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Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) Standards - CSTEM | Policies | CSUSM

Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) Standards - CSTEM

Definition: A policy governing the standards and procedures for retention, tenure and promotion of faculty within the CSUSM College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.
Authority: The collective bargaining agreement between The California State University and the California Faculty Association.
Scope: Eligible Unit 3 faculty within the CSUSM College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 04/02/2013
Originally Implemented: 04/02/2013
Signature Page/PDF: View Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) Standards - CSTEM Policy



This document sets forth general standards and criteria for retention, tenure, and promotion of full-time faculty in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. The provisions of this document are intended to be implemented in conformity with university-wide retention, tenure and promotion policies, and may be complemented and refined by disciplinary documents that further specify standards, criteria, and expectations of performance.


 The College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (CSTEM) uses the same definitions, terms, and abbreviations as defined in the university retention, tenure and promotion (RTP) document. 


 A.  General Guiding Principles 

  1. All standards and criteria should reflect the University Mission, Vision and Values Statement and advance the goals embodied in that statement, including the following:

    • That students be "taught by active scholars..."

    • That student learning be enhanced through "sustained excellence in teaching, research, and community partnerships."

    • That "individual and cultural diversity, and multiple perspectives" be promoted and endorsed.

    • That the education of students includes dedication to the values of intellectual engagement, community, integrity, innovation, and inclusiveness.

  2. The three performance areas that shall be evaluated, research/creative activity, teaching, and service, are integral faculty activities. While recognizing teaching as a central institutional mission, the College and disciplinary standards and criteria should recognize the diversity of each faculty member's contribution to the University. While the College affirms the university-wide requirement of sustained high quality performance in all areas, it encourages flexibility in the relative emphasis placed on each of the three performance areas.  The College respects and allows diversity of contribution in individual attainment of the expected level of overall performance and further recognizes that the relative emphasis may change during an academic career.

  3. Standards of performance assessment for research/creative activity, teaching, and service as set forth in this document shall be uniformly applied to all faculty in the College.  Activities assessed in one area of performance shall not be duplicated in any other area of performance evaluation.

  4. As specified in the CBA, faculty have the right to clearly articulated performance expectations at all levels and stages of the RTP process. The RTP process should be simultaneously evaluative and developmental and be carried out in a cooperative, collaborative environment.

  5. Retention, tenure, and promotion decisions are made on the basis of evaluation of individual performance, and ultimate responsibility for meeting all standards and criteria rests with the candidate.  Sound advice and counsel by tenured faculty can significantly contribute to the achievement of the highest level of individual performance and should be available.  Candidates may choose whether to avail themselves of such advice and counsel. 

   B. Standards Applied in Different Types of Decisions

  1. It is expected that candidates for retention at the rank of assistant professor will show increasing or sustained effectiveness in each area of performance and demonstrate consistent progress toward meeting the tenure requirements in the areas of teaching, research/creative activity, and service.

  2. Promotion to the rank of associate professor requires an established record of effectiveness in teaching, research/creative achievements, and involvement in service activities that enhance the institution and the profession.

  3. Promotion to the rank of professor requires evidence of continued commitment to and effectiveness in teaching, service to the University and/or the profession, and evidence of substantial achievement in research/creative activities.

  4. The granting of tenure at any rank recognizes accomplishments and services performed during the probationary years.  Further, the granting of tenure is an expression of confidence that the faculty member has both the commitment to and the potential for continued development and accomplishment throughout his/her career.  Tenure should not be granted to individuals whose record does not meet the standards required to earn promotion to the rank at which the tenure will be granted. 


A.  Teaching

  1. The central, although not exclusive, mission of the faculty is to enable students to comprehend and to utilize knowledge through scholarly activity that is both challenging and encouraging. Quality teaching requires continual crafting and dedication. Toward that end faculty are expected to learn about pedagogy, to carefully consider how to teach, what to teach, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching. Faculty are expected to strengthen their teaching skills continually and to demonstrate overall effectiveness in instruction at the undergraduate and/or graduate level. Toward this end, faculty are encouraged in every way to cultivate and maintain useful, innovative, and stimulating instructional techniques consistent with best practices in the discipline.  Faculty are strongly encouraged to consult with mentoring peers and be mindful of the conclusions and recommendations of evaluating entities.

  2. Probationary and tenured faculty are expected to set clear expectations for student success and to instruct with the assumption that all students can learn. Faculty should involve students actively in the learning process and employ  instructional techniques appropriate for the course level, format, and audience. Faculty should adapt their instructional methods to reach and to encourage the participation of all segments of a diverse student body.

  3. Teaching activities include, but are not limited to:

    • classroom teaching

    • laboratory teaching

    • conducting seminars

    • supervision of field work and independent research at both undergraduate and graduate levels

    • thesis supervision

    • supervision of internships and community service learning

    • training and supervision of teaching and graduate assistants

    • individual consultation with students concerning course related matters.

  4. While the elements of teaching may vary among disciplines and candidates, evaluations of teaching performance will consider the scholarly content and currency of courses, classroom performance, the incorporation of writing and critical thinking, efforts undertaken to iteratively evaluate and improve teaching, the quality of advising, availability during office hours, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary activities, participation in course or curriculum development, consistency of pedagogy with best practices in the discipline, and pedagogical innovations.

  5. As outlined in the university RTP policy, the candidate must include a reflective statement on their teaching.  The following items may be included in the reflective statement: a self evaluation, a statement of teaching philosophy, reflections on student evaluations, discussion of the type of classes taught, discussion of collaboration in teaching, and/or a discussion of learning goals,  activities, and methods for assessment.

  6. Evidence of teaching performance in the WPAF shall include, but is not limited to, the following: student evaluations  per the CBA; a list of courses taught at CSUSM (include both state-funded and self-support courses); samples of teaching materials, such as syllabi, examinations, assignments, handouts, and other assessment tools; and descriptions of new courses developed. Additionally, WPAF may include:

    • Information about the direction/supervision of independent study/research projects, graduate theses, etc.

    • Grade distribution data compiled by the candidate for individual assignments or overall grades referred to in narrative, such as in comparing an assignment change from year to year or making a comparison between multiple sections of the same course taught in a given semester

    • Statements from colleagues who have observed the candidate in the classroom or who have systematically reviewed the candidate's course materials.

    • Information concerning the candidate's performance as a faculty advisor (e.g., notes/letters from students, letters from faculty who are in a position to judge the candidate's performance as an advisor). The authors of such documents must be identified by name.

    • Information concerning honors or recognition related to teaching (e.g., distinguished teaching awards).

    • An audiotape or videotape of a representative class session.

    • Statements from alumni addressing the candidate's quality of teaching/advising. The authors of these documents must be identified by name.

    • Examples of graded student work showing excellent, average, and poor work, along with the professor's comments as to why they were so graded.  Student names must be redacted unless permission has been obtained from the student (include copy of permission).

    • Any additional information (e.g., documentation of professional development related to pedagogy).

  7. Factors that may be relevant for the faculty's effectiveness in teaching (e.g., limited library and laboratory resources, limited availability of audiovisual, computing, and other nonprint materials, and the need to teach courses outside one's area of expertise) shall be taken into account when evaluating performance in this area. 

  B.  Research/Creative Activity

  1. It is essential to the University's mission that each faculty member demonstrate continued commitment, dedication, and growth as a scholar. In all cases, research/creative activity results in an original contribution to knowledge or understanding in the field and includes the dissemination of that knowledge beyond the classroom.

  2. Research/creative activity may be theoretical, experimental, applied, and/or related to teaching. The relative weights given to research/creative contributions in each of these areas may vary within and across disciplines. The nature of the expected research/creative contributions will vary within and across department/programs.

  3. Research/creative activity includes, but is not limited to:

    • publications in refereed journals

    • publications in refereed conference proceedings

    • published book chapters, books

    • scholarly editing

    • translating into other natural/artificial languages or media

    • films, videos, or other media projects

    • presentations at professional meetings

    • pedagogic research and exposition, or materials development

    • applied research

    • patents

    • grant activity (funded grants, proposals)

    • computer software development

    • documented, active participation in specialized colloquia, seminars, symposia, or conferences

    • fellowships, awards, or honors

    • evidence of research or creative activity in progress refereeing/reviewing of a book, journal article, monograph, or conference papers.

  4. In the application of its standards, each department/program shall take into account those inherent limitations of the developmental stage of the department/program that may be relevant for its faculty's scholarly/creative achievements. 

 C.  Service

  1. The College views activities that enhance the institution and the profession, both locally and nationally, as integral components of faculty service responsibility. In the review process, the value of the service contributions, as well as the effect of the level of service contributions on the scholarly and instructional areas of performance, should be considered.

  2. The magnitude of service rendered may vary. In each instance, the evaluation of service may include evaluation of the quality of service rendered, the extent to which the service rendered contributed to the University's mission, and the appropriateness of the service to the faculty member's rank. It is recommended that significant service contributions be accompanied by supporting documentation.

  3. Service activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • membership and offices held on committees, governing bodies, and task forces at the Department/Program, College, and University level.

    • membership and offices held on committees, editorial boards, professional advisory boards, external review teams, governing bodies, and task forces at the local, national, and international level.

    • service as departmental graduate advisor

    • consultantship to community organizations

    • professional consultantships of a service nature

    • service to student organizations

    • mentoring of faculty and/or students

    • training and supervision of teaching and graduate assistants (if not counted toward teaching)

    • thesis supervision (if not counted toward teaching)

    • administrative activities such as scheduling, program coordination, or other special assignments

    • offices held and participation in professional organizations

    • organizing regional or national conferences, workshops, or seminars

    • service award, fellowship or honor

    • editing of a journal, book, or monograph (if not counted as research/creative activity)

    • refereeing of a book, journal article, monograph, conference (if not counted as research/creative activity)

    • op-ed pieces, letters to the editor, radio and TV interviews

  4. Documentation of service may include, but shall not be limited to:

    • a list/description of service to the  community, university, college, department/program, and/or  discipline

    • evaluation by fellow committee members regarding quality of service provided

    • documents, reports or other evidence of committee service

    • letters from appropriate organizers, officers, panel chairs, editors or similar officials of regional or national organizations/publications with which the candidate was involved as an officer, speaker, panelist, external reviewer, referee, consultant, visiting lecturer, etc.

    • letters from community members who are in a position to comment on the candidate's contributions, such as those who invited the candidate to speak or worked with the candidate on a project

    • meeting agendas or programs

    • programs or fliers describing the event and/or listing the participants

    • awards made for the service (e.g., certificates, plaques)

    • newspaper clippings

    • media files