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Planning for Tenure

New tenure-track faculty are encouraged to create a long-term plan for tenure and promotion. This plan should focus on the three criteria for personnel reviews at UMassD: (1) teaching and advising; (2) scholarship and professional activity; and (3) service. New faculty are also encouraged to read the Faculty Federation Agreement carefully, especially the sections regarding contract renewal and tenure. As new faculty go about the tenure process, they are also urged to remember that they were hired through a selective, time-intensive process; your department selected each of you for good reasons, and your colleagues are here to help you achieve tenure and be a successful contributor to the campus.

The tenure review process

In addition to the annual evaluation of faculty (based on the Faculty Activities Report), tenure-track faculty at UMassD undergo three personnel reviews in the years leading up to tenure: a probationary review, a pre-tenure review, and the application for tenure and promotion.  For each review, you will be asked to compose a narrative describing your scholarship and professional activity, teaching and advising, and service. This narrative will be supplemented by evidence documenting your progress in teaching and advising, scholarship and professional activity, and service in accordance with your departmental standards for tenure and promotion. You should meet with your department chairperson early and often to discuss these personnel actions and your tenure plan.

Teaching faculty undergo a series of contract renewals followed by the opportunity for promotion. These personnel actions are accompanied by a narrative similar to that outlined above, but focused on teaching and advising and, if applicable, service. 

What does a tenure plan do?

A tenure plan articulates concrete goals in teaching and advising, scholarship and professional activity, and service. Your plan might address the following questions:

  • How do you view yourself as a teacher? What is your teaching philosophy? What kinds of instructional methods, modalities, and technologies do you employ to help your students achieve course learning outcomes? How do you assess student learning in your courses?
  • How does your research make a contribution to your field? To regional and national conversations? How would you describe your research projects to a non-specialist?
  • How will you create a sustained, continually developing research agenda?
  • What goals do you have as a researcher and scholar?
  • In what specific ways do you intend to innovate and/or improve your teaching and advising?
  • How do your teaching and research inform one another?
  • What evidence will you provide demonstrate your teaching effectiveness?
  • How will you contribute to the university community through departmental, college, and university service?

Initial steps to create your tenure plan

  1. Review the tenure timetable so that you know when you will be reviewed for the 3rd/4th year contract renewal, 5th/6th year contract renewal, and tenure and promotion.
  2. Each tenure-track faculty member should review their departmental standards for tenure and promotion. This document should have been provided upon your hire. This document outlines the expectations for teaching and advising, scholarship and professional activity, and service for each pre-tenure faculty member. 
  3. After reviewing your departmental standards document, map out a plan for how you think you might achieve the expectations for scholarship and professional activity, teaching and advising, and service. We will devote several NFI sessions to discussing the contract renewal and tenure process, writing your narrative, and presenting supplemental material.
  4. Review the Basic Outline for Contract Renewal and Tenure Dossiers. It is also suggested that you ask recently-tenured colleagues in your department and/or college to review their contract renewal and tenure narratives.


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