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Tenure By Teaching

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.441.1 - 1.441.5



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Dan Budny

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

1 ---- Session 2 2 7 5

. -. Tenure by Teaching

Dan Budny Purdue University

The basic tenure documentation at almost every university is based on three areas: Teaching, Research and Service. Typically, teaching is listed first in the faculty’s promotion document, but many times it rates last on the faculty members list of importance. Can you get tenure based on teaching? And, if so, can it be done at a major research university? Teaching alone will not work, but excellent teaching plus some work in the other two areas can produce a yes to both questions. To prove this is possible, this paper will detail the steps the author used at a major engineering research university to successfully reach promotion and tenure based largely on teaching. The Rules of the Game Getting tenure is nothing but a game, and like all games, it has a set of rules that keep the game under control and a set of officials that monitor the game. The rules are governed by the university’s policies, and the officials are the members of the promotion committees. For example, the following are the rules at my institution, and they are listed under the general criteria for promotion section of the university promotion policy. “The tasks of the university members are to acquire, discover, appraise and disseminate knowledge. They should communicate this knowledge and the manner of its acquisition or discovery to their immediate community of students and scholars, to their profession, and to society at large. Service to the institution, the community, the State, and the nation constitutes an important mission of the university faculty members. As an institution of higher education with a commitment to excellence and a diversity of missions, this university values creative endeavor, research, and scholarship; teaching in its many forms; and extension and outreach activities. To be considered for promotion, a faculty member should have demonstrated excellence in at least one of these areas. Ordinarily, strength should be manifest in more than one of these areas.” The key components of this rule are “creative endeavor, research, and scholarship” more commonly known as Research; “Teaching in its many forms”; and “extension and outreach activities” more commonly known as Service. Thus, the three key components are Research, Teaching and Service, but contrary to popular belief, they are not the rule. The basic rule and/or tenure policy is clearly stated as “To be considered for promotion, a faculty member should have demonstrated excellence in at least one of these areas, and have strengths in the others.” Therefore, to get tenure all you must do is show excellence in any one area, nowhere in the rules does it state the only area that counts is Research. Teaching is just as important a mission at any public university and can be the reason for tenure and promotion. Now that you know the rules, let’s assume you want to use teaching as your method for promotion, what is the best way to play the game? The Playing Field The general procedure for tenure and promotion is that during the first semester of each academic year, the head of each department convenes the Primary Committee, which consists of all tenured full professors in the department. The department head acts as chair of the Primary Committee. When a person is nominated for promotion by any member of the Primary Committee and the nomination is seconded, the voting members of the Primary Committee vote on the nomination by secret ballot. The department head then prepares a form for each nominee for whom a majority affmative vote is obtained and this form is forwarded to the dean of the school for consideration by the Area Committee. Typically, the department head may also forward a nomination form for a

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Budny, D. (1996, June), Tenure By Teaching Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6347

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