Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science

SCS Teaching Track Appointment Policy

This document describes the School of Computer Science implementation of the University Policy on Teaching Track Appointments, and is in full compliance with the University Policy. The ranks, Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Teaching Professor and Teaching Professor (referred to collectively as the Teaching Track) and tenure of each rank are set by the University Policy. The duties and expectations associated with each rank, and promotions from one rank to the next are the subject of this document.

All appointments are made within an academic department. Appointments to the position of Assistant Teaching Professor are for terms of three years. Initial appointment as, or promotion to, Associate Teaching Professor is also for a three-year term, but subsequent reappointments as Associate Teaching Professor are for five-year terms. Appointments as Teaching Professor are for five-year terms.

When an appointment or reappointment (with or without promotion) is made, it is the responsibility of the unit head and the Dean to ensure that the appointee is given clear and full information in writing concerning the terms, functions, and duties of the appointment, including the applicable University and School policies. No oral commitments supplementing written information shall be made or recognized.

Notice of termination or of the intent to allow an appointment to lapse must be given at least one year in advance of the appointment's expiration.


Reappointment and promotion decisions for Teaching Track faculty will be based primarily on a portfolio showing the results of the candidate's work.

Every portfolio should include:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Digest
  3. History of teaching and other assignments
  4. Statement of teaching strategy
  5. Statement of goals for the current appointment period
  6. Self-evaluation and evaluation criteria
  7. Student, peer and senior faculty evaluations
  8. External evaluations, if appropriate. External letters at the point of promotion to Associate Teaching Professor are optional, but they are encouraged in order to position the candidate for promotion to the next level. Promotion to Full Teaching Professor requires strong evidence of external reputation.
  9. Teaching evaluations, as appropriate for the nature of the courses taught – elaborated below
  10. The portfolio should also include any other relevant material, such as:
  • Statement of related non-classroom activity, such as committee work, papers and presentations, software developed, studies, or teaching seminars developed
  • Samples of course materials, such as syllabi of courses developed
  • Description of externally-funded projects and grants

Regarding teaching evaluations (item 9 above), the R&P process within SCS recognizes that the teaching done by Teaching Track faculty may take a variety of forms, including giving traditional classroom lectures, mentoring students in project-based courses (studios, practicums, capstone projects, project-based curricula, etc.), overseeing laboratory and recitation sessions, facilitated discussion (such as graduate seminars), advising students, and conducting distance education teaching through a variety of media. Different forms are most appropriately evaluated in different ways, requiring different instruments. These may include, but are not limited to, standard CMU Course Evaluations, direct observation of teaching and mentorship, evaluation of student outcomes, and questionnaires specifically designed for a particular kind of delivery (such as distance education).

II. CRITERIA FOR APPOINTMENT AND PROMOTION: Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Teaching Professor, and Teaching Professor.

SCS follows University Teaching Track Policy, which states that “Each initial appointment, reappointment, or promotion in the [Teaching] Track, except initial appointments to the rank of [Assistant Teaching Professor], requires a review by the department and by a college review committee."

The baseline criterion for all levels of teaching track appointment is demonstrated excellence in teaching. In addition, teaching track faculty will be evaluated in terms of their qualities as an educator, as demonstrated by one or more of the following:

  • Course content creation – e.g,, developing new courses, course segments, and course materials
  • Pedagogy – e.g.., developing new teaching methods
  • Dissemination – e.g., through colloquia and invited talks, publication in educational conferences
  • Project supervision – e.g., mentoring capstone projects
  • Educational outreach – e.g., to K-12, as well as post-secondary institutions
  • Research in education – e.g., empirical studies on educational methods
  • Student advising – e.g., when advising is a major component of the faculty member’s responsibilities
  • Faculty mentoring – e.g., working with junior faculty to improve their teaching skills
  • Administration – e.g., administering a program of study such as a computer science major or identified degree program
  • Service (both internal and external) – e.g., membership on University committees, participation on program committees, journal reviewing

The degree to which a faculty member is expected to have contributions in the above areas, and the expected scope of their impact, will depend on rank, as noted below.

Assistant Teaching Professor: This is a three-year, renewable appointment. The primary criterion for appointment and reappointment at this rank is excellence in teaching. An Assistant Teaching Professor will ordinarily serve at least six to nine years in that rank before being promoted to Associate Teaching Professor, but may remain indefinitely at this rank. Notice of termination must be given at least one year in advance of the appointment's expiration.

Associate Teaching Professor: Initial appointment is for a three-year term; subsequent reappointments as Associate Teaching Professor are for five-year terms. Promotion to the Associate Teaching Professor rank requires demonstrated excellence in teaching, as well as contributions to education that have substantial impact within the School and across the University. An Associate Teaching Professor's initial appointment must be formally considered in three years, subsequent reappointments must be considered every five years. Notice of termination must be given at least one year in advance of the appointment's expiration.

Teaching Professor: This is a five-year, renewable appointment. Promotion to the Teaching Professor rank requires evidence of exceptional achievements in education, either by fundamental contributions within the University or by broad national or international impact. A Teaching Professor's reappointment must be formally considered every five years. Notice of termination must be given at least one year in advance of the appointment's expiration.

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