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Guidance on the Teaching/Mentoring Criteria for the Research Professor Track

Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President For Academic Affairs

Office of the Vice President for Research

January 12, 2004

In October 2003 the University established the Research professor track. This document provides guidance on how to evaluate the teaching/mentoring duties of individuals in this track.

The criterion for the ranks of Research Associate Professor and Research Professor is:

Record of substantial teaching and mentoring within the context of one or more research programs (e.g., laboratory bench science, social science, or other disciplinary setting) with postdoctoral fellows, junior research colleagues, or students at any level.

The criterion for the rank of Research Assistant Professor is:

Expectation of substantial teaching and mentoring within the context of one or more research programs (e.g., laboratory bench science, social science, or other disciplinary setting) with postdoctoral fellows, junior research colleagues, or students at any level.

The term substantial with regard to teaching and mentoring is measured in two ways.

  1. Quantity (i.e. that there should be evidence of a significant amount of teaching and/or mentoring), and;
  2. Quality (i.e. that the teaching and/or mentoring done by the individual is effective and has significant impact on the students, fellows and colleagues being taught).

Documentation in support of the teaching/mentoring evaluation must include a narrative prepared by the candidate that describes the level, scope and effectiveness of his or her activities. In describing mentoring activities, these should be person specific with a description of the nature and scope of the mentoring activities.

Documentation/evidence to support the narrative account of the mentoring activities will vary depending on the nature of the individual's activities, but some documentation of quality and quantity must be included. In all cases, the term "students and mentees" includes but is not limited to undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior research colleagues. Possible sources of supporting evidence are as follows:

  • letters of evaluation from students or mentees
  • evidence of co-authorship with students or mentees
  • career placements/career/professional outcomes of for the individual's students or mentees
  • letters from colleagues describing the individual's teaching, mentoring or advising
  • service on dissertation or thesis committees
  • sponsorship of student projects of grants

Relevant teaching activities to be discussed in the narrative may include:

  • formal courses
  • student summer programs
  • professional programs
  • organizing and participating in seminar series that include students
  • educational outreach programs
  • research supervision of students (e.g., through participation in the University of Michigan's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP))
  • independent study courses for students

The appointment/promotion committee in the academic unit is expected to evaluate and specifically comment on these activities in the recommendation for appointment/promotion.