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Queens College Personnel Guidelines

These guidelines describe how Queens College implements criteria for tenure and promotion for Professorial faculty outlined in University documents, including the bylaws, particularly the “Statement of the Board of Higher Education on Academic Personnel Practice in the City University of New York, September 22, 1975,” the Kahn memo of 1950, and the contractual agreement between the PSC/CUNY and the University, as well as in Queens College governance documents.

 As detailed below, the faculty, through the College P&B and other governance structures, are responsible for evaluating the performance of faculty, according to the Board-specified areas of scholarship, teaching, and service, and for making recommendations to the President based on their evaluations. These evaluations assess the record to date and assess future prospects. All professorial candidates for tenure and promotion must have developed and initiated a research plan at the college. While specific measures of quality and quantity vary by discipline, the college attempts to apply uniformly certain general principles, as described here.

I – Professorial Tenure and Promotion

These guidelines apply to faculty in professorial ranks. See Section II for guidelines for CCE for lecturers.

1.      Scholarship

The college has high expectations for the scholarship of its faculty. Quality is more important than quantity, though there must be sufficient quantity to demonstrate a good level of scholarly productivity. The significance of the work and the career trajectory are primary considerations. The following are the primary factors used to evaluate the quality of a scholarly record for tenure and promotion.

a)      The types of faculty scholarship will vary by discipline, but a uniformly high standard is maintained by the requirement that the significance of the scholarly work be validated and publicly communicated. In some fields, such validation and communication proceeds via refereed journals, monographs, refereed conference papers, especially those published in Proceedings volumes, and chapters in edited volumes; in others, exhibitions and performances; in still others, technology is creating new media and methods. For tenure and promotion decisions, scholarship and creative activity are not merely to be enumerated, but carefully, objectively, and rigorously evaluated by qualified peers.

b)      At the junior level, quality is often demonstrated by the quality of the journals or presses in which the work appears or the quality of the exhibit or performance venue. At more senior levels, quality is often measured by citations, reviews of published monographs, or other indicators of the impact of the work. For tenure and promotion decisions, impact or significance of scholarship is usually determined by the evaluations provided by external reviewers, though independent reviews of the work are often also available and consulted.

c)      In disciplines where it is available, external funding can be viewed as a significant part of the scholarly record, depending on the relative size of the grant and the significance of the questions posed, and can also serve as an additional measure of the quality of the scholarship.

d)      The relationship of published work to the dissertation is an important issue. Major articles based on the dissertation carry less weight than major articles based on scholarship beyond the dissertation, and a book based on the dissertation which shows significant extensions and revisions is regarded more highly than one that does not. Promotion to associate professor should require scholarship beyond the dissertation; evidence could include published article(s) or progress towards a book on work not part of the thesis.

e)      The scholarly record should provide clear evidence of independent thinking and research. Although junior scholars often continue to produce work collaboratively with former thesis or post-doc advisors, it is important to establish a growing record of independence.

f)        In the creative and performing arts, tenure and promotion portfolios will reflect the faculty member’s creative work, including exhibitions and performances and their published reviews.

g)      Invitations to talk at other institutions, at prestigious events and talks based upon peer-reviewed abstracts add to the scholarly record, but are not weighted as heavily as other measures of the record.

h)      Collaborative work is common in many disciplines and accordingly co-authored works are given serious weight. However, it is necessary to clarify the candidate’s contributions; those which are primarily technical receive less weight than those which are more substantial. The overall record should have a significant portion of works to which the candidate has made primary contributions.

i)        Honors and awards at national or international levels may be used as evidence of stature in the field but are not additional scholarly items, as they are presumably given for published work already a part of the record.

 

There are significant differences between tenure and promotion in how prior work is weighed. A tenure decision must be made early in the seventh year, so effectively only the first six years of work at the college can be considered, while promotion decisions can be deferred if necessary to develop a case.

For tenure decisions, consider:

a)      The entire body of work of the candidate;

b)      Work in progress if it has been sent to external referees for the college, so that their evaluations can be included in all steps of review, that is, by the time of the department P&B deliberations. Correspondence with prospective publishers, such as letters of intent and pre-contracts, may be included if supported by the work to which it refers.

For promotion:

a)      Consider primarily work accomplished while at Queens College and subsequent to last promotion or initial appointment.

b)      Forthcoming articles or books should be as complete as possible, reviewed, and accepted by a reputable publisher in time to be included in all steps of review, that is, by the time of the department P&B deliberations.

c)      Works in progress showing future directions in scholarly output can be included.

d)      Exclude published work considered in a previous promotion (including one at the same time as tenure). However works in progress at the previous promotion that resulted in published manuscripts are appropriate.

 

2.      Teaching

A strong teaching record is vital to a successful tenure and promotion case. The college will not grant tenure or promote without evidence of good teaching. An exceptional teaching record can compensate for a more limited scholarly record, but cannot substitute for an unacceptable one. Teaching is understood broadly to include curriculum planning, course design, student reaction and success, and mentoring. Evidence of success in these areas is judged using the following materials. (Departments and candidates may choose to include additional items.)

a)      Portfolios. In many cases a teaching portfolio is an excellent way to present a candidate’s teaching record. A teaching portfolio may include various documents providing evidence of the candidate’s engagement with teaching, such as: course syllabi, including course objectives, learning goals, and procedures for evaluations of student performance; readings and other assignments; examinations, including student answers; other examples of  student work; etc.

b)      Student evaluations. Student course evaluations should be available for all courses taught at the college for untenured faculty and for some courses, as provided in the college schedule, for tenured faculty seeking promotion. In assessing these evaluations, consideration may be given to the nature of the course (required vs. elective, undergraduate vs. graduate, number of students, etc.) and comparative statistics for other faculty.

c)      Peer reviews. The PSC-CUNY contractual agreement, in Article 18.2 b.1,  requires that all full-time untenured professorial faculty must, and tenured promotable faculty may, be observed for a full classroom period at least once a semester. These reviews are an important part of the candidate’s record. Appropriate procedures, including prior notice, must be followed, as provided in the contract. The reviewer should be provided with the course syllabus and, preferably, other materials, including a statement of course objectives and learning goals, before visiting a class. Especially in interdisciplinary courses, it may be useful to have peer reviews by faculty in different disciplines. Constructive evaluation is expected in the reviews.

d)      Mentoring record. An important part of our teaching responsibilities takes place outside specific courses. Advising students is a significant contribution to the college’s teaching mission. Documentation of such efforts may include advising records, anecdotal evidence from students, and other materials.

e)      Personal statement. The candidate’s personal statement should include a discussion of the teaching record, philosophy of teaching, measures taken to improve teaching, and the relationship between teaching and scholarship.

 

Evidence for a positive trajectory in teaching quality is expected. It is usual for faculty to show improvement in teaching over time as they gain experience and learn from feedback. All promotion requires evidence of progressively higher achievements in teaching.

 

3.      Service

All faculty are expected to be involved in and contribute to the academic vitality of their department, division, college, and regional and national organizations. Less heavily weighted, but also considered, is service to the broader community in which the college is situated. Service expectations are progressive; while minimal for untenured faculty, associate professors should show some college and professional service contributions, and for promotion to full professor, there should be a significant service record.

 

4.      Special Case: Promotion before Tenure

Requests for promotion may occasionally be made for candidates who do not yet have tenure. In considering such requests, note that it is difficult to deny tenure to a candidate who has received a promotion before the granting of tenure; a positive recommendation for promotion would undermine the standing of a subsequent recommendation against granting tenure. Attempting to make a distinction between the expectations for assistant and associate professors does not alleviate this difficulty, as such a distinction cannot be easily established or maintained. In view of this, promotion before tenure should be considered only in very special circumstances. Such a promotion should be supported by scholarly or creative work completed and externally recognized subsequent to the initial appointment.

 

5.      Librarian

Reference to new guidelines for librarian evaluations will be added.

II – Lecturer CCE

These guidelines apply to CCE (Certificate of Continuous Employment) for lecturers.

Section 11.27 A of the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees states that “Lecturers (full-time) shall perform teaching and related faculty functions on a full-time basis.” As the main obligation of lecturers is teaching, the quality of their teaching should be the primary basis for considering the award of CCE to lecturers. Article 18.2 (a) of the contractual agreement lists a number of elements to be used in evaluation of the teaching faculty. Several, including classroom instruction, student guidance, and course development, relate to teaching. Others, including administrative assignments and departmental, college, and university assignments, relate to service. Still others, including scholarly writing, creative works in the discipline, and public and professional activities in the field of specialty, relate to scholarship. (A footnote points out that lecturers are not required to have a research commitment.)

 

1.      Teaching

A strong teaching record is vital to a successful CCE case. The college will not grant CCE without evidence of good teaching. An exceptional teaching record can compensate for a more limited scholarly record, but cannot substitute for an unacceptable one. Teaching is understood broadly to include curriculum planning, course design, student reaction and success, and mentoring. Evidence of success in these areas is judged using the following materials. (Departments and candidates may choose to include additional items.)

a)      Portfolios. In many cases a teaching portfolio is an excellent way to present a candidate’s teaching record. A teaching portfolio may include various documents providing evidence of the candidate’s engagement with teaching, such as: course syllabi, including course objectives, learning goals, and procedures for evaluations of student performance; readings and other assignments; examinations, including student answers; other examples of  student work; etc.

b)      Student evaluations. Student course evaluations should be available for all courses taught at the college for lecturers without CCE. In assessing these evaluations, consideration may be given to the nature of the course (required vs. elective, undergraduate vs. graduate, number of students, etc.) and comparative statistics for other faculty.

c)      Peer reviews. The PSC-CUNY contractual agreement, in Article 18.2 b.1, requires that all full-time lecturers without CCE be observed for a full classroom period at least once a semester. These reviews are an important part of the candidate’s record. Appropriate procedures, including prior notice, must be followed, as provided in the contract. The reviewer should be provided with the course syllabus and, preferably, other materials, including a statement of course objectives and learning goals, before visiting a class. Especially in interdisciplinary courses, it may be useful to have peer reviews by faculty in different disciplines. Constructive evaluation is expected in the reviews.

d)      Mentoring record. An important part of our teaching responsibilities takes place outside specific courses. Advising students is a significant contribution to the college’s teaching mission. Documentation of such efforts may include advising records, anecdotal evidence from students, and other materials.

e)      Personal statement. The candidate’s personal statement should include a discussion of the teaching record, philosophy of teaching, measures taken to improve teaching, and the relationship between teaching and scholarship.

 

2.      Service

Lecturers are expected to be involved in and contribute to the academic vitality of their department, division, college, and regional and national organizations.

 

3.      Scholarship

Lecturers are expected to have a scholarly record, as indicated by such things as scholarly writing, creative works in the discipline, and public and professional activities in the field of specialty, though not a research commitment. At Queens College, this has in some past cases involved items like art exhibits, theatrical productions, textbooks, study guides, course documents, or other materials for student learning. In addition, lecturers are expected to continue to develop professionally, remaining up to date in their field, following its scholarly literature, and participating in conferences.

 
 

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Phone: 718-997-5900
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Elizabeth Hendrey
Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
elizabeth.hendrey@qc.cuny.edu


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