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 non-retention 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
  • 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 full 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.


The candidate 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.


Typically, in order to be considered for promotion to full professor, the candidate will have published a second, book-length, refereed, single-authored monograph constituting an original work of scholarship in the candidate's field. The department may choose to recognize a significant body of original, peer-reviewed, scholarly work, which may include collaborative publications.

All published work should be of sufficient quality and quantity to have established a national and international reputation and/or a reputation with the leadership in the field of inquiry and show clear promise of sustained and significant contributions into the future.


Candidates for full 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 their 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, or 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