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Department of Philosophy and Religion
Mission Statement and Department Goals

2008-2009
(revised 9/04)

Mission Statement

The Department will seek to:

 1. Provide for UTC undergraduates an intellectually responsible understanding of philosophy and religion by way of training in the analysis of the major issues which confront these disciplines.

 2. Help students develop as mature, rational and concerned human beings, with a life-long commitment to learning and thought.

 3. Develop students' abilities to communicate intelligently with other persons, to be sensitive to the past, responsive to the present, and open to the future.       

 4. Encourage students to make significant contributions to the larger community, both within the university and the academic disciplines, and in Chattanooga and the society at large.

 

Department goals

 l. Our primary objective continues to be to provide a full complement of high-quality courses, including a rigorous Senior Educational Experience, commensurate with an academically sound major and minor in Philosophy and Religion. 

            During 2008-2009 we shall also:

 2. Support extra-curricular programs in Judaic Studies, Asian Studies, and the Women’s Studies major on campus.

 3. Continue to develop our library holdings in philosophy and religion as funds permit.  Purchases will continue to be made in accordance with the spending plan developed for Judaic Studies.  Review our holdings in environmental philosophy.

 4. Continue efforts to recruit students for our major and minor programs in a way consistent with their own personal and educational goals.

 5. Make it possible for faculty members to develop specific plans to write, publish, and present as much as possible in their areas of competence (as indicated in their individual EDO documents); encourage faculty members to seek opportunities for study and other faculty development activities, especially study away from campus. 

 6. Seek opportunities for our faculty to participate in interdisciplinary programs outside the department as our staffing permits. During 2008-2009 some of our faculty will teach in the University Honors program, the Women’s Studies major, the Western Humanities core courses, and Environmental Sciences.

 7. Encourage all faculty members to participate and assume leadership roles in national and regional professional meetings (e.g., AAR, APA, TPA, NAPR, SSSR, SPEP, etc.) insofar as university travel funds permit.

 8. Encourage faculty members to complete grant proposals with the hope of procuring external funds to support elements of the department mission.

 9. Continue participation in professional ethics with the UT Clinical Education Center at Erlanger, Siskin Hospital, the Chattanooga Association for Clinical Pastoral Care, the Human Rights Committee of Open Arms Care, and Parkridge Ethics Advisory Board.

 10. Remain open to possibilities for public service through department projects (e.g., sponsoring public lectures).

 11. Continue to fulfill the ordinarily very frequent requests for addresses to community groups.

 12. Continue to assist the public schools as opportunities arise, especially with regard to teaching about religion.

 13. Continue to provide support and encouragement for the Philosophy Club as a student-led forum for the informal discussion of philosophical issues; encourage student participation in the Southeastern Undergraduate Philosophy Conference (and other student conferences), the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and the Southeast Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR).

 14. Schedule a series of seminars at which members of the department present the results of research or pedagogical experimentation to other members of the faculty and interested students.

 15. Employ teaching review methods in addition to student ratings in the reappointment and tenure process (e.g., peer visits to class).

 16. Maintain the department web pages; put syllabi for all courses and other documents online.  Explore the possibilities for establishing a departmental Blackboard group and a Facebook page to connect with alumni/ae. 

 17. Encourage our students to take advantage of our expanding opportunities for study abroad by working to develop summer study programs, and most especially by continuing the summer program of study for students in Oxford, England.

 18. Announce and promote a schedule of department programs each semester.

 19. Resume the search process for candidates for the Leroy A. Martin Distinguished Professorship in Religious Studies.

 20. Integrate adjunct faculty more fully with regular faculty in department activities.

 21. Seek to raise additional funds to expand endowment for Robert C. Mildram Scholarship.

 22. Explore the possibility of securing positions in Biblical Studies and Islam.

 23. Continue to analyze what courses in the department should be offered for General Education credit, and work toward the curricular changes necessitated by these decisions. Work toward recertification of General Education courses when necessary.


 

Departmental policy

External Review Policy 


 

Adjunct evaluation

The Department of Philosophy and Religion has two-part process for evaluating adjunct teachers:

 Review and file evaluation form that is filled out once each academic year by a

  • Member of the department’s Tenure and Promotion Committee
  • Review student evaluation forms for each course taught by each adjunct faculty member during
    the academic year.  File summary sheets

 

Tenure By-Laws and Criteria

The awarding of tenure is an expression of the university's confidence in the professional excellence of the individual. The Department of Philosophy and Religion acknowledges the importance of tenure and sets forth the following guidelines for tenure-track faculty.


Departmental By-Laws

EXPECTATIONS OF FACULTY

Bylaws for the Governance of the Department of Philosophy and Religion (Revised 3/12/2014)

These bylaws supplement the Faculty Handbook.

 

Article I. Composition of the Faculty

Section A. For purposes related to the governance of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, the faculty shall be understood to be composed of full-time departmental tenure-line and non-tenure-line teaching personnel.

Section B. Voting privileges will extend only to tenure-line members of the faculty unless otherwise specified in these bylaws or in the Faculty Handbook. Proxy voting will be permitted, provided that the arrangements are made known to the Head before the vote takes place.

Section C. The persons who hold the Chair of Excellence in Judaic Studies and the Martin Distinguished Professorship in Religious Studies are tenure-line faculty members in the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

  

Article II. The Department Head

Section A. The Department Head is a member of the faculty who has been given certain administrative responsibilities and the authority to carry them out in consultation with the faculty. The Head will not vote on any decision that is advisory to the Head. It shall be the responsibility of the Head:

 1. to preside at departmental meetings;

 2. to implement departmental decisions (or to arrange for their implementation);

 3. to provide leadership in departmental planning;

 4. to recommend hiring, promotion, and salary increases;

 5. to employ and supervise clerical and supporting personnel;

 6. to assume responsibility for departmental budget and operations;

 7. to represent the Department within the life of the College, the University at large, and the wider community; and

 8. to oversee and make recommendations about departmental events and outreach, including but not limited to the departmental newsletter, the website, public fundraising initiatives, and other departmental public events.

It shall also be the responsibility of the Head to review each departmental faculty member’s work as a scholar and teacher in relation to the total program of the Department, and to notify in writing each departmental faculty member of any changed provisions of appointment for each academic year.

Section B. Each departmental faculty member will have the opportunity to submit an annual evaluation of the Head’s performance to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, following procedures that are consistent with University policy.

  

Article III. Department Committees

Section A. At the beginning of each academic year, the Head will appoint tenure-line faculty members to department committees. The expectation is that committee work will be shared fairly over time.

 

Article IV. Conduct of Department Business

Section A. Departmental faculty meetings shall, in usual circumstances, be called by the Head under the following conditions:

 1. The Head shall schedule faculty meetings as necessary;

 2. Meetings may also be called on the agreement of 50% or more of the faculty in residence;

 3. These meetings will customarily be held on the UTC campus during business hours;

 4. Meetings should customarily be announced at least two weeks in advance.

Section B. An agenda will be prepared by the Head; other items will be added by the agreement of at least two faculty members. The agenda should be distributed to the voting faculty at least two working days before the meeting.

Section C. At least two-thirds of the full-time tenure-line faculty in residence shall constitute a quorum at departmental faculty meetings.

Section D. Decisions concerning matters of substantial import to the life and work of the Department shall be made, whenever possible, in consultation with departmental tenure-line faculty. Non-tenure-line faculty should also be consulted when the decisions directly affect them. Recommendations of departmental faculty shall be determined by the majority vote of eligible faculty at a given meeting (proxy voting is permitted, provided that the arrangements are made known to the Head before the vote takes place). In usual circumstances, the decisions by the Head will reflect the recommendations determined by the majority will of the voting faculty. In instances in which the decision of the Head is at variance with the expressed will of the majority of the faculty, the Head will make the decision and supporting reasons known to the faculty and provide opportunity for their response.

Section E. Decisions regarding the appointment of new members to the departmental faculty on an academic year basis shall be made with the participation of the tenure-line faculty. In usual circumstances it is expected that the Head’s recommendations relative to the appointment of new members to the faculty will reflect the majority will of the tenure-line faculty. If in an unusual case it does not, the Head is to advise the faculty of this departure from their expressed judgment in order that said faculty may prepare a report to the Dean explaining their alternate judgment and reasons for it. It is understood that, in certain circumstances due to time constraints, it may be necessary for the Head to appoint qualified persons to part-time and/or limited-term positions on the departmental faculty, but every effort should be made to include the tenure-line faculty in the decision.

Section F. Departmental decisions and recommendations concerning tenure and promotion shall be made in full accordance with the procedures defined in the Faculty Handbook. It is expected that in usual circumstances the Head’s recommendation on tenure and/or promotion will reflect the majority will of the eligible voting faculty on these recommendations. If in an unusual case it does not, the Head is to advise appropriate colleagues of this departure from their expressed will, and they shall have an opportunity to prepare a report for the Dean explaining why they do not agree with the Head’s recommendation.

Section G. Any voting faculty member may request a secret ballot for a vote.

 

Article V. Performance Evaluation (EDO), Retention, Promotion, and Tenure for Tenure-Line Faculty

Section A. The department will maintain a retention, promotion, and tenure committee. Membership of that committee will consist of all tenured faculty within the department with the exception of the Head. Tenured faculty on leave are eligible to sit on the committee, but are not required to do so. The tenure and promotion committee must consist of at least three members. If there are not three tenured faculty in the department, additional members will be added to the committee in accordance with section 3.3.1 of the UTC Faculty Handbook. These by-laws address specific procedures in this department's tenure and promotion process which may differ from those of other departments. However, nothing in the by-laws should be understood to conflict with general university policy as found in chapter three of the Faculty Handbook.

Section B. The Head of the Rank, Tenure, and Reappointment (RTR) Committee should arrange for a tenured faculty member to observe the teaching of all departmental tenure-track faculty members, visiting assistant professors who are to be considered for reappointment, and adjuncts every year. The observing faculty members should write a report that should be included in the observed faculty member’s annual review. The observed faculty member has the right to write a response to the review, also to be included in the file.  In addition, all visiting assistant professors who are hired for multiple years must undergo annual review for reappointment.  This reappointment review will be identical in its implementation to that which all first-year, tenure-track faculty members are required to undergo.

Section C. Departmental tenure-line faculty members undergoing review should be able to assume that discussions concerning performance evaluation, promotion, and tenure center on, and judgments follow from, performance in three areas – scholarship, research, or creative activity; teaching; and service – and are based on evidence made available before and during deliberations.

Section D. Associate professors and professors evaluate assistant professors. Professors evaluate other professors and associate professors.

Section E.  Departmental Criteria for Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion:

 

Teaching and Advising

  • In accordance with the faculty handbook, assistant professors must have a demonstrated ability as a teacher, associate professors must have a good reputation as a teacher, and full professors must have an established reputation as a teacher in order to achieve reappointment or promotion (Chapter 3.3.1.2.3).
  • Evidence of successful teaching shall not be limited to student evaluations, but also will include such things as peer observation, ability to fill departmental teaching needs, observation of office hours, accessibility to students, meeting courses as assigned, teaching in accordance with course syllabi and objectives, assessment of course rigor, and directing senior theses or honors theses.
  • Quality advising is expected.

 

Service

  • For promotion, tenure, and reappointment, all faculty in all ranks are expected to demonstrate clear evidence of service at all levels.  Clear evidence of service is as follows: after year one, it is expected that each year the faculty member will participate in one or more department committees, and one or more University committees. After year three, a faculty member is expected to begin to assume leadership positions with service-related activities.
  • Successful service roles include serving on or chairing departmental, university, and professional committees; participating in conference activities (including chairing sessions, leading roundtables, or serving as a discussant) at regional, national, or international conferences; serving as a member or officer of organizations related to the profession; serving as a reviewer for journals, books, or granting agencies; and serving on editorial boards for professional publication outlets.
  • The Department recognizes that the sheer number of service commitments may not adequately represent the workload of any given activity and, therefore, will evaluate the type of service, role of the individual participant, and leadership initiatives.

 

Scholarship/Research

  • Faculty at all levels are expected to engage in a scholarly agenda that results in a demonstrated record of research and scholarship.
  • Evidence of successful scholarship includes peer-reviewed and/or refereed publications, publication of books and/or monographs, book chapters, evaluation studies, externally funded grants, and conference presentations.
    • For tenure and /or promotion to associate professor, there must be a minimum of 4 refereed articles or book chapters published. Except under extraordinary circumstances, the publication(s) must be in the final form or be at the stage of the process of production in which it is under contract and in page-proof form (or its electronic equivalent).
    • For promotion from associate professor to full professor, there must be a minimum of 4 refereed articles or book chapters published during that time period. Except under extraordinary circumstances, the publication(s) must be in the final form or be at the stage of the process of production in which it is under contract and in page-proof form (or its electronic equivalent).

    • When a faculty member eligible for tenure or promotion has produced a monograph or equivalent (including annotated translations) published by a reputable press as a result of a peer review process, it shall be equivalent to refereed articles by applying the formula, 40 pages in the published book = one refereed article. Edited volumes may or may not be considered equivalent to a monograph. Self-published works will not be counted toward tenure or promotion.

    • Evidence of scholarship also may be demonstrated by securing external funding.  While grant applications alone do not constitute a scholarly agenda, the Department does recognize that it takes substantial time and effort to submit these applications irrespective of a favorable funding decision.  The Department encourages this type of effort and will acknowledge submitted applications as a significant research effort.

    • A further indicator of scholarly development is the ability to demonstrate an on-going scholarly agenda that contributes to the advancement of the body of knowledge in the discipline.  As such, quality publications are encouraged and are valued above numerous publications of lesser contribution to the discipline. For Tenure and Promotion, the Department will also follow the College of Arts and Sciences External Review Policy.

 


 

College of Arts and Sciences External Review Policy

External peer review is a process whereby academic peers across the country may provide input to tenure and promotion committees, department heads, deans, and provosts with regard to their appraisal of a candidate’s creative or scholarly achievement within their discipline.  It is difficult, if not impossible, for a reviewer to evaluate the teaching or the service of a candidate from afar.

The College of Arts and Sciences External Review Policy will take effect on September 1, 2013.  This is a broad and flexible policy for the departments within the College.  Should departments wish to do so, they may submit to the Dean for approval, external review policies that are more refined or more rigorous than the policy listed below.  This policy is in effect for any tenure-track faculty member hired after September 1, 2011.  This policy is effective immediately for any tenured faculty member seeking promotion.

 

EXTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS

Prior to October 15th in the year that a faculty member applies for either tenure or promotion, the faculty member will provide the RTR Committee (or the equivalent) a single portfolio (or in the case of a digital portfolio, a DVD or CD-ROM) documenting creative activity and/or research.

The faculty member will provide a list of potential external reviewers, no fewer than four, that the Committee will review.  Each potential reviewer should be identified by name, title, institution, accompanied by a brief rationale for his/her selection.

The Committee will choose at least two reviewers from the faculty member's list.  The Committee will then generate a list of potential external reviewers, no fewer than four, that the faculty member will review.  Each potential reviewer should be identified by name, title, institution, accompanied by a brief rationale for his/her selection.  From the Committee's list, the candidate will choose no fewer than two reviewers.  No fewer than four external reviewers remain at this point.

By November 1st, the chair of the Committee, with the Department Head*, will solicit via email a minimum of four and a maximum of seven external reviewers using a “neutral” template letter supplied by the College.  Should some of the selected reviewers decline, the Committee would go back to the two lists and continue the process until at least THREE reviewers agree to submit an external review of the candidate's materials.  Reviewers will then be mailed the candidate’s scholarship portfolio and be asked to supply two things:  1) a one-to-two page letter of evaluation, and 2) a copy of their curriculum vitae by no later than January 15th.

Reviewer Selection Guidelines:

  • Reviewers should be tenured and at or above the rank that the candidate seeks.
  • Reviewers should be at a peer institution, an aspirant peer institution, or an institution that is universally recognized as excellent.
  • Reviewers should not have had a working relationship with the candidate (dissertation director, chairperson, co-author, etc.)
  • Reviewers should not be in contact with the candidate about the review process from the time that they accept the external review assignment.  The candidate should also not attempt to contact the external reviewer.

External reviews will be delivered directly to the chair of the Committee.  At minimum, the faculty member's dossier should include two reviewer recommendations.  Should fewer than two external reviews be returned, the chair of the Committee will note the efforts made to solicit reviewers and their reviews.  The chair must document the fact that only one external review was returned.  The single external review, however, will not be included in the candidate's materials.

*  In the event that the Department Head is him/herself being evaluated for tenure or promotion, the cover letter will be sent by the chair of the Committee and the Dean of the appropriate College.


 

 

Section F. EDO: Criteria for Meets Expectations or Exceeds Expectations

A faculty member must meet the expectations in all areas outlined above to receive a designation of meets expectations and must excel in at least one area to be eligible for exceptional merit and any merit raises that may be available in any given year.  As long as there is a university wide limit (or cap) placed on the number of exceptional merit evaluations, the Department Head will determine the relative achievements of each faculty member who may have met this standard and determine in any given year who has most excelled in the areas outlined.  In such cases the department head will in his rankings take into account the frequency with which candidates for Exceeds Expectations received this recognition in the recent past.

Normally it is expected that a tenure-line or tenured member will show evidence of an on-going research agenda. For purposes of the annual review, as regards research and publication, a faculty member who publishes one or more peer-reviewed articles a year (or the equivalent thereof) may be judged to have exceeded expectations.

Section G. In all acts of departmental evaluation the following general principles will be taken into account:

 1. It is the quality of publications that is most important;

 2. Judgments, based as they are on the perceived value of the publications, may be informed by such matters as length and place of publication, readers’ reports, reviews, and scholarly contributions as reflected by use made by other scholars in the field;

 3. Expectations as to the quantity of publications may vary in accordance with views as to the degree of difficulty of the project undertaken, with some projects requiring more time and effort than others;

 4. Both the quality and quantity of teaching count, and judgments as to the academic quality of teaching and general teaching effectiveness depend on several types of evidence, such as peer evaluations, syllabi, student evaluations, quality of assignments,  and impressions otherwise received by faculty evaluators.  Excellence in teaching and advising may be demonstrated by such evidence as the following:

    • student ratings of faculty instruction
    • evidence of student performance with respect to appropriate outcome measures
    • peer evaluations, including classroom visitation and review of course materials
    • academic advising of students
    • student, faculty, or alumni awards for outstanding teaching
    • record as director of student research projects and independent studies
    • preparation and/or use of current teaching materials (e.g., workbook, computer program or online resources, bibliography)
    • participation in pedagogical conferences and workshops
    • authoring and/or receipt of grants that assist pedagogy

 5. Both the quality and quantity of service count, and it is therefore important that service be performed both willingly and well. There are various types of service for which faculty are to be rewarded: to the Department, College, University, and profession. Professional public outreach also contributes to the faculty member’s service mission. A record of continuous service to the profession, university, and community as demonstrated by such evidence as the following:

    • active service on committees of the department, university, and professional organizations
    • chairing departmental and university committees
    • service as an elected member, executive committee member, or president of the Faculty Senate
    • service as an officer in state, national, or international professional organization
    • documented community service related to the profession
    • authoring and/or receipt of public service grants

 6. Because levels of achievement in research, teaching, and service are likely to vary from year to year, it is the pattern of achievement in each area over time that matters most;

 7. In cases of extraordinary achievement in one, or especially two, of the areas of research, teaching, and service, and expectations met in the other one or two, a faculty member may be judged to have exceeded expectations.

Section H. In the third year of a tenure-track faculty member’s tenure clock, the tenured faculty will conduct an extensive review of the tenure-track faculty member’s progress. The purpose of a 3rd year mid-tenure review is to assess progress toward tenure, inform faculty members of assessment outcomes and steps to be taken to improve prospects for tenure, and to inform appropriate administrative leaders of assessment outcomes. Since there are significant differences in judgment directed at decisions for reappointment and tenure, having a mid-tenure process enables the faculty member to receive fair notice of expectations and sentiments of the committee surrounding the approaching tenure decision.

  • The faculty member must be progressing toward or attaining excellence in teaching.
  • The faculty member must have developed a scholarly research agenda.
  • Adequate service is defined by the tenure guidelines above.

The review will be carried out by the RTR committee. By September 1 of the third year in the tenure clock, the tenure-track faculty member will provide the faculty with the following materials:

 1. A written summary describing past research, teaching, and service, as well as future research plans;

 2. Copies of all previous publications and of any manuscripts or articles submitted for publication;

 3. Copies of past course syllabi and teaching evaluations;

 4. A current curriculum vitae; and

 5. Other materials that the candidate deems supportive of retention.

The RTR Committee will evaluate these materials, observe the tenure-track faculty member’s teaching, and then submit a report to the Head in time for the Head’s annual retention review meeting with the tenure-track faculty member.

 


 

Article VI. Mentors

Section A. The Head will provide new tenure-track faculty members with a faculty mentor in the first semester of the new appointment. A mentor will serve for at least the first year of a new tenure-track faculty member’s appointment. The Head will consult with the potential mentor(s) to confirm willingness to serve in this capacity.

Section B. Either the mentor or the mentee may discontinue the relationship at any time, leading to the appointment of a new mentor.

 


 

Article VII. Appointment, Evaluation, Promotion, and Workload of Non-Tenure-Line Faculty

Section A. Non-tenure-line faculty will be recommended for appointment by the Head for one-year renewable positions with no term limits. Full-time lecturers will normally hold the Ph.D. in an appropriate field, or at least have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. except the dissertation. Recommendations for appointments of lecturers will be based on departmental teaching needs and annual evaluation of each lecturer.

Section B. Each full-time lecturer should have a class observed annually by a tenured faculty member, and the observation report should be added to his/her file. In addition, unless otherwise specified, full-time lecturers will be evaluated annually according to the EDO process.

Section C. A full-time lecturer who has demonstrated outstanding teaching, normally through ten or more years of service, may be considered for the position of Senior Lecturer. Each year the tenure-line faculty will review and evaluate all eligible candidates for appointment to the rank of Senior Lecturer, and will make a recommendation to the Head. Evaluations will be based on class observations by tenured faculty members, student evaluations, and annual EDO evaluations. Every five years the tenure-line faculty will review each Senior Lecturer to determine whether to renew the appointment.

Section D. A full-time lecturer who has demonstrated consistent excellence in Teaching and research typically for a period of three to five years, may be considered for nomination as a Distinguished Lecturer. Each year the tenure-line faculty will review and evaluate all eligible candidates for appointment to the rank of Distinguished Lecturer, and will make a recommendation to the Head. Other criteria used to determine promotion may be related to service. Each Distinguished Lecturer should have a class observed by a tenured faculty member every second year, and the observation report should be added to his/her file. Every five years the tenure-line faculty will review each Distinguished Lecturer to determine whether to renew the appointment.

Section E. The workload of full-time lecturers is normally a 4/4 teaching assignment with no service responsibilities. Every five years the tenure-line faculty will review each full-time lecturer to determine whether to renew the appointment. Lecturers are encouraged to attend faculty meetings and to promote the undergraduate major and minor. They are welcome to participate in other departmental activities.

 


 

Article VIII. Ratification and Amendment of Bylaws

Section A. The bylaws shall be ratified by a two-thirds vote of tenure-line faculty at a meeting called for this purpose. Proxy voting will be permitted, under the conditions stipulated on page 1. No changes to Article VII can be made without offering current non-tenure-line faculty at least two weeks to evaluate the changes and make recommendations to the Bylaws Committee. The bylaws shall go into effect immediately upon their ratification.

Section B. These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the tenure-line faculty, provided that the proposed amendment has been circulated to the departmental faculty at least five work days before the meeting at which it will be considered. Proxy voting will be permitted.

 

 


 

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