The Promotion and Tenure Process in CMS Members’ Music Units

September 20, 2018



To increase understanding of the promotion and tenure process for music professors, the CMS Academic Citizenship Committee studied four aspects of the topic: the promotion and tenure process; expectations for excellence in teaching, scholarship/creative activities, and service; the support systems available to assist new music professors toward promotion and tenure; and conditions that may influence promotion and tenure decision-makers. A survey, designed to reveal the current range of promotion and tenure practices, was distributed to the entire CMS membership. Results are based on the responses of 1539 CMS members from diverse music teaching areas.

We found the promotion and tenure process for music professors is similar to practices in other disciplines. For music professors (as in other disciplines) teaching, scholarship/creative activity, and service are given different importance at diverse Carnegie institution types. Music professors may be expected to participate in national and international conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals like their colleagues in other fields. Unlike other professors, however, a music professor's creative activity may include, for example, appearances in peer-reviewed public performances, and professional recordings. CMS members report that many institutions have written policies in place that clarify expectations and assessment criteria for creative activity. Service activity for music professors appears to be of less importance in promotion and tenure decisions than teaching and scholarship/creative activity. Finally, almost all professors have access to group mentoring on their campus. Individual mentoring, either by senior department colleagues or department chairs is much less available.


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