department menu

Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) Standards - Department of History | Policies | CSUSM

Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) Standards - Department of History

Definition: A policy for the evaluation of tenure track faculty within the Department of History.
Authority: CSU/CFA Unit 3 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Scope: Tenure Track Faculty within the Department of History.
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 08/20/2015
Originally Implemented: 08/20/2015
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) Standards - Department of History Policy



A) American Historical Association's (AHA) - "Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct"

B) AHA, "Excellent Classroom Teaching of History"

C) AHA', "Redefining Historical Scholarship"



This document specifies general principles, standards, and criteria for three purposes: (1) to establish the personnel performance standards to maintain a high quality faculty and program, (2) to guide individual faculty members to pursue a successful career, and (3) to assist the Peer Review Committee (PRC), the Dean and/or University Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the President’s Designee.  This document codifies the Department’s expectations and represents continuity with History Department practice in the past.


  • The History Department believes in the model of the teacher-scholar who is actively engaged with the discipline in ways that expand understanding and knowledge among students, colleagues, and the public at large.
  • The History Department sees itself as a community of teacher-scholars who work individually and collaboratively to meet Department needs in support of the College and University mission.
  • Given the range of activities in which we expect achievement and the varied nature of the historical field, flexibility in evaluation is fundamentally important, and thus we do not use a quantitative approach in retention, tenure, and promotion (RTP) evaluation.
  • In order to explain to those outside the discipline how professional expectations within the History Department might differ from other humanities and social sciences, this document makes reference to statements written and approved by the American Historical Association’s (AHA) “Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct” [See Appendix A].  There is no accrediting body that need be taken into account.
  • The History Department affirms College and University expectations that the Candidate provide evidence in their Working Personnel Action File (WPAF) of their role as an engaged instructor, scholar, and university citizen.  It also upholds the expectations of the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS) RTP document that “student learning be enhanced through ‘sustained excellence in teaching, research and community partnership.’”
  • Regarding the assembly of the WPAF, the Candidate shall adhere to the instructions in the CHABSS RTP document and the University RTP document.
  • The History Department actively encourages faculty to avail themselves of the resources and support of the Faculty Center in order to develop a strong understanding of both the evaluative and developmental aspects of the RTP process. During the probationary period, the Department encourages faculty to seek out senior faculty in the Department to provide mentorship.


This document covers expectations for review at all levels including probationary reviews at the periodic and retention level, reviews for promotion to Associate and Full Professor, and Periodic Evaluation of Tenured Faculty.

While specific expectations in each category of review (instruction, scholarship and creative activity, and service) are outlined below, the Department has the following general expectations for all files, in all review actions:

  1. The Department values and requires engagement in all three areas of faculty performance.
  2. At each evaluation, the Candidate must demonstrate proficiency in all three areas. Less than proficient performance is unacceptable to the Department.
  3. Proficiency is determined through the assessment of the Candidate’s quality of contributions and engagement in each category.  The quality of contributions must be evident and is based on demonstrated and consistent commitment to impactful progress in all categories of review.
  4. At each evaluation, the Candidate must demonstrate a sustained record of accomplishment in all three areas.
  5. At each evaluation, the Candidate must demonstrate continued growth in all three areas.


The History Department recognizes that instruction and student learning are the core of our mission. We expect each Candidate to bring to bear his or her distinct expertise in creating, delivering, assessing and continually developing pedagogy that addresses the Department’s learning outcomes within the scope of the CHABSS and University mission. This category includes teaching classes, supervision of student research and fieldwork, advising, curriculum development, and activities by faculty in support of student learning.

The Department recognizes that faculty members who teach a wider than usual range of upper division course offerings must devote an unusually large amount of time to course preparation, and that the time spent to develop multiple teaching fields is not always reflected on the Faculty Activity Report. Therefore Candidates are encouraged to document this work in their narrative.

Standards for Instruction for Different Development Periods
At all levels of review, proficiency is determined by effective performance in teaching and a successful record in encouraging student learning.  However we recognize that each level of review requires emphasis on the different developmental stages in a faculty member’s career.

Probationary Period (Periodic Evaluation and Performance/Retention Review)

  • 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 improvement
  • 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.

Criteria for Instruction

  1. Overall, the Candidate shall demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the development of rigorous and relevant pedagogy.  Teaching materials shall display familiarity with major issues and arguments in their respective fields.   The Candidate shall periodically revise and improve syllabi reflecting factors such as their changed understanding of historical interpretation, or their response to issues raised in student evaluations.  To the degree possible, the Candidate shall have taught a variety of courses over the period of evaluation that contribute to the development of the History Department’s curriculum.
  2. The Candidate’s teaching materials shall be appropriate to the design and level of the course and inform students of course requirements and expected learning outcomes.  The Candidate shall clearly discuss the significance of their work in undergraduate instruction and, where appropriate, graduate instruction, and their work in specific types of courses (e.g. lecture, seminar, internships, independent studies).
  3. The Candidate’s teaching materials shall demonstrate a commitment to a variety of evaluative tools, including the essay, research and analytic exercises that promote active learning, critical thinking, and written and oral expression.   The Department adheres to the AHA document on “Excellent Classroom Teaching of History” [See Appendix B] including the statement on “evaluation of student performance” that “although objective testing may be useful to prompt students to read assignments, it should never represent the bulk of student evaluation or be the final measure of student success.” The PRC shall especially note the Candidate’s effort, development and success in fostering student success in written communication.
  4. The Candidate shall develop pedagogical and advising skills in ways that effectively serve students at CSUSM, which is federally designated both as a Hispanic Serving Institution and an Asian American/Native American/Pacific Islander Serving Institution.  The History Department values our diverse student body, including many who are first-generation college students unfamiliar with academic culture. We respect our traditional students who have been successful in college prep programs, but we also appreciate the opportunities—and the challenges—of working with non-traditional students like veterans, first-generation college students, reentry students, and migrant students.
  5. The Candidate is encouraged to address digital technology in her/his pedagogy, assignments and syllabi, in order to help fulfill the History Department student learning outcome that students will be able to “incorporate new digital and multimedia formats into the practice and presentation of history.”   The Department recognizes that not all course designs lend themselves to the use of such technology.  But PRC evaluation of the Candidate will acknowledge when a course makes creative use of digital history.  Similarly, with online instruction, or other course formats employing technology to deliver course content, the Department recognizes the significant time required to develop technology-based components and to keep such segments/courses current, and so PRC committees will note such effort in its evaluation.
  6. The Department expects that student evaluations will, on an ongoing basis, reflect favorably on the Candidate's ability to organize and present the content of a course and successfully engage students. Evaluations that fall substantially below Department, College, and University averages on a consistent basis indicate a lack of proficiency and will generally be detrimental to the Candidate's success.
  7. The Department recognizes that student evaluations may be affected by many different factors, including class size, class level, number of times the course has been taught, efforts at innovation and other circumstances.  Therefore, PRCs look carefully at the entire record of student evaluations, and weigh these factors in judging evaluations.
  8. A Candidate’s record should indicate a willingness to assume an individual share of departmental responsibility for undergraduate mentoring, directed studies projects, and graduate level work, whether for independent studies or thesis supervision or committee service.  The Department recognizes that this work can be particularly time consuming in a way that is not fully recorded on the faculty activity report. Therefore Candidates are encouraged to document this work in their narrative.
  9. The Department also values such instructionally related activities as innovative approaches to teaching and learning, directing students in internship projects on or off the campus, advising student groups in curricular or extra-curricular settings, participating in K-12 partnership groups, and developing or assisting in the development of pedagogical techniques or teaching materials related to the discipline.
  10. Syllabi in the WPAF shall be accompanied by critical reflection in the narrative, and if samples of assignments or student work are presented, the reflection and analysis in the narrative must make clear what aspect of the faculty member’s pedagogy is being highlighted.


The Department of History values scholarship for what it contributes to overall historical understanding. The Department also values scholarship for what it contributes to the Candidate’s teaching and service. The Candidate’s commitment to scholarship may be demonstrated through publication, presentation of papers at professional meetings, on-line or multimedia productions, participation in professional associations, contributions to scholarly websites/blogs, bibliographies, online databases, book reviews and significant contributions to the editing of the journals and electronically published documents in the discipline. Grants, fellowships, and awards for research and writing in the discipline are also recognized as important indicators of a candidate’s scholarly commitment.

Standards for Research/Creative Activity for Different Development Periods
At all levels of review, the Candidate is expected to demonstrate on-going progress in making original and significant scholarly contributions to their field that meet the university’s commitment to “high [scholarly] quality” and the college’s commitment to research “effectiveness.”  In the discipline of History, this means works that reflect original and significant contributions, advance historical knowledge, and/or present new interpretative assessments of historical problems.

Periodic Evaluation/Performance and Retention Review

  • The Candidate shall present a clear research agenda, explaining the evolution of the plan as needed.
  • The Candidate shall present evidence of completed work, and explain how the dissemination of the work represents its merit and impact in the field.
  • The proficient Candidate is making good progress toward offering an original and significant contribution to her/his field.

Promotion to Associate Professor

  • Evidence of completed projects shall be provided. The Candidate shall clearly explain the significance of projects published, and/or e-published in scholarly venues, including details about review and dissemination.
  • The proficient Candidate shall have made an original and significant contribution to her/his field.
  • Accomplished research projects shall be evidenced with venues for scholarly dissemination and review made clear.
  • The proficient Candidate shall demonstrate a sustained evolution in her/his work, either building considerably on earlier research or moving in new directions, in addition to making an original and significant contribution to the historical field.

Promotion to Professor

  • Accomplished research projects shall be evidenced with venues for scholarly dissemination and review made clear.
  • The proficient Candidate shall demonstrate a sustained evolution in her/his work, either building considerably on earlier research or moving in new directions, in addition to making an original and significant contribution to the historical field.

Periodic Evaluation of Tenured Faculty (PETF)

  • Research projects must be either ongoing or completed and disseminated, and demonstrate a sustained evolution from earlier work.
  • Proficiency will be determined based on sustained contribution and ongoing contributions to scholarly debates within the historical field.
  • PRCs reviewing the Candidate’s first PETF since promotion to associate professor and tenure shall give special attention to whether the Candidate is poised to be successful in requesting promotion to full professor. If the PRC finds that the Candidate is not yet poised to be successful, then the PRC shall make concrete suggestions.

Criteria for Demonstrating Original and Significant Scholarship and Creative Activity


The Department embraces the multi-faceted definition of scholarly work in the AHA’s statement, “Redefining Historical Scholarship” [See Appendix C].

  • The advancement of knowledge through original research that results in publication as a scholarly monograph, peer-reviewed article, or conference presentation
  • The integration of knowledge through review essays, encyclopedia articles, web pages, and multimedia projects
  • The application of knowledge through public history/archival projects, publication of professional journals or newsletters, film consultations, participation in the grant process as an applicant, an evaluator or consultant for major grant-giving agencies, and community work in museums and advisory boards
  • The transformation of knowledge concerned with teaching through such things as the writing of textbooks, articles on pedagogy, presentations to teaching conferences, documentary and/or multimedia supplements

Historians typically work individually. Historians do not typically coauthor with their colleagues and/or their students. We recognize that the field is currently undergoing changes and collaborative work is becoming more acceptable, which we support.  However, we encourage reviewers to understand that traditionally historical research is single-authored and that this has been the hallmark of respected work.  The Candidate should clearly explain the level of their contribution to a collaborative project.

The Department does not ascribe to one model of scholarly achievement.  It expects the Candidate exhibit several of different types of scholarship over time. We do not quantify the minimum number of publications required for tenure and/or promotion because of the varied nature of publication and dissemination opportunities within what comprises our diverse discipline. All of the examples of advancing historical knowledge listed above are valued, and the quality of the work and its impact on the profession, students, or the community will be given greater consideration than the work’s quantity and format.

Core Indicators of Original and Significant Scholarly Achievement in the Historical Field

These include:

  1. The monograph published by an academic or commercial press is traditionally recognized as an especially significant achievement in the historical profession. Outside reviewers should know that for historians, such an achievement should be granted weight equal to multiple substantial articles.
  2. Articles presenting the findings of an original research project appearing in peer- reviewed journals are significant.  Again, depending on the area of historical specialization and topic, the production of a substantial article may take considerable time and effort.  Hence a standard, as in common in other disciplines, based on quantity of publications does not necessarily indicate excellence.  Rather the quality of the article and the journal’s reputation within the field is the standard by which a candidate’s article(s) will be assessed.  It is rare in the historical field for journals to release statistics on acceptance rates.  It is the responsibility of the Candidate to explain the status of the journal venue in which they have chosen to publish.
  3. Chapters (invited or voluntarily submitted) in edited books published by university or commercial presses or articles published in special journal issues or conference proceedings that have undergone peer review are also regarded as significant scholarly contributions.  Again, the Candidate must provide evidence documenting the status of the larger publication within the Candidate’s area of specialization.
  4. Edited volumes in which the Candidate has participated as editor or co-editor (we note that normally authors are listed alphabetically rather than in order of their contributions) could also be significant.  The Candidate must have contributed significantly to the overall project by authoring or co-authoring the volume’s introductory essay and other introductory portions of the collection.
  5. Contributions to historical pedagogical publications could also significant.  This would include authoring or co-authoring a classroom textbook or classroom reader that is published by a university or trade press.  This would also include articles published in journals and/or books that have been subjected to peer review regarding historical pedagogy.  The Candidate should make clear in their file their role in contributing to such publications as well as the status of such publication in the field.
  6. Public History projects (archival projects and museum exhibits) could also be significant.  The department affirms the a joint statement between the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Public History Association, which calls for PRCs to remain open to the scholarly value of such work and give it full regard.  According to their joint statement “Public History scholarship, like all good historical scholarship, is peer reviewed, but that reviews includes a broader and more diverse group of peers, many from outside traditional academic departments, working in museums, historic sites, and other sites of mediation between scholars and the public.”  The Candidate shall carefully explain their role in creating such projects (especially those involving collaborative teams), the scholarly impact of such projects, and the status of the venue that supports such projects.
  7. Digital History projects could also be significant.  However currently, the historical field has few venues or standards by which such projects are judged.  Given this reality, the quality of scholarly work with digital media or in creating on-line presentations or exhibits requires additional description in the Candidate’s narrative.   PRCs should remain open to the scholarly value of such work and give it full regard, while Candidates who work with digital media or on-line applications/exhibits/teaching tools should be prepared to describe the process of developing their work, to discuss its disciplinary rigor, and also to explain how it advances knowledge in significant ways.  Candidates shall carefully explain their role in creating such projects (since these projects involve collaborative teams), the scholarly impact of such projects, and the status of the venue in which these projects are presented.  Like Public History projects, Digital History projects should be peer reviewed but given the nature of the Digital History project, the peer group may also be drawn from academic disciplines outside of History.

The following activities are regarded as indicators of scholarly contributions but cannot stand alone or together as sole indicators of achievement.  Hence the Candidate should present evidence from the core category for consideration for promotion to both the Associate and Full ranks.  However PRCs should acknowledge that these activities listed below indicate progress, promise, and/or recognition of scholarly expertise.

  1. Conference papers
  2. Chairing conference panel
  3. Book reviews or review essays
  4. Contributions to encyclopedias or historical dictionaries
  5. Roundtable presentations
  6. Posters presented at conferences or symposiums
  7. Invited lectures or talks either for the public or in educational forums
  8. Expert consultation on historical projects such as films and other multimedia presentations
  9. Successful grant and/or fellowship proposals
  10. Participation in professional blogging related to historical topics
  11. Service to professional organizations
  12. Contributions to historical databases or online resources
  13. Translation of scholarly work
  14. Review of book and article manuscripts


All faculty share responsibility for service at Department, College, and University levels, and service work is fundamentally important at this public comprehensive university. The Candidate shall demonstrate appropriate quantity and quality of service work both with regard to basic workload responsibilities as well as to service work beyond that minimum expectation.

Candidates may demonstrate service through the following activities (this list represents typical examples but is not exhaustive):

  • Service on assigned and elected Department committees
  • Service as an elected officer of the Department
  • Service on College and University-wide committees, work groups (elected, appointed, volunteer)
  • Service to the community in capacities that reflect the expertise of the faculty member, e.g., local history,  senior groups,  or K-12 presentations
  • Authorship, or shared authorship, of major Department, College, or University documents, e.g., program or policy reviews or faculty council bylaws
  • Organizing outreach or mentoring student interns
  • Advising a student group
  • Mentoring of faculty
  • Mentoring undergraduate students or graduate students (on campus; off campus)
  • Office held/participation in professional organizations
  • Service award, fellowship, or honor

Standards for Service for Different Developmental Periods

Periodic Evaluation, Performance/Retention Review, and Promotion to Associate Professor

  • The Candidate shall demonstrate an increasing engagement in service activities during the period preceding request for promotion. Evidence of impactful contributions and an active presence in service indicates proficiency at this level of review.
  • The Candidate shall demonstrate an increasing understanding of the importance of service, and her/his particular service contributions, to the Department, College and beyond as a fundamental component of the tenure-track faculty position.
  • The proficient Candidate shall demonstrate an evolving service profile of assuming more responsibility and leadership either formally, as evidenced in chairing a committee or other kinds of designated leadership roles, or informally, through major and impactful contributions to the Department, College, University and/or larger community.

Promotion to Professor

  • The proficient Candidate shall demonstrate an evolving service profile of assuming more responsibility and leadership either formally, as evidenced in chairing a committee or other kinds of designated leadership roles, or informally, through major and impactful contributions to the Department, College, University and/or larger community.

Periodic Evaluation of Tenured Faculty

  • The proficient Candidate should demonstrate a sustained record of active engagement and impact in campus service.

Criteria for Service

  1. Regarding service in the Department, the Candidate’s record should demonstrate a willingness to assume an individual share of departmental work (through committees, panels and other departmental initiatives). The Candidate’s record should also demonstrate a willingness to assume an individual share of representing the Department on College and University committees.
  2. The Department values service activities where the Candidate contributes to shared governance by consciously building upon her/his (1) academic expertise and (2) interest in specific university and community needs. All service work cited by the Candidate must be demonstrated to serve the College and University mission.
  3. The Candidate shall explain, and provide appropriate evidence, of the impact of her/his service. The Candidate should demonstrate how her/his skills and interests have contributed to the impact of her/his service work.