Penn State Faculty Handbook

About the Handbook

This handbook is intended for use as a general reference rather than the official source of University policies and guidelines. The Faculty Handbook is not intended to be definitive on policy matters, nor does it grant substantive contractual rights to University employees. Nothing contained herein shall negate the right of the University to augment or change its policies applicable to University employees. If you have questions about a particular issue, be sure to consult your department head, human resources representative, director of academic affairs, or director of business services. You can obtain from them the most recent copy of the relevant University policy.

We hope that this handbook will be useful to you. Suggestions for future editions are welcome and should be forwarded to the executive vice president and provost of the University, 201 Old Main.

This publication is available in alternative media on request. Please see our affirmative action statement.

Introduction to the Faculty Handbook

Although you will probably form your closest relationships with colleagues in your immediate unit, the University community as a whole provides a context for your academic life at Penn State. Every faculty member's situation is an individual one, varying according to the expectations of the academic discipline, the priorities of the department, and the special characteristics of each campus. However, all faculty share common interests and needs. The purpose of this handbook is to present information relevant to the concerns of all faculty, and to lead you to sources of further information.

As a faculty member, you have an important role in providing intellectual leadership within the University. You are likely to be engaged in a wide range of activities--teaching classes, conducting research, creating original artistic works, attending committee meetings, participating nationally and internationally in activities within your discipline, and undertaking other forms of academic involvement within the University and with colleagues elsewhere. Faculty members, especially those who are entering tenure-eligible positions, naturally want to know what is expected of them and how their work will be evaluated. Of the many types of activities, which ones are the most productive for a particular faculty member?

All faculty members should discuss their plans with their department head or other unit administrator and with senior colleagues. These discussions should be held early and frequently. This allows you to invest your time and energy in a way that fits the needs or priorities of your academic unit, as well as your own professional development.

In addition to an annual evaluation, tenure-track faculty members receive a formal review in the second, fourth, and sixth years, if their appointment is continued. The final tenure decision is normally made in the sixth year. Both at the unit (department and/or campus) level and at the broader levels of the college and University reviews, faculty performance is assessed in the following three categories: (1) the scholarship of teaching and learning; (2) the scholarship of research and creative accomplishments; (3) service and the scholarship of service to the University, society, and the profession. Further information about these categories of performance is found in this handbook and in University Policy HR-23.

Much of the information contained in this handbook applies to one or more of these performance categories. In addition to a general description of the University, the handbook contains sections on academic policies, including promotion and tenure; instruction; research; and benefits and personnel policies. Read the handbook carefully, attend informational workshops when available, and keep in close touch with your colleagues.

The Faculty Handbook is intended for use as a general reference rather than the official source of University policies and guidelines. The Faculty Handbook is not intended to be definitive on policy matters, nor does it grant substantive contractual rights to University employees. Nothing contained herein shall negate the right of the University to augment or change its policies applicable to University employees. If you have questions about a particular issue, be sure to consult your department head, human resources representative, director of academic affairs, or director of business services. You can obtain from them the most recent copy of the relevant University policy.

Suggestions for future editions of the Faculty Handbook are welcome and should be forwarded to the executive vice president and provost of the University, 201 Old Main.

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Penn State Faculty Handbook

Introduction

Contact

Executive Vice President and Provost
201 Old Main, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-2505
Fax: (814) 863-8583

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Web page last modified June 21, 2006