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SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION TENURE AND PROMOTION CRITERIA, GUIDELINES FOR CREATIVE, PROFESSIONAL, SCHOLARLY ACHIEVEMENT INTRODUCTION: PURPOSE OF THIS DOCUMENT Because the School of Communication requires both professional and scholarly expertise from its faculty, it is important for tenure track faculty and tenured faculty seeking promotion to understand what is considered adequate creative, professional, scholarly performance. The following guidelines, summarizing priorities for each of the School’s three Divisions, are intended to aid faculty by representing our best understanding of standards important both for the School and for the University. The guidelines are intended to be useful to faculty in setting their creative, professional, scholarly agenda and in judging how to present and highlight their work in their annual report and file for action. Performance is assessed not only in terms of creative, professional, scholarly criteria but also in teaching and service, both within the University and beyond. A faculty member’s creative, professional, scholarly agenda should make him/her a stronger teacher, a better resource for students, faculty, and the community, and keep him/her current in their field. Faculty are expected to develop and pursue well-defined, ambitious agendas for creative, professional, scholarly achievement that enable them to be productive continuously. Faculty are expected to produce innovative, relevant work within the landscapes of knowledge and practice in their fields, explain how that work advances their fields, and demonstrate promise for continued growth. While each division/discipline identifies specific benchmarks and measures of success, there are cross-cutting themes that define tenure and promotion in the School of Communication, which values professional achievement and innovation as well as scholarly research. Contract work is common for professionals and payment does not affect its status as research; the decisive feature is creative control. Faculty are encouraged to apply for external funding, but receipt of such funding is not required for tenure. SOC expects its faculty to be effective teachers, allowing students to acquire knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and become active participants in the learning process. Faculty should be leaders in their fields, participating in conferences, associations, and professional networks. Engagement in the School and the University in the form of service is required of all faculty, who must demonstrate a willingness to advance the academic agenda of the


Division, the School, and the University. In SOC, faculty are expected to attend regular meetings of the appropriate Division, School-wide Council meetings, the annual retreat, and events that showcase the School, its students, or its faculty. SOC faculty are expected to attend University events, including Commencement and the annual Convocation. At the time of tenure review, evaluation of the candidate’s performance, excellence, and standing in the field will include letters from senior faculty at peer universities in the candidate's field of specialization and, as appropriate, letters from prominent professional practitioners, creative artists, and public scholars/intellectuals. Each Division has developed and approved its own guidelines. The guidelines for the Public Communication Division are presented below: Â

PUBLIC COMMUNICATION Public communication as an academic discipline is a rapidly expanding field built on broad professional expertise, extensive research, deep scholarly insight, and a diversity of backgrounds and interests. To ensure that the faculty of the Public Communication Division of the School of Communication fully reflects this breadth, depth, and diversity, the Division has developed tenure and promotion criteria that encompass the varied scholarly and professional paths that its faculty members pursue. These criteria are built on two equally valid and substantive models of accomplishment. One focuses on scholarly activity, which our Division defines broadly to include both traditional academic scholarship and public scholarship, each of which involves original research and publications. The other model focuses on professional activity and achievement, which can include innovative and substantial professional work as well as a public role in shaping the practice of strategic communication. Candidates may adhere to one model or to a combination of the two, drawing from any part of each model to establish a record of accomplishment. Regardless of which path faculty pursue, successful candidates for tenure and promotion in the Public Communication Division are expected to present a record that includes significant and original contributions to any or all of the following: academic research, public understanding of issues in our field, and professional advancement and innovation. Scholarly Achievement Engaging others is at the heart of public communication, and faculty within our discipline who extend the knowledge they create and the ideas they develop are highly valued in our field. Whether their scholarship reaches traditional academic audiences through journals and conferences or a broader opinion leader audience through mainstream media outlets, publications, reports, and books, candidates for tenure should have an emerging reputation for making original, new, and consequential contributions to the body of knowledge related to our field. Scholars in the Public Communication Division should aim to be considered thought leaders in the academic, professional, intellectual, policy, political, or media worlds.


Scholars in this field typically will contribute to knowledge about the nature, uses, and influence of media, communication technology, and strategic communication in society. Subject areas include communication processes related to elections, politics, public policy, and advocacy; science, health, and the environment; marketing, advertising, and public relations; children and families; race, ethnicity, and gender; public diplomacy and cross-cultural interaction; norms and attitudes in society and culture; the economy and business; and media and communication policy. This scholar might be an expert at detecting trends, discerning media developments, and analyzing the effect that strategic messages and campaigns have on the field of public communication as well as related areas and disciplines such as politics, public policy, journalism, culture, the economy, and society at large. Scholars in the field might also develop and apply advanced research methods to their areas of interest, including public opinion and media content analyses; case studies and comparative histories; formative and evaluative research of campaigns; and organizational strategy. Often this research will help us understand how people communicate, why communication strategies succeed or fail, how strategic communication affects society, and how media and technology influence communication processes. For Faculty Pursuing A Traditional Academic Scholarship Path: Faculty pursuing a traditional academic scholarship path should have an emerging academic reputation for scholarly inquiry that makes a unique contribution to knowledge in a defined subject or subfield of public communication. Accomplishment in this area of scholarship usually involves a combination of several or all of the following practices: ● Conducting research with appropriate methods and rigor; ● Conceptualizing and theorizing in an original and useful way; ● Synthesizing, critically analyzing, and clarifying existing knowledge and research; ● Developing innovative and useful methods for conducting scholarly inquiry; and/or ● Conducting research related to the solution of practical communication problems of professionals, groups, organizations, or institutions. Evidence of performance, excellence, and standing within the field should be demonstrated primarily through peer-reviewed journal articles and/or scholarly books; chapters published in edited volumes as well as articles in non-peer reviewed journals are also an important contribution to the body of knowledge in our field, but they alone are not sufficient to demonstrate standing as an academic scholar. At the time of tenure review, evaluation of the candidate’s performance, excellence, and standing in the field will include letters from senior faculty at peer universities in the candidate's field of specialization. Peer-reviewed journal articles should appear in flagship or top-tier journals in the field, although public communication scholars also are likely to publish where relevant at leading inter-disciplinary journals, examining questions at the intersection between communication and social sciences or humanities disciplines, or exploring the


relationship between communication strategy and areas such as health, social policy, politics, history, the arts, business, the environment, or science, among others. Examples of field-related flagship and top-tier journals include Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Communication Theory, Political Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Communication Yearbook, International Journal of Press/Politics, Health Communication, Science Communication, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and Public Understanding of Science. Examples of interdisciplinary journals include Public Opinion Quarterly, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Media Psychology, Risk Analysis, Science, Political Behavior, American Journal of Public Health, and Society and Natural Resources. It is not beyond the scope of our field for faculty to publish in journals related to history, political science, sociology, psychology, marketing, American studies, or international relations, among others. Collaboration with other scholars in writing these articles is welcomed, but the candidate must demonstrate his or her significant individual contribution to any collaborative efforts (co-authorship with a graduate school mentor will be reviewed with additional scrutiny). While the Public Communication Division expects its academic scholar candidates to be productive in their publishing and scholarship, we believe that quality and significance are more important than mere quantity, so we do not require them to produce a specific number of publications per year or before tenure. Additional indicators of performance, excellence, and standing include: ● Reviews and other evaluations of the scholar’s publications and manuscripts; ● Citation of the work in the peer-reviewed literature, in books, or major reports; ● Research awards, grants, and proposals; ● Papers selected for presentation at professional meetings, invitations to join panels at professional meetings, invited lectures at other universities or government agencies, and testimony before governmental or other official committees; ● Editorial positions with major journals; ● Professional honors, awards and consultations; ● Service on expert advisory committees; and ● Authorship of government, foundation, or organizational reports. For Faculty Pursuing A Public Scholarship Path: Faculty pursuing a public scholarship path should have an emerging national reputation for developing and contributing original knowledge and ideas about the way public relations and strategic communication influence politics, public policy, institutions, culture, society, international relations, and the economy, as well as the media and communication industries. These scholars typically communicate in intellectual mainstream media venues, the goal being to shape or influence public conversation, debate, knowledge, or awareness. Venues for their work might include outlook and opinion sections of major newspapers, professional trade magazines, consequential online


publications, books and reports. Influential professionals in the fields of public relations, philanthropy, journalism, politics, business, marketing and advertising, among others, often cite the public scholar’s writing and scholarship. Because the public scholar practices in the public sphere, visibility in that sphere is essential. Evidence of performance, excellence, and standing within the field should be demonstrated through a mix of significant publications or activities that can include books, monographs, book chapters, edited publications, public testimony, magazine articles, longer-form newspaper essays, opinion editorials and columns, book reviews, and/or work published in significant online publications; media appearances where the public scholar discusses his/her research or provides analysis that helps explain the impact of communication on society also make a contribution to public knowledge, and the Division respects this contribution, but they alone are not sufficient to demonstrate standing as a public scholar. At the time of tenure review, evaluation of the candidate’s performance, excellence, and standing in the field will include letters from prominent public scholars/intellectuals and senior faculty at peer universities in the candidate’s field of specialization or in other disciplines where the candidate has had influence. Examples of media venues include traditional or mainstream media such as major newspapers, weekly or monthly magazines (e.g. The Atlantic or The New Republic), and newsletters; publications that cover trends in the media and communication field, such as Columbia Journalism Review, AdWeek, or the online journal Flow; and consequential digital media outlets with a wide or influential readership, such as Salon, Slate, Politico and History News Network. Insofar as social media such as blogs reach a wide and informed audience, they too should be considered an important part of the mix. Serving as a regular analyst or commentator in the broadcast news (television or radio) also fits into the public scholarship model and can be part of the faculty member’s record of accomplishment. While the Public Communication Division expects its public scholar candidates to be productive authors, analysts, and commentators, we believe that quality and significance are more important than mere quantity, so we do not require them to generate a specific number of publications or initiatives per year or before tenure. What we do require, however, is originality of thinking, the development of new ideas, and the expansion of existing knowledge in our field; mere synthesis or translation of what others say will not be sufficient for tenure and promotion. Additional indicators of performance, excellence, and standing include: ● Reviews and other evaluations of the public scholar’s publications and manuscripts; ● Citation of the public scholar’s work or ideas in books, reports, news stories, and articles; ● Research awards, grants, and proposals; ● Lectures, presentations and panel discussions at professional conferences, universities, trade associations, and public events, and testimony before government or other official committees;


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Professional honors, awards and consultations; Service on expert advisory committees; and Authorship of government, foundation or organizational reports.

Professional Achievement As a Division that prepares students for professional careers, the professional experience of our faculty is deeply valued. It is often in professional practice that innovations and trends in our field first appear, and professionals who orchestrate strategic communication campaigns, develop new public relations techniques, or research public attitudes often create the original content that scholars study and cite in their publications about the field. Candidates for tenure and promotion with significant, substantive professional experience and a proven record of excellence and innovation qualify for tenure and promotion under this model. The approach is similar to that used for creative disciplines where the creative activity itself – the demonstrated application of one’s knowledge and accomplishments – is evaluated. Candidates who use the professional model may demonstrate achievement at the highest level of the profession in the following ways: ● Consistently high quality, long-term performance of public communication activities (including designing, supervising, implementing, and/or evaluating strategic communication campaigns; developing, conducting, and analyzing opinion surveys and focus groups; speechwriting and other professional writing activities; effecting media and social media campaigns; and other public communication activities); ● Recognition or demand by significant/well-regarded organizations for whom the public communication activities are performed (this is akin to peer review – professional work is usually achieved through a competitive process and those assigned the work are recognized by organizations to be most capable of performing the work and providing thoughtful, relevant results); ● Work in salient communication areas (including corporate, international, crisis, social marketing, non-profit, government, and political communication, among others), or work in a range of industries (e.g. health, financial, education, technology, consumer goods, services), or work that reaches a range of target audiences; and ● Creation or development of new techniques, approaches, or initiatives that advance the profession and contribute to the development of a new standard of practice in the field. To achieve tenure and promotion, candidates need to demonstrate a range of depth and breadth in their professional work as well as show significant impact on the profession or society as a whole. For example, a faculty member involved in a media outreach campaign must demonstrate his or her involvement in developing the strategy behind that campaign, effecting social change through the campaign, or producing innovative methods or concepts that advance the profession. Collaboration with others on these types of professional projects and campaigns is often the norm and is therefore encouraged, but the candidate must demonstrate a significant role in or contribution to


any collaborative efforts. While the Public Communication Division expects its professional candidates to be productive in the field, we believe that quality and significance are more important than mere quantity, so we do not require them to participate in a specific number of professional initiatives per year or before tenure. Professional activity on a national or international level (as an indication of peer recognition comparable to what we expect of our academic and public scholars) may be viewed more favorably than regional or local activity, but other factors may also be considered. For example, the communication challenge posed in a local situation may lead to an innovative solution that could then be applied in other areas or in other types of activities. The work of a candidate seeking tenure or promotion through professional activity must have impact, but that impact may be judged differently than in other fields or even in the scholarly model in the Public Communication Division. Visibility is not the only or even an important standard of evaluation. Unlike journalism or film, for example, whose work is by its very nature intended to be public, meaning that the author or producer will gain public recognition through his or her work, much of the work of the professional in public communication is proprietary, behind-the-scenes, and therefore not public (this is especially true in certain parts of the field, such as work in the highly competitive corporate and political arenas, in speechwriting, or in virtually all professional research activities). The outcomes of the professional activity – i.e. the visible campaign materials – are usually public, but the process to get to those outcomes is not usually seen. It is the process of the development of the campaign, which shows the planning, strategies, creativity, and innovations in methodology or practice, that is the true reflection of the professional activity. The professional achievement of the candidate will be judged in terms of its excellence, originality, and impact on the public communication discipline, the industry, and/or society in general. To this end, candidates seeking tenure or promotion through the professional achievement model will prepare a portfolio or case study compilation of her/his work, one that documents the significance of what they have accomplished and its impact on the public communication field. At the time of tenure review, evaluation of the candidate’s performance, excellence, and standing in the field will include letters from prominent professionals and senior faculty at peer institutions who have extensive knowledge or direct experience in the profession.  

SOC Public Communication Tensure Guidelines  

SOC Public Communication Tensure Guidelines

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