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About the Department

Standards for Promotion

Department of Philosophy


  1. Departmental guidelines and policies are subject to policies promulgated at the college and university levels. In the case of promotion and tenure, guidelines provided by the Office of the Provost form the basis of all promotion and tenure decisions. While a college or department may choose to implement more rigorous standards than those detailed in the university-level promotion and tenure guidelines, a college or department may not implement policies that result implicitly or explicitly in the application of less rigorous standards than detailed in the in the university-level promotion and tenure guidelines. It is the obligation of the chair of the department to make all new tenured or tenure-track faculty members aware in writing of not only the university-level promotion beyond tenure guidelines but also any college or departmental level policies or procedures that may impact their tenure and/or promotion.    
  2. These guidelines for professional evaluation of tenured and tenure-track members of the University of Houston's Department of Philosophy are prepared as a general document without reference to particular individuals or configurations of accomplishment. They do not prescribe a uniform roster of accomplishments that must be achieved by all candidates for tenure or promotion.  Rather, they suggest ways of evaluating accomplishments in research, teaching, and service by allowing flexibility in assigning relative weights to these three activities.

Approved unanimously by the Department January 27, 2006

(revised from previous versions dated July 10 and 25, 2003)

This is meant to reflect the sense of the department as expressed in the bylaws, as amended 4/11/97, and it is best read in conjunction with those bylaws.

Because no two cases are exactly alike and because there are a number of different ways to excel in the different aspects of professional life, it is unwise to try to specify anything like specific necessary and sufficient conditions for promotion of tenure. Nevertheless, we adopt the following general guidelines.

Associate Professor with Tenure

  1. Strong teaching performance as indicated by such measures as peer evaluation, student evaluations, and evidence of course development.
  2. A record of good service to the Department, College, University, or profession.
  3. Research of high quality and promise of continued scholarly development. Strong evidence the candidate will develop a national reputation for research in philosophy.

Research in philosophy takes many forms including substantial original essays, paper presentations at conferences and APA meetings, book reviews, books, encyclopedia entries, relatively short articles, edited volumes, and contributions to edited volumes. Research in any of these forms, when well done, is respected in the profession and constitutes a contribution to the field. In line with the practice of the best departments in the country and the APA statement on research, this department does not require books for either tenure or promotion. The department considers all relevant forms of research, and it insists on high-quality work evincing philosophical acumen, sophistication, creativity, and good scholarship. The quantity of work should be sufficient by the standards of good research departments. Judgments of quality are partly informed by such consideration as the quality of the venues in which the work appears and by reports from external referees. The department pays special attention to the rigor of the peer review process used by publishers in selecting articles and similar work.

Our fundamental concern must be the quality and the philosophical significance of a candidate’s work. Since there are many ways these might be demonstrated, it is impossible to specify necessary or sufficient quantitative conditions. Still, we can give examples of the kinds of work that would normally warrant tenure: (1) It is only rarely that junior faculty in philosophy publish books, but a substantial, original book, published by a good press, can make a good case for tenure—especially if the candidate is developing further research projects as well. (2) Five or six essays in solid, refereed journals can also make the core of a good case for tenure. However, journal articles can differ in ambition, significance, and quality. A substantial article in a premier journal like The Philosophical Review or The Journal of Philosophy, to give just two examples, could count more than twice as much as an article in another good journal.


  1. Strong teaching performance, as above.
  2. An ongoing record of service as in Section 2 above, commensurate with increasing seniority.
  3. A substantial and growing body of recognized research of the sorts described in Section 3 above. Candidates must demonstrate that they have achieved a national (or preferably an international) reputation for work in their area of research. Promotion from Associate to Full Professor requires a substantial body of new work, at least equivalent to that required for tenure.