Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Performance Expectations1

All tenured and tenure-track faculty members will be evaluated annually in each of the three areas of scholarship (including research and creative activity), teaching, and service. In addition, faculty members will be evaluated on contributions to the quality and effectiveness of their Unit, their College, and the University in the light of Northeastern’s mission. The University recognizes that every faculty member offers a unique combination of accomplishments relative to the criteria listed above, depending on academic field, specialized scholarly interests, varying professional opportunities, and responsibilities for teaching, laboratory and field work. However, while relative weights may vary, all faculty members are expected to be productive in each of the three areas over time.

Performance criteria in the areas of scholarship, teaching effectiveness and service shall be delineated in each Unit’s documents concerning merit review, reappointment, and promotion and tenure policies. Each unit’s policies are subject to review and approval by the Dean of the respective College and by the Provost. These documents shall make clear to faculty members the Unit’s criteria for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, and the standards for promotion to full Professor.

  1. Teaching

    Through their teaching, all faculty members are expected to transmit knowledge, extend their students understanding and vision, and develop in their students the ability for critical and independent thinking. In their roles as teachers, faculty members are expected to maintain and reflect currency in their discipline and to enable students to understand and appreciate the material of the course. Good teaching includes, as applicable, the following indications of teaching effectiveness:

    1. Quality presentation in the classroom or other learning environment, including effective communication and adjustment of teaching techniques to the particular subject area and students involved;
    2. Clearly stated course objectives, along with explicit evidence that appropriate teaching/learning methods were employed to assist students in meeting course objectives;
    3. Appropriateness of subject matter, approach, and evaluation methods;
    4. Courses or programs and counseling of students to make the learning environment a meaningful one;
    5. Evidence of superior teaching not included in the above, such as multiple, mutually independent mechanisms to evaluate the teaching performance, at least one of which is based on input from students; and
    6. Creative development and implementation of courses or programs in the standard academic program or in the area of cooperative and experiential education, when deemed appropriate by the Unit, or creative application of technology to achieve improved educational outcome or to reach new audiences.

    Performance expectations in teaching include a faculty member’s adherence to University policies and requirements with respect to teachers’ interactions with students and meeting scheduled and assigned obligations, including those governing distribution of syllabi, scheduling of examinations, submission of grades and return of student work.

  2. Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

    All faculty members are expected to engage in scholarly activity as defined by their disciplines, and to earn distinction in their respective fields. Units shall develop their own criteria of productive scholarship consistent with the expectations in their discipline and with this Handbook.

    In many disciplines, publishing or presenting original research or scholarly review constitutes the standard of achievement and dissemination. In the arts and humanities, creative productivity encompasses, among other activities, published fiction, poetry and drama; multimedia productions or musical compositions performed or published; musical, dramatic, and others forms of public performance; and exhibitions of painting or other graphic work. Recognition in the faculty member’s scholarly fields, including, when appropriate, the receipt of prizes, grants or contracts awarded through a peer review process, or the receipt of patents represents professional recognition of research activities. In some fields technical, procedural, or practical innovations made clinically or professionally are evidence of productive scholarship.

    The quality and originality of the scholarship, as judged by experts in the individual’s field, provide the most important measure of the faculty member’s work.

    Performance expectations in scholarship include the faculty member’s adherence to professional standards of conduct as established, for example, by University policies governing research, by funding agencies, and by norms of the discipline.

  3. Service

    The effective operation and development of the University significantly relies on the service contributions of the faculty. Faculty members are expected to perform service activities within and outside the University. Internal faculty service responsibilities may include administrative duties, committee work, advising student organizations, and involvement in other roles that contribute to the Unit, College and University.

    Outside the University, faculty members are expected to contribute to the professional development of their disciplines by promoting the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in their fields. Professional service activities include participation in professional organizations, seminars and colloquia relevant to the individual’s academic interests or to the education process. Faculty members also serve by contributing their disciplinary knowledge to the general Community.

    Performance expectations in service, as in teaching and scholarship, include the faculty member’s adherence to professional standards.


  1. Approved by Faculty Senate November 18, 2002 and as amended April 16, 2008.  Approved by Provost May 7, 2009 and by the Board of Trustees May 8, 2009.