Guidelines for Promotion & Tenure

I. Introduction

This document outlines the standards and practices employed by the Department of Journalism as determined by its Development, Promotion and Tenure Committee (DPTC) and voted on by the tenured faculty. It clarifies how the candidate will satisfy the Faculty Handbook’s call for “nationally recognized research, scholarship, creative work and/or professional work.” It guides tenure-seeking faculty in the collection and submission of their materials for review. Finally, it serves to guide all parties involved in evaluation to ensure there is fairness and consistency in the process.

II. Standards for promotion and tenure from Assistant to Associate Professor

The Faculty Handbook 8.2.1 specifies that the assessment of scholarly, creative or professional work “effectively communicates,” “is original and/or innovative,” “demonstrates breadth and depth,” “is externally validated through evidence of a juried or critical review process” and “is recognized in and makes a significant contribution to the discipline.“

General Guidelines

Excellence in scholarship requires a candidate to have a coherent and focused body of work that addresses one or more areas of interest within the candidate’s discipline. Each item in the portfolio should progressively display a deepening understanding of a topic or idea, using fresh evidence, arguments and examples of practice. It should indicate promise of further contribution after tenure is granted. This work can be in a new area. The candidate must establish and document a growing expertise and influence within the field both regionally and nationally.

Candidates applying for tenure in the Department of Journalism must meet standards of excellence by assembling a portfolio of traditional scholarly research, or of original professional/creative work, or a combination of the two that is produced, published or otherwise disseminated to a wider audience and recognized by peers as important work. No one medium of dissemination is inherently valued more than another. Experimenting in new forms of journalistic storytelling, presentation or development is valued.

Candidates are encouraged to build a scholarly and/or creative agenda that can be integrated into their primary areas of teaching or to seek opportunities to expand the offerings of the College to reflect their scholarly/creative interest(s) in conjunction with the Department’s and College’s curricular goals. Candidates who engage in
collaborative work should clearly delineate their contribution. First-authored and/or -
credited work is valued most highly. In either case, transparency is of fundamental
importance and the extent and details of the candidate’s contribution should be clearly
described in the candidate’s statement.

In keeping with the College’s emphasis on civic and global engagement, the Journalism Department is well placed to show evidence of how such engagement permeates our work both in and outside the classroom. Journalists are catalysts for conversation so that citizens can understand their world and make informed decisions about it. This is civic and global engagement in the journalistic sense. Candidates for tenure and promotion need to consider these values in all their research and creative work and must explain how their specific works inculcate this engagement in their candidate statement.

Scholarship can be demonstrated and evaluated as outlined below.

Traditional Scholarship

  • Peer-reviewed research published in recognized scholarly journals is an important standard for scholarly achievement. Successful candidates are expected to produce at least 5 peer-reviewed articles.
  • A scholarly book that is an outgrowth of the candidate’s scholarship and reflects several years of rigorous work may also be valued as a tenure-able endeavor on its own if it meets the factors of quality noted below.
  • Peer-reviewed book chapters

Seeking and securing grants from funding organizations, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation and others also help establish the professional and academic importance of a candidate’s portfolio of work.

Quality of scholarship

All work must be validated through a peer review process in order to argue that it is of sufficient quality to merit tenure. For journal articles, journal selectivity and rigorous acceptance rate, citation of the work, etc., are considered in the dossier assessment process and must be documented by the candidate. For books, prestige of the publisher, validation of external evaluators including proposal reviewers, citations in other published work, reviews, etc., are critical elements and must be documented. All work should generate interest from the national scholarly community, as evidenced by presentations at academic conferences, invited lectures or keynote addresses, etc.

Creative/Professional Work

The members of the Department of Journalism engage in many different creative and professional endeavors. This makes quantification difficult. Below are some examples of what may be considered worthy of tenure. All candidates are expected to establish an understanding with the DPTC, Chair, and Dean as to what will constitute a body of work that satisfies tenure and promotion expectations within the context of the candidate’s area of appointment. Creative work should advance the body of knowledge at the leading edge of the field and glean regional and national recognition. While recognized success is the desired result, the Department also values work that breaks new ground. Required are:

  • The culmination of a substantial work or production of major journalistic work or five smaller works that could include multimedia productions, documentaries, nonfiction/literary treatments, and/or broadcast or online work.
  • A textbook with a recognized publisher that advances knowledge in the field and breaks new ground also will merit tenure. Ideally, it should be supplemented by additional articles or production in national professional outlets in order to disseminate the ideas, techniques, etc., and to show continued engagement with the work and recognition in the academy.

Professional or commissioned creative work that is not subject to a juried or blind peer review process is considered equivalent to secondary criteria that provide evidence of visibility and reputation in the discipline within the context of the candidate’s overall scholarly and creative record. The work gains greater weight if it can be demonstrated that it helps enhance the discipline or move it forward by providing knowledge and understanding of journalism as it operates in modern society. The work also gains greater weight if it can be demonstrated that it sparks change or a new direction for the practice.

Quality of creative and/or professional work

Ultimately, the tenure inquiry is about recognized excellence, innovation and influence in the field. The work should be broadly distributed and accorded recognition by peers and through external validation as evidenced by reviews, professional prizes, invitations to participate in/lead panels at regional or national professional conferences, and/or mention in publications examining key issues in the discipline. Mere publication or production does not of itself suffice, nor does the publication of articles in venues that individually or collectively fail to meet those same standards.

Supplementary materials

Although not in and of themselves meriting tenure, the following activities lend weight to a candidate’s portfolio and show considerable and continuing engagement with and contribution to the field.

  • Presentations or panel participation at professional and/or scholarly conferences
  • Non-peer-reviewed chapters in books
  • Editing a book
  • Peer reviewing for academic conferences or journals
  • Journalistic articles or other media on professional subjects, published in regional or national/international outlets
  • Experiments in new forms of journalistic storytelling, presentation or development
  • Development and/or management of seminars, workshops, symposia, and
    panels for journalism practitioners that entail teaching professional skills and
  • Seeking grants
  • Civic engagement projects and work with community organizations/non-profits
  • Consultancies with prominent organizations

Invited book chapters, when it can be demonstrated that the book has undergone blind peer review (for example, through the press or area editor), and depending on length and scholarly merit, may be considered the equivalent of blind peer-reviewed journal articles. Weighing these factors, reviewers will assess whether the book chapter will count as a primary, secondary or supplemental item toward productivity.

External Letters

Promotion to Associate Professor requires positive letters from more senior, tenured, external reviewers in the field attesting to the quality and level of impact of the candidate’s scholarship/creative work. External reviewers should not have a personal, professional, or scholarly investment in the candidate that would constitute a perceived conflict of interest in the eyes of a reasonable person.

III. Standards for Promotion from Associate to Full Professor

The tenured faculty member seeking promotion from Associate to Full Professor should exemplify high achievement in all the requirements of teaching, scholarship/professional/creative work and service to the Department and the College that are set for appointment to Associate Professor. After tenure is achieved, service, especially in leadership positions, should be a high priority for a faculty member who has the experience and expertise to make major contributions to the life of the Department and the College.

The candidate also could demonstrate leadership in his/her chosen field/discipline, e.g., editing journals or heading service organizations. Leadership should include a record of work that is ongoing and mature in nature, taking the form of nationally/internationally recognized creative, scholarly or professional work. Leadership also involves evidence of an ongoing commitment to work that will positively impact the mission, work and reputation of the Department and the College. Taken as a whole, the body of the work should establish the candidate as a prominent contributor to the discipline. Work completed since tenure -- not work over the entire period of the faculty career -- sits at the core of the promotion portfolio for a full professor candidate.

The candidate for full professor should also demonstrate leadership in teaching and research/creative work. Leadership in teaching enhances and promotes the curriculum of the department. The candidate for full professor should demonstrate consistent efforts to develop new courses and new approaches to teaching journalism subjects and skills. The candidate should explore the impact of changing technologies and community/civic demands in the preparation of graduates. This work preferably should be conducted via workshops and presentations and with faculty from other disciplines and institutions.

As for leadership in research/creative work, the candidate should build on the work from the pre-tenure years to continue pushing new ideas and areas of growth. Journal articles, paper presentations and participation in academic panels should match if not surpass the academic output of pre-tenure years, i.e., at least five peer-reviewed journal articles or other equivalent work since tenure. The publication of at least one new book or equivalent within the same time frame would be considered acceptable as well.

External Letters

As with promotion to Associate Professor, promotion to Full Professor requires positive letters from more senior, tenured, external reviewers in the field attesting to the quality and level of impact of the candidate’s scholarship. External reviewers should not have a personal, professional, or scholarly investment in the candidate that would constitute a perceived conflict of interest in the eyes of a reasonable person.