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Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines - 2011

I. INTRODUCTION

This document outlines criteria and procedures for following the tenure and promotion guidelines set forth in the University’s Faculty Manual. The policy is designed to ensure continuity of process and reasonable and regular reward of merit. Nothing in this document shall be construed as removing or modifying the guarantees provided by the Faculty Manual concerning tenure and promotion.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications serves many constituencies and its mission changes from level-to-level. At the undergraduate level, the School seeks to prepare its students for careers in journalism and mass communications. At the master’s level, the School seeks to prepare students who are planning for further education at the doctoral level (M.A. degree) or who are planning for a career as mass media professionals (M.M.C. degree). At the doctoral level, the School seeks to prepare students for careers in teaching and/or research in journalism and mass communications.

The School is the only accredited program in South Carolina that confers degrees at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral levels and the only South Carolina mass communications program within a major research university. The School therefore has a special obligation to provide the highest quality professional preparation for its students. For this reason, the School, as with other accredited journalism and mass communication programs, puts great emphasis on having a faculty with both professional and academic backgrounds. The School’s mission within the University of South Carolina is reflected in contributions of individual members of its faculty in three broad areas: (1) teaching students in and out of the classroom; (2) publishing academic and applied research, and (3) serving the School’s constituencies.

Because of the unique nature of its mission, which requires faculty members with the terminal degree as well as those with significant professional experience, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications has established two tracks, each of which leads to tenure and the full professorship. Accordingly, the guidelines specify the earned doctorate in the academic track and significant professional experience in the professional track.

II. CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING CANDIDATES FOR TENURE AND PROMOTION

The letter of appointment to the tenure track will specify whether the faculty member is in the academic or professional track. The faculty member must remain in that track during the probationary period. A tenured faculty member may submit a request to the Director of the School for a change in the appointed track. Decisions on requests for track changes will be made by the Director in consultation with the individual faculty member and the School's Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion.

In a tenure application, faculty members appointed after Jan. 1, 1995 may choose either the unit criteria and University standards in effect at the time of hire, or the unit criteria and University standards in effect at the time.

RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY GUIDELINES – ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL TRACKS

Scholarship is paramount to the life of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, whether conducted as traditional academic research or creative scholarship activity. Each is a priority and involves commitment and time. Each involves a different approach to generating new knowledge.  Research and creative contributions should be regular, continuous and focused.

Academic-track faculty members are expected to contribute to the journalism and mass communication field’s body of knowledge. Academic journalism and mass communication research assumes a variety of forms and can include contributions in the theoretical/conceptual, methodological or substantive domains. Contributions to academic journalism and mass communication research include generating theories or new methods, reporting substantive findings, validating theories or testing methods and analyzing and synthesizing existing knowledge.

Both quality and quantity of a candidate’s research and creative activity are important and should be demonstrated by durability, consistency and impact. The candidate should use the personal statement with references to supporting materials to describe the significance of the work. Collaboration is valued, but it is important to document the candidate’s role in the collaborative research and creative activity.

For the academic track, evidence of research and creative activity might include, but is not limited to:

  • Articles published, or in press, in refereed scholarly and professional journals (e.g., digital or print).
  • Scholarly books and monographs.
  • Scholarly book chapters, textbooks, and other published works.
  • Funded research grants. Unfunded research grant proposals are also considered valuable, but to a lesser degree.
  • Refereed papers given at scholarly conferences.
  • Research reports completed in the faculty member’s role of consultant.
  • Editorial positions on scholarly and professional journals.
  • “Expert witness” testimony in court cases or before governmental committees.
  • Invited papers at scholarly and professional conferences.

 Note: Published research is more important than papers presented at scholarly and professional conferences.

Professional-track faculty members are expected to contribute to the journalism and mass communication field’s body of knowledge. Research and creative activity assume a variety of forms and includes contributions to the quality of practice of professionals and educators in the field. Contributions include reporting on findings or practice from professionals, critiquing professional practice, exhibiting creative work, analyzing and synthesizing existing knowledge, providing journalism and mass communications professionals’ access to academic research and other innovative work.

Both quality and quantity of a candidate’s research and creative activity are important and should be demonstrated by durability, consistency and impact. The candidate should use the personal statement with references to supporting materials to describe the significance of the work. Although collaboration is valued, it is important to document the candidate’s role in the collaborative research and creative activity.

For the professional track, evidence of research and creative activity might include, but is not limited to:

  • Professional books and textbooks that contribute to the field of mass communications.
  • Articles in professional journals, trade publications, scholarly journals, newspapers or other mass media (e.g., digital, print).
  • Creative projects that are juried, with national competitions being more important than regional competitions.
  • Creative projects that are not juried, but are recognized by the creative community as excellent and as important contributions to the candidate’s field.
  • Refereed papers presented at scholarly conferences.
  • Editorial positions on scholarly and professional journals.
  • “Expert witness” testimony in court cases or before governmental committees.
  • Invited papers at scholarly and professional conferences.

Note: Published or exhibited research and creative activity are more important than presentations at scholarly and professional conferences.

Outstanding:
The candidate’s record of research and creative activity is of such a very high quality and quantity that a national/international reputation is evident.
Excellent:
The candidate’s record of research and creative activity is of such high quality and quantity that a national/international reputation is likely.
Good:
The candidate’s record of research and creative activity is of such quality and quantity that it shows clear promise of a national/international reputation.
Fair:  
The candidate’s record of research and creative activity is not consistent in terms of quality and quantity and does not show clear promise of a national/international reputation.
Unacceptable:
The candidate’s record of research and creative activity in terms of quality and quantity shows little or no promise of a national/international reputation.

TEACHING GUIDELINES – ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL TRACKS

A principal consideration in awarding tenure or promotion is the candidate’s teaching performance. The School prides itself on the quality of its teaching and places a high priority on this activity.

Evidence of achievement and professional growth in teaching might include, but is not limited to:  

  • Receipt of teaching awards.
  • Receipt of faculty development grants to support innovations in teaching.
  • Peer and student evaluation of teaching.
  • Publication of teaching materials, whether in printed form, multimedia or other computer-based instruction, regardless of the medium of presentation.
  • Mentorship contributing to receipt of student awards and/or honors. The faculty member should explain the extent of his or her contribution.
  • Supervision of student work leading to presentation and or publication. The faculty member should explain the extent of his or her contribution.
  • Advisement of Doctoral dissertations and Masters theses.
  • Work in professional positions in the mass communications industry during summers or leave time or, with the approval of the Director, part-time during regular term.
  • Development and management of seminars and workshops for colleagues who want to enhance or improve their teaching skills.
  • Appointment or election to leadership roles in teaching-related activities of professional associations.
  • Development or enrichment of new courses or programs.
  • Requests to instruct seminar sessions for academic or professional associations.
  • Requests to serve as a visiting teacher at another institution.
  • The School’s required course evaluations from students and evaluations from unit colleagues are an important documentation of teaching quality. Subjective evaluations obtained in interviews with students and alumni or in letters solicited from them may be included. Evaluations from unit colleagues may also be included.

In evaluating teaching, the following ratings will be used:

Outstanding:
The candidate’s teaching record among tenure-track faculty is of such a very high quality that a university-wide and national/international reputation is evident.
Excellent:
The candidate’s teaching record among tenure-track faculty is of such high quality that a university-wide reputation is evident and shows promise of a national/international reputation. 
Good:
The candidate’s teaching record is of such quality that it shows the candidate is among the better tenure-track faculty members in the unit and shows promise of a university-wide reputation.
Fair:  
The candidate’s teaching record among tenure-track faculty is not consistent in terms of quality in the unit and does not show clear promise in terms of a university-wide reputation.
Unacceptable:
The candidate’s teaching record among tenure-track faculty in the unit does not show promise in terms of quality.

SERVICE GUIDELINES – ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL TRACKS

A principal expectation of all faculty members is that they make meaningful contributions to the wide range of constituencies of concern to the School.

Evidence for judging service contributions might include, but is not limited to:

  • Review of manuscripts for academic or professional journals.
  • Review of papers for academic or professional conferences.
  • Professional contributions through services as an officer or committee chair.
  • Development of programs or activities that contribute significantly to the interests of the School’s professional or academic constituencies, such as development and management of seminars and workshops for professional journalists entailing teaching professional skills and practice.
  • Active participation in the appropriate academic or professional organizations.
  • Receipt of service grants, honors and awards.
  • Consulting with other schools or mass communications organizations.
  • Service to the School, College and University in the form of committee or administrative assignments, directing of workshops and conferences, and participation in promotional activities.
  • Community service related to disciplines encompassed by the School.
  • Professional achievement in fields represented by journalism and mass communications.
  • A high level of academic advising and professional counseling of students.
  • Mentor of Carolina and McNair Scholars and other students.
  • Review of tenure and promotion files of candidates from other universities.
  • Awards and honors for professional achievement.

In evaluating service activities, the following ratings will be used:

Outstanding:
The candidate’s record of service among tenure-track faculty is of such a very high quality that a university-wide and national/international reputation is evident.
Excellent:
The candidate’s record of service among tenure-track faculty is of such high quality that a university-wide reputation is evident and shows promise of a national/international reputation. 
Good:
The candidate’s record of service among tenure-track faculty is of such quality that it shows the candidate is among the better tenure-track faculty members in the unit and shows promise of a university-wide reputation.
Fair:  
The candidate’s record of service among tenure-track faculty is not consistent in terms of quality in the unit and does not show clear promise in terms of a university-wide reputation.
Unacceptable:
The candidate’s record of service among tenure-track faculty in the unit does not show promise in terms of quality.

EVALUATION STANDARDS

The ratings of Fair and Unacceptable are included in the unit’s Tenure and Promotions guidelines for annual and third-year performance reviews. However, a candidate cannot be tenured or promoted with a ranking of below Good in any category.

In reviewing candidates for promotion and/or tenure, the School’s Tenure and Promotion Committee will use the following evaluation standards for those seeking each academic rank. Note that a faculty member may not be tenured at the rank of assistant professor.

For tenure and promotion to Associate Professor and/or tenure at the rank of Associate Professor, a faculty member must be rated as at least Excellent in either teaching or research and creative activity and at least Good in Service and one other category.

For tenure and/or promotion to Professor, a faculty member must be rated as Excellent in teaching and research and creative activity, and at least Good in the Service category.

III. PROCEDURES

SCHOOL TENURE AND PROMOTION COMMITTEE

The responsibility for formulation of practices and procedures for granting of tenure or promotion within the School of Journalism and Mass Communications shall be that of the School’s Tenure and Promotion Committee, which is comprised of the tenured faculty members of the School. The Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion shall be composed of a combination of nine professors and associate professors elected by all tenured faculty of the School. When possible, the Select Committee shall consist of a minimum of five professors. All members of the Select Committee will serve three-year terms. Elections to fill vacancies on the Committee shall be held no later than the end of the third week in April of each spring semester. A minimum of three members shall be elected from the academic track and three shall be elected from the professional track, if possible. The Chair shall be elected from the Tenure and Promotion Committee membership by no later than the end of the third week in April of each spring semester for a one-year term, and the name of the Chair shall be submitted to the Provost and the Faculty Senate Office by that date.  The Chair, when possible, shall have served on the Select Committee the year prior to assuming the Chair position. The Chair of the Select Committee will be one of the nine voting members. The School's Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion shall annually evaluate tenure-track faculty members, assist the Select Committee Chair in gathering materials for candidates’ files and perform other duties as assigned.

CONSIDERATION FOR TENURE OR PROMOTION

All untenured faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor, associate professor pr professor are considered for tenure each year, and all assistant and associate professors are considered for promotion each year. Consideration by the Tenure and Promotion Committee at the unit level is automatic unless the faculty member requests in writing that consideration be deferred until the following year.

Note that untenured faculty members cannot defer tenure consideration beyond the penultimate year of their maximum probationary period.

Untenured full-time faculty members appointed at the rank of assistant professor who have not held tenure-track positions at another college or university normally will not be recommended for tenure or promotion until they are in at least their fourth year at the University of South Carolina.

Untenured full-time faculty members promoted to or appointed at the rank of associate professor normally will not be considered for tenure or promotion until they are in at least their third year at the University of South Carolina. Untenured full-time faculty members promoted to or appointed at the rank of professor will not normally be considered for tenure until they are in at least their third year at the University of South Carolina. However, the School may choose to include service at other institutions or at other ranks when calculating seniority. The School may also choose to include significant professional experience outside the academy indicating achievement at a national or international level. Recommendations for promotion may be made with shorter terms of service when there is evidence the candidate meets the criteria and standards for promotion.

Faculty who do not wish to be considered for tenure or promotion must make their wishes known in writing to the Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion annually. Faculty who wish to be considered for tenure and/or promotion must notify the Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion of their intentions by no later than the annual deadline established by the Committee. Notice of intention will be forwarded to the Director of the School by the specified annual deadline.

JOINT FACULTY APPOINTMENTS

Tenure-track faculty members in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) – that is faculty members whose tenure home is in the School – with joint appointments (in a secondary department or program) will have a statement of their responsibilities to the SJMC and to the secondary unit clearly stated in a Memorandum of Understanding. The tenured faculty members of the secondary unit have no formal vote in the tenure and/or promotion decisions of SJMC faculty members with joint appointments, but will solicit formal input from the eligible faculty of each secondary unit that will be placed in the candidate’s file at least five working days prior to the unit’s vote on the application. They will have a role in selecting outside referees that is proportionate to the workload allocation to that unit. For example, if the faculty member whose tenure home is the SJMC has a joint appointment in another unit involving 20 percent of his or her workload, then the T&P committee in that unit will choose one of the five outside referees. If the workload commitment to the other unit is 50 percent, six outside referees will be chosen and the School and the secondary unit’s T&P committee will each select three. These procedures apply if the candidate for tenure and/or promotion has been on a “joint appointment” for three or more years during the entire probationary period or for a majority of the probationary period between the tenure and promotion decision. .

OTHER PROCEDURES

Several other elements important in the process of considering the files of those seeking tenure and/or promotion are:

A. Timetable: The School will adhere to the tenure and promotion schedule published each academic year by the Provost’s office. Using the Provost's calendar, the Chair of the School's Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion will distribute a tenure and promotion timetable to faculty members and will notify all eligible faculty members in writing of their option for tenure or promotion review. Certain materials, as listed in the University Committee on Tenure and Promotion’s “A Guide to USC-Columbia Tenure and Promotion Procedures,” may be added to files upon request by the candidate during the initial review process or during any subsequent appeal of a Committee action.

B. Balloting: Tenure recommendations will be made by tenured faculty members of equal or higher rank than that held by the candidate. Promotion recommendations will be made by tenured faculty members of higher rank. Candidates for promotion to professor will be evaluated by all, non-administrative faculty members holding the rank of professor in the unit. If the unit has fewer than five professors, the School’s Tenure and Promotion Committee will choose faculty members at the rank of professor from other units within the University to serve as evaluators to create a five-person committee. All voting shall be by secret ballot.

A candidate receives an affirmative vote from the eligible members of the Tenure and Promotion Committee by garnering 70 percent of the total “yes” or “no” votes cast by the Committee members eligible to vote on the particular candidate. Percentages will be rounded to the nearest whole number (i.e., 9.55 and above will be rounded to 10). Abstention votes are determinative in calculating vote percentage. However, if 30 percent or more of the votes cast by the Committee members eligible to vote on a particular candidate are abstentions, the candidate will be judged to have received a negative vote. Percentages will be rounded to the nearest whole number (i.e., 9.55 and above will be rounded to 10). All votes, including abstentions, must be justified in writing, and all files will contain the number of “yes,” “no” and “abstain” votes. Members of the tenured faculty who are eligible to vote on a particular candidate but who are on leave shall be invited in writing to participate in the tenure and promotion process. All tenured faculty members are eligible to vote. Any eligible tenured faculty member who affirmatively chooses not to vote shall be counted as an abstention.   

A candidate receiving an affirmative vote will have his or her file forwarded to the Director. The file, along with the Director’s letter (which will become part of the file) and supporting materials, will then be forwarded to the Dean. The file, along with the Dean’s letter, will then be forwarded to the Office of the Provost. The candidate’s supporting materials will be sent by the Dean directly to the Faculty Senate Office by the appropriate deadlines.

The file of a candidate for both tenure and promotion who is recommended by the unit Tenure and Promotion Committee for tenure or promotion, but not both, will be sent forward for consideration of only that aspect favorably recommended by the unit. Note that a faculty member may not be tenured at the rank of assistant professor. Upon written request of any candidate dissatisfied with a negative decision by the unit Tenure and Promotion Committee, the unit Committee shall send that candidate's file forward through all appropriate channels. A list of those persons considered but not recommended must be forwarded through appropriate channels. Failure to recommend a candidate favorably for tenure and/or promotion is without prejudice with respect to future consideration unless a candidate for tenure is in the penultimate year of the candidate's maximum probationary period. The University Grievance Committee shall hear appeals upon request from all persons dissatisfied with the President's decisions regarding tenure and/or promotion (see "Academic Grievance Procedure" in the Faculty Manual).

IV. PREPARATION OF TENURE AND/OR PROMOTION FILE

A file should be organized according to the description given in the “UCTP Guide to Criteria and Procedures.” Because faculty from outside journalism and mass communications will review a candidate’s file, it is strongly suggested the candidate follow the guide's recommended format. A candidate may submit as much documentation as he or she wishes in support of the tenure and/or promotion application.

CANDIDATE PREPARATION

At a minimum, the candidate’s file should include the following:

A. Curriculum vita to include education, pertinent work experience in journalism and mass communications, teaching experience, honors, lists of research and creative activity with titles and/or presentation details, committee and administrative assignments, research and creative activity in progress, consulting (paid and unpaid), evidence of recent professional growth, relevant public service, participation in professional societies and other supporting data.

B. Personal statement from the candidate.  A candidate may include, for example, a philosophy of teaching, a synthesis of how teaching, research/creative activity, and or service contributions are integrated, and or explanations of any documents that may support the candidate’s case for tenure and or promotion.

C. Supporting materials that provide documentation of information cited in the curriculum vita, such as copies of journal articles, evidence of artistic works, recordings of video or audio productions, etc.

D. Current letters from up to five former students commenting on the candidate’s qualifications for tenure and/or promotion.

UNIT PREPARATION

A. Evaluations by students enrolled in the candidate's past semester courses. The evaluations should not date back further than the candidate's last promotion or grant of tenure. A summary of student evaluations will be written by either the Select Committee Chair or a designee of the Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion. This summary shall include a comparison of student evaluations from other courses in the School’s curriculum, if applicable.  

This summary of student evaluations normally includes an analysis of the numerical scores and open-ended comments from the student evaluation instrument used by the School. A copy of each evaluation instrument should be included in the candidate’s file.

B. Evaluations by the candidate’s administrative superiors.

C. Names of a minimum of five people who can comment on the candidate’s qualifications as outside referees. These people might include persons teaching at other colleges and universities or working in the field of mass communications. The selection of outside referees will be the responsibility of the School’s Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion, in consultation with the Tenure and Promotion Committee. The referees will normally be selected from the candidate’s area of expertise (e.g., advertising, public relations, electronic journalism, etc.) from academic programs similar in scope to the School's. The Select Committee will ensure that there are no formal or informal ties to the candidate that could call into question the objectivity of a referee’s evaluation. Letters from referees will be solicited by the School’s Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion. All responses from referees will become part of the candidate’s file. The evaluation by outside referees will be a primary basis for determining if a candidate’s record of research and creative contributions, in terms of quality and quantity, meets the unit’s criteria and compares favorably with that of contemporaries of the same rank at peer institutions. The cover letter to outside referees will make clear that their evaluation letters will be a primary basis for such a comparison. The cover letter will also include other information required by the Faculty Manual and/or recommended by the Provost’s Office.

D. Evaluations of the candidate by colleagues in the School. These will be solicited by the Select Committee on Tenure and Promotion.

E. Peer evaluations of teaching by faculty colleagues. The peer review normally will be based on an evaluation of general instructional strategies and teaching methodologies that might include, but are not limited to:

  1. class organization and preparation
  2. clarity and ability to explain materials
  3. stimulation of thought and interest
  4. enthusiasm and dynamism of instructor
  5. pace of the class
  6. presentation style
  7. use of varied and appropriate instructional techniques
  8. effective use of class time
  9. use and quality of handouts
  10. use and quality of visual materials
  11. meeting of class/assignment objectives

The peer reviewer will prepare a written report of the evaluation and then discuss the peer review with the faculty member. The reviewed faculty member will have the prerogative to submit the report as part of the School’s annual review process but is required to submit in the year of consideration for tenure and/or promotion.  Normally, a non-tenured faculty member will be peer evaluated twice per year. Tenured faculty members will be peer evaluated a minimum of once per year.