Faculty Promotion

Guidelines for Faculty Promotion Recommendations

I. Introduction
II. Definitions
III. Promotion Guidelines
IV. Minimum Rank Criteria
V. Terminal Degree Designation
VI. Criteria to Consider in Tenure and Promotion Recommendations
VII. Process for Faculty Promotion
VIII. General Process Guidelines at the Board Level

Faculty Promotions at Nashville State Community College are made on the basis of this policy, consistent with Policy 5:02:02:30 Guidelines for Faculty Promotion Recommendations of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). The campus policy includes information specific to Nashville State Community College that is not included in the TBR policy.

I. Introduction

Promotion in rank is in recognition of past achievement of the individual being considered for promotion. In addition, the advancement in rank is in recognition of future potential and a sign of confidence that the individual is capable of even greater accomplishments and of assuming greater responsibilities. The policy is to make promotions strictly on consideration of merit tempered by college and fiscal considerations. The purpose of this policy is to help ensure that promotions are made objectively, equitably, impartially, and in recognition of merit consistent with the following policy guidelines.

Promotion decisions are based on the overall actual and potential contributions of the faculty member to the college. Those making recommendations concerning promotion should consider not only the minimum requirements, but also the individual’s overall qualifications and achievements.

The president of the college is responsible for the master staffing plan of the college. In developing such a plan, the president will consider the fiscal impact of each promotion recommended to the Board.

Faculty members who are not recommended for promotion may request an oral or written explanation from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Faculty members must not approach members of either the Peer Review Committee or the Campus-wide Committee for information. Faculty members serve on these committees as part of their professional service to the college and must not discuss the deliberations of the committee.

II. Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/ creative activities/research will be defined as follows.

A. Teaching

Teaching applies to any manner in which information or expertise is communicated so that others may learn, and may include, but is not limited to, a variety of techniques including instruction, development of course materials and course-ware, and development of innovative approaches to teaching.

B. Service/Outreach

Service applies to service within the community as defined by the college’s role and mission; service to the college, as in student advising and/or mentoring; and service within the bounds of the applicant’s academic discipline and budgeted assignment.

C.  Scholarship/Creative Activities/Research

Research applies to the studious inquiry, examination, or discovery that contributes to disciplinary and interdisciplinary bodies of knowledge. Scholarship/creative activities/research may include, but are not limited to, typical professional growth and development activities, disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities that focus on the boundaries of knowledge, community-based scholarship, creative activities (e.g., performances or other artistic creations), and the development of cutting-edge teaching approaches.

A more detailed description of these activities and the criteria to be applied in assessing performance in these three areas may be found in Section IV of TBR policy on “Academic Tenure at Tennessee Board of Regents Community Colleges.”

III. Promotion Guidelines

The TBR guidelines provide a general plan for documenting the evaluation process for promotion at each college. However, each college must develop specific promotion criteria that all units of that college will follow. The college’s policies must, at a minimum, satisfy the criteria established by TBR guidelines, but may be more rigorous than the criteria stated therein. They should be written to distinguish between functional areas of teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research. College policies should contain sections that clearly outline promotional procedures, timelines, as well as opportunities for review of negative decisions. College policies must be approved by the TBR Office of Academic Affairs prior to implementation on the campus.

IV. Minimum Rank Criteria

A. Instructor
B. Assistant Professor
C. Associate Professor
D. Professor

The following define the minimum criteria that distinguish between academic ranks for purposes of initial appointment and promotion. Promotion must be sequential in each rank. Although faculty members must demonstrate minimum criteria to be eligible to apply for promotion, minimum qualifications are not adequate for promotion. Rather, promotion decisions are made on the bases of qualifications and performance in recognition of both past achievement and future potential.

A. Instructor

  1. Potential ability in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. Faculty must meet the qualifications of SACS-COC and of program-specific accrediting agencies.
  3. As determined to be appropriate for the instructional discipline, an
    Associate or Baccalaureate degree with relevant experience for particular technical programs. Master’s degree from an accredited institution in the discipline for transfer programs.
  4. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

B. Assistant Professor

  1. Documented evidence of ability in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. Faculty must meet the qualifications of SACS-COC and of program-specific accrediting agencies.
  3. A Baccalaureate degree in the discipline or in a closely related area for some technical programs. Master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline for all other programs. A M. Ed. is not considered related to technical programs or transfer programs.
  4. At least three years in rank.
  5. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

C. Associate Professor

  1. Documented evidence of high-quality professional productivity in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/creative activities/research.
  2. Faculty must meet the qualifications of SACS-COC and of program-specific accrediting agencies.
  3. Master’s degree in the instructional discipline. For some technical programs Master’s degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or closely related area. A M. Ed. is not acceptable. Faculty should request written approval before pursuing “related” degrees if they intend to use degree for promotion.
  4. At least three years in rank.
  5. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, and professional integrity.

D. Professor

  1. Documented evidence of sustained high quality professional productivity in teaching, service/outreach, and scholarship/ creative activities/ research.
  2. Earned doctorate or TBR-recognized terminal degree from an accredited institution in the instructional discipline or related area plus five years in rank. A doctorate in a related area must include a substantial amount, no fewer than 18 graduate hours, of coursework in the teaching area. TBR recognizes the following Masters degrees as terminal:
    1. M.F.A. in Studio Art or Creative Writing (NASAD guidelines)
    2. M.L.S. in Library Science (or Master’s in Library Science)
    3. M.M. in certain Music specialties (NASM)
    4. Master’s in Engineering or Master’s with Major in Engineering (Engineering Technology, University or Community College)
    5. The J.D. degree is not recognized as a doctorate; however, it may be considered as a terminal degree in disciplines directly associated with legal studies.
  3. Documented evidence of teaching excellence and superior contribution to student development or superior scholarly or creative activity. The absence of such evidence may prevent advancement to the rank of professor. Since there is no higher rank, promotion to professor is taken with great care and requires a substantial level of achievement. This rank is not a reward for long service; rather it is recognition of superior achievement within the discipline with every expectation of continuing contribution to the college and the larger academic community.
  4. Evidence of good character, mature attitude, professional integrity, and a high degree of academic excellence and responsibility.
Minimum QualificationInstructorAssistant ProfessorAssociate ProfessorProfessor
Teaching, service & creative activityPotential abilityEvidence of abilityEvidence of high quality performanceEvidence of sustained high quality performance
Minimum credentials for career disciplinesAssociate or Baccalaureate degree in instructional discipline & experienceBaccalaureate degree. See Item B.Master’s degree. See Item C.Earned doctorate or terminal degree. See Item D.
Minimum credentials for transfer disciplinesMaster’s in instructional disciplineMaster’s in instructional disciplineMaster’s in instructional disciplineEarned doctorate or terminal degree in instructional discipline
Years in previous rank ThreeThreeFive

Note: Minimum criteria may be waived if approved by the college president when a candidate offers extraordinary qualifications in lieu of the stated minimum rank criteria. Such approval must be supported by evidence of the extraordinary nature of the qualifications. For example, a candidate with recognized national prominence and expertise might qualify for such a waiver.

V. Terminal Degree Designation

The Board of Regents will use national discipline standards to determine which degrees are considered “terminal” within each discipline and will provide each community college with a list that delineates these degrees. Each community college may request blanket exceptions to these standards by classification based upon its mission and hiring practice. Each community college may also petition the Board for “equivalent work experience credit” when a candidate has not obtained a terminal degree but has a record of extraordinary achievement in a given field. The equivalent work experience credit may include relevant teaching experience or other experiences such as experience gained as an administrator, counselor, librarian, journeyman, or the like.

VI. Criteria to Consider in Tenure and Promotion Recommendations

Performance Criteria - Teaching
Performance Criteria - Service and Outreach
Performance Criteria - Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research

Performance Criteria: Teaching

In preparing applications for tenure and promotion, the faculty member must address each of the required criteria and select other criteria that are appropriate for that individual. The evaluation shall be based on the following criteria (evidence of each should be submitted):

  • Curriculum and/or program development.
  • Development and application of current instructional techniques (including development of online and computer-assisted course development), etc.
  • Documentation of teaching methodologies.
  • Documentation of staying current in his/her field of discipline/specialization.
  • Student evaluations of the teaching performance.

The listed examples of documentation are not all required. Rather, they are included to give the faculty member some ideas about appropriate documentation. It is especially important for applicants to include evidence of student learning – e.g., evidence that students achieve course learning outcomes. Faculty members should not limit themselves to the documentation listed below and should include other material that answers the criterion question.

Teaching effectiveness shall constitute 60% to 75% of the weight of the total tenure or promotion decision, as determined by the applicant.

CriterionExamples of DocumentationReview Levels
What are my strengths and weaknesses based on student and supervisor evaluations? (required)Include student evaluations from all courses during probationary period or since last promotion (required).
Include any analysis of results that seems appropriate.
Include supervisor evaluations from all years during probationary period or since last promotion (required).
All levels
Do I organize & present subject matter to students effectively? (required)Syllabi prepared by the instructor.
Evidence that students achieve stated learning outcomes for a course/program.
Use of classroom surveys or other student feedback about effectiveness of presentations, etc. for learning.
Analysis of grade distributions and/or specific course assessments over time.
Classroom presentations or handouts.
Analysis of specific student evaluation questions.
Supervisor or peer observation comments.
All levels
Am I able to motivate and stimulate creativity among students? (required)Student awards/products.
Analysis of specific student evaluation questions.
Supervisor evaluation.
Peer observation evaluation.
All levels
What is my philosophy of teaching? (required)Include a statement not to exceed one page.All levels
How do I stay current in my field? (required)Professional development activitiesAll levels

Performance Criteria: Service and Outreach

In preparing applications for tenure and promotion, the faculty member must address each of the required criteria and select other criteria that are appropriate for that individual. The listed examples of documentation are not all required. Rather, they are listed to give the faculty member some ideas about appropriate documentation. Faculty members should not limit themselves to the documentation listed below and should include other material that answers the criterion question.

Service and outreach activities shall constitute 10% to 30% of the weight of the total tenure or promotion decision, as determined by the applicant. This performance category includes professionally-related service that supports the mission of the college on the campus, through professional organizations, or in the community. Documentation should include a brief assessment of the faculty member’s effectiveness in addition to a list of the activities. The candidate’s effectiveness is judged by his/her impact on the institution, individuals, groups, or organizations served. This should include documentation of the success of his/her internal and external service, in terms of improvement of communities, programs, operating agencies, production processes, or management practices.

CriterionExamples of DocumentationReview Levels
What are some examples that demonstrate my professionalism and collegiality?Supervisor or peer evaluation of collegiality and teamwork.
Election by peers to leadership or committee positions.
All levels
What contributions have I made through service to the college? (required)Advising.
Mentoring other faculty.
Administrative responsibilities.
Committee membership and leadership.
Sponsorship of student organizations.
All levels
What contributions have I made to the college or my profession through Outreach and public service?Community public service activities.
Represent the college in the community.
All levels
What contributions have I made to the college or my profession through professional service?Professional Organizations.
TBR or THEC committees.
Guest lecturing or consulting.
P-16 participation.
All levels

Performance Criteria: Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research

In preparing applications for tenure and promotion, the faculty member must address each of the required criteria and select other criteria that are appropriate for that individual. The listed examples of documentation are not all required. Rather, they are listed to give the faculty member some ideas about appropriate documentation. Faculty members should not limit themselves to the documentation listed below and should include other material that answers the criterion question.

Scholarship, creative activities, and research shall constitute 10% to 30% of the weight of the total tenure or promotion decision, as determined by the applicant. This performance category includes professionally-related service that supports the mission of the college. Documentation should include a brief assessment of the faculty member’s effectiveness in addition to a list of the activities.

CriterionExamples of DocumentationReview Levels
What in-service contributions have I made to the college?Preparation, delivery and evaluation of on-campus in-service sessions.All levels
In what ways am I an innovative teacher?New delivery systems used or new teaching methods used and evaluation of effectiveness.
Teaching awards.
Peer observation evaluations.
All levels
What scholarly research have I been involved in?Scholarship of teaching.
Discipline-related research.
Textbook authorship.
Professional presentations.
All levels
What contributions have I made through creative activities?Performances or shows.
Compositions.
Evaluations of artistic creations.
All levels
Have I contributed through written or oral publications/presentations?Journal articles.
Media appearances.
Peer reviews of work.
All levels

VII. Process for Faculty Promotion

Promotion Process

  1. The individual faculty member will initiate a request for promotion. The faculty member must have completed these minimum years in a given rank before a promotion can become effective.
    • Instructor: three years
    • Assistant Professor: three years
    • Associate Professor: five years
  2. After choosing to apply for promotion, the faculty member will prepare a promotion application in the fall semester. The faculty member may apply during the last year required in rank. The promotion will not become effective until the following academic year. This application will be reviewed by a Peer Review Committee from the applicant’s division. This committee will consist of three to five faculty members elected annually from the division. No individual can serve on both the Peer Review Committee and the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee at the same time. In addition, one committee member from an off-campus site may be selected, as appropriate. In that case, application notebooks will be sent to the off-campus site for a brief review period in order to minimize the amount of required travel to the main campus.
    • At any step in the promotion application process, those responsible for reviewing the application may contact the applicant for needed information or clarification of material in the application notebook.
    • The Peer Review Committee makes a recommendation regarding the promotion application. Promotion recommendations are based on more than the candidate’s having met the minimum requirements for promotion. The Committee must also consider the candidate’s achieved and potential contributions to the college.
  3. The division Dean and, where appropriate, the off-campus Director, will evaluate the candidate’s application and make a recommendation regarding promotion.
  4. The division Dean and, where appropriate, the off-campus Director will send the candidate’s promotion application to the VPAA for distribution to the Campus-wide Promotion Review Committee. The Promotion Review Committee will consist of twelve members, two representatives elected from each division, and two representatives from the Faculty Senate. Members of the Promotion Review Committee must have gone through the promotion process at least once at NSCC. Members will serve staggered, two-year terms. Division Deans are not eligible to serve on this committee and no faculty member will serve on both the division and college-level promotion committees at the same time. In addition, one committee member from an off-campus site may be selected for the Promotion Review Committee, as appropriate.
    • The Promotion Review Committee will meet to review the applications and discuss them.
    • The Promotion Review Committee selects its own chairperson.
    • The Promotion Review Committee will determine the distribution of assignments in order to manage its workload appropriately. The Committee might decide, for example, that each application will be reviewed by three members and presented to the entire Committee by those reviewers. In no case should an application be reviewed by fewer than three members of the committee.
    • The Promotion Review Committee makes a recommendation concerning the promotion of the faculty applicant. Promotion recommendations are based on more than the candidates having met the minimum requirements for promotion. The Committee should also consider the candidate’s achieved and potential contributions to the College.
  5. The Vice President for Academic Affairs makes a recommendation concerning promotion of the faculty applicant.
  6. The President makes a recommendation concerning the promotion of the faculty applicant to TBR. Faculty members who are not recommended for promotion may appeal the decision through the process described in the College grievance policy.
  7. The Tennessee Board of Regents receives the recommendations and makes a decision regarding the promotion of the faculty applicant.
  8. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will prepare and distribute the calendar early each fall semester. All deadlines are firm and applications will not be accepted for review after the 4th Monday in October. Any exceptions must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Date Deadline
4th Monday in October Applications due to Division Deans/Directors for distribution to Division Committees
4th Monday in November Recommendations due to Deans/Directors from Division Committees
3rd Friday in December Recommendations due to VPAA for distribution to College Committee
January 2 Recommendations available to College Committee from VPAA
3rd Monday in February Recommendations due to VPAA
2nd Monday in March Recommendations due from VPAA to President
April Campus recommendations due to Tennessee Board of Regents
June Action by the Tennessee Board of Regents

VIII. General Process Guidelines at the Board Level

A list of promotional recommendations should be forwarded by the president of the college to the Chancellor for his/her review. The Chancellor’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Committee on Personnel and their recommendation forwarded to the Board.

Approved: by President, 11/2004; revised 12/2007 to include off-campus sites; revised 9/2008 to correct errors; revised 11/17/2008 to clarify committee membership; revisions in section VII, 10/5/2010; content and editorial revisions 2/2015. Revisions approved by the Executive Committee and President, 11/3/2015.