About the Mid-Tenure Review Panel

Faculty Career Development coordinates an annual Mid-Tenure Review panel spring semester. The panel discussion, Curious about the Mid-Tenure Review Process? begins with a presentation covering RIT’s policies on the tenure and promotion process. Following the presentation a panel consisting of a faculty representative from each of the nine Colleges responds to questions from the audience, and time is allowed for each College to have a break-out Q & A.  Panelists are selected based on their previous work on tenure committees or they have recently been tenured at RIT. Faculty are reminded to always check with the department chair/dean's office on their specific College mid-tenure review processes.

Tips from Faculty Panelists

Policies – Very Important

  1. Know the game rules -- carefully read RIT Policies E4, E5, E6 and E7 -- plus your College’s policies. [See RIT's Governance Policy Library]
  2. Each College’s policies are different; don’t listen to other College faculty and “assume” the same applies to you.
  3. Get clarification from day 1on what the College requires. Talk to your chair.

General

  1. Get organized from day 1.
  2. Write down your goals and follow them.
  3. Listen/pay attention to your deans and chairs, especially in your annual evaluations, and do what they say and let them know. To a chair, this is a positive thing to do.
  4. Have short/long term plans.
  5. It is helpful to have a cheat sheet of what to do throughout the year.  There should not be any surprises.
  6. Ask others to review your documents as you go along.
  7. Set aside your ego; take all feedback; see where the gaps are that need filling.
  8. Be bold; take chances.
  9. Be your own advocate – be up front about it. Write it in your evaluation document by putting a statement that you are “making progress toward tenure.”

Content

  1. Treat your review binders like your job interview; try to impress.
  2. Remember that you are compared to someone at your level. 
  3. Start writing your statements very soon in the process, then continue to hone going forward.
  4. Write every day.
  5. Look at your contributions to the college, students, and department, and how your work supports these groups.
  6. Look at what students, your department and the Provost need.  Ensure that what you know/teach/do are needed.
  7. Find ways to express yourself clearly, so you stand as a person people know for _____ & _____.
  8. Find a niche – if you add a course, let people know.
  9. Make a compelling story for yourself.
  10. Be your own best advocate and ensure the department knows what you’re doing/working on.
  11. Be honest with yourself and others; don’t hide information, as the committee will be investigating/finding information.
  12. Committee uses facts. So to help in a marginal case- stay in constant contact with committee members. Let them know x, y, z about you. If a decision is close, they might say “yes”, because they know you and your work from conversations.
  13. Balance of teaching/research/scholarship –
    • Committee will look at workload balance and courses taught.
    • Teaching is still the backbone of what faculty do. You want other teaching to support/show evidence of your solid teaching.
    • Once become proficient with the students, move on and become involved beyond them.  “Plant seeds”, see if they take root and develop them.
    • If you do research, tie it to your teaching – take it to a conference – show your scholarship – work with your colleagues on projects.
    • Look for ways to “double dip” – pursue a grant that will cover all avenues—research, scholarship, plus impact/help students.
    • If do service – keep a balance, so if asked to serve on a committee, look at the make-up of that committee-- see if contains good people who might help you along your path. Then once you get tenure, come back and serve with them.
    • Do service, even if only attending a conference (make external contacts who might agree to write support letters).
  14. Have short/long term plans. Think of it as a pipeline process (e.g., have 3 articles in various stages; same thing with grants; being a co-PI is useful).
  15. Activities are not enough; must have/show outcomes. Committee wants to see your accomplishments.
  16. Put “meat on the bones” – have an idea of what that “meat” is.
  17. Take a philosophical approach; think of putting “value” on paper.

Making Time to Work on Review Binder

  1. Work diligently, deliberately; don’t wait until the weekend to work. 
  2. If you struggle with your time, go to your Dean/Chair for help; they don’t want you to fail.

Get a Mentor

  1. Get yourself a “drill sergeant” mentor that ensures you are working, progressing correctly.
  2. Ensure you have a mentor; ask for one, as a good mentor is invaluable! (Make sure they went through the process more recently as something might have changed.)
  3. Get multiple mentors: teaching, scholarship, culture, service.
    *See our Faculty Mentoring @ RIT Resources

Building Your Network

  1. Make connections early; talk to everybody.
  2. Gain peer review letters.
  3. Observe other teachers in their classrooms; get to know them/let them get to know you. Sit down and chat with them, as it gets you connected.  Becomes less of a competition – remember, it is NOT a competition.
  4. Know faculty in the department who have been through the process recently (if faculty did some time ago, processes change) and are willing to share. 
  5. Build and maintain a strong database of your professional network; this gives credit to your scholarship and you can gather support letters from experts in the field.
  6. Keep in touch with policy work happenings and connect with a representative.
  7. Have informal connections.
  8. Develop relationships external to your college who can show your scholarship well.
  9. Nominate your “friends” to the review committee; that is allowed.
  10. Meet members of your review committee, colleagues, and department chairs.
  11. Don't limit yourself.  It may surprise you who is willing to help you, e.g., other areas, other departments.
  12. Attend conferences to network, gain support.
Other Helpful Resources

    Good Practice in Tenure Evaluation: Advice for Tenure Faculty, Department Chairs, and Academic Administrators. American Council on Education, The American Association of University Professors, United Educators Insurance. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.

    • Provides guidance on conducting tenure evaluations that are thoughtful and just. Authors hope the good practices offered here may lessen the frequency and impact of disputes over tenure, seeking not to debate the merits of tenure in American higher education, but rather to examine the tenure process and offer some suggestions to those responsible for conducting it.

    Alexander, Barbara T.  Early Years and Planning for Tenure Review. University of Mississippi Medical Center. American Physiological Society. 

    • Describes the steps toward tenure; checklist for the tenure review process.

    Diamond, R. M. (1995). Preparing for promotion and tenure review; A faculty guide Anker Publishing Co.

    This guide enumerates important questions to ask and issues to consider in approaching promotion and/or tenure review, whether at large universities or small colleges, public or private institutions, or unionized campuses. Suggestions are offered concerning the materials submitted, how to document the impact of one's professional work, and data and support materials that could be included.

    Seldin, Peter. (1999). Practices in Evaluating Teaching: A Practical Guide to Improved Faculty Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decision.   Peter Seldin and Associates. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing, Inc.