Loyola University Chicago

Department of Physics

Faculty Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

(Revised April 2014)


The purpose of these written tenure and promotion guidelines is to provide an orderly, open and equitable departmental procedure for assessing and recommending faculty for tenure and promotion. Revision of the guidelines will occur as needed, and must be approved by the Department. The tenure process for each faculty member will be governed by the version of the guidelines in place at the time of hiring. It is the Chair's responsibility to disseminate these guidelines and procedures, so as to ensure that the faculty members are familiar with them, and to ensure that they are appropriately applied.

The objectives of the Physics Department necessarily form the basis for these guidelines. The following description emphasizes the unique character of the Department: it is an undergraduate department offering a rigorous program for the major based on coursework and mentorship, providing courses for non-physics majors, and engaging in professional scholarship and service.



The Physics Department is committed to the granting of tenure especially to those who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, as well as research and service.

There are four basic aspects to good teaching: (1) accurate, clear presentation of content, including utilization of up-to-date materials, teaching aids, and pedagogical techniques; (2) mentoring students inside and outside of the classroom; (3) fair evaluation of student performance; and (4) maintenance of an appropriate "affective climate" in and out of the classroom: viz., a helpful and encouraging attitude towards students.

The first of these aspects can be assessed in several ways: class visitation by peers; faculty discussion, both formal and informal; examination of course content (syllabi, ground rules, texts, and other teaching materials); and student evaluations of teaching. The Physics Department considers mentoring to be a very important part of teaching. Mentoring is assessed by engagement in activities such as Freshman Projects, other undergraduate research, independent study, etc.

The third aspect of good teaching is a fair evaluation of students' performance. In this area, consistency of the evaluation process with the course description, syllabus for the course, and standards set by the department is expected.

The last aspect of good teaching is the attitude of the teacher. Student evaluations should provide feedback on this aspect of teaching. Frequently recurring comments should be given more credence than isolated ones. Peer classroom visitations may also constitute a means of assessing teacher attitudes.

Additional teaching activities meriting consideration include: writing computer software for use in courses; developing a new course (lecture or laboratory); inventing a derivation, demonstration, or experiment published in a peer reviewed journal. All of these activities give positive evidence of a strong commitment to good teaching.


The Physics Department recognizes research as an important ingredient of its overall mission, complementing our primary goal of undergraduate education. The department’s focus on serving an undergraduate population should be considered when evaluating the quantity and nature of faculty research. Since undergraduate research can play an important role in a student’s development, research activity that involves undergraduate students is highly valued.

Professional scholarship includes scholarly activity in physics research and/or physics education. New faculty members are expected to possess the demonstrated ability and desire to conduct significant research. For tenure-track hiring, promotion, and tenure, the department requires that research in physics comprise at least 50% of a candidate’s research, assessed qualitatively and quantitatively. Research in physics education, while comprising no more than 50%, will be assessed and valued by the same criteria as physics research.

The assessment of scholarship is based upon achievements in the following areas in descending order of importance (except where noted):

(1) Publication of original research in peer reviewed journals, books, and research monographs;

a) For tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, the department expects a minimum of three peer reviewed publications during the probationary period. In addition since we expect the applicant to develop a sustainable research program at Loyola, we expect at least one of these three publications to be within the two years preceding the tenure application.

b) For promotion to Full Professor, the department expects the candidate to demonstrate a continuing active publication record. As a guideline, six publications in peer-reviewed journals within the five years preceding the application for promotion would be considered to demonstrate such a record. Since undergraduate research is highly valued, the guideline will be five such publications if students are included as co-authors on at least two of the five manuscripts. A research monograph or a successful grant application could count as the equivalent of up to two publications in this category as judged by the committee.

(2) External grant activity:
a) submission of at least two competitive1 research grant proposals during the probationary period;

b) receiving research grants or awards from external agencies is not required as long as section 2a) is met. However, within this category, a successful grant award would be valued at a higher level than submission of grant proposals, and would replace the requirement 2a).

(3) Additional activities such as conference presentations or publications in conference proceedings will be viewed favorably.

Ultimately, the judgment of the committee provides a more accurate assessment of the quality of scholarly activity than a set of numerical criteria. Exceptions to the guidelines described above may apply - at the discretion of the committee - to candidates whose work is regarded as exceptional or otherwise worthy of special consideration.


Faculty members are expected to engage in professional and/or community service.

By professional service is meant contributions to the professional growth or administrative requirements of the Department, College or University. This consists of involvement in committee work or the handling of administrative tasks. In addition, service to the academic community through refereeing papers, reviewing professional books, helping organize professional conferences, serving on the committees or boards of professional societies are considered to be valuable professional service.

By community service is meant any service to the community which gives visibility to the University. For example, giving talks at schools or community groups or serving as a consultant to a school system or municipal, state, or federal body would be assessed as providing community service.


The criteria for tenure and promotion in Physics are applied as specified in the Faculty Handbook. Tenure or promotion to Associate Professor (which generally occur simultaneously) requires that the faculty member has performed his or her academic and teaching duties with distinction, has merited internal and external recognition in the field of physics by evidence of scholarship and professional contributions, and has provided service to the University. The faculty member must have also demonstrated collegiality. I.e., there must be perceptible evidence that the candidate has worked with colleagues in a collegial and cooperative spirit towards the growth and development of the professional excellence, cohesiveness and identity of the Department. The candidate, like all other members of the Department, is expected to maintain appropriate professional relations with other members of the university community, including respectful treatment of students, staff, and colleagues.

Promotion to Professor requires that the faculty member has a sustained record of excellence in teaching and research, has achieved recognition for a record of excellence in research and scholarship inside and outside the University, and has made an ongoing contribution to the field of physics and to the University. The faculty member's achievements must make it likely that he or she will continue to develop as a scholar and teacher. He or she must have continued to render significant service to the University and to have demonstrated a measure of collegiality commensurate with his or her leadership position in the Department and the University.


It is the Chair's responsibility to assess each faculty member's progress toward tenure or promotion and to inform him or her of this assessment during the annual evaluation interview, or more frequently if the faculty member's performance is not satisfactory.

The application for promotion to associate professor is typically to begin the summer preceding the candidate’s sixth year at the assistant professor rank. For various special circumstances, this process may begin earlier, particularly for those hired as associate professors without tenure. Although there is no such sequence of years for one seeking promotion to professor, he or she would be eligible to apply for promotion after at least five years at the associate professor rank, unless an exception is made based on special situations.

A faculty member who wishes to apply for promotion and/or tenure must inform the department chair by July 15 to be considered in the following academic year. The candidate will be required to provide: (1) any materials and reports attesting to performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service as specified in the EVALUATION CRITERIA above; and (2) the names of peers who would serve as external evaluators. Candidates for Associate Professor should provide names of four external peers for written evaluations. The committee would then collect names of at least two additional experts who would be willing to evaluate the candidate. The committee and the chair will solicit at least three letters from the complete list. At least one of the three letters must be from the candidate's list. Candidates for Professor should also provide the names of four external peers familiar with the faculty member's work and willing to write letters of reference for the candidate. The committee will then generate names of at least two additional experts. The committee and the chair will choose four letters from those submitted and at least one of which must be from the candidate's list.

The faculty member seeking promotion should submit his or her portfolio by Aug 15 to the committee. [Note that committee/chair will need to get the letters from reviewers.]

The Chair of the Department then transmits this material to the “advisory committee,” here referred to as the Senior Physics Faculty Committee. The Senior Physics Faculty Committee consists of all physics faculty members who are tenured and Associate Professor or Professor with the exception of the chair. Only tenured members of the Committee may participate in a recommendation for tenure, and only those of a higher rank than the present rank of the candidate may participate in a recommendation for promotion.

During the evaluation of a candidate, the Committee may request additional information directly from the Chair, such as summaries of student evaluations, etc. However, copies of the faculty member's annual performance evaluations should not be given to the Committee. The deliberations of the Committee on matters of tenure and promotion shall be confidential. If the recommendation of the Committee is not unanimous, then the ballot count shall also be given to the Chair. In addition to his or her own recommendation to the Dean, the Chair shall include the Committee's report, as well as any minority report that might emanate from the Committee, as part of the recommendation to the Dean.

Physics Department faculty members are customarily given the opportunity to review their own annual evaluations and tenure and promotion recommendations before they are sent to the Dean, and to include additional material if so desired. It is important to note that confidential letters of reference will not be shared with the candidate.

When making recommendations for tenure and promotion, the Senior Physics Faculty Committee is advisory to the Chair and the Dean. Furthermore, these guidelines are subject to the provisions of the latest edition of Loyola University's Faculty Handbook, which will supersede the former in cases of apparent conflict. Revisions of these guidelines are subject to approval by the Dean, the University Rank and Tenure Committee, and the Senior Academic Officer.


1 For example, a proposal submitted to NSF that receives "good", "very good" or "excellent" evaluations from referees. Requirement of the second submission could be waived for a candidate who received a substantially large grant on the first attempt.