In this blog post, I would like to provide some data for my colleagues on promotion at our university. I have heard many different comments in regards to research and publications. However, there appears to be very little data, or evidence beyond anecdotes describing what’s going on systematically. So, I’ve sat down and put this estimate together. The following chart of search “results” for publications was created using our Daily Brief newsletter announcements, and doing searches on Google Scholar.
|Assistant-Associate Professor||Associate-Full Professor|
|Year||# Promoted to Associate|| MEAN Results
(Prior 5 Years)
|Median||# Promoted to Full|| MEAN Results
(All Years Prior)
These numbers should be considered estimates, for the following reasons:
- Promotion is not only linked to “Scholarly Growth” per our union contract. It includes teaching and service. The numbers to not necessarily suggest a “minimum” needed for promotion.
- The above only includes those listed in the Daily Brief, and does not include those who were later promoted through a union grievance, or lawsuit.
- Google Scholar under-indexes the humanities, and of-course those in the arts might be in fields where one doesn’t publish to gain tenure or promotion. Also, as publishers put more past material online, sometimes these numbers change.
- Google Scholar results used are simple counts. There is no differentiation between books or articles. However, our union contract explicitly states that the evaluation process should use quality over quantity.
- At the same time, it should be noted that Google Scholar counts also include book reviews, non-peer reviewed reports, as well as publications in predatory journals. However, it should be noted that there was not a concern regarding predatory publications by our university administration until 2016.
- It is important to note that our system separates tenure and promotion to associate professors. This means it is possible to receive tenure and be denied promotion to associate professor. It also means someone can choose not to apply for promotion. Nonetheless, for convenience, I have used results in the 5 years leading up to promotion, which is time time-frame when most faculty will also be applying for tenure. However, in several cases people took longer than 5 years to be promoted to associate.
- For data on full professors, I’ve chosen to use lifetime results prior to the year in which the individual was promoted. The range in which people on our campus become full professors range from 3 years, to decades, after they receive promotion to associate. Without direct access to everyone’s CVs, it’s really hard to come up with a perfect way to delimit time-to-full.
In the absence of looking at actual publications (not just results) and creating a more nuanced coding system, I did look at disciplinary fields, and academic unit/college. For instance, our College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) is where most of the traditional “research” fields within the humanities, social sciences, and STEM are located. Looking at that breakdown, we see for promotion to Associate Professor for those in Humanities fields, there was a mean of 2.06 results. For the Social Sciences there was an average of 3 results, and for STEM fields an average 3.97. For promotion to Full Professor in CLAS, we see means of 4.85 for Humanities, 11.63 for Social Sciences, and 10.57 for STEM.
Finally, below is data from our Office of Institutional Research regarding faculty ranks.