Awareness for Promotion Candidates
Faculty members being considered may benefit from a better understanding of how certain aspects of their dossiers may be interpreted or evaluated by review committees or administrators. Below are issues that candidates for promotion should be aware of. Awareness of these issues may be important in decisions that faculty members make throughout their probationary period, and not just in relation to preparation of the dossier. In most cases, not recognizing these issues until the review begins is too late.
National/International Level of Recognition and Impact
For faculty on all tracks the overarching expectation for promotion is demonstration of a national (for associate professor) or international (for professor) level of recognition and impact. Review of the dossier will look for evidence that a faculty member is recognized by her or his peers outside of OSU. Demonstration of exemplary accomplishment at the local level will not lead to promotion on either track. The operational demonstration of national (or international) recognition or impact will depend on the faculty member’s responsibilities. Peer-reviewed publications or securing grants are not considered to be examples of national recognition. Although external letters of evaluation may attest to a faculty members recognition, those letters will carry much more weight when there are objective indicators of national recognition upon which that opinion is based.
Examples of national (or international) recognition and impact could include (but are not limited to) invitations to review manuscripts for journals, service on editorial boards or editorships; invitations to review grant applications or membership on grant review panels, invitations to author journal manuscripts or book chapters, nomination or election to offices or leadership positions in national organizations, invitations to lecture at other universities, academic medical centers, scientific or professional meetings, invitations to serve as a consultant, member of external advisory board to scientific, professional, or industrial entities. Evidence of national recognition could also include a national referral base, or evidence that a faculty member is consulted by his peers outside of OSU.
The trajectory of a faculty member’s career is an important consideration. Trajectory can be evaluated in all aspects of performance. For example, demonstration of an increasing level of responsibility or leadership (e.g. committee membership to committee chair) is one example of a positive trajectory. Another example could be serving on a local professional committee that leads to participation at state or national committees. In scholarship it is expected that over time a research career should progressively increase in both quality and quantity of publications. Dossier evaluations typically examine the quality of scholarship, the role of the faculty member in the papers (relative balance of first or senior author vs. middle authorships), the rate of productivity as well as the trajectory of the publication record over time. The evaluation of trajectory will include the faculty member’s prior accomplishments, but the primary focus of promotion reviews will emphasize what the faculty member has achieved at OSU. A dossier that starts slow but has a strong positive trajectory will make a favorable impression, whereas a dossier with a strong basis but a declining trajectory will not result in a favorable impression about the likelihood of future success.
Most faculty members work within the context of teams which may include senior and well recognized faculty members. Some new faculty members continue to publish with former mentors or supervisors, particularly in the early years of their career while they are establishing their own research programs. This creates concerns for review committees who often have difficulty separating the work of senior faculty members from their junior colleagues. It is important that junior faculty be aware of the importance of having a component of their professional activities that is clearly independent of their senior colleagues.