Promotion and tenure discussion presented by Early Career Academic Faculty Committee

‘Your application is your representation of your story;’ insights and tips from members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee

Physics Professor and Department Chair Paul Neill addresses a class during a physics lecture.

3/14/2019 | By: Natalie Fry |

The Faculty Senate Early Career Academic Faculty Committee hosted its spring Brown Bag Tenure Discussion event Friday, March 8, 2019.

The event featured three panelists on the Campus Promotion and Tenure Committee representing a variety of disciplines across the University. Panelists were Associate Professor of Journalism Howard Goldbaum, Professor of Business Management James Sundali, and Interim Assistant Dean, Director of Research and Instruction Services and head of the Liaison Librarian Program Ann Medaille.

The Tenure Discussion, attended by nearly 30, was held from noon-1 p.m. in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center's Knowledge Nook. It is an event designed to provide an opportunity to discuss best practices and to give advice on formatting, articulating and presenting documentation effectively.

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Rosalind Bucy, committee chair and librarian for University Libraries, opened the hour-long discussion asking the panelists to share a few common errors in promotion and tenure applications.

"It's important to remember that you're not creating a public relations campaign," Goldbaum said. "If you overstate your roll in obtaining a grant, someone will notice and the entire package will be examined more closely."

Last year, the P&T committee read 54 applications; 12-15 were examined more thoroughly, Sundali explained.

In response to how best to present teaching activities, Medaille emphasized that the committee is never just looking at course evaluation means.

"The narrative matters," she said.

"It's important to demonstrate how you developed your course, responded to feedback, and showed efforts to improve teaching, such as attending seminars or training," Sundali concurred.

Questions regarding the process included guidance for format and structure, cover letters versus research narratives, and evaluation of different packages across disciplines.

"You cannot compare yourself to colleagues who applied years ago; times have changed," Goldbaum said.

"The Provost conveys his expectations, which have evolved with R1 standards," Sundali attested. "At least one-half of your letters should come from R1 institutions."

The committee is planning another spring event. The biannual Lightning Talk event is scheduled from 4:30-6 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center's Knowledge Nook.

The Early Career Academic Faculty Committee promotes the success of early career academic faculty, conducts studies on University practices, policies and procedures and makes recommendations to the Senate and administration on matters that affect the welfare and success of Early Career Faculty.

If anyone has any observations, comments or suggestions for improving future events, or would like to be a speaker, contact Rosalind Bucy at or 775-682-5098.

Learn more about the Faculty Senate, faculty news and upcoming events by following the Facebook page @unrfacultysenate.


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

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