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Faculty Review & Development

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

Department of Chemistry

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As a department we support for tenure and promotion faculty who are outstanding teachers and scholars and are engaged members of the department, College and professional community. We actively mentor junior colleagues with the expectation that all of our faculty will earn tenure and promotion. In accordance with the Faculty Handbook, candidates for reappointment, tenure and promotion are evaluated in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service with the first two being of greatest importance. While the exact balance of a candidate’s strengths in these areas may vary, outstanding teaching with inadequate scholarship is unacceptable as is strong scholarship with poor teaching.

Guidelines for Tenure and/or Promotion to Associate Professor


We support colleagues for tenure and/or promotion who are excellent classroom teachers and, since chemistry is an experimental discipline, faculty are also expected to excel at teaching students in the laboratory. Furthermore, the department strongly believes that research is a highly effective means of teaching so faculty must engage students in their research programs and excel in mentoring students in the Senior Program.

The Faculty Handbook enumerates three characteristics of excellent teaching:

Commitment to Teaching

The core attributes of commitment to teaching are:

  • Effectively teaching departmental courses at the introductory (100 and 200) and advanced (300 and 400) levels in both the classroom and the laboratory
  • Mentoring students in the Senior Program
  • Actively engaging in self-reflection to develop and improve courses
  • Regularly reflecting and acting upon teaching evaluations and feedback from visits by departmental colleagues to improve pedagogy

Supporting activities which demonstrate commitment to teaching may also include:

  • Designing new courses at any level of the departmental classroom or laboratory curriculum
  • Participating in departmental curriculum development
  • Participating in team-taught and/or interdisciplinary courses outside of the department
  • Submitting grant proposals for instrumentation and curricular development
  • Publishing peer-reviewed papers for innovations in pedagogy

Knowledge and Mastery of the Discipline

The department expects that all faculty members have a deep understanding of their sub-discipline of chemistry and a broad, general knowledge of chemistry. Faculty should stay current with developments in their field and incorporate new knowledge into their classroom teaching. Faculty should also strive in their classes, as appropriate, to show connections to and applications of chemistry in a broader context.

The Ability to Communicate with, Engage and Evaluate Students

The major ways that faculty must demonstrate effectiveness in their interactions with students are by:

  • Designing courses that explore the depth and breadth of chemistry, that are rigorous, challenging, and intellectually stimulating, that encourage students to think critically and independently and by conveying enthusiasm for the subject presented
  • Articulating clear course goals and student expectations
  • Presenting classroom material in a clear and organized manner
  • Responding effectively to student questions and encouraging discussion, as appropriate, to maintain a supportive environment in the classroom
  • Supplementing formal classroom teaching with small group or individual instruction during regular office hours, tutorial/review sessions, and individual student appointments as needed
  • Providing students with appropriate training in laboratory techniques and properly enforcing departmental and College safety regulations
  • Guiding Senior Thesis students in developing a thesis project, carrying out the experimental work, analyzing their results and producing a well-written thesis
  • Facilitating students in presenting the results of their research at local, national and international meetings
  • Evaluating students fairly and giving them timely and constructive feedback

These criteria for excellence in teaching will be assessed using student course evaluations, student letters and evaluations by senior colleagues. These three forms of evaluation will be analyzed and compared to get an overall narrative picture of a candidate’s teaching. The College’s teaching evaluation forms for each course provide a semester-by-semester and course-by course comparison from which to view a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress in teaching. Careful attention will be paid to the candidate’s numerical and narrative evaluations across the chemistry curriculum, from introductory to advanced courses in the candidate’s specialty. Student letters that are solicited by the Dean’s Office at the time of the reappointment and tenure decisions will also be carefully considered. Faculty evaluation will be accomplished by frequent classroom observation by senior members of the department in accord with the regulations in the Faculty Handbook and by analysis of teaching materials submitted by the candidate at the time of reappointment and tenure.

At the time of evaluation for reappointment or tenure, the candidate’s personal statement should describe her/his teaching philosophy and methodologies, providing specific examples of how these have been applied. Supporting documents submitted in the dossier should include syllabi and examples of student assessment materials (problem sets, exams, lab curricula, etc.) to aid in assessing whether the candidate has met the criteria for successfully communicating with, engaging and evaluating students. The candidate should explain how her/his teaching has evolved during the review period and should address any issues that have been brought up in student evaluations and/or visits by senior faculty.


We support colleagues for tenure and/or promotion who have established themselves as productive scholars. While recognizing the variance between sub-disciplines in chemistry and allowing for individual faculty member’s differences in research style and methods, we greatly value the research-rich environment of the department and expect all faculty to engage in a research program that involves student participation. We also value the intellectual partnership of research collaborations with colleagues both here at Hamilton and at other institutions (colleges, universities, national laboratories, and industry).

Primary evidence of productive scholarship will come from publication of articles on original research in peer-reviewed journals. Recognizing differences in sub-disciplines and in the expected pace of different research topics, no specific guideline is set for the number of publications necessary at the time of review for tenure and/or promotion. However, a record of repeated publication is necessary and the candidate must show in her/his personal statement that the trajectory of the research program is such that the pattern of repeated publication will likely continue into the future. Quality of publications is as important as quantity. Quality will be judged primarily by an internal assessment by the department and by the assessment of external reviewers solicited at the time of review for tenure and/or promotion. Collaborative publications are valued with the understanding that the candidate has played a significant intellectual role in the work. The candidate’s role in collaborative work should be made explicit in her/his personal statement.

Other forms of scholarship will provide secondary evidence of productivity and will support the candidate’s case for tenure and/or promotion but cannot substitute for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Other forms of scholarship may include (in order of decreasing importance):

  • Obtaining grants for research and research instrumentation, especially from federal funding agencies
  • Publishing review articles, book chapters, textbooks, etc.
  • Publishing collaborative papers where the candidate has played a minor role in the work presented
  • Presenting at professional meetings/conferences
  • Submitting grant proposals for research and research instrumentation
  • Publishing encyclopedia entries, book reviews and other items that receive minimal peer review
  • Presenting invited seminars at other colleges/universities


We support colleagues who show evidence of service to the Chemistry Department, to Hamilton College, and to the broader local and professional community. For junior colleagues, priority is for the establishment of excellent teaching and for an active and successful research program with students. Service, therefore, for tenure-track faculty should be kept low, but should follow the candidates’ strong interests in serving. Demonstrating service is possible through a combination of the following activities

  • Advising first-year students and departmental concentrators
  • Attending and contributing to Departmental meetings
  • Assuming a departmental responsibility whether short or long term (e.g. organization of the seminar program, mentoring the Student Affiliates Club)
  • Serving on an appointed or elected college committee
  • Serving on a committee or board of a professional organization
  • Serving as a reviewer for journals and grant proposals
  • Outreach to schools, admissions office, and alumni groups and broader community in a professional capacity

Guidelines for Promotion to Full Professor

Candidates for promotion to full professor should demonstrate distinguished achievement in teaching, scholarship and service. Candidates should maintain their status as outstanding teachers as outlined in the Criteria for Tenure and Promotion. Tenured faculty should continue to revise existing courses and develop new courses, as appropriate, to stay current with their sub-discipline. Participation in team-taught or interdisciplinary courses is more encouraged for tenured faculty than those pre-tenure. It is expected that candidates for promotion will continue to involve students in their research programs through the Senior Program, summer research and/or other opportunities. Candidates for promotion should demonstrate a record of continued research productivity in line with the established Criteria for Tenure and Promotion. While the expectation at the time of tenure is that a candidate should establish a trajectory that is likely to establish a record of repeated publication, candidates for promotion to full professor must demonstrate the successful establishment of such a publication record. In contrast to minimal pre-tenure expectations for service, candidates for promotion to full professor must demonstrate active engagement in the life of the College. This can be done, for example, by serving a full term on one of the major committees of the faculty, serving on multiple elected or appointed College committees or by taking on some other appointed administrative role within the College. Serving as an officer in a regional or national organization, on a journal editorial review board, on grant proposal review panels or on external review committees of other institutions, departments or individuals are also recognized as valuable service contributions likely to be available to tenured members of the department.