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Faculty Review & Development

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

French Department

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Guidelines for Tenure with Promotion to Associate Professor

This documents outlines the various forms good teaching, scholarship, and service in our department in order to warrant tenure with promotion to associate professor at Hamilton. If we were to offer a word of our own, beyond those used in the Faculty Handbook, to describe what we seek at the departmental level in our colleagues standing for tenure, it would be a promising level of engagement in teaching, scholarship, and service.


Dedicated as we are to teaching both French language and literature, the department expects excellence in teaching at all levels, from beginning and intermediate language to higher-level culture and literature courses. We welcome a variety of pedagogical approaches; innovation in the choice of materials and incorporation of new technologies and media are especially encouraged in the preparation of language courses.

Even as we value individual styles, teamwork is essential, particularly in our language courses. Instructors are expected to coordinate individual offerings with the departmental curriculum as we work toward the common goal of students’ linguistic proficiency and cultural understanding.

In advanced culture and literature courses, the department prizes thorough preparation reflecting both solid knowledge of the material and familiarity with recent critical approaches; innovative course design; and regular challenging assignments that invite students to delve into creative research on their own. The department believes that excellent teachers find a variety of ways to motivate students to become active language learners, proficient speakers and writers, enthusiastic participants in class discussion, and, ultimately, independent thinkers.

Following a policy that has been in place for some time, senior colleagues in the department will observe the classrooms of junior colleagues and provide constructive comments, whenever appropriate.  We will also take into account the College’s student evaluations, both the numerical scores and, especially, the narrative remarks as well as student letters solicited independently by the office of the dean of faculty.

As careful, thoughtful preparation of all teaching materials is essential, a candidate’s teaching dossier may include the following in demonstration of the points above:

  1. Well articulated course syllabi.
  2. Bibliographies, course packs of assigned readings, assignment sheets, study questions, quizzes and exams.
  3. Other materials in print or other media developed for teaching.


In the French department, as in the rest of the College, fine scholarship supports excellent teaching.  Engagement in scholarship for the language and literature professor can mean either works of pedagogical interest or of literary, cultural, or historical interest to colleagues in one’s field. 

Typically, one demonstrates such productivity through, in order of preference:

1) Authored Books, edited collections of essays, peer-reviewed articles and essays in other prestigious reviews, anthologies, and collections.

2) Book reviews, bibliographies, encyclopedia entries, and papers at national or regional conferences, which, while a useful form of scholarly activity, do not have the same visibility and will therefore not bear the same weight as original publications.

3) Scholarly editions and translations prepared for scholarly audiences, with critical apparatus, are also valuable contributions to scholarship, particularly when they help to shape the direction of future criticism by making inaccessible works available.

The department seeks a substantial body of high-quality publications as evidence that the candidate, by the time he or she stands for tenure, has already made a significant contribution to his or her field. Although a monograph is not a requirement for tenure, a book or promising book manuscript will be highly valued.  In place of or in addition to a monograph, a series of substantial articles should provide evidence of sustained scholarly engagement. Quality may be judged by the prestige of the publication venue,  the influence a work has in its field, favorable reviews in print, and letters from departmental members and outside evaluators. The department acknowledges the value of new publishing opportunities such as the web. Articles appearing in journals or books subject to peer review are preferred to those that are not.  Finally, the department will take into account the originality and the potential influence of junior colleague’s publications for the field at large.

The candidate should demonstrate some coherence in the general direction of his or her scholarship, but innovation beyond one’s initial research is welcome insofar as our department thrives on diverse ideas that make our professors and our curriculum dynamic and attractive to potential concentrators.  


Pre-tenure colleagues will be expected to contribute to the work at the departmental level and, as appropriate, participate in College committees. Professional service beyond the department (i.e. in national scholarly organizations) is also appreciated. In our department, we may invite junior colleagues to join the rotation in directing the College’s Junior Year in France program, which is considered a major form of service.  Departmental, college, or professional service, however dedicated it may be, will not be considered a substitute for excellence in teaching and scholarship.

Guidelines for Promotion to Full Professor

The Hamilton College Faculty Handbook makes clear what general criteria should be considered when a colleague stands for promotion to full professor.  By promotion to this rank, the College seeks to reward distinguished teacher-scholars for “high achievement [that] is likely to continue.”  There should be signs of “sound and developing scholarship” beyond a high level of teaching and a service commitment to the College.  The Handbook speaks of “evidence relevant to the discipline” for evaluating scholarship but does not define that evidence.   By the time of eligibility for promotion to full professor, colleagues should demonstrate a high level of engagement in teaching, scholarship, and service that should be a model for junior faculty members.


The same high expectations for teaching at the time of the tenure decision will also hold for promotion to full professor.  Intense intellectual engagement with one’s students, course development, and preparation of materials remain important for the department at the full professor level. The courses of full professors should reflect a mind engaged passionately with the subject matter and—whenever this is appropriate--with their own research.


The candidate for full professor should have demonstrated consistent output within a coherent research plan over the years following the tenure decision, resulting in a book or a series of substantial articles beyond those presented at the time he or she stood for tenure and promotion to associate professor.  By the time one reaches the rank of full professor, one should have produced--if one has not done so before tenure--at least one book that establishes one as a respected authority in some field.  It is conceivable that a corresponding number of strong articles published in journals with high visibility could accomplish the same goal.  But in our field, books tend to achieve this status more than articles do.  The venues for publication and scholarly activity remain the same as those expected for tenure. 


Colleagues wishing to rise to the rank of full professor should have demonstrated significant involvement in the life of the department.  These tasks consist of chairing the department, directing the Junior Year in France program, coordinating curricular initiatives, advising and organizing student activities, and developing co-curricular programming.  

One might also demonstrate a commitment to service by one’s engagement within scholarly societies and within the profession at large.  Examples of such service might include, but are not limited to, editing periodic bulletins or newsletters for a professional organization in one’s field or serving on one of the many committees within a scholarly society, such as a nominating committee or a committee for a prize essay or book.  Proofs of the esteem in which one is held in the field could take the form of external reviews of French departments elsewhere, an organized pedagogical workshop, service on the editorial board of a scholarly journal, requests for evaluations of grant proposals, tenure reviews of non-Hamilton colleagues in the field, reader’s reports on books for university presses or on articles for journals, plenary addresses, or offices held in scholarly societies.  As with candidates for tenure, however, service at the departmental, College, or national level—while important—cannot preempt excellence in teaching and scholarship.