidate for tenure and/or promotion within the Altoona College takes place at the academic division level. There are two reviews at the Division level. A faculty committee conducts the first review. The Head of the Division conducts the second. Later reviews occur at the college and university levels. See THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY: ALTOONA COLLEGE PROMOTION AND TENURE POLICY and THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDELINES FOR HR-23; PROMOTION AND TENURE PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS. Both documents are available on the web.

Criteria for Tenure and Promotion

Faculty members of the Division become eligible for tenure and/or promotion when they fulfill the criteria specified in The Pennsylvania State University policy (HR-23). The criteria for this evaluation embrace three distinct but interrelated areas: the scholarship of teaching and learning; the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments; and service and the scholarship of service to the University, society, and the profession. The Division values continuing activities in each of these areas.

A candidate for tenure and/or promotion to Associate Professor must meet the criteria described below in the areas of 1) teaching and learning; 2) research and creative accomplishments; and 3) service. In at least one of the categories of 1) teaching and learning or 2) research and creative accomplishments, he or she is further expected to demonstrate distinctive achievement; high-quality performance in both of these categories is also appropriate. In accordance with HR-23, the presumption is that a positive tenure decision for an assistant professor will be sufficient to warrant promotion to Associate Professor. In exceptional cases, if the Division Committee or Division Head believes strongly that an individual should be tenured but not promoted, the burden is on that committee or administrator to show why promotion is not warranted.

For promotion to Professor, candidates must demonstrate significant accomplishments beyond those presented at the time of promotion to Associate Professor. The candidate must show continued effectiveness as a teacher and, ongoing service to the University, the society and the profession; and a level of research and/or creative accomplishments sufficient to earn a national reputation for excellence.

Elaboration of the Three Basic Criteria for Tenure and Promotion

  1. The scholarship of teaching and learning: In accordance with our mission, the Division highly values the teaching and advising roles of its faculty. Faculty members must possess an ongoing commitment to teaching and learning and in particular must demonstrate success in communicating their specialized knowledge to students. Teaching and learning processes can take place in the classroom or out of the classroom; they include but are not limited to advising students engaged in research, advising student organizations, acculturing students to professional life, and other forms of student mentoring.  This commitment and communication are essential to the educational process. Effectiveness in this area will be measured primarily by input from students and faculty colleagues in the form of course and advising evaluations, peer evaluations, student interviews, letters from former students, evaluation of course syllabi and other course materials, and any other means that will attest to the candidate’s teaching and advising effectiveness.
  2. The scholarship of research and creative accomplishments: The vitality of the faculty, both collectively and individually, depends upon ongoing research or creative accomplishments. Such accomplishments are usually demonstrated through publication, presentation, or exhibition. Demonstrations of achievement in this area may include but are not limited to publications in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at professional meetings, obtaining grants, participation in professional seminars and workshops, external letters of assessment from leaders of the profession who are knowledgeable in the candidate’s field, outreach activities utilizing the candidate’s expertise, and the development of new courses and academic programs. The Division encourages innovative, interdisciplinary ways for faculty to realize professional growth and achievement in these areas. Any demonstration of achievement in these areas should ultimately produce or enhance recognition of a faculty member’s expertise by members of the profession outside of Penn State University. Because of the demands made by teaching responsibilities and because of campus limitations, quantitative expectations for the research and scholarly output of the Division’s faculty are expected to be different from that of faculty at locations which emphasize the research mission. However, similar qualitative expectations should apply at all Penn State locations.
  3. Service and the scholarship of service to the University, society, and the profession: The Division views a record of service as evidence of the candidate’s commitment to furthering the missions of the Division, the College and the University. This service usually takes the form of committee work, participation in governance bodies, administrative support work, service to student groups, and professionally related service to the public. The Division expects that this record of service will eventually incorporate positions of leadership at various levels: academic division, college, university, and professional organizations.