German and Russian Studies Guidelines
The following document establishes guidelines for the tenure or promotion process in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures. While these guidelines are not intended to be a mandatory checklist, our goal is to offer clarification to the candidate, the Dean of the Faculty, the Committee on Appointments, and external evaluators. The Department looks for strengths in all three of the areas outlined below: teaching, scholarship, and service. Exceptional work in one area cannot replace weak performance in another.
We want to stress that there is no fixed “bar” for tenure or promotion. Numbers (on teaching evaluations, of publications, of committees) are part of the evaluation process, but each case will be considered on its own merit and in the context of the candidate’s on-going discussions with the Chair, the Dean of Faculty, the COA, and the other members of the department. Open communication among all parties is crucial since it leads to the truest set of “guidelines”: those that apply to an individual’s particular case. We therefore encourage frequent conversations between all parties to ensure a fair and equal process.
Hamilton considers teaching to be the “most heavily weighted criterion” for tenure and promotion and demands that candidates “secure” evidence of quality in teaching as they prepare their dossiers (Hamilton College Faculty Handbook). Our department expects excellence in teaching, which may be demonstrated with the following documentation:
- Course evaluation forms; reports of classroom observations by colleagues; and letters of evaluation from the candidate’s peers (both within and outside of the department or college) and from students (present and former).
These documents should reflect the candidate’s ability to stimulate students’ interest in our fields, to communicate clearly in the classroom, and to present material in a lucid and concise manner. They should also reflect the candidate’s ability to help students grow intellectually and to motivate students to think deeply about the course material and the classroom experience.
- Teaching materials such as syllabi, course policy statements, or any other course-related material produced by the candidate. The creation of new courses, both departmental and interdisciplinary, and the development of new material within existing courses should also be included in the candidate’s teaching portfolio.
These documents should reflect the candidate’s knowledge of our disciplines, expertise in particular areas within the discipline, and ability to convey such expertise to students clearly and effectively. Teaching materials should also reflect creativity and/or mastery in the design of courses and the ways of conveying information to students. Finally, such materials should show that the candidate responds to student views on topics, provides articulate grading criteria, and thoughtfully evaluates student work in a timely manner.
- Evidence of participation in workshops or conferences devoted to teaching or to pedagogies that make use of new, changing technologies; also, the creation of unpublished or published materials used in the classroom and of innovative assignments, especially those with public presentation components (poster displays, lectures, debates, performances, etc.).
These documents should reflect the candidate’s awareness of developments in theories and/or methodologies in pedagogy and ability to use such developments in the classroom.
- Evidence of a) supervising independent projects (including Senior projects, independent studies, independent coverage, et al.); b) the securing of grants, both internal and external, which emphasize student work (such as the Emerson Grants); and/or c) participation in committees devoted to the curriculum or teaching.
These documents should reflect the candidate’s active participation in the teaching life of the department and college. They should also show the candidate’s ability to engage students in increasingly sophisticated learning experiences and to guide students in the creation of long-term projects.
For tenure, the teaching dossier should reflect both the ways the candidate has grown as a teacher and a clear trajectory for development in the future.
For promotion to Professor, the candidate should demonstrate a clear record of such trajectory through documented evidence of the categories outlined above over time.
Faculty members in our department are expected to be active scholars in their field(s). The fields include (but are not limited to): literary studies (including Comparative Literature), linguistics, language pedagogy, translation theory and practice, and interdisciplinary studies, such as Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Women's Studies, et al.
The highest professional achievement in the above disciplines is peer-reviewed publication. For tenure, a candidate must have produced a clear program of research through peer-reviewed publications that reflect both coherence and validity. For promotion to Professor, a candidate’s work should be recognized by others in the field as a significant contribution to the scholarly discourse in her or his research area.
The following is a list of the types of publications we consider for tenure and promotion. They range from most valued to least valued in descending order:
- Peer-reviewed book-length publications, including scholarly monographs, textbooks, and translations;
- Peer-reviewed article-length publications, such as articles in major journals in our fields (both print and electronic);
- Book chapters, articles in anthologies, proceedings, translations, etc… in non-peer-reviewed publications. (It is important to note that while such works are not normally peer reviewed, the mere fact of being invited to contribute to such a work is in itself a sign of distinction.);
- Dictionary or encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and other miscellaneous publications. Though typically short, such pieces can have a significant impact on the candidate’s development and on the scholarly community. One might include under this heading journalism (particularly for publications by leading organizations in the field such as ACTR or AATG), op-ed pieces in national publications, and other pieces that tend to connect the field to a broader audience.
Over the last several years, the production of multimedia forms (e.g., DVD) and web-based materials has been a major activity in the field of modern languages. It is important that such work be granted the same consideration as traditional print publication.
In addition to publications, the candidate must demonstrate engagement in her or his field of expertise. Editing academic journals or books, presenting papers at national or regional conferences of our major organizations (such as the MLA or AATSEEL), chairing or serving as respondent at those same conferences, giving invited talks at Hamilton or other campuses, and serving as referees for major journals in our fields are all clear ways to demonstrate such active engagement.
Finally, while the candidate must produce a significant number of publications and engage actively in conferences and/or editorial work over an extended period of time, we would like to conclude that the quality of the work under consideration is more important than the quantity.
As the Faculty Handbook states, “Considerable flexibility is needed in evaluating a candidate’s service to the College community because of the variety of activities that are subsumed under this term” (34). The Handbook mentions only a few examples. We feel that it is in candidates’ best interest to offer a more comprehensive list of activities they might consider as they compile this section of the dossier. They range from most valued to least valued in descending order:
- Committee work on major College committees (COA, CAP, CAS, Academic Council);
- Committee work on other College committees (see Faculty Handbook for descriptions of each committee);
- Effective advising in all its forms: first- and second-year students, departmental advising, and college-wide advising, particularly for study abroad;
- Organizing trips and tours abroad, credit-bearing and otherwise;
- Organizing campus-wide events from formal lectures to informal student gatherings;
- Serving as officer of a professional organization;
- Serving as an outside reviewer for a tenure candidate or a department at another institution;
- Sponsoring and assisting in the organization of campus events;
- Mentoring and advising student groups (German Club, Russian Club, etc…);
- Mentoring junior colleagues within in the Department and college-wide;
- Representing the Department at college-wide events (admissions open houses, parents’ receptions, etc…).
In small departments such as ours, participation in several of the listed activities is essential. For tenure we expect the candidate to have a clear record of such participation. For Professor we expect her or him to have a successful record of active participation in most of the listed activities.