Promotion and Tenure criteria for the School of Humanities are consistent with the established missions and vision of the School, the College, and the University. Candidates for the rank of Associate Professor are expected to demonstrate effectiveness in teaching; to accumulate a recognized body of scholarship or creative work; and to perform service for the benefit of the Program, School, College, University, larger community, and profession.
In accordance with AC-23 (Penn State’s Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations), the School requires that each candidate, in consultation with the School Director, assemble a promotion and tenure dossier. That dossier should be carefully constructed and thoughtfully balanced so as to express his or her contributions and accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research/creative achievement, and service. As a part of the dossier, the candidate should craft a narrative statement of no more than three pages that contextualizes his or her record of achievement at Penn State Harrisburg. The School, in a way that is consistent with its interdisciplinary mission, recognizes that faculty in this School may well combine achievements in several disciplines that they have synthesized into a particular focus rather than a more traditional narrowly focused scholarly trajectory. The school also recognizes that the emphasis of effort among the different aspects of our mission will vary among individuals as there is more than one way to excel as a faculty member.
The Faculty Committee which recommended changes to the School of Humanities Promotion and Tenure criteria referred to the following documents in the development of the revised guidelines:
- AC-23 (Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations)
- The mission statement of the School of Humanities: “The School of Humanities meets the evolving needs of students for baccalaureate education, general education, and graduate education in communications, arts, and humanities disciplines and engages in related scholarship, creative activity, and community outreach.”
I. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
The School of Humanities offers an extremely wide range of courses. In addition to the courses that serve its majors and minors, the School is responsible for all required courses in Composition and Speech Communication. The School also offers more courses in General Education than any other school at Penn State Harrisburg and is home to three graduate programs. Given this tremendous variety of courses, reviewers should recognize that faculty in Humanities must routinely exhibit creativity and versatility as they take on teaching loads characterized above all else by diversity – established and new courses, undergraduate and graduate courses, required courses and electives. Reviewers should also note that the small size of most programs in the School has an effect on a faculty member’s teaching load in any given semester: it typically works to prevent him or her from teaching several sections of a single course, compelling instead three different course preparations, and from repeating the same schedule of courses year after year.
Typically, a dossier for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning includes the following:
- A record of well-designed and challenging courses, as reflected in syllabi and course materials, which present content indicative of the state of knowledge in the fields being taught.
- Evidence of a multi-faceted evaluation that includes observations of classroom instruction by faculty peers, a record of student evaluations and experiences, and periodic reviews of teaching and teaching materials by the School Director, in accordance with typical practice in the School. In that event that peer teaching evaluations cannot be conducted in-person, they will be conducted remotely.
- Participation in activities that improve teaching, such as workshops, the development of new methods, or the introduction of new technology into courses.
- Offering courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including such courses as general education and other outreach-based teaching, in keeping with the School's needs and the candidate's expertise.
- A willingness to offer independent studies, to chair and serve on master's theses/projects and doctoral dissertations, and to provide supervision of undergraduate research, including Honors program theses.
- Participation in programmatic development, assessment and review.
- Contribution towards student acquisition of further academic, creative or professional knowledge, experience, and skills through internships.
- Academic advising and other mentoring roles and activities to help students achieve success (career advice, assistance with graduate school applications, and reference letter writing).
II. The scholarship of research and creative accomplishments
Candidates for tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate are expected to engage in creative work and/or scholarly research and to publish in an ongoing and consistent manner as is appropriate to the standards of their discipline. As members of a multidisciplinary unit, faculty may produce research or creative work in a variety of disciplines and/or interdisciplinary fields. They may publish written scholarship exclusively; may engage in a combination of scholarly publication and creative projects; or may contribute creative projects exclusively. In evaluating this section of a candidate’s dossier, reviewers will assess both the quantity and the quality of the candidate’s scholarly and creative output.
Concerning quantity, it is important that the candidate, through sustained output, demonstrate a clear trajectory of research or creative production during the probationary period. A research-focused candidate is expected to publish, at the minimum, a collection of refereed articles that cohere around the candidate’s chosen research themes or areas of specialization. There should be at least five or six in number, or about one for each year of review. Academic books and monographs are also viewed as considerable achievements by Humanities fields. For this reason, the publication of an academic book may take the place of some of these articles. In the case of a book publication, so that external reviewers may evaluate the book as it will be printed, the book must be in final form (what used to be known as “page-proof form”) to circulate to outside reviewers by mid-May of the candidate’s penultimate year on the tenure track.
A candidate oriented towards creative production is expected to generate an equivalent output; they should aim to produce a significant and ongoing body of creative work within their chosen areas, whether that be creative writing, film production, graphic design, exhibition art, or some other creative endeavor. Since expectations for creative work can vary widely depending on the medium, these guidelines offer as examples several possible pathways. In creative nonfiction, a candidate is expected to publish 6-8 essays in literary journals or produce one book (memoir or essay collection) totaling approximately 50,000 words. In fiction, the candidate should publish 4-6 stories in literary journals or a novel or collection of short stories totaling approximately 50,000 words. In poetry, where publication is notoriously difficult, a candidate might publish 3-4 individual poems in one of the elite literary journals with a high rejection rate or a larger number of poems in less selective journals. Alternatively, a candidate might publish a book of poems, totaling at least 50 pages, or a chapbook combined with 2-3 additional poems. In visual arts and communications (fine art, graphic design, photography, film/video, etc.), a candidate is expected to produce creative works that are selected for two solo public exhibitions/screenings for at least one month in an established gallery, museum, or festival. Alternatively, he/she might produce works that are selected for 4 shared public exhibitions/screenings for at least one month in an established gallery, museum, or festival. As a third option, candidates could be expected to produce creative works that are selected for publication in 5-6 issues of nationally and/or internationally recognized art, design, or visual communications publications.
Given these expectations, it is crucial for candidates to consider the entirety of their six-year probationary period as they plan their research and publication strategy. Candidates should also recognize that the publishing expectations articulated here are guidelines, not strict requirements. They are estimates that reflect the collective experiences of reviewers who have evaluated dossiers for many years. They are designed to provide candidates with helpful and realistic targets to aim for as they set their research agendas in the probationary period.
In evaluating quality, reviewers will assess both the reputation of the publisher, or venue, as well as the impact a candidate’s work is having on the field. In general, reviewers highly value publications or productions that have received external validation in the candidate’s specific field, evidenced by book reviews, awards, or other similar academic markers. They also tend to favor those journals, publishers, art exhibitions, film festivals, and other venues that engage in peer-review. This standard reflects the expectations of Penn State University and most other research-oriented universities. In cases where reviewers may lack the expertise to determine quality or properly understand a publication, the candidate should use the personal statement to educate reviewers by providing the necessary context. For example, if a candidate publishes work in a media outlet that uses his/her research and shares it with a wide audience, the candidate can explain the impact of the publication and the role his/her scholarly expertise played. The candidate may also use this space to make clear the stages involved in producing a work. For example, if an exhibition of visual or creative work involved a highly selective acceptance process, a time-consuming installation, and a rigorous evaluation by judges, the candidate should offer a description of the event’s pre-production, production, and post-production. The larger expectation is that a candidate’s work should be of sufficient quality to allow him or her to begin to achieve a national and/or international reputation in the chosen area of expertise by the sixth year of the tenure review.
Though a successful portfolio should emphasize peer-reviewed products, the School of Humanities considers and respects a wide range of scholarly and creative production:
- scholarly or creative books;
- articles in refereed journals;
- publication of poems and short stories;
- exhibits in the arts or public heritage;
- screenings at film festivals;
- chapters or essays in scholarly books;
- mass media contributions including research, script development, photography, journalism, article direction and editing, and technical production in radio, television, video, film, print or online;
- consulting reports; grants;
- works of translation;
- performances in music, theatre, or dance;
- editorial contributions for journals or presses; and professional honors and awards.
- presentations at conferences, professional meetings, and other academic institutions, where national and/or international venues are considered more significant contributions to the field than local presentations.
The above list, though not exhaustive, is meant to be indicative of the breadth of scholarly and creative expression valued by the School. Each candidate should consider which forms of output are in keeping with the standards of his or her field and produce consistent and excellent work in keeping with such standards.
III. Service and the scholarship of service to the university, society, and the profession
Candidates in the School of Humanities are expected to engage in a diverse array of service. Service contributions take place at multiple levels within Penn State - the program, School, College and University. Reviewers of dossiers should remember that many service obligations are assigned and, therefore, are not under the control of the candidate. Service also occurs with frequency outside of Penn State, such as in academic organizations, professional associations, arts institutions, charities, and community centers. Some of these external contributions employ a candidate’s expertise while others do not. As a community of scholars and artists who research and teach in the Humanities, the School recognizes that our work emanates from both an interest in the human condition and a desire to advance the creative capabilities of all individuals in our society. Therefore, the School values volunteer and service work that demonstrates a sincere commitment to the betterment of individuals, communities, and our shared planet.
Quality service activities are expected of all persons seeking promotion and/or tenure. To that end, involvement in a variety of the following is expected in the dossier:
- A record of contribution to the life of the Program, School, College, and University, through assigned or elected involvement in and leadership of committees, participation in shared faculty-administrative governance, and related activities. Contributions may include coordination and/or development of new courses, majors, minors, certificates and IUG programs.
- Voluntary involvement in local initiatives to promote civic engagement, public spiritedness, and community betterment (examples include arts programming, local government, board membership, and volunteer work at charitable institutions).
- Engagement with the public that makes use of the expertise and interests of the faculty member, including speaking appearances, interaction with the media, working with schools, and creative activity and/or writing to achieve community and social goals.
- Planning and maintaining special facilities unique to the School, including art, music, and media studios as well as archives and centers.
- Offices held in professional or disciplinary organizations, and awards and recognitions by such organizations.
- Active advisory participation with student organizations.
- A record of contributions to the University’s efforts to enhance equal opportunity and diversity.
IV. Guidelines for promotion to professor in the school of humanities
For promotion to Professor the School of Humanities expects that a candidate will exhibit evidence of excellence in leadership, teaching, research, and service.
The School of Humanities expects the candidate to have maintained a continuing record of the highest quality teaching by offering by well-designed and challenging courses. The teaching should meet the needs of the institution as evidenced by criteria such as enrollment numbers, general education offerings, and courses which serve the needs of specific undergraduate and/or graduate programs.
The School of Humanities expects the candidate to have established a national reputation for excellence in a field of expertise through scholarly or creative productivity. While international recognition is valued, a successful candidate must have earned a national scholarly reputation. The candidate’s record of productivity can fit within the broad range of categories described under the heading “The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments,” in the School of Humanities Promotion and Tenure Criteria. The range of accomplishments include, but are not limited to: books, peer reviewed articles, grants, creative and scholarly projects, exhibits, and performances in the fine and popular arts, and public heritage; publication of creative writing, production of music, theatre or dance performance, composition, design, direction, management or other performing arts activity; mass media contributions including research, script development, photography, artistic direction, management or technical production in radio, television, video, film, print or on-line; presentations at other academic institutions, professional meetings and conferences; editorial contributions or refereeing for professional journals or book manuscripts for presses; outreach activities in which there was significant use of the candidate’s professional expertise.
Candidates should also play an active role in their field by holding significant positions in professional, academic, or civic organizations related to their area of expertise. They should be considered a leader in their field and have evidence to attest to this status. Examples of the kind of evidence that might be considered would include reviews of the candidate’s work in leading journals in the field, prizes, awards, and statistics that indicate that other scholars are citing this work. The School of Humanities expects the candidate to take on leadership roles within the university, the college or the school, and (where relevant) to assume leadership tasks for an academic program or major. The candidate should play an active role in mentoring junior faculty and offering guidance to students. The School of Humanities expects the candidate to have an established track record of working with peers at various levels (school, college and university) to promote the quality of the institution and the integration of scholarship into the life of the community.
To help faculty members imagine a trajectory whereby they might achieve promotion to professor, these guidelines offer two profiles. Faculty should keep in mind that these profiles represent possible pathways only and that there are different ways to pursue and achieve promotion.
Profile A: A candidate seeking promotion through scholarship. The candidate establishes a national and/or international reputation as a scholar in her or his field by publishing peer-reviewed articles in well-regarded journals and by authoring books that are published by a scholarly press and reviewed favorably by journals in the candidate’s field. The candidate takes on a significant leadership role in her or his profession by holding office in a professional association and/or by serving on a journal editorial board. The candidate demonstrates a record of successfully teaching well-enrolled courses that meet the needs of the university and of the candidate’s program through a combination of lower-level general education courses and upper-level or graduate courses in her or his area of specialization. The candidate achieves a sustained record of service to the School, College, and University and this service includes a pattern of taking up leadership roles, for instance by coordinating an academic program or holding a significant elected office, such as faculty senate president.
Profile B: A candidate seeking promotion through creative productions. A creative writer produces an ongoing publication stream of short stories or poetry in top-rated literary journals that continues beyond the appointment to Associate. The candidate also publishes two or more books of fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetry that are cited by those in the field as substantial achievements. The candidate is invited to give readings at well-regarded venues and is appointed to editorial boards or review positions by top-rated publishers. A painter achieves a level of national and/or international leadership either through several successful shows or through the inclusion of the candidate’s works at group shows at nationally and/or internationally significant venues. The candidate is awarded a prize or two in group competitions at shows, has earned excellent reviews throughout his or her exhibition history, and is selected or elected to national and/or international art organizations. The candidate is asked to serve as reviewer in national and/or international art magazines on works in his or her genre. The candidate (creative writer or painter) demonstrates a record of successfully teaching well-enrolled courses that meets the needs of the university and of the candidate’s program through a combination of lower-level general education courses and upper-level, or graduate courses, in the candidates area of specialization. The candidate achieves a sustained record of service to the School, College, and University and this service includes a pattern of taking up leadership roles: coordinating an academic program or holding a significant elected office, such as faculty senate president.
Approved by Academic Council, September 24, 2020
Revised and approved October 8, 2021