How to Use Teaching Experiences to Gain Tenure or Promotion
The tenure and promotion process differs slightly from institution to institution, but some parts—like submitting a package, attending department, college and university hearings and voting with guidance from external evaluators—are common. At the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE), Phil Mixter, Ph.D., and Erica Suchman, Ph.D., presented on a comprehensive framework that teaching faculty can use when pursuing tenure. This framework values quality over quantity, while providing tools for tapping into a personal teaching story that expresses valuable teaching through evidence.
The External Peer Review of Teaching framework developed by the Regional Teaching Academy of the Western Consortium of Veterinary Medicine Programs consists of an applicant toolbox that faculty fill out with teaching activities, which then can be used for a promotion application. The benefit of using a structured system like the framework is that the promotion application is well organized and showcases how meaningful a faculty member’s teaching has been to the institution.
The promotion application consists of these 3 components:
- A professional CV that includes all significant teaching activities with an emphasis on outcomes.
- A teaching portfolio with teaching highlights, growth areas and accomplishments.
- Appendices that contain supporting materials like surveys from the courses taught.
The applicant toolbox focuses on 8 main categories or domains to help organize activities within the education enterprise:
- Enduring Educational Materials
- Faculty Development
- Learner Assessment
- Educational Research
- Curriculum/Program Development
- Educational Leadership
The framework has a checklist of activities in the 8 main categories to help faculty members identify activities that are completed. Early career teaching faculty members will only be active in 1 or 2 categories, so the applicant toolkit can help identify areas that need further development. For faculty members getting close to tenure, the checklist ensures that all activities completed are documented.
From the checklist, start building the narrative for each activity into the promotion application. Then, expand on activities instead of just listing them in the CV.
For example, instead of listing courses taught, focus on the instructor role and responsibilities, as well as student evaluations:
In this example, instead of just listing mentees, share the impact of their work and where students went:
A teaching portfolio has information like a teaching philosophy, a goal statement that looks at a 5-year trajectory and 2-5 teaching activities. Applicants can pull the information from the toolbox to help create an outline for a teaching portfolio, then expand on key activities by explaining what and how new techniques were implemented and how they impacted teaching.
In this example, instead of listing sessions attended at a conference in the teaching philosophy, focus on one session. Explain what the session was, what technique was implemented in the classroom and how it impacted students:
While it may seem daunting to put together a tenure application, the applicant toolkit from the Regional Teaching Academy of the Western Consortium of Veterinary Medicine Programs helps to identify the breadth of teaching activities completed by faculty and provides an outline for tenure and promotion applications.
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