RTP Guidelines


University RTP Guidelines: Effective AY 2016 onwards-

S15-7, University Policy, Retention, Tenure and Promotion
for Regular Faculty Employees: Procedures

S15-8, University Policy, Retention, Tenure and Promotion
for Regular Faculty Employees: Criteria and Standards

RTP Guidelines for the School of Information
Approved 27 April 2016
Effective 22 August 2016
Guidelines for Academic Assignment,
Scholarly/Artistic/Professional Achievement, and for Service

No specific resources required
Vote: December 4th 2015
100% of the tenured and probationary faculty voted and approved the RTP guidelines.

Academic Assignment 
Scholarly/Artistic/Professional Achievement 

I. Overview of the School

Since fall 2009, the School of Information (SOI) has taught exclusively online, using a variety of web-based media including the University online learning management system. Our students interact with peers and instructors through web conferencing, social networking platforms, a web-based learning management system, and immersive environments. Most course content is delivered asynchronously giving our students the freedom to access the course at any time they choose, from any location. Some courses also include “live” synchronous sessions. By using sophisticated technology, our students are better prepared to navigate a rapidly changing information landscape successfully and apply technology in their professional lives.

The School is guided in its RTP considerations by S15-7 “University Policy, Retention, Tenure and Promotion for Regular Faculty Employees: Procedures” and S15-8 “University Policy, Retention, Tenure and Promotion for Regular Faculty Employees: Criteria and Standards”. This document describes the application of those standards within the School.

II. Effectiveness in Academic Assignment

Effectiveness in academic assignment within the School refers primarily to the faculty member’s own instruction of students, but it may also include activities that are critical to the overall teaching effectiveness of the School. In some cases, assigned or release time may be provided to enable a faculty member to carry out these roles.

Initiation of New specializations or Sequences of Courses

To provide leadership for a fast-paced profession, the School of Information faculty must stay abreast of current trends and practices and revise the curriculum to reflect anticipated changes. Some faculty members may devote a significant amount of time to developing new professional specializations or new sequences of courses. This may involve developing syllabi, course content, readings, and assignments, and shepherding new course proposals through administrative review. Curricular development on this level is another way in which a faculty member can demonstrate teaching effectiveness.

Major Revisions of Existing Courses

Activities that require exceptional teaching skills and unusual time commitment may include major revisions of existing courses to reflect changes in professional theory and practice, involvement in developing the core courses upon which the rest of the curriculum depends, exploration of new and innovative pedagogical techniques or technologies, and involvement in interdisciplinary cooperation in course development.

The normal semester teaching load in the School of Information is three classes, plus the supervision of independent studies, and participating in the evaluation of electronic portfolios for the required “culminating experience” before graduation. Teaching effectiveness is measured in accordance with SJSU Policy F12-6: Evaluation of Effectiveness in Teaching for all Faculty and includes criteria such as SOTE scores, peer evaluations, and other evidence of commitment to teaching excellence, as detailed below.

Evaluation of Achievements in Academic Assignment

S15-8, – “Committees and administrators shall write an evaluation of a candidate’s achievements in academic assignment and shall rate the overall performance in this category according to the following descriptive scale:”

S15-8, – “Unsatisfactory. The candidate has not documented teaching accomplishments that meet the baseline level as described below.”

S15-8, – “Baseline. The candidate has taught assigned courses that are well crafted, responsive to constructive peer review and appropriate for the approved learning outcomes. The candidate has taken measures to correct any problems identified earlier in either direct observations (peer reviews) or prior performance evaluations. Recent direct observations (peer reviews) are supportive. Student evaluations, taking into account the nature, subject, and level of classes taught, are generally within the School, College and University norms by the end of the review period, particularly for classes within the candidate’s primary focus and any curriculum specifically identified in the appointment letter.”

S15-8, – “Good. In addition to the baseline as described above, the candidate has documented a degree of innovation within the teaching assignment.”

S15-8, – “Good. Candidates meeting this level of achievement must have at least some student evaluations above the norms, when taken in context of the nature, subject, and level of classes taught.”

Good teachers will show, but are not limited to, the following accomplishments (in no order of importance):

  • Effectively taught or created an unusually wide range of courses or created one or more new courses to fill important curricular needs.
  • Created, updated, and oversaw curriculum used by others as part of a common core.
  • Coordinated multi-section courses.
  • Documented how the online course they created uses innovative pedagogical approaches to stimulate and achieve course learning outcomes in an online environment.

S15-8, – “Excellent. In addition to a good performance as described above, the candidate has either engaged in a higher level of curricular innovation than described above, or documented widespread positive impacts for student success, or achieved both student and peer evaluations that are consistently above the norms when taken in context of the nature, subject, and level of classes taught. Excellent teachers may have received recognition or awards for their teaching, they may have mentored other teachers, or they may have created curriculum that is adopted at other institutions.”

Excellent teachers will also demonstrate a signal achievement such as one of the following:

  • Received recognition or awards for their teaching.
  • Mentored other faculty in the area of distance learning or other forms of instructional design via venues such as T3 (Teaching Tips and Techniques).
  • Created curricula for the iSchool that are adopted at other institutions.
  • Taken innovative approaches to infusing courses with dimensions of diversity or international content and activities.
  • Demonstrated interdisciplinary excellence as evidenced by cross-departmental curricular collaborations.

III. Scholarly/Artistic/Professional Achievement

Probationary and tenured faculty members are expected to demonstrate scholarly and professional achievement. Scholarship is the more important of the two.

Scholarly Achievement

Library and Information Science (LIS) is a broad discipline, and it draws on many related disciplines. Some LIS research is technical and involves design of information systems, some is social and addresses such topics as information use, and some is historical. The expectations of scholarship vary depending on the area of expertise of the faculty member. It is the responsibility of the faculty member, and to a lesser extent of the first level RTP committee, to make clear in the dossier and recommendation any norms that may be unique to the area in which the scholar is working. For instance, a historian may write monographs and relatively few refereed articles, whereas a researcher in information retrieval may write only journal articles and never publish a monograph. Similarly, book reviews in history can be relatively substantial intellectual contributions, whereas for a researcher in information retrieval, book reviews have far less significance. Another difference within the field of LIS is between single-authored and co-authored works. History and information retrieval serve as contrasting examples here too: most works taking a historical approach to the field will have a single author, whereas it is not uncommon in information retrieval research to have much larger teams of experimenters. When work that is the product of joint effort is presented as evidence of scholarship, clarification of the candidate’s role in the joint effort should be provided in the dossier.

In general, monographs undergoing a standard editorial selection process, chapters in books undergoing a standard editorial selection process, and refereed journal articles (print or online) carry the greatest weight.

Conference papers that are both refereed and published in proceedings are also important. The award of a grant by an agency or organization such as the National Science Foundation, or a scholarly association is also an indication of the high quality of a scholar’s work. As noted above, in this discipline, research includes design projects of various kinds (such as original programming or app development); presentation of design projects at a refereed conference, publication of design projects in a scholarly journal, or independent peer evaluation of design projects are needed for the work to be included as a Scholarly Achievement. Those works which have been through the most competitive refereeing process or published by the most prestigious journals or presses will carry the greatest weight in the RTP process.

Other achievements that indicate the faculty member is a contributing member of the discipline include book reviews, unpublished conference presentations, and in some cases magazine or web publications; these will be evaluated on an individual basis. To be important in the tenure or promotion decision, any such publications must be substantive, original contributions to knowledge.

It is the faculty member’s responsibility to provide evidence of the significance of any works which have not been refereed. This evidence may take the form of explanation in the text of the dossier. Evidence of significance may also, but need not necessarily, take the form of review or assessment by other scholars in the field. Such outside review is not needed for publications which have been refereed.

Probationary faculty members are expected to have refereed publications of acceptable quality before being considered for promotion or tenure. These publications should show evidence of a research trajectory which will continue to develop over the course of the scholar’s career; in most cases, they should not be all drawn from the same data set. As noted above, expectations will vary depending on the nature of the faculty member’s research. For promotion to the rank of professor, there must be a substantial record of high quality scholarship over an extended period of time.

Works in progress should be included in the dossier; they are evidence of ongoing productivity. The School recognizes that in different review years, there will be different mixes of completed and in-progress work.

Evaluation of Achievements in Scholarly/Artistic/Professional Achievement

S15-8, – “Committees and administrators shall write an evaluation of a candidate’s achievements in scholarly/artistic/professional achievement and shall rate the overall performance in this category according to the following descriptive scale.”

S15-8, – “Unsatisfactory. The candidate has not created scholarly/professional accomplishments that meet the baseline level as described below.”

S15-8, – “Baseline. The candidate has, over the course of the period of review, created a body of completed scholarly/professional achievements and shows the promise of continued growth and success within his/her discipline.”

Scholarly/Artistic/Professional Achievements must include:

  • Publications in refereed scholarly journals. If publications have several authors, the applicant should explain their specific contribution to the publication.

And, in addition, may include (in no order of importance):

  • Publications in non-refereed journals.
  • Panel participation at professional meetings.
  • Book chapter(s).
  • Conference papers presented at national or international meetings.

S15-8, – “Good. In addition to the baseline descriptions, the candidate has created scholarly/artistic/professional achievements that constitute important contributions to the discipline and that help to enhance the scholarly/artistic/professional reputation of the candidate’s department, school, college, SJSU, or the CSU more generally.”

Candidates ranked as good will be able to demonstrate continual refereed publications over the course of the review period. Refereed publications may be (in no order of importance):

  • Peer reviewed scholarly journal articles.
  • Publication of a peer reviewed chapter in a scholarly book.
  • Publication of a scholarly book (letter from an external reviewer or book reviews).
  • Editor of a scholarly book (letter from an external reviewer or book reviews).
  • Peer reviewed technical reports.
  • Substantial peer reviewed encyclopedia entries.
  • Invited presentations (international and national).
  • Conference Proceedings, refereed.
  • Extending the disciplinary boundaries of the field via interdisciplinary collaborations in co-authorship and other forms of research production.

S15-8, – “Excellent. In addition to a good performance as described above, this level requires achievements of both sufficient quality and quantity to establish a significant, important, and growing reputation within the candidate’s field. Excellence in scholarly/professional achievement requires a body of work that is recognized as significant within the discipline.”

Excellent accomplishments include but are not limited to the following (in no order of importance)

  • Publications in leading refereed journals within the specific area of scholarship (due to the breadth of scholarship in our discipline, the faculty member should make the case for a journal being a leading refereed journal within their part of the discipline).
  • Frequent citation or other demonstration of significant impact of publications.
  • Receipt of awards for research or scholarship from professional organizations.
  • Editor of a textbook that is adopted by academic programs at other institutions.
  • Editor of peer-reviewed journals.
  • Receiving internal or external peer-reviewed funding for research.
  • Publishing research that improves the school’s global network of relationships with industry experts.
  • Publishing scholarship that involves emerging international contexts or collaborations.
  • Keynote presentations (international and national).

IV. Service

Faculty members will be evaluated for their contributions to the School’s instructional programs and for significant service to the School, College, and University.

Core Course Cluster Coordination

Because the School makes extensive use of part-time faculty, we invest faculty time and other resources into ensuring that they provide the same high-quality teaching that we expect of fulltime faculty. Our online environment makes it possible to hire individuals who are outstanding in particular professional areas no matter where in the country, or indeed in the world, they reside. However, in addition to their personal educational and professional preparation, they need an awareness of the expectations for their classes, the place of their courses within the curriculum as a whole, and the relationship of the classes they teach to other sections of the same class as well as to other courses that logically precede or build upon them.

Each of the School’s three core courses is treated as an individual “cluster” with its own coordinator; because these courses provide a foundation on which subsequent classes will build, they are carefully evaluated and monitored by knowledgeable full-time faculty. 

A course cluster coordinator is a full-time faculty member with a specialization in that area. He or she is expected to serve as guide and mentor for both full-time and part-time faculty teaching a course in the cluster. The responsibilities include ensuring that the student learning outcomes are appropriate and that different sections of the same course are addressing the same outcomes; regular assessments are made to ensure that the courses are complementary and cover the field in a thorough manner. Related tasks may involve recommending changes in assignments or readings, facilitating discussions of effective assignments and teaching techniques, and keeping materials up to date and representative of current research and practice in the field. Coordinators of core courses also ensure that these courses provide the foundation on which subsequent classes need to build. In some cases, the coordinator works with an advisory committee to ensure the continuing relevance of course content to professional practice.

Coordinating sections of a core course is a far-reaching activity that has an impact on student learning in a number of courses. A coordinator works directly with course content and with the instructors of those courses; the ability to do this successfully is thus also tied closely to a faculty member’s teaching effectiveness.

Activities Valuable to the Disciplinary Community

Some scholarly activities are undertaken because they are valuable to the disciplinary community. Examples include refereeing manuscripts submitted for journal publication, serving on committees of scholarly associations, serving as judges for awards given by a scholarly association, and so on. These provide evidence that the faculty member is contributing to the discipline, but do not substitute for publication of original scholarship and research.

Service to Students

All faculty members are assigned student advisees and are expected to provide timely and informed academic and professional advising. Other evidence of student service includes advising student organizations, spearheading student-oriented events, participating in educational equity activities, and other related activities.

Service to the University and the Professional Community

Faculty shall demonstrate leadership and a commitment to the School of Information, College of Information, Data and Society, and SJSU through active participation on committees, special assignments, task force groups, and other voluntary or elected activities. All tenure-track faculty members are expected to attend and participate in School of Information faculty meetings and to serve on governance committees. They are also expected to participate in and contribute to college and university committees. Professional outreach activities related to the faculty member’s professional or scholarly expertise will also be considered within this category.

Evaluation of Achievements in Service

S15-8, – “Committees and administrators shall write an evaluation of a candidate’s achievements in service and shall rate the overall performance in this category according to the following descriptive scale:”

S15-8, – “Unsatisfactory. The candidate has not documented service activities that meet the baseline level described below.”

S15-8, – “Baseline. The candidate has undertaken a fair share of the workload required to keep the School functioning well”.

This includes activities such as attending faculty meetings, working on school committees, advising (including e-Portfolio advising), participating in strategic planning, and attending T3 (Teaching Tips and Techniques) workshops.

S15-8,- – “Good. In addition to the baseline described (in baseline), the candidate has also participated in significant service activities beyond the department. This will usually include college-level service and may include University level service, service in the community, or significant activities in a professional organization. In at least one facet of service, the candidate will have demonstrated leadership resulting in tangible, documented achievements.”

Good accomplishments include but are not limited to the following (in no order of importance):

  • Engaged in outreach to students and alumni at conferences.
  • Led a Program Advisory Group within the iSchool.
  • Documented active participation on committees within a professional organization.
  • Documented active participation on committees within the College or the University.
  • Contributed to accreditation processes and procedures.
  • Provided advisement to student or professional groups.
  • Mentored students as a member of a supervisory committee for masters or doctoral programs at SJSU or other institutions (letter from committee lead required).

S15-8, – “Excellent. In addition to a good performance as described above, the candidate has documented significant influence at a high level, whether it is service to students, the University, or the profession.”

Excellent accomplishments include but are not limited to the following (in no order of importance):

  • Acted as a core course or course cluster coordinator.
  • Occupied an elected or appointed position of leadership within the School, College, University, and/or Profession, and documented specific accomplishments.
  • Designed and implemented training programs in support of professional development.
  • Engaged in service that contributes to inclusive excellence and diversity in the iSchool’s community.
  • Worked on steering committees or funding agency panels.
  • In the capacity of a member of a supervisory committee, oversaw the completion of a successfully defended masters or doctoral thesis at SJSU or other institutions (letter from committee lead required).
  • Consulted for organizations (with supporting letters).