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Promotion: A New Era

April 20, 2015


This message was sent to RIT faculty on April 20, 2015


With the promotion to full professor letters now distributed and with changes to our promotion policy (E6.0) effective this fall, this is a perfect time to discuss how those changes should impact faculty. 

We have known for some time that as RIT has moved to embrace the teacher-scholar model and engage in more research across campus, many faculty have felt left behind, without sufficient support and guidance to move to full professor. While we have more work ahead of us to support our associate professors in their quest for promotion, our work to date has focused on clarifying the university criteria. In particular, since associate professors typically impact the university in a variety of ways, it is critical that we acknowledge that there are multiple pathways to becoming a full professor. This was the crux of the revision to the university criteria, which comes into effect this fall with the revised E6.0 policy and which reads: 


"Candidates for promotion shall be judged in terms of whether they have a record that is deemed excellent overall. This record does not require excellence in all three areas and may be demonstrated in multiple ways, e.g., the candidate has exhibited a balanced record of achievement in all three areas, or excelled in at least two of the three areas with continued growth, development, and accomplishment in the other, or in the rare case excelled significantly in one area with continued growth, development, and accomplishment in the other two."


Two questions that are on the minds of many is what does this change in criteria really mean and how will it really help associate professors? One source of potential answers can be found in the paper "Thoughts on promotion to full professor," available on my website.

But while the above-mentioned document provides some guidance around minimal expectations, I strongly encourage faculty to read Pat Scanlon's paper “Reimagining Promotion to Full Professor,” which has been posted online. You may know that Pat is a campus champion for faculty mentoring and was the first recipient of our faculty mentoring award. Pat's paper nicely lays out how faculty can craft a plan to attain promotion with proper advising and consultation. It is well written and helpful in the dialogue about promotion. Promotion committee members, department chairs and faculty mentors are especially encouraged to read this paper carefully. 

I look forward to hosting another meeting of all the promotion committee members across the campus this coming fall where we can discuss these changes and what they mean for faculty.