Journalism Unit Tenure and Promotion Policy
Approved by Journalism Unit Faculty Vote, April 7, 2016
Revised by Journalism Unit Faculty Vote Oct. 29, 2021
The Journalism unit’s tenure and promotion policy supplements the guidelines for tenure and promotion that are outlined by Indiana University Bloomington (IUB), the College of Arts & Sciences (College), and the Media School. For any areas not covered in this document, please refer to IUB, College, and Media School guidelines for tenure and promotion.
The Journalism unit encompasses multiple professional, creative, and research traditions, all of which are organized around the fundamental notions that media and communication play pivotal roles in influencing political, legal, economic, policy-making, and cultural institutions and in shaping our everyday experiences of the world. Research and creative activity conducted within the unit addresses and critiques the content, norms, and practices of multiple media and professional worlds, including, but not limited to, journalism, public relations, advertising, strategic communication, digital and new media, and entertainment and popular culture.
Research in the Journalism unit embraces theories and perspectives emerging from social-scientific, humanities, legal, historical, and critical-cultural traditions. The unit recognizes that research and creative activity in the fields of journalism, media, and communication are often inter- and multi-disciplinary in breadth and scope with inquiry engaging various parts of the world and with links to many professional areas of media practice; hence, the unit acknowledges that while faculty seek to contribute to the broader academic fields of journalism and communication, their intellectual development can take diverse paths and forms. The Journalism unit values equally an array of empirical methods—established and emergent quantitative, qualitative, legal, historical, and mixed methods—that scholars can employ to generate data and evidence for their research. Finally, the Journalism unit affirms the symbiotic relationship that exists among research and creative activity, teaching, and service, with each professional component of faculty life nourishing and strengthening the other components.
For the purpose of tenure and promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, the Journalism unit, in accordance with the Media School’s guidelines, expects candidates to earn tenure and promotion based on a record of excellence in research/creative activity. Candidates will demonstrate an “exemplary record of programmatic scholarship or programmatic creative activity and consistent productivity pointing to national or international leadership” (see Media School guidelines). Candidates for tenure and promotion must therefore be judged as “Excellent” in Research or Creative Activity and at least “Effective” in Teaching and “Satisfactory” in Service (see College guidelines for full evaluative categories and criteria). The Journalism unit will follow IUB and College guidelines for candidates seeking tenure and promotion on the basis of excellence in teaching, excellence in service, or a balanced case.
RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY
As the Preamble notes, the Journalism unit values research and creative activity from a wide variety of perspectives and employing a variety of methodologies. Regardless of areas of focus and methodology, research and creative activity should demonstrate evidence of excellence, consistency, coherency, and leadership. Outlining the expectations of candidates for tenure and promotion, the IUB Campus guidelines document states, “Granting tenure and/or promotion is a recognition that the faculty member will continue to achieve truly significant professional work in future years – original, innovative, influential, and consequential.”
By excellence, the Journalism unit means that academic research articles should be published in top-tier, peer-reviewed scholarly journals and books should be published in top-tier, peer-reviewed presses. Specific indicators may vary by candidate and sub-discipline, and candidates for promotion and tenure should be evaluated in the context of their particular areas of focus while understanding that their research must also speak to the larger academic fields of journalism and communication, with sufficient effort devoted to publishing in some of the flagship journals in the field.
Creative activity should be published in top-tier publications suitable to the activity or displayed in venues that provide national or international exposure. For further details on criteria for excellence in creative activity, please see the Media School tenure and promotion guidelines document.
By consistency, the Journalism unit means that tenure candidates should demonstrate consistency in their productivity in research or in creative activity over time. It is expected that candidates will have several projects in multiple stages of development to indicate ongoing engagement with and commitment to research.
By coherency, the Journalism unit means that tenure candidates should demonstrate that their research or creative activity is organized around a theme and addresses a related set of questions or problems that contribute to a coherent and focused program of research.
By leadership, the Journalism unit means that tenure candidates should demonstrate that their research or creative activity has achieved, or is well on the way to achieving, a position of national and/or international leadership based on a record of scholarly accomplishment and distinction appropriate to their fields. The IUB campus guidelines document notes, “Tenure decisions are forward-looking: candidates are expected to provide evidence that they have the potential to become an intellectual (scientific, artistic) leader in their chosen field.” Evidence of the potential to build such a reputation in research would include sole or first-authored publications, publications independent of graduate school advisors and mentors, invited chapters and entries, invited talks and presentations independent of connections to advisors and friends, citations by other scholars, and editorial board memberships.
For academic researchers, publication of articles in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals and books in peer-reviewed top-tier presses is generally the favored path toward tenure and promotion. Although not required or expected of all candidates, because of its ties to media professions, the Journalism unit respects research that helps bridge the gap between the academy and the professional world, such as applied research or research that addresses particular industry problems or challenges. Evidence that research has helped resolve a challenge or
problem in a media industry can be a factor in showing progress toward establishing a national or international reputation.
As stated in the Preamble, the Journalism unit values all research methodologies and also recognizes that the rhythm, productivity, and publication patterns of research can vary depending on candidates’ focus areas and methodologies.
For example, law review articles, while not usually peer-reviewed in the traditional sense, can often have more impact in the law and policy community than in other types of scholarly fields and should be counted as equivalent to peer-reviewed journals. Candidates should demonstrate that the law review journals in which they publish have high impact factors and low acceptance rates. Historians generally put more emphasis on the publication of books than other academic researchers. Those who review candidates for tenure and promotion to associate professor should factor the relative time and energy needed to publish a book into consideration. Evidence of excellence for historical works should particularly emphasize works that have uncovered previously unknown facts, changed the way a particular event or development is perceived, or significantly aided our understanding of why a particular practice or tradition evolved in the way that it did.
In addition to the publication of articles and books, researchers may demonstrate excellence, consistency, coherency, and leadership by providing evidence of presentations of peer-reviewed work at academic conferences; invitations to deliver solo talks at other prestigious off-campus venues; invitations to speak on panels at conferences; and invitations to serve as discussants and moderators at research paper sessions at conferences. However, presentation of a paper at a conference should be viewed as a first step toward publication, not an end in itself. Other forms of conference participation may present supplementary evidence of excellence and reputation, but the emphasis should be on publication.
New communication technologies offer additional opportunities for candidates to engage with other scholars and with the public on matters related to their research, including online open-access journals and blogs. Such work may offer further evidence of consistency and building a reputation as a leader, but does not replace the need for quality academic publishing. Likewise, because of the nature of journalism and related communication fields, candidates may have opportunities and the requisite skills required to publish op-ed pieces or regular columns, give media interviews, and other journalistic work that is also related to their research interests. Such work is valuable in establishing the candidate as an expert, but again, the candidate should be cautious not to be distracted from establishing an excellent record in academic publishing. The IUB campus guidelines document states that “Public scholarship will not supplant expectations for publications targeted to peer professional communities, but it may supplement that work.”
For those engaging in creative activity instead of academic research, evidence of excellence and reputation would include favorable reviews of their work in respected publications; being chosen to display their work in respected venues, such as galleries and museums; and juried awards for their work at art shows and similar venues.
The Journalism unit values its academic and professional teaching missions, and, in accordance with Media School guidelines, expects junior faculty to be “thoroughly engaged in the enterprise of teaching.” The unit understands that students’ success in their chosen professional, creative, and academic paths depends greatly on the knowledge, professional and critical thinking skills, and career-related experiences they acquire during their formal education combined with the mentoring and guidance they receive from faculty.
Examples of the teaching components that may be taken into consideration in the evaluation of teaching may include, but are not limited to:
- Teaching at different levels of the curriculum: undergraduate and graduate courses; large and small courses; required and elective courses; conceptual and skills courses; and service-learning courses.
- A record of improvement in teaching over time as shown by various measures of teaching, including student and peer evaluations of teaching.
- Development of high-quality teaching materials.
- Engagement with IUB and other resources on teaching to enhance quality of instruction.
- Developing new courses, enriching and innovating established courses, and contributing to the unit’s overall curriculum.
- Supporting graduate student work by serving on theses and dissertation committees and by supervising independent study projects.
- Participation in teaching workshops and seminars.
- Supporting students’ professional development by helping them secure jobs, internships, and awards and, in general, achieve their varied educational and professional goals.
- Presentations on teaching at seminars, workshops, and professional meetings.
- Earning teaching awards and other forms of teaching recognition.
- Earning leadership positions in regional, national, or international organizations concerned with pedagogy.
Candidates for tenure can accumulate a record of service at various levels: the Journalism unit and the Media School, the campus, academic and media professions, and diverse communities outside the academic realm. Indicators of the quality of service include, but are not limited to:
- Serving on committees in the Journalism unit, the Media School, and the campus and Indiana University system.
- Active engagement in Journalism’s and IUB’s activities in support of the teaching mission (such as commencement, orientations, activities related to student scholarships).
- Serving academic or professional organizations, including reviewing manuscripts for conferences and academic journals and assisting with activities to support the divisions of these organizations.
- Providing expertise and support to professional practitioners and media organizations, and taking a leadership role in professional media associations.
- Developing or participating in programs, workshops, clinics, panels, presentations, conferences, editorial work, or other activities that contribute significantly to student development and to increasing the visibility of Journalism, the Media School, and IUB among various academic and professional constituencies.
- Supporting the work of Media School student clubs and student chapters of national media associations.
- Offering expert pro-bono assistance to relevant external communities or institutions (examples could range from local neighborhood groups to national or international advisory panels).
All tenured associate professors and full professors in the Journalism unit evaluate and vote on candidates for tenure and promotion to associate rank.
Those eligible to vote must be present for the discussion of the candidate immediately preceding the vote, and no proxy votes will be considered. Remote presence via video or audio communication technology (such as Skype or Zoom) will satisfy this requirement. Arrangements for such remote participation must be made with the Unit Chair at least five working days before the meeting so that appropriate technology can be arranged. The vote of persons attending remotely will be communicated privately with the Unit Chair via e- mail or phone when votes are being cast in order to protect the secrecy of the ballot.