College Criteria for Evaluation of Tenure and Promotion and Incentive Review Recommendations

Approved by LAS Faculty on May 10, 2018
Approved by University Tenure and Promotion committee May 2018

  • Basic Principles
  • Rank
  • General Considerations
  • Definitions of Criteria
  • Research, Publication, Creative Activities and Scholarship
  • Educational Activities
  • Professional, Public and Community Service
  • Incentive Review

Basic principles

1. Recommendations for tenure and/or promotion and incentive review at the college level are traditionally based on generally accepted standards of performance in three areas: educational activities; research or creative activities; and professional, public and community service, all of which will be more clearly defined later. While college criteria for performance in any or all of these areas must be consistent with university standards and with the mission of the institution as a whole, criteria may vary in different disciplines and different academic departments. Departmental standards may be higher than those of the college, but in no circumstances may they be lower. In all cases, departmental guidelines must be approved by the College Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee, in consultation with the Dean.

2. The granting of tenure is the most important and far-reaching decision a Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee can make, in that it makes a long-range commitment to a continuous appointment for a faculty member. It is imperative, therefore, that great care be exercised in recommending a candidate for tenure. Tenure in Fairmount College normally and typically requires the terminal degree or equivalent in the candidate's professional area, although the possession of a relevant terminal degree or equivalent is not in and of itself a sufficient condition for the granting of tenure. Justified exceptions to this requirement might apply to certain non-research teaching personnel who hold their appointments by virtue of special competence. However, it is the responsibility of the department recommending such a candidate to justify the department's needs for a tenured faculty member without a terminal degree, and to stipulate clearly the special criteria applicable to the academic evaluation of such candidates. In all cases, however, candidates must demonstrate excellence in a number of areas described below. Tenure recommendations should also be supported by evidence that the candidate, if granted tenure, will most likely continue to perform well in his or her academic or creative performance.

3. In the case of both mandatory and non-mandatory reviews for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, candidates must meet the criteria for tenure and promotion as established in University policy. A favorable recommendation for tenure automatically carries a favorable recommendation for promotion to Associate Professor.


4. Appointment to the rank of assistant professor is typically awarded to an individual who has completed the terminal degree or equivalent; or who has made substantial progress so as to warrant the expectation of a terminal degree in the near future, in combination with a promising academic or creative record; or who has already achieved tenure and warrants consideration for promotion on the basis of long and excellent service to the university, as well as significant potential for academic stature.

5. Promotion to the rank of associate professor is typically warranted only for a faculty member who has demonstrated growth as a teacher and scholar, with evidence of consistently effective teaching and the development of an active and ongoing scholarly program. A possible exception to this standard might be warranted for an individual who, though lacking in the typical amount of demonstrated research and/or creative activity, nevertheless exhibits a well-established record of outstanding teaching and university and/or professional service over several years at the rank of assistant professor. For such a case, the Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee should require documentation demonstrating external recognition of the person's teaching achievements, as well as clear and detailed support from the department.

6. Promotion to the rank of professor signifies that the holder is an accomplished scholar, as well as a good teacher, whose achievements have won substantial approval both by colleagues outside the university and by his or her university colleagues, and whose presence on the faculty enhances the prestige of the university. Indications of this status are to be found primarily in the candidate's record of published research or original works, research grants, appointment to consultative academic agencies external to the university, participation at national conferences, officerships in national organizations, appointments to editorial or review boards, national or regional academic awards, recognitions and fellowships, and other similar activities. There may also be extraordinary instances of persons whose professional careers have focused exclusively on the teaching function and who have established themselves as imaginative, inspiring and outstanding classroom teachers. For such a case documentation demonstrating external recognition of the person's teaching achievements is required, for example authorship of textbooks adopted by other institutions, serving as an officer on education committees of national professional associations, external teaching awards, and other similar activities. Evaluation of a candidate's credentials for this rank must take place in the context of the candidate's complete academic career; and the candidate's accomplishments with regard to the above criteria must be weighed and balanced in the light of other considerations having to do with university service and intellectual contributions to the university community.

General considerations

7. There must be no consideration of Age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a veteran in any decision regarding tenure, promotion and incentive review at any level.

8. Tenure, promotion and incentive review decisions must deliberately avoid considerations of convenience, friendship, congeniality or political influence. Favorable decisions should not be based on the grounds that a negative decision would result in hardship or inconvenience for the candidate or that there is insufficient evidence to warrant a negative decision. It is the candidate's responsibility to provide sufficient, positive evidence of productivity.

9. Support for tenure, promotion or incentive review should not be based on the grounds that "outside" funds will support the appointment and thereby relieve the regular budget of the college or department. Nor should favorable decisions be based on the fact that some external person or agency has offered to defray all expenses or salary, on condition that a particular individual be appointed.

10. Candidates for tenure and/or promotion and incentive review must conform to university regulations laid out in the WSU Policies and Procedures Manual.

11. In cases where a candidate is going up for review and there is no member of the department at rank to sit on the committee, departmental policy will establish the role that the department chair may play to provide information to the committee members regarding norms in the discipline. If there is no department policy addressing this situation, then the following college policy will hold: The department chair will attend the review committee's meeting, similar to the way the Dean and Provost do at the College and University levels, respectively. Their role is largely to listen to the discussion, but also to offer information or clarification as requested by the committee. The Chair will not be present during the committee vote.

12. Candidates for tenure, promotion and incentive review must conform to their department's criteria and standards for the evaluation of academic or creative performance, assuming, of course, that these criteria and standards do not conflict with those of Fairmount College or the University.

13. External letters of review are required by University Tenure and Promotion Policy (Chapter 4) and are particularly valuable to the College Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee when evaluating candidates' files. External letters are not required for incentive review.

14. In evaluating recommendations for tenure, promotion and incentive review, the Fairmount College Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee considers three basic categories defined below: research and creative activity, educational activity and service. However, while a first-rate candidate will typically demonstrate distinction in all, the ranking of the categories shall be determined by each individual department, in accord with the mission of the department and the position description of the candidate. The weighting of the categories must be carefully and explicitly articulated by the department. Research and creative activity includes publication and other forms of scholarship both basic and applied. The diversity of scholarship should be recognized, as should interdisciplinary initiatives. Educational activity is not limited to classroom teaching, but may also include the supervision of theses, dissertations and directed study, curriculum development, the creation of teaching materials, and the assessment of teaching methods. Since some disciplines carry greater service obligations than do others, the third category extends to professional, community and public service.

15. It is difficult (and perhaps impossible) to develop a concise set of criteria that fully reflect the fact that 1) the various departments in the College may present significant differences in size, scope, complexity, function and character; and 2) the various disciplines represented may differ greatly with regard to their own criteria for academic or creative performance. In order to be consistent with the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Governance Document, each department shall establish written tenure, promotion and incentive review guidelines setting forth any expectations or other considerations that may be peculiar to its discipline and to its specific program. These departmental guidelines, which should be reviewed and revised as necessary, shall be filed with the College Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee so as to be available for reference when the Committee meets to consider individual cases. Such guidelines will also help departments to evaluate the progress of tenure-track faculty during the annual review process. In the spirit of fairness to candidates, specific departmental expectations for tenure, promotion and incentive review should be communicated in writing to new faculty at the time of appointment. Naturally, any departmental claims for special consideration, based on unique or non-traditional criteria for academic performance in a particular discipline, must be a) consistent with both University and College criteria and b) verifiable by the dean's office through solicitation of documented evidence from external sources. Given the differences described above, the College Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee must judge each individual case on its own merits and must be flexible in interpreting criteria for tenure, promotion and incentive review, as determined by the departments. Such flexibility does not imply in any way lowering of standards, but rather makes provision for diversity and interdisciplinarity of scholarship and creative activity.

Definitions of Criteria

Different universities and colleges may have different interpretations of the three traditional categories of academic evaluation: research and creative activity; teaching; and service. Wichita State University has endorsed the UniSCOPE framework for a broader understanding of scholarship in each of these areas, recognizing that scholarship can include the functions of Discovery, Integration, Application and Education. The following definitions are intended to facilitate the decisions of the Fairmount College Tenure, Promotion and Appeals Committee.

Research, Publication, Creative Activities and Scholarship

Scholarship in the traditional sense (as the search for and the creation of new knowledge, or as the analysis or synthesis of existing knowledge) must be preserved and even protected. However, it should be recognized that in certain disciplines, notably those that are called upon to interact with the community, the term may be given a broader interpretation, so as to include not only the acquisition of knowledge, but also the integration of knowledge, and its application to a given social or economic problem. For this reason, it is important for each academic department to clearly define its own interpretation of scholarship, while recognizing that other interpretations may be more appropriate in other departments, provided, of course, that the principle of excellence, as defined by rigorous peer review, continues to be maintained. The following list of items, presented in no particular order, is illustrative of scholarship in this area, but not exhaustive.


  • refereed or non-refereed journal articles (including pedagogical topics), as determined by the department
  • scholarly monographs published by reputable presses having a peer review or editorial review process
  • edited books
  • book chapters
  • conference papers that are peer reviewed and archived in published proceedings
  • critical editions,
  • translations, poems, stories, plays, videotapes, documentaries, or other creative works
  • scientific or technical reports, including public policy analysis, contract reports
  • scholarly or creative work appearing in an anthology, an edited collection or an encyclopedia
  • commissioned works
  • applied marketing research
  • review articles and book reviews
  • articles in popular journals and newspapers
  • pedagogical publications
  • notes on books, publications with non-refereed sources, and even unpublished work, provided it is available for examination and is supported by external peer review
  • textbooks that make a scholarly contribution to a given field
  • legacy or digital media (e.g. blog or podcast, etc.) that contributes to public intellectual discourse
  • any other publication(s) considered to be appropriate by the department's faculty

Note 1. In the case of work that is co-authored, or the result of teamwork, the role of each author should be clearly indicated. In some disciplines, co-authors are traditionally listed in alphabetical order. Such distinctions should be clearly noted in departmental guidelines.

Note 2. It is important to clarify, beyond “forthcoming”, the status of works that are not yet in print or available online.

Note 3. E-publications are the norm in some disciplines and should be reviewed with the same care and consideration as all other publications.


  • papers presented at regional, national or international conferences, especially if subjected to a peer review process
  • creative and artistic presentations
  • exhibitions
  • active participation in significant symposia or colloquia
  • invited papers, keynote addresses or lectures presented at regional, national or international conferences other professional or academic settings
  • papers presented to professional agencies or institutions
  • invited papers read to academic departments at other universities
  • Projects, Grants, awards and honors
  • grants for applied and scholarly or creative work awarded by external or internal agencies, the former having priority; supporting grants for contractual services; equipment grants; grants for program or curriculum development
  • accelerating the discovery, creation, or transfer of new knowledge via inventions, innovations, or technologies that are market driven (e.g. patents, applications created)
  • development of, or involvement with, multi-disciplinary and integrative research teams
  • technology developed, transferred, or adapted in the field
  • regional or national honors, awards, fellowships and similar recognitions; professional consultantships; service on regional or national boards with academic or research functions; editorial services; officerships in learned or scientific societies; and similar contributions to the intellectual community beyond the University.

Note 4. Quantity of scholarly artifacts should not be the sole criterion for judging scholarly productivity. Relevance to the field, impact upon development of the field or professional practice, quality (as judged by peer review, editorial review, or literature citations), and comprehensiveness should be considerations in evaluating candidates, recognizing that in some areas, the target audience may span beyond a traditional academic audience. Impact may be documented through citations, acceptance rates of journals and conferences, circulation figures of mass media, or other means such as outcomes associated with the work.

Educational Activities

Good teaching, defined as meaning much more than classroom activities, may be documented in a variety of ways. The following list is again illustrative rather than exhaustive.

  • honors and awards for teaching
  • formal and cumulative student evaluations,
  • peer evaluations, preferably formal and based on more than one class visit
  • teaching materials, e.g. syllabi, outlines, reading lists, study guides, field work documentation, methods of assessment, graded examinations and papers (provided students' anonymity is preserved), writing samples
  • revised course materials, updated to incorporate new knowledge and research
  • supervision of student research, including theses and dissertations, special undergraduate projects, graduate projects, independent studies, field work
  • supervision of internships
  • writing and evaluating comprehensive exams
  • textbooks published and adopted by other institutions
  • new course or curriculum development
  • refereed publications on teaching methods
  • implementation of innovative teaching techniques
  • laboratory supervision
  • participation in educational activities of professional associations
  • participation in specialized teaching, e.g. honors teaching, interdisciplinary programs, first year seminars, service-learning, or applied learning experiences.
  • professional development, e.g. attending or leading a meeting related to the instructor's professional expertise
  • professional development activities to enhance new methods of teaching (e.g. Quality matters online training)
  • evidence of effectiveness as a student mentor, academic advisor or coordinator
  • giving lectures or presentations to student groups, colleagues or the university community as a whole

Professional, Public and Community Service

This category includes a wide range of activities linking the faculty member to the university, at a number of levels, to the community and to the public at large. Once again, the following list is illustrative rather than exhaustive.


  • committee work at the departmental, college and university levels
  • serving as program director/chair/coordinator
  • service on university councils and boards
  • participating in institutional governance
  • university service at the state, regional or national level
  • service as an advisor to a student organization
  • participating in student recruitment, or alumni engagement
  • preparing materials/reports for accreditation
  • representing the university at public events
  • participating in fund-raising activities
  • serving as a faculty mentor
  • any other type of service activity or consulting that enhances the prestige of the University


  • serving as an officer of a regional or national association
  • hosting a local, regional or national conference
  • serving on editorial boards
  • serving on professional task forces, think tanks, and other problem solving activities
  • participating in curriculum development in one's discipline at the regional or national level
  • reviewing manuscripts or journal articles
  • reviewing grant proposals for an outside agency
  • serving as an external tenure and promotion reviewer, or a program reviewer for another university


  • serving on boards and advisory councils
  • giving lectures or presentations to local groups
  • participating in continuing education projects
  • professional consultation/advising government agencies, corporations and non-profits in the area of one's expertise
  • providing training and technical assistance to constituents in the community
  • working with community leaders to develop solutions to community problems
  • serving as an expert witness
  • responding to interview requests from local and national media outlets

Note 5. Some of the professional service activities noted here may be designated as research activities based on disciplinary norms and departmental criteria, given the degree of expertise required.

College Criteria and Procedures for Incentive Review

(adopted by LAS faculty April 9, 2002)

Incentive Review is a voluntary program intended to recognize continued exemplary service subsequent to achieving the rank of Professor. It is available to all tenured faculty members who have held the rank of Professor at Wichita State University for a minimum of six years. A satisfactory review will result in a salary adjustment similar to that awarded for promotion to Professor. Incentive Review recognizes continued meritorious performance and is not a promotion.

Criteria: Successful candidates will demonstrate continued performance at or beyond the level of teaching, research and creative activities, and professional, public and community service that merited promotion from Associate Professor to Professor. Likewise, candidates for subsequent incentive reviews should have continued to perform at or beyond the level which merited the last successful incentive review. Consequently, evaluation will emphasize the candidate's performance since promotion to Professor or since the last successful incentive review.

Procedures: Individuals are eligible to apply for an incentive review raise during the spring semester of the fifth year after promotion to the rank of Professor or last successful incentive review. Candidates will be reviewed during the next academic year and, if successful, will receive the Incentive Review raise the following year. Candidates for incentive review must prepare a primary dossier and supplemental documentation that emphasizes the candidate's contributions to teaching, research and service since the last promotion or successful incentive review. The supplemental document should include a curriculum vitae that spans the entire academic career. Since incentive review is a merit salary adjustment and not a promotion or tenure decision, external evaluations are inappropriate in most cases. The primary dossier and secondary documentation will be reviewed at the department, college and university levels according to the Tenure, Promotion and Incentive Review Calendar and Criteria.

Procedures governing the evaluation of tenure, promotion and incentive review recommendations at the college and department levels are set forth in the WSU Policies and Procedures Manual.