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Computer Science Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

The Department of Computer Science approved these tenure and promotion guidelines on 11 December 2018.  They were submitted with the chair’s approval to the dean’s office on 25 January 2019, and were approved by the dean on 2 April 2019 and submitted to the Provost for his review.


The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines and criteria for Computer Science faculty with respect to tenure and promotion in the areas of teaching, scholarly/creative activity and leadership/service.

Faculty Responsibilities and Expectations

While Academic Preparation, Experience, and Professional Responsibilities form the basis for faculty competence, faculty seeking promotion and tenure must demonstrate achievements in the areas of Teaching, Scholarship, and Service. Faculty members are to seek excellence in all areas of effort, and take the initiative in promoting their own growth in each of these areas.

It is not expected that individual faculty members have identical commitments to teaching, scholarship, and service, but the following guidelines provide ways that faculty can demonstrate a consistent and strong commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

  • Teaching

    Consistent with its strong commitment to instruction, the Department of Computer Science requires that teaching effectiveness count in promotion to all ranks.  Self-evaluation, peer review, department chair evaluation, and student evaluation are possible ways to evaluate teaching performance.

    Teaching can include, but is not restricted to, the following endeavors:

    1. Curriculum and course development, including the development of new courses and the redevelopment of older courses that must be updated to be taught again;

    2. Development and configuration of laboratory software and equipment;

    3. Development of different modes of delivery, such as online and hybrid;

    4. Academic instruction and evaluation of student learning;

    5. Development of knowledge and skills, especially with regard to emerging software and technology trends;

    6. Academic mentoring and other forms of colleague and student interaction associated with university functions and activities; and

    7. Student advisement and career counseling.

    Description of Teaching Areas:

    1. Curriculum and Course Development involves assessing the educational goals of a particular field of study. With goals established, objectives are identified that define the course of instruction. The task of planning any course of instruction is to identify the desired Student Learning Outcomes for the course and the best and most effective methods to achieve those outcomes. The faculty member should periodically review course materials to incorporate current scholarship, texts, evaluation instruments, and instructional media, including the development of new courses to meet the needs of a rapidly changing technology area.

    2. Development and Configuration of Laboratory Software and Equipment. Computer Science instruction requires a continuous review and evaluation of the latest software and hardware tools as they apply to education.  The use of emerging software and hardware developments in this area can make teaching and learning significantly more effective. Such technology must be continuously evaluated with regard to improving the classroom experience.

    3. Development of different modes of delivery, including online and hybrid, is not required of all faculty, but such efforts tend to improve the overall teaching and learning environment. Alternate modes accentuates the many different ways that student learn and provides a stimulus to contrast existing modes with innovative techniques.

    4. Academic Instruction consists of using appropriate techniques and resources to assist students in achieving the Student Learning Outcomes. It is not a random encounter, but is an orderly, sequential process. The faculty member should demonstrate knowledge of the subject material, skills, and theory to be taught, as well as knowledge of learning experiences, instructional media, and available facilities. The faculty member should evaluate students effectively, fairly, and promptly.

    5. Teaching computer science requires knowledge of recent technology, including the learning of new methods and skills that emerge from advances in technology. This pertains to those activities aimed at making one a better teacher or at enhancing one’s own expertise in a teaching subject area. Such activities may include participation in conferences, seminars, or workshops relevant to teaching. 

    6. Academic Mentoring may apply to either faculty or students. Assisting other faculty to improve their teaching, and helping students to achieve their academic goals are important components of effective teaching.  Faculty should seek opportunities to interact with colleagues to improve instruction. The faculty member may demonstrate a desire to include students in academic research or creative endeavors, or out-of-class discussions in the faculty member’s academic subject areas, and to assist students outside of the classroom in learning course material.  Organizing students into teams for competition purposes, such as the annual ACM contest, is especially encouraged.

    7. Student Advisement goes beyond the normally expected tasks of reviewing academic regulations, assessing student compliance with degree requirements, assisting students in making out a class schedule, or student discipline. It is an active process of sharing between the faculty member and the student concerning any topic relevant to the student’s academic program including their post-graduation plans. The faculty member should not only be willing to advise students, but should demonstrate a genuine concern for advising them.
  • Scholarly/Creative Activity

    Scholarly and creative activities are exemplified by dedication to the life of the mind and a continual organized effort to expand understanding of the academic discipline.  The scholar should be willing to subject the results of investigative or creative endeavors to peer evaluation and to share these results with colleagues, students, or the general public. Thus, scholarship complements teaching as well as fostering professional growth and development for individual faculty members. It should therefore be initiated during the first year of probationary service and continue to progress in subsequent years.

    The following scholarship guidelines are recommended (but this is not to be interpreted as either a complete or exclusive list of criteria):

    1. Scholarship involves a product - a more or less tangible result, such as published articles, software, or manuscripts; something that observers can examine. In the case of presentations, some material evidence of the event must be provided. It may also include original software, completed projects, software applications such as Websites, Databases and Computer Games.

    2. The pursuit of excellence in scholarship typically requires academic peer review.

    3. Scholarship may also include submitted proposals, including internal and external proposals. Special value is put on external proposals to major funding agencies such as NSF.

    4. The “scholarship of teaching” is also included in “scholarship”. This includes the exploration of new and innovative teaching methods, various classroom experiments, and attendance/presentations at teaching/learning conferences and seminars.

    5. The inclusion of students in research, such as the partnering of faculty and students on research, publications, projects, and presentations is also highly valued in this area.
  • Leadership/Service/Recognition

    Faculty members should strive to make meaningful and useful contributions through service to the University, their professional area, and the community and this service should help the University and College achieve its mission and goals. Credit for service outside of the University should not supersede credit for service within the University; rather, service to the community should augment service to the University. Community service to be cited in support of promotion and tenure should relate specifically to the faculty member’s area of expertise, be performed in the capacity as a designated representative of the University, or be a part of a University-sponsored effort.

     Examples of service activities are:

    1. Participation in campus committees and governance bodies;

    2. Conduction of continuing education courses and other non-credit courses;

    3. Contributions through professional service in an official capacity in a professional organization;

    4. Pro bono publico consultation in the area of the faculty member’s area of expertise;

    5. Service in the faculty member’s area of expertise;

    6. Service related to recruitment, retention, or orientation of students;

    7. Sponsorship of student professional and honorary organizations.
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