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Work in Progress: Can Faculty Assessment and Faculty Development be Accomplished with the Same Instrument?

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Faculty Development Lightning Talks

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Constituent Committee

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Paper Authors


Margaret Pinnell University of Dayton

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Dr. Margaret Pinnell is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Development in the school of engineering and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate materials related courses including Introduction to Materials, Materials Laboratory, Engineering Innovation, Biomaterials and Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (ETHOS). She was director of the (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning) for approximately ten years. She has incorporated service-learning projects into her classes and laboratories since she started teaching in 2000. Her research interests include community engaged learning and pedagogy, K-12 outreach, biomaterials and materials testing and analysis.

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Kenya Crosson University of Dayton

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Dr. Kenya Crosson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of engineering design and innovation, engineering mechanics, hydraulics, and water and wastewater treatment. Kenya Crosson received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University in 2005 and 2000, respectively, and a B.S. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in 1998. Dr. Crosson’s research group at the University of Dayton is focused on physicochemical water treatment and mitigation of emerging water contaminants and micropollutants using natural and engineered sorbents.

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Aaron Altman United States Air Force Research Laboratory


Elizabeth Hart University of Dayton

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Beth Hart is a Lecturer for the University of Dayton School of Engineering Dean’s Office. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Dayton, both in Chemical Engineering. She currently teaches engineering design and oversees the Women Engineering Program, part of the Diversity in Engineering Center.

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Malle R Schilling University of Dayton

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Malle Schilling is a planning to pursue a PhD in Engineering Education. As an undergraduate mechanical engineering student at the University of Dayton, she explored the effects of engineering camps on participants' self-efficacy in engineering and other issues of diversity and inclusion in engineering. She is interested in engineering education, diversity in engineering, outreach and policy.

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This paper is a Work in Progress Paper that summarizes the work being done at the University of TOWN School of Engineering to re-vision, draft and assess a promotion and tenure process and criteria that serve as a powerful professional development tool for faculty. As part of the re-visioning process, a literature review on promotion and tenure was conducted to assess the history, philosophy, relevance and best practices related to tenure and promotion of faculty. Additionally, promotion and tenure by-laws from approximately 25 engineering programs at small, medium and large universities were examined. Finally, a robustness assessment was conducted on a component of the revised promotion and tenure policy to determine if it provided for consistency in evaluation. This paper will summarize the re-visioning process and resultant policies, the key points obtained from the literature review and review of existing policies, and the results from the robustness assessment.

The landscape of higher education is undergoing significant change (Trinkle, 2011, O’Meara, Eatman and Petersen, 2015). The legitimacy and need for tenure has been called into question, institutions are increasingly relying on contingent faculty such as lecturers and faculty of practice, and universities are faced with multiple competing priorities such as an increased need for faculty to engage in entrepreneurial and revenue generating activities, increased demand by students and parents for high quality classroom experiences, and public scrutiny of higher education (Ehrenberg & Zhang, 2005; O’Meara & Braskamp, 2005). For tenure track faculty members, a primary goal is to achieve success in being promoted and granted tenure. Although the concept of tenure at universities has been around since the medieval days, the process used for assessing faculty for the purpose of promotion and tenure is typically a bit unclear (Karran, 2009, Hibel, 2016). For the most part, faculty understand that they need to excel in scholarship, teaching and service. However, most promotion and tenure documents lack clarity and have no real measure for ensuring that the policies are applied in a consistent and fair manner (Yedidia & Bickel, 2001.) Even though most tenure track faculty members aspire to engage in professional activities that would make them well qualified for being promoted and granted tenure, the lack of clarity in the documents make it difficult for these faculty to discern what these activities might be. As a result, many current promotion and tenure documents serve as a summative evaluative tool as opposed to a tool that would be useful for faculty development. This is very unfortunate. If being promoted and granted tenure is so important to a faculty member, then the tenure and promotion process could also be used to help encourage faculty to engage in activities that are highly valued by the institution while also helping the faculty member define a clear developmental path along their career trajectory. In an effort to address this issue, the University of TOWN School of Engineering, is currently engaging in a significant promotion and tenure re-visioning process including rewriting their Promotion and Tenure Procedures. Among numerous other goals, the policies and procedures are being developed to be formative as well as evaluative and to include tools to aid in career planning, self-assessment and reflection. Additionally, the policies and procedures are being developed to incorporate best practices in faculty evaluation, tenure and promotion such as clarity in expectations of faculty and tools to promote consistency in the evaluations, and better ensure a faculty member receives candid, constructive and frequent feedback from diverse faculty and administrators, and the inclusion of practices that recognize a variety of different faculty contributions (Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, 2014; American Council on Education, 2000) Finally, the policies and procedures are being designed to span the entire career of the faculty member from hire to retire. The authors prefer to disseminate this Work in Progress paper in the form of a lightening talk. The authors also request permission to exceed the four page limit for this submission.


American Council on Education. (2000). Good practice in tenure evaluation: Advice for tenure faculty, department chairs, and academic administrators. American Council on Education, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. (2014). Benchmark best practices: Tenure & Promotion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ehrenberg, R. G. & Zhang, L. (2005). Do tenured and tenure-track faculty matter? Journal of Human Resources, 60(3), 647-659.

Hibel, A. (2016). Tenure in academia, the past, present and future. Retrieved from

Karran, T. (2009). Academic freedom: In justification of a universal ideal. Studies in Higher Education, 34(3), 263-283.

O’Meara, K.A., Braskamp, L. (2005). Aligning faculty reward systems and development to promote faculty and student growth. NASPA Journal, 42:2, 223-240.

O'Meara, K., Eatman, T., & Petersen, S. (2015). Advancing engaged scholarship in promotion and tenure: A roadmap and call for reform. Liberal Education, 101(3). Retrieved from

Staley, D. J. & Trinkle, D. A. (February 2011). The changing landscape of higher education. Educase Review 46 (1), 16-33. Yedidia, M. & Bickel, J. (2001). Why aren’t there more women leaders in academic medicine? The views of clinical department chairs. Academic Medicine, 75(5): 453-465.

Pinnell, M., & Crosson, K., & Altman, A., & Hart, E., & Schilling, M. R. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Can Faculty Assessment and Faculty Development be Accomplished with the Same Instrument? Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33574

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015