Thursday, 13 February 2014

Thoughts on Tenure and Promotion

I have been thinking a lot about tenure and promotion lately, especially since our department is revising its research expectations for tenure-line and tenured faculty members. Specifically, I wonder what a religion scholar should produce in order to earn tenure. Most of us feel that a monograph is the standard today for  earning tenure and promotion to the associate level. But what about other avenues of publishing, such as peer-reviewed journal articles, presentations at competitive conferences, and even book reviews? Is there a certain amount of peer-reviewed articles that should equal a monograph, and if so, how many?

What about promotion from associate to full professor? What should be the expectation for a philosophy or religion professor who applies for full professor? Should a second book be required, and if so, what kind of book? Should only monographs be accepted, or could an edited volume count as a second book? How should one count co-authored books and edited volumes? Does the length of a book matter, or is it only important that it is produced by an academic press? Obviously, there are a lot of questions to consider.

We also are discussing what the expectation is for professors on a yearly basis. Should faculty members be required to publish one peer-reviewed journal article each year? Such a requirement could be very difficult, particularly because sometimes journal articles remain in the queue for several years before they are published. I once waited over four years for an article to appear in print. Another issue has to do with comparing the number of journal articles to books. If, for example, six journal articles are equated with one monograph, should that mean that a faculty member who publishes a book is given six years of grace before he or she is evaluated again?

Finally, we are dialoguing about the possibility of offering lower teaching loads to faculty members who exceed the standard publication requirements. The idea is to reduce the number of courses that a productive professor teaches each semester in order to allow him or her to publish more. The alternative may be an increase in the number of courses that a non-producing faculty member teaches each semester.

What are your thoughts on tenure, promotion, and publication requirements?

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