These guidelines are based on information provided by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education publication Scholarship for the Discipline of Theatre. This document provides a framework for defining and evaluating both creative activity and original research for the purposes of tenure and promotion. Following Ernest Boyer's work, both research and creative activity are categorized within "scholarship of discovery."
Examples of creative work within scholarship of discovery include playwriting, dramaturgy, design, acting, or directing. Examples of original research within the scholarship of discovery include publication of articles or books in an area of theatre or performance studies. In terms of evaluation, it is important that neither creative activity nor research be favored, and that reasonable standards of evaluation be created for each. In most cases, candidates choose between creative activity and research, but a candidate may choose to present both types of scholarship, in which case the kinds of scholarship and the documentation necessary will be arrived at in conjunction with the Chair and, if necessary, the Dean. The Department recognizes that the line between creative work and original research is not always clear-cut. Because of the great number of variables involved, and the nature of the creative process and the profession, it is not possible to provide a specific number of creative or research products required for tenure or promotion. We would expect that a candidate would provide a solid record of artistic or scholarly achievements.
1. Creative Activity. Achieving professional recognition in performance depends on: performing, directing, or having one's creative work performed in professional venues; or, the publication and/or production of plays; and receiving professional outside evaluation, the most standard form of which is reviews in noted city newspapers.
Candidates may document the quality of off-campus professional creative activity in a variety of ways including:
- Demonstrating professional recognition through reviews in major newspapers or journals.
- Demonstrating professional competency through successful employment by reputable professional companies.
- Demonstrating professional recognition through such achievements as competitive union memberships; honors and accolades; and performances and/or demonstrating a record of continuous activity in the profession through appointed or elected leadership position in professional organization.
- Demonstrating peer approval of skill mastery, such as invitations to teach master classes or lead intensive workshops.
2. Original Research. Achieving professional recognition in original research depends on presenting and publishing the results of research conducted either in a scholarly setting or in the field. Outside evaluation comes most often through publication in peer-reviewed journals or reviews of published work.
Candidates may document the quality of off-campus professional activity in a variety of ways including:
- Peer-reviewed publications of research, theory, or philosophical/critical work.
- Presentations of research, theory, or philosophical/critical essays at professional conferences.
- Grant awards in support of research or scholarship.
- Institutional, state, regional, national, or international recognition as a scholar in an identified area; invited presentations or lectures.
- Positive critical or peer evaluations of the body of work.
Teaching in the Theatre Department requires the ability to teach both performance-oriented and more traditionally academic courses. Performance-oriented classes also include substantial academic components such as the reading and analysis of plays, and writing assignments, while classes more traditionally thought of as "academic" frequently have performance elements. The Department believes that all courses should be rigorous, and that students must be encouraged to produce the best work of which they are capable. The ability to respond critically to students' work is important, as is encouraging the development of the students' ability to both give and receive criticism.
The Theatre Department recognizes the difficulty of grading theatre students, particularly in studio classes. Factors such as differences in talent and the ongoing necessity for theatre students to maintain a high level of commitment, to take risks in a public fashion, and to subject themselves to the judgments of their peers complicate the nature of grading. Theatre students perform regularly, usually weekly and sometimes even more frequently, with increasingly higher standards over the course of the semester. Students who exhibit willingness and commitment may earn higher grades than more talented students who do not put forth similar efforts. Additionally, theatre courses require considerable time in and out of class: students in these classes commit a larger portion of their schedules in order to attend. Accordingly, grading distributions for theatre classes may differ from those of other departments.
The Department follows the procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook for the evaluation of teaching (p. 33). By the time of tenure review, the candidate should be able to document excellent teaching skills, and to have addressed weaknesses identified in evaluations. We take into consideration all teaching-related materials from the tenure file to evaluate teaching, as well as observations gleaned from classroom visits. All voting members will be expected to visit the candidate's classes. Because of the sometimes confrontational nature of teaching theatre, we understand that student popularity may not accurately reflect teaching effectiveness: thus, observations by colleagues will generally be granted more weight than course evaluations. Consideration will also be given to the number of times the course has been taught.
At the time of review, the candidate should present evidence for most of the above categories of documentation of professional creative off-campus activity. The candidate should be able to show evidence of work (whether acting, directing or playwriting) produced at a major professional venues, and should provide reviews of this work. Examples of professional venues include: major regional theatres such as Syracuse Stage, The Goodman Theatre or The Guthrie Theatre; Off- or Off-Off Broadway productions; or, smaller professional venues such as Minneapolis's The Walker Gallery, Red Cat in Los Angeles, or Seattle's On the Boards. In most cases, the artist should have been contracted for a fee or honorarium rather than "self-produced," and the piece should not utilize student artists except for development. Campus-produced work with students may be considered for inclusion secondarily, but will not replace professional work.
At the time of review, the candidate should present evidence of most of the above categories of documentation of professional activity and original research. We expect that candidates would have a combination of different types of documentation.The candidate should present evidence of publication in peer-reviewed journals, or of a book. Examples of such peer-reviewed journals are TDR, Theatre Topics, and Performing Arts Journal. These articles should not be self-published. Research conducted with students resulting in published work is permissible, but writing must be done by the candidate alone.
For both types of scholarship, work cannot be duplicated; i.e, re-edited work does not constitute new scholarship. Evidence of new work includes different titles, different characters and plot, substantially different subject matter, and substantially different references.
In accordance with the Faculty Handbook, it is the responsibility of the department chair, in with the assistance of the VP/Dean, to have performances evaluated by outside scholars, to place written records of the evaluations in the departmental/program files, and to provide the VP/Dean with such records. Outside reviewers should not have worked directly with the candidate, and the reviewer will disclose past associations with the candidate. The candidate will normally provide the Dean with a list of five potential outside reviewers for his or her work, and the Department will provide a separate list of five names, of which the candidate will suggest two.
The Department works together closely, and expects that candidates will support students and colleagues by attending departmental events, and events sponsored by the Department. In addition, we expect that all members of the Department will share in administrative duties. By the time of tenure review, the candidate should play a consistent and vital role in the life of the Department, and as an effective student advisor.
By the time of review, the candidate is expected to show documentation of new creative and professional off-campus activity as described in the first section of this document in most or all of the categories listed. The candidate should be able to show evidence of several additional examples of work (whether acting, directing or playwriting) produced at major professional venues (or, secondarily, on campus), and should provide reviews of this work when available.
By the time of review, the candidate is expected to show documentation of new original research and professional off-campus activity as described in the first section of this document in most or all of the categories listed. The candidate should be able to show evidence of several additional examples of work published in peer-reviewed journals, or a book.
For both types of scholarship, work cannot be duplicated; i.e, re-edited work does not constitute new scholarship. Evidence of new work includes different titles, different characters and plot, and substantially different subject matter and references. We expect that the candidate will show evidence of sustained work in the field.
In addition to the criteria outlined for tenure review, candidates for promotion are expected to continue to show excellent skills in both academic and performance areas, and to find ways to demonstrate the connections between the two. Candidates are expected to stay current with developments in the field, and to incorporate these developments into their courses.
Candidates for promotion are expected to continue to demonstrate consistent support for departmental activities, as listed in the criteria for tenure above, and to serve on campus-wide committees when requested.