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School of Education (SOE) Term Faculty Guidelines for Reappointment and Promotion

(October 30, 2019)

The School of Education (SOE) has two pathways for term faculty promotion. The first, which is more teaching and service focused, includes the ranks of Instructor, Professorial Lecturer, Senior Professorial Lecturer, and Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer. The second, which integrates research and scholarship along with teaching and service, includes the ranks of Associate Professor and Professor. The university does not generally appoint new assistant professors in the term faculty ranks. As described in the university guidelines (Faculty Manual, section 14d), faculty may request a move between pathways at the Associate Professor level or above (e.g., term faculty at the level of professorial lecturer or above may request review to move to the title of Associate Professor) and will be required to submit a File for Action that indicates that they meet the criteria for that rank and as outlined by the University Senate’s Committee on Faculty Actions.

The establishment of clear pathways to reappointment and promotion for term faculty members is an important step in ensuring that the SOE is providing a high quality and intellectually rigorous education for its students. As part of the reappointment and promotion process, term faculty members will be asked to quantify the proportion of time dedicated to teaching and service, and, in some cases, research, within the acceptable parameters established in these guidelines to help clarify the faculty member’s role in the SOE. The Rank and Tenure Committee will then use these proportions to analyze a term faculty member’s contribution.

The purpose of these promotion and reappointment procedures is to provide a context for collegial feedback, encouragement and support for each term faculty member’s ongoing success and productivity. The guidelines that follow are intended to assist faculty as they reflect on their development as teacher-scholars relative to reappointment and promotion. They are also intended to guide the SOE’s Rank and Tenure Committee (R&T) and Dean in fulfilling their responsibilities. These guidelines are only one of several resources for candidates to consult, particularly the university policy guidelines mentioned above.

In assessing a faculty member’s attainments, the SOE is directed by the standards, timetables, and procedures for term faculty reappointments and promotion as stipulated in the Faculty Manual, supplemented by instructions from the Dean of Faculty, the University Senate Committee on Faculty Actions, and the Dean of the School of Education.

Teaching

Term faculty have a standard course load of six-courses per academic year (3 Fall courses and 3 Spring Courses). Teaching encompasses a variety of instructional activities including classroom instruction, engaging individual learners using diverse methods, and working proactively to reach audiences in formal and informal settings.

SOE places particular emphasis on high quality teaching. Maintaining an excellent level of achievement in teaching and, more broadly, in a wide spectrum of instructional activities, is a prerequisite for reappointment and promotion in the SOE.

The evaluation of teaching must reflect assessment of the entire portfolio of teaching and instruction-related activities and accomplishments. Such a portfolio will include a combination of the following in order to demonstrate both excellence and currency in teaching. The following materials taught during the review period must be included in the portfolio:

  1. Review of course materials. Materials to include: syllabi, course assignments, lecture notes, or other materials chosen by faculty member to convey pedagogical approach and quality. If the instructor was not the “designer” of a course being taught, then it is not necessary to submit course materials.
  2. Faculty customarily must include at least one (1) of the following in any combination:
    1. Peer classroom observation and follow up conversation (required to be at least 30 minute observation; but it is suggested that one entire class session be observed as best practice). Reviewers from inside or outside the teaching unit, selected by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in consultation with faculty member. Use SOE-developed template or rubric. Faculty member writes reflection in response (half-page maximum), or
    2. Peer observation of classroom video by one or more colleagues and follow up conversation (required to be at least 30 minute observation; but it is suggested that one entire class session be observed as best practice). Reviewers, templates/rubrics, and response as above. Instructor can select the video clip, and video itself need not be submitted in portfolio, or
    3. Instructional Rounds by 2-3 faculty members focused on analysis of an observable, actionable problem of practice across several classrooms, investigation of an approach or set of approaches to address that problem, and an analysis of the investigation. The faculty member must provide a written analysis that describes the approach taken to address the problem of practice.
  3. SET scores
  4. Evidence of Effective Teaching and Improvement Statement (goes in File for Action comprehensive narrative, same as currently required). Statement should include reflection on performance of courses (what worked, what actions to change/improve, etc.), description of pedagogical approach, evidence of engagement with students both in and beyond the classroom, academic rigor, efforts to improve online courses, and professional-development activities.

Optional items in the teaching portfolio may include:

  • Narrative portions of SETs. If any narratives are submitted for a course, all narratives from that course must be included.
  • Focus group of faculty member’s students led by colleague or CTRL instructional staff, followed by report using SOE-developed template or rubric.
  • Sample of student work and instructor feedback.

Service

Service embraces a broad range of activities that may occur on many levels within and beyond the University. All academic units depend on faculty service. Indeed, rights and privileges associated with faculty membership evoke a responsibility for service.

The nature and mission of the SOE elicit a broad range of activities in which faculty engage in service to diverse publics and professional organizations. SOE faculty work with schools, school systems and other educational institutions, community organizations, and serve on advisory and editorial boards that serve professional communities. Appointment or election to participate in such activities is acknowledged as an expression of the regard in which one is held by members of those communities.

The relative weight credited to service depends on the nature, context and function of the services themselves. It is important to note that while American University is committed to service to community in its broadest sense, the Faculty Manual states that “service beyond the university cannot substitute for a service contribution to the university.”

The SOE expects that senior-ranked faculty provide significantly more service than junior faculty.

Rank Criteria: Instructor, Professorial Lecturer, Senior Professorial Lecturer, and Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer

The following section details specific performance expectations for each of the four ranks in the Professorial Lecturer pathway. Please note that the recommendation to confer a given rank and appointment to a multi-year contract are, strictly speaking, separate actions. As a general rule, the School only considers term faculty for a multi-year appointment when the Provost’s office deems long-term funding of the position to be secure.

Instructor

The rank of instructor customarily applies to a one-semester or one-year appointment of term faculty members who do not hold a terminal degree in their field. This rank also may be applied to positions that fill specific, temporary teaching needs, as determined by teaching units in accordance with instructional resources. Reappointments are possible, subject to annual review. Teaching and academic units evaluate instructors primarily on their teaching and, if applicable, service to the teaching unit or academic unit. Instructors who meet the criteria for professorial lecturer may apply for promotion to that rank.

Candidates for reappointment in the rank of Instructor should be successful teachers who have built well-thought-out courses that foster student learning and achievement and that reflect the current state of their academic field(s). Their course materials will state clear objectives that are informed by the goals of their academic unit or program. Their professionalism will be displayed through their syllabi, assignments, evaluation of student work, advising or mentorship, and Student Evaluation of Teaching scores that are generally in line with those in the SOE or their academic program. Candidates for reappointment as Instructor will also provide service to the teaching unit, academic unit, and/or university, commensurate with the general expectations listed above.

Professorial Lecturer

Term faculty members are customarily awarded the initial rank of professorial lecturer if they hold the terminal degree in their field or have professional experience and achievement equivalent to a terminal degree. Appointees at this rank demonstrate the potential to achieve excellence in teaching and primary responsibilities, including service to the teaching unit, academic unit, and/or university, such as mentoring and advising of students. Professorial lecturers who meet the criteria for senior professorial lecturer customarily may apply for promotion to that rank after five years as professorial lecturer.

Candidates for promotion to (or reappointment in) the rank of Professorial Lecturer should be successful teachers who have built well-thought-out courses that foster student learning and achievement and that reflect the current state of their academic field(s). Their course materials will state clear objectives that are informed by the goals of their academic unit or program. Their professionalism will be displayed through their syllabi, assignments, evaluation of student work, advising or mentorship, and Student Evaluation of Teaching scores that are generally in line with those in the SOE or their academic program. Candidates for Professorial Lecturer will also provide service to the teaching unit, academic unit, and/or university, with the expectation that their service profile will both broaden and deepen over time.

Senior Professorial Lecturer

In addition to meeting the criteria for the rank of professorial lecturer, an appointee at the rank of senior professorial lecturer demonstrates excellence as a teacher and strong engagement with the university community. The faculty member customarily will bring a proven record of service and of mentoring and advising students. However, new faculty members with extensive professional experience but little direct teaching experience may be appointed at this rank. Senior professorial lecturers who meet the criteria for Hurst senior professorial lecturer may apply for promotion to that rank after five years as senior professorial lecturer. In exceptional cases, promotion to Hurst senior professorial lecturer may be pursued after three years as senior professorial lecturer.

Candidates for Senior Professorial Lecturer should be expert teachers whose courses foster, in challenging and motivating ways, student learning and achievement. Their course materials will promote the goals of their academic unit or program and demonstrate currency in their academic field. Their professionalism and expertise will be displayed through their course and curriculum development, syllabi, assignments, evaluation of student work, advising or mentorship, and Student Evaluation of Teaching assessments. They will provide significant service and contribute to professional development, which might include leadership activities such as faculty mentoring, assessment work, or research in their field, in addition to significant service to the SOE, their academic program and/or university.

Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer

This rank, named for American University’s founder, reflects significant achievement and expectations of leadership. In addition to meeting the criteria for the rank of senior professorial lecturer, an appointee at the rank of Hurst senior professorial lecturer customarily will have demonstrated meritorious performance through sustained excellence in teaching and in service internally to the university and/or externally in their profession or field of scholarship. New faculty members whose distinguished careers have made them established leaders in their fields also may be appointed at this rank. 

Senior Professorial Lecturers who are candidates for Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer should demonstrate a consistent record of marked teaching excellence. Their professionalism and expertise will be displayed through their course and curriculum development, syllabi, assignments, evaluation of student work, advising or mentorship, and Student Evaluation of Teaching assessments. Their application portfolios will show that they have continually refined their teaching, adapted to new student populations, and attended to innovations in the field. These candidates will also have demonstrated strong leadership in their academic unit or program, have contributed to professional development initiatives in the SOE or their academic program and in their field, and have engaged in notable service to their the SOE, their academic program, and university.

Rank Criteria: Associate Professor, and Professor.

The university does not generally appoint new Assistant Professors to the term faculty ranks.

Associate Professor

The School of Education expects candidates for promotion to Associate Professor to be demonstrably excellent scholars and teachers, and exemplars of meritorious service. A candidate unable to document impactful and sustained scholarship will not be recommended for promotion to associate professor, even if his or her teaching record is excellent. Conversely, an excellent scholar evinced as an ineffective teacher will not be recommended for promotion. Candidates for promotion to associate professor on a term faculty line must meet all criteria as set forth for tenure-track faculty for promotion to associate professor in the SOE and American University guidelines, but they have no timeline to submission of materials for review. In other words, there is no “clock” or time limit determining when a term faculty member can request a review for promotion to the rank of associate professor. A faculty member denied for promotion to Associate Professor may reapply for promotion at a later date.

In assessing a faculty member’s attainments, the SOE is directed by the standards, timetables, and procedures for reappointments, promotion, and tenure as stipulated in the Faculty Manual, supplemented by instructions from the Dean of Faculty, the University Senate Committee on Faculty Actions and the Dean of the School of Education.

Professor

Appointment to Professor is primarily the result of the faculty member's level of sustained and cumulative scholarly achievement, high-quality teaching, and exemplary service. Length of time in rank or at AU is not a factor in promotion to professor, nor is the number of years taken to warrant consideration for same.

To be considered for promotion to Professor, faculty members are expected to exceed the qualifications expected of those seeking promotion to Associate Professor and must exhibit a continued commitment to teaching excellence as described above. Faculty members seeking promotion to Professor should have a national or international reputation for their scholarship and leadership in their fields as outlined in the SOE guidelines for tenure-line faculty. Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor must be based on continued growth as a teacher, demonstrated, for example, by the development of new courses and programs, revision of existing courses, and the introduction of new pedagogies and instructional strategies, among other activities. Evidence of excellence in teaching not identified in this document may be cited in materials presented at the time of review for promotion to Professor.

Faculty members considering promotion to Professor are strongly advised to review the policies and procedures for promotion and to seek the advice and counsel of the Rank and Tenure Committee and Dean before submitting a file for action for promotion. Term faculty members seeking promotion from the Associate Professor to Professor rank must meet the same criteria as tenure-track faculty seeking promotion to the Professor rank.

Standards for Reappointment and Multiyear Contracts

Reappointment

Term faculty in the School of Education enter on single-year contracts. Review for reappointment includes a review based on:

  • A comprehensive narrative, not to exceed 1000 words, describing the candidate’s contribution to the School of Education, the university, and field of teaching.
  • Teaching portfolio: includes sample syllabi; statement of teaching philosophy and effectiveness; at least one annual peer observation; full copies score reports from Student Evaluation of Teaching. (see earlier in this document for more details on the teaching portfolio)
  • Documentation of service: includes a memo and supporting documentation (see earlier in this document for details on SOE commitments to service)

Standards for review for reappointment are based on the expectations for teaching excellence and teaching currency, as detailed above.

Term faculty may be reviewed for multi-year consideration in the course of their third year.

Reappointments are conditional upon instructional needs and financial resources.

Standards for review for multi-year contract are based on the expectations for teaching excellence and teaching currency, as detailed above, as well as the demonstrated and predicted need of undergraduate and graduate programs in the unit. The Rank and Tenure’s recommendation is a non-binding recommendation, as final decisions about multi-year contracts are ultimately also a budgetary decision made at the school, college and university levels.

Multi-year contract requests are submitted to the Rank and Tenure Committee and must include:

  • A comprehensive narrative not to exceed 3000 words that describes the candidate’s contributions to the university, the School of Education, and the candidate’s teaching field of study.
  • Teaching portfolio: includes sample syllabi; statement of teaching philosophy and effectiveness; at least one annual peer observation; full copies of all student evaluations of teaching (SET)s (see earlier in this document for more details on the teaching portfolio)
  • Documentation of service: includes a memo and supporting documentation (see earlier in this document for details on SOE commitments to service)

The Rank and Tenure Committee will review all candidate appointments to positions such as research faculty, post-doctoral fellows, visiting faculty, faculty fellows, in-residence faculty, and emeriti faculty as described by the processes and criteria set out in the Faculty Manual (May 2018 edition).