Procedures for Promotion and Tenure in Creative Arts

Procedures for Promotion and Tenure in the Creative Arts

Updated July 2012

The standard procedures for promotion and tenure in the Arts & Sciences are described in the official statement, "Procedures for Renewal and Promotion." It is written with a view to those faculty members whose professional accomplishments are measured by scholarship and publications, together with teaching. The statement that follows introduces certain modifications appropriate to creative and performing artists. Both the standard statement and this one with its modifications are applicable to faculty members in these fields.                                                                        

In advancing candidates for promotion, department Chairs (or others making the recommendation) should state that the rules for creative artists are applicable and include the following materials in supporting dossiers:

One electronic copy on a USB thumb drive:

1) a Chair’s cover letter that includes:

a) an assessment of candidate’s national reputation in his/her field

b)  a statement of how the recommended promotion would affect the tenure pattern of the department

c)  a brief statement of the internal procedures of the department in taking the promotion decision: what ranks voted, the result of the vote, and the Chair’s interpretation of the collective will of the department. The Chair should state the major reasons why the department voted as it did, explaining and summarizing the discussion during the tenure meeting. The Chair should also provide his/her own assessment of the candidate, including the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and the Chair’s reasons for voting one way or the other.                   

2) a curriculum vitae, including a list of creative works that have been placed before the public, separating work accomplished since the last promotion (or initial promotion) from that which preceded it, upon which an earlier promotion was based.

3) a prose statement from the candidate describing work in progress and plans for teaching and further creative work, preferably not more than two or three pages.

4) a copy of the Third-Year Review (only for evaluation for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor—not to be included in a dossier for promotion to Full Professor).

5) an analysis made within the department, normally by an ad hoc committee, assessing:

a) the candidate's teaching performance based on the department's established procedures for course/teaching evaluation. Documentation of teaching performance should be supplied in the form of a summary of all existing evidence and an interpretation of that evidence in the context of the department. Include a list of courses taught and number of students in each course. Please provide all course evaluations since the third-year review for every course taught by a candidate for promotion to Associate Professor. For promotion to Full Professor, please provide course evaluations for the past six semesters of teaching, or back to the time of promotion to Associate Professor if fewer than six semesters. (For course evaluation data, see number 10.) Teaching includes advising duties, so please do not omit an assessment of advising when you address this category. Number and kinds of advisees should be specified.

b) the merit of the candidate's creative work and career trajectory, including the promise of future work. Thisanalysis should include thorough discussion of the specific strengths and weaknesses of each major work. If a proper analysis cannot be made within the department, an independent evaluation should be sought from outside. Rather than waiting until the tenure year to bring in outside reviewers, departments should invite them to review the work periodically over the course of the candidate’s years in rank.

c) the candidate’s service to the department, the University, the profession, and the Commonwealth.

6) eight to ten letters, solicited from outside experts competent to assess the candidate's work and professional standing, accompanied by a letter from the chairperson identifying all referees solicited for references and providing a brief description of their qualifications to assess the candidate's work. (One person should be designated to solicit and receive such letters.) The letter requesting appraisal should be neutral in tone; a sample copy should be included in the dossier. Please see Appendix at the bottom of this page for sample letters to external reviewers for tenure cases. In the dossier, include (1) a list of the reviewers with brief comments on their credentials; the list must be divided explicitly and clearly into reviewers suggested by the candidate and those suggested by the ad hoc committee; (2) a copy of the e-mail giving approval of the list from the relevant divisional Associate Dean; (3) a copy of the sample letter sent to external reviewers; (4) a copy of all e-mail and paper correspondence from prospective reviewers (both acceptances and declines), and finally (5) the review letters themselves. In addition to the list in (1) above, indicate clearly on each letter whether the recommender was the choice of the candidate or that of the department. Please note that tenure and promotion dossiers will be returned to department chairs if all of the materials and information listed in 1-5 above are not included.

7) a limited number of student letters may be included.

8) all available reviews of the candidate's creative work, in their full range, favorable and unfavorable.

9) course evaluations:

a) promotions to Associate Professor: all course evaluations since the third-year review.

b) promotions to Full Professor: course evaluations for the past several years.

Two hard copies each:

10) the creative works (or representative sample thereof) as far as feasible, together with descriptive material about them, for example exhibition catalogues, concert programs, photographs, and so on. Please consult with the divisional Associate Dean regarding the formatting and presentation of these materials for external reviewers and the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

For promotion to Associate Professor, the candidate should have made significant progress toward establishing a national reputation in the field; for promotion to Full Professor, the establishment of a national reputation should have been achieved. That is, the professional expectations in the areas discussed here are analogous to those for faculty members whose work results in ordinary publications.

Ian Baucom, Buckner W. Clay Dean
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

For Faculty & Staff