2019-2020 Core Faculty Handbook

Handbook on Promotion in Rank at Lesley University

Revised August 2017 to reflect the Collective Bargaining Agreement with SEIU dated November 2016

Promotion Procedures – Rank and Promotion Committee

This document describes the current operating procedures of the Rank and Promotion Committee and offers guidelines for candidates who are putting together applications for Rank and Promotion consideration. Lesley University’s Board of Trustees adopted the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for core faculty in November 2016. Descriptions of rank, performance standards, the promotion process, and the grievance process are set forth in the CBA. All instances of faculty advancement in rank must conform to the policies and procedures as specified by the CBA and, for purposes of the Rank and Promotion Committee work, this Handbook on Promotion in Rank.

These guidelines were developed by the first faculty Rank and Promotion Committee in 1987-88, and they have been reviewed and revised by successive Committees.

Committee Composition

The Committee is comprised of 9 faculty members elected as follows: 2 representatives from the Graduate School of Education; 2 representatives from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; 2 representatives from the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences; 2 representatives from The Lesley University College of Art and Design, and one seat at-large. Members are elected for 3-year terms. In order to be eligible for election, a faculty member must hold Associate Professor or Professor rank and be contracted to work on a full or pro-rated basis. Applicants for promotion cannot serve as Committee members. The Provost and the Dean of Faculty serve in ex-officio, non-voting capacity, contributing only to clarify policies and procedures.

Committee Procedure

The Committee evaluates the candidate's professional accomplishments holistically; it views sustained achievement in the categories of teaching/instructional activity, service, and scholarship as important for promotion. "Sustained achievement" suggests to the Committee that one's academic accomplishments should be neither episodic nor maintained at a peak rate of performance for all areas. Although “a peak rate of performance for all areas” is not required, each candidate’s applications must demonstrate the level of accomplishments in teaching, service and scholarship that is consistent for promotion to the new level of rank.

As the Committee reviews each application, it takes into consideration the following areas: education, relevant experience, instructional activity, service, and scholarship. The Committee's deliberations represent a blend of objective criteria, a listing of strengths and weaknesses identified in each application, extensive discussion and pooled judgment regarding these criteria. The review process follows:

All Committee members read each applicant's file. Before discussion of a candidate begins, two members of the committee are selected to serve as the Presentation Team, consisting of a recorder and a reporter. The reporter presents the candidate's file, highlighting the ways in which a candidate meets the criteria as well as areas of concern. Other members then add further information that comes out of the information in the box until they collectively decide that the candidate's application has been fully and fairly represented. Information not contained in the box cannot be considered with the following exception: a member of the committee has verifiable evidence of inconsistency or misrepresentation of materials in the box. The recorder takes notes on the discussion.

The Committee votes on one rank at a time, considering the lower ranks first. Each member of the Committee votes on the applicant immediately after the discussion of said candidate. After all applicants for the rank have been completed, the rank is reviewed to make sure the Committee applied the criteria equitably across the rank. Committee members must be present for the entire discussion of a candidate’s application to be eligible to vote on that candidate's request for promotion. If the application is subject to review, all members present at that time are eligible to vote.

When all members are satisfied that discussion is complete, the Committee votes by secret ballot. A 2/3 vote to recommend promotion in rank is required. The Provost and the Dean of Faculty are aware of the vote. The Committee's actions on candidates are communicated by the Provost to the President and to the School Deans. The Deans know whether the vote is clear or divided, but not the actual count. The exact vote is communicated by the Provost only to the President. Committee members have agreed not to communicate the vote to anyone outside the Committee.

Following the resolution of all applications before the Committee, the reporter and the recorder for each applicant prepare the first draft of the letter to the President, and send that draft to the Chair for the Chair to review and finalize. The Chair sends the letter recommending for or against promotion to the President. At the same time, a copy of the letter is sent to the applicant’s Lesley email address with a copy to his/her campus mailbox, stating the Committee's recommendation.

In reporting the Committee’s reasoning to the President, the Presentation Team explains the process and describes how the current Committee saw the issues, applied the criteria, and viewed the application. While this process is meant to help the candidate with future applications, there is no guarantee that promotion will result when a newly configured committee deliberates on the candidacy in the future.

Suggestions for Preparing an Application


These general suggestions are offered as a result of the Committee's experience with the form and substance of the promotion applications. They are offered to assist applicants; however, individuals should feel free to develop and present materials as they deem appropriate. Candidates for promotion in rank are required to attend one of the workshops led by members of the committee in the Spring and Fall semesters prior to submitting their application. If unable to attend a scheduled workshop, candidates should contact the committee chair to arrange for an individual meeting. Once the material has been submitted, however, Committee members may not discuss the application. Please note that current Committee members may not write letters of support. If a Committee member is the immediate supervisor, however, see “Supervisor’s Recommendation” section below for the exception to this rule.

Carefully read the guidelines. Consider the CBA description of each rank, and the Promotion Application Checklist (Appendix B). Note the promotion timeline (see Appendix A), which is also distributed to all faculty at the start of each academic year.

Discuss your possible application with your academic supervisor and School Dean. Such consultation should assist you in identifying areas of strength, in determining the level of support for your application, and in constructing the evidence and rationale for the application.

The Committee looks holistically at the application in the context of your academic trajectory and career focus. In your narrative, state your case concisely but with appropriate depth and considerable reflection. Merely stating that you deserve promotion does not convince the Committee. It is important to present evidence that supports your contention. Strive for a tone that is neither defensive nor stridently self-congratulatory. The candidate should clearly explain how he or she met the qualifications in all three areas of teaching, service, and scholarship.

Share information about your education and relevant work experience. Clearly explain this information for committee members who may not be familiar with your line of work or your field and discipline. Organize the remainder of your presentation according to instructional activity, service, and scholarship.

Preface the presentation with a reflective narrative summary that gives an overview of the material to follow. The entire narrative must not exceed 25 pages, (12 pt type, spaced at 1.5) and all statements in the narrative should be supported by evidence in the file box. You should provide information that will assist the Committee in making a judgment that you merit promotion through your discussion. Explain the status of scholarly work, such as a journal/article, book, publisher, gallery/exhibition, or organization to provide context for the committee. For example, if you made a presentation at a national organization in your discipline, please include a statement about the call for proposals and selection criteria. Discuss your professional development career path, core values and insights gleaned as a reflective practitioner. It is the candidate's responsibility to provide all relevant information. The Committee bases its deliberations solely on the materials presented in the box as submitted. The applicant may not add materials after the deadline. The box should only include materials that pertain to the current application and should not include any materials that were included in your prior application for promotion in rank. Make sure each item referenced in the narrative is among the materials submitted for consideration. Please be aware that the committee is carefully reviewing each applicant’s file for the period under consideration.

Address the Criteria

In assessing whether a candidate has met the degree requirements and performance standards for rank, the Committee will refer to the standards set forth in the CBA. Below are guidelines for addressing those criteria.

1. Education

A transcript of your highest degree on file in the appropriate office and reference to such documentation on your resume will provide sufficient documentation. The prevailing practice in higher education acknowledges the doctorate as the terminal degree in many specialties; the MFA is acknowledged as the terminal degree for those teaching in the areas of visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, dance, theater, and performing arts. Other professional degrees often acknowledged as terminal include the MBA with an additional credential such as a CPA, and the MSW. Individuals offering a master's degree as the terminal degree should submit a rationale for such an equivalency and, if relevant, evidence of the acceptability of that degree as terminal. Such evidence may include statements from the accrediting organizations pertinent to the field of specialty; documentation from two or more comparable higher education institutions that accept the master's degree as a terminal degree in the field; or documentation from the pertinent professional organizations that recognize the master's degree as a direct equivalent to the terminal degree.

2. Teaching

Your application should include a reflective statement of your philosophy of education and documentation of teaching excellence. Please reflect on your style of teaching as it relates to the types of teaching experiences and the syllabi in your box. Include a list of all the courses taught in the previous year. Applicants must include all evaluations from the preceding academic year, including all sections of all classes taught. Please include a representative sample of all courses taught prior to the previous academic year. The sample should represent the range of the time period you are covering. Submit qualitative and quantitative versions of evaluations. The committee pays very close attention to student evaluations and are looking for excellence in both the quantitative and qualitative measures. A representative sample could include the same course in several formats or the development of one course over time. Other instructional activities should also be documented through such evidence as student feedback, study plans, portfolios, and theses.

In documenting your case, please include a statement that assesses your strengths in teaching and describes the efforts you are making to improve your teaching. If there is a thread in course evaluations that is on the negative side, speak to it in this document. Address efforts to change this negative trend.

In addition, statements of peer support or evaluations, unsolicited student letters, a representative sample of course syllabi, and other relevant evidence of teaching accomplishments may all serve as documentation. The academic supervisor and School Dean should address in detail your achievements in teaching.

3. Service in University Community and Larger Professional Community

Your narrative must include a description of your service within the following: your department, your school within the university, cross-university committees/activities, and the external community (if applicable) – e.g., board membership, leadership in professional organizations, and pro bono consulting (NOTE: paid consulting is not considered service, but it may be considered in the “scholarship” section of your narrative.). Your narrative for this section should go beyond a simple list of your service activities. Please state explicitly where and when you have assumed leadership roles and have provided service to the Lesley community and your broader professional community. All applicants applying for promotion should take care to differentiate service from contractual expectations. Present challenges and accomplishments and their relevance to your career. Reflect on the rationale and context of your service activities.

You should include such items as letters of appointment to committees, letters from colleagues and from the professional community that attest to your accomplishments, and letters of acknowledgement expressing appreciation for service. Letters from people outside the University and Lesley-based referees prominent in your field or specialty serve as important documentation. Reviews and unsolicited written comments are also helpful. The recommendation from the academic supervisor and School Dean should address this category in detail.

4. Scholarship

Your resume and application narrative must address your scholarly work. Please refer to the definition of “scholarship” and the characteristics of scholarship, discussed by the Faculty Assembly (see Appendix C). A record of high quality scholarly work is an important qualification for advancement in rank. Documentation for this area should include evidence of scholarship since your last promotion, including research articles, books, or monographs that are either already in print or in press. Please indicate the status of these documents and include letters and/or contracts for publications or exhibits, if possible. Documentation of scholarship may also include conference presentation documentation, photos of artistic productions, exhibition documentation, a portfolio (if you have one), a video, media presentation, or other evidence of artistic achievements, if relevant. When addressing grants, contracts, and fellowships, be specific about your specific role, the impact of the opportunity on your discipline, and your department/division/school.

In your narrative, list your scholarly activities. Reflect on the theoretical frameworks of your scholarship (e.g., what has informed your scholarship, how your theoretical orientation influences your teaching), the relevance of your scholarship to your discipline, and its influence on the field (local, regional, national, and international impact), and how it informs your current teaching. Collaborative work is valued; however, the documentation should allow the Committee to assess your contribution to collaborative work. If you are listed as one of two or more authors, please clarify your role and contribution to the project/product. Identify your contribution and your role in detail.

It is possible that members of the committee will not be familiar with your particular field. Please define it or provide a context for your work in the narrative and provide letters of support from people who are recognized as leading scholars or practitioners in that field. Reviews and unsolicited written comments are also helpful. If you have conducted national workshops, include evaluations if available. If much of your evidence relates to professional activity at the regional or national or international level, letters from distinguished colleagues active in the profession are essential.

Your recommendations from your academic supervisor and School Dean should address this category in detail as well.

Academic Supervisor’s Recommendation

The Committee carefully considers letters from academic supervisors. Those supervisors who are Committee members in the year you are a candidate must write letters of recommendation, but will then absent themselves from Committee discussion and vote. If your academic supervisor does not support you, it would be helpful to address the reasons given by the supervisor for non-support. The Committee would not read such comments as defensive. Simply address the issues at stake.

Rank and Promotion Timeline 2019 - 2020

Candidate attends the Promotion Workshop offered during Faculty Development Day. This step is required for the acceptance of the Application/Box by the Committee.

All dates are subject to change, but no faculty deadline will be moved to an earlier date.  Please check the Blackboard Faculty Development Community page for any updates.




Faculty gives supervisor access to box*


Faculty meets with supervisor

11/12/19 - 12/6/19**

Supervisor adds letter to box (copy to faculty)**


Faculty gives Dean access to box


Faculty responds (optional) to supervisor (copy to box)


Faculty meets with Dean

12/9/19 - 1/10/20**

Dean adds letter to box (copy to faculty)**


Faculty submits response (if any) to Dean (copy to box)


Committee review of boxes

1/21/20 – 3/27/20

Committee reviews process

3/30/20 – 4/3/20

Committee discusses candidates with Provost

3/30/20 – 4/3/20

Committee makes recommendation to Provost (copy to faculty)

3/30/20 – 4/3/20

Faculty is notified of Provost’s recommendation


Faculty responds (optional) to Provost (copy to President)


President makes final determination and informs faculty

Week of 5/11/20

Faculty meets with committee representatives

May, 2020

* Box may be virtual

** Please schedule meetings with enough time for your supervisor and/or Dean to write a letter



Checklist for Rank and Promotion Application

When you apply for promotion in rank, present materials in a user-friendly and orderly fashion, filed by section in a box labeled with your name.

Your table of contents will let reviewers know exactly where they can find each piece of information. It is helpful if the first item following the table of contents is a copy of your full curriculum vitae to ground your readers in an overview of who you are as a professional. We suggest that you divide your narrative into the 3 main promotion criteria – Teaching, Service, Scholarship - each with supporting documentation and information. For example, the teaching section must demonstrate excellence in teaching and include statements on your philosophy and pedagogical approach along with the syllabi and evaluations required as documentation for that area. Do not include materials that relate to the previous promotion in rank.

Remember to document, reflect, and analyze!

The following checklist will help you prepare a thorough application for promotion in rank.

Teaching Documentation for this area includes:

  • All of the past year’s syllabi and course evaluations (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Samples of prior years’ syllabi and course evaluations

Your narrative should include the following information:

  • A description of your workload
  • Two additional copies of your curriculum vita and your narrative
  • Student advisement, including specific information regarding the nature of advisement in your department and the number of advisees with whom you work
  • Introduction to your teaching and educational background, including degrees, past years of teaching, number of years in current rank, and years at Lesley University
  • Your philosophy of education and how this influences your pedagogical approach
  • Reflections on your style of teaching as it relates to different delivery models and types of teaching experiences
  • Reflections on your instructional impact and student feedback, addressing both quantitative and qualitative data. Comment in detail in the narrative on the lessons learned from both positive and difficult teaching experiences. Respond to specific student comments that are in the box.
  • Reflect on documents that support your teaching ability, such as classroom observations, peer reviews, and student letters.

Make sure to clarify any terms specific to your field/discipline that may be unfamiliar to a committee member from another field/discipline.

Service and Leadership: Documentation for this area includes:

  • Documents related to service, such as letters that acknowledge committee membership (Include dates of activity)
  • Correspondence that attests to your level of contribution to committees
  • Letters of acknowledgement - e.g. a memo expressing appreciation for attending Open House
  • Curriculum development
  • Course and adjunct faculty mentoring
  • Academic support/administrative activities. Please indicate whether your achievements were in the context of compensated activities (by way of stipends or unit releases) or non-compensated activities.

Your narrative in this section should go beyond a simple list of your service activities. Present challenges and accomplishments and their relevance to your career. Reflect on the rationale and context of your service activities, being sure to separate those from contract responsibilities. Be sure to specify your role within various service activities and why you have selected these activities. Be explicit about the role you played on committees and in other service activities. Your narrative must include a description of your service activities since your last promotion within the following:

  • Your department
  • Your school within the university
  • Cross-university committees/activities
  • The external community (if applicable) – e.g. board memberships, pro bono consulting (paid consulting is not considered service), participation in legislative policy related to one’s field/discipline, review work for journals and organizations, advocacy work

Scholarship: Documentation for this area includes:

  • Evidence of scholarship since your last promotion, including research articles, books, or monographs that are either already in print or in press; photos of artistic productions; exhibition documentation; or conference presentation documentation. For upcoming presentations, in press publications, or future exhibitions/performance, be sure to include letters of acceptance. If a project is collaborative, be specific about your role and contribution to the project.
  • Please contextualize your scholarship within your field
  • Letters and/or contracts related to scholarly activities
  • Evidence of memberships and leadership in professional organizations
  • A portfolio, if you have one
  • A video, a media presentation, or other evidence of artistic achievements, if relevant
  • If you have a coauthored publication, please delineate your role as author in the publication

In your narrative, list your scholarship activities. Reflect on the theoretical frameworks of your scholarship, its relevance to your discipline, and its influence on the field (local, regional, national, and international impact) and how it informs your teaching. If you are listed as one of two or more authors, you should clarify your role and contribution to the project/product.

Scholarship includes:

Published research Presentations
Grants Fellowships
Artistic achievement Contracts
Leadership in professional organizations Video
Websites Software/Technology
Curriculum for school district or large audiences
Documents for state or governing organizations/policy at state level

Additional Supportive Documentation that must be included:

  • Diploma/transcripts (or note on where they are in the university)
  • Letter from your immediate supervisor
  • Letter from the Dean of your school
  • Peer evaluations
  • Solicited letters from internal and external colleagues who can comment on your professional contributions
  • Unsolicited letters from students, colleagues, etc.
  • Your annual reports since last promotion/ any other supervisor assessments
  • Your professional development plans since last promotion

Note: Do not include materials that reflect work and accomplishments related to your previous promotion in rank.

Scholarship at Lesley

Lesley University places a high value on scholarship that informs teaching and learning at the University, as well as the liberal and professional fields of study in which our faculty and graduates participate. This document acknowledges three key criteria of scholarly work and defines “scholarship” within current literature.

Characteristics of Scholarship

According to Shulman (2000), “For an activity to be designed as scholarship, it should manifest at least three characteristics: it should be public, susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and accessible for exchange and use by other members of one’s scholarly community.” The parameters of scholarship are broad and inclusive; yet, they share a common bond: the “products” of scholarly endeavors must meet these three characteristics in order to be considered scholarship.

The three characteristics of Shulman’s scholarly work can be interpreted in many ways. It is beyond the scope of this document to quantify each term. It is well known within academia that professional journals, artistic exhibitions, conference presentations, and so forth, are judged by each discipline on a continuum from less selective to highly selective, less competitive to highly competitive, and so forth. Faculty who are applying for promotion, contract renewal, and sabbatical must make the case that s/he has met Shulman’s characteristics of scholarship and must clearly articulate the “merit/status” of the scholarship within his/her field.

Defining Scholarship

Scholarship at Lesley University is informed by the work of Ernest Boyer (2016). Boyer’s four categories of scholarship and creative expression represent the breadth of scholarship and creative expression that take place at Lesley University. Faculty and students are encouraged to pursue the “Scholarship of Discovery,” “Scholarship of Integration,” “Scholarship of Application,” and “Scholarship of Teaching,” as well as the “Scholarship of Creativity.”

The Scholarship of Discovery , comes closest to what is meant when academics speak of “research.” No tenets in the academy are held in higher regard than the commitment to knowledge for its own sake, to freedom of inquiry and to following, in a disciplined fashion, an investigation wherever it may lead (p 69).

[Through] the Scholarship of Integration, we underscore the need for scholars who give meaning to isolated facts, putting them in perspective. By integration, we mean making connections across the disciplines, placing the specialties in larger context, illuminating data in a revealing way, often educating non-specialists, too. In calling for a Scholarship of Integration, we do not suggest returning to the “gentleman scholar” of an earlier time, nor do we have in mind the dilettante. Rather, what we mean is serious, disciplined work that seeks to interpret, draw together, and bring new insight to bear on original research (p 70).

The Scholarship of Application of knowledge moves toward engagement as the scholar asks, “How can knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential problems?” ... To be considered Scholarship, service activities must be tied directly to one’s special field of knowledge and relate to, and flow directly out of, this professional activity. Such service is serious, demanding work, requiring the rigor – and the accountability – traditionally associated with research activities (p73)

The Scholarship of Teaching. ... Teaching is also a dynamic endeavor involving all the analogies, metaphors, and images that build bridges between the teacher’s understanding and the student’s learning. Pedagogical procedures must be carefully planned, continuously examined, and relate directly to the subject taught. Educator Parker Palmer strikes precisely the right note when he says knowing and learning are communal acts (p 74, cites Palmer, 1983).

“The Scholarship of Teaching must be distinguished from teaching itself. The Scholarship of Teaching involves the disciplined discovery, evaluation, and transmission of information about the learning process” (Ithaca College…). In order for teaching to be “scholarship,” all three of Shulman’s characteristics must be met. “Teaching, in contrast, involves the application of that information through actual instruction” (Ithaca College…)

In addition, Lesley values the scholarship of creativity, meaning artistic products in visual, literary, and performance arts; for example, public performances and public exhibitions.

It is important to note that “scholarship” in each of these five categories presupposes the creation of something that did not formerly exist. Scholarship is not the mere reproduction or rearrangement of extant works; rather it is the production and contribution of new understanding to one’s field.

This document does not attempt to define where particular disciplines (arts, literature, science, social sciences, and so forth) fit within Boyer’s categories, for to do so would limit our definition of scholarship: no one discipline fits neatly into any one category; rather, every discipline fits into every category depending on the nature of one’s scholarly work. Furthermore, this document does not attempt to define where particular products (such as, but not limited to, publications, presentations, artistic exhibits and performances, development and publication of instructional materials, and so forth) fit within Boyer’s categories, since it could be argued that each type of product could also justifiably fit into each category. The following example makes explicit the distinctions made in our definition of scholarship: A member of the faculty has become interested in finding an answer to a course-based problem he has been struggling with for several semesters. He creates a comprehensive survey for his students to complete. An analysis of the data collected reveals some significant results, which he uses to redesign his course. This is an example of the overlap between discovery, application, and teaching, but it is not yet an example of scholarship. In order for this work to become scholarship, the instructor must present his work in some form to make public (i.e., beyond his classroom), must make his work susceptible to critical review and evaluation, and must provide a means for the work to be accessible for exchange and use by other members of one’s scholarly community.