The Tenure System

Faculty Performance and Rank

Domains of Faculty Performance

Faculty members are responsible for making contributions to the fulfillment of EMU’s mission in the domains of Teaching, Scholarship, and Service. EMU recognizes that these three domains are integrated. Growth in one domain will likely impact growth in another domain. The following definitions provide a university-wide benchmark of quality. Individual programs maintain guidelines for discipline-specific interpretation of the criteria; such guidelines are reviewed and approved by the Faculty Status Committee every six years.

Faculty candidates are evaluated by their peers in each domain as demonstrating Competent, Proficient, or Outstanding performance. Movement across the levels of performance is progressive in nature, reflecting greater breadth, depth, or scope of influence in a domain. Precise definition of Competent, Proficient, or Outstanding performance is difficult and may be too constraining; the narrative rubrics are not intended to be exhaustive or rigid measures. Rather, the following narratives are exemplars to set the standard for reaching consensus in making decisions on contract renewal/promotion.


Teaching facilitates learning. Effective teachers assist the learner in acquiring new knowledge, skills, and values. This includes the thorough understanding of a discipline, sound pedagogy, clarity of communication, use of engaging strategies, the evaluation of student learning, and the capacity to remain current in pedagogies and learning technologies.

Competent: Competent performance in teaching includes currency of knowledge of the subject matter, effective communication in the classroom, sound pedagogical practice, and a willingness to work with students both inside and outside of the classroom. A Competent teacher clarifies expectations for the learning process, demonstrates enthusiasm, and contributes to student learning.

Proficient: A Proficient teacher contributes to student formation by providing an engaging learning environment. A Proficient teacher extends the learning beyond the textbook, guiding students to use critical thinking and understand the broader nature of the discipline. Proficient teachers can assess both student outcomes and their own praxis to enrich the academic environment. Proficient teachers make contributions to the curricular work of the program and remain current in pedagogy and technology.

Outstanding: An outstanding teacher embodies a way of being that enlivens the learning processes. An outstanding teacher motivates students to learn in ways that deeply impact how they think, act, feel, and serve. An outstanding teacher is an expert in the subject matter, has pedagogical fluency, is a skilled communicator, is a wise mentor in all aspects of student learning, and is an efficient evaluator of the learning process. An outstanding teacher displays enthusiasm for the discipline, exhibits a commitment to growth pedagogically, professionally, and personally, and is committed to the development and training of other teachers.


Scholarship is creative, intellectual work. It is the systematic, disciplined attempt to discover, transmit and apply knowledge. Scholarly activities grow from the ideas and methods of the arts, humanities, sciences, and professions, including the visual and performing arts. Scholarship and creative activity are measured by the contribution to generating and disseminating knowledge within and across disciplines. We recognize multiple modes of scholarship, including discovery, integration, application/engagement, and teaching (Boyer, 1997). At EMU we are a community of learning. Our scholarship reflects our Anabaptist values of collaboration, linking theory and practice, and pursuing peace and justice. EMU recognizes the standards of scholarship as defined by Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff (1997):

  • clear goals for scholarship that identifies an important question in the field
  • demonstration of understanding of existing scholarship around the question
  • appropriate methodology in considering the question
  • significance of contribution to the field
  • effective presentation to intended audiences
  • critical evaluation of the work.

Competent: Competent scholarship/creative activity includes consistent and creative application of literature and research to teaching and practice within the discipline. It involves participation in professional conversations and conferences in order to gain and disseminate knowledge. Sharing original work through print and public presentations is an important part of this scholarship.

Proficient: Proficiency in scholarship/creative activity results in continuous and ongoing research in the pure and applied sciences, humanities, professions, or the creative/performing arts that builds on and contributes new knowledge to the discipline and/or enhances cross-disciplinary interaction. The originality of this scholarship is meant to deepen understanding of the subject and further develop methodologies and techniques that produce a product that is valued by others. Publications are reviewed and validated by peers and scholars in related disciplines.

Outstanding: Outstanding scholarship includes the highest standard of research, creativity, and practice. Scholarly contribution within and across disciplines regularly results in critical and public responses by others and is used and applied by others. Scholarship frequently includes research funded by highly competitive grants in the discipline. Outstanding scholars are often characterized by public recognition of their leadership in their discipline or professional body.


EMU educates students to serve and lead in a global context. As a shared value of EMU, service activities on the part of faculty are collaborative efforts to meet the needs of the institution and to further its mission in the world. Faculty are essential to the achievement of the mission of EMU, and faculty service is both highly valued and recognized as integral to the tenure and promotion system. Faculty service is composed of active contribution to the academic program and its students, involvement in university governance through membership on university committees and task forces, engagement in the church and in the broader community, and contribution to the discipline.

Competent: Competent service includes consistent and meaningful participation in program activities such as academic advising, program and curriculum development, assessment of student outcomes and program effectiveness, student recruitment, and accreditation activities (when applicable). Competent performance also includes attendance at school/university meetings, membership on program/school committees, university committees, regular participation in a local community of faith, and involvement in professional associations.

Proficient: Proficiency in service involves contributions that are more extensive in scope or nature. Proficient service includes membership on elected committees, special task forces, advising student organizations/groups, or significant search committees at EMU. Proficient performance also includes active contribution to the governance or activities of a local church, the broader church, the broader community, or professional organizations.

Outstanding: Outstanding service involves taking on a significant leadership role or in-depth contributions on campus, public recognition of the faculty member’s significant contribution to church or civic organizations, and organizational or opinion leadership in broader professional, church, or community organizations.

Criteria for Rank

Rank is assigned according to: level of advanced degree, years of teaching service, and the quality of faculty performance in the 3 domains.

Instructor: Appointment to the rank of Instructor requires completion of the Master’s degree. Competent performance in all 3 domains is required. Normally for continued employment as instructor, there is an expectation for continued progress on an advanced degree.

Assistant Professor: Promotion or appointment to the rank of Assistant Professor requires completion of the terminal degree or the equivalent (as defined in the Appointment Procedures section). Competency in teaching, scholarship, and service must be achieved in order to receive a 3-year contract.

Associate Professor: Promotion to associate professor requires completion of the doctorate or the terminal degree/equivalent in the field. Normally, a minimum of six years of faculty experience is required. Proficient Teaching performance is required, as well as Proficient Scholarship or Service.

Professor: Completion of at least one six-year contract at EMU or its equivalent elsewhere is required. In addition to Proficient performance in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service, Outstanding performance is required in either Teaching or Scholarship. (Alternate: A faculty member may seek to make the case that Outstanding Service be substituted for Outstanding Teaching or Scholarship. The Dean, with support from the program/school faculty, may grant the exception based on evidence that Outstanding Service has made a significant contribution toward the achievement of EMU’s mission in the world or broader faith community.)

Approved by Faculty Senate and Provost's Council, May 2020

Responsible Party

Responsibility for this policy lies with the Provost.

Policy Review

This policy is to be reviewed every three years.


Faculty/Staff Handbook