SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION TENURE AND PROMOTION CRITERIA, GUIDELINES FOR CREATIVE, PROFESSIONAL, SCHOLARLY ACHIEVEMENT

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1 SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION TENURE AND PROMOTION CRITERIA, GUIDELINES FOR CREATIVE, PROFESSIONAL, SCHOLARLY ACHIEVEMENT INTRODUCTION: PURPOSE OF THIS DOCUMENT Because the School of Communication requires both professional and scholarly expertise from its faculty, it is important for tenure track faculty and tenured faculty seeking promotion to understand what is considered adequate creative, professional, scholarly performance. The following guidelines, summarizing priorities for each of the School s three Divisions, are intended to aid faculty by representing our best understanding of standards important both for the School and for the University. The guidelines are intended to be useful to faculty in setting their creative, professional, scholarly agenda and in judging how to present and highlight their work in their annual report and file for action. Performance is assessed not only in terms of creative, professional, scholarly criteria but also in teaching and service, both within the University and beyond. A faculty member s creative, professional, scholarly agenda should make him/her a stronger teacher, a better resource for students, faculty, and the community, and keep him/her current in their field. Faculty are expected to develop and pursue well-defined, ambitious agendas for creative, professional, scholarly achievement that enable them to be productive continuously. Faculty are expected to produce innovative, relevant work within the landscapes of knowledge and practice in their fields, explain how that work advances their fields, and demonstrate promise for continued growth. While each division/discipline identifies specific benchmarks and measures of success, there are cross-cutting themes that define tenure and promotion in the School of Communication, which values professional achievement and innovation as well as scholarly research. Contract work is common for professionals and payment does not affect its status as research; the decisive feature is creative control. Faculty are encouraged to apply for external funding, but receipt of such funding is not required for tenure. SOC expects its faculty to be effective teachers, allowing students to acquire knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and become active participants in the learning process. Faculty should be leaders in their fields, participating in conferences, associations, and professional networks. Engagement in the School and the University in the form of service is required of all faculty, who must demonstrate a willingness to advance the academic agenda of the

2 Division, the School, and the University. In SOC, faculty are expected to attend regular meetings of the appropriate Division, School-wide Council meetings, the annual retreat, and events that showcase the School, its students, or its faculty. SOC faculty are expected to attend University events, including Commencement and the annual Convocation. At the time of tenure review, evaluation of the candidate s performance, excellence, and standing in the field will include letters from senior faculty at peer universities in the candidate's field of specialization and, as appropriate, letters from prominent professional practitioners, creative artists, and public scholars/intellectuals. Each Division has developed and approved its own guidelines. The guidelines for the Communication Studies Division are presented below: COMMUNICATION STUDIES The Communication Studies Division offers interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to expand and deepen students understanding of the political, social, cultural, and historical dimensions of the communications and media fields. Our curricula combine humanistic and social science approaches to the study of communication research, practice, and policy. The Bachelor of Arts program in Communication Studies aims to develop liberally educated and professionally trained communicators who are equipped, intellectually and ethically, to convey the issues of contemporary society. The International Media master s program combines communication theory, media production skills, and academic research tools to prepare students for professional leadership positions in international and global communication. The Ph.D. program in Communication examines the intersections of media, technology, and democracy with an emphasis on the role of new media in civil society. Its purpose is to foster scholarship that builds new theory and knowledge, and enhances the ability of institutions, social groups, and professionals to apply that knowledge to address salient political and social challenges. This document is one of the resources guiding candidates for tenure and/or promotion; other resources include: 1) the Committee for Faculty Action s annual memo (available at the Faculty Senate site); 2) the American University Faculty Manual; and 3) the School of Communication s manual, Process for Pre-Tenure and Tenure Review and Promotion. To earn tenure and promotion, faculty members in the Communication Studies Division must demonstrate excellence in scholarship and in teaching, and establish a strong record of service to the Division, the School, the University, and the academy. They may do this in ways that are outlined and explained below. Excellence in Scholarship The Division expects faculty members to produce scholarly research that makes distinctive, well recognized contributions to the field, and to have developed an ongoing research agenda that promotes sustained productivity.

3 Faculty members must document how their work makes that contribution, in both quantity and quality. The Division does not prescribe a single road to tenure, and welcomes creative interpretation of guidelines appropriate to the rapidly changing nature both of our field and the platforms on which we work and share our work. At the same time, faculty members seeking tenure are expected to have a combination of work that demonstrates: engagement with the field to the point of recognition as an authority in at least one area of scholarship; public intellectual activity that addresses the public good; and scholarship that speaks to a future research agenda. There are multiple routes to achieving these objectives, including one of the following possible models (or through some combination of elements in each of them): A book or books published by a high-quality well-respected academic press, complemented by refereed articles in top journals; A consistent record of refereed articles in top journals in communication fields, as a single or lead author; A high-impact and consistent contribution to the communications profession through policy briefs, proceedings, monographs, articles in professional and policy publications, and research reports. Peer review is a key factor in understanding the candidate s reception in the field; as such, refereed work is highly valued. It is up to the candidate to make the case for significant work that is not peer reviewed. Innovation is important, and therefore textbooks and edited volumes are regarded as less important than original research, unless the candidate can make a case for how they advance the field. Substantial impact is important, and so books and journal articles are taken as more significant than, say, conference proceedings or circulation of a draft paper, unless there is a case (e.g. timeliness) for the significance of the work. If the research is drawn principally from dissertation work, it is particularly important to demonstrate progress on an ongoing research agenda. While single authored books and articles typically are regarded with greater importance than joint authored publications, the growing importance of interdisciplinary collaboration has enhanced the importance of collaborative authorship. It is up to the faculty member to demonstrate his or her own role in the collaborative process. Teaching Excellence Faculty members can demonstrate how they meet the university s scholar teacher ideal in various ways, but some elements are standard. Typically, faculty members teach across the Division s curriculum both undergraduate and graduate courses, with a well organized, intellectually rigorous, and professional approach. They engage students inside and outside the classroom, for instance by including students in faculty research projects; mentoring independent research; supervising dissertations, theses, capstone papers, independent study projects, and award

4 applications; serving as faculty adviser or mentor to student organizations, and undertakings that promote and encourage student research. American University s standardized evaluations of teaching (SETs) are important indicators of teaching excellence, but only one of the indicators, and not always the most reliable. Especially rigorous courses may not always result in high SET scores, for example. In such cases, the Division recognizes that these scores do not necessarily signal difficulties in teaching. Substantially greater concerns may arise, however, should SET scores signal student dissatisfaction across several courses or over several semesters. It is up to the faculty member to explain deviations from the norm in SETs, for instance because of an experimental design, uneven team teaching, or unpopular topic. Additional ways to demonstrate effective teaching may include: innovative and up to date course design; curricular initiatives; student engagement and achievement outside the classroom; students narrative comments on SETs (if any are included for a particular class, all must be included); statements of teaching philosophy; course syllabi, assignments, examinations, and guest lectures; and awards. In addition, faculty demonstrate commitment to ongoing improvement in teaching by taking advantage of programs offered by the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning and other opportunities to learn about teaching. Service Faculty members build community through service. Service to the University and the field is valued. Faculty members are active participants in the University community by attending major campus events and relevant faculty meetings, and serving on committees, among other commitments. Their service to the field may include serving on the editorial boards of leading refereed journals and on the committees of national/international scholarly and professional organizations. Tenured faculty members contribute to faculty governance at all levels, and assume responsibility for mentoring of non tenured faculty. Promotion to Full Professor: In evaluating faculty for promotion to the rank of Professor, a cumulative record of scholarly work, teaching, and service will be assessed. Candidates for promotion to Professor are expected to have made significant and sustained contributions to knowledge in communications fields, and to have attained a national/international reputation for scholarly accomplishment. Candidates for Professor also demonstrate leadership in their field, for instance by editing scholarly journals; serving on the editorial boards of scholarly journals; holding elected office in national/international scholarly organizations; refereeing scholarly work submitted for prospective publication; sitting on grant review

5 panels; and organizing and participating in national/international scholarly conferences. Candidates also are expected to play a leadership role through service to the Division, the School, the University, and the academy.

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