Standards for Interpreting Scholarship, Creativity, and Professional Work For Tenure and Promotion

Note: The standards below were used prior to December 2017. To see current standards, go to the "December 2017 to Current" page.

The Emerson College Faculty Handbook outlines standards for assessing scholarly, creative, and/or professional work that includes (but is not limited to) the expectation that the 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 or makes a significant contribution to the discipline” (7.2.1). The Handbook requests that each academic department “define[s] expectations for {scholarly, creative and/or professional} accomplishments appropriate to the discipline or disciplines of the Department” (7.2.2).

The Department of Marketing Communication submits the following guidelines for evaluating the scholarly, creative, and/or professional record of faculty seeking tenure and/or promotion

Promotion with Tenure from Assistant to Associate Professor

Excellence in scholarship signifies that a candidate has a clearly delineated, coherent, and focused program of research that addresses one or more areas of interest within the candidate’s discipline.

To be promoted with tenure to Associate Professor, a candidate is expected to demonstrate independent, intellectual, and scholarly development. The candidate’s research record should demonstrate a systematic program of work with a reasoned rationale and an evident trajectory. Scholarly impact should entail national rather than regional presence.

Scholarship can be demonstrated and evaluated as outlined below.

Scholarly Publications Consisting of Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Scholarly publications consisting of peer-reviewed journal articles in recognized academic or professional journals are the most important standard for scholarly achievement. Tenure-seeking faculty members are expected to publish approximately one peer-reviewed journal article per year for every year since their arrival at Emerson. In their annual evaluations and tenure dossier, candidates should justify their choices of publication outlets with respect to the journal’s suitability and reputation.

While the tenure review process is not based on strict quantitative guidelines, successful candidates produce the approximate equivalent of one significant peer-reviewed article per year. In other words, this does not exclude the possibility of fewer works of extraordinary quality meeting the tenure standard. These works - though fewer in number - must nonetheless be of such depth and scope as to represent an equivalent body of work and to establish the candidate as an ongoing scholar.

Both single-authored and collaborative articles are acceptable publication forms. In the latter case, candidates should delineate their contribution to the scholarship, as it relates to their leadership or collaborative role in the program of research and resulting publications. In describing their publication record, other information candidates may consider presenting includes (but is not limited to):

  • Acceptance rates or other pertinent statistics for particular journals
  • Indications of the level and impact of scholarship such as a citation index, references in  academic texts, and media coverage

Scholarly Publications Such as Books

Scholarly publications such as books that are outgrowths of the candidate’s scholarship are also valued. This value depends on factors such as the content, quality, candidate contribution to the publication, prestige of contributors, publisher, impact on the field, and reviews received - all of which the candidate should be able to demonstrate. Publishing textbooks that are theoretically groundbreaking and successfully advance concepts, ideas, and approaches is also considered as an important scholarly achievement.

In rare circumstances, a single book that demonstrates extraordinary quality and reflects years of rigorous work might be sufficient if recognized by the discipline as a work of singular distinction.

Other Scholarly Activities

Other scholarly activities (other than scholarly publications) may also support a candidate’s record of scholarship. For instance, invitations to serve as an editor or reviewer often derive from scholarly achievements. Invitations as a major presenter or keynote speaker at prestigious conferences, or consultancies with prominent organizations will be seen as further evidence of a candidate’s contributions to the field.

Supportive scholarly activities include:

  • Obtaining awards of internal and external grants
  • Writing grant proposals, including proposals not funded
  • Editing journals
  • Editing books
  • Participating on prominent review boards and committees
  • Providing grant reviews for funding agencies
  • Providing manuscript reviews for scholarly journals
  • Publishing textbooks that discuss both traditional concepts and practices of the field
  • Contributing invited, peer-reviewed, or non-peer reviewed book chapters
  • Publishing papers in the proceedings
  • Publishing case studies that are theoretically groundbreaking
  • Receiving academic honors and awards
  • Demonstrating evidence of innovation in the field (e.g., adoption of methodologies) 
  • Presenting papers at conferences (Conference presentations are valuable by virtue of the visibility they give the candidate, but without subsequent publication of the material, they typically lack scholarly impact, therefore are not substitutions for scholarly publications)
  • Note: Speaking invitations indicate visibility and reputation, but are also not substitutions for scholarly publications

Creative Work

Creative work is equal in value to scholarly publications if the work is presented in a venue that can provide evidence of external validation through a juried or critical peer review process. Candidates that submit work to competitions or festivals are expected to outline the process for selection, the number of entries, their standing among entries, and other relevant evaluative information. As in the case of collaborative publications, candidates who engage in collaborative creative work should clearly delineate their contribution to the creative work.

Professional Work

Professional work is seen as supportive to scholarly work and/or creative work - not a substitute for it. The work is presented in a venue that can provide evidence of external validation through a juried or critical peer review process. Its impact should entail national rather than regional presence.

Professional achievements can be demonstrated and evaluated with a variety of evidence as outlined below.

Professional activities:
  • Case studies and/or critical reviews on professional subjects, published in business and marketing communication reviews as well as other professional publications
  • Articles, commentaries, documentaries, and/or electronic productions on professional subjects, published in traditional and/or non-traditional mass media, if they demonstrate significant impacts on the business and marketing communication professions.
  • White papers on professional subjects judged by national competitions or juried trade fairs.
  • Professional achievements such as plans books and/or campaigns in the business and marketing communication areas that are considered exemplary by professional organizations, are cited in the literature, or are recognized for major prizes, if they demonstrate high standards in the practice of marketing communication professions. 
  • Development and management of significant seminars, workshops, symposia, and panels for marketing communication practitioners that entail teaching professional skills and practices

A candidate must describe:

  • whether the work is a solo or group effort;
  • whether the venue, platform, or process is juried, by invitation, or self-produced; and
  • whether it is local, regional, national, or international.

Information about competitiveness and prestige must be justified by outlining the process of selection, the number of entries, their standing among entries, and other relevant evaluative information. As in the case of collaborative work, candidates who engage in collaborative professional work should clearly delineate their contribution to the professional work.

Professional or Commissioned Creative Work

Professional or commissioned creative work that is not subject to a juried or critical peer review process is considered analogous to conference presentations and other secondary criteria that provide evidence of visibility, reputation and/or innovation in the discipline within the context of the candidate’s overall scholarly and creative record.

External Letters

Promotion to Associate Professor requires positive letters from more senior tenured external reviewers in the field, who have no personal, professional, or scholarly relationship or investment in the candidate, attesting to the quality, impact and sustainability of the scholarship.

Note: The candidates, who joined Emerson College with prior credentials, must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. These candidates need to refer to the contract letter in order to decide the time to apply for tenure and promotion. It is expected that these candidates continue to show scholarly productivity during their years at Emerson College. For tenure and promotion, candidates’ previous and ongoing research activities will be considered collectively for scholarly achievements because earlier research efforts influence subsequent research agenda and serve as a foundation to build and improve their own research programs.

Promotion From Associate To Full Professor

All of the foregoing content remains relevant in evaluating a scholar’s accomplishments that would warrant promotion to Full Professor. In addition to continued productivity using the criteria and evidence described above, senior academics are expected to have established and maintained a national/international reputation. This might be demonstrated by publications and activities as described above that attest to the scholar’s leadership in the field. Concrete evidence of this could be gleaned from activities such as journal editorship, service on boards of academic organizations, grant review panels, funding applications and awards, and other ways of demonstrating stature and/or innovation in the field.

External Letters

As with promotion to Associate Professor, promotion to Full Professor requires positive letters from more senior tenured external reviewers in the field, who have no personal, professional, or scholarly relationship or investment in the candidate, attesting to the excellent quality and level of impact of the scholarship.

Standards for Teaching

For Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

We expect evidence of excellence in teaching in all of the areas listed in the Faculty Handbook. We recognize that such evidence need not be restricted to peer and student evaluations and feedback from advisees, mentees, and former students, but should also include course syllabi and other course materials, academic advising and graduate theses advised by the candidate, participation in pedagogically-oriented seminars and workshops, the range of courses taught, the creation of new courses, and the redesign of existing courses.

For Promotion to Full Professor

We expect that the candidate will have demonstrated excellence in teaching in all of the areas listed in the Faculty Handbook over the three years prior to the application for promotion. Another demonstration of evidence of excellence is the range of courses taught during the entire longevity of the candidate’s teaching career, whether at Emerson College or another institution.

Standards for Service Work

For Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

For Promotion to Full Professor