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

Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) Standards - Liberal Studies

Definition: A policy for the evaluation of tenure track faculty within the Liberal Studies Department
Authority: CSU/CFA Unit 3 Collective Bargaining Agreement
Scope: Tenure Track Faculty within the Liberal Studies Department.
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 06/01/2016
Originally Implemented:  
Signature Page/PDF: View Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) Standards - Liberal Studies Policy



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.



  1. 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 (AUWR).     

    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 on campus.

    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 letters).

  2. Teaching expectations:

    1. 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.
    2. Variety of Courses:  Each faculty member offers a balance of service and specialty courses.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 a career.
    5. Probationary period: 
      1. 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.

      2. We recognize the importance of experimentation and the labor involved in constructing, employing, assessing and modifying curriculum.

      3. We expect faculty to enhance and extend the curriculum in the Department.

    6. Promotion to Associate Professor, Promotion to Full Professor, Periodic Evaluation of Tenured Faculty:

      1. 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.
      2. We expect a sustained and ongoing commitment to best pedagogical practices.

  3. Evidentiary Base for Teaching
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Syllabi: The file shall include representative syllabi from all courses taught during the period under review.  Syllabi should conform to university syllabus guidelines.
    4. 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.
    5. 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, etc.
      • 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Papers published in refereed proceedings.  Candidate should demonstrate the significance of the conference and its published proceedings to his/her discipline.
    4. 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.)
    5. Successful external funded major grant.
    6. 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:

    1. Papers published in proceedings
    2. Presentations at professional meetings
    3. Editor-reviewed articles published in journals, newspapers, magazines, and other media
    4. Published book reviews
    5. Invited keynote or speaker
    6. Special recognition and awards for research/creative activities
    7. Funded regional or internal grants for scholarly research/creative activity work (e.g., local organizations, University Professional Development, Distinguished Teacher in Residence, etc.)
    8. Self-published books (related to candidate’s field of study)
    9. Unfunded peer reviewed external grants for scholarly research/creative activity work
    10. Working papers
    11. Submitted papers
    12. Sponsored or contract research
    13. Technical reports
    14. Unfunded grants
    15. Organizing, presenting, moderating, or serving as a discussant at professional conferences, workshops, training or continuing education related to the faculty members’ program of research.

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

    1. 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. 
    2. 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 A.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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 discipline.


  1. 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 about service.
  2. 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).
    1. Routine Service:

      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
    2. Major 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 evaluation
      • Other activities may count as major Community/Professional service
    3. 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
  3. 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 activities