Department Promotion & Tenure Guidelines

Below are the guidelines by which the History Department determines promotions and tenures for its faculty.

General Guidelines

Nothing in these guidelines should be interpreted as at variance with University personnel and employment policies, which are binding on all units. Those policies permit academic units to recommend non-continuation or nonretention of faculty members at third or sixth year reviews. This statement of principles does not imply a contractual relationship; rather, it lists the general standards that will guide the candidate and the department.

A new member of the faculty who has not yet completed the doctorate will be appointed as instructor. If the individual has received the doctorate, appointment will be at the rank of assistant professor. The department expects that an instructor appointed to a tenure track position will complete all requirements for the doctorate within twelve months of initial appointment.

A review of the candidate at the appropriate time will be made by a committee appointed by the head of the department after consultation with the candidate and specialists in the candidate's area. At any point in the review stage, the committee or the head may request outside evaluations of the candidate by experts in the field. All members of a review committee should review the candidate's entire file and should participate equally in evaluating the three areas (teaching, research, service) under review.


We regard good teaching as the sine qua non of a professor's mission. We keep in mind, however, that there are a variety of acceptable teaching styles and that teaching effectiveness is notoriously difficult to assess objectively.

We evaluate contribution to the teaching program here or at the candidate's present institution on both undergraduate and graduate levels according to such measures as:

  • quality of course offerings
  • readiness and interest in developing courses that contribute to the department's needs
  • course enrollment figures
  • student input in the form of letters
  • responses to questionnaires
  • peer observation
  • good mentoring and advising


We regard excellence in scholarship as the foundation of good teaching and especially important in the preparation for training graduate students.

We evaluate the candidate's publication of books and articles according to such measures as:

  • originality of research
  • mastery of the appropriate professional skills
  • historical judgment displayed in the selection of significant problems and subject matter
  • extent and significance to contribution to knowledge.

We evaluate the candidate's level of professional recognition according to such measures as:

  • reviews of his or her published work
  • invitation to deliver papers at professional meetings
  • award of prizes for scholarly work
  • award of grants, scholarships, or fellowships


We regard department, university, professional organization, and community service as corroborative evidence of a colleague's commitment to success in our profession, and an important factor in our evaluation, though not of equal importance to teaching and scholarship. We recognize that alongside the historical development of one's scholarly agenda and teaching proficiency, service commitment should be proportional to rank.

We evaluate service according to willingness to cooperate in the business of the department, the university, the community, and the profession generally, according to such measures as:

  • advising
  • membership on examination and other departmental committees
  • attendance at professional meetings
  • membership on university committees
  • publication of book reviews
  • membership on professional committees
  • membership on Ph.D. committees at other universities
  • review of book manuscripts for publishers
  • election or appointment to office in professional organizations
  • response to requests by community groups to speak on subjects of professional competence and otherwise to employ professional skills in the community interest.

Annual Enhanced Review

University policy requires an enhanced annual review for assistant professors. Following the findings of the annual peer review committee, the department head, candidate's faculty mentor, and the candidate will participate in the enhanced review.

The purpose of the first enhanced review, due to its very early nature (candidate will have been here for only a single semester), is to clarify the standards to which a candidate will be held and to identify areas of strength and potential weakness. The committee will look for a feasible schedule of scholarly activity (refereed articles and book chapters in various stages of completion, conference presentations, and progress toward a publishable book manuscript).

Subsequent enhanced reviews will closely evaluate the candidate's continued progress toward achievement of research, teaching, and service performance at levels that are likely to result in tenure by the sixth-year review.

Third Year Review

The Third-Year Review will assess the level of progress toward meeting standards for tenure - especially with regard to publication. The department will expect the colleague under consideration to be in serious contact with a publisher about submission of the typescript of a single-authored, refereed, book-length monograph constituting an original work of scholarship in their field. A satisfactory review would also include evidence of progress toward completion of articles and/ or chapters published or in press, professionalism and competence in teaching and mentoring, and a level of service to the department appropriate to the candidate's rank.

The candidate should understand clearly all of the necessary elements required to meet departmental tenure standards.

Sixth Year Review

The department will require evidence that distinction has already been achieved in all of the areas outlined above.

By the arrival of the Sixth-Year Review, the candidate's monograph (described in the Third-Year Review) should ideally be in print or in the form of page proofs. The monograph should be, at minimum, ready for copy-editing. The candidate's monograph should make a significant and original contribution to historical scholarship. The department's evaluation process will focus on quality.

The department also recognizes the importance of academic productivity beyond the production of monographs. Engagement in scholarly life assumes the publication of refereed works such as articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and electronic publications. The candidate should also demonstrate evidence of a continued commitment to historical research with the eventual result of national recognition for distinction in the field.

Guidelines on Full-Professorship/Full-Continuing Status

For promotion to Professor, the department will require a record of performance of high quality in the areas of teaching, research or scholarly/creative activity, and service/outreach.

As per university policy, an associate professor with tenure may go up for promotion to the rank of professor at any time.


Historians have a fundamental obligation to create and disseminate historical scholarship, advancing the discipline and the public’s understanding of the past.

Candidates for appointment at the rank of professor or for promotion to rank of professor shall have attained a distinctive profile by producing and making public a body of excellent scholarship.

1. Quantity of scholarship. Candidates for promotion to rank of full professor shall have made substantial additional achievements in research and in writing or other forms of scholarly production since promotion to associate professor (with tenure). No minimum number of articles or monographs is required for promotion, but the body of scholarly work should provide evidence of a coherent, cumulative program of scholarship beyond the work that earned the candidate tenure. As an indicator of the expected heft of the candidate’s corpus, University policy anticipates as a norm promotion to full during the sixth year at the rank of associate professor (UHAP 3.3.01.C.2). Candidates shall also demonstrate clear promise of significant contributions into the future.

2. Quality of scholarship. Candidates for promotion shall have produced a corpus of excellent scholarship. Excellent scholarship is characterized by its rigor, innovation, creativity, distinction, or advancement of scholarly knowledge, ideas, understanding, or practice. Independent internal and external reviewers provide important measures of the quality of a candidate’s work.

a. Most importantly, a substantial portion of the candidate’s corpus shall have been scrutinized and commended through peer review. We understand peer review to include not only the publication of refereed articles, monographs, and book chapters, but also awards, prizes, grants, and fellowships (in support or in recognition of a project), and presentations at conferences for which program committees vetted submissions. Recognizing that the forms of historical publication are constantly evolving, we will respect alternative forms of authoritative review, especially for applied or public history (for example, a public history project might be formally reviewed by the board of a community organization or its members).

b. A candidate’s reputation also attests to the excellence of their scholarship. A candidate shall have established a national and international reputation, particularly with leaders in their fields of inquiry.

Indicators of reputation include;

  • invitations to speak at academic conferences or popular venues
  • awards or prizes for completed work
  • invitations to contribute to handbooks, museum or public history projects, or collaborative research
  • invitations to serve on distinguished panels or boards
  • invitations to review grants, prizes, or conference submissions
  • invitations to referee publications
  • invitations to review promotion and tenure files from other universities
  • reprinting or translating of a candidate’s work
  • quotation in popular media
  • review or citation by other scholars (even in disagreement)

Given the dynamically evolving roles of historians, this list is not meant to be exhaustive.

c. The evaluation will emphasize the quality of the candidate’s work more than the quantity.

3. Forms of scholarship. The department welcomes all of the proliferating forms that sharing historical scholarship can take.

a. We affirm a democracy of ways of disseminating historical scholarship, including:

  • monographs
  • peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals
  • book chapters in anthologies or edited volumes
  • serving as editor of a volume
  • creating documentary films
  • annotated and edited translations
  • editions of primary sources
  • public history projects
  • museum exhibitions and catalogues
  • development of significant web-based or other forms of non-print scholarly resources
  • podcasts
  • creative work that depends on or engages with traditional scholarship

We anticipate that as media change, so will the forms of publication historians pursue.

b. We value individual, co-authored, and more broadly collaborative work. We recognize that collaborative work often cannot be easily prorated among contributors.


The candidate for Professor should demonstrate commitment to excellence in the graduate and undergraduate classroom. Teaching excellence is understood as a high level of performance in the classroom, a strong demonstrable commitment to undergrad and graduate mentoring, development of new courses and/ or innovative instructional materials and shorter instructional publications.

The authorship of discipline-specific texts for the classroom will be considered an important contribution to the candidate's teaching and professional service.


Candidates for Professor or full continuing status must have accepted much more service responsibility than that required for promotion to associate professor with tenure. Evidence should be provided that the candidate has a regularity of service and that his or her judgments are professionally respected and valued.

Service excellence is understood as significant work on departmental committees and engagement in individual departmental responsibilities including:

  • Department Head, Director of Graduate Studies, and undergraduate advising
  • active representation for the department on college committees
  • interdisciplinary service in other departments
  • service on university-wide committees and councils
  • active involvement in professional organizations including service as reviewer or editor for professional journals, reviewing monographs for scholarly presses, serving as external reviewers for departments and/or individuals
  • dedication to national committee and administrative office

​​​​​​Honoring the traditional mission of the land-grant university, candidates should be willing to share their professional expertise with the public through outreach avenues. Examples might include:

  • work with local schools, agencies, commissions
  • consulting assignments or panels
  • media consultant in website development
  • documentary production
  • coordination with museums and archives