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Tech Tower ADEPT -- Awareness of Decisions in Evaluating Promotion and Tenure

ADEPT Library

ADEPT Library - Case Studies -- Questions

General Questions for Discussion of All Cases

1. What aspect of promotion and tenure evaluation is at issue in the case and is it adequately outlined? (e.g., interdisciplinary research, collegiality, fluctuating productivity, leave of absence, letters of reference, web publications, order of authors, collaborative research, graduate students, etc.)?

2. Does the case clarify general standards of the discipline regarding scholarly output, teaching, and service? Are more specific stated norms or particular documents needed to consider the candidate’s record? (i.e., how many articles does someone in this field usually write before tenure?). What else would you like to see to facilitate your decision-making?

3. Do the evaluation issues and situations in the case fit other disciplines? All disciplines? How does studying the case help individuals better understand the evaluation issues?

4. What bias issues appear in the case (e.g., ethnicity, sexism, disability, personal, sub field, etc.?) Does the case plausibly indicate the status of bias in relation to evaluation of the candidate? Does the case suggest ways to identify bias and/or to reduce its effect in decision-making?

5. Has the candidate received appropriate resources, including mentoring? What else could have been done? By whom? Would these additional elements demand infra-structural changes/support?

6. Does this case suggest negative criticism of what should NOT be done by any candidate, unit, or committee? What problems do you see? Does the case outline or suggest any positive modes of actions undertaken by the candidate, unit, or committee?

7. Given the circumstances outlined in the case, how should committee members be disposed to view the candidate?

8. What emotions and perceptions are evoked in reading through the case that influence your evaluation?

9. How should committees weigh past performance on a bet of future performance with regard to the tenure decision?

Questions for Discussion of Specific Cases

Samia Mansour

1. What role does Mansour’s gender play in developing her past and future performance? What advantages or disadvantages related to her gender accrue to her during her career?

2. Consider the role of service to the university and to the profession in evaluating Mansour’s case. How much (and in what way) should her efforts to promote women in science be counted?

3. How might considerations related to gender have affected arguments presented by her reviewers? Identify positive and negative considerations.

4. What considerations related to gender affect perceptions of Mansour’s performance? Identify positive and negative considerations.

5. Consider the roles of the unit promotion and tenure committee and of the chair in advising Mansour about when to come up for promotion and tenure. What responsibilities (if any) do these parties have to guide Mansour’s case toward a positive outcome?

6. Assume that a tenure decision is essentially a “bet” on the academic potential of an individual based on past performance within a given context. What information would you like to see in Mansour’s case that would help you make this decision?

7. What assumptions related to gender influenced your reading of Mansour’s case?

Jamie Perez

1. Discuss the impact of resources and resource allocation (including office and lab space) on the careers of young faculty. Identify positive and negative aspects of resource availability and constraints.

2. Discuss the feedback provided by the chair in annual reviews. Consider: validity, pertinence, impact.

3. With regard to mentoring, do young faculty need mentors? When? Who? How? Why? What kind? What kind of variation can you envision in both the receptivity of mentoring and guidance offered?

4. With regard to collaboration, identify the advantages and disadvantages to collaborating. In particular, address difficulties related to the assessment of collaboration at the time of tenure and promotion. What alternative approaches to evaluating collaboration might be appropriate?

5. Graduate students: Identify means of measuring impact on graduate students. Consider number, retention, quality, graduation rate, post-graduate success, satisfaction and appropriate mechanisms measuring these.

6. What would you like to see in Perez’s record (including letters) that would help you decide on tenure and promotion?

7. How did assumptions about Perez’s ethnicity influence your reading of his case? Assume that Perez is of Hispanic origin. How could minority status have affected the evolution of his education and of his career? Identify positive and negative aspects.

8. How might Perez’s minority status have affected the tenure and promotion committee and the chair’s evaluation of his case. Identify positive and negative aspects.

Patty Shen

1. What consideration should the promotion and tenure committee give to Shen’s leave of absence? Her term of modified duties? Her post-childbirth medical issues?

2. Discuss how variations in performance over a period ought to be considered in tenure and promotion decisions. Which aspects should be considered in making this judgment?

  • Productivity over a particular period and/or average annual productivity?
  • Achievements during one’s career and/or one’s employment at the university?
  • Cumulative achievements? Individual productivity related to comparable peers at the university and/or in the discipline?
  • High productivity in the 1-2 year period just before the decision?

3. What assumptions related to Shen’s parental status influenced your reading of this case?

4. How might considerations related to parental status have affected arguments presented by Shen’s reviewers? Identify positive and negative considerations.

5. Do you consider that gender and family responsibilities are coupled? In other words, is there a difference between considering family responsibilities for cases of male and female faculty members? If so, how do they differ?

6. What considerations related to parental status affected perceptions of Shen’s performance? Identify positive and negative considerations.

7. Consider the chair’s role in advising Shen about when to come up for promotion and tenure. What responsibilities (if any) does the chair have to guide Shen’s case toward a positive outcome?

8. With regard to mentoring, do young faculty need mentors? When? Who? How? Why? What kind? What kind of variation can you envision in both the receptivity of mentoring and guidance offered?

Carl Anders

1. What role does Anders’ disability play in developing his past and future performance profile? What advantages or disadvantages related to his disability accrue during his career?

2. Discuss the impact of teaching schedule on careers of young faculty. Identify positive and negative aspects of teaching schedule (schedule, not load).

3. Discuss how a change of administrator can affect faculty development. Consider how the different principles articulated by each of Anders’ chairs regarding teaching schedule and faculty accessibility could impact the individual and the department.

4. Consider the role of service to the university and to the profession in evaluating Anders’ case. How much (and in what way) should his research and service on behalf of the disabled be counted?

5. What assumptions related to disability influenced your reading of Anders’ case?

6. How might considerations related to disability have affected arguments presented by his reviewers? Identify positive and negative considerations.

7. What considerations related to disability affect perceptions of Anders’ performance? Identify positive and negative considerations.

8. Assume that a tenure decision is essentially a “bet” on the academic potential of an individual based on past performance within a given context. What information would you like to see in Anders’ case that would help you make this decision?