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Department of Physics

Promotion and Tenure Criteria

I. Department Committee

The promotion and tenure committee of the Department of Physics shall be composed of all tenured associate and full professors with the exception of the department chair, who may not be a member of the committee. Only the full professors from this committee will be eligible to vote on candidates for promotion to full professor. Spouses may not vote on each other's tenure and/or promotion application. The promotion and tenure committee shall elect a chair from among its members at the first meeting of the committee in the Fall semester. Committee chairs will serve for one year. A quorum of two thirds of the membership must be present for the committee to conduct business. No candidate for promotion and/or tenure may be present when his/her application is discussed by the committee. No person being considered for promotion to a particular rank may participate in the discussion or vote on other candidates for promotion to that same rank.

It is the responsibility of the candidate for promotion and/or tenure to provide the committee with supportive evidence as detailed in part II of this document. This evidence will be considered by the committee, which may request clarification or additional evidence from the candidate. The committee members will each vote to recommend or not recommend that the candidate be promoted and/or tenured. The committee chair will then provide to the department chair: the candidate's dossier and letters of recommendation, a written record of the committee's decision and of the vote, and a statement of the reasoning used in arriving at their decision.

The College guidelines state that the department representative on the College of Arts and Sciences tenure and promotion committee must recuse himself/herself when a candidate from the department is discussed and voted upon at the College level.

II. Promotion and Tenure Criteria

General Statement

Faculty members being recommended for tenure and/or promotion must show excellence in teaching, scholarship and service and must meet all of the criteria of the College and University tenure and promotion guidelines.

Letters of reference will be solicited from a minimum of four (4) outside evaluators, chosen by the Department committee, subject to restrictions detailed in the College guidelines. Letters from doctoral and postdoctoral mentors are discouraged, but if included must be so identified. Only one evaluator may have been a major advisor or collaborator with the candidate. The candidate will submit a list of at least three individuals who can evaluate his/her visible record of research activity. The committee and Department chair will select additional evaluators. The final selection of evaluators will rest solely with the committee. Outside evaluators will be provided with the tenure and promotion criteria and with the candidate's vitae and samples of publications and/or other scholarly works, selected by the candidate.

  1. Teaching
    Concrete evidence of skill and effectiveness in teaching should be presented by the candidate for promotion and/or tenure in the form of:

    1. Student evaluations.
    2. Peer evaluations.
    3. Evidence of student research, where such research results in peer-reviewed publication and/or presentation at professional meetings.
    4. Course materials, including course syllabi.
    5. A statement of teaching philosophy.
  2. Scholarship

    The evaluation of scholarship will be based on evidence of peer acceptance in the form of:

    1. Publication in refereed journals.
    2. Externally funded research grants.
    3. Presentations at professional meetings.
    4. Development of programs and workshops, the provision of technical assistance and the evaluation of institutional processes and policies, where such activities result in written products open to peer review.
    5. Publication of textbooks or peer reviewed papers in the field of Physics education.
    6. Innovative contributions to teaching, when presented or published in a peer-reviewed forum.
  3. Service

    Evidence of service should be presented in the form of:

    1. Professional service such as editorial or referee duties, holding office in a professional society, or organizing a professional meeting.
    2. University service on committees of the University or of the Academic Senate or serving as advisor to a University wide student organization.
    3. Departmental service on committees of the Physics Department or in the form of assigned duties outside the classroom such as student advising.
    4. Community service in the form of outreach or professional consultation.

III. Minimum Rank Criteria.

  1. Assistant Professor
    (a) Doctorate in Physics or a closely related area.
    (b) Evidence of ability in teaching and research.
    (c) Potential ability in public, professional and institutional service.
  2. Associate Professor
    (a) Doctorate in Physics or a closely related area plus 5 years professional experience.
    (b) Proven ability in teaching, research and service.
    (c) Evidence of high quality professional productivity as outlined in section II above.
    (d) National reputation in the field.
    (e) Ability to establish and maintain a dynamic and sustainable research program.
  3. Professor
    (a) Doctorate in Physics or a closely related area plus 10 years professional experience.
    (b) Excellence in teaching, research and service.
    (c) Evidence of high quality professional productivity as outlined in section II above.
    (d) International reputation in the field.
    (e) Establishment of a dynamic and sustainable research program.

It is assumed that candidates for all ranks show evidence of good character, academic maturity, and stable personality.

IV. Appeals

Appeals by the faculty may be made to the University Appeals Committee as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

V. Midterm Review

After three years in a tenure track appointment, faculty members will participate in a formal review of their progress toward tenure and promotion conducted by the Department promotion and tenure committee. The format for the midterm review is the same as that used for tenure and promotion except that the review occurs within the Department and no outside peer reviewers will be contacted. The faculty member should submit a curriculum vita in the standard University format, samples of publications, student evaluations and other evidence that the faculty member sees fit to present.

Results of this review, which should include any concerns, and what steps must be taken to correct those concerns, will be given to the faculty member in writing and discussed with him/her by the committee. The candidate may provide a written response to the report. Both the report and the response will be forwarded to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

The purpose of the midterm review is to provide constructive remarks and recommendations and the content of the review may not be taken as representative of the committee's future response to the actual application for tenure and promotion.

Amendments to this document may be proposed by tenured associate and full professors in the Department and must be approved by a simple majority or the committee. All Department criteria must be approved by the Chair, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Provost and the President.

These guidelines are to be on file in the Department office and should be distributed to all new faculty, to candidates for midterm review and to applicants for tenure and/or promotion.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12