Dear ECP Committee,
I am considering my tenure/promotion portfolio and am concerned about how to present my work and having enough evidence for all areas due to many changes and cancellations from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please help!
Perturbed About Portfolio
Dear Perturbed About Portfolio,
First, peruse your institution’s Faculty Handbook and check what areas are considered when reviewing promotion/tenure. For most institutions, there are three main areas in which faculty members must provide evidence to be considered for advancement. Typically, in addition to a self-written narrative, additional sources such as letters from colleagues, peer teaching observations, or student course evaluations may be required.
In the area of teaching, faculty members may reflect on several questions as they write their narratives:
· How soon did you have to make changes to your classes due to the pandemic?
· What changes did you make?
· What resources did you utilize (e.g., STP ECP columns )?
· What trainings did you attend (e.g., in-person, virtual, individual, intra-institution)?
· How did you deliver your materials?
· What changes did you make to your communication practices?
· What changes did you make to assignments or grading methods?
Teaching: Additional Sources
· If you completed narrated PowerPoint presentations or recorded lectures for your courses, could you ask a colleague to evaluate your teaching using that format? There are often digital forms available within each institution to standardize this process and inform the evaluation.
· If you utilized online platforms such as Kahoot or Poll Everywhere for review sessions or formative non-graded assessments, could you include that and accompanying data (e.g., how many students participated, what were pre vs. post review differences) as part of your portfolio to demonstrate engagement?
· Being involved as a mentee in the STP Mentorship Program may provide great benefit and can help in the area of teaching.
· While there is much controversy on the topic of student evaluations, what (if any) constructive comments have come up about your teaching from the students via the open section on the evaluation or via email informally (e.g., responding more quickly via email, having more virtual office hours, etc.)? These may be worth sharing in the portfolio.
In the area of scholarship, faculty may have had several challenges such as not having students readily available in-person to be subjects in research, not having research assistants to help conduct data entry or data analysis, not receiving funding for research projects, or not having access to labs at all.
· What are ways to conduct research using affordable online formats? Several schools have funding to access Survey Monkey or Qualtrics to obtain survey data. Other schools may have in-network systems such as Microsoft Forms to complete survey research.
· What are ways that research assistants can be granted access to data? Perhaps some schools have the capability of distributing secure laptops or grant permission to download applications into home computers or borrowed laptops (e.g., SPSS).
· If completing individual, original research is not possible due to not having research subjects, perhaps it may be time to consider being part of the solution to the replicability crisis. There are available databases on which to replicate research on websites such as the Center for Open Science, Collaborative Replications and Education Project (CREP), and Psychological Science Accelerator.
· If you would like to be part of an existing effort, several organizations have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing projects. For example, Psi Chi’s Network for International Collaborative Exchange (NICE) supplies the proposal, a sample IRB, and ongoing support as a way for faculty and students to be involved in projects (e.g., getting participants from their schools).
Scholarship: Additional Sources
· There are a number of conferences that are opting for a virtual format (e.g., EPA, APA, APS). If you were accepted previously for these conventions, you have the opportunity to present your projects digitally. Some conferences require synchronous attendance and participation while others mandate a prerecorded talk uploaded by a certain date. Including your work in these conferences can certainly be part of your portfolio. Notably, if travel previously discouraged you from attending conferences, having them in a virtual format and participating remotely can demonstrate continuing educational interests, increasing professional development, and being able to network with outside colleagues.
· Another way to be involved in scholarship is to contribute to peer-reviewed journals as a reviewer and, if you believe you are qualified and have the time/energy, an editor. For example, APA, Sage, Wiley, Psi Chi, and Springer not only offer opportunities to review or edit journals but have tutorials and trainings on how to complete the process.
· An unsolicited or solicited email or letter from a research mentee or a student from a research methods, experimental psychology, undergraduate thesis, or capstone seminar class may be useful, especially if they describe your availability, your research know-how, and your commitment to publication and/or presentation of their work.
Though we were all challenged in concentrating on our teaching during the move to online format, there may be a number of ways to demonstrate service, locally and nationally.
· What campus-wide or nation-wide efforts did you join (e.g., sending in a farewell message for virtual commencement, wearing different colored socks for World Down Syndrome Day, completing a virtual 5K for autism awareness month)?
· What committees are you active in at your institution? What have they accomplished this year? For example, there are institutions who need early career faculty to be involved in committees such as IRB, Common Read, or Academic Appeals.
· What committees are you active in outside of your institution? What have they accomplished this year? There are ways to complete service within the discipline. There are calls for involvement on sites such as STP, APA, and many more.
Service: Additional Sources
· Asking a tenured or senior colleague to write a strong letter on your behalf may be helpful. There are often digital forms available within each institution to evaluate areas of strength and improvement.
· Volunteering to be the faculty advisor for student organizations such as Best Buddies or NAMI. There are ways to conduct activities online (e.g., hosting a virtual walk, hosting a fundraiser, etc.) and impact communities even with social distancing.
Lastly, please know that you are not alone in this state of worry! The most important part of presenting your portfolio is making sure that the areas are covered as best as they can be, that your narrative is concise and reflective, that the required paperwork is completed (e.g., inclusion of chair evaluation, inclusion of a Table of Contents), and that the document is handed in by the deadline. We hope that this information can provide ideas and strategies as well as opportunities for involvement and leadership.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay well,
Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee
Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.
Daniel Storage, Ph.D.
Janet Peters, Ph.D.
Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.
Molly Metz, Ph.D.