College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

CAHS Guidelines for Development of Departmental Personnel Policies and Procedures

As approved by CAHS Chairs 10/09/02, amended based on input of CAHS faculty Fall 2002

Committee members: Lucinda Cole, Nancy Gish, Cheryl Laz, Susan Picinich, Robert Russell, Henry Tracy.

The purpose of these procedures for CAHS is to provide clear, consistent principles for evaluating teaching, scholarship, and service on which all units may frame specific criteria. Its effect will be to make consistent expectations for all units and to create an open, consistent process of communication and review for each member of the college. These policies and procedures are subject to the personnel policies and procedures of the University of Maine System, the University of Southern Maine, and Associated Faculties of the University of Maine. This document is intended to clarify and provide guidance to members of the College and to replace the variety of previous statements which are contradictory and which no longer reflect the mission or current realities of USM. Based on the "Mission Statement of the University of Southern Maine," of September 1991, this document assumes that "the University of Southern Maine's fundamental mission is teaching, research, and public service for the benefit of citizens of Maine and society in general."


The policies described below are designed as guidelines for the development of department/program/school personnel policies and procedures. Each unit in CAHS is charged with developing criteria for promotion and tenure in keeping with the unit's philosophy and mission. All peer committee members should participate in drafting these criteria. "Peer committee member" is understood to mean tenured and tenure-track faculty. The unit's peer committee should be a committee of the whole (that is, including all tenured and tenure-track faculty in the unit). Each unit should develop a clear and appropriate voting policy for peer committee members with regard to personnel actions. The peer committee in a joint appointment should include committee members from the units involved in proportion to the duties assigned. The relationship among teaching, scholarship, and service should be clearly defined in the unit's Criteria for Promotion and Tenure. Teaching

The evaluation of teaching involves review of preparation, presentation, and reception. Effective teaching is central to the mission of the University of Southern Maine and should therefore be regarded as necessary for promotion and tenure. The peer committee submits a report summarizing the faculty member's teaching during the evaluation period and evaluating it in terms of the standards outlined below. The peer committee report should be based upon a review of teaching materials such as syllabi, assignments, tests, and the use of instructional technology; summaries of student evaluations; and evaluation of student results where appropriate. All are necessary to any judgment about teaching because student responses in evaluations may not fully reflect current knowledge in the field, and skill in preparation may not effectively create student engagement. The report should also note new course development and the number of students taught. For tenure and promotion faculty are encouraged to request peer observation of teaching, and may submit to the peer committee a teaching portfolio.

"Teaching competence" is understood as a sustained pattern of effective teaching during the period of the evaluation. Effective teaching may be demonstrated through course preparation as evidenced through syllabi and course materials, class management as determined through one or more class visits, and student reception as evidenced by student evaluations.

"High quality teaching" is understood as a sustained pattern of effective teaching which shows excellence in some areas.

"Teaching excellence" is understood as going beyond the sustained pattern of effective teaching during the period of the evaluation. It involves evidence of exceptional care in preparation, exceptional student evaluations, and/or exceptional development of courses, curricula, and pedagogy.

Another valuable form of teaching is the teaching of one's peers, which occurs when scholarship or creative work is presented to professional communities. These presentations serve as connecting points between teaching and scholarship and are a valuable contribution of the teacher/scholar.


Scholarship comprises research, creative activity, and scholarly publication. Scholarship is valued because it constitutes a particular form of relationship to and engagement with the University, with society, and with state, national, and international academic and professional communities. This definition of scholarship (what it is, why it is valued, how it is assessed) focuses on that relationship and engagement. Faculty should be evaluated on their distinctive contributions to their discipline(s) through scholarly publications, research, and/or creative work. Contributions are distinctive when they are original, when they address a general and public body of knowledge or creative work, and when they are presented to professional communities including those beyond the local (i.e. regional, national, or international). Such contributions are risk-taking in the sense of submitting one's work to peers for review and evaluation. Such contributions, fundamental to the University's mission, also add to the body of knowledge or creative work in a field.

The University and its faculty have as primary functions the discovery of knowledge, the interpretation of culture, and the creation and performance of the arts. While some proportion of scholarship is directed toward improved teaching and toward professional service in the community, this does not replace the function of making original contributions to a discipline.

Because in any field, the development of original knowledge may take many forms, it is the responsibility of each faculty member, in consultation with members of the peer committee, to make a judicious selection from among the many possible forms of scholarship, some of which are listed below. Publication, presentation or performance in peer-reviewed venues should be required for promotion and tenure and valued above non peer-reviewed and unpublished scholarship.

  • Publications, at least some of which are peer-reviewed, of disciplinary, interdisciplinary or pedagogical theory and research in scholarly journals or books.
  • Presentations, at least some of which are peer-reviewed, of scholarly papers to professional societies or to other learned audiences.
  • Presentation or performance of creative work, at least some of which is juried, sanctioned, or critiqued by national professional unions or by an appropriate regional or national authority.
  • Obtaining external funding through a peer review process for purposes of original research, curricular development or creative work.
  • Unpublished manuscripts which reveal evidence of scholarship in the judgement of the peer committee and an external reviewer.


Service is essential to a faculty member's duties. Due to the varied nature of service, these duties do not fall equally on all members of the faculty. The proportion of a faculty member's time devoted to service will vary throughout their career. Although pre-tenured faculty members should normally carry lighter service expectations (unless intrinsic to their appointment as specified by the peer committee), committee work at the university, school, and departmental level--the first category of service--is expected of faculty members of all ranks. The second category stresses service relating to a faculty member's discipline or professional association. And the third focuses on service, in a professional capacity, to the wider community.

"Competence in service" is understood to mean willing and effective participation on committees and service projects, and the periodic chairing and leadership of such, on behalf of the University and the wider community

"Excellence in service" is understood to mean significant and substantial leadership as chair of important committees and/or major service projects on behalf of the University and the wider community.

Service to the University, School, and Department

Service to the university plays a significant role in evaluating faculty performance. There are myriad avenues for service within the university. Foremost is effective participation in university, school, and department committees as an active member or official. Other forms of service may include such activities as student advising, university governance, and serving as an advisor to student organizations.

Service in One's Discipline

Service that is related to a faculty member's discipline brings honor and respect to the faculty member as well as the university. Contributions in one's discipline or to one's professional association may include organizing a conference, seminar or event. Leadership in one's discipline or professional association may include holding office in a state, regional, or national association; serving as adjudicator for special events; or acting as editor or reviewer for professional journals; or other activities appropriate to that discipline or professional association.

Community Service

USM is an intellectual resource for southern Maine, and its faculty are its representatives. Faculty are expected to provide discipline-related public service strengthening the relationship between the university and the community. There are many ways for the faculty to engage, including talks and interviews, participating as a board member in a community-related organization, to public service programs and consulting on community projects.

Definitions and Expectations of Ranks

At all stages of review the peer committee is responsible for examining the work of each faculty member, evaluating the candidate's progress toward successful promotion and/or tenure, and communicating this assessment to the candidate and the Dean. Departments are responsible for developing criteria of value in their field consistent with the "University of Southern Maine Mission Statement" as reflected in this document.

A Ph.D., appropriate terminal degree, or publication judged equivalent to a dissertation are prerequisite for any save a fixed-length, temporary, emergency or part-time appointment. Candidates for tenure-track positions should have demonstrated promise in teaching and scholarship.

For reappointment beyond the second year, evidence of scholarship or creative work, published or unpublished, complete or in progress, must be submitted. By the end of the second year the candidate should have begun to demonstrate a record of competence in teaching and service.

For reappointment beyond the fourth year, the peer committee must be able to discern a pattern of significant and continuing intellectual development as evidenced by scholarship or creative work published or accepted in appropriate peer-reviewed venues. The overall record must also demonstrate that the candidate has a record of effective teaching, shows evidence of progress toward high quality teaching, and competence in service.

A recommendation of tenure and/or promotion to Associate Professor presumes a sustained record of high quality teaching and competence in service. It also requires a sustained record of substantial and high quality scholarship or creative work and a clearly evident pattern of intellectual development and growth. Ordinarily, such evidence will consist of scholarship or creative work published or presented in venues as recognized by peers.

Promotion to the rank of Professor presumes a significant contribution to the field and a reputation beyond the local or regional. Such standing requires a substantial and distinguished body of scholarship or creative work, as recognized by peers, including publications in reputable houses or in recognized international or national journals or peer-reviewed work in recognized international or national venues. Also required is a sustained pattern of excellent teaching and service.


The integration of teaching, scholarship, and service is central to the mission of the University of Southern Maine. Teaching is best delivered by faculty members who are active scholars, and active scholarship informs and enlivens classroom teaching. Thus, teaching and scholarship are co-equal and intertwined. Service is necessary for the advancement of the academy. Pre-tenured faculty members should normally carry lighter service and should be encouraged to focus on the quality of teaching and scholarship that will lead to a successful tenure review. Participation and cooperation among faculty are essential in developing a functional working unit.

Communication between the peer committee and each individual faculty member is essential to the evaluation process. The peer committee must assist faculty members (especially before tenure) in developing a plan of professional activity consistent with the unit's and College's mission and needs. The peer committee and the Dean must also communicate (early on in the process leading to tenure) coherent and consistent expectations of the position and areas of weakness in the personnel documentation.

With the exception of "compensated administrative work," no distinction is made in the evaluation process between paid and unpaid scholarship and service.

Nothing in these guidelines should be interpreted as modifying the applicable Agreement between the University of Maine System and Associated Faculties of the University of Maine System.