Departmental Tenure and Promotion Guidelines for Philosophy

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The philosophy department strives to hire only those candidates for tenure track positions it deems fully capable of meeting or exceeding all expectations for tenure and promotion. In order to facilitate these achievements, the department conducts annual conversations between tenure track faculty and the department chair to review the candidate’s progress towards meeting the guidelines below.

In the case of associate professors, annual conversations concerning progress toward promotion will also be with the department chair provided he or she is a full professor. If the chair is not a full professor, these conversations will be with another member of the department who is a full professor.


Because the department deems an understanding of the history of philosophy integral to an undergraduate education in philosophy, many of the department’s courses demonstrate how the thought of a given philosopher or the thoughts of multiple philosophers fit into the broader trajectory of the history of the discipline. In other courses, the emphasis is on specific areas of philosophy, specific philosophical issues, or specific ways in which philosophy relates to other domains and informs attempts to understand and address broader theoretical and practical concerns. In all courses, however, the expectation is that students will develop finely tuned capacities for careful, critical, and imaginative thinking.

Accordingly, the department expects that all of its faculty will contribute courses consonant with its pedagogical mission and that each candidate for tenure or promotion will demonstrate teaching excellence that may be evinced in several ways. Among these ways are the following, which may vary in relevance and weight:

  • Student teaching evaluations, both numerical and narrative, that positively assess the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in the classroom, to motivate students to think deeply about course material, and to be an effective teacher.
  • Solicited student letters that candidly and positively describe the candidate’s virtues and influence as a teacher.
  • Faculty observations, based on classroom visits, which document the candidate’s ability to create and conduct a productive learning environment.
  • Course materials that indicate creative and pedagogically valuable approaches to presenting information and encouraging learning.


The department expects its faculty to evince ongoing and productive engagement within some area of the discipline. Evidence can come in a variety of different forms and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, the most significant forms of evidence generally include books, journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, and research grants. In addition, but generally to a lesser extent, the department also considers the following as evidence of ongoing and productive scholarly engagement:

  • Invited talks
  • Participation on panels at regional, national and local conferences
  • Paper submissions under review
  • Papers circulating among colleagues for review
  • Book reviews
  • Encyclopedia entries.

At the time of review for tenure, a candidate should have at least one clearly articulated program of research, including peer-reviewed publications that demonstrate its intellectual coherence and scholarly significance.At the time of review for promotion to Professor, a candidate’s scholarship should be recognized by others of his or her cohort as a significant contribution to philosophical discourse pertinent to the candidate’s area or areas of research.


In addition to the guidelines set forth regarding teaching and scholarship, the department also expects its faculty to demonstrate a record of service. Such service can take various forms: for example, organizing department speakers or conference programs, serving on college committees, participating in campus organizations, participating in professional organizations, or advising student organizations.

Contact Information

Office of the Dean of Faculty

Buttrick Hall
315-859-4601 315-859-4677
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