Tenure Review Standards

Berea College seeks to attract and retain a diverse faculty that serves the mission and Great Commitments of the College by its expertise and by its commitment to teaching, to scholarship and creative work, and to service. A candidate for a tenured appointment is expected to understand and support the College’s educational purposes, to address the curricular and related educational needs of the College, and to demonstrate achievement as well as genuine promise for continuing growth as teacher and scholar. In all instances a decision to grant tenure is based on a thorough review of professional promise and institutional needs.

Each member of the faculty brings distinct talents, background, and interests which allow outstanding contributions to the College. All faculty are reviewed in four areas, with some overlap among them. The following descriptions are intended to guide candidates, Division Chairs, the Faculty Status Council, and others involved in the mentoring and review of faculty. The goal in applying standards is distinction, and the awarding of tenure acknowledges that there is sufficient evidence in all areas of review. The examples of evidence offered below are neither exhaustive nor restrictive.

The tenure review standards are listed in order of importance, with teaching excellence being the sine qua non of retention, tenure, and advancement at Berea College, and with scholarship and/or creative work being understood as a critical component of maintaining good teaching.

1. Teaching Excellence

Berea College expects from its faculty excellence in teaching. This includes current knowledge of one’s subject and its relations to other fields of study, thorough and imaginative course design, a capacity to inform, challenge, and engage undergraduates, and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence through deliberate reflection about teaching.

Evidence of excellence in teaching may come from colleagues’ observations, the Division Chair’s evaluative letter, alumni surveys, student interviews, Instructor Evaluation Questionnaires, student self-assessments, and other indicators of student learning.

Evidence of regular, deliberate reflection about teaching may come from portfolio materials and statements, the quality of syllabi and assignments, rationales for changes in syllabi, assignments, or curricula resulting from evaluations of teaching, and willingness to explore other pedagogies to improve teaching quality.

2. Scholarship/Creative Work and Professional Growth

Berea College faculty are expected to engage in both (a) peer-reviewed scholarship, research, or creative work, and (b) activities that contribute to continuing professional growth.

Berea College understands scholarship/creative work as integral to excellent teaching, and all categories of scholarship are recognized (the scholarship of discovery, of integration, of application, of engagement, and of teaching). Part of what it means to be a scholar is to participate in a community of peers, i.e., sharing work, subjecting it to the constructive criticism of appropriate peers for the type of scholarship, and pursuing a scholarly agenda. Meeting this standard requires work that engages peers beyond the College. Evidence may include juried exhibitions; scholarly articles; presentations at international, national, regional or state conferences; critically reviewed performances; and grant applications.

Professional growth activities may include attending conferences, presentations for on-campus audiences, course and program innovation, and other contributions to the intellectual life on campus.

3. Mentoring Students

Berea College faculty are expected to support students through informed and effective academic advising and, as appropriate and possible, through other means such as labor supervision, informal consultation, and support of student activities and organizations.

Evidence may include responses from advisees, information about supervision of labor students, participation in residence life programs, advising student clubs, leading student travel, helping students pursue career and graduate school opportunities, sponsoring internships and independent studies, and arranging for special opportunities.

4. Service

Berea College faculty are expected to contribute constructively to governing and serving the College at the department, divisional, and College level.

Evidence may include engagement in meetings, discussions and decisions; willingness to serve on committees; involvement in program review and revision; participation in activities that enhance campus curricula; contributions to the mission of the College and its programs; and service to professional and community organizations.