American Studies

Faculty Governance

Department of American Studies, Brown University
Governance Document
Approved August 26, 2019; Section G revisions approved January 26, 2024

The Department of American Studies consists of an interdisciplinary faculty that takes as its object of study American society and cultures as products of historical, political, economic, and contemporary processes that are local, national, and global. Established in 1945 as one of the first interdisciplinary doctoral programs in the nation, American Studies at Brown is predicated on the ideal of a scholarly engagement with the public that enables its graduates to, as Brown’s 1764 University Charter demands, "discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation."

1. Membership and Voting

The core faculty is composed of members of the faculty who have .25 or more of their faculty appointments (either roster or effort FTE) in American Studies. Core faculty members are full voting members of the Department who are expected to participate in Departmental decision-making, hiring and promotion decisions. They teach at least one course per year in the Department and are expected to provide service to the Department. Senior lecturers are considered core faculty members.

The associate faculty is composed of members of the faculty who are voting members of other Departments but who teach occasional courses in the Department or courses cross-listed in American Studies, supervise American Studies graduate students as examiners and dissertation committee members, and/or perform other services to the Department. Associate faculty members are non-voting members of the Department. Adjunct faculty, emeritus faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting faculty are considered associate faculty.

1. Administrative Officers

 

The Chair: The selection, term, and institutional duties of the Chair are determined by University policy.  According to that policy, the Chair is responsible for 1) the organization of the Department; 2) the supervision of its personnel; 3) the direction of its academic programs; 4) the facilitation of its scholarly and creative endeavors; and 5) the management of its budget.  The Chair is expected to carry out the provisions of this document.  The Department regards its Chair as a colleague who presides over the orderly functioning of the community, helping it to fulfill its commitments to teaching, research, and university service with maximum effectiveness.  The Department relies on the Chair to represent its needs, strengths, and importance to the University administration, to serve as a liaison to other units of the University, and to guide the Department in its efforts to build and define itself for the future.

All other service assignments are detailed in the AMST Service Matrix, which is in the shared drive.

The Department will meet at least once every semester and normally once a month. In consultation with the Directors of Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies and Public Humanities and the chairs of appropriate committees, the Chair will prepare and circulate an agenda in advance of the meeting. Any faculty member or representative of the Graduate Consortium may add an agenda item by written request to the Chair in advance of the meeting.

Voting members of the Department and two non-voting representatives elected by the consortium of graduate students according to its own by-laws will be invited to attend regular Department meetings.

Special meetings of the Department may be called by the Chair on the petition of one third of the voting faculty or when circumstances warrant a special meeting. Circumstances such as certain personnel matters may dictate that participation at special meetings be limited to voting members of the Department by rank.

All motions before the Department will be voted on by voting members of the Department. A motion is passed by a majority vote of a quorum of the voting faculty. A quorum shall be one half of the voting faculty not on leave.

Department meetings shall rely on Roberts’ Rules of Order in matters of parliamentary procedure.

1.  Executive Committee: The Executive Committee assumes responsibility for overall coordination of routine administrative tasks, advises the Chair on Departmental concerns and priorities, and prepares major issues for consideration at faculty meetings. In the event of serious interpersonal matters, the chair or other member shall convene a meeting of the committee to seek advice and recommendations. The Executive Committee is convened by the Chair and includes the Graduate Advisor, the MA Advisor, the ETHN Advisor, the AMST Advisor.

 

2. Curriculum Committee: The Curriculum Committee oversees the undergraduate and graduate curricula, proposes revisions to the curricular program, approves proposals for new undergraduate and graduate courses, and coordinates the scheduling of courses.  It is composed of faculty members, the directors of Graduate Studies, Public Humanities, and Undergraduate Studies, and one non-voting representative of the Departmental Undergraduate Group and the Graduate Consortium, respectively.  The chair shall be chosen by the committee at the beginning of each academic year.

 

3. Graduate Admissions Committee: The Graduate Admissions Committee selects applicants for admission and coordinates the recruitment of graduate students to the Ph.D. and M.A. programs in American Studies.  (The Director of the Program in Public Humanities coordinates graduate admissions to the M.A. program in Public Humanities).  The Graduate Admissions Committee is comprised of three faculty members appointed by the Chair in consultation with the DGS.  The Graduate Admissions Committee is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies.

 

4. Diversity and Inclusion Committee: The Diversity and Inclusion Committee assesses annual progress on the DDIAP (departmental diversity and inclusion action plan) and assumes responsibility for issuing any and all annual reports on that progress to the VPIED (vice president for institutional equity and diversity). All such reports should be shared with the department’s faculty, and discussed at a faculty meeting. The Committee is appointed by the chair, and shall include, if possible, a faculty member from each rank, a staff person (alternating by year), an undergraduate representing each concentration (chosen by the chair in concert with the appropriate DUS), and a graduate PhD student and a graduate MA student (both nominated by the GC and approved by the DGS and the chair).

1. Hiring Committees: Hiring Committees coordinate and conduct Departmental job searches according to procedures delineated in the Handbook of Faculty Administration (Chapter 5).  The members of this advisory committee are appointed by the Chair and are responsible for preparing and presenting a report to the full faculty at a scheduled Department meeting.  Following the presentation of the report, individual committee members become free agents and vote accordingly.

2. Graduate Students and Hiring Committees: The Graduate Consortium of the American Studies Department will nominate one advanced doctoral student who has passed their field exams and submitted their dissertation proposal (but who is not on the job market) to serve as a non-voting member on a given hiring committee. The method of selection is up to the GC, but ideally the student’s area of expertise will align with that of the search. The nomination will be reported to the department chair and the search committee chair. Assuming that the appointment meets with faculty approval, the search committee chair will invite the graduate student to all subsequent meetings of the search committee, including interviews and recruitment meals with candidates. The graduate student will have access to all materials in the files except for the confidential letters of recommendation.  After the campus interview of each candidate, the Graduate Consortium will solicit feedback from all graduate students in a manner of its own choosing and will share it with the department. Throughout the campus interview process, any graduate student is welcome to individually email the entire search committee thoughts that they may wish to share with the committee about a given candidate.

3. Tenure and Promotion Committees: Tenure and Promotion Committees coordinate and conduct Departmental tenure and promotion reviews according to procedures delineated in the Handbook of Faculty Administration.  The Members of the Committee are appointed by the Chair and shall be of rank appropriate to that of the faculty member under review.  The Committee is responsible for preparing and presenting an advisory report to the full faculty at a scheduled Department meeting.

Committee reports are advisory and should reflect the full range of committee members' views. Complete copies of each report should be made available to all voting members of the faculty no less than three days before the scheduled Department meeting at which the report is to be considered.

The Department may vote to accept, amend from the floor, resubmit to committee or reject a report. When the Department votes to accept a report in its final form that report becomes the official position of the Department.

On hiring matters, a quorum shall be two-thirds of the voting faculty not on leave.

On matters of promotion and tenure, a quorum shall be two-thirds of the voting faculty of appropriate rank.

On all other matters, a quorum shall be one half of the voting members.

[Revisions to this section approved by vote of the department faculty on December 12, 2023. Reviewed and approved by the Dean of Faculty’s office on January 26, 2024.]

1. Governing Principles for the review of individual faculty:

The Department of American Studies expects its faculty to meet the highest standards of excellence in all aspects of scholarship, teaching, and service to the Department, the University and the scholarly and larger communities.

Scholarship: The Department of American Studies desires faculty who are national leaders in their fields of study; thus, excellence is the most important determining factor in the evaluation of scholarship. Faculty in American Studies vary in their background and research interests and the quality of their scholarship cannot be measured in quantitative terms. It is expected that, by the time an appointee is reviewed for promotion, they will have published scholarly work of great promise. Such work normally will consist of scholarly articles and books. American Studies is also evolving in terms of digital and other venues for producing and sharing knowledge about American culture. Further, as a Department deeply engaged with public culture, from both a social science and humanistic approach, we place a premium on work shared in public venues that may fall outside of the traditional spectrum of academic publishing; however, such work will not alone suffice for scholarly contributions.  Candidates for promotion should have also participated in the professional activities of their field. Such activities would include attending meetings and conferences and making presentations before colleagues in their field of study.  

Teaching: The Department of American Studies takes teaching and advising very seriously, and expects faculty to demonstrate commitment and excellence in these endeavors. In assessing the effectiveness of a candidate’s teaching and advising, evidence for department review may include candidate-designed syllabi; university-administered student course evaluations; peer observations of classroom teaching; the number of undergraduate and graduate advisees; and the quality of interaction with students and faculty on exam and dissertation committees. In addition to teaching and advising, faculty members are expected to supervise student research. Such supervision may include doctoral dissertations in areas broadly related to their areas of research; undergraduate honors theses; independent study projects; and/or preparation for graduate qualifying examinations. Expectations for supervising student research vary with faculty rank, with tenured faculty expected to play a greater role in the graduate program. By the time of tenure review, Assistant Professors should demonstrate some level of contribution to the graduate program, for example by teaching graduate seminars, supervising graduate teaching assistants, and/or serving on exam or dissertation committees. Lecturers are not expected to contribute to the graduate program.

Service: As a small Department, American Studies asks a great deal of its faculty   members in terms of service. Faculty are expected to participate in a fair share of University committee work and other activities pertaining to University affairs, as well as attend Departmental faculty meetings, serve on Departmental committees, and play a role in the administration of the Department. Service to the scholarly community and/or service to the public will be seen as an asset to the dossier.

 

2. Voting Rights and Procedures

All core faculty of the Department are eligible to vote on initial appointments to the tenurable and lecturer ranks, as well as renewals of secondary appointments (e.g., for faculty with .25 effort designations in American Studies). For initial appointments at the rank of tenured Associate or full Professor, the departmental vote will be followed by a tenure review process with voting limited to appropriate faculty ranks as described below. The quorum for any given vote is half of the eligible voting faculty who are not on leave. Faculty on leave who wish to vote must participate in the discussion of each case at the scheduled meeting.

All recommendations concerning annual reviews, reappointment, and promotion of tenure-track faculty members who hold full or joint appointments in the Department shall be made by tenured members of the Department in accordance with procedures specified in the Handbook of Academic Administration and the Faculty Rules and Regulations. For promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, only tenured faculty will be eligible to vote. For promotion from Associate Professor to full Professor, only full Professors will be eligible to vote. For reappointment or promotion of Lecturers, only Senior Lecturers and tenured faculty will be eligible to vote. For reappointment of Senior Lecturers or promotion to Distinguished Senior Lecturer, only Distinguished Senior Lecturers and tenured faculty will be eligible to vote.

When the Department makes revisions to these Standards and Criteria, only tenured faculty will be eligible to vote. In the case of revisions to the Standards and Criteria for promotion to full Professor, only full Professors will be eligible to vote.

 

 3. Joint Appointments

Review procedures for faculty jointly appointed in another department will follow terms specified in the Handbook of Academic Administration and/or by contract, in consultation with the Dean of Faculty. 

 

4. Assistant Professors - Annual Reviews

Each Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies will be reviewed annually in accordance with the current regulations and on the schedule established by the Dean of the Faculty. Annual reviews include an evaluation of scholarly work; teaching effectiveness; and service to Brown, the profession, and/or the public. Normally, the Chair will appoint a member of the tenured faculty (or the Chair) to conduct individual reviews. The tenured faculty member so designated will consult with the untenured faculty member to obtain a current CV and information on work in progress, as well as evidence of teaching effectiveness in the form of course evaluations and peer teaching observations from the previous academic year. The designated reviewer will draft a review and submit it to the Chair for circulation to the tenured faculty in advance of a meeting scheduled for the purpose of discussion, revision, and approval. The Chair will submit the department-approved review  to the Dean of the Faculty office, which may recommend further revisions. The Chair will share the final DOF-approved version of the review with the Assistant Professor, who will have the option of making a written response. The review and any response will be included in all reappointment and tenure dossiers.

 

5. Assistant Professors - Reappointment

The candidate for reappointment will submit a dossier containing materials relating to the three major criteria for evaluation: scholarship, teaching, and service. These materials should include pertinent publications, work-in-progress, book reviews, scripts of museum exhibits and other forms of scholarly production; lists of all academic-related activities (such as committee memberships, Departmental duties performed, other services to the University, and service to the profession including work performed for professional associations); teaching evaluations and syllabi for each course taught, lists of independent studies and honors theses supervised both within and outside the Department, and lists of graduate students who prepared or were preparing preliminary exam fields and dissertations under the candidate’s supervision.

Reappointments shall follow the schedule outlined in the Handbook of Academic Administration or otherwise specified by the Dean of the Faculty and will substitute for the annual review in the year in which it occurs. The process shall include a review and recommendation by a Review Committee of at least two faculty members appointed by the Chair from among tenured members of the Department, with one designated as the committee Chair. If deemed necessary by the Chair of the Department and the Chair of the Review Committee, a third faculty member from another department who has relevant scholarly expertise may be appointed to the committee.   

The Committee will review the candidate’s scholarly work, teaching effectiveness, and contributions to Brown and local communities according to the standards and evidence delineated above under “Governing Principles.” The Committee may also ask the candidate for additional materials. During the review process, the candidate may (but is not required to) meet with the Committee to discuss the goals, methods, and rationales that the candidate uses in teaching. This discussion would then serve as part of the evaluation of the candidate’s teaching effectiveness. During this meeting, the candidate could also discuss and/or clarify aspects of their scholarly work.

The candidate’s reappointment dossier, including the Review Committee’s report and recommendation, will be circulated to the tenured faculty in advance of a meeting scheduled for the purpose of discussion and a vote on the Committee’s recommendation. The faculty must first vote to recommend for or against reappointment; if recommending reappointment, they must vote to recommend a reappointment term of either two or four years. A recommendation for two years signals general satisfaction with the individual's overall performance, but is meant to indicate some concern about whether the record will justify a positive tenure recommendation at the appropriate time. A recommendation for four years indicates that the individual is following an appropriate trajectory with respect to scholarship, teaching, and service, and that there are no concerns that need be especially addressed at this time. Of course, a reappointment for a term of four years does not guarantee a positive tenure recommendation at the end of the probationary period.

Before the Department submits the reappointment dossier to TPAC, the candidate will receive from the department Chair a timely written explanation of the reasons for the recommendation, and a copy of this explanation shall be included in the candidate's dossier. The Chair should advise the candidate of their right to appear before TPAC when their reappointment case is being considered. Following the reappointment review, the department will prepare a written version of the reappointment report and provide it to the candidate in lieu of the annual review.

 

6. Appointment or Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

A successful candidate for initial appointment or promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of American Studies will demonstrate a national reputation in scholarship, excellence in teaching, and dedication to service to the Department, the university and the profession. Judgments of reputation will be based on the publication of an impressive body of distinguished work that has importance for the candidate’s field. Normally a scholarly monograph will be expected. Additional work may include essays, peer reviewed articles, exhibits, digital scholarship, and/or works of fiction, poetry, and art. The quality of such work will be measured through published reviews, citations in the work of others, national grants and fellowships, honors and awards, invitations to speak, assignments to review books or manuscripts, and/or inclusion in anthologies, reference works, and edited collections.

Procedures for promotions to tenure will resemble those pertaining to reappointment evaluations with regard to the timing of the review and the formation of a Review Committee, in accordance with the Handbook of Academic Administration and the Faculty Rules. Parental Teaching Relief and medical leaves automatically extend the probationary period unless the faculty member requests otherwise. Tenure Review Committees will consist of three tenured faculty members appointed by the Chair.

The Tenure Committee and the candidate will prepare a tenure dossier in accordance with the Handbook of Academic Administration and TPAC guidelines, including a personal statement from the candidate. The Committee will compile and review the student evaluations for every course taught by the candidate and review syllabi and other relevant course materials, possibly including student work.

Procedures for identifying external reviewers qualified to assess the candidate’s scholarly work will follow the terms outlined in the Handbook of Academic Administration, which specifies the minimum number of letters required. After receiving clearance from the DOF’s office, the Tenure Committee Chair will send letters of inquiry to prospective outside evaluators, including the candidate’s current CV.  If an insufficient number of those queried are able to take on this service, the Tenure Committee will repeat the process of gathering a new list of outside evaluators and vetting them with the DOF’s office. The Tenure Committee Chair will send copies of relevant materials to outside evaluators and set a reasonable deadline for the evaluation letters to be returned. Outside evaluators will principally review the candidate’s scholarship; they will also receive the candidate’s personal statement, CV, representative course syllabi, and these Standards and Criteria. At the deadline, the Tenure Committee Chair will attempt to communicate with outside evaluators who have not sent letters and ascertain the reason for the delay. When the minimum required number of letters has been received, the Tenure Committee, in consultation with the DOF, may decide either to go ahead with the case or to wait for additional letters.

When all the materials have been received and reviewed, the Tenure Committee will prepare a report on the case and present it to the tenured members of the Department who may suggest changes. The faculty will vote on the committee’s recommendation either at that time or upon receipt of an amended report. The Chair of the Department will submit the faculty’s vote, the Committee’s report, and the dossier to the Dean of the Faculty and TPAC.

The candidate must be given the opportunity to appear before the department's tenured members before they vote on the case. Within one week of the voting meeting, the candidate shall be notified of the recommendation in writing. In the case of a negative recommendation or tie vote, the candidate has a right to be informed of the reasons for the department's decision. The candidate then has the right to present material in person and/or in writing to TPAC if they choose to do so.

If, at any time during the tenure process, the candidate feels that there are irregularities of procedure or timing, they may take such concerns to the Chair of the Department who will consult with the Chair of the Tenure Committee and the Dean of the Faculty about the candidate's concerns.

 

7. Appointment or Promotion to Full Professor

Candidates for initial appointment at or promotion to the rank of tenured full Professor will have achieved national or international reputations within their fields and over the full course of their career. The candidate must also demonstrate significant continued achievement in all critical categories—scholarship, teaching and service—since the tenure review. External evaluators will receive evidence of accomplishments in scholarship, teaching, and service since the tenure review, and the candidate’s statement should address the full arc of their career, with emphasis on achievements since tenure.

Procedures for appointments at and promotions to the rank of full Professor will resemble those pertaining to tenure evaluations with regard to the formation of the committee, the solicitation of external evaluations, the submission of the dossier, the generation of the report, the Department vote, and the rights of the candidate, in accordance with guidelines in the Handbook of Academic Administration.  

 

8. Appointment, Reappointment, and Promotion in Lecturer Ranks

Lecturers are defined as appointed members of the faculty who are qualified to teach one or more courses, and to carry out other academic duties. Lecturers are not expected to fulfill the requirements of scholarly research that are expected of faculty who hold professorial rank. The Handbook of Administration describes general University expectations for faculty appointed at the rank of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Distinguished Senior Lecturer. Lecturer appointments are renewed based on an evaluation by the Chair or a designated tenured faculty member every three years or as specified by contract.

A Lecturer may apply for promotion to Senior Lecturer, with an appropriate increase in salary and a term of appointment of no more than six years, normally after serving as Lecturer for six years, or with comparable previous teaching experience (or as specified by contract). The promotion review process follows the same general procedures as the tenure review process for Assistant Professors, including compilation of a promotion dossier, solicitation of letters from external evaluators, and submission of a departmental recommendation to TPAC, in accordance with guidelines in the Handbook of Academic Administration.

A Senior Lecturer may apply for promotion to Distinguished Senior Lecturer normally after a minimum of six years from appointment as Senior Lecturer. Reappointments at this rank may be made for periods of up to six years, according to the needs of the department. The promotion review process follows the same general procedures as for Senior Lecturer.

Reappointment reviews for Senior Lecturers and Distinguished Senior Lecturers will be conducted following the same general procedures employed for the reappointment of Assistant Professors.

 

9. Standards for Promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer

A candidate for promotion to Senior Lecturer must demonstrate sustained excellence in teaching and service over a number of years, including committed participation in departmental administration and student advising, in accordance with the standards and evidence delineated above under “Governing Principles” (G.1.). In addition, candidates must show a record of public presentation of research or scholarship since their initial appointment as Lecturer, which may include conference presentations, peer-reviewed articles or books, exhibits, digital scholarship, or works of fiction, poetry, or art. Candidates for promotion are expected to meet most of the following ranked criteria :

A. Sustained excellence in teaching, as evidenced in teaching evaluations collected over the three years previous to application for promotion. In addition, professional development activities pertaining to pedagogy (e.g., trainings, workshops, certifications) may be viewed as favorable evidence in this category.

B. Ability to serve the Department's needs in interdisciplinary teaching and student advising.

C. Scholarly publications in the candidate's major field of research.

D. Professional achievements in fields related to the candidate's teaching or areas of expertise, such as participation in professional societies or presentations at meetings.

E. Recognition by peers in the academic and/or professional community as evidenced in letters, appointments to regional or national organizations, and consultations in work outside Brown University.

 

10. Standards for the Reappointment of Senior Lecturers

The criteria for the reappointment of Senior Lecturer in order of importance are:

A. Sustained and documented teaching excellence as attested by student and peer evaluations.

B. Service to the department, University, profession, and community.

C. Evidence of professional accomplishments that add value to the teaching of the department. Professional accomplishments may take different forms, including research and scholarship, participation in professional societies, work on pedagogy, development of instructional materials, or participation in advanced training/professional development activities.

 

11. Standards for Promotion from Senior Lecturer to Distinguished Senior Lecturer

A candidate for promotion to Distinguished Senior Lecturer must demonstrate important contributions to teaching and professional service at Brown and beyond as evidenced by accomplishments in most of the following categories, as described in the Handbook of Academic Administration and weighted by our Department in the order listed here. Candidates are expected to meet most of the following criteria: 

A. Sustained and documented teaching excellence.

B. Service to the department, university, profession, and/or community.

C. Recognition as a role model, advisor, and mentor for undergraduate and/or graduate students as well as colleagues.

D. Excellent professional reputation, as demonstrated by membership and active participation in local, regional, or national professional societies (this may be demonstrated through positions of leadership in executive committees, key roles in collaborative projects, and the organization of professional and academic workshops, symposia, and invited lectures).

E. Scholarly publications in the candidate's major field of research.

F. A record of outstanding educational scholarship, which may take the form of instructional materials, including online materials, activities associated with the development and implementation of new assessment models, curricular innovation and configurations, publications, performances, or other works.

Reviews for promotion to Distinguished Senior Lecturer follow the same general procedures as for promotions to Senior Lecturer.
 

The department of American Studies takes pride in its scholarship, its teaching, and its service. It prioritizes diversity - broadly conceived - in hiring, in graduate and undergraduate education, and in the scope, methods, and reach of the scholarly research its members produce. The department values engagement with a wide range of scholarly and public constituencies and work that has a positive impact on professional and community life at the local, national, and international scale.

Comprehensive reviews of the entire department should, we stress, take the following factors in mind, and be guided, more generally, by the “best practices” outlined by the American Studies Association, the National Council for Public History, and the Imagining America consortium.

  1. Scholarship:

    The department defines research and scholarship broadly and ambitiously. It includes in this category peer-reviewed articles and academic monographs, as well as digital publications in new media, and publicly-engaged intellectual work in all forms, including exhibits, presentations, talks, documentaries, workshops, community forums, articles, editorials, and essays. It values scholarly contributions to multiple publics inside and outside the university and recognizes the importance of awards and fellowships from a range of scholarly, governmental, and community groups as evidence of achievement and distinction. Finally, it gives greatest weight to those contributions that are, in the best sense of the term, engaged, that have the opportunity to offer serious and sustained impact on and connection with (1) the state of scholarship in American Studies and related fields, on (2) local, national, and international policy and public opinion, and on (3) the well-being of local, national, and international communities.

    In assessing these contributions, the department uses a variety of qualitative measures and quantitative metrics. It relies, as is typical, on the sheer number of publications produced in any given three-year period, on the annual enumeration of a citation count or other evidence of national or international circulation, and on an assessment of the quality of the publication venue in any given year. But it also assesses the significance of the collective contribution to scholarship on qualitative terms, placing greatest value on our faculty’s contributions to significant debates within what American Studies has historically defined as important fields or subfields, to ongoing or emerging scholarly or policy debates, or community conversations. When comparing qualitative and quantitative metrics, the department gives more weight to the former, stressing our joint effort to make meaningful - over myriad - contributions.

  2. Teaching:

    The department expects excellence in teaching from its faculty. In tabulating this, we look - as many departments do - to regular course evaluations issued by the university and the department. The surest measure of success in and around the classroom, though, is found in the transformation - through scholarship and teaching - of student learners and broader publics into more critically engaged citizens of our community and the world. Measuring that transformation demands the use of qualitative measures. We look for challenging, innovative syllabi, taught at different scales or sizes and with different kinds of learning outcomes. We also look for rigorous classes taught in the core of our various curricula. We look for faculty teaching awards, or recognition from students beyond mere numerical evaluation.

    Assessing our undergraduate teaching, we look, just as closely, at other things, too. The quality of honors theses, for example, are useful indicators of the strength of a concentration. Each American Studies and Ethnic Studies student is also required to take stock of their education at the end of the senior year by preparing a digital portfolio of their work and a presentation on that same topic to the entire departmental community.

    Finally, the department aims to develop an instrument through which to regularly survey alumnae (ten and twenty years out) to ask them to reflect on the broader impact of Brown’s American Studies and Ethnic Studies degrees on their lives and their ability to influence their professions, communities, and the world at large for the better. The results will be shared with the department and used to reflect on what we are doing and how we might do it better.

    Regarding the training of doctoral students - and beyond the teaching of core and elective classes, and service on qualifying exam committees - five specific areas bear watching: (1) the quality and ambition of the dissertation, (2) the time to degree, (3) success in competition for university, national, and international fellowships and awards, (4) success landing positions in the academic and public humanities job markets, and in other professional or public careers, and (5) the speed with which dissertations are published as books that make a substantial contribution to their scholarly field and public debate on their subject.

    The mentoring and training of MA students is also of central importance to the department. In addition to the regular evaluation of student work in the classroom, the department measures success by considering both their careers after Brown, and the extent to which a degree from Brown has made a meaningful difference in their lives, and the value of their work to organizations and communities.

  3. Service:

    Members of the American Studies department will be evaluated for their contributions to a varied group of communities inside and outside of the university. We value service on the committees that govern the department’s day-to-day business, and we value service on university and college-level governance and oversight committees. We value service to the academic profession--through participation in professional organizations and publications, advisory roles in student organizations, and evaluations of departments and organizations in American Studies and related fields at other institutions. Finally, we value service to the community in the form of volunteer work, advisory service, consulting work, and board memberships with local, national, and international government, non-profit groups, arts and humanities organizations, and advocacy or community groups.

  4. Diversity:

    Finally, the department is strongly committed to diversity, broadly conceived to include demographic, intellectual, methodological, and subfield diversity. In its reflections on future hiring, curriculum development, student recruitment, and many other matters, it takes this strong commitment into account.