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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Tenure and Promotion

faculty handbook

Tenure and promotion policies are stipulated in the BC Faculty Handbook, Sections 7 and 8.

Scholarly activity is the central consideration in a promotion case. It is also very important that you demonstrate independence. Thus it is best not to collaborate with your Ph.D. or postdoctoral advisor, and also not to collaborate with senior or junior faculty in the department. It is best that you publish with your post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and/or undergraduate students. After tenure, these concerns no longer apply.

According to the university statutes:

1. Academic achievement, the chief criterion for promotion, is comprised of excellence in the areas of teaching, research and publications.

a. Research and scholarly publication shall be judged by the standards of excellence generally accepted by scholars expert in the field in question. In making their judgments, Committees shall obtain opinions as to the quality of scholarship and its excellence as an academic or scholarly work from experts in the field from within the University and, where it is judged necessary or desirable, from scholars outside the University known to be highly skilled in the field.

b. Excellence in teaching shall be judged by interpreting evaluations of the candidate’s teaching skills from students in courses taught by the candidate, as well as by informed reports from members of the Department.

2. Fulfillment of the more generalized responsibilities of the faculty shall be judged upon the basis of reports from the Department and other colleagues throughout the University with and for whom the candidate has worked in the varied aspects of faculty duties. In judging this performance, the Committee shall, in all cases, seek to determine whether or not the candidate has demonstrated the colleagueship necessary to an academic community, and a satisfactory level of departmental and college service. Such service shall be considered unsatisfactory to the extent that it manifests a consistent record of refusal to carry out legitimate administrative requests for service or an unreasonable unwillingness to carry one's appropriate share of departmental and collegiate obligations of a service character.

3. In determining whether or not the requested promotion is consistent with the needs of the University, the Committee shall consider the projected needs of the Schools or Departments in the areas of academic specialization, of curriculum or research programs and of adapting instructional staff to changing enrollment patterns. The Committee shall also review the needs of the School or Department in light of the distribution of its faculty by rank and tenure status, as well as plans for improvement of its academic quality. The Committee’s determination of University needs shall include a judgment that the proposed promotion generally reflects the University's commitment to seek out the highest levels of academic excellence.

c. The weight given to each of these factors in the overall evaluation may vary in the several Schools. However, all of the above considerations must be included in every promotion decision and unsatisfactory performance in any of the areas enumerated in Section 7A [of the university handbook] may be reason for declining promotion. Among strictly academic accomplishments, although promotion requires excellence in the areas of teaching, research and publications, distinction in one area may be balanced against less distinguished achievement in another. In cases where accomplishments in accord with other statutory criteria are present, but to a degree inadequate to the rank under consideration, compensatory weight may be accorded to performance of significant service to the University, to one’s profession or to society at large. However, in no case is promotion to be recommended without a determination that the candidate has demonstrated excellence in teaching.

In the summer prior to the academic year when you will come up for promotion, you will create a promotion dossier consisting of:

  • Application for promotion (available online, but accessible only by Chair, so ask the Chair).
  • Updated curriculum vitae.
  • Record of scholarly activity (with accompanying reviews if available).
  • A statement about your current and projected research.
  • Statement of your teaching goals and activities; we encourage you to submit sample syllabi.
  • Your teaching evaluations for all BC courses taught during the past ten semesters; we encourage you to submit the original course evaluations with written comments rather than just the statistical summaries.
  • A list of all departmental and university committees on which you have served, and your role (i.e., specify if you chaired a committee).

You will be asked to suggest names of recommenders. The department will also generate a list of names. Promotion dossiers must include at list six external letters. No more than one-third of these letters can be from the list contributed by the candidate. You can also ask that certain people not be asked for letters and you will need to explain why.

All tenure and promotion material must be submitted in a Banker’s Box sized 12” × 10” × 15”.

Important dates

In the fall, an ad-hoc departmental committee writes a report on the candidate’s scholarship, teaching, and service and presents this report to a meeting of the faculty senior to the candidate.

By the beginning of November, the faculty senior to the candidate hold a meeting, discuss the report, and vote. The vote is then sent to the university Tenure and Promotion Committee along with the department’s recommendation. Tenure decisions are announced by sometime in February.