Retention, Tenure & Promotion




(LAST REVISED May 12, 2008)
San Francisco State University’s “Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Policy,” as found in the Revised Academic Senate Policy #F06-241, states, “It is the responsibility of the department to establish clearly the department's expectations for retention, tenure, and promotion consistent with the University criteria.”  This document reflects the department’s effort to conform to this mandate, and should be considered a supplement to and not a replacement for Revised Academic Senate Policy #F06-241.  

I. Documentation

  • Materials.  Candidates will prepare a curriculum vitae and submit select supplementary information for the use of the Department Peer Review Committee each probationary year and for subsequent promotion reviews.  
  • The supplementary information should include evidence of the candidate’s professional education, teaching effectiveness, professional achievement and growth, and campus and community service, as listed in Sections II to V.  The emphasis should be on significant achievement in each category and clearly documented support. 
  • Curriculum Vitae.  Following Revised Academic Senate Policy #F06-241, candidates are encouraged to use the curriculum vitae format located on the Faculty Affairs and Professional Development website.
  • Size Limit.  Following Revised Academic Senate Policy #F06-241, it is recommended that supplementary materials representing the candidate’s accomplishments in teaching effectiveness, professional achievement and growth, and contributions to campus and community consist of no more than three 3-inch binders.  
  • Self Statements.  Following Revised Academic Senate Policy #F06-241, “Candidates are encouraged to provide a self-statement of teaching effectiveness, professional achievement and growth, contributions to campus and community that provides an introduction to the candidate’s accomplishments.  The goal of the self-statement is to provide an introduction of the candidate’s materials within each area for subsequent levels of review.  It should provide a context for understanding the candidate’s accomplishments within each area.  It is recommended that the statement for each area (effectiveness in teaching or area of primary assignment, professional achievement and growth, and contributions to campus and community) not exceed 750 words."
  • Compilation Advisement.  The Department Peer Review Committee and the Department Chair will be available to provide assistance as needed.

II. Teaching Effectiveness

The primary mission of San Francisco State University is teaching.  The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures takes this mission very seriously.  To be considered for retention, tenure or promotion, regardless of qualifications in other categories, candidates must meet the standard of excellence in teaching that is normally expected of faculty and required by the University, as stated in current Academic Senate policies.  The criteria for evaluation of teaching are:
  • Range and breadth of courses.  Faculty in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures are expected to teach a variety of courses, from lower-division undergraduate language courses, to upper-division language and subject matter courses, to graduate courses. 
  • Course materials.  Syllabi and selected relevant documents (bibliographies, reading lists, class projects/assignments, and examinations) are used by the Department Peer Review Committee as evidence of course organization, course level, and the expectations the faculty member sets for student learning.  Course materials in the target language do not need to be translated, but documents submitted in a language other than English should be briefly described in the self-statement on teaching effectiveness.
  • Peer class visitations.  Class visitations by fellow faculty members are vital for assessing the level of the professor’s presentation, expectations, and style of engagement with students.  These visits serve as a check on student evaluations, which can be affected by class demands and grades.  All faculty members are encouraged to obtain such peer evaluations from a variety of peer colleagues.  A written report will be submitted to the faculty member and to the Department Chair for placement in the WPAF. 
  • Student Evaluations.  Probationary faculty members are required to submit evaluation questionnaires to the students in all courses each semester; tenured faculty are required to submit evaluation questionnaires to the students in two courses each semester.  The Department Peer Review Committee regards these surveys as important because they provide a large representative sample of student reactions.  The student evaluation form used in the department utilizes a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 as the best score.  A score numerically above 2.0 in any course suggests a need for improvement.  The Peer Review Committee will also calculate averages of the scores for individual courses, in two ways.  First, an overall average for all courses will be calculated, which should fall between 1.0 and 2.0.  Second, it will calculate separate averages for the three levels of courses: lower-division language courses, upper-division language and subject matter courses, and graduate courses.  The average for each of the three levels should fall between 1.0 and 2.0.  In interpreting averages, the Committee may consider the size and nature of the courses involved, as well as course assignments. 
  • Student Letters.  Signed written comments from students are taken seriously, but because they usually represent a small sample of student opinion, they are not regarded as highly as classroom surveys.  In this category the Department Peer Review Committee accepts only signed and dated letters addressed to the Peer Review Committee or Department Chair, and will not review end-of-semester “Thank You” cards, emails, and other such ephemera from students. 
  • Curriculum Development.  Creation and development of new courses or curricula can be considered in this category, but candidates should note that a certain level of course preparation and development is expected of all faculty members.  Establishment of a new concentration, or creation of a new academic program requiring effort above the usual expectation may be presented, along with relevant documentation showing the nature and scope of the effort.  In addition, unusual or exceptionally innovative course materials may be submitted for consideration if they are judged to be beyond the usual expected effort of faculty.
  • Participation/attendance in Teaching-Oriented Professional Conferences and Workshops.  Staying up to date in one’s field, revising course content, and continuous improvement of the teaching and learning process is expected of all faculty in the Department.  However, consideration may be given to attendance and/or participation at conferences or workshops which are specifically oriented to improving the teaching and learning process.
  • Advising.  Whether officially designated “advisor” or not, all faculty must be effective in advising and willing to confer with students.
  • Supervision of Master’s Theses and/or Culminating Experiences.  Supervision of M.A. theses as a first, second or third reader; or supervision of Culminating Experience projects or exams. 
  • At least basic technology skills (email, word-processing, file-sharing, web-posting, etc.) are strongly encouraged, as effective teaching in the 21st century is difficult without them.

III. Professional Achievement and Growth 

Candidates for tenure or promotion must meet the minimum evaluative standards for Professional Achievement and Growth as stated in current Academic Senate Policies.
The usual evidence of Professional Achievement and Growth in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures may include:
  1. Books, including scholarly works, works for popular audiences derived from one’s specialization, and textbooks.
  2. Articles (single-authored or collaborative) in refereed journals.
  3. Articles published in anthologies.
  4. Chapters in books.
  5. Book reviews or encyclopedia entries.
  6. Articles for popular audiences derived from one’s specialization.
  7. Creative work (e.g., fiction, poetry, or essays) published in book form, in journals and magazines, or in peer-edited websites.
  8. Publications in new media, including:
  • The creation and/or maintenance of a website or other form of internet publishing in one’s field; 
  • Contributions to new media such as CD-ROM or DVD publications, 
  • An e-book, a “print-on-demand” book in an edited series, hypertext projects, or electronic archives. 
  • NOTE: All such endeavors however must be accompanied by evidence of peer evaluation or recognition.
  1. Unpublished manuscripts that have been reviewed and commented on by appropriate objective experts.
  2. Oral and written presentations of research at professional meetings, to professional audiences, or to the general public.
  3. Editing (or co-editing) an anthology or a collection of essays or research papers.
  4. Editing a special issue of a journal.
  5. Grant proposals for professional or scholarly development.
  6. Recognition of professional achievement in other forms, including (but not limited to) honors, awards, fellowships, and appointments.
  7. Research in progress, including linguistic field work, data gathering, travel to library collections, and other time and labor-intensive preparatory work for scholarly activities.
Because opportunities for publication and presentation of research vary widely within fields encompassed by Foreign Languages and Literatures, and because the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures wishes to emphasize quality rather than quantity of work, the Department will not set a numerical quota of publications and presentations necessary for tenure or promotion.  As a general guide, the Department Peer Review Committee would expect a candidate for tenure or promotion to have made multiple presentations on scholarly topics to professional and/or general audiences and to have significant work either published or accepted for publication. 

IV. Contributions to Campus and Community

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures expects all candidates for retention, tenure and promotion to offer service to the campus and community.  Such service may involve some crossover from the Teaching Effectiveness category (in program advising, for example) or the Professional Achievement and Growth category (in giving public talks, for example), if the service activity relies on the faculty member’s pedagogical or scholarly expertise.
Although not a separate review category itself, when assessing all types of service to campus and community, the Department Peer Review Committee will take “collegiality” into account.  In the RTP review context, “collegiality” is defined as the candidate’s record of building cooperative working relationships with other members of the faculty, with university staff, and/or with personnel in community/professional organizations.  The candidate must demonstrate professional ethics and principles and accept responsibility for working effectively with colleagues to achieve department, college, university, and community goals.
At least basic technology skills (email, word-processing, file-sharing, web-posting, etc.) are strongly encouraged, as effective communication with departmental colleagues, college and university committees and administrators, and the public at large is difficult without them.
Following are the types of service to be assessed by the Department Peer Review Committee, and example activities:

A. Campus Service

  1. Service to the candidate’s language program
  • Service on program committees
  • Taking leadership roles (e.g., Coordinator, Graduate Advisor)
  • Taking on special assignments for program development (e.g., major curricular revisions, Subject Matter Program submissions to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing)
  • Training and supervising Graduate Teaching Assistants
  • Facilitating extracurricular events for program students
  • Program or Credential advising
  1. Service to the Department
  • Service on departmental committees
  • Taking leadership roles (e.g., Department Chair, Chair of departmental committee)
  • Sponsoring student organizations
  1. Service to the College and/or the University
  • Service on college and/or university committees
  • Taking on leadership roles (e.g., administrative positions, Chair of college/university committee or subcommittee)
  • Interdisciplinary program development
  • Grant activity for program development
  • Special advising assignments (e.g., General Education advising, interdisciplinary area studies major/minor advising)

B.  Community Service

  • Professional leadership.
  • Participating in professional organizations.
  • Organizing conferences, workshops, and conference sessions.
  • Serving on editorial, organizational, or executive boards.
  • Reading and reviewing manuscripts for professional journals, academic presses, and/or textbooks.
  • Chairing or moderating conference sessions or giving a formal response to one or more papers on a conference panel.
  • Consulting with and serving community colleges, high schools, community organizations, and/or other education-related organizations.
  • Consulting with and serving community organizations on subjects related to the faculty member’s field or to the university.  
  • Creating or helping to moderate a listserv in one's field.
  • Contributing to media (newspapers, radio, television).
  • Other outreach activities, including:  workshops, cultural events and talks geared towards community groups or educational institutions.