How Faculty Profiles Can Help Track Progression Toward Tenure

October 27, 2022 Watermark Insights

Tenure benefits every level of your institution. With highly qualified instructors who advocate for your students, you can be sure your learners engage in an enriching academic experience that guides them to success. However, earning tenure is no easy feat, and many professors spend much longer than they need to achieve this status. Thankfully, faculty profiles can significantly simplify this task, and we want to tell you how. Review our guide to faculty profiles to discover how you can make it easier for instructors to achieve tenure. 

What Is Tenure?

What Is Tenure?

Tenure is an academic appointment that ensures decision-makers cannot fire professors except under extreme circumstances. This accomplishment encourages faculty and staff to speak freely without fear of reprisal. Achieving tenure status takes time and dedication. Professors typically embark on a tenure track, participating in a probationary period that usually lasts around seven years. During this time, instructors must demonstrate excellence in service, research, and teaching to the community.

What Is the Tenure Track?

Tenure-track positions encompass three components — teaching, research, and service. This track typically takes multiple years to complete, and each institution may place a different emphasis on those three items during the probation period. For instance, one college may expect educators to dedicate the largest percentage of their efforts toward research, while another university encourages instructors to spend most of their time teaching. 

After exceeding these expectations, a tenure-track professor can seek tenure. However, even after meeting an institution's requirements, some professors do not achieve this accomplishment because there is a limited number of available positions. If all the tenure positions are full and there's a queue of people waiting for approval, instructors may take far longer to achieve tenure than they initially expected. 

Why Tenure Matters

Tenure is a safeguard for instructors, ensuring they can speak up for their students without fear of losing their jobs or facing another form of retaliation. It enables educators to speak freely about institutional policies and changes directly affecting student learning experiences. This environment enhances learning quality and encourages professors to teach an engaging curriculum as they continue researching their field. Constant research and continuing education benefits society, making tenure a public service practice.

Additionally, tenure ensures educators' job security, eliminating the possibility of losing their jobs unfairly. Institutions cannot fire their tenured employees without a proper hearing. Tenure helps prevent workplace discrimination, as decision-makers cannot fire educators due to race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or age. This policy ensures layoffs are fair for every employee, rather than allowing decision-makers to dismiss those who remain at the top of the pay scale or advocate for students. 

Benefits of Tenure

Benefits of Tenure

Offering tenure benefits your institution, students, staff, and the public. With tenure comes a freedom that allows instructors to explore their fields in-depth, find more time to mentor students, engage with community service, and provide high-quality learning experiences. Tenure can foster a positive learning environment that supports academic growth and public service. 

Other advantages include the following.

  • Attracting talented instructors: When you offer tenure positions at your institutions, you attract the most gifted and qualified instructors. As your educators continue researching their field, you know they are continuously growing and positively contributing to the academic environment.
  • Creative freedom: Professors with tenure can explore any academic topic and have the freedom to create an engaging, holistic learning experience for their students. Instructors can continue to publish works without worrying about their job titles. Students can gain in-depth knowledge of their desired field from instructors who actively work in those industries. 
  • Job security: You can positively influence your faculty and staff by encouraging them to secure a position. Though tenure does not guarantee a job for life, you can help keep your team full of professionals and encourage them to stay at your institution. You offer stability for your institution and staff by providing long-term tenure and job security. 
  • Student advocacy: Professors with tenure can advocate for your students without fearing reprisal. They give your students a voice and ensure your institution implements institutional changes and goals that benefit the academic environment. 

How to Get Tenure as a Professor

Professors first need to get on the tenure track. They will need to understand their institution's teaching, research, and service expectations. Though many colleges and universities explain the tenure track during the hiring process, professors must ensure they follow the path and undergo tenure-track faculty review. 

At many institutions, applying for academic tenure involves crafting a portfolio, which is an excellent place for instructors to document their evaluations, university and community service, recommendation letters, and publications. Many tenure portfolios are comprehensive, and it can take years to gather a worthwhile compilation of achievements. 

Once an instructor is ready to apply for tenure, their portfolio and application will go to a review committee. This committee typically consists of other tenured staff members, so they should try to form good relationships with those in their department and others they see frequently. 

After reviewing the application, the instructor's department will send the portfolio to a school committee and a university-level committee. The application will move from the university committee to the president's or provost's desk, where they will officially receive tenure approval. If a professor does not achieve tenure, most colleges and universities have a formal appeals process they can follow if they wish to stay at their institution. 

What Is a Faculty Profile?

What Is a Faculty Profile?

Faculty profiles are flexible pages of faculty information. Some profiles require more information than others, but typical items include education, job title, courses, publications, research specialties, and additional career-related information. Faculty profiles may include personal information, such as a photograph, brief biography, or a list of interests. They may also list office hours, presentations, areas of interest, and ways to contact them. 

Besides being helpful for your team, these pages can help students decide whether they want to attend an institution or enroll in a specific program. If they can see all your staff has accomplished, they may feel more inclined to enroll in your quality education. Faculty profiles can reduce workloads for your team and staff and provide more free time to pursue other interests. 

How Faculty Profiles Help Track Progress Toward Tenure

A faculty profile can aid in tracking instructor tenure progress. These profiles make it easy to reduce repetitive tasks, find more free time for self-study, and keep all necessary information in one convenient location. Solutions like Watermark Faculty Success create a central location for faculty activity. This hub becomes a centralized place for professors to document their achievements and institution decision-makers to recognize growth and achieve strategic goals

The capability to automate repetitive tasks, such as attendance-taking, frees up your staff to do more meaningful work. For professors looking to achieve tenure, this extra time can be perfect for developing a new field of study. They can conduct research, begin creative projects, and engage in deep self-studies that further them in their field. Additionally, they can document the new challenges they undergo on their profile to continuously craft a portfolio for tenure-track faculty review. 

Create Faculty Profiles With Watermark

Create Faculty Profiles With Watermark

With Watermark Faculty Success, you can showcase your instructors' achievements and easily support their professional growth. You can create comprehensive profiles that encourage faculty to keep moving forward. Configure reports with data collection to reflect on your institution's processes, perspectives, and unique categories. Your staff can turn data into action and ensure they always stay on top of their game. Request a Watermark Faculty Success demo and empower your team. 

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