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Dacus Library Faculty Manual: Promotion Criteria

Library Faculty - General Information

Adopted October 15, 1979
Revised March 7, 2003, Revised September 14, 2006, Revised November 18, 2011
Revised April 10, 2015


Winthrop University Library faculty who are candidates for promotion must meet the general qualifications for promotion as outlined in the Winthrop University Faculty Manual in effect at the time of candidacy. The purpose of this document is to define the terms academic responsibility, student intellectual development, scholarly activity, and professional stewardshipas they apply to Library faculty.

Fundamental Considerations

The librarian’s academic preparation for appointment to the Library faculty is established on the basis of the terminal professional degree from a library and information science school which is accredited by the American Library Association. In the field of library and information science, the terminal degree, and the only one accredited by the ALA, is the Master’s degree.

In order to be considered for promotion, an individual must consistently perform at a high level in the areas of contributions to student intellectual development, scholarly activity, and professional stewardship, and maintain a consistent record of academic responsibility to the library and university. Promotion is to be awarded on the basis of exceptional performance. The higher the faculty rank, the greater the level of expectation in terms of performance and leadership. Evidence of level of performance will be adduced from the judgments of colleagues on the Library faculty, from members of the larger university academic community, from students, and/or from professional colleagues outside the academic institution.

The most important point to be remembered is that the attainment of each successive elevation in rank must be the result of an increase in, rather than merely a continuance of, an individual’s value to the library and to the total university. In other words, no one can expect to be granted a new promotion on the same merits that justified his/her previous one. Thus, each elevation in rank must be earned by the fulfillment of the specified requirements for the rank, with each succeeding rank’s requirements more demanding than the one before. However, promotion depends not only on cumulative time and cumulative accomplishments, but also on the demonstration of commitment to work jointly with faculty, students, administrators and staff for the growth and welfare of the university.

Please note that academic rank is not dependent upon the Library faculty member’s position within the library.

Definitions of Criteria as Applied to Library Faculty

Academic Responsibility

Winthrop University’s Faculty Roles Document of April 2011 defines Academic Responsibility as an area of consideration that spans all traditional areas of faculty evaluation and includes involvement of faculty in ways that support the institutional mission, maintain the functions of the University, and sustain the faculty role in shared governance.  All faculty members are expected to be academically responsible to their students and peers as a baseline for service in their academic department.  Faculty members are expected to establish and maintain a consistent record of academic responsibility.

Academic Responsibility for Library faculty includes, but is not limited to, availability to students through multiple platforms, engagement in faculty meetings at all levels, participation in department and Library events, participation in university commencements and convocations, professional development that supports improvements in practice  (e.g., attendance at professional conferences to explore current research, engaging in sessions through the Teaching and Learning Center) and service on committees. Academic responsibility is evaluated through the formal evaluation of Library faculty.  Chairs and deans should ensure equitable distribution of assignments among faculty; and faculty should be supported in ways that allow for free exchange of ideas, broad participation, and balanced work expectations.

In the area of academic responsibility, most documentation is explicit and objective and does not require extensive reflection.

Student Intellectual Development

A librarian at Winthrop must be effective in the position held. Teaching at Winthrop focuses on analysis and synthesis: the art of tying together knowledge across disciplines. Winthrop's integrated teaching approaches require many learning activities inside and outside the traditional classroom or laboratory.

The Library faculty acquire and organize information resources meaningful to academic programs. Moreover, Library faculty members teach the art of selecting, evaluating, and synthesizing information in the pursuit of knowledge. In addition to formal classroom instruction, the candidate's abilities in developing, organizing, preserving the library's collections, and in interpreting them to library users, will be given primary emphasis during the evaluation process. The creation of research guides and authorship of library publications are considered part of contributions to student intellectual development. Librarians' roles in supporting the University's teaching mission are specialized by library functional area and subject expertise.

In addition to the broad characteristics outlined in the Faculty Roles Document, Library-specific examples of Student Intellectual Development include but are not limited to:

A.          Position Effectiveness: Effective fulfillment of core duties of candidate’s Library faculty position. While core duties vary across Library faculty positions, key activities include, but are not limited to, evaluating existing library collections and identifying needed resources for all academic programs, effective collection-management collaboration with faculty in academic departments, maintaining the Library’s online catalog and electronic resources, Digital Commons, website, and social media for current content and data integrity, digitizing Archives materials, as well as raising funds for the library.

B.           Reference and Library Instruction: Library faculty provide one-on-one research assistance at the Information Commons and by appointment. Library instruction classes tied to specific courses spanning all academic programs teach students effective skills in library research.

C.           Online Research Instruction: Library faculty create and maintain online research guides. These guides teach students library research skills important to their fields of study and teach students how to navigate myriad types of library materials. Library faculty instruction conduits also span email, chat, and online video instruction.

Evidence of Library faculty effectiveness in student intellectual development includes, but is not limited to, students’ evaluation of library instruction classes, online research guides’ use and student feedback, formal and informal notes expressing the effectiveness of the library instruction, as well as the smooth running of the Library faculty member’s core area of position responsibilities. The effectiveness of this area is evaluated through the formal annual faculty review process.

Scholarly Activity

As noted in the Faculty Roles Document, “Scholarly Activity is an essential part of University life and encompasses the many pursuits that broaden and expand the learning communities in which faculty function and the University is situated” (p. 4). For Library faculty, scholarship and research can contribute to the field of library and information science in general and/or to the candidate's specific discipline within the field of library and information science. Also valued is original research in any scholarly topic which contributes to the universal knowledge base. The candidate’s contributions in any of these areas will be evaluated according to the following prioritized list of scholarly activities:

Priority One

External Publications or Grants:

  1. Books;
  2. Articles or book chapters, including essays, published in professional, scholarly, or refereed sources;
  3. Bibliographies;        
  4. Handbooks, manuals, special catalogs, indexes or guides to library resources; reviews, abstracts, or translations of books or other literature;
  5. Articles in conference proceedings or newsletters;
  6. Development of research or grant proposals which are funded by external agencies or foundations.

Priority Two

  1. Presentation of papers at workshops, institutes, or seminars, etc.;
  2. Development of creative works such as exhibitions and audiovisual presentations;
  3. Development of research or grant proposals which are funded by internal Winthrop funding agencies;
  4. Editorship of journals, newsletters, etc.;
  5. Formal consulting, as an individual or as a member of a team of experts, task force, review committee, or similar body; for example, consulting on library space requirements and best practices, designing systems, etc.; member of an accrediting team or review panel;
  6. Projects given or considered as scholarship by the Dean, such as extensive library reports.

Priority Three

  1. Membership on editorial boards of journals, newsletters, etc.
  2. Recipient of fellowships or professional awards;
  3. Pursuit of degrees beyond the terminal degree, or participation in continuing education or other programs designed to enhance one’s area(s) of specialization.

Consideration of quality will prevail over consideration of quantity.

Professional Stewardship

As outlined in the Faculty Roles Document, professional stewardship comprises “service that requires faculty members to use their knowledge and experience to enhance the University and/or community. … Through such opportunities faculty impact circumstances, create opportunities for new knowledge or services, and/or support and enrich the function of existing structures on and off campus” (p. 5).   

Professional Stewardship develops with experience at the University and is a vital component of the faculty’s role in the University mission. All faculty, regardless of rank, participate in Professional Stewardship activities that are reflective of their roles, ranks, and expertise. When providing evidence, faculty are encouraged to discuss the level of engagement, how expertise was applied, and/or the impact of activities.

Professional Stewardship should be demonstrated at several levels and evaluated based on its effectiveness, its relation to the general welfare of the University, and its impact on the candidate's development as a librarian, Winthrop citizen, and member of the community. As in scholarship, the quality of contribution is considered more important than mere quantity.

In addition to the broad characteristics outlined in the Faculty Roles Document, Library-specific examples of Professional Stewardship include but are not limited to:

  • Leadership role or active participation in a library professional organization, regional library group, or learned society as a member or chair of a committee or task force.
  • Leadership role or extensive contributions to assessment and accreditation reports.
  • Organization of workshops, institutes, or seminars.
  • Grant writing and grant administration.
  • Fund-raising and working with Library donors.
  • Leadership of the Friends of Dacus Library or active participation in this library fundraising group’s operation.Service as a member of Library faculty and university committees, task forces, or planning groups.
  • Sponsorship or advisement of student groups.
  • Participation in honorary or academic societies.
  • Speeches and presentations to civic and community groups or professional organizations drawing on expertise but not scholarship.
  • Service on boards, advisory groups, and civic organizations, and volunteer work drawing on the faculty member’s expertise.


The rationale behind these evaluation criteria and procedures and the awarding of promotion to a higher faculty rank is to bring about improvement in the quality of the educational process, to recognize the contributions of the individual candidate, and thereby to promote the excellence of the university.