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Dean of Faculty

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Review and Assessment

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

Department of History

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Reappointment


Teaching

The candidate for reappointment must demonstrate competence as a classroom teacher in lecture and seminar formats. The candidate’s teaching should be informed by a breadth of knowledge of the discipline of history in general as well as by mastery of his or her own subfield, such as that which formed the context of his or her dissertation research. The candidate should also demonstrate the willingness to challenge students in the classroom by eliciting their informed, articulate participation and by holding students to high standards of clarity and persuasiveness in their writing. The department evaluates the candidate’s teaching on the basis of reports of class visits by senior colleagues, who shall write their comments in letters given to the candidate and the department chair, course evaluations, grade distributions, and syllabi.


Scholarship

The candidate for reappointment should inform the department of his or her publications or plans for publication, which the tenured members of the department shall review. If necessary the Chair will advise the candidate about ways to revise the publication plan. The candidate’s plan should provide a clear trajectory toward meeting the scholarship expectations for tenure listed in the next section, including a schedule and concrete plans for revising the dissertation for submission to a scholarly press and/or preparation of articles to be submitted to peer-reviewed journals.

Service

The department expects candidates for reappointment to participate in department meetings, advise concentrators after the first year of teaching, and take on appropriate honors theses. The department discourages candidates for reappointment from taking on other service obligations, although the candidate may undertake certain service obligations that he or she regards as especially pertinent or compelling, Service plays a small role in the department’s recommendation for reappointment.


Tenure


Teaching

The department does not favor any particular teaching style and does not regard teaching as a popularity contest. Consistently high numbers on student course evaluations are not in themselves regarded as a mark of good teaching. The candidate’s teaching should be informed by a breadth of knowledge of the discipline of history in general as well as by mastery of his or her own subfield, such as that which formed the context of his or her dissertation research. The department evaluates the candidate’s teaching on the basis of the following criteria, listed roughly in order of importance:

  • Reports of class visits by senior colleagues, who shall write their comments in letters given to the candidate and the department chair, and letters written by faculty at other institutions who work in the candidate’s field;
  • Letters solicited from former students;
  • Course evaluations, grade distributions, and syllabi that demonstrate knowledge of recent developments in the field.

The Faculty Handbook lists three key criteria in the evaluation of a tenure candidate’s teaching: “commitment to teaching; knowledge and mastery of the discipline; and the ability to communicate with, stimulate, and evaluate students.” The department understands commitment to teaching as the candidate’s conscientious attention to course preparation; a willingness to continue to develop innovative courses based on new methods of instruction or areas of interest gained through research or other forms of faculty development; and a willingness to supervise senior theses and extracurricular student research such as summer research projects. A commitment to teaching further entails the ability to challenge students in the classroom by eliciting their informed, articulate participation and by holding students to high standards of clarity and persuasiveness in their writing. The ability to write compelling prose is no less critical in history courses than it is to professional historians. The candidate for tenure should therefore develop assignments that teach students how to interrogate primary and secondary sources and to express their interpretation of such sources in compellingly written and carefully documented papers. The candidate’s knowledge and mastery of the discipline is gained through ongoing research and active participation in professional conferences. Knowledge and mastery may be translated into the classroom through the creation of new courses, revision of existing courses, or other means of introducing new materials into the classroom. The ability to communicate with and stimulate students is best evaluated by senior faculty classroom visits and evaluations written by past and current students. The ability to evaluate students is most clearly indicated by the candidate’s grading criteria, grade distributions, and his or her written comments on students’ papers.


Scholarship

The successful candidate for tenure will have completed a manuscript of a monograph submitted to or accepted by a scholarly press. If approved by tenured members of the department during the third-year review, several refereed scholarly articles may substitute for a monograph. In evaluating a record of publication, the department regards scholarly publication in the following order of significance, proceeding from greatest to lesser importance: a full-length, individually written monograph based on original research; a full-length, co-authored monograph based on original research; articles in major refereed journals; editorship of a collection of essays or a significant, annotated collection of documents; chapters in edited collections. This ranking of publications constitutes a general framework of reference; more specific consideration shall be given to the nature of particular publications or the reputation of particular presses and journals. In addition to the candidate’s publishing record, scholarly accomplishment is also marked by major grants or fellowships, invited talks, editorship of scholarly journals, election to executive committees of professional organizations, invitations to serve on grant review committees, and other achievements that reflect recognition by the scholarly community outside of the College. The department evaluates the candidate’s scholarship on the basis of assessments by members of the department and on letters written by scholars at other institutions who work in the candidate’s field.


Service:

The department emphasizes the importance of certain forms of service, such as participation in department meetings, advising, overseeing senior theses, and serving on interdisciplinary committees. Although the department recognizes that service to or involvement in the college community beyond the department plays a role in the evaluation of candidates for tenure, that service or involvement does not factor significantly into the department’s primary evaluation.


Promotion

Teaching

The candidate’s teaching must reflect continued dedication, rigor, and inspiration established during the tenure review, as demonstrated by continued course development, revision of course syllabi, student evaluations, and grade distributions. When evaluating candidates for promotion, the department carefully scrutinizes all of these materials and looks for evidence that the candidate’s classes continue not only to challenge students and strengthen their writing, analytical, and critical reading skills, but also demonstrate a thoughtful engagement with the scholarship on the topics of those courses.


Scholarship

In evaluating a candidate for promotion to Professor, the department places great weight on scholarship in addition to continued excellence in teaching. In order to earn the department’s endorsement for promotion to Professor, the candidate must demonstrate that he or she has moved well beyond the body of work submitted during the tenure review. The successful candidate for promotion should show significant progress toward completion of a second scholarly monograph or corpus of work through publication of articles in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in edited volumes, presentation of new research at professional conferences, and application for and awards of competitive research grants. It is particularly important that these indicators show a clear trajectory toward completion of a post-tenure scholarly project.


Service

The candidate’s service within the department must be multifaceted and conscientious. The candidate’s service to the college community normally includes serving on at least one major faculty committee or other comparable work for the College, though such service will be regarded in the most flexible terms. Candidates for promotion should also perform service to the scholarly profession outside the College, such as election to executive positions in professional organizations, serving as an editor of a scholarly journal or book, as a referee for scholarly journals or fellowship review panels, or as an outside reviewer of tenure or promotion cases at other institutions.

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