Penn State Altoona Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
AC23: Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations of The Pennsylvania State University states that promotion and tenure decisions shall be based on criteria applied in light of the mission of the academic unit and the professional responsibilities carried by the faculty member. The University criteria have purposely been made general with the expectation of further definition and elaboration by each academic unit. Policies for the Altoona College are described in Promotion and Tenure Review Policy of the Altoona College, The Pennsylvania State University. The purpose of the present document is to delineate the expectations and standards for tenure and promotion in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the Altoona College of The Pennsylvania State University. It should be read in the context of the broader procedures and standards of the Altoona College and the University. Knowledge concerning the expectations and standards contained herein should be generally available, especially to newly appointed faculty members, those faculty seeking promotion, and all Promotion and Tenure committee members.
The Altoona College of The Pennsylvania State University combines the teaching and service expectations of a small college with the research and scholarship activities of a university. An understanding of this dual role is essential to the tenure and promotion process in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in the Altoona College.
Levels of Review
This policy applies specifically for tenure and promotion purposes to those Division faculty members holding or seeking promotion and tenure in the Altoona College. Those faculty members will undergo three levels of review: 1) first-level promotion and/or tenure review within the Division based on Divisional procedures and policies, 2) second-level review in the Altoona College, and 3) final review at the University level. Thus, it is at the Division level that specific policies outlined herein are applied. The Altoona College level of review will bring broader faculty and administrative review to bear and will also monitor general standards of quality and equity of each of the divisions.
Nevertheless, this policy is important to all faculty in the Division because it will be the basis for evaluating all new faculty who earn promotion and tenure in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the Altoona College and because it will be an important component of the Division Head’s yearly evaluation of faculty.
Criteria for Tenure and Promotion
Faculty members of the Altoona College become eligible for tenure and/or promotion when they fulfill the norms specified in The Pennsylvania State University policy AC23. The criteria for this evaluation embrace three distinct but interrelated areas: the scholarship of teaching, the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments, and service and the scholarship of service to the University, society, and the profession. The Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Altoona College values continuing activities in each of these areas.
Tenure and promotion decisions are based on recognized performance and achievement in each of the evaluated areas. The presumption is that a positive tenure decision for an Assistant Professor is sufficient to warrant promotion to Associate Professor. In an exceptional case, those recommending tenure without promotion to the associate rank have the burden to show why promotion is not warranted. A candidate for tenure and/or promotion to Associate Professor must meet the criteria described below in the areas of
1) teaching, 2) research and creative accomplishments, and 3) service. In addition, the candidate must further demonstrate distinctive achievement in at least one of the categories of the scholarship of teaching or the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments, or high-quality performance in both of these categories.
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; ongoing service to the University, society and the profession; and a level of research and/or creative accomplishments sufficient to earn a national reputation for excellence in their area of expertise.
Elaboration of the Three Basic Criteria for Tenure and Promotion
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
The Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the Altoona College highly values the teaching role (which includes advising students) of its faculty. Therefore, faculty members must possess an ongoing commitment to teaching and, in particular, must demonstrate success in communicating their specialized knowledge to students. Since teaching in the Division of Mathematics and Natural Science often extends beyond the classroom (e.g., into the research laboratory), the evaluation of teaching ability and effectiveness is multi-faceted and may include the supervision of undergraduate research projects. Effectiveness in all areas of teaching will be measured on the basis of input from students and faculty colleagues in the form of course evaluations, peer evaluations, student interviews, letters from former students, evaluation of course syllabi, handouts, quizzes, exams, and other course materials, supervision of student research, and any other means that will attest to the candidate’s teaching effectiveness.
The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments
The vitality and reputation of the Division faculty, both collectively and individually, depends upon ongoing evidence of active research and creative accomplishment. Appropriate evidence for tenure and promotion may vary among disciplines and candidates should discuss the expectations for promotion and tenure with the tenured faculty in their discipline. Evidence for promotion and tenure may originate from a variety of activities including: an active research program, accompanied by publication of research results in professional refereed journals or books; the publication of reviews or other scholarly articles; seeking and securing external grants to support research and/or teaching; invited talks at professional meetings and conferences, other academic institutions, and/or industrial and governmental laboratories; contributed talks at professional meetings and conferences; refereeing for professional journals; participation in the activities of professional societies; receipt of professional honors and awards; the publication of articles representing significant advances in the pedagogy of the field; the adoption by peer institutions of text materials or teaching methodologies developed by the candidate; the demonstrated ability to train students in research methods and practice; and any other means indicating that the candidate is achieving significant professional growth in his or her area of expertise. Candidates for tenure and promotion should be aware that the above activities are not weighed equally, and they should discuss the relative significance of the above activities with the tenured faculty in their discipline.
Any demonstration of achievement in the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments should ultimately produce an enhanced recognition of a faculty member’s expertise by members of his or her discipline outside of The Pennsylvania State University. Because of the teaching responsibilities and because of campus limitations, quantitative expectations for the research and scholarly activities of Altoona College faculty typically will be different from those at institutions where research is the primary mission. Nevertheless, qualitative expectations should be similar to those of other faculty in the candidate’s field of expertise. The extent of the candidate’s external reputation will be measured in large part by letters of assessment requested from distinguished scholars in the candidate’s fields of research and scholarly efforts.
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 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 Altoona College and the Division expects that this record of service will eventually incorporate positions of leadership at various levels: academic division, college, university, and professional organizations. Elected positions of major responsibility are viewed as evidence that a candidate’s service has earned the esteem of his or her colleagues.