Guideline UL-HRG07 Promotion and Tenure Criteria

Main Policy Content

Contents:

  • Preamble
  • Criteria
    • The Scholarship of Librarianship
    • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
    • The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments
    • Service and the Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and the Profession
  • Definition of Ranks
    • Assistant Librarian
    • Associate Librarian
    • Librarian

PREAMBLE:

The University’s fundamental role is the “discovery, synthesis, transmission, and application of knowledge” [HR23, Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations].  That policy affirms the primacy of academic excellence in tenure and promotion decisions at Penn State, outlines the University’s general criteria for those decisions, and encourages each academic unit to develop its own more explicit expectations and standards as the operational basis for its tenure and promotion recommendations.  Each academic unit applies the University’s general criteria “in light of a detailed knowledge of the specific goals” of that unit and amplifies the general criteria with specific criteria tailored to its mission.  This document defines the criterion unique to the faculty in the University Libraries, the Scholarship of Librarianship, and amplifies the other three criteria in light of the role of the University Libraries within the University.

The University Libraries are integral to the discovery, synthesis, transmission, and application of knowledge.  The mission of the Libraries states:

“The University Libraries inspire intellectual discovery and learning through robust information resources and academic collaborations in teaching and research that connect the Penn State community and citizens of Pennsylvania to the world of knowledge and new ideas.”

By furthering this mission, members of the Libraries’ faculty facilitate the integration and application of existing knowledge to create new knowledge, and promote learning, teaching, and research.  The complexity of this mission requires a Libraries’ faculty diverse in expertise and responsibilities.  The Libraries’ Promotion and Tenure Criteria are designed to promote evaluation of each faculty member’s unique contributions to the Libraries, the University, and the community of scholars.

Promotion decisions are based on recognized performance and achievement in each of the criteria.  Tenure decisions are based on the potential for further achievement in the criteria as indicated by performance during the provisional appointment.  The presumption is that a positive tenure decision for an Assistant Librarian is sufficient to warrant promotion to Associate Librarian.  (See the University’s “Administrative Guidelines for HR-23: Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations,” II. Criteria for Promotion and Tenure)

CRITERIA:

The Scholarship of Librarianship:

The scholarship of librarianship is the most important criterion for faculty in the University Libraries, and is given the most weight in tenure and promotion decisions.  University libraries are complex information environments, and the responsibilities of members of the Libraries’ faculty vary markedly in their focus.  The scholarship of librarianship comprises many facets of knowledge and practice, and each faculty assignment focuses on certain aspects of that scholarship.  The varied nature of faculty responsibilities and contributions constitutes a strength of the University Libraries, and this variety among our faculty is valued.  The narrative statement and a brief description of the faculty member’s core responsibilities help reviewers understand the unique role of that faculty member within the University Libraries.

The scholarship of librarianship includes:

  • the ability to collect, organize and ensure long term durable access to information in all of its forms;
  • the ability to teach students, faculty, staff, and community members how to discover, evaluate, use, organize and create information;
  • the ability to apply professional knowledge and judgment in the management of library collections, services, and departments to further the teaching, research, and service missions of the University;
  • the ability to partner within the academic community to create and promote new forms of scholarly communication.

Teaching by members of the Libraries’ faculty is expected to be of high quality and to advance the learning experiences and learning outcomes of students and other audiences, and to contribute to the development of information literacy and an aptitude for life-long learning on the part of students and other audiences. Credit instruction is documented under “The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” Non-credit instruction is documented under “The Scholarship of Librarianship.”

The University Libraries value excellence in librarianship.  Members of the Libraries’ faculty should demonstrate sustained growth in librarianship and high-quality contributions in the area(s) of their core responsibilities in librarianship.  Documented initiative, innovation, creativity, and leadership in the design of services and solutions are particularly valued, as is evidence of the positive impact of the scholarship of librarianship.

Candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Librarian should exhibit a pattern of growth and development leading to excellence by the sixth year.  Candidates for promotion to Librarian should demonstrate a sustained record of excellence, as well as outstanding creativity and leadership.

Evaluative methods: Assessment of the quality of contributions to the scholarship of librarianship is based on peer evaluation, and documentation of accomplishments provided by the candidate, including measures of the impact of those accomplishments.  Candidates are encouraged to summarize in the dossier, and/or provide in the supplementary file, evidence or measures of the impact of the scholarship of librarianship.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning:  (when assigned)

Teaching of credit-bearing resident education or online education courses is documented under the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, as are formal advising responsibilities, direction of undergraduate honors theses and graduate theses, and service on graduate committees. 

Teaching by members of the Libraries’ faculty is expected to be of high quality and to advance the learning experiences and learning outcomes of students. Teaching by members of the Libraries’ faculty is expected to be of high quality and to advance the learning experiences and learning outcomes of students.

The development and teaching of credit-bearing courses, whether offered through the Library Studies Program, another college, or the World Campus, is one of several ways in which members of the Libraries’ faculty promote student learning.  All members of the Libraries’ faculty document their contributions to the Scholarship of Librarianship, the Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments, and Service and the Scholarship of Service.  When a member of the Libraries’ faculty documents contributions to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the balance of the dossier changes: the contributions to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning are valued and expectations for the other criteria are adjusted to reflect the overall balance.

Evaluative methods: Peer reviews of credit instruction and student evaluations (including SRTEs when applicable). Efforts to assess and improve one’s teaching are especially valued, as is evidence of reflective and creative use of a variety of teaching methods that advance learning. A variety of evaluative methods strengthens the assessment and is encouraged.

The Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments:

A faculty member of the University Libraries is expected to establish and sustain a program of high quality research and creative accomplishments appropriate to his or her core responsibilities and rank, which are consistent with the Libraries’ mission and goals.

The scholarship of research and creative accomplishments is documented through a portfolio of quality accomplishments, reflecting an active and focused program.  The University Libraries highly value products of scholarship that have undergone an independent evaluation and selection process, such as peer review, rigorous editorial selection, or competitive juried selection.  A rigorous editorial selection process may apply to books, parts of books, and articles in professionally significant nonrefereed journals, as well as exhibits and other forms of creative activity.  Also highly valued are contributions that have been invited or otherwise solicited, as well as those published by, or presented at conferences sponsored by, professional or scholarly organizations. The University Libraries welcome scholarship in emerging forms of scholarly communication. The University Libraries respect both collaboration and individual initiative.

Quality in research and creative accomplishment is valued regardless of the format or means of dissemination.

Libraries’ faculty members throughout their six years in the tenure process should demonstrate sustained progress in the Scholarship of Research and Creative Accomplishments.  At the second-year review, evidence of the formulation of a research agenda, such as manuscripts in progress, are expected.  By the fourth year, candidates should demonstrate that they have begun to share their research with the profession through publications, presentations at conferences, or other evidence of research.  Continued progress in research should be demonstrated at the sixth year with additional publications, presentations, or other evidence of research.

For tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Librarian, the candidate must present evidence of an established reputation in the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments as indicated by the criteria examples listed above and by external letters of assessment.  For promotion to the rank of Librarian, the successful candidate must demonstrate a level of achievement in the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments beyond that presented at the time of promotion to Associate Librarian and give evidence of a continuing capacity for significant research and creative accomplishment.

Evaluative methods: Contributions as indicated above; list of honors or awards for scholarship or for professional activity; external letters of assessment (for sixth-year and promotion reviews). Evidence of the impact of the candidate’s research and creative accomplishments, and of the candidate’s reputation in the discipline, are highly regarded.

Service and the Scholarship of Service to the University, Society, and the Profession:

The University Libraries highly value active participation and leadership in service to the campus, University Libraries, University, and profession.  Members of the Libraries’ faculty are expected to apply their professional expertise in developing new programs and services, providing solutions to problems, and guiding the strategic direction of the Libraries within the faculty member’s core responsibilities.  Libraries’ faculty members contribute to the governance of the University or its various units, and to the diversity and intellectual life of the University and the community.  Participation in state, regional, national, or international associations or organizations is expected.

Contributions in this category may include but are not limited to: participation in committees at all levels; participation in task forces and other problem-solving activities; mentorship; contributions to the University’s programs to enhance equal opportunity and cultural diversity; assistance to student organizations; and participation in academic governance.  Outreach service may include leadership or service in professional associations or learned societies; participation in community affairs as a representative of the University; and assistance in the faculty member’s field of expertise to groups, organizations, corporations, government, and communities. 

Candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Librarian should have documented a sustained record of active service by the sixth year. Candidates for promotion to Librarian should show evidence of leadership in the profession.

Evaluative methods: Contributions as indicated above, external letters of assessment (for sixth-year and promotion reviews).

DEFINITION OF RANKS:

Assistant Librarian:

The assistant librarian should possess a graduate degree in library or information studies or other appropriate degree; must have demonstrated potential ability as a librarian; and must have shown promise of growth in research and service.

Associate Librarian:

The associate librarian should possess the same qualifications as the assistant librarian, demonstrate excellence in librarianship, show evidence of an established reputation in research, and have a strong record of service to the University and the profession.

Librarian:

In addition to the qualifications for Associate Librarian, the Librarian should demonstrate sustained excellence in librarianship, give evidence of creativity in his/her field of specialization (including a continuing capacity for significant contributions in research and creative accomplishments), and show evidence of leadership in the profession.  The rank of Librarian should be reserved for persons of proven stature in librarianship, research, and service.

Effective Date: July 1, 2005
Date Approved: January 20, 2005 (Provost)
Date Approved: January 12, 2005 (Dean)
Date Approved: December 8, 2004 (Libraries Faculty Organization)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • July 12, 2017 – Approved by Dean Barbara Dewey and Provost Nicholas Jones with Definition of Ranks reinstated
  • August 9, 2016 – Revised to reflect legislation passed by the Library Faculty Organization 
  • December 12, 2004 – Completely revised criteria guidelines from the Promotion and Tenure Task Force
  • September 17, 2002 – Editorial revisions based on UniSCOPE Model (LFO Faculty Affairs)
  • August 30, 2001 – Editorial revisions to "Definition of Ranks" approved by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • February 9, 1997 – Completely revised criteria guidelines
  • July 11, 1979; May 14, 1982; June 17, 1991; July 29, 1993; August 2, 1994 – Revised
  • November 1976 – New criteria

Last Review Date:  July 2017