Policy:                   RETENTION, TENURE, AND PROMOTION REVIEW – DEFINITIONS

Effective date:        July 1, 2017

Review date:          July 1, 2020

Revised:                  

Responsible Party: Office of the Provost


Candidate means any tenurable faculty member who is being reviewed for retention, tenure, or promotion.

Areas of Responsibility in the context of retention, tenure, and promotion, refers to the components of MSU’s mission: teaching; scholarship; service.

Teaching is the set of activities performed by faculty that fosters student learning, critical and ethical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. It requires the faculty member to have a command of the subject matter, to maintain currency in the discipline, and to create and maintain instructional environments that successfully promote learning. In addition to the instructional responsibilities in the Academic Responsibilities policy, teaching includes incorporation of current pedagogical innovations, incorporation of new technologies and approaches to learning and assessment, course and curriculum design and development; thesis and professional project assistance, mentoring, and participation in student projects, theses, and dissertations; academic and career advising of undergraduate and graduate students; supervision of student teachers, graduate teaching and research assistants, student interns; and any valuable contributions to the university’s instructional enterprise.

Scholarship is the original intellectual work of faculty that includes:

  • The discovery, application, and/or assimilation of new knowledge and the dissemination of that knowledge. This work includes conducting research projects; securing and administering grants and contracts; writing/editing books, articles, and other research-based materials representing one's original or collaborative research; developing new clinical practice models; presentations at scholarly conferences.
  • The generation of new knowledge in pedagogy and the dissemination and putting into practice of that knowledge.  This work includes creation, development, implementation, study, and publishing of pedagogical innovations (including textbooks, peer reviewed articles and publications); documented studies of curricular and pedagogical issues; and pedagogically-oriented research; innovation in community engagement.

The generation of new creative products and experiences through composition, design, production, direction, performance, exhibition, synthesis, or discovery and the presentation of that experience.  This work includes creating and presenting new works of art, film, theater, music, and architecture; public performance and exhibiting creative works.

  • The creation of partnerships, programs, and plans through Extension, or other community-based research, that leverage the knowledge and resources of the university and the public/private sector to enhance learning, discovery, and engagement; educate and engage citizens; strengthen communities; address locally identified issues and problems; apply and disseminate knowledge; and contribute to the public good.

Effectiveness is successful performance, appropriate to years of service.

Accomplishment is sustained and commendable performance reflected in the quantity, quality, and impact of scholarly activities and products. These activities and products include peer reviewed publications, formal peer-reviewed presentations, or comparable peer-evaluated works appropriate to the discipline. The activities and products must have impact and significance to the public, peers, or the discipline beyond the university.

Excellence is sustained, commendable, and distinguished performance reflected in the quantity, quality, and impact of scholarly activities and products. These activities and products include peer reviewed publications, formal peer-reviewed presentations, or comparable peer-evaluated works appropriate to the discipline. The activities and products must have a notable impact and significance to the public, peers, or the discipline beyond the university.

Service is the contribution of faculty knowledge and expertise to assist and engage individuals and/or organizations to meet goals and solve problems. Service activities generally fall into three categories: professional service, which includes contributions to, or holding office in, a professional society, serving on an editorial board, and reviewing manuscripts for professional journals; public service, which entails providing the faculty member’s professional expertise to, collaboration and engagement with, local, state, national, and global communities; and university service, which includes service to faculty governance, serving on university committees, advising student groups, and participation in other activities that contribute to the institution and its programs.

Integration is the creation of synergistic relationships among the teaching, scholarship, and service contributions of faculty, such as bringing new discoveries into the classroom, fostering student learning in the lab, field, and studio, engaging the wider community with scholarly products or innovations in teaching, or the fostering engagement to address community needs.

Academic unit is the designation for the various departments, schools, and colleges within the university. Primary academic units, typically departments, are the units in which a faculty member’s tenurable position resides. Intermediate units, typically colleges, are units that support more than one primary unit.

Primary review committees and Intermediate promotion and tenure review committees are the promotion and tenure review committees of the primary and intermediate academic units, respectively.

Primary review administrators and Intermediate review administrators are the administrators of the primary and intermediate academic units, respectively.

Primary Review Unit is the academic unit in which the candidate’s tenurable position resides.

Intermediate Review Unit, if applicable, is the academic unit that includes the candidate’s primary academic unit.

Role and Scope Document is the document prepared by each academic unit that describes its responsibilities and obligations in furtherance of the mission of the university. It includes the indicators, standards, and procedures that, in conjunction with university standards, policies, and procedures, govern the reviews of its faculty members.

Indicators are the categories of scholarly products and activities used to evaluate performance of the faculty undergoing review. Peer reviewed articles, juried exhibitions, published monographs, teaching evaluations, peer review of teaching, teaching awards, and other recognition are examples of indicators.

External Review is the critical evaluation of a faculty member’s scholarly products and activities by respected authorities in their field who are not affiliated with the university.

Internal Review is an evaluation by individuals within the university other than Review Administrators and Review Committee members.

Review Period is the period of performance to be considered for review. The review period for retention and tenure begins on the first day of employment in a tenurable position and ends on the deadline established by the provost for submission of dossiers. If hired with credit for years of service, the review period includes the time of prior service specified in the letter of hire. The review period for promotion to professor is the period from the end of the previous review period for the candidate’s last mandatory review to the deadline established by the provost for submission of the dossier for promotion to professor.

Dossier is the collection of materials submitted by a faculty member who is being reviewed for retention, tenure, and/or promotion and the materials added thereafter by review committees and administrative reviewers as authorized under the university policies.

Evaluation Letters are the letters submitted by review committees and administrative reviewers that include the recommendation and rationale regarding the retention, tenure, or promotion of the candidate.

Student, for purposes of references related to retention, promotion, and tenure, includes the clients served by the MSU Extension faculty.