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CS Department Tenure Guidelines

College policy has officially recognized the demands and stresses placed on faculty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Department takes this into account when evaluating these guidelines.

Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure

Excellence in both teaching and scholarship is required for tenure in the Computer Science Department. Service activities within the College community as well as within the CS department are also highly valued.


The candidate will have taught classes at all levels of the curriculum. Assessment of the quality of teaching will be based on letters from students, peer evaluation of colleagues based on repeated regular classroom observations, and pedagogical and curricular contributions that may include new course offerings, syllabi, reading lists, lab assignments, teaching innovations, and contributions to the department's curricular design. 


The candidate will have established an active research program that extends beyond their dissertation work. Peer-reviewed conference or journal publications are an important component of the candidate's research portfolio. We recognize CS conferences as being the typical premier peer-reviewed publication venue for CS research. However, we also recognize that there exists variation across sub-disciplines of computer science in publication venue norms, publication rates, and in other artifacts of scholarly output.

In preparing tenure dossiers, the department submits the following CRA article to the the Swarthmore Committee on Tenure and Promotion to aid in their evaluation of candidates scholarly work, in particular to help describe what conference publication is in our field, and how conference publications should be evaluated in CS: Evaluating Computer Scientists and Engineers For Promotion and Tenure, by David Patterson (University of California, Berkeley), Lawrence Snyder (University of Washington), Jeffrey Ullman (Stanford University). Published by Computer Research Association (

Because we are a liberal arts college, the rate of scholarly production is necessarily conditioned by the responsibility that teaching is of the highest quality. We also note that expected publication rates in different sub-fields of computer science vary greatly. Assessment of the candidate's scholarly work is based on letters from external reviewers who are experts in the candidate's sub-field. We sometimes also rely on the expertise of colleagues within the department. Evidence of expertise within a field (or more than one field if applicable), and the potential for future growth and development as an active scholar is important. Evidence of providing Swarthmore students with research experiences, including providing summer research experiences and involving students in one's scholarly activities is also highly valued. Additionally, we recognize the importance of Computer Science Education Research as supported by the following CRA's report: Why CS Departments Should Embrace Computing Education Research. Scholarly endeavors in CS Education are highly regarded by the CS department and help to support a candidate's broader CS scholarly work portfolio. However, currently CS Education scholarship alone is not sufficient for tenure and promotion to associate professor at Swarthmore college. 


Service to the Department and the College is expected. Assessment of the candidate's service will be based on letters from members of the College community both within and outside the Computer Science Department. Evidence of engagement with and contribution to both the CS Department and the College community are important.