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When the time has passed (5 years I think) and a faculty is being evaluated for tenure what aspects play a role for anyone getting tenure or not? do comments from current students play a role in it?

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    If I were you, I would word the last question more strongly: Are there are known instances where adverse/favorable student feedback has reduced/enhanced a candidates prospects of landing tenure? I'm sure you are looking for concrete instances, or any official word (maybe from some Academia.SE member higher up in the ranks) regarding whether this happens at all. :)
    – 299792458
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 8:01

3 Answers 3

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Applications for tenure are typically evaluated based on

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Service

Some institutions will solicit comments from students when they are evaluating teaching. Commonly students' teaching evaluations are considered as well. How strongly different factors are weighted depends on the institution.

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Depending on the area of study, the most common university-level factors for tenure are how much you've published, and with whom, and evaluations from your peers. Those are primary, though other things can come into play. Consistently awful student evaluations can be a factor.

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It depends on the school and how important teaching quality is for the tenure. But even at an R1 (doctoral/research-focused school), my experience is that students writing letters won't hurt. Thought they probably won't have a major impact and are unlikely to be persuasive in urging a particular decision, student letters (sent early to appropriate people in the department) can tell anecdotes and stories about the professor that can help her or his peers craft a story about them as a person that can affect their chances.

However, do know that these are likely to affect only the most borderline of cases: As much as you have the knowledge to do so objectively, look at your favorite professor's research profile compared to the profile that the university or college generally expects for tenure; if your professor's publications (or art production, etc.) are significantly below the mean, all the testimonies that he or she is the greatest teacher on earth probably won't keep them around. (If they do leave though, it's likely that they'll be picked up by a school that has research and teaching expectations more in line with their own desires and talents, so it is not always a bad thing for their happiness or future).

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