School of Public Affairs: Promotion and Tenure Criteria

School of Public Affairs: Promotion and Tenure Criteria


Candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs are expected to accumulate a recognized body of scholarship; demonstrate effectiveness in teaching; and extend service using their expertise for the benefit of the College, larger community, and profession.

For promotion to Professor, candidates must demonstrate significant accomplishments beyond those presented at the time of promotion to Associate Professor.  The candidate must show continued effectiveness as a teacher; a level of research and scholarship sufficient to earn a national reputation for excellence; and ongoing performance in service to the College, University, the public, and the profession.

Therefore, in compliance with the mission and vision of Capital College and the School of Public Affairs, we recognize the continuum of activities that reflects the functions and forms of scholarship.  A promotion and tenure dossier needs to reflect multidimensional evidence of the functions of scholarship—discovery, integration, application, and education.  The “forms of scholarship,” teaching, research, service and outreach, are vital to the intellectual growth and leadership of faculty, specific disciplines, and professional responsibilities to community, nation, and world.  The integration of the “forms of scholarship” addresses social, disciplinary, and environmental complexities.  Consequently, the successful dossier will provide evidence of such integration.


The scholarship of research will be assessed based on the following scholarly activities. It is anticipated that the research activity of faculty members will include a combination of the scholarly activities outlined in HR-23, but a combination of the following activities is considered primarily important for the promotion and tenure decisions in the School of Public Affairs.  The candidate should be able to show the impact of their work through metrics (e.g. Google Scholar citation metrics, disciplinary journal rankings) or other means such as application of research in the field (e.g., adoption of procedures demonstrated or evaluated for government agencies, technical assistance). A faculty member seeking tenure and promotion will also be expected to achieve a reputation for excellence in research and scholarship as judged by peers at comparable academic institutions.

  1. articles in refereed journals;
  2. academic book publications;
  3. articles in professional publications;
  4. reports dealing with the findings of a project conducted for a governmental agency, non-profit organization, or private company; and consultant reports prepared for the Institute of State and Regional Affairs or similar organizations;
  5. a record of continuous productivity in the preparation of papers for professional meetings;
  6. editing of symposia for refereed journals;
  7. a record of outreach or other activities in which there was significant use of candidate’s expertise (consulting, reviewer for refereed journals, journal editor, peer review of grants, speaking engagements, services to governmental agencies, professional and industrial associations, educational institutions, etc.);
  8. a record of submitting competitive grant applications and/or a record of securing grants and contracts. Successful grant/contract recipients are expected to disseminate the research products of their grants/contracts to the pertinent stakeholders and/or publish their findings in refereed journals, when appropriate.


  1. Excellence in teaching face-to-face and on-line is a requirement for tenure and/or promotion.  Teaching duties are not limited to the classroom; they also include: the mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students though independent study and research projects, advising, and the supervision of Honors Theses, Masters Papers/Theses, and Dissertations. Effective teaching may involve:
    1. well-designed and challenging courses which present material indicative of the state of knowledge in the fields being taught;
    2. a demonstrated commitment to growth and improvement, as evidenced by participating in workshops and developing new methods and/or new courses;
    3. accessibility to students in the candidate’s courses as well as to advisees;
    4. accurate and active advising;
    5. the teaching of courses at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels, as well as CE courses and other outreach-based teaching, in keeping with the School’s needs and the candidate’s interests;
    6. supervising independent studies and chairing and/or serving on master’s papers/theses and doctoral committees; supervision of undergraduate research, including Honors theses;
    7. participation in programmatic development and review.

The following three indicators will be used to measure teaching performance:

  1. student evaluations (based on SRTE scores and the School Director’s analysis of student comments on SRTEs);
  2. peer review of courses (classroom visitations by colleagues and/or School Director and/or peer assessment of online teaching using a recognized rubric);
  3. quality of course syllabi;
    Additional indicators may include:
  4. quality of master’s papers/theses, doctoral theses, independent studies,  student research, and honors theses supervised by the candidate;
  5. portfolio assessment (as outlined in HR-23 Administrative Guidelines).


Faculty members in the School of Public Affairs should actively participate and make meaningful contributions in each of three areas outside their research and course offerings: to units of the University, including the Program and School, through active involvement in committee work and faculty citizenship; to their discipline and profession; and to the broader community to which they belong.  While the relative emphasis in the three areas may vary by individual faculty member’s choices, some activity in each area is expected.  Performance is measured by indicators including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. a record of contribution to the success of the program, School, College and the University, through involvement in and leadership of committees and related activities;
  2. work with student groups;
  3. a record of contributions to the University’s efforts to enhance equal opportunity and diversity;
  4. participation in recruitment and retention activities;
  5. participation in development/fundraising activities;
  6. serving on committees in professional organizations;
  7. offices held in professional or disciplinary associations;
  8. award and recognition by such organizations;
  9. 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 writing outside of scholarly outlets (e.g., op-ed pieces).


Approved: September 5, 1991

Revised and Approved: June 12, 2003 

Revised and Approved: April 4, 2017

Effective: Starting with cohort of Fall 2017



Vision Statement of Associate Professor and Professor: The Ideal Candidate

Attributes of an Associate Professor

The Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs has established an area, or areas, of expertise that allow him or her to apply scholarship to teaching, scholarly research and writing, grants activity, and service to the School, College, discipline, and community.  The individual uses the expertise to add, broaden, and apply knowledge that is applicable to the classroom, to academic publishing, and to the concerns of the community.

The Associate Professor is an active participant in the affairs of the School, College, and University, through good teaching, involvement in faculty governance, careful advising of students, and mentoring of junior faculty.  He or she has a well-established position in at least one of the program faculties of the School and participates actively in the duties associated with program delivery, assessment, and improvement.

Through publishing, grants writing, participation in professional conferences and committees, and significant application of expertise to community and public affairs, the individual develops a reputation that reflects the quality and value of his or her scholarship. 

Attributes of a Full Professor

The Professor in the School of Public Affairs has established a national reputation for excellence in an area field of expertise, through publications, funded research endeavors, and involvement in public affairs.  The Professor is considered a leader in his or her chosen field, as shown by the holding of leadership positions in professional/academic/civic organizations, editorships or memberships on boards of editors, regular publication of scholarly research in books and journals, and significant appointments by public and non-profit organizations.  The Professor has established and maintains a high level of research productivity, and imports the findings of research into current and newly developed courses and programs.

The Professor provides leadership in program management, mentoring of junior faculty, and development and placement of students. Within Penn State, the Professor takes leading roles in faculty governance through service on School, College and University committees.  The Professor works with peers to insure the quality of School, College, and University undertakings and the integration of scholarship into the life of the academic community.

The Professor’s teaching and out-of-classroom work with students represents the highest values associated with the academic profession.  The individual continues to bring new material from his or her scholarly activity into the classroom, and is able to direct undergraduate and graduate student research that reflects the important research issues associated with his or her field of expertise.