Guidelines for tenure and promotion, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.

Pursuant to Rutgers policy on tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, the Department recognizes that the decision to award tenure is of great significance, for the candidate as well as the department and the university, and decisions should be made with great care (see Rutgers Policy 60.5.16). As is also made clear in university policy, the decision will normally be based primarily on a candidate’s scholarly research.

Although effectiveness in teaching and commitment to service are necessary conditions for tenure and promotion, neither would normally be sufficient in the absence of excellence in research. Under university policy, teaching may become a “principal basis for tenure” in “rare instances where an individual’s scholarship has enabled his/her teaching to achieve national recognition, that is, to make an impressive and recognized impact on teaching in the discipline as a whole, not limited to this University” (60.5.16) In our fields, that might mean, for example, authorship of a textbook or development of a methodology that revolutionizes the way in which a subject is taught and is recognized nationally as having that impact. In nearly all cases, scholarly research will be the determining factor.

Exceptional service may be a significant factor supporting a tenure case and may to some extent counterbalance lesser achievements in research or teaching, but “cannot replace scholarship and research or teaching effectiveness as a justification for tenure” (Rutgers Policy 60.5.16).

A successful candidate for tenure and promotion will demonstrate that s/he has made and is continuing to make a significant contribution to the development of his or her field. This excellence in scholarly research is normally demonstrated through the publication of books, articles, chapters, papers, etc., in venues that are nationally and internationally respected in a candidate’s field, as well as regular participation in the appropriate scholarly conferences. The Department does not specify a particular number of publications or papers that is necessary, but the publications and papers should be sufficient to indicate a significant contribution to the field. In the literature and culture disciplines, a successful candidacy requires, in addition to a number of shorter publications, a scholarly book published or in press with a publisher that is well respected in the candidate’s particular field. “In press” means here that the book can be proven to have reached an advanced stage in the publication process, for example that it is available in galley proofs. In linguistics, where standards more like those of the natural or social sciences may apply, the publications of a successful candidate for tenure and promotion may or may not include a book. A series of substantial articles making a contribution to the candidate’s field equivalent to that made by a book in the humanistic disciplines may be regarded as documenting the appropriate level of scholarly excellence. The number of articles and other short contributions published by a successful candidate in linguistics would, of course, exceed the number normally expected for candidates in literature and cultural studies, since it represents the same achievement that the articles and the book together would represent for a literature/culture candidate.

While textbooks and other instructional materials are normally considered part of a candidate’s teaching record, when a candidate’s research leads him or her to involvement in textbooks and similar projects, then textbooks or similar projects may be counted as research. A candidate who wants to have textbooks or similar materials counted as research in a tenure packet should include a statement as to why the project reflects his or her merit as a researcher. Since university policy seems to regard textbooks as part of a candidate’s teaching record, it is unclear whether the department’s judgment that a particular textbook should count as research will be accepted at higher levels; therefore, a case for tenure should not depend too heavily on involvement with textbooks and similar projects.

In evaluating shorter publications, particular weight will be given to those appearing in peer-reviewed journals, and the department further recognizes that some journals and other venues have more prestige than others. This does not depend on whether a particular contribution appears in print, online, or in some other medium, but on the degree to which the venue is recognized and respected in a candidate’s field. In linguistics, published conference proceedings may have similar weight to refereed articles. In evaluating papers delivered at scholarly conferences, the department also recognizes that some venues are more important or prestigious than others. Book reviews are an important contribution to a field, but do not carry the same weight as original scholarship.

Edited collections can also be important contributions to a field, but cannot replace original scholarship in creating the necessary record of excellence for tenure and promotion.

Collaborating with others to produce scholarly work may be an important way of contributing to the development of a field of research. Co-authorship may be more common in linguistics than in literature and cultural studies, but may be important in any field. In the case of co-authored scholarly work, candidates should make clear the nature and significance of their contribution. Scholarly projects in which the candidate played a major role will naturally weigh more than projects in which the candidate played a more minor role. Nonetheless, two or more co-authored publications, depending on the details of the case, certainly may be regarded as having a weight similar to that of one single-authored publication.

Grants, especially significant external grants, may be important evidence of scholarly excellence but cannot take the place of publications.  

Although excellence in research will normally be the most important factor, successful candidacy for tenure and promotion also requires effective teaching and significant service to the department, the university, the profession, and/or the larger community. Effective teaching may be demonstrated through a combination of student evaluations and evaluations by peers; teaching awards and other recognitions of teaching excellence may also be important. The creation of new courses and/or significant revisions of existing courses can be an important part of a colleague’s work in our department and our university, and should be given appropriate weight in tenure and promotion decisions. Contributions to textbooks and other instructional materials can also be of great importance, and will normally be considered as part of the evidence for a candidate’s effectiveness in teaching, although, as noted above, under certain conditions they might be evaluated as research.

Service includes a great variety of activities and may be divided into service to the department, to the college or university, to the profession, and to the community at large. Service to the department includes such activities as advising students, contributing to the supervision of teaching in the department, serving on department committees, serving as course coordinator, Graduate Director, Department Chair, etc. Service to the college and university includes a variety of activities such as advising students in certain settings, serving on college or university committees, serving in the Faculty Senate or similar bodies of faculty governance, and many other things. Service to the profession may include editorial and advisory roles with professional journals, serving as moderator or respondent at academic conferences, organizing panels or conferences, reviewing manuscripts for publication, serving on dissertation committees, evaluating candidates for tenure or promotion at other colleges and universities, and a great variety of other activities. Service to the community at large may involve very direct use of a candidate’s expertise, such as providing or supervising translating services or working with schools on matters related to language teaching, or it may involve much more general use of a candidate’s talents to support community groups, to serve on boards, agencies, etc. Service of all kinds should be regarded as an integral part of an academic career. A successful candidate for tenure and promotion to Assistant Professor should be able to demonstrate a record of service to at least the department, the college /university, and the profession, including student advising, committee work, and appropriate service to the profession; however, a colleague working towards tenure should not undertake service commitments to a degree that might interfere with achieving sufficient scholarly merit for tenure and promotion.



Promotion to Professor

Promotion to full Professor requires essentially the same activities as tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. A second book is normally necessary for promotion at this level in the humanistic disciplines, but a similar contribution might be represented by a significant body of shorter publications in linguistics. Continued participation in a full range of scholarly activities such as the publishing of articles and chapters, the presentation of conference papers, and so forth, as described above, is essential for promotion to Professor. Effective teaching remains important, but would rarely, if ever, suffice for promotion to Professor in the absence of clearly sufficient contributions to research. Tenured colleagues should normally contribute more than pre-tenure colleagues in service of all kinds, but service will rarely, if ever, suffice for promotion to higher ranks if excellence in research has not been achieved.



Promotion to Professor II

Promotion to Professor II is not primarily a departmental decision; nonetheless it is appropriate to establish guidelines for what the department and dean would expect of a colleague earning promotion to this distinguished rank. As a rank of distinction beyond the routine, Professor II should involve contributions beyond the usual definition of excellence: for example, not merely a number of additional publications, but publications that change a field. Promotion to Professor II would normally be based on a distinguished record in research; teaching or service would suffice only in the rarest of circumstances.