Dean of Faculty

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Review and Assessment

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

Economics Department

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Candidates for Tenure

When considering a candidacy for tenure, accomplishments and promise in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service will be assessed. While no precise weights can be given to any one of these three areas, the first two are by far the most important.

Process for Evaluation Prior to Re-appointment and Tenure

The department chair has primary responsibility for advising tenure-track faculty as they work toward re-appointment and tenure.   This will be done formally through the chair’s evaluation of tenure-track faculty members’ annual reports each year.  However, this assessment results from a process which involves all tenured members of the department.   As part of this process, the chair will review not only tenure-track faculty members’ annual reports, but also their syllabi and research material. 
To evaluate teaching, tenured faculty members will observe at least one of the non-tenured faculty’s class sessions during each probationary period, and write a brief report to the chair, copies of which will be put in the faculty member’s file and given to him/her.  Tenure-track faculty should work with the chair in arranging the classroom visits each semester. 

Standards for Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

Teaching: The quality of teaching is the most important criterion for tenure.  Effective teaching in economics has several dimensions, and we note that a strong teacher in economics will have demonstrated the ability to teach a variety of courses at different levels well before he or she is considered for tenure. An effective teacher:

  1. is a clear and organized communicator;
  2. is able to engage students in learning;
  3. is knowledgeable about the field;
  4. challenges students intellectually;
  5. makes thoughtful use of appropriate pedagogy;
  6. is helpful to students within class;
  7. is helpful to students outside of class;

To assess effectiveness of each characteristic, the evidence we examine will include (numbers correspond to the characteristics above):

  1. Syllabi and assignments: Is the organization of the course clear? Are guidelines, expectations, and deadlines clear? 
    Student letters and teaching evaluations: Do students understand the expectations set for them? Do they report that the instructor communicated clearly and in an organized fashion? 
    Peer visits: Did peers observe organizational and communication skills
    Personal statement: Does a candidate’s personal statement outline broad goals for teaching and explain how the faculty member attempts to achieve these goals?
  2. Peer visits: What did peers observe about student engagement during class?
    Student letters and teaching evaluations: Do students report being interested in the material/thinking about course material outside of class time?
  3. Syllabi, readings, and assignments: Do the syllabi indicate current content? Are courses revised periodically to include updated/more current material in the field?
  4. Syllabi and assignments: Are the assignments at an appropriate level for the course?
    Student letters and teaching evaluations: Do students report being challenged?
  5. Syllabi and assignments and personal statement: Does the instructor use different types of assignments or pedagogy? Does he or she seem to be mindful of choices about assignments and pedagogy?
  6. Peer visits: Did peer visits indicate that the instructor was able to answer student questions and manage discussion skillfully? Did the instructor treat students respectfully?
    Student letters and teaching evaluations: Do students report that the instructor was able to answer questions in class?  What do students say about classroom environment?
  7. Student letters and teaching evaluations: Was material returned in a timely fashion? Do students report that course expectations and policies and grading standards were applied equitably? Do they understand the criteria being used to evaluate their work?  Is the instructor effective in working with students one-on-one or in small groups outside of class?


Being a good scholar is also a necessary condition for attaining tenure in economics. Candidates for tenure must have established themselves as recognized and respected scholars in their sub-field within the discipline. We view progress on projects beyond those drawn from the dissertation as important evidence that the faculty member will continue to be an active scholar.

  1. Publication in refereed journals is the most tangible criterion for evaluation of scholarship. In evaluating publications in journals, we consider it important to take quality as well as quantity into account. Because of this, we encourage colleagues to strive for publications in flagship journals and in the top specialized journals.  In assessing the quality of a candidate’s scholarship, the views of the outside evaluators, especially concerning the quality of work in progress (such as working papers and papers under review at refereed journals), constitute important evidence in the overall process. Another indicator of the quality of an article written by a candidate is the frequency of journal citations.
  2. One secondary indicator of scholarship is publication in non-refereed journals, chapters in books, book reviews and publication of books and edited volumes. In evaluating such publications, again we consider it important to take quality as well as quantity into account. Because of this, we encourage colleagues to aim for publishers with strong reputations.
  3. Other secondary indicators of scholarship include working papers, their submission to journals, revisions and response to reviewers’ comments. In addition, receipts of awards and grants to support scholarly activity, and participation in conferences and presentation of papers at other universities and colleges are evidence that a faculty member is an active scholar.
  4. A tertiary indicator of scholarship is evidence that the candidate can engage in collaborative research with Hamilton students.


Candidates must have demonstrated a willingness and an ability to be an effective and an engaged departmental citizen. The department expects candidates for tenure to serve the department and college in modest roles. This standard can be demonstrated in various ways, including participation in faculty searches or involvement in committees aimed at improving the curriculum of the department.  We endeavor not to overburden junior faculty with service, but expect them to be willing to take on moderate obligations when the opportunities arise.  Some candidates may be engaged in service to the broader intellectual community, such as participation in external review committees, and this can also be of value to the College

Candidates for Promotion to Professor

When considering a candidacy for promotion to the rank of Professor, accomplishments in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service will be assessed, with the greatest weight placed on the first two criteria.

Process for Evaluation for Promotion to Professor

This process will be based formally on the evaluation of faculty members’ annual reports each year and will involve all Professors within the department.  If the chair of the department is at the rank of Professor, then that person will have primary responsibility for advising tenured faculty as they work toward promotion to this rank. If the chair is not at the rank of Professor, then the primary responsibility for advising tenured faculty as they work toward promotion will be a senior faculty member (at the rank of Professor) in the department; that person will be determined by all of the faculty members at the rank of Professor.

Standards for Promotion to Professor

In assessing a candidate’s record for promotion to Professor, the principal criteria remain teaching effectiveness and scholarship.  There must be compelling evidence that the candidate has achieved a distinguished record as a teacher-scholar.  Distinguished teaching, the most important criterion for promotion, should continue to remain at a high level.  Candidates for promotion to the rank of Professor should also show high achievement in the area of scholarship.  Distinguished scholars will have an established record of publications in professional journals and will be known and well-regarded by other scholars in the field.

It is recognized that, in some cases, a candidate’s professional development as well as the needs of the department and the college may have led a candidate to have devoted more time and attention than before the awarding of tenure to areas of service concerning the department and the college. While such an enhanced record of service will be taken into account, service alone cannot be a decisive criterion in consideration of promotion to Professor.  High accomplishment in all areas is necessary for promotion.