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Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor

Scope of Guidelines

These guidelines specify criteria and procedures for the School of Public Service and apply to faculty whose initial contract dates are on or after January 1, 2016. They govern the awarding of tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. Guidelines and procedures for promotion to Professor are covered in a separate document.  Candidates hired under previous guidelines (i.e., candidates with initial contract dates prior to January 1, 2016) may specify which guidelines they wish to have applied to their applications for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:  either the guidelines set forth herein, the Guidelines for Awarding Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor, School of Public Service, Revised 11/01/18, the Guidelines for Awarding Promotion and Tenure, School of Public Service, Revised 3/31/17, or the Guidelines for Awarding Promotion and Tenure, College of Social Sciences & Public Affairs, Revised 6/01/12.

The SPS Guidelines for Awarding Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor are in accordance with University Policy on Faculty Tenure and Promotion Guidelines (#4340): According to Boise State policy (BSU 4340, I(c)), “When a faculty member seeks tenure and promotion, his/her record should be viewed in light of the workload policies developed by his/her department, college, and the university. The specific role that the individual has negotiated and/or been assigned within the department, college, and university must be considered in the decision to award tenure and/or promotion.”

As such, tenure and promotion is tied to both workload and annual evaluations. While successful candidates for tenure and promotion meet standards set forth in teaching, research, and service, the relative percentage of time devoted to each criterion is based on a faculty member’s agreed upon workload in these areas, and when relevant, administration.

I.  Teaching

Teaching in the School of Public Service is defined as traditional classroom instruction, online instruction, the direction of independent studies (undergraduate and graduate), the supervision of directed readings (undergraduate and graduate), the supervision of internships/field work (undergraduate and graduate), the overseeing/chairing of graduate student theses and dissertations, and serving on dissertation and thesis committees (see Appendix 1).  As such, any credit-bearing course (either in a traditional classroom or a non-traditional classroom environment as listed above) constitutes teaching in the School of Public Service, though not all teaching counts towards one’s base workload (see SPS workload policy).

Criteria for Satisfactory Assessment in Teaching

Specific expectations for teaching in the School of Public Service pertain to teaching effectiveness and commitment to teaching. Tenure-eligible faculty may show evidence of teaching effectiveness and commitment to teaching in the ways indicated below.

Teaching effectiveness may be demonstrated through the following:

  • A pattern of positive official student evaluations, including quantitative scores and qualitative comments.
  • A pattern of positive alternative teaching evaluations, including those completed by peers, program leads, and Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) trained staff.
  • A pattern of meeting or exceeding expectations for teaching in annual evaluations.
  • A pattern of satisfactory assessments for teaching in Promotion and Tenure Committee yearly evaluations.
  • Annual faculty reports indicating efforts to improve teaching effectiveness (e.g., through use of innovative teaching designs, learning activities or technology use).
  • Evidence of effective and/or innovative classroom and teaching tactics and strategies, including (but not limited to) syllabi, exams, assignments, etc.
  • Teaching awards or nominations.
  • Student’s ability to successfully complete a project (e.g. theses, dissertation, community project) that results in the student graduating or in a community impact.
  • Other evidence of teaching effectiveness.

Commitment to teaching may be demonstrated through the following:

  • Flexibility in accepting teaching assignments.
  • Continuing professional development (e.g., participation in teaching conferences and workshops, development of technology skills pertinent to teaching, etc.).
  • Academic mentoring (e.g., graduate students, McNair Faculty Mentor, Student Research Program Mentor, etc.).
  • Self-assessment of teaching or a clearly defined plan to continually improve.
  • Willingness to develop new courses and/or to refine existing courses for individual programs, school-wide offerings, and university general education.


II. Scholarly, Creative, and Research Activity

The School of Public Service includes a community of scholars who use varied modes of inquiry, communication, dissemination, and outreach. Successful candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor must demonstrate substantive achievements under our expanded definition of scholarship, and there must be clear indications that success in research will continue and expand.

An Expanded Definition of Scholarship

The School of Public Service considers peer-reviewed research to be the foundational building block of a productive research career.  When faculty members become recognizable experts, relevant public agencies are more likely to seek them out to help understand and solve pressing social problems.  Peer-reviewed research may also lead to, or be supported by, grants and contracts and can augment teaching and advising activities. As such, high quality peer-reviewed research and high quality public scholarship are often mutually reinforcing.

Thus, the School of Public Service subscribes to an expanded definition of Boyer scholarship based in part on Ernest L. Boyer’s (1990) work[1], which articulates the value of both scholarship of discovery (i.e., peer-reviewed research), and engaged scholarship (i.e., public service research).  The School also recognizes a third category, that of “professional” scholarship. These three categories of scholarship are defined below.

Categories of Scholarship Defined

Peer-reviewed research is work evaluated by scholars prior to publication or grant funding.  The principal audience of this work consists of academics and policy experts (e.g., high ranking civil servants in federal, state, and international agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs)).  Products typically include peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, grant proposals, and books (This may include scholarship of teaching and learning; see Appendix 3 for examples).

Public service scholarship is defined as work that has an intended audience outside of academia. The principal audience of this work includes civil servants, elected officials, citizens, NGOs, and other publically engaged officials.  Such scholarship may include work with community organizations or governmental agencies to address community problems or deficiencies. Products of public service scholarship may include program or policy evaluations, opinion surveys, new administrative procedures, grant or contract proposals, or provision of technical assistance. Evaluation of public service scholarship may include impact on the agency and/or community, scope of the project, originality of design and methodology, generalizability of the results, connection to a broader literature and/or theoretical frame, and visibility gained for the researcher, program, and School. It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide documentation to support such assessments.

Professional scholarship is defined as work done that advances an individual’s profession.  This typically involves the publication of textbooks (aimed at students), as well as books and book chapters that are not peer-reviewed.  Other evidence of professional research may include grant proposals, encyclopedia entries, law review articles, editorial reviews or introductions, conference proceedings, book reviews, and conference presentations.

Across disciplines, there are often differing conventions and norms for different types of publications and scholarly activities.  It is incumbent upon the faculty member to articulate why certain forms of scholarship matter, or are counted in particular ways, in his or her area of study.

Criteria for Satisfactory Assessment in Scholarly, Creative and Research Activity The School of Public Service has specific standards for each of the categories of scholarship defined above. For peer-reviewed research, tenure and promotion committees may weigh the number of publications, the quality of the venue where the research is published, and/or the impact of the publication on the subfield/field.  For public service and professional scholarship, tenure and promotion committees may weigh the number and quality of publications submitted to agencies; and/or the impact on policy-making, administrative practice, and/or the visibility of the work; or other metrics of social impact (see Appendix 2 for ways to consider and address scholarly, research, and creative impact).

Research activity also includes internal and external funding, including funded and unfunded proposals and contracts. Tenure and promotion committees may weigh the number of proposals, the impact of the project, the competitiveness of the funding partner, and the connection to the candidate’s scholarly identity. While unfunded proposals and contracts should be recognized for the time and effort it takes to make a long-term case for funding, funded proposals and contracts are more highly weighted.

The School recognizes that there is no single model that faculty members follow in pursuit of their professional goals.  It is expected that faculty members’ discipline, subfields, career stages, and professional interests will influence their research agenda. Peer-reviewed scholarship is required by university policy and expected in the School. Public service and professional scholarship are not a university requirement but are also encouraged, valued, and consistent with the mission of the School. Therefore, while public service and professional scholarship can be used as evidence of research productivity, a candidate for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor cannot meet or exceed expectations in research with scholarship in these two categories alone.

Each faculty member’s combination of peer-reviewed, public service, and professional scholarship sits at different points on a continuum with no two combinations looking exactly alike. SPS tenure-eligible faculty will have different scholarly identities, strengths, and interests. It is the responsibility of the tenure-eligible faculty member in consultation with his or her mentoring committee to clearly define their scholarly identity and how it translates through their work, impact, and contribution.

Candidates should work with their mentoring committees for guidance on how to communicate the contribution and impact of their scholarly activity. Candidates should pay attention to mentoring committee feedback and annual T&P reviews to indicate progress towards tenure and promotion, including what changes should be made, if any.

III.  Service

In accordance with University policy on faculty tenure and promotion (BSU 4340), the School of Public Service recognizes three areas of service: professional service to the discipline, institutional service, and public or community outreach.

Criteria for Satisfactory Assessment in Service

Candidates must demonstrate a record of sustained, effective service and explain in their tenure and promotion portfolios how that service is related to University or School goals (see Appendix 4). Examples of service activities related to the three areas are as follows.

Professional Service to the Discipline includes contributions to discipline-related organizations at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Such activities may include:

  • Holding office in a professional organization, organizing conferences or sessions, chairing sessions, and membership on a committee, task-force or board.
  • Editorial or referee activities undertaken in the context of work done by professional organizations or by other academic institutions (e.g., editing a professional journal; reviewing manuscripts; serving as external reviewer for promotion, tenure, or scholarship applications).
  • Serving as a team member on a program review (accreditation or certification).

Institutional Service may include committee, student recruitment, and advising work done on the Program, School, and University levels. Such activities may include:

  • Serving on Faculty Senate
  • Serving on the SPS or University Curriculum Committee
  • Participating in Program Assessment Review
  • Chairing and/or serving on search committees

Public or Community Outreach may include work that grows out of institutional programs and has the potential for positive effects on the community, the region, or beyond. Public or community outreach activities may include:

  • Community engagement activities that involve the faculty member in partnerships with the community (e.g., jointly developed, financed, and administered projects that address issues of mutual concern and contribute to regional growth and development).
  • Consulting work or technical advice (paid or unpaid) that benefits the community, University, School, and/or the discipline.
  • Community outreach (e.g., discipline-related work in public education or awareness; referee work for community museums, galleries, publications, or competitions; discipline-related work with local schools; serving on local task forces or boards).
  • Media contributions and public communication that involve the candidate in sharing their expertise with reporters from television, podcasts, blogs, newspapers, radio, and other media outlets who use that information to educate their respective communities about public and civic issues.

[1] Boyer, E.L. (1990).  Scholarship reconsidered:  Priorities for the professoriate.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.


Appendix 1: Teaching Activities*

University Level School Level Program Level Experiential
Foundational studiesSPS undergraduate coreCourses in program appointmentsSkills learning workshops and courses
Venture collegeSPS graduate methods sequenceInterdisciplinary teachingService learning
Guest lectures at Boise State (e.g., Osher Institute) Guest lecturesGuest lecturesCapstones with community partners and projects
Guest lectures at other universities or colleges Content and skills workshopsStudy abroad
PhD dissertation and thesis advisingField schools
Master’s thesis/final project advising
Independent studies
* Illustrative but not exhaustive


Appendix 2: Ways to Demonstrate and Communicate the Impact of Peer-Reviewed Scholarship, Public Service Scholarship, and/or Professional Scholarship*

Ways to Demonstrate and Communicate the Impact of Peer-Reviewed Scholarship, Public Service Scholarship, and/or Professional Scholarship* 

  • Cite impact or influence of the candidate’s scholarly work within his/her own disciplinary field through journal ranking, impact scores, and other metrics.
  • Ability to capture awarded grants and contracts whether via internal or external funding.
  • Show impact on advancing knowledge, new methodologies or significant changes to existing methods, public benefits of the research, and communication with and validation by peers (e.g., peer-reviewed articles).
  • Show public scholar identity through a substantial profile of media coverage in areas of expertise.
  • Document research and community engagement awards from academic, professional, government agency, and non-academic community.
  • Demonstrate candidate’s efforts have been sustained and transformative for a professional association, government agency, or non-academic community.
  • Evaluate one’s own public service research to include potential or actual impact on policies and practices.
  • Provide quantitative evidence (e.g., increased production or widespread adoption of a product or technique) and/or qualitative evidence (e.g., reviews by knowledgeable scholars/critics and expressions of benefit or value by stakeholders and community partners).
  • Describe evidence of candidate’s impact and/or contribution on clients, partners, or other collaborators (e.g., local or regional adoption of work, recommended best practices).
  • Demonstrate impact of work that helped create new businesses, jobs, promotions, or leadership opportunities.
  • Connect to teaching effectiveness in formats and settings outside the classroom, including the impact of learning on practice, application, and policy.
  • Connect to service effectiveness in formats and settings outside the classroom
  • Demonstrate impact of faculty member’s efforts to promote equity, inclusion, and diversity.
  • Describe mutually beneficial community-university partnerships that address critical community needs.
  • Document one’s contributions to large scale projects and grand challenges.
  • Explain how interdisciplinary approaches helped address societal problems and challenges.

* This list is illustrative but not exhaustive. It is adapted from the University of Georgia’s Guidelines for Appointment and Promotion for Public Service and Outreach Faculty and from Boise State’s Human-Environmental Systems T&P Guidelines.

Appendix 3: Scholarly, Creative, and Research Activities*

Peer-Reviewed Research Public Service Scholarship Professional Scholarship
Journal articles (e.g. field, discipline, pedagogy)White papers, policy briefs, issue memos, technical reportsJournal articles, not peerreviewed (e.g. field, discipline, pedagogy)
Books Books (i.e., trade books or books for popular audience)Books, not peer-reviewed
Book chaptersBook chaptersBook chapters, not peerreviewed
Edited booksEdited booksEdited books, not peerreviewed
External funding: Funded or unfunded grants or contract proposals (e.g., NSF, DARPA, NEA, NIJ)External funding: Funded or unfunded grant or contract proposal (e.g. city, state, federal, international contracts)External funding: Funded or unfunded grant or contract proposals (e.g., professional organization grants)
Academic conference presentations
Academic or professional conference proceedingsAcademic or professional conference proceedings
Local, regional, state, national, or international conferences on public issuesBook reviews
Online articlesEncyclopedia entries
Program or policy evaluations
Technical assistance, instruction, or training, Consulting
*Illustrative but not exhaustive; This typology can be fluid and work could exist across multiple forms (e.g., technical report on a program evaluation can subsequently be presented at an academic conference and later be published in a peer-reviewed journal).


Appendix 4: Service Activities*

Professional Service to the Discipline Institutional Service: University Institutional Service: School Institutional Service: Program Public or Community Outreach
Article/book reviewsFoundational Studies SPS Research committeeAssessment and/or accreditationMedia events and coverage
Conference discussant/ moderator/ panel organizerFaculty Senate and related sub-committeesSPS core evaluation committeesCurriculum developmentAdvisory boards and commissions
Search committeesSearch committeesSearch committeesSearch committeesSelection and/or search committees
Team member of a program review (accreditation or certification)Internal Review BoardSPS Curriculum CommitteeInternship Blog posts
Student recruitmentStudent recruitmentStudent recruitmentStudent recruitmentStudent recruitment
Journal editorUniversity Curriculum CommitteeMentoring committeesUndergraduate student advisingExpert testimony
External reviewer for tenure and promotion Graduate student advisingGuest lectures or invited talks/ panels
Interests groups Concurrent enrollmentOsher Institute teaching
*Illustrative but not exhaustive