Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) Standards - Liberal Studies
This document elaborates on the CSUSM Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures for Retention, Tenure, and Promotion and the College Standards and Procedures for Retention, Tenure, and Promotion. It provides guidance to faculty members concerning the Liberal Studies Department's
expectations, and it guides review committees in recommendations related to retention,
promotion, and tenure. In addition, it is intended to encourage faculty members to
think carefully about how they can best contribute to the mission of the university
and the Department throughout their careers. Faculty are encouraged to seek advice
and assistance from more senior colleagues regarding ways to meet these expectations.
This document is also intended to clarify for review committees outside the department
the standards by which our interdisciplinary department evaluates the successes of
our faculty members.
Faculty are evaluated on the basis of their accomplishments in the areas of Teaching,
Research and Creative Activity, and Service. Each faculty member must develop a Working
Personnel Action File (WPAF) which complies with the guidelines set forth in the University-level
and college-level RTP Documents. Of particular importance are the required self-reflection
statements that must be included for all three areas of evaluation.
The Department expects the WPAF to demonstrate active engagement of the faculty member
in his/her role as a university professor. This may be shown in a variety of ways,
depending upon the interests and strengths of the faculty member, the faculty member’s
rank and experience, and the needs of the Department, University, and community. However,
each faculty member is expected to be actively engaged in each of the three RTP evaluation
areas. Review committees at all levels will assess the quality and quantity of achievement
based only on information provided in the WPAF.
Although the areas of evaluation are the same for all levels, expectations differ
for assistant, associate, and full professors. Retention recommendations will be
based on evaluation of potential and accomplishments of the faculty member in the
three areas. Tenure and promotion recommendations will be based upon evaluation of
the overall record of the faculty member in the three areas. Unless awarded service
credit at hiring, faculty members' accomplishments that were part of the record at
the time of hiring or prior promotion generally are not relevant to subsequent evaluations
except as evidence of performance continuity.
Some activities cut across categories (i.e., teaching, research and creative activity,
and service). For example, co-conducting research with students may represent teaching,
service, and scholarly activity, as might activist scholarly research projects. The
faculty member is encouraged to demonstrate the activities' relevance to multiple
criteria in their reflective statement. However, given that the University’s RTP
Document states that each activity must be assigned to only one category, the LBST
Department encourages candidates to seek advice on how to both represent the ways
in which their activities may relate to more than one assessment category, and adhere
to the policy; note, each activity can only be placed in one category.
At every review, probationary faculty in tenure-track lines should be able to clearly
demonstrate their progress toward the standards for tenure and promotion, as described
below. Additionally, faculty are expected to respond explicitly in subsequent WPAFs
to feedback offered in prior reviews when submitting the file for subsequent evaluations.
The Liberal Studies Department is known for innovative pedagogies and curriculum,
and up-to-date interdisciplinary perspectives and research (both applied and basic)
in the classroom, for example, its state-of-the-art integrated teacher credential
program – the only truly integrated program in the State of California. Faculty in
the department place high value on academic freedom, course innovation, and student
engagement. All of our classes meet or exceed the All-University Writing Requirement
All faculty in the department are expected to maintain the quality of their courses
by experimenting with new course features, new content and new teaching strategies
on an ongoing basis. As feasible, they are furthermore encouraged to develop new
courses in any of its programs in teacher preparation, linguistics, geography, or
border studies, and to develop collaborations with other programs and departments
All faculty are also expected to demonstrate effective teaching, per section 3 below.
Effective teaching is multifaceted. Some of the practices and attributes that characterize
effective college teaching include the possession and continuing development of discipline-specific
and pedagogical knowledge; the development of pedagogical approaches that incorporate
interdisciplinary as appropriate; the use of varied instructional techniques; the
planning, implementing, assessing, and revising of pedagogies to achieve learning
objectives; and the reflection on feedback (e.g., student evaluations; WPAF review
- Workload: While the number of courses offered by a faculty member may vary, all faculty
are expected to teach courses on a regular basis and to teach courses that serve the
needs of the department.
- Variety of Courses: Each faculty member offers a balance of service and specialty
- Pedagogy: Faculty are encouraged to develop a range of pedagogical strategies to
reach various learners and to increase interaction with and among students on an ongoing
basis. For example, department faculty may engage in project-based pedagogies, discussion,
and fieldtrips in addition to formal lectures in their classes. Introducing students
to research in all its various stages is encouraged; many faculty work closely with
students on independent studies and research and some have integrated this into their
own research design.
- Teaching expectations across the career path: While the department generally holds
the same expectations for all faculty, regardless of rank, in the area of instruction,
we acknowledge that each level of review may see different developmental stages in
- Probationary period:
The Department expects probationary faculty to engage in frank critical self-reflection
about pedagogy and departmental needs, and to embrace a process of development and
We recognize the importance of experimentation and the labor involved in constructing,
employing, assessing and modifying curriculum.
We expect faculty to enhance and extend the curriculum in the Department.
Promotion to Associate Professor, Promotion to Full Professor, Periodic Evaluation
of Tenured Faculty:
- We expect a record of continued contributions to curriculum development that demonstrates
a strong understanding of the needs of the Department and various student constituencies.
We expect a sustained and ongoing commitment to best pedagogical practices.
- Evidentiary Base for Teaching
- Student Evaluations: All courses are evaluated every semester. Student evaluations
for all courses taught during the period under review shall be included in the file.
It is expected that faculty will discuss in their narrative statements how their pedagogy
is evolving in light of the patterns and trends apparent in their course evaluations.
However, course evaluations are only one piece of evidence of teaching success.
- Teaching Philosophy: It is incumbent upon all faculty to define their teaching style
and link it to an overarching pedagogical philosophy. They should provide additional
detail about their classroom strategies and teaching style.
- Syllabi: The file shall include representative syllabi from all courses taught during
the period under review. Syllabi should conform to university syllabus guidelines.
- Teaching Observation: At least once per periodic evaluation prior to tenure, junior
faculty shall observe a course taught by a colleague in the University. They should
include a reflection on this experience in their WPAF, either as an item or within
their narrative reflection.
- Other Evidence: In order to demonstrate teaching effectiveness, evidence beyond the
required elements described above must be included and discussed in the WPAF. Examples
of such evidence include, but are not limited to:
- Teaching awards
- Samples of graded assignments, papers, and/or exams (with student name removed)
- Samples of assignments and activities
- Examples of assessment techniques
- Lecture outlines
- PowerPoint slide sequences
- Additional classroom observations
- Effective use of guest speakers, videos, etc.
- Examples of changes made in pedagogy based on feedback, assessment, additional training,
- Participation in teaching-related workshops with evidence of how the new information
was used in teaching
- Student feedback other than in course evaluations
- Examples of technological competence.
III. RESEARCH/CREATIVE ACTIVITY
- Research/creative activities take many forms in LBST. These may include, but are not
limited to, qualitative, quantitative, and applied scholarly research conducted both
individually and collaboratively. The department particularly values scholarly activity
which includes student and/or community engagement. In the realm of scholarship,
the Department holds three primary expectations of its faculty at all ranks: 1) a
clear research agenda leading to 2) sustained, effective scholarly effort and 3) significance
to each faculty member’s respective field of study.
- The PRC’s evaluation of scholarly research/creative activities will focus on understanding
the contribution, benefit, and impact of the candidate’s work on the field. The candidate
should explicitly present their research trajectory, including their short- and long-term
goals, extending beyond the review process. The candidate’s research productivity
will be evaluated by holistic or comprehensive consideration of the candidates’ reflective statement, scholarly
work, and selected items that the candidates believe best reflects their progress,
as described in the University RTP document and further illustrated below. Candidates
will demonstrate effective scholarly effort by identifying and providing evidence
of both major scholarly achievements (Category A), and additional achievements (Category
B) (see below).
Category A: Major achievements
- Peer-reviewed journal articles on which a faculty member’s contribution was substantial,
and which are published or accepted for publication. The narrative should explain
the contributions of the candidate and significance of the publication.
- Book chapters published or accepted for publication to which the candidate’s contribution
was substantial. The narrative should explain the contributions of the candidate
and significance of the publication.
- Papers published in refereed proceedings. Candidate should demonstrate the significance
of the conference and its published proceedings to his/her discipline.
- Scholarly book authored or edited by the faculty member. The narrative should explain
the contributions of the candidate and significance of the publication. (Note: solo-authored
books may count as more than one peer-reviewed article; the candidate should provide
an explanation. Consult with senior faculty regarding the presentation of such work.)
- Successful external funded major grant.
- Publically accessible original data corpus/corpora, to which the candidate’s contribution
to the development of the data was significant. The narrative should explain the
contributions of the candidate and significance of both the data corpus/corpora and
the mode of distribution.
Comment regarding major achievements: We recognize that other items may be considered
major scholarly achievements. In these cases it is expected that the faculty member
will provide evidence and arguments that make the case that an item belongs in this
category. We suggest that the faculty member consult with senior faculty if there
are questions about the most appropriate category for an item.
Category B: May include, but is not limited to:
- Papers published in proceedings
- Presentations at professional meetings
- Editor-reviewed articles published in journals, newspapers, magazines, and other media
- Published book reviews
- Invited keynote or speaker
- Special recognition and awards for research/creative activities
- Funded regional or internal grants for scholarly research/creative activity work (e.g.,
local organizations, University Professional Development, Distinguished Teacher in
- Self-published books (related to candidate’s field of study)
- Unfunded peer reviewed external grants for scholarly research/creative activity work
- Working papers
- Submitted papers
- Sponsored or contract research
- Technical reports
- Unfunded grants
- Organizing, presenting, moderating, or serving as a discussant at professional conferences,
workshops, training or continuing education related to the faculty members’ program
Comment about other scholarly achievements: We recognize that other items not explicitly
included in Categories A or B may be considered scholarly achievements. In these cases
it is expected that the faculty member will provide evidence and arguments that make
the case that an item belongs in this category. We suggest that the faculty member
consult with senior faculty in Liberal Studies if there are questions about the most
appropriate category for an item.
Assessment of Scholarly Research/ Creative Activities
- General Standards
Candidates will be assessed on the quality of the evidence provided, the evidence
of sustained scholarship and a trajectory that extends beyond the period under review,
and the totality of their work, as defined in paragraph 1 of this section (D. Research/Creative
Activity). A variety of types of work must be provided including peer reviewed publication. The candidate’s body of work will be evaluated holistically, as described above.
In all cases, the scholarly reputation of the dissemination venue (e.g., journal)
and/or meeting will be considered when evaluating the contribution.
- Tenure and/or Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor: At least
six scholarly items (or equivalent, as demonstrated by the candidate in the file,
and explained in the narrative), no fewer than three of which must be from Category
- Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor*: At least six scholarly items (or
equivalent, as demonstrated by the candidate in the file, and explained in the narrative),
no fewer than three of which must be from Category A.
* Only items not considered in the last promotion may be submitted.
- When multiple authors are present on scholarly research and creative activities, candidates
shall specify their role on the item (e.g., role: first author; second author; mentoring
author; etc.), and describe their contributions to the final product.
- Effective teaching is multifaceted. Some of the practices and attributes that characterize
effective college teaching include the continuing development of discipline-specific
knowledge and research. The statement on teaching should address the relationship
between teaching and candidate’s discipline-specific research.
- All LBST departmental faculty face the challenge of being members of a multi-disciplinary
department, where fundamental aspects of a given discipline might not be evident to
another departmental member. As such, it is incumbent upon each candidate to write
about their disciplinary interests as though readers were not practitioners of their
- Service activities are highly valued and are an essential component of retention,
tenure and promotion evaluations. In addition to routine service (as defined below)
that is required by each tenure line faculty member, we expect that all faculty will
participate in further service that is impactful and meaningful. The college has
a strong tradition of faculty governance, which requires ongoing participation by
a wide range of faculty; this means that faculty should plan to be active participants
in the faculty governance structure, including attendance at, e.g., all-faculty meetings,
and involvement in governance committees at all levels.
Documentation of service should be accompanied by a discussion in the narrative of
the impact of the service on the Department, College, University, community, or profession.
A narrative of service impact may include a description of the nature of the work,
the roles played on committees, and the outcomes of the work. Faculty should convey
how the service activity is making a difference on campus, in the community, and/or
in the profession. Please see point 3. below for further guidance on documentation
- Service activities should reflect increasing levels of engagement throughout the candidate’s
career trajectory. While it is typical for candidates to focus initially on departmental
service and then to become increasingly involved in College, University, and community
service, that may not be appropriate for all candidates. LBST values service which
coheres with candidates’ broader goals and visions across the career trajectory, and
which feeds into and supports candidates’ teaching and research goals. The narrative
should be used to explicate the service philosophy and to show these links. The narrative
should also include discussion and evidence of service at the routine, significant,
and major service levels (described below).
Routine service is significant and expected of every tenure track faculty member regardless
of commitments outside of the Department or University. Liberal Studies faculty are
expected to participate in routine service as part of their standard workload (15
WTUs). Faculty who are not teaching due to grant work or outside service commitments
are still expected to routinely participate in Department activities (unless on sabbatical).
On occasion, routine service might be considered more major service. For example,
work on the Department curriculum committee may be quite extensive one year; that
would not be considered routine service. It is up to the individual to explain the
impact and importance of the service. The following tasks are considered routine service
in the Liberal Studies Department and should not be used as evidence of exemplary
service when being considered for retention, tenure, or promotion:
- Attendance at Department meetings
- Attendance at Departmental retreats
- Attendance at Department welcome-back lunch
- General academic advising
- General mentoring of junior and PT faculty
- Ongoing curriculum maintenance (e.g., catalogue review, updating courses, etc.)
- Participating in regular program assessment activities
- Participating in the program review process
- Participating in tenure-track search process (not a search committee member)
- Attendance at the department graduation celebration
- Other activities may also count as routine service
These activities are expected of tenure line faculty members but are typically above
and beyond routine service. Over time, service activity should be at the department,
college and University and community levels, but may vary depending on the year and
the faculty members’ commitments and interests. It is expected that tenure line faculty
will take increasing leadership within these activities as they progress in their
career. Examples of major service include but are not limited to:
a) Department level
- Department chair
- PRC membership
- Program or curriculum development beyond routine changes
- Developing a major new departmental initiative
- Assessment Coordinator
- Coordinator of major option or minor (i.e., ICP, BRS, LING, GEOG)
- Lecturer evaluations
- Program review activities beyond basic assessment activities
- Website maintenance
- Coordinating the graduation celebration
- Social media coordinator
- Student club advisor
- Other activities may count as major department service
b) College/University level:
- Chair or member of College or Academic Senate committee (e.g., FDC, CAPC, HAPC, FAC,
APC, UCC, etc.), including Executive Committee roles
- Chair of the College Faculty
- Task force participation
- Faculty Mentoring Program participant
- Special event chair (e.g., organizing a conference)
- Serving as external member on thesis committee
- Serving as external member on faculty review committees (e.g.., PTPE, Full Professor),
or administrator review committees
- Chairing a search committee
- Serving on a search committee outside of home department
- Development of Extended Learning or other non-departmental curriculum
- Other activities may count as major College/University service
c) Community/Professional Service level:
- Speaker, community event
- Reviewer for journals, conferences, grants
- Professional presentations to university or community organizations
- Officer or committee member professional society
- Journal editor
- Board member of a journal
- Board member of an organization
- Given the value our department places on engaged scholarship, it may be that there
are some activities where there is significant overlap in the areas of teaching, research,
and service; we encourage candidates to talk explicitly about this, and to explain
the overlapping ways in which a particular activity may serve two or more areas under
- Other activities may count as major Community/Professional service
Other meaningful service:
These activities are important for the smooth governance of the college and university
and they represent a key element in creating and maintaining collegiality and engagement
with the greater campus community. They are not activities which are part of the
required routine service for all faculty members, and also do not require a major
commitment of time and effort. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Attendance at the annual University commencement ceremony
- ICP admission interview
- Participation in the ICP retreats
- Academic Senator
- Regular participation in university events/open houses
- Serving on staff search committee
- Serving as a member of a tenure-track search process
The most important articulation of the scope and goals of a candidate’s service activities
takes place in the narrative. Candidates can provide supporting evidence which further
demonstrates their service commitment in a number of ways, which may include the following:
- Committee reports where the candidate was a significant contributor
- Handouts/slides/notes from presentations
- Programs/event handouts from events which the candidate planned/helped to plan
- Copies of reviews
- Curricular forms
- Other documentation may count as an item to show significant participation in service