The Hire

Faculty members who possess their terminal degree, which in most fields is the doctorate, and who are hired into tenure-track positions are given the title “assistant professor.” They spend the next six years honing their skills in the classroom; working with students on undergraduate research projects; completing, presenting and publishing their own research; and serving Longwood and their professional community through committee work.

The Annual Probationary Review

Assistant professors are reviewed annually in three areas: teaching, scholarship and service. Of those, Longwood most values teaching. Learning from faculty who mentor students and teach dynamic classes are hallmarks of a Longwood education. A department Promotion and Tenure Committee comprising tenured faculty, and the department chair conduct these evaluations, visiting and observing assistant professors while they teach. These evaluations are shared with the faculty member and then sent to the professor’s dean and the provost for review.

The Portfolio

Year six is the big year for assistant professors as they assemble their promotion portfolios— evidence that they have succeeded in all three pillars. Professors must have outstanding annual teaching reviews from their departmental committees, have an active scholarship agenda and have served the university in a substantive way.

"When we hire new faculty, we look for those who are up to the task ..."


“It’s hard, rigorous work over the first six years of your career,” said Dr. Larissa Fergeson, associate provost and professor of history. But when we hire new faculty, we look for those who are up to the task and share Longwood’s student-centered approach to teaching. When they are granted tenure— and not all of them are—they are really ready to take the next step in their professional and academic careers.”

The portfolio consists of:

  • Resume
  • Syllabi
  • Publications and presentations
  • Teaching evaluations

Tenure and Beyond

Review of an assistant professor’s portfolio is multi-layered and by no means a sure thing for professors who tick all the boxes. The first review is made by the departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee, then by the college dean, then by the provost, who makes a recommendation to the president and Board of Visitors, who vote on the recommendations each spring for tenure and promotion to associate professor. In subsequent years, faculty members can apply for promotion to full professor. The process is much the same, though tenured faculty are expected to serve in leadership roles in their service to Longwood.

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