The College of Arts and Architecture

Fixed-Term Academic Rank Guidelines for Promotion

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A. The Promotion Committee

1.  The Fixed-Term Promotion Committee shall consist of three members from among the associate and full professors in the School. Two will be elected members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, including the representative from the area of the candidate (Music Education, Performance, Theory-History-Composition-Technology, Ensemble and Conducting) and one other member as determined by the P&T Committee in consultation with the Director. The third member will be appointed by the Director. In years when more than one candidate is being considered for promotion, the Director will attempt to establish a single committee that meets the above criteria; however, separate committees may be formed as might be required.

2.  Members will serve a one-year term and may serve consecutive terms.

3.  The duties of the Committee members are to:

  • a. review School, College and University guidelines regarding Fixed-Term appointments and promotions;
  • b. assist the director by examining materials submitted for the dossier for format and organization,  recommending revisions as needed;
  • c. observe teaching;
  • d. evaluate the dossier and make independent judgments about the professional accomplishment of the candidate and his/her contribution to the School;
  • e. deliberate and submit recommendations.

4.  The Director shall convene the first meeting and charge the new Committee no later than October 1st. At that meeting, the Committee shall elect its own chairperson. The duties of the chairperson are:

  • a. to convene and preside over meetings;
  • b. to maintain records, and
  • c. to transmit Committee decisions.

5.  In situations where fewer than two members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee have sufficient rank to consider a particular case of promotion, additional qualified faculty will be elected to form the Committee.

B. Initiation of Reviews

1.  Nominations for promotion are normally initiated by the Director or by the Committee after consultation with the Director. Individual faculty members may recommend themselves for nomination to the Director or Committee, but the nomination is subject to approval by the Director or the Committee. If either the Director or the Committee believes the faculty member is ready for consideration, then a review shall be conducted. The Director will notify the faculty member in writing of his/her nomination, normally in the spring/summer of the previous year.

C. Time Schedule

The schedule for School of Music reviews for fixed-term rank promotions will be as specified by instructions from the University administration. The dates listed below shall be considered tentative, pending notification by the College as to the exact schedule for each review cycle. A definitive schedule will be distributed by the Director no later than September 1.

1.  By November 1: Candidates present their materials to the Director for preliminary review.

2.  By December 1: Candidates present their final dossier materials to the Director for dossier preparation as well as their supplemental support materials.

3.  By February 1: Peer letters and peer teaching observations are forwarded to the Director and made available for review by the candidate. Selected student quotes and the Director’s summary of the quotes (as outlined in section D.4) shall be made available for review by the candidate.

4.  By March 1: All reviews completed by the Committee and forwarded to the Director.

D. Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation

1.  Contribution to the institutional and program needs of the School of Music will be the principal criterion against which every faculty member’s fulfillment of assigned responsibilities will be measured.

2.  The basis for the review of candidates will be the material in the dossier, the supplemental support materials submitted by the candidate and the teaching portfolio. Contributions must be shown in each of the areas outlined in the Guidelines for Fixed-Term Academic Rank, including:

  • mastery of subject matter;
  • classroom instruction;
  • professional engagement, if relevant to the candidate’s responsibilities;
  • contributions to the School as a whole in terms of curricular development and/or collaborative involvement with other faculty;
  • service to the campus, college, public and profession.

3.  All candidates must submit materials as described in Guidelines for Fixed-Term Academic Rank and including:

  • a current CV;
  • a dossier following the outline used for other faculty promotion and tenure reviews to include (1) a narrative statement of no more than three pages explaining responsibilities, accomplishments, and contributions during the Penn State career, (2) a list of courses taught, advising responsibilities, membership on thesis/research/honors/recital committees, and other evidence of teaching and advising effectiveness; (3) research and creative accomplishments; and (4) service contributions;
  • a teaching portfolio, which might include syllabi, online course materials, examples of student work, SRTE comments or other materials to document the candidate’s teaching accomplishments;
  • supplementary materials as appropriate (such as selected articles, compositions, CDs, other published materials, reviews, sample concert programs, etc. to document the candidate’s research and creative accomplishments). 

4.  In addition to the materials submitted by the candidate, the following information will be sought:

     a.  In consultation with the Promotion Committee, the Director shall supplement SRTE information by soliciting written comments from a representative sampling of current and/or former students (alumni). Written comments shall be anonymous to all but the Director.

  1. The Director shall write a summary of the written comments, citing specific quotes that are representative of the written comments in their entirety and which substantiate the summary.
  2. The candidate being reviewed may read both the selected quotes and the Director’s summary. In cases when quotes and/or the summary are found to be factually inaccurate, the candidate should discuss his or her concerns with the Director, who should do what is possible to resolve the discrepancies within ten days.
  3. If the dispute cannot be resolved, and the candidate believes that factual inaccuracies persist in either the quotes or the summary, he or she may address these concerns by revision to the narrative statement. If disagreements are with the evaluative aspect of the summary, however, there shall be no change and no rebuttal. 

      b.  In consultation with the Committee, the Director will solicit peer review letters from internal faculty colleagues who have direct knowledge of the teaching, creative work, scholarship, and/or service of the candidate. These written evaluations will be included in the dossier. The candidate’s dossier and supplemental support materials will be made available to faculty solicited to write peer review letters.
In rare and exceptional cases and at the discretion of the Director, if a Committee desires to make use of an internal letter that includes the knowledge or expertise of a faculty member not on the promotion committee, the letter should be signed and included in its entirety in the section of the dossier that it addresses.

       c.  Classes and/or lessons taught by the candidate will be observed by members of the Committee to supplement information on teaching effectiveness. Prior to the observation, Committee members will communicate with candidates to discuss pertinent information to help to contextualize the observation. Written evaluations of these observations will be included in the dossier.

       d.  Peer review letters and peer teaching observations are accessible for review by the candidates at the time that they sign their dossiers (See Time Schedule). In cases when statements are found to be factually inaccurate, candidates should discuss their concerns with the Director, who should do what is possible to resolve the discrepancies within ten days.
If the dispute cannot be resolved, and candidates believe that factual inaccuracies persist in either peer review letters or peer teaching observations, they may address these concerns by revision to their narrative statements. If disagreements are with the evaluation itself, however, there should be no change and no rebuttal.

E. Guideline Revisions

1.  Any proposed revisions to the Guidelines will be submitted to the faculty by the Promotion Committee no later than March 1.

2.  By April 1, a faculty meeting will be held, the principal purpose of which will be the discussion of these recommendations.

3.  A  ballot will be distributed to all music faculty for the purpose of voting on the issues as defined during the previous meeting. The ballot will be designed to provide faculty with the opportunity to vote on each issue separately. The ballot must be returned no later than two weeks from the date of its distribution.

Approved by the School of Music faculty October 21, 2013