Dean of Faculty Office

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Faculty Review & Development

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

Sociology Department

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Tenure in sociology is awarded based on teaching, scholarship and, to a lesser degree, service to the Department, the College, and his or her profession. A successful candidate for tenure should have demonstrated excellence as both a teacher and a scholar, and assumed appropriate service responsibilities.


Teaching will be evaluated through consideration of student course evaluations, class observation, syllabi and other course materials prepared by the candidate, evaluation letters written by past students for the tenure review, and any other relevant information available to the Department.

The Department will use a number of measures from the evaluative tools listed below to assess a candidate’s excellence and effectiveness in teaching. These include, but are not limited to the ability to do the following:

  • Articulate sociological ideas via coherent and cogent lectures
  • Clearly identify course requirements, expectations, and grading criteria
  • Direct course discussions that acknowledge students’ views on topics and that deepen students’ engagement with, and understanding of, course materials
  • Thoughtfully evaluate and grade students’ work in a timely manner

In addition, the Department will consider a candidate’s teaching improvement over time (as revealed in student evaluations and/ in the observation-based assessments of senior colleagues) insofar as such improvement has resulted in excellence in teaching.

The following will also count in the candidate’s favor: receiving College teaching awards, initiating successful new courses or innovating existing courses, directing independent student research, and involving students in the faculty member’s own research.


The Department expects a successful candidate for tenure to present evidence of ongoing research and publication that appears likely to extend beyond the tenure decision.  In particular we value the content and impact of colleagues’ research in their respective subfields.  We recognize that colleagues’ engagement in and contribution to scholarship will vary by subfield and methodological approach and that this cannot be measured simply by numbers of publications.  The candidate should have a book or book in press with a recognized university or trade press, or the equivalent in several shorter publications in peer-reviewed journals. 

The quality of publications will be assessed by tenured faculty in the department and by outside reviewers.  Single-authored works, based on original research, and published after peer review will be given the greatest weight. Co-authored publications, book chapters, textbooks, articles in non-peer reviewed journals, book reviews, papers presented at professional meetings, and invited talks delivered at other institutions or conferences will also be considered.

Works that are in-press will be considered equal to published material and given greater weight than those that are under contract but not yet in production, but the latter will also receive serious consideration. 

Evidence of continuing commitment to scholarship might include, in addition to the forgoing, material under review by journals and presses, revise and resubmit responses, funded research, and manuscript reviews performed for scholarly journals and presses.


Service to the Department requires participating in Department activities and working cooperatively with colleagues to conduct the business of the Department.  Candidates for tenure can serve the Department by participating, as appropriate, in the hiring process; advising students; assuming individual responsibilities within the Department; and representing the Department on committees and at occasions such as receptions for accepted students.

Service to the College may include serving on College committees, advising first year students, working with student organizations, and more generally supporting the work of the College in a positive manner (such as meeting with prospective students and their families, interacting with trustees, or working on interdepartmental initiatives).  Contributing professional expertise to the larger community by, for example, speaking before local organizations, will also count as service to the College. 

Although it is not required as a condition of tenure, service to the profession will be counted in a candidate’s favor.  Service to the profession may include serving on professional association committees and boards, reviewing book and article manuscripts, reviewing grant proposals, and editing newsletters or other professional publications.

Although service to the College and the Department is a responsibility that all faculty members share and a significant element in the tenure decision, junior faculty members should avoid accumulating excessive service obligations that can interfere with the time that they owe to teaching and scholarship. Tenure track faculty who are unsure whether they have struck the proper balance in this regard should consult with the chair and/or faculty mentor.

Guidelines for Promotion

At the time of review for promotion to full professor, the department will look for continued excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.  The department will expect the candidate to demonstrate excellence in teaching as demonstrated by student evaluations, teaching awards, evidence of curricular innovation and any other material evincing the candidate’s excellence in classroom instruction.  A candidate’s scholarship should evince a degree of national recognition by peers in her or his field (e.g., his or her work is used by leading scholars, has shaped or contributes to debates within the discipline; she or he is recognized by peers as an important scholar in a given sub-field).  The candidate should have taken on significant service responsibilities (e.g., service on major faculty committees) and made significant contributions to the overall welfare of the College community.