Syracuse is a research-based University, and the School of Design contributes in many important ways to the scholarly production of the faculty. The School is an interdisciplinary unit encompassing four diverse and unique undergraduate programs and two graduate programs. Together, these programs produce “a rigorous yet nurturing environment that creates collaborative, resourceful, resilient designers successfully working in and leading in a world of massive change.” In realizing this vision, the faculty of the School of Design strives to be innovative in teaching, research and practice, and service, infusing learning with the newest design thinking methods and technologies. Through inspired interdisciplinary projects, corporate engagement, and innovative research and creative practice, the School of Design is devoted to furthering its role as a leading design institution.
In the School of Design, candidates for promotion or tenure are evaluated based on three broadly defined areas of activity – Teaching, Research/Scholarship/Creative Accomplishment, and Service. Accomplishments in these areas must contribute significantly to the overall quality of the School’s tenured faculty, demonstrate continued growth and productivity, and show potential for continuing high-quality contributions in teaching, research/scholarship/creative accomplishment, and service for promotion to be granted.
“Syracuse University recognizes success in teaching among its tenured faculty to be of vital importance, and values innovation and intellectual pursuit embedded in teaching…The successful teacher…skillfully communicates and contributes to student learning and development, acts professionally and ethically, and strives to continuously improve. Quality teaching includes providing substantive feedback to students, revising curriculum to reflect developments in the field, and mastering appropriate pedagogical approaches.” (Faculty Manual, 2.24)
Teaching in the School of Design revolves around the intellectual processes (the cultivation of critical thinking and judgment), pedagogical approaches (the ability to effectively transfer concepts and skills), and preparations (curriculum development, office hours, grading etc.) that produce high quality instruction for our students. The hallmarks of the criteria to be assessed are effective classroom/studio instruction, evaluation of student learning, and advising. Faculty members should, moreover, be able to demonstrate how the courses they teach contribute to program-level learning outcomes, and more broadly how they assist students in accomplishing the overall objectives of their degree.
For promotion, activities related to teaching1 must be documented in a faculty member’s dossier and might include:
**Note that these are not listed in order of preference or value, nor are any of the other lists of evidence included in this document.
“Syracuse University is committed to longstanding traditions of scholarship as well as evolving perspectives on scholarship. Syracuse University recognizes that the role of academia is not static and that methodologies, topics of interest, and boundaries within and between disciplines change over time. The University will continue to support scholars in all of these traditions, including faculty who choose to participate in publicly engaged scholarship. Publicly engaged scholarship may involve partnerships of University knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, creative activity, and public knowledge; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address and help solve critical social problems; and contribute to the public good” (Faculty Manual, 2.34)
Design is a generative endeavor, and at the School, faculty are critically engaged in a variety of design practices and investigations. Whether working in fashion, interiors, industrial and interaction design, or communication design, faculty are addressing the core questions of design as a discipline, design as collaboration, design as critical inquiry, and we continuously seek to advance and renew design’s
relevance in the world. Within this context, the creation of projects, artwork, plans, publications, exhibitions, and built artifacts constitutes a clearly defined and valued mode of investigation. For that reason, “Creative Accomplishment” is to be considered aligned with “Research and Scholarship,” but it is understood that faculty may engage in any of the three to varying degrees, and that the three together constitute “Research/Scholarship/Creative Accomplishment.”
The Syracuse University School of Design’s faculty comprises designers and scholars who are passionate about applying the transformative capacity of design meaningfully, creatively, intellectually, and purposefully. Our diverse community of faculty explores multiple disciplines and approaches, as well as scales of engagement, from on-campus collaborative initiatives, to internationally-based creative work and research projects. Through our partnerships and activities, we aim to offer fresh insights and new value to the field and/or the public through scholarship and creative practice that fosters innovative change locally, nationally, and internationally. The creative and scholarly accomplishment of design faculty is not extra-academic. A faculty member’s commitment to his or her work (production, expression, research, etc.) necessitates time, and as such, design scholarship and/or creative activity should be equally valued and evaluated in a manner consistent with academic activity in other disciplines.
It is therefore important to consider the dissemination of work in the School of Design, which points to the concept of peer review, and what that means for different modes of scholarly or creative endeavor. As with all creative/research/scholarly endeavors, review by qualified peers in the faculty member’s field is essential to assess the quality and significance of one’s work. Peer review can be defined as:
“a process by which a scholarly work (such as a paper or a research proposal) is assessed by a group of experts in the same field, occupation, or profession to make sure it meets the necessary standards before it is published or accepted” (Merriam-Webster, 2016).
With this definition in mind, research and creative accomplishment needs to be evaluated with selection processes in mind - peer-reviewed, juried, blind reviewed, editor reviewed, invited, nominated, commissioned, competitive, etc.
The assessment of research and creative work must also take “quality” into account, evidenced through a published record of critical reception and/or published written works, and/or evidence of peer regard through juried or invited venues. ‘Quality’ can be evaluated in terms of the contribution of a piece of work to the discipline. In other words, for promotion and tenure, greater emphasis should be placed on peer review from disinterested experts than on internal peer review or external peer review from collaborators and mentors.
It should be noted that the majority of dissemination opportunities in design are within venues wherein impact is determined by numerous, varied, and nuanced considerations. Accordingly, venues may or may not be ranked in a manner consistent with or parallel to scholarly publications in certain academic disciplines. Pertinent factors for evaluating the impact of an design venue should align with School’s and University’s missions, and might include but not be limited to: the work’s role in shaping contemporary critical discourse and/or practice in the field; the opportunities for significant, critical peer-review; a record of advancing a particular form of design production; the ability to attract regional, national, and/or international audiences; a reputation for innovation and originality in exploring new ideas and modes of production; a resonant and/or imaginative geographic or cultural context for the project etc.
In addition to accounting for processes of selection, the quality of research and creative practice should also be assessed through modes of dissemination. This might include, but is not limited to exhibitions, collections, performances, commissions, publications, conference proceedings, presentations, symposia, broadcasts, marketplace data, academic and/or popular publications etc. The significance and scope must also be taken into consideration as an indication of quality, and could include awards, citations, client-based work, collections, commercial successes, commercial work, data about viewers/users, environmental impacts, funding/grant awards, human welfare data, legislation, licensing, peer reviews, periodical references, press releases and/or media attention, policies, prizes, quality of life measures, regulations, etc. In some fields of design, paid professional practice— and in particular, client-based commissions resulting in commercially-successful, widely produced and/or viewed work— might be considered a major indicator of quality and significance.
As in creative work, quality is paramount in research, with quantity also taken into account. Aimed and benefitting the learning of others, research/scholarly activities should carry a sense of overall direction, reflect important issues in the faculty member’s fields, and make a contribution to the discipline. In other words, the assessment of research/scholarly activities for “quality” is through a published record of critical reception and/or self-reflective written works, and/or evidence of peer regard through juried or invited venues.
In short, both scholarly and creative work produced by the School of Design’s faculty should demonstrate a significant and transformative contribution to the field, whatever one’s mode of expression and dissemination might be, through the evidence of output and quality.
“The Syracuse University faculty is strong in part because it engages in scholarship that comprises a spectrum of excellence from disciplinary to cross-disciplinary, from theoretical to applied, and from critical to interpretive. Scholarship means in-depth study, learning, inquiry or experimentation designed to make contributions to knowledge as appropriate in specific fields or relevant disciplines. Scholarship is measured by peer recognition of its originality, impact on, and importance to the development of the field(s) or relevant disciplines.” (Faculty Manual 2.24, emphasis added)
“…One can contribute to these goals in many ways —individually through each of teaching, service and scholarship or in an integrated form—all highly valued by Syracuse University. Such activity counts as scholarship, however, only when it makes a contribution to knowledge in specific field(s) or relevant disciplines. Such scholarship is to be evaluated with the same rigor and standards as all scholarship” (Faculty Manual, 2.34)
Creative work entails research that expands the appreciation and understanding of the disciplines through the creation of physical and digital form. It is assumed that output would constitute more than simply a record of practice in design and would represent a creative and intellectual stretch beyond client service.
Creative work explores processes and ideas—theoretical, aesthetic, practical, technological, methodological—and produces exemplary representations of those ideas, which contribute to the field. It is important to consider the extent to which the work and/or project deepens and extends the designers’ value, including the ability to foster new connections and to exemplify creativity and innovation. Academic benefits accrue when faculty members integrate creative work with teaching or scholarship and research, and when such work is disseminated to larger audiences through guest lectures, exhibitions, and publications.
Quality that contributes to the advancing of ideas, techniques, and/or pedagogy in one’s field is paramount, and quantity is to be considered within this context. In other words, quantity alone is not sufficient. The candidate should show evidence of continuing productivity that will benefit the learning of others. Professional activities that do not represent significant original work are evidence of competence, and are taken into account, but they are not substitutes for the requirements of the creative accomplishment necessary for tenure.
For promotion, activities related to research and/or creative practice must be documented in a faculty member’s dossier and might include:
Research/Scholarly Activities define, develop, and apply knowledge of the discipline through intellectual and empirical investigation and interpretation. By means of dialogue and published scholarship, the body of knowledge is expanded, interrelated, connected with other disciplines, and made useful. These activities can significantly influence instruction, curriculum development, educational theory and application, and creative work.
As in creative work, quality is paramount in research, and is viewed as more important than quantity, although there must be sufficient quantity to provide evidence of a significant level of scholarly productivity and impact. Aimed and benefitting the learning of others, research/scholarly activities should carry a sense of overall direction, reflect important issues in the faculty member’s fields, and make a contribution to the discipline.
The assessment of research/scholarly activities for “quality” encompasses originality significance, and intellectual contribution to the discipline. This is evaluated through a published record of critical reception and/or self-reflective written works, and/or evidence of peer regard through juried or invited venues.
For promotion, activities related to research must be documented in a faculty member’s dossier and might include:
NOTE: for promotion to tenure, the dossier will include peer review letters from colleagues outside the institution
“Syracuse University asserts the importance of faculty service for the vitality of its academic community, for the professions it represents, and for society at large” (Faculty Manual, 2.25).
Service involves administrative, intellectual, and creative leadership which supports and advances one’s Department, School, University, discipline, and community. Committee work is vital to the University’s governance, and this it is expected that every tenure-track and tenured professor will serve on various committees and in leadership positions. Active participation in appropriate professional, technical, and academic activities is also important for the development of faculty members in the advancement of one’s discipline beyond the university, as well as relevant contributions to the community. Public service unrelated to one’s faculty role does not constitute evidence for promotion.
Note that the School recommends that new Tenure-Track faculty usually engage in service activities on a gradient which allows them to reasonably begin their teaching and research programs.
Any statement on Faculty workload must recognize the multiple dimensions of faculty positions in meeting the diverse responsibilities of the University. It is traditional to divide faculty activities into teaching, research, and service in a 40:40:20 allocation, reflecting faculty workload in terms of proportion of effort rather than time spent in each activity.
In terms of teaching, as a guiding principle, the University recognizes that one 3-credit course is equivalent to approximately 10 hours per week over a 15-week semester. This is equivalent to 150 hours per semester and includes classroom contact, office hours, assessment and administration. In the School of Design, the standard teaching load has long been established as 3 classes per semester, with remission for extra engagement such as directing a program.
Research and service are more difficult to quantify than teaching and cannot be reduced to a convenient formula. It is acknowledged, moreover, that consistent outstanding performance in all three areas is likely to be rare. This has led to a heuristic method of determining percentage of effort by calculating the percent of teaching, and dividing the remaining effort into research and service, negotiated between each individual professor and the Director of the School, based on individual conditions and circumstances, to determine what constitutes an appropriate balance. It is assumed that significant strength in two of the three areas will be demonstrated, and it is the responsibility of every faculty member to articulate and reflect upon his/her levels of contribution in their annual review.
The awarding of tenure is an important decision. It has a lasting impact on the future of the School and on the career of the faculty member seeking tenure. In the School of Design’s evaluation of faculty for promotion, desirable personal qualities and high potential are not substitutes for a record of continued and productive achievement. The granting of tenure recognizes interests and abilities in the individual which are consistent with the long range well-being of the institution at all levels, and evidence of continuing growth and productivity. The awarding of tenure requires evidence of consistent and substantial creative/ scholarly/ research effort, and increasing recognition of this effort and expertise on a regional and/or national scale via the dissemination of research in peer or editor- reviewed, or through refereed venues for creative work such as peer-reviewed competitions or exhibitions. The School appraises candidates according to individual career development. It is not expected that individuals in the initial phases of their careers will have the same records of achievement as more senior individuals. The guiding principle is that the School aims to build a faculty of exceptional quality and that its individual members should be among the most rigorous, creative, and productive in the field when compared to individuals at comparable stages of career development at peer institutions. Expectations presume continued growth and evolution in productivity over a faculty member’s career and recognized contribution to the discipline.
The decision to promote a faculty member to the rank of Professor is based on the same three fundamental criteria that guide evaluations for promotion to tenure – teaching, research/scholarship/creative accomplishment, and service. For promotion to Professor, however, the expectations for accomplishment in these three areas are significantly higher than for promotion to Associate Professor, and it is expected that individuals under consideration will present documented evidence of outstanding quality, productivity, and scholarly impact. As is the case with promotion to tenure, there is no straight forward scale that can be used for evaluation, as there are many compelling combinations of quantity, quality, and pace of scholarly and creative activity. Nevertheless, promotion to the rank of full professor is intended for distinguished scholars and practitioners who have been in the rank of associate professor for a minimum of four years (see Faculty Manual, 2.23), are effective teachers, and have been recognized internationally as having made significant, ongoing intellectual contributions within their field through a well-established record of scholarship and/or creative accomplishment, as well as service.
Teaching: Promotion to the rank of full professor is intended for distinguished scholars and practitioners who are also recognized as effective teachers. Teaching is viewed broadly, including curriculum planning, course design, student creations and success, and mentoring. Evidence of success in these areas will be judged along the same lines as for promotion to tenure, though with the assumption that candidates will demonstrate evidence of exceptional teaching practices and significant contributions to the teaching mission of the School and University.
Some examples of evidence in support of promotion to full professor might include:
Research, Scholarship, and Creative Accomplishment: Full professors should model the integrated, peer-reviewed intellectual life for the discipline, and for the institution and the society it serves. For promotion to Professor, the faculty member should have established him/herself as a major researcher, scholar, or creative practitioner at the national and/or international level. At this stage of one’s career, the scholarly record will be significant, and also reflect a more mature formulation of questions, as well as a richer exploration of them. A faculty member's entire scholarly career is evaluated, with emphasis placed on work developed since the time of promotion to Associate Professor. Activity should be sustained and distinguished. In other words, a continuous history of activity is more important than a short period of intense activity
Candidates for full Professor should be able to show:
Service: The Design community thrives when all members contribute to the vision and mission of the School. Individuals being considered for promotion to the position of full professor are expected to provide leadership through such activities as leading departments, councils, and committees, as well as directing other aspects of the school's programs and research activities. It is also desirable to show evidence of contributions to or engagement with the broader community.
Examples of distinguished service demonstrated over a sustained period of time might include:
Appointment and Promotion of Teaching Professors
Teaching Professors of all ranks are valued and active members of the faculty, and are expected to teach in the classroom or studio, meet with students during scheduled office hours, prepare and grade assignments and examinations, and contribute to the development and revision of curriculum as well as pedagogy in the field.
In recognition that tenured and tenure-track faculty are required to do research and service in addition to teaching, whereas teaching professors are not obligated to conduct research, and only required to engage in teaching and service, it stands to reason that non-tenure-track faculty will teach proportionately more classes than tenured and tenure-track professors.
Promotion to Associate or Full Teaching Professor is based on evidence of excellence in teaching and pedagogy, demonstrating continued currency in the field, and may include a record of service to the department, school, college, or University, as appropriate. Success in teaching for Teaching Professors will be supported by evidence along the same lines as tenure track faculty up for promotion. Teaching Professors moving between ranks will, among other things, provide instruction in consonance with the School/College mission, bring knowledge of subject matter, skillfully communicate and contribute to student learning and development, act professionally and ethically, and strive continuously to improve. Quality teaching also includes providing substantive feedback to students, revising curriculum to reflect developments in the field, and mastering appropriate pedagogical approaches. In addition to the instruction of individual courses, activities under the heading of teaching might include supervising independent study projects; advising; arranging and supervising internships or independent studies; serving on portfolio review committees; providing professional development for teaching assistants; involving students in community engagement projects; and instructing non-SU students or community members in a variety of venues (paraphrased from the SU Faculty Manual, section 2.24)
2.34 Areas of Expected Faculty Achievement: Teaching, Research, and Service
As a research university, Syracuse University expects that faculty members will be actively engaged in an intellectual and creative life that enhances the knowledge base and/or otherwise extends the boundaries in their chosen areas of concentration. The University also has a tradition of permitting various allocations of effort across research and teaching. Schools and Colleges are expected to provide guidance to all faculty regarding allocations of effort. In particular, Schools and Colleges must provide guidelines for those individuals whose teaching, research, and service do not sharply divide into distinct categories so that they can present integrated dossiers and accounts of activities.
Syracuse University recognizes success in teaching among its tenured faculty to be of vital importance and values innovation and intellectual pursuit embedded within teaching. Teaching involves the art and skill required for the diffusion of knowledge and guidance toward its effective and independent use. The successful teacher, among other things, instructs in consonance with the School/College mission, has knowledge of subject matter, skillfully communicates and contributes to student learning and development, acts professionally and ethically, and strives continuously to improve. Quality teaching includes providing substantive feedback to students, revising curriculum to reflect developments in the field, and mastering appropriate pedagogical approaches. In addition to the instruction of individual courses, activities under the heading of teaching may include supervising independent study projects; advising; arranging and supervising internships, clinical placements or student research; serving on graduate examination committees and thesis, dissertation, dossier, and portfolio review committees; providing professional development for teaching assistants; involving students in community engagement projects; and instructing non-SU students or community members in a variety of venues.
Faculty members belong to scholarly and professional communities and are expected to advance these communities by contributing to knowledge through research or other forms of creative work. The Syracuse University faculty is strong in part because it engages in scholarship that comprises a spectrum of excellence from disciplinary to cross-disciplinary, from theoretical to applied, and from critical to interpretive.
Scholarship means in-depth study, learning, inquiry and experimentation designed to make contributions to knowledge in specific fields or relevant disciplines. Scholarship, as measured by peer recognition of its originality, impact on, and importance to the development of the field(s) or relevant disciplines, is demonstrated most typically by refereed publications—in journals, books of high quality, or other influential venues. It can also be demonstrated by high quality publications in other non- refereed but influential journals. Scholarship and research accomplishments are also demonstrated by the design and execution of basic or applied research in the laboratory or in the field; through the presentation of papers at organized scholarly meetings, usually at the national or international level; through the attraction of external support or competitive fellowships and awards appropriate to the faculty member’s field(s) of study or relevant disciplines; through such activities as editing, translation, the acquisition of significant patents, the compilation of information, and the development of materials that make information more accessible to researchers, other scholars, practitioners, and the public; and lecturing in professional and other public forums.
The appointment of a faculty member in the creative or performing arts may permit the primary assessment of efforts to be on scholarship, on artistic accomplishment, or on a balance between the two that is appropriate to the artist/scholar’s appointment. For faculty members with such appointments, artistic accomplishment is most often demonstrated by dissemination of the artist’s work through performance, publication or exhibition in professionally recognized settings. The artist’s work will have an intrinsic value equal to scholarship and will be subject to equally rigorous evaluation.
Syracuse University is committed to longstanding traditions of scholarship as well as evolving perspectives on scholarship. Syracuse University recognizes that the role of academia is not static and that methodologies, topics of interest, and boundaries within and between disciplines change over time. The University will continue to support scholars in all of these traditions, including faculty who choose to participate in publicly engaged scholarship. Publicly engaged scholarship may involve partnerships of University knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, creative activity, and public knowledge; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address and help solve critical social problems; and contribute to the public good.
One can contribute to these goals in many ways —individually through each of teaching, service and scholarship or in an integrated form—all highly valued by Syracuse University. Such activity counts as scholarship, however, only when it makes a contribution to knowledge in specific field(s) or relevant disciplines. Such scholarship is to be evaluated with the same rigor and standards as all scholarship.
All scholarship will meet common expectations in terms of (1) ways of conducting the work (e.g., formulating problems, choosing topics of inquiry, framing questions, using systematic processes or methods, setting goals, making and carrying out plans, sustaining a scholarly agenda, observing ethical standards; (2) means of legitimating the work (e.g., providing theoretical foundations, making reasoned arguments, documenting the work, representing the work in various media, disseminating it to appropriate audiences and users, assessing outcomes or projects through review by appropriate evaluators); (3) connections to prior/current scholarship and to an intellectual community or communities (e.g., drawing on other scholars’ work, contributing to current work, building on a scholar’s previous work, placing
work in an intellectual tradition); (4) qualities of the work (e.g., rigor, objectivity, caution, currency, originality, generativity, independence of thought, critical stance, commitment); and (5) significance (e.g., audiences addressed, importance of goals, relevance beyond immediate project, effect on field, contribution to the public good).
Syracuse University asserts the importance of faculty service for the vitality of its academic community, for the professions it represents, and for society at large. Significant accomplishment in the area of service alone is not sufficient for the attainment of tenure. However, significant accomplishment in service, when in conjunction with or integrated with high quality teaching or research, strengthens the candidate’s dossier. Service includes membership or leadership on committees at program, department, School/College, or University levels as appropriate to the faculty member’s rank, as well as administrative functions or other leadership roles. In addition to formal assignments of duties, faculty individually can prove valuable in efforts such as recruiting and mentoring students, faculty, and staff.
Service also includes contributions to professional societies, governmental and academic institutions, and the community at large when these contributions reflect faculty members’ professional expertise or standing. The expectation regarding the quantity of service activities for faculty in the probationary period may vary by unit, according to its size and norms. Service activities should be of high quality.
Approved by the University Senate March 2009