These departmental Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Guidelines for Tenure-Track Faculty, are intended to serve precisely that purpose, that is, to provide guidance to the members of the Department, rather than to stand as fixed rules to be mechanically applied. These Guidelines, therefore, shall not be a substitute for the Faculty Handbook, Chapter VI, where Hamilton College’s regulations for Appointment, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion are stated.
The Department of Hispanic Studies, by its own conviction, but also in accordance with Hamilton College’s mission, considers fundamental three inextricable areas of achievement: excellence in teaching, scholarly accomplishment, and dedication in service to the Department and to the College. Since tenure and promotion are based not only on decisions made within the Hamilton College community, but also on outside objective evaluations, the Department has taken into account not only the criteria dictated by our own professional principles, but also the written or un-written standards followed by our discipline in similarly ranked institutions. That said, it is important to acknowledge that flexibility must be one of the governing principles in judging merit, and, although the order of importance is teaching, scholarship, and service, some variation may be allowed without losing sight of the fact that, for the health of the Department, a balance among the three is essential for a small, highly selective college such as Hamilton. Departmental service is described in more detail only because of the need for departmental specificity of this category.
The Department of Hispanic Studies, in accordance with the description of superior instruction by the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, defines teaching excellence first and then offers the criteria used at Hamilton for assessing the teaching contribution of tenure-track faculty.
Excellence in teaching Hispanic Studies, as in any other foreign language discipline, may take many forms, different methods, and a broad variety of styles that may make a teacher pedagogically and intellectually effective. In other words, there is no single method, style, or approach to be imposed in teaching Spanish language, culture, or literature. However, there are certain elements that suggest excellence in teaching within this eclectic diversity: 1) pedagogy of course design; 2) teaching methodology and skills as reflected in the authenticity of texts, including artistic, musical, and cinematic; 3) frequent and constructive communication with students and colleagues; 4) learning in and out of class, tutoring, and mentoring; 5) participation in pedagogical, technological, or methodological discussion and production; 6) connection with his/her specialty and interests, with other disciplines, and with new cultures (study abroad); 7) rigor yet flexibility in effective learning.
The assessment criteria used to examine the teaching trajectory and results for a reappointment, promotion, or tenure decision in the Department of Hispanic Studies include a variety of tools and data, which should show a balanced evidence of excellence:
As in the case of teaching, a definition of scholarly accomplishment will here precede a statement of the criteria to be used in assessing its quality and quantity. It should be made clear from the start that, although Hamilton is not a research institution, scholarship is essential, and comes as a close second in importance to teaching.
Scholarship is intrinsically related to teaching and service, and, therefore, we are perfectly aware of the fact that separating them in this document is purely procedural, for the sake of clarity, as research is really essential to both teaching and service. Therefore, the connection between research and teaching and the help provided by the faculty’s teaching/research towards the students’ own advancement should be valued positively. Scholarship should pass from the present potential for initial working projects to fruition in the form of tangible results progressively. Therefore, the linear trajectory of the first stages of promise and direction shall deepen and broaden to coherent work and to new directions that lead from scholarly investigation to documented scholarly production.
Papers delivered at professional meetings and works in progress from the early years should come to fruition in peer-reviewed publications by the reappointment. Public evidence of a definite corpus of scholarship should be definitively present at the time of tenure and promotion; by the time of full professorship this scholarship should have deepened and expanded to the level of prominence in the field of Hispanic Studies.
The Department of Hispanic Studies is energetically committed to accomplishment in scholarship. Research productivity may be measured by first its quality and then by its quantity. Although a list of scholarly production and activities may be provided, the order of such a list may change according not only to the value and meaningfulness of the product but also to the magnitude of the audience and to the reputation of the publishing house. Therefore, the following is a generalized list in approximate order of importance.
The significance of these contributions, however, is above all based on quality, judged by inside and outside assessment. A sustained pattern of scholarly achievement, as previously mentioned, is also essential. The Department and College actively support the engagement in activities that significantly promote the growth and reputation of its faculty. The Department also encourages its faculty members to appraise each other’s scholarly progress by sharing publications and other scholarly activities.
Although there are no fixed criteria about quantity, there is an unwritten canon that guides outside peer evaluation in Hispanic Studies: a candidate for tenure should have been professionally active by reading one paper and by submitting or publishing one article per year. Therefore, the Department expects the candidate to have at least one of the following by the time of tenure review. This is considered a general norm only, one that is frequently waived in cases of outstanding or poor quality:
A candidate for promotion for professor should have at least 10 delivered papers domestically and internationally, several articles, some other types of publications, and at least one book.
For reappointment, tenure, and promotion, senior members of the Department should review in depth the candidate’s scholarly work. Each faculty member has the capacity to pass judgment at least on the articulation, the organization and the appropriateness of the topic and its development and conclusion, if not on the candidate’s expertise in the field and the theme itself of the scholarly pieces. For tenure and promotion cases, outside evaluators are not a substitute for the careful assessment of every senior member of the department, but rather supplement the departmental appraisal.
As with Teaching and Scholarship, the criteria of the Department of Hispanic Studies, as far as service is concerned, shall not vary from the Faculty Handbook. In this respect the Department agrees that “a faculty member contributes to the life of the College outside of the classroom in a number of ways: as a colleague, advisor, administrator, and participant in campus decision-making and governance.”
Dedication in service means evidence not only of willingness but also of an ongoing commitment to share with colleagues the tasks of various departmental and College activities and programs. The variety of service possibilities will normally be adjusted to the interest of particular colleagues, but these individual preferences and differences must be considered of minor importance in our small Department, in order that the commonly shared needs of the Department and of the College be covered.
Faculty must advise concentrators and non concentrators and attend other College activities. Extensive and/or innovative service in standing committees is expected. Department members should interact with other colleagues and deans, and become familiar with College matters in general, as a way to make known their own presence and the workings of our Department. Service on major committees will give faculty members a better understanding of our community and its academic, administrative and financial environment.
Areas of service specific to the Department of Hispanic Studies may consist of advising departmental majors and involvement in departmental activities. Specific areas of activity directly related to the Department of Hispanic Studies consist of, but are not limited to, the Spanish Club, the Spanish Table, Encuentros, the radio program, and other Hispanic Studies’ activities. Service in such activities is not limited to advising and/or coordination, but support of these activities and active and/or periodic participation are expected from all faculty. Participation and/or collaboration in Search Committees are also considered important. Another essential service to the Department consists of organizing conferences, speaker visits, and academic and cultural Hispanic Studies activities on campus. The last area of departmental service is related to “language coordination,” which entails first the search for and the development and coordination of Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows and secondly the coordination of placement tests to all our prospective students, and of the Fall ACTFL test to our graduating majors.
In the Department of Hispanic Studies there are two distinctive areas of service that require work, time and dedication: The Department in Clinton and the Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain (HCAYS). They are respectively under the Chair’s coordination and under the management of the HCAYS General Director. Both administrative tasks are equally demanding, each deserves a one-course reduction, and each requires both independent leadership and coordination with the other. Both Chair and General Director are appointed by the Dean in consultation with the Department in one case and with the HCAYS directors in the other. The Department members take turns, however, to serve as the Resident Director in Madrid.
It is part of service for all tenure-track faculty members of the Department to participate in the management of the HCAYS, to be informed and familiar with its running, to be actively involved with it through advising, class, and campus publicity, and with PR trips and possible visits to the Program in Madrid. The process of interaction and dialogue among Hispanic Studies faculty, together with the study of the HCAYS brochure, visits in situ, and the attendance at yearly HCAYS information meetings on campus, will enhance this support and familiarity.
It should be noted that the following expectations are considered a general norm only, one that is waived in cases of outstanding or poor quality.
As in the case of Teaching and Scholarship, support of, attendance at, and fruitful participation in College and departmental functions are essential for the faculty’s dedication to service.