Department Policies

Department of Religious Studies, University of Missouri: Standards for Promotion and Tenure

These standards for promotion and tenure apply the UM system philosophy articulated in CRR 320.035 to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri.


Principles Common to Evaluation of Candidates for Both Associate and Full Professor

  1. Promotion is not only a recognition of a candidate’s record of accomplishment to date, but also an expression of confidence that the candidate will continue to be a productive scholar, teacher, and academic citizen throughout their career. The evaluation of past accomplishment must be tempered with informed judgment about the trajectory of the candidate’s work and the likelihood of a continuing pattern of scholarly reflection, research, and writing. 
  2. The typical workload distribution for tenure-track and tenured faculty is 40% research, 40 % teaching, and 20 % service. In the event that a candidate’s workload is altered in the course of the evaluation period, the tenure and/or promotion evaluation will focus proportionately on the revised workload distribution. 
  3. For faculty with dual appointments, when Religious Studies is the primary Department, the Religious Studies Department standards and processes will be followed, but with the addition that the partnering unit will submit a recommendation to the Department of Religious Studies. This recommendation should include an evaluation of the candidate’s accomplishments relevant to the partnering unit. When Religious Studies is not the primary unit, the Department will request from the primary unit the opportunity to provide an overall recommendation that includes an evaluation of the candidate’s accomplishment relevant to the appointment in Religious Studies. 
  4. During the review process, the Department considers work completed during the faculty member’s current appointment at MU. If a faculty member wishes to count work completed prior to their current appointment, that arrangement must be documented within the appointment letter. If there is no such arrangement in the appointment letter, the Department will focus on work completed during the current appointment at MU. 


Promotion to Associate Professor

The Department of Religious Studies places a high priority on faculty development. This begins during the hiring process, when we evaluate candidates carefully in order to find the right colleague for our institutional setting. After hiring, each member of the department is given an annual review in writing to monitor progress toward tenure. The most significant milestone in this process is the third-year review, in which the chair and the senior faculty of the department provide written assessments of the junior candidate’s progress toward tenure based on research, teaching, and service. 

Near the end of the fifth year, the senior faculty of the department begin assembling the candidate’s promotion and tenure dossier. The fifth-year candidate provides a CV, publications, and documentation regarding teaching. The senior faculty meet and vote on the case; a two-thirds majority is necessary to recommend promotion and tenure. The candidate provides a list of mentors and other individuals who would have difficulty writing an objective review. The candidate will also provide names of potential reviewers. The senior faculty will provide a separate list of potential reviewers. Approximately half of the nominations for reviewers will be selected from the candidate’s list and approximately half from the senior faculty’s list, excluding any reviewers with close personal ties to the candidate. The department will then contact the external reviewers. The dossier is normally completed in the fall of the faculty member's sixth year. Any requests for extension of the tenure probationary period must be made in accordance with university regulations ( 

The criteria for tenure and promotion in the Department of Religious Studies are excellence in research and teaching as well as contributions in service consistent with the mission of the Department. 



Promotion to associate professor and the awarding of tenure reflects a demonstrated potential for developing a national reputation in the discipline. The Department recognizes two broad categories of scholarly work in determining demonstrated potential: Category A includes peer-reviewed authored or co-authored books; translations with significant interpretative commentary; edited or co-edited books; peer-reviewed authored or co-authored journal articles; invited book chapters or articles in peer-reviewed collections; and external research grants (which are rare in Religious Studies). Category B includes translations without significant interpretative commentary; documentaries, digital humanities projects, curated exhibits, archaeological field reports; papers presented at professional meetings; book reviews; reference articles; and textbooks embodying original scholarship; and may also include citations of their work in publications by other scholars. 

The candidate is expected to show a sustained program of research and publication primarily in Category A or spread across the two categories with a majority concentration in Category A. In evaluating the candidate’s program of research, the Department considers any one of the following categories/combinations sufficient for promotion and tenure:

1.   A peer-reviewed monograph with a respected scholarly press (a dissertation that has gone through complete reformulation and/or extensive expansion is considered the equivalent of an authored book), and additional evidence of scholarly activity from Category B; or,

2.   A significant number of peer-reviewed journal articles (print or on-line) and chapters (approximately 6-8, depending on topic, significance, length, and venue); or,

3.    A moderately revised dissertation and 3-4 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters.

4.  A combination of single-and multi-authored publications demonstrating the candidate’s original research contributions to the profession, for which the author’s cumulative contributed effort is the equivalent of 6-8 peer-reviewed single-authored articles or a peer-reviewed monograph. 

A great deal of scholarship in our field depends on reliable scholarly translations and editions of original texts. The Department of Religious Studies therefore recognizes a translation and/or edition of a text with a scholarly introduction that is published with a reputable academic press to be the equivalent of a peer-reviewed monograph. 

Edited books also play a significant role in our field, and an invitation to serve as the editor of a scholarly volume is a sign of recognition by the scholarly community. We recognize that the work that goes into editing a book and writing a substantial introduction or chapter in that volume is the equivalent of 1/3 of a monograph.

Interdisciplinary research is highly valued by the Department of Religious Studies. Published books, publications in journals and edited volumes from other disciplines are acceptable provided there is still a demonstrable Religious Studies component to the faculty member’s work. 

While publication of single-authored monographs and articles have historically been the norm in Religious Studies, the department also accepts co-authored and multi-authored books, chapters, and articles. In this case, the candidate should provide an explanation for the percentage of the work for which they are responsible, as well as an explanation for the protocol of listing co-authors in a certain order that is applicable to that publication. A co-authored article, chapter, or book to which the candidate has contributed x% will count as x% of one article, chapter, or book. 

As academic publishing changes and adapts to new digital technologies, candidates may also be awarded tenure and promotion for documentaries, digital humanities projects, curated exhibits, archaeological field reports, public-facing scholarship, and other forms of significant scholarly work that do not conform to the traditional formats of books and articles for consideration in tenure dossier. In these cases, the candidate will explain their role in the project, including % of contribution. In most cases, such contributions will count in Category B. The Department recognizes that such work may in some cases contain enough original research that it would be more appropriate to count these contributions under Category A; in these cases the letter of Appointment or Third Year Review shall state how these contributions will be credited for tenure and promotion. 


The usual teaching load for faculty during the probationary period is 4 courses per academic year. Any exceptions to the normal teaching load resulting from teaching release during the first year, research leaves, or other reasons should be explained both by the candidates in their dossier materials and by the Chair in their evaluation letter. 

1)   Candidates must demonstrate teaching competence. The quality of the candidate’s teaching is assessed through annual peer evaluations and student evaluations. If these teaching assessments identify systematic problems with the candidate’s teaching, this will be documented in annual reviews. The candidate will then develop a plan to improve teaching, and the Department Promotion Committee and the Chair will consider the success of the remediation plan, and view positively evidence of improving performance in the classroom in the tenure evaluation process. Successful teaching may be demonstrated by written student and peer evaluations, and not just by numerical rating forms. Successful development of new courses, new approaches to active learning, and strategies for enhancing student engagement will be viewed positively. 

2)   When relevant, the candidate may also include evidence of teaching excellence through independent studies, formal or informal mentoring, and the supervision of student research and serving on graduate committees, including work with students in other departments. 



Service is evaluated in terms of a candidate’s contributions to the department’s and the university’s intellectual community, and to the profession at large. Evidence of service appropriate for promotion and tenure includes (but is not limited to) attending faculty meetings, serving on department, college, or university committees, and contributing to the recruitment of majors and minors, and to the retention of undergraduate students.

Although it is not required for promotion to Associate Professor and the awarding of tenure, service to candidates’ profession at the regional and national levels is viewed as evidence of a growing scholarly reputation  Serving as a reviewer, consulting editor, or editor in the scholarly peer review process of journals, academic presses, and granting agencies is a strong measure of valued professional service. 

Departmental Expectations for Early Promotion and Tenure

The Department of Religious Studies, in accordance with the UM CRR 320.035, expects that recommendations for promotion and/or tenure before the sixth year should be rare and restricted to truly exceptional cases. Candidates will be considered for early promotion and tenure only if they have published multiple peer-reviewed publications in scholarly journals in the field, one or more monographs with prestigious academic presses, and they have been recognized by the discipline as being a leader in the field through the awarding of book prizes or prestigious grants and fellowships, invitations to deliver public lectures or keynotes, or other markers of exceptional accomplishment for an early career researcher. A candidate's qualifications for early promotion and tenure will be recognized during the annual review or the Third Year Review process.


Standards for Promotion to Professor

Criteria for promotion to Professor generally mirror those for promotion to Associate Professor with the critical difference that the candidate’s record is expected to reflect a nationally and preferably internationally prominent scholarly identity. This identity will be demonstrated through published research and scholarship. 


Candidates for promotion to the rank of Professor are expected to demonstrate a national or preferably international prominence in their field of study. Indicators of such prominence may include publication of monographs or edited volumes with scholarly presses, publication of articles in peer-reviewed journals, reviews of candidates’ books in major journals, invitations to contribute chapters to edited volumes, invitations to participate in symposia and give lectures at other academic institutions, serving on journals’ editorial boards or editing a book series. 

We expect that promotion to Full Professor will be awarded to those faculty who have produced substantial research that has been influential in shaping the field. The number of publications that constitute substantial research vary by sub-discipline, but the general expectation is that the candidate publish one major monograph or its equivalent (6-8 articles or book chapters, which may include contributions to co-authored articles or books) after tenure.

Evidence of a candidate’s influence in the field could include positive book reviews, citation impact, invited lectures, conference panels focusing on their research, leading research workshops or seminars at national or international venues, and the teaching of their publications at other Universities. 


External funding is especially difficult to find in the humanities. We hope, but do not require, that senior faculty will obtain extramural grants, but the failure to do so is not a detriment to a candidate’s promotion. 


The usual teaching load for tenured faculty is 4 courses per academic year. Any exceptions to this work load stemming from research leaves or other factors should be explained both by the candidate in the dossier and in the Chair’s evaluation letter. Promotion to Professor will require evidence that a candidate has made a strong contribution to teaching in the Department, as demonstrated by teaching and peer evaluations, pedagogical innovations, and development of new courses. 

Successful mentoring is also expected. Mentoring may include supervision of student research, including in other departments.


There is a strong expectation that the candidate for promotion has made significant contributions to faculty governance at the level of the department, college, or university. These contributions could include leadership in the department, and participating in important department, college, or university committees or initiatives. 

A record of national service to the profession is also expected for promotion. This service can take many forms, including reviewing journal submissions or book manuscripts for academic presses, serving as editor or co-editor of academic journals or book series, serving on editorial boards, serving in leadership roles in professional societies, or reviewing academic grant applications. 

(Approved October 15, 2019)