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Serving on Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Review Committees: A Faculty Guide, second ed.

By Robert M. Diamond
Anker Publishing
79 pages
ISBN: 1-882982-49-5
$10.95 (paper)

Reviewed by

Anny Morrobel-Sosa

Interim Associate Vice Provost
for Academic Programs &
Professor of Materials Engineering
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


In the second edition of Serving on Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Review Committees: A Faculty Guide, a very concise and practical handbook, Robert M. Diamond has added several sections reflecting the evolution of faculty work since the original 1994 edition. Robert (Bob) M. Diamond is President of The National Academy for Academic Leadership, an organization that is committed to the transformation of teaching and learning effectiveness in academia and headquartered at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The book comes as a direct result of Diamond's research and collaborations while Director of the Institute for Change in Higher Education at Syracuse University. While this revised handbook is a must-read for every faculty member serving on reappointment/retention, tenure, promotion and/or post-tenure review committees at any institution, it is also a useful companion to Diamond's follow-up guide for faculty who are to be evaluated/reviewed by their peers, Preparing for Promotion and Tenure Review. (See the excellent review of that handbook by Debora Hammond for Exchanges.) Both books contain similar information and resource materials, though intended for slightly different audiences.

Bob Diamond has organized this handbook in two parts, "Process" and "Resources," each of which is subdivided into several brief sections. The first part includes sections on basic principles and considerations and on documenting and assessing faculty work. In the "Process" section, Diamond reiterates his previous work's basic themes: recognition of disciplinary differences; the expanding nature of faculty work, particularly brought about by the impact of technology on teaching and learning; and, maybe most importantly, the need for clear institutional expectations and fair implementation. The "Resources" part contains examples of disciplinary definitions of scholarship, sample guides to various elements of performance assessment (e.g., student evaluations, teaching portfolio, use of technology in teaching, scholarly work, academic advising, and collegiality), and a useful checklist for members of promotion and tenure faculty review committees. Both parts of the handbook contain a select and very useful list of references.

This handbook, and the topic it covers, is particularly pertinent for faculty in the California State University system. Despite the current financial situation in the State, which may force a postponement of many faculty searches, the need to continue and actively pursue the recruitment of tenure-track faculty to replace anticipated retirements and resignations, and to keep pace with increasing student enrollment expectations, is enormous. As noted in the recent Profile of CSU Employees: Fall 2000 (PDF), the average age of CSU faculty is 51 years, with 57.8% of all faculty listed as over the age of 50. This alone explains the trend in faculty searches and hires reported in the 2001 Report on Faculty Recruitment Survey from 1997-2001 (PDF), where over 4,200 searches were conducted for almost 3,100 new tenure-track faculty hires in the CSU. Meanwhile, many of our campuses have used Ernest L. Boyer's four types of scholarship (the Scholarship of Teaching, the Scholarship of Discovery, the Scholarship of Integration, and the Scholarship of Application, presented in Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate) to define expectations for faculty. How these expectations have been interpreted and integrated in departmental, college, and/or university guidelines and criteria is particularly relevant, as both differences in disciplinary expectations and differences in the contributions of individual faculty should be recognized and validated. Therefore, we have an obligation to address the needs and expectations for the hiring, retention, promotion, tenure, and professional and leadership development of a new professoriate.

In February 2000, I attended one of Bob Diamond's presentations at the Eighth AAHE Conference on Faculty Roles and Rewards where he spoke on "Institutional Guidelines for Faculty Rewards: Drafting Cohesive Document Policy Statements." I still have the handouts he distributed during that meeting. My notes highlighted his proposal for integrating faculty rewards with the institutional mission and his assertion that adherence to disciplinary allegiances necessarily leads to more specific expectations for faculty. (It is important to understand that the term "faculty roles and rewards" in this context refers to faculty responsibility to participate in the evaluation of faculty performance, and to the awarding of faculty tenure and merit based on such performance participation.) But most importantly, my notes reflect Diamond's insistence that the policy, process, and implementation of faculty performance and evaluation are the responsibility of the faculty. Diamond consistently argues that faculty roles should be clearly delineated and expectations regarding faculty performance must be clearly defined in accordance with the unique characteristics of disciplinary practices and departmental and institutional missions. The first two sections, "Some Basic Principles" and "Important Considerations," acknowledge the need to consider disciplinary differences while recognizing the growing interdisciplinarity of faculty work. These sections also promote a process that is defined and articulated to all who participate in the evaluation of faculty. The third section, "Documenting and Assessing Faculty Work," provides examples of a range of materials appropriate for inclusion in professional portfolios compiled for faculty advancement considerations.

That disciplinary traditions have generally guided expectations for professional achievement is evident in most departmental and college-wide procedures for tenure and promotion. In the fifth section of the handbook, "The Disciplines Consider Scholarship," Diamond presents several examples of these disciplinary expectations. Most interesting is that the disciplinary definitions of scholarship, work, and acceptable external validation cited by Diamond reflect but minor variations on Boyer's themes. Thus, in the remaining sections Diamond advocates for institutional and departmental documents for performance evaluation that recognize professional and disciplinary differences in the definition and practice of scholarship, identify the various forms in which it can be expressed in a specific discipline, indicate how such scholarship is demonstrated, and articulate the criteria used to measure or validate scholarship.

It is important to emphasize that the intended readers for this handbook are the faculty who will be evaluating their peers. It is this group of tenured (usually more senior) faculty that determines the expectations, the types of activities that are valued and rewarded, the particular skills that are deemed valuable, and even the research/scholarly approaches and topics that are considered to be important for the evaluation and promotion of faculty colleagues. This is sometimes compounded by appointment letters that establish written expectations for progress that on occasion conflict with the practical expectations of departmental peers. Thus, to many tenure-track (but not-yet-tenured) faculty, our institutional procedures for tenure and promotion appear to be disjointed and unclear. If this handbook is useful to some, it will be because it helps us reflect on the fact that all policies, criteria, and practices regarding faculty hiring, evaluation and advancement must be aligned with departmental, college, and institutional missions. It also highlights the call to recognize the necessary consolidation of stated policies and criteria with actual practice. Yet, the effectiveness of faculty evaluations depends on both the written recommendations contained in a review and on the opportunities provided to the evaluated faculty for the corrective action(s) needed for advancement. That criteria and standards are indeed clear, fair, flexible, and consistently applied is absolutely necessary, as is the adherence to requirements imposed by faculty union contracts.

Additional Recommended Readings

Boyer, Ernest L. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990.

Diamond, Robert M. Preparing for Promotion and Tenure Review. Bolton, MA: Anker, 1995.

Diamond, Robert M. Aligning Faculty Rewards with Institutional Mission: Statements, Policies, and Guidelines. Bolton, MA: Anker, 1999.

Glassick, Charles E., Mary Taylor Huber, and Gene I. Maeroff. Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.

American Council on Education, The American Association of University Professors, and United Educators Insurance. Good Practice in Tenure Evaluation. Washington DC: American Council on Education, 2000.

Middaugh, Michael F. Understanding Faculty Productivity: Standards and Benchmarks for Colleges and Universities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Rice, R. Eugene, Mary Deane Sorcinelli, and Ann E. Austin. Heeding New Voices: Academic Careers for a New Generation. New Pathways Working Paper Series, inquiry #7. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education, 2000.

Seldin, Peter, and Associates. Changing Practices in Evaluating Teaching: A Practical Guide to Improved Faculty Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decision. Bolton, MA: Anker, 1999.

Sorcinelli, Mary Deane. Principles of Good Practice: Supporting Early-Career Faculty. (Available online in HTML or PDF) Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education, 2000.

Posted April 22, 2003
Updated April 23, 2003

All material appearing in this journal is subject to applicable copyright laws.
Publication in this journal in no way indicates the endorsement of the content by the California State University, the Institute for Teaching and Learning, or the Exchanges Editorial Board. ©2003 by Anny Morrobel-Sosa.

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