Because the School of Communication requires both professional and scholarly expertise from its faculty, it is important for tenure track faculty and tenured faculty seeking promotion to understand what is considered adequate creative, professional, scholarly performance. The following guidelines, summarizing priorities for each of the School’s three Divisions, are intended to aid faculty by representing our best understanding of standards important both for the School and for the University.
The guidelines are intended to be useful to faculty in setting their creative, professional, scholarly agenda and in judging how to present and highlight their work in their annual report and file for action.
Performance is assessed not only in terms of creative, professional, scholarly criteria but also in teaching and service, both within the University and beyond. A faculty member’s creative, professional, scholarly agenda should make him/her a stronger teacher, a better resource for students, faculty, and the community, and keep him/her current in their field.
Faculty are expected to develop and pursue well-defined, ambitious agendas for creative, professional, scholarly achievement that enable them to be productive continuously.
Faculty are expected to produce innovative, relevant work within the landscapes of knowledge and practice in their fields, explain how that work advances their fields, and demonstrate promise for continued growth. While each division/discipline identifies specific benchmarks and measures of success, there are cross-cutting themes that define tenure and promotion in the School of Communication, which values professional achievement and innovation as well as scholarly research. Contract work is common for professionals and payment does not affect its status as research; the decisive feature is creative control. Faculty are encouraged to apply for external funding, but receipt of such funding is not required for tenure.
SOC expects its faculty to be effective teachers, allowing students to acquire knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and become active participants in the learning process.
Faculty should be leaders in their fields, participating in conferences, associations, and professional networks.
Engagement in the School and the University in the form of service is required of all faculty, who must demonstrate a willingness to advance the academic agenda of the
Division, the School, and the University. In SOC, faculty are expected to attend regular meetings of the appropriate Division, School-wide Council meetings, the annual retreat, and events that showcase the School, its students, or its faculty. SOC faculty are expected to attend University events, including Commencement and the annual Convocation.
At the time of tenure review, evaluation of the candidate’s performance, excellence, and standing in the field will include letters from senior faculty at peer universities in the candidate's field of specialization and, as appropriate, letters from prominent professional practitioners, creative artists, and public scholars/intellectuals.
Each Division has developed and approved its own guidelines. The guidelines for the
Film and Media Arts Division are presented below:
The variety of professional, creative, and scholarly activities and interests of the Film and
Media Arts faculty are reflective of the broad and evolving scope of the film, video, and emerging media fields and are, in turn, reflected in the range of courses offered in the
Film and Media Arts Division. To achieve tenure in this Division, a faculty member must have a body of work of which he/she is the primary creator that shows he/she is working at the leading edge of his/her field(s) and that the candidate for tenure has achieved national or international recognition for this work. Each path toward tenure may be different and should be developed in consultation with senior faculty. In addition, the candidate must show evidence of an active and ongoing creative, professional, or scholarly agenda that will continue up to and after tenure.
These guidelines illustrate some possible activities and creative, professional, and scholarly works that will assist a professor to plan and create a body of work for tenure. These lists are not prescriptive or limiting, but suggest a variety of paths to tenure.
As the film and media arts fields continue a rapid evolution, all FMA faculty, tenured and tenure track, are encouraged and expected to keep pace and take leadership roles.
Creative, professional work may include a long-form film, a legacy broadcasting or cable
TV series, photographic or video exhibitions at galleries or museums, photographs in books, Web-based or emerging media with quantitative measures of significance, or a produced or optioned feature-length fiction script.
For other professional and creative work in areas such as sound, cinematography, and editing, the tenure candidate must demonstrate that his/her contribution to the field is innovative or pioneering, that the candidate has contributed to changes in artistic and technological practices in the field, and that the candidate has been so recognized as a significant contributor to the field by criteria that include prizes, awards, honors, serving on juries for awards and festivals, being selected for residences and scholarships in the field, and gaining other peer recognition.
We expect the tenure candidate to have other well-received works of which he/she is the primary creator or author -- for instance, short films, participation in group gallery shows, scripts, websites, and other forms of emerging media.
Additionally, we expect that the candidate who achieves excellence primarily in the creative, professional realm will have demonstrated active participation in academic associations or academic publishing, evidencing capacity to theorize about the field and familiarity with scholarship in the field. This may include publishing in peer-reviewed journals, authoring a book, blogs and other Internet outlets for public discourse, or leading presentations, workshops, and panels at festivals and conferences.
For filmmakers, some ways include:
● Selection in competition by a major international festival acting as an international market, such as Toronto, Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, South
● by Southwest, or Edinburgh;
Selection by festivals that serve as formal or informal markets and that target particular genres and constituencies such as Sheffield, Bristol (Wild Screen),
Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, Tribeca, and IDFA, combined with subsequent distribution in other forms;
Distribution by a major educational distributor such as, for documentary film,
California Newsreel, First Run, Icarus, Women Make Movies, or New Day Films with evidence of broad adoption;
Distribution by national commercial networks or on the Public Broadcasting
Service or national or international distribution in most major markets on a station-by-station basis;
Distribution on a major commercial cable programming service such as
Discovery, National Geographic, HBO, Showtime, or CNN;
Distribution through nationally or internationally recognized museums, science centers, and cultural institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Goethe
Institute, and the Franklin Institute;
Distribution by an Internet platform that receives material primarily from aggregators, such as iTunes and Netflix, with evidence of significant reach;
Distribution of Web-docs and multimedia docs through mediated or curated national and international websites, including virtual museums, magazines such as
The New Yorker
, newspapers such as
The Washington Post or the Los Angeles
, or other established communication organizations that incorporate significant digital media elements.
Self-distribution or niche-marketing can be significant ways to reach various publics or audiences, but they typically lack the crucial element of peer recognition. If arguments for reach and impact are made for self-distribution or niche-marketing, then reach and impact measurements must be made and peer recognition that is equivalent to the criteria listed above must independently be shown that is equivalent to the criteria listed above.
These criteria also are applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the smaller works -- for
● instance, short films -- that the candidate is expected to have by the time of the tenure decision.
For a photographer to receive tenure, some ways include:
Publish a series or monograph by leading publishers of art/photography books, such as Aperture, En Foco, Nazraeli, Phaidon, Taschen, Twin Palms, or Photo
Eye. Other non-leading publishers may be considered, but the candidate must establish their significance compared to traditional leaders in the field;
Write a book on photographic history, theory, or criticism published by the above list or major publishers of such books;
Obtain highly competitive residencies, preferably two, by organizations significant to the field, such as The Center for Photography at Woodstock,
Lightwork, Anderson Ranch, and the Mattress Factory, with ensuing publication of this work;
Solo exhibit at galleries that are members of the Association of International
Photography Art Dealers. If the gallery is not a member of AIPAD, the importance is placed on the institution and the candidate must show the gallery’s relevance to the field;
Commercial photographers should have at least four campaigns with national impact or reach through nationally renowned organizations or non-profits;
Photojournalists will be expected to publish regularly in national or international magazines or newspapers, and where appropriate Web-based outlets. Appropriate outlets include The Associated Press, World Press Photo, Reuters, Polaris, Black
Star, and News.com;
Have representation by an agency such as Magnum or VII and continued publication or assignments;
Have representation by a gallery or museum along with a solo exhibit of candidate’s work.
In addition, we expect the photography candidate to demonstrate ongoing productivity and relevance to the field by measures such as the following:
● Have a consistent record of exhibition of work in juried shows with the importance based on the gallery, museum, and jury;
Receive awards from exhibitions;
Publish reviews or critical articles in magazines including
(Society of Photographic Education’s Journal),
(College Art Association Journal), or journals and magazines of similar significance;
Participate on panels at SPE or CAA’s national conferences or presentation of work at said conferences or professional organizations such as American Society of Media Photographers and Professional Photographers of America;
Have work held in permanent collections at museums or similar institutions;
Receive grants from such prestigious foundations as Alexia Foundation, Humble
Arts Foundation, Hasselblad Foundation, Dorthea Lange-Paul Taylor
Documentary Prize, W. Eugene Smith Foundation, or Open Society Documentary
● Be represented by press or stock agencies such as Zuma Press, Corbis, Getty.
For a screenwriter to receive tenure, some ways include:
● Production of a feature-length screenplay by an established producer or production company. This is defined as a producer or company that has produced a minimum of three feature films. One of these must have obtained domestic distribution (either premium cable or theatrical) or have been selected for inclusion in a top-tier international film festival. In addition to major film studios and their subsidiaries (such as Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Columbia,
Universal), a list of such production companies may include independent studios
(such as Magnolia Pictures, Focus Features, Mandelay Vision, ThinkFilm, IFC
Films, The Weinstein Company, Overture) as well as respected smaller independent companies (such as Parts & Labor, Journeyman Films, Participant,
Hallmark, HBO Films, Lifetime, Fortress, Everest, GreeneStreet, Michael Mailer
Films, Pressman Films, Title IX, Red Crown);
Option a feature-length screenplay by an established producer or production company defined as above;
Win a major screenplay competition that professionals are eligible to enter (in
● many instances, individuals who have already earned income as a professional writer may be ineligible to compete). Such top competitions include the Austin
Screenplay Competition, Slamdance Screenwriting Competition, Scriptapalooza,
Cinequest, and Blue Cat;
Win or be nominated for a screenwriting award from a top-tier film festival or a nationally recognized professional organization.
Additionally, the candidate is expected to demonstrate productivity and significance of the work to peers in the field by measures such as:
● Selection for nationally recognized, highly competitive writing residencies or writing fellowships such as Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Hamptons Screenwriters
Lab, Film Independent Writers Lab;
Receive positive written evaluations of a submitted screenplay by established industry professionals or professional production companies, commonly termed
Place in a major screenwriting competition (defined above) as a finalist, semifinalist, or quarter-finalist;
Win or place in second-tier national screenplay competitions such as the
Screenplay Festival, Script Savvy, Hollywood Screenplay Contest, or regional screenplay contests;
Be selected for review or inclusion in professional conference such as UFVA blind, peer-reviewed scriptwriting events;
Win or be nominated for screenwriting awards of merit by specialized, local, or regional professional organizations such as UFVA blind-juried script competition;
Place as a finalist in one of the top screenwriting labs, such as the Sundance
Screenwriters Lab or Film Independent Writers Lab;
Publish reviews in print or media formats, such as the Journal of Film and Video and Creative Screenwriting magazine.
For those candidates who seek tenure by concentrating in emerging media, we expect that emerging media work within the Film and Media Arts Division to focus on digital video, and reflect what we teach through our curriculum. Furthermore, we encourage candidates to create a clear through-line that connects their media practices and their teaching.
Emerging media includes websites, mobile media applications, digital media projects produced specifically for online platforms or distributed via semantic Web technologies.
This work is usually much shorter than more traditional film and video projects, and should be part of a series of such works, or in combination with additional work in emerging media or in more traditional venues.
Candidates must substantiate the significance or impact of their creative or professional work and to explain how it contributes to the emerging knowledge in the field.
Candidates who construct shorter pieces are expected to develop a series of work to be evaluated and exhibited as a whole.
We recognize that this type of creative and professional work is primarily disseminated on emerging and changing digital platforms and faculty are encouraged to present work at conferences that reflect the focus of their work. Because many of these conferences are
● not held annually, it is critical to explain the significance of each conference as well as the significance of the participation at the conference.
For emerging media faculty to receive tenure, some ways include:
● Publish articles about their work in appropriate publications and conferences;
Receive reviews on the candidate’s emerging work from major publications that write about new media and emerging trends, such as
Exhibit widely at content-appropriate conferences and galleries;
Be selected for and win recognition in online competitions, such as the Webby
Award, You Tube awards, Summit Award, Bees Award, Davey Awards, SXSW, and London International Awards;
Aggregate information that demonstrates an extensive international reach via
Google Analytics or an equivalent. This is a fairly new form of review and we encourage candidates to make a cogent case for why analytical data qualifies as peer review.
These are not exhaustive lists and are not intended to limit the scope or importance of other venues. In any case, we expect to receive evidence of the reach or impact of the candidate’s work, including description of the significance of the venues chosen for distribution and the rationale for the decisions made concerning recognition and distribution.
A candidate for tenure also may achieve excellence via a scholarly route. In these cases, we expect that the candidate will have published or had accepted for publication a scholarly book with a major academic press, typically a university press. Should this book be a textbook, it should re-imagine the field, not simply reflect current best practices or instruction.
We also expect the candidate to have publications in academic journals that represent a particular field, such as
Camera Obscura, Curator, Journal of Film and
Video, Exposure, Art Journal, Visual Anthropology, Journal of Communication, and
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly.
We expect that the candidate will play an active role in academic associations that convene the field, such as the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, University Film and Video Association, Society for Photographic Education, College Art Association,
International Digital Media and Arts Association, and Society for Visual Anthropology.
Finally, we expect the candidate to have demonstrated familiarity with the aesthetic and commercial terms of the profession about which the candidate has scholarly expertise.
Such expertise may be demonstrated by participation in festivals, markets, and conferences; publishing in trade journals, newsletters, and blogs; and consulting.
We expect that a tenure candidate will have demonstrated excellent teaching within the teaching unit and possibly both at the academic unit and the University at large, demonstrated, among other measures, by positive evaluations from students, creative classroom approaches, innovations in courses and course work or structure, engagement with students in the digital/virtual classroom environment, course outcomes as they are reflected in regional or national and international recognition and impact, creating collaborative teaching opportunities within SOC and at the University, and participation in learning opportunities to improve teaching, such as attendance at the Ann Ferren
Finally, we expect tenure candidates to play a collegial role with their colleagues in the
School of Communication and other schools of the University; for instance, serving on committees (in SOC and at the University level), helping in recruitment activities and curriculum development; and playing a collegial role within their field, for instance, participating in a jury or presenting at conferences, or serving as reviewers for journals and books. At the same time, we recognize that in all these areas, the candidate’s creative, professional, and/or scholarly work and teaching must take precedence, with the expectation that tenured faculty provide significantly more service than untenured both to
their academic institution and their field.