Promotion and Tenure Consensus Advisory Points


The University of Michigan-Dearborn is committed to helping junior faculty and associate professors establish productive academic careers. In this spirit, the Faculty Senate developed the following document to inform junior faculty and associate professors of tenure expectations as evidenced in actual decisions during recent years. In areas where there was campus-level agreement or practice, this document defines expectations. It does not restrain or inhibit the individual departments or schools/colleges, but provides guidance to junior faculty and associate professors. The following points are, therefore, meant to be advisory and should not be considered legal or binding. All candidates should consult with their unit for specific guidance on promotion.

1. University Standards: The University of Michigan considers teaching, research, and service in all tenure and promotion decisions. There is no single defined expectation in any area but candidates must meet minimal standards in all three areas. Some qualified candidates will be stronger, for example, in research or in teaching.

2. Teacher-Scholar Model: The University of Michigan-Dearborn endorses the Teacher-Scholar Model rather than the Research-Scholar Model. We seek faculty who value and are committed to excellence in teaching and research. We believe the two are inextricably linked, and that on-going research contributes to the intellectual vitality characteristic of quality classroom instruction.  The foci of evaluation for junior faculty will thus be on effectiveness in teaching and research performance; however, service should not be neglected. For promotion to full professor with tenure continued high-quality in both teaching and research is expected and is in keeping the Teacher-Scholar Model as described above.

3. Quality Classroom Performance: UM-Dearborn takes pride in quality teaching. All faculty are expected to be effective teachers; such teaching ability is a sine qua non for promotion. Those who cannot demonstrate high ability will not be retained or promoted. In this regard, candidates will be expected to build a portfolio with the assistance of their department/school that clearly documents teaching effectiveness from multiple perspectives.

4. Scholarly Output: UM-Dearborn recognizes a spectrum of research types which meet promotion requirements. Consistent with Boyer (SCHOLARSHIP REVISITED), UM-Dearborn values the scholarship of discovery (seeking knowledge), the scholarship of synthesis (building upon and combining previous findings to develop new approaches), the scholarship of application (attempting to solve practical problems), and the scholarship of teaching (transforming and extending knowledge through classroom-based activities). All are legitimate contributions, but the unit establishes the relative merit of each form of scholarship for purposes of promotion and tenure, and of promotion to full professor with tenure.

Candidates must demonstrate scholarly capability as evidenced by publications in refereed journals or creative work normally subject to peer review. Evidence of sustained output through time is essential. Faculty who bring to campus several publications will be credited with those publications but will not ordinarily be considered for promotion until they have published research associated with their employment at UM-Dearborn. The number of publications that meet minimum standards varies by discipline, but research progress beyond that done in graduate school is expected regardless of the discipline. Quality of research is more significant than quantity, and in no case will an absolute number substitute for quality.

Experience indicates that substantial research or scholarly output has become a central focus of tenure and promotion decisions. Strong teaching and service contributions alone or primarily will not result in promotion, either to associate or full professor. Most candidates who have difficulty getting tenure or promoted to full professor do so because of a weak or inadequate record of research and scholarship. For promotion to full professor with tenure as well as to associate professor with tenure, experience dictates a record of sustained quality research is paramount.

5. Service Expectations: Faculty are expected to be conscientious department/school citizens. Participation in the affairs of the department is expected, especially where the faculty member can make substantive contributions (e.g. curriculum, advising, etc.). For junior faculty service at the campus level and off campus is encouraged, but should not interfere with the establishment of a program of teaching and research. For promotion to full professor, a broadening of the service component is valued.

6. Discrete Evaluation: As a matter of practice, faculty shall be evaluated on their own merits against a standard of excellence. Evaluation committees do not compare candidates in a competitive way against each other as if to rank them. Each promotion and tenure decision is independent of all other decisions.

Approved October 8, 2001 by the Faculty Senate