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Promotion and tenure

VCU has expressed its commitment to community engagement by incorporating language into its Faculty Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures (5/10/2013) that supports faculty work within and with communities.

2.1 General Criteria and Criteria Definitions for Tenured, Tenure-eligible, and Term (non- tenure) Faculty Members

In order to ensure distinction in learning, research, scholarly pursuits and creative expression, and service, the following criteria shall apply in the evaluation of all tenured and tenure-eligible faculty members for promotion and tenure. For faculty members holding term (non-tenure) faculty appointments, the criteria shall be applied in the evaluation for promotion as appropriate to the individual faculty member’s special mix of duties. All faculty members’ work plans are developed in accordance with the Faculty Roles and Rewards policy. Faculty members holding administrative positions must meet the guidelines of their own academic unit.

General criteria include:

  • Appropriate credentials and experience.
  • Demonstrated continuing scholarship and professional growth. Faculty members should be continuously engaged in productive and creative scholarly activity in areas relevant to the goals and mission of their academic unit. They should make a substantive contribution to the body of knowledge in their discipline that reflects high standards of quality in creativity, scholarship and professional competence. They should demonstrate leadership and professional competence in independent scholarship and/or collaborative research that leads to the creation of new knowledge or creative expression. Scholarship can be in the form of research and discovery scholarship, the scholarship of teaching and learning, or community-engaged research. Research and discovery scholarship breaks new ground in the discipline and answers significant questions in the discipline. Scholarship of teaching and learning includes applied research regarding various pedagogies, student learning, and assessment practices; development and dissemination of materials for use in teaching beyond one’s own classroom. Community-engaged research is a collaborative process between the researcher and community partner at all stages of the research process. Examples are community-based participatory and action research.
  • Demonstrated quality in teaching. Teaching shall be evaluated based primarily upon the impact of the faculty member’s teaching in programs relevant to the mission of their academic unit. Faculty members must demonstrate mastery of their subject matter and at communicating this understanding to student learners; most fundamentally, faculty members should demonstrate that their students learn. There should be evidence of the candidate’s sustained commitment to classroom instruction, to inclusion of advising and availability to students as a component of teaching, to sustained effectiveness as a contributor to the intellectual development of students through devices such as course design, course material, curriculum development, and attention to other mechanisms of enhancing student learning. Mentoring, and other forms of beneficial interactions between the candidate and learners, may be given appropriate weight as a part of the teaching criteria as determined by the academic unit. Demonstrated quality of teaching may include community-engaged teaching that connects students and faculty members with activities that address community-identified needs through mutually beneficial partnerships that deepen students’ academic and civic learning. Examples are service-learning courses or service-learning clinical practica.
  • Demonstrated performance in service. Faculty members are expected to give of their time and expertise for the betterment of their department, school and university, their profession and/or the broader community. Service includes engaging in the application of learning and discovery to improve the human condition and support the public good at home and abroad. Demonstrated performance in service may include community-engaged service, which is the application of one’s professional expertise to address a community-identified need and to support the goals and mission of the university and the community partner.

To learn more about VCU’s path to including community engagement language in its promotion and tenure policies, read Pelco, L. E. & Howard, C. (2016). Incorporating Community Engagement Language into Promotion and Tenure Policies: One University’s Journey. Metropolitan Universities Journal, 27(2).