RTP-Assistant Professors (.ppt)

 Myth
Teaching doesn’t count for
tenure and promotion at SDSU.
 Reality
The University Policy File states “the primary
qualification for reappointment, tenure, or promotion
shall be a demonstration of continuing excellence in
teaching.” Peer committees and administrators take
evidence of effective teaching very seriously when
making their recommendations. Faculty members
have been not been reappointed, tenured, or
promoted on teaching performance that does not
meet the university’s expectations.
 Myth
All reviewers care about are student evaluation scores.
 Reality
Reviewers base their recommendations on a wide range of
indicators of teaching effectiveness, including the items
you present as well as the course syllabi and majors
assignments or exams. Peer reviews, honors and
distinctions, curriculum development, use of new
technologies, involving students in research or creative
activity, and student mentoring and advising are other
elements that may be considered (PF 3.1).
Student evaluations are required, Numerical scores are
important because they are quantifiable and easily
compared against department averages. Reviewers also
depend heavily upon written comments which can provide
a context for the numbers.
 Myth
I had one really difficult class last year, and got lousy
student evaluations. Now I’m worried I’ll be penalized in
the RTP process.
 Reality
Every faculty member’s evaluations fluctuate somewhat
throughout the years. Reviewers consider consistency or
improvement across a number of courses and semesters
as a measure of overall excellence.
You may use your candidate’s statement to provide a
context for or explanation of a poor course evaluation. For
example, if it was the first time you’ve ever taught that
material or the students were unable to get the textbook
through no fault of your own, explain that.
 Myth
Only articles in refereed journals count for professional
 Reality
The Policy File states that “Evidence for evaluating
professional growth, as identified and defined in department
or school and college guidelines, shall comprise: externally
reviewed professional growth activities including, as a primary
and necessary element, refereed publications of merit, or
juried or curated exhibitions and performances” (3.2.)
Different disciplines have different expectations on how to
satisfy the professional growth criteria. In some, original
research must be published in refereed journals for it to reach
the appropriate audience; in others, the most recognized form
of publication is a scholarly book. And, of course, in the
creative and performing arts, publication may not be relevant
at all.
It’s up to you to provide the best possible information
regarding the standards in the field, the quality of the
publications, and the method of refereeing (“blind” review is
valued most highly), to assist committees in determining the
quality of the work.
 Myth
A senior faculty member told me that I should put as much stuff
in my one-of-a-kind file as I can. She said that committees count
the number of pages, and the more you have the better your
 Reality
Our RTP process emphasizes selectivity and quality, not
You are limited in your Personal Data Summary (PDS) to a threepage personal statement and discussion of no more than five
achievements in each of the three major categories of evaluation:
teaching effectiveness, professional growth, and service (PF,
7.0). Each discussion is meant to cover one separate
achievement not a grouping of, for example, several
achievements under the title, “grant applications.”
 Myth
Another colleagues told me I should solicit letters from
friends and students and put them in my WPAF.
 Reality
There is no place in the WPAF for testimonials.
If there are special circumstances that make your case
unusual, you may wish to request an external review of
your record.
Some colleges or departments require an external review
for candidates going up for tenure and/or promotion.
Consult with your department chair or the chair of the
department peer review committee for information about
how to request or initiate an external review. And
remember, an external reviewer is an academic
professional whose appointment is outside SDSU.
 Myth
My mentor also told me not to let my PDS get stale, to put new items in
every year to show my progress. She also said I absolutely must have one
example of every type of item.
 Reality
Selecting the five items to illustrate your overall record in the three areas is
one of the most important decisions you can make.
There is no requirement that you change the items every year but you do
want to include recent work to show evidence of continuous professional
Take the opportunity each year to update the status of an item: from a
concept to a submission to an acceptance to a final publication.
Show your breadth within the categories, especially for those types of items
most highly valued in your discipline.
For example, if you have major journal publications, refereed papers at
prestigious conferences, and funded grants, you might want to include an
example of each, especially in early probationary years.
For service, include one or two university committees, a professional activity,
a talk to a community group, etc.
Use your common sense: if you have published five articles in the most
competitive journals in your field by the time you apply for tenure, you would
certainly want to select most or all of these as your five items—especially
over a book review or a grant submission that has not been funded.
 Myth
I don’t have a lot of professional growth, but I’ve done a lot of
service work for my department. I’ve heard that the Policy File
says I can get extra credit for service to make up for my research
 Reality
The Policy File says: “When a tenured candidate distinguishes
herself or himself in performing such duties to the significant
benefit of the university and/or beyond, and when this
performance is appropriately documented over a significant time,
such service for the university shall have more than the usual
bearing on reappointment, tenure, and promotion decisions”
This exception is applied rarely and only to recognize truly
exceptional service carried out by tenured associate professors
over a very long period of time. While excellent service is
appreciated, it cannot substitute for an inadequate professional
growth or teaching record in the case of a probationary faculty
 Myth
The standards for tenure are higher for those going
up prior to the sixth year.
 Reality
At SDSU, tenure is awarded when the candidate has
demonstrated that he or she has met the university’s
criteria in teaching effectiveness, professional
growth, and service. A strong teaching and
publication record as well as service at a level
consonant with that expected of an assistant
professor may warrant tenure and promotion in, for
example, the fourth probationary year.
 Myth
Only work done at SDSU is considered.
 Reality
The Policy File states that “the entire professional record
of the candidate shall be considered, including
accomplishments prior to appointment at this university”
(6.0). It also says that “work developed or sustained while
serving at this university shall be essential to the award of
tenure and/or promotion.” Work prior to SDSU contributed
to your appointment. Everything you have done will appear
in your CV and can be discussed in your candidate’s
statement. That is the most appropriate place to discuss
important work you did prior to appointment at SDSU. The
process carefully balances the entire record with evidence
of accomplishments while at SDSU.
When it comes to selecting the five items, there are no
hard and fast rules, only the exercise of good judgment.
Just remember that the five items selected are the only
items that the committees will be able to review in detail,
so they will have substantial input on the committees’
understanding of your work.
 Myth
I didn’t have enough time to work on my one-of-akind file, but it really doesn’t matter, does it? After all,
it’s the content that counts.
 Reality
It is very important that your materials be well
organized so that reviewers can easily locate
documents and have more time to focus on
reviewing your materials. If your student evaluations
are missing or out of order, they may not be able to
assess your teaching effectiveness fully and
accurately. The University Panel reviews 60-70
cases in a six-week period, and the Provost may
review approximately 150 files. As teachers, we
know how much it helps us when our students turn in
clear and organized papers and projects. Extend
your colleagues the same courtesy.
 Myth
Higher-level recommendations count more than lower-level ones. You
don’t have a chance if the Dean, for example, overturns the
department’s decision
 Reality
Each recommendation from the department peer review committee to
the University Promotions and Tenure Review Panel is independent.
Each recommendation and rebuttal will be given full weight.
Only the Provost makes a decision.
 Myth
I didn’t get a very good letter from the dean. My best friend at another
university told me I should make an appointment to talk to the Provost
ahead of time to present my case in a better light. My department chair
also volunteered to talk to the Provost if that would help.
 Reality
Each level of review must base its recommendation or decision on what
is in the Personnel Action File, which includes the Working Personnel
Action File. Nothing outside the file is considered: no gossip, no
testimonials, and no conversations with the candidate or anyone else.
No peer review committee or administrator should discuss an RTP case
with anyone except as required by the Policy File. Under no
circumstances would the Provost hold a conversation with anyone about
 Myth
I have positive recommendations from my
department and the college committee. I don’t need
to submit anything through the late-add process.
 Reality
Again, each recommendation, from the department
peer review committee to the University Promotions
and Tenure Review Panel is independent and your
work may be evaluated differently. If an article you
submitted gets accepted, submit the change as a
late-add item. Or, if you submit a grant in December,
use the late-add process. Fall teaching evaluations,
especially if they reflect improvement, can be
submitted through the late-add process. In other
words, take advantage of the late- add process to
strengthen you file.
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