Institutional promotion guidelines often ask candidates to provide, for example, “evidence of how you have improved student learning” or “evidence of innovations in pedagogy”. However, limited advice is typically offered about the forms of evidence that would be considered suitable or how such information could be collected and presented. As a result, many candidates rely heavily on single sources of evidence, typically student evaluation scores. Indeed, the evaluation of promotion guidelines among the world’s leading universities, conducted during Phase 1 of this study, revealed that many institutions do not provide any clear guidance about the forms of evidence that would support the educational elements of a promotion case.
In addition, there is often a lack of distinction between teaching-based promotion criteria (the characteristics of teaching achievement that the institution would look for in a successful candidate) and teaching-based evidence (the qualitative and quantitative data that could/should be provided to demonstrate the candidate’s achievement of the criteria). Indeed, promotion guidelines at many universities appear to confuse the two, listing sources of evidence (such as peer-reviewed educational publications) within the promotion criteria or listing promotion criteria (such as “demonstrating that good conditions for student learning have been established”) as a suggested form of evidence to include in a promotion case. This lack of clarity appears to add further confusion to the process of identifying and collecting evidence to support a promotion case.
The framework should be clear about the types of evidence that promotion candidates could use to demonstrate teaching achievement, with guidance on how this information can be gathered in practice.