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Guidelines for Awarding Promotion to Professor

May 22, 2017

I.  Scope of Guidelines

These guidelines specify criteria and procedures for professor and apply to faculty whose appointment is in the School of Public Service.

According to Boise State policy (BSU 4340), promotion is tied to both workload and annual evaluations. As noted below, candidates for promotion must meet or exceed standards set forth in teaching, research, and service. While successful candidates for promotion to professor meet or exceed expectations in all areas, the relative percentage of time devoted to each criterion is based on a faculty member’s agreed upon workload in the areas of teaching, research, service and when relevant, administration.

Eligibility: A faculty member may apply for promotion to full professor no earlier   than during his/her third full year of employment at Boise State University, except under extraordinary circumstances.  Candidates for promotion to professor must have at least five full years of service as associate professor at an accredited institution of higher learning.  Promotion to professor is not assumed to be automatic after any time period.

Criteria for promotion to the rank of professor include all of the criteria for tenure and promotion to associate professor.  However, the rank of professor represents the highest academic achievement and is reserved for individuals who are truly and demonstrably outstanding among their peers.  Thus, a candidate for professor is expected to have achieved additional distinction clearly above that of an associate professor, including clear national and international recognition for his/her work.  Evidence of this includes letters of support, national and international publications, conference proceedings, and/or academic and professional awards and recognitions.

Specific criteria for meeting/exceeding expectations in teaching, research, service and administration in the School of Public Service are noted below.


II. Teaching

Teaching in the School of Public Service is defined as traditional classroom instruction, as well as online instruction, the direction of independent studies (undergraduate and graduate), the supervision of directed readings (undergraduate and graduate), the supervision of internships/field work, and the mentoring of graduate students (thesis and dissertation chairships). 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. 

Criteria for Meeting or Exceeding Expectations in Teaching

Specific standards for teaching in the School of Public Service include (a) teaching effectiveness and (b) commitment to teaching.

A) Teaching effectiveness, which could include the following:

    • A pattern of positive official student evaluations, including quantitative scores and qualitative comments.
    • A pattern of meeting or exceeding expectations for teaching in annual evaluations.
    • A pattern of meeting or exceeding expectations for teaching.
    • Annual faculty reports indicating efforts to improve teaching effectiveness e.g., through use of innovative teaching designs, learning activities or (technology use).
    • Evidence of classroom and teaching tactics and strategies, including (but not limited to) syllabi, exams, assignments, etc.
    • Teaching awards or nominations.
    • Other evidence of teaching effectiveness.

B) Commitment to teaching, which could include 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.).
    • A statement of teaching philosophy.
    • Self-assessment of teaching or a clearly defined plan to continually improve teaching.
    • Willingness to develop new courses and/or to refine existing courses.


III.  Scholarly, Creative, and Research Activity

The School of Public Service includes a community of scholars who use varied modes of inquiry and communication to engage in intellectual inquiry. Successful candidates for promotion to 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 and be supported by grants, and can augment teaching and advising activities.

While peer-reviewed research is the foundation of a productive research career, we recognize that there is no single model that faculty members follow in pursuit of their professional goals.  Faculty may choose to primarily engage in peer-reviewed research, public service research, or some combination of both. We expect that   faculty members’ disciplinary, subfields, career stages, and professional interests will influence their research agenda.

As such, the School of Public Service subscribes to an expanded definition of Boyer scholarship based in part on Ernest L. Boyer’s (1990) work1  (often referred to as the Boyer Model), which articulates the value of both scholarship of discovery (i.e., peer reviewed research), and engaged scholarship (i.e., public service research).

High quality peer-reviewed research and high-quality public service research are mutually reinforcing and, ultimately, may be intertwined, as many faculty in SPS seamlessly incorporate both types of research into their professional lives, which is both encouraged and valued in the School.

We acknowledge that research projects, whether they are funded by public service agencies or research institutions (e.g., NSF, NIJ, etc) have the potential to generate both peer-reviewed and public service research.


Criteria for Meeting or Exceeding Expectations in Scholarly, Creative and Research Activity

Meeting or exceeding expectations in the area of scholarly, creative and research activity in the School of Public Service is achieved by a combination of a) peer reviewed research and b) public service research. For peer-reviewed research, 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 research, promotion committees may weigh the number and quality of publications submitted to agencies, and/or the impact on policy-making, administrative practice, or other metrics of social impact.

The ideal candidate for promotion Professor engages in both peer reviewed scholarship and public service scholarship. However, peer reviewed scholarship is required, while  public service scholarship is encouraged, valued and consistent with the mission of the School of Public Service. Therefore, while “professional research” and public service   research can be used as evidence of research productivity, a candidate for promotion to Professor cannot meet or achieve expectations in research with scholarship in these two categories alone.

The School of Public Service also acknowledges the value of pursuing both grants and contracts to support the research, teaching and service mission of the School. Both  successful and unsuccessful funding attempts are valued.



Peer-reviewed research is work evaluated by scholars in a blind-reviewed process, 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 individuals in the NGO world).  This type of published work typically involves peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and books.

Public service research is defined as work that has an intended audience outside of academia. This work involves policy reports, advocacy work, public communication of  research, trainings, and expert testimony.  The principal audience of this work includes civil servants, elected officials, citizens, non-profit organizations and other publically engaged officials.  Such scholarship may include work with community organizations or governmental agencies to address community problems or deficiencies. Products from such public service scholarship could range from unpublished program evaluations, opinion surveys, new administrative procedures, successful grant proposals or contracts, content-based seminars, workshops, invited presentations, and provision of technical assistance. Evaluation of public service research might 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, department and college. It is the candidate’s responsibility to provide documentation to support such assessments.  Professional research 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 includes encyclopedia entries, law review articles, conference proceedings book reviews and conference presentations.


IV. Service

In accordance with University policy (BSU 4340), the School of Public Service recognizes three areas of Service:

    • Professional Service in the Discipline
    • Institutional Service & Administration  Public or Community Service


Criteria for Meeting or Exceeding Expectations in Service

Candidates for promotion to professor must demonstrate a record of sustained, effective service and explain in their promotion portfolios how that service is related to University or School goals.  Service loads at the associate and professor ranks are expected to be higher than they are for assistant professors.

The following types of service activities are encouraged for promotion to professor:

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

    1. holding office in a professional organization, organizing conferences or sessions, chairing sessions, and membership on a committee, task-force or board.
    2. editorial or referee activities undertaken in the context of work done by professional organizations or by other academic institutions (for example, editing a professional journal; serving as external reviewer for promotion, tenure, or scholarship applications; administering cyberinfrastructure)
    3. committeemembership on an Master’s or Ph.D. Committeefor Boise Stateor non-Boise State students.
    4. team member on a program review (accreditation or certification)

B. Institutional Service may include administrative, committee, student recruitment and advising work done on the Program, School, and University levels.

C.  Public or Community Service 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 Service activities may include the following:

    1. community engagement activities that involve the candidate in partnerships with the community (for example, jointly developed, financed, and administered projects that address issues of mutual concern and contribute to regional growth and development)
    2. consulting work (paid or unpaid) that benefits the University or the discipline
    3. community outreach (for example, 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)
    4. community-based Service Learning projects that are not listed under the Teaching section

V. Administration

Candidates for promotion to professor are encouraged to serve in leadership positions within the School.  Occupying administrative positions, such as those listed below, though not required for promotion to professor, strengthen the application.

In the School of Public Service, administration includes department chairs, program coordinators/directors and center directors. This administrative category is separate  from other service activities to align with SPS processes, including workload formation, goal setting, and evaluation activities.

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