Responsibilities of candidates for the Fall elections shall be determined each year as follows; the Mathematics Coordinator for the Commonwealth Campuses will place on the ballot all eligible faculty who consent to serve, and will supervise the election.
Any promotion and tenure criteria established by The Pennsylvania State University must reflect "the special responsibilities of its various campuses and the differing nature of the work performed by professional personnel in teaching and research" (p. 75, The Academic Policy Plan). The primary responsibility of Commonwealth Campus faculty is teaching at the lower division level; the primary responsibility of the University Park faculty is teaching and research up to and including graduate education. Because of the sharp contrast in the mission of these two teaching groups, it is obvious that the criteria of their reward systems must, of necessity be different.
According to the recently established policy for promotion and tenure, the criteria for faculty advancement are to be based on teaching ability and effectiveness, research competence, scholarship and mastery of the subject matter, and service to the University and the public. For the Commonwealth Campus faculty member, demonstrated excellence in teaching ability and effectiveness is a primary prerequisite for any positive tenure and promotion decisions. The relative weights of the other three broad categories must be of sufficient flexibility to adequately reward those instructors who have made significant contributions to the educational pursuits of their campuses and who are judged to possess the talents necessary to sustain such contributions in the future.
It is not, or should it ever be, the intention of the Commonwealth Campus system to establish a publish or perish policy for its faculty. Rather, a policy should be established which will encourage the faculty to respond to those challenges and needs which will have the greatest impact in improving the educational quality of the local campus. This often requires that the Commonwealth Campus faculty direct its efforts most heavily into areas other than research activity. Consequently, it is imperative that the faculty reward structure be defined with as great a flexibility as possible consistent with the aims of the local campus and the University. Once teaching effectiveness has been demonstrated no one category of competence should be given universal preference for positive decisions to the exclusion of others.
Scholarship cannot be defined easily but we find this statement of the Mathematical Association of America's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics for Two-Year Colleges most useful.
"It should be understood that no academic program or degree in itself qualifies an individual to teach effectively at any level unless this preparation is accompanied by a genuine interest in teaching and by professional activities reflecting continuing mathematical growth. These activities may assume many forms: (a) taking additional course work, (b) reading and studying to keep aware of new developments and to explore new fields, (c) engaging in research for new mathematical results (even when unpublished), (d) developing new courses, new ways of teaching and new classroom material, (e) publishing expository or research articles, (f) participating in the activities of professional mathematical organizations. This list reflects our conviction that an effective teacher must maintain an active interest in the communication of ideas and have a dedication to studying, learning, and understanding mathematics at levels significantly beyond those at which he is teaching."Community activities of a Commonwealth Campus faculty member should be evaluated carefully to distinguish between those related to faculty and professional concerns and those of a purely civic nature. It is the former which are significant in the tenure and promotion decision.
For a Commonwealth Campus faculty member who is recommended for promotion and/or tenure without having an earned doctoral degree, the definition of "or its equivalent in organized research or professional practice" shall be made on an individual basis according to his/her assigned responsibilities. Each recommendation will specify the "equivalence" demonstrated by the candidate under review.
In all decisions, the quality as well as the quantity of the contribution is to be examined. As a general principle, quality is of much more importance than quantity. Certainly a high quality performance in one circumstance reflects favorably on contributions less easily evaluated.
We urge that each local Commonwealth Campus promotion and/or tenure committee solicit written opinions from those faculty and students able to offer thoughtful perspectives on the various activities of the candidate. The Mathematics Department Promotion and Tenure Review Committee for the Commonwealth Campus faculty should review the complete dossier on each candidate who has received a positive recommendation from either the local campus or the Mathematics Department.
Rank and tenure decisions demand a cautious and prudent attitude toward testimony with committee members exercising their best judgement on the relative merit of the various documents and statements offered.
It is the responsibility of each candidate to submit to the local campus committee(s) any material which would support the candidate's nomination. On the other hand, the candidate should be informed of the judgements rendered by the reviewing bodies.
This document does not contain an exhaustive list of specific criteria, nor does it propose rigid guidelines to be followed. The final judgement must be based, of course, on generally accepted norms of professional competence, but the dangers inherent in adopting a too quantified approach in these matters is obvious.
The aim is to insure that academic competence and professional probity is rewarded; academic incompetence and professional improbity is not rewarded. The subtle and delicate combination of qualities possessed by the ideal Commonwealth Campus faculty person is not defined easily, but the Commonwealth Campus Promotion and/or Tenure Committee(s) is the committee primarily responsible for evaluating the candidate and must insist on its primacy to the extent that its decisions are professionally sound and well articulated.