P & T Guidelines: Social Work Department

September 8th, 2008 by Bridget

Social Work Department

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines


The purpose of this document is to provide the department’s perspective on teaching, scholarship, and community service in relation to the university-wide promotion and tenure criteria and process (see Faculty Handbook, 2.7 and 2.8). These guidelines should be used to support consistency and fairness in the process and support the department’s mission and goals.

We recognize that there will be different balances among and within the three areas; each candidate will have individual areas of strength which may vary. This is not a simple checklist; rather, an articulation of different ways faculty can demonstrate their work in teaching, scholarly and professional activity, and service. We encourage faculty to review this information with the department chair and P&T Committee to ask questions, get clarification, and solicit feedback. The P&T Committee will use these guidelines to mentor junior faculty and help them with decisions regarding promotion and tenure.

Department Mission Statement (edited)

Our mission is to prepare students with knowledge, skills, and values for entry-level generalist practice and to educate students to support and enhance human well-being, understand mechanisms of oppression, discrimination, and inequality, and apply strategies of advocacy and social change to promote social and economic justice. Our purpose is also to educate students to respect human diversity in the practice of social work, develop a strengths-based approach to intervention, and advance social work practice through the development and use of research, knowledge, and skills.

We support and value human rights, human diversity, and self-determination. Individual and group differences based on race and ethnicity, national origin, culture, gender, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, family type, religion, age, and physical and mental abilities are respected. We oppose social and economic injustice, prejudice and discrimination, and violence. The Social Work Program and its curriculum are rooted in these principles. (revised 2/22/06)

Department Goals

Primary Goal: To prepare students to become competent entry-level social work practitioners in a wide range of settings, with emphasis on direct service.

Secondary Goal: To provide the foundation knowledge, skills, and values (BSW curriculum) that prepare students for graduate study in social work.

Secondary Goal: The Social Work Program’s faculty and students should engage in continual professional development and activity that supports and enhances the delivery of social services and the practice of social work, particularly in New Hampshire.

Teaching, Scholarly/ Professional Activity, and Service

Assistant to Associate Professor

For promotion to Associate Professor, we seek a strong record of teaching, evidence of scholarly and professional activity and accomplishments, and community service at the department, institution, and local/ regional level “such that the candidate can

be judged to be well-launched on a career in the field” (Faculty Handbook). Service includes collegial participation in meeting student needs and supporting the Social Work program’s mission and goals.

Associate to Full Professor

For promotion to Full Professor, we seek a strong record of teaching, evidence of scholarly and professional activity and accomplishments, and community service at the department, institution, and regional/national/international levelsuch that the candidate can be judged to have attained maturity and experience in the field” (Faculty Handbook). Service includes collegial participation in meeting student needs and supporting the Social Work program’s mission and goals.


While we do not subscribe to one pedagogical approach above all others, the department values learner-centered teaching and teaching that involves students as active participants. It also values teaching that is rooted in ecological/systems theory and the strengths perspective. As a Social Work program, we value teaching that enhances the department’s ability to deliver the five foundation areas in the BSW curriculum (human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, research, and field practicum) and infuses content on critical thinking, social work values and ethics, diversity, populations-at-risk, and social and economic justice.

Faculty in Social Work can demonstrate their commitment to teaching in a number of related and overlapping ways:

Demonstrated expertise and interest in the subject area being taught

Currency and/or innovation in content and/or methodology; curricular revision and development (changing what you do to meet students’ and curriculum’s evolving needs)

Willingness and ability to enhance and tailor instruction to students at a variety of levels; and willingness to provide individualized feedback on student work

Clearly organized classes and assignments and clear and consistent criteria for assessment of student performance. Course materials should clearly reflect the goals of the course in a curricular context — assignments should help students achieve the stated goals of the course

Availability to students not only during class, but outside of class; just as we expect students to actively participate in class, we seek faculty engagement in teaching.

Advising and mentoring, in official and unofficial capacities, are also ways of “teaching.” A good advisor/mentor is engaged in student learning, encourages students to publish work, pursue community service, etc. Advising student organizations, which might also fall under “service,” has pedagogical aspects, as well.

Engagement in reflective teaching and pursuit of professional development activities that inform and improve teaching.

Supporting Evidence for Promotion and Tenure

Course Evaluations

Self-evaluations and Annual Faculty Reports

Annual evaluation letters from dept. chair

Annual classroom observations of teaching (by Provost/ VPAA, department chair, colleagues)

Syllabi, reading lists, and other teaching materials

Course assignments; samples of revised course materials; innovation in teaching methodology

Samples of student work or samples of commentary on student work

Examples of student success, such as presentation or publication of student work, participation in conferences, or other professional activities stemming from course assignments or academic projects

Samples of reflection on teaching (teaching journals, etc.)

Documented participation in professional development activities related to teaching (conference programs, letter from reflective practice colleague, etc.)

Development of WEBCT courses and/or course websites

Any other materials which demonstrate the candidate’s work as a teacher

Scholarly/ Professional Activity

PSU is a university where teaching excellence is central. However, faculty members in the Social Work program are also expected to engage in the development and dissemination of research, scholarship, or other creative activities. As scholars, we strive to be active practitioners of what we teach. We encourage faculty to connect research and scholarship to teaching. We strive to serve as models for our students as social work educators and practitioners actively engaged in professional development.

Faculty in Social Work can demonstrate their commitment to scholarly and professional activity in a number of related and overlapping ways:

Ongoing research in field of practice or teaching in field of practice

Submission of proposals for conferences and manuscripts for publication

Grant writing and seeking external funding for scholarly and professional activity

Presentations at local, regional national, and/or international conferences

Invited training or consultation at or for professional workshops, in-service training and education for local, regional, or national agencies or organizations (including practicum training for our field instructors)

Development of professional tools for use with social work clients/ professionals

Active participation and leadership in professional organizations, especially CSWE, NASW, BPD or other professional social work associations/ organizations (state and national committees, governance boards, appointed leadership positions)

Funded contract or grant from external source

Regular active work as consulting editor for scholarly/ professional journal

Regular active membership on Editorial Board of scholarly/ professional journal

Article or book reviews for scholarly publication

Reviewer for local, state, or national granting agency

Publication in anthologies, monographs, scholarly collections of essays

Publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals

Published chapter in edited textbook or book

Publication of book (with a scholarly/ professional press)

Editor-in-Chief of scholarly/ professional journal

Consulting based on expertise or reputation in field of practice (accreditation, program reviews, etc.)

Recognition awards and honors based on scholarly/ professional expertise or reputation

Supporting Evidence for Promotion and Tenure

Curriculum vitae (with citations of scholarly/ professional activity)

Letters of acceptance for published works or presentations

Examples/excerpts of submitted works

Examples/excerpts of published works

Examples/excerpts of conference programs/brochures and/or proceedings

Examples/excerpts of grant proposals

Examples/excerpts of funded contracts or grants

Letters of nomination, appointment, recruitment, contract for scholarly/ professional activity

Citation of published works in scholarly/ professional publications

Any other materials which demonstrate the candidate’s work as a scholar/professional


Faculty members in the Social Work program are expected to provide service and leadership within the profession and academic community. Service to the department and institution are both important. However, as an applied discipline, service to the larger community and profession are also important and contribute to the program’s mission and goals.

Faculty in Social Work can demonstrate their commitment to service in a number of related and overlapping ways:

Active participation in department meetings, and department activities for students (Annual Senior Center Dinner, Annual Student Award Ceremony) and program development (Advisory Board, accreditation Self Study and site visit)

Mentoring/ advising Student Social Work Club (or other student organizations on campus)

Participation in PSU faculty meetings and faculty governance, as well as major academic events (commencement, convocations)

Contributions to university/ faculty governance by serving on campus committees, task forces, councils, and other appointed or elected task groups

Community outreach (such as off-campus workshops, training, and education), organizing (such as EngAGING NH), and/or advocacy (such as social and legislative action committees)

Service on local community service governance boards (Domestic Violence Task Force, Whole Village, Pemi Bridge House, etc.) or state, regional, and/or national governance boards

Active participation and leadership in professional organizations, especially CSWE, NASW, BPD or other professional social work associations/ organizations (state and national committees, governance boards, appointed leadership positions)

Consultation services to local, state, regional, and/or national groups to enhance service delivery, training, program evaluation, etc.

Supporting Evidence for Promotion and Tenure

Curriculum vitae (with information about service activities)

Letters of support from students/ student groups you have advised or mentored

Letters of support from academic, research and practice colleagues

Letters of acknowledgement, recognition, and support from community service and professional organizations

Letters of support from community leaders, advocates and experts

Any other materials which demonstrate the candidate’s work in service to the department, university, community, or social work profession

Department Procedures

A. Promotion &Tenure Committee Selection

All tenured full-time faculty members in the Social Work Department will serve as members of the committee. This policy will be in effect until and if the number of such faculty is fewer than 5 tenured full-time faculty. The department chair will consult with the Provost/ VPAA to identify potential faculty from other depts. to serve as committee members. The dept. faculty will vote for the additional external members. Ideally, the additional external members will be recruited from related academic or professional disciplines such as Counselor Education or Health & Human Performance.

B. Promotion & Tenure Folders

Promotion and tenure materials should be provided in no more than two (2) binders. Typically, candidates provide one binder with a table of contents, the candidate’s statements about teaching, scholarly/ professional activity, and service, curriculum vitae, annual faculty reports, annual evaluation letters, annual reports of classroom observations, and letters of support, typically from external reviewers, but especially for promotion to full professor. The second binder typically includes interpretations and summaries of all student evaluations which are attached to the raw data and supplementary materials (sample syllabi, publications, letters, etc.).

Letters of support

The candidate will provide the P&T committee with the names and contact information of individuals who can serve as external reviewers; the committee will also identify at least one external reviewer for the candidate’s application for promotion and/or tenure. The external reviewers are contacted by the chair of the committee (See Appendix A for a sample contact letter.) Letters of support will be available for review by the candidate.

C. Ongoing Feedback to Candidates

Annually, the dept. chair and/or dept. P & T Committee will review the candidate’s dossier and progress toward tenure and/or promotion and provide feedback on areas of strength and/or weakness in the areas of teaching, scholarly/ professional activity, and service. Recommendations for improvement or professional development and practical guidance for future efforts (without promises or guarantees) shall be offered.

Approved by dept. 5/9/07

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