You are here: American University Provost Office of the Dean of Faculty Term Faculty Chemistry Term Faculty Promotion Guidelines

*This does not constitute an employment contract

Edited on April 25th, 2019

The American University
Department of Chemistry

(Approved by Provost July 2019)


The Department of Chemistry at American University expects, supports, and requires effective teaching and service to the Department, the University, and professional scholarly communities from term faculty members. Term faculty members seeking to qualify for reappointment or promotion must document success in each of these areas. The Department follows the general standards, timetable, and procedures for term faculty reappointments and promotion laid down in the Faculty Manual and supplemented by instructions from the Dean of Faculty, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Committee on Faculty Actions. 

This document seeks to make these criteria more focused and specific for term faculty members in the Department of Chemistry applying for reappointment or promotion, as well as for the Department's Rank and Tenure Committee and the Department Chair in their roles in the reappointment or promotion process. The criteria that follow are not intended to be exhaustive or final. When a faculty member is convinced that the criteria below do not adequately capture his/her contributions, he/she is then encouraged to express this in a narrative statement (no more than 2 pages) to be included in the file.

The promotion of full-time faculty members with term appointments follows two sequences.  The professorial lecturer promotion sequence includes the following ranks: instructor, professorial lecturer, senior professorial lecturer, Hurst senior professorial lecturer.  The term professor promotion sequence includes the following ranks: assistant professor, associate professor, and professor.  Per the Faculty Manual, no new term assistant professors will be appointed.  Term faculty may request to move between the professorial lecturer and term professor sequences, if they meet the criteria for the equivalent rank. Faculty contemplating such an action should explore its viability with the Department Chair and the College dean.

The Department follows the “Omnibus Criteria for the Reappointment and Promotion of Term Faculty” developed by the College of Arts and Sciences for actions related to term faculty appointment, reappointment, and promotion.  In addition, the Department follows the recommendation of “a defined portfolio with constrained SET use” from the Beyond SETs Task Force established by the Faculty Senate. Term faculty seeking teaching awards, promotion or their first multi-year contract, should submit a teaching portfolio containing at least one item from each of the five categories listed in the Task Force’s Final Report to the Faculty Senate. This portfolio should be no more than five pages long, single space and at least 12 pt font size. Term faculty seeking renewals of one-year contracts should submit a teaching portfolio containing SET scores with new constraints and improvements, together with at least one item from two of the remaining four categories. This portfolio should be no more than 3 pages, single space and at least 12 pt font size.   

Both the “Omnibus Criteria” and the “Task Force Recommendation” list peer assessment of teaching as a means of demonstrating teaching excellence.  One of the options for peer assessment of teaching is peer classroom observation. The Department has developed the following guidelines for peer classroom observation to stipulate the details of this assessment.

Peer classroom observation guidelines

Peer classroom observation is an informal form of peer assessment of teaching.  It is requested by the instructor through submission of a list of potential reviewers to the teaching evaluation committee.  The committee will solicit two reviewers from the list on the instructor’s behalf. Potential reviewers can be a peer within or outside the department, but should be in a closely related field to ensure familiarity with the subject matter.  Each reviewer will be asked to attend at least two lecture periods (one period if it is a block class) during the semester.  Reviewers will try their best to avoid visiting the lecture at the same time and will provide formative feedback to the instructor after each attended lecture period.  At the end of the semester, a written report will be produced, and it may be included in the instructor’s file for action at the instructor’s discretion.