Faculty Promotion Plan

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Key Principles of a Promotion Plan for Mid-Career- NEW: SEPT. 10 WORKSHOP, SEE EVENTS

A promotion plan helps you map out key features along your post-tenure career path with an eye towards promotion criteria.  You will have more choices and opportunities to grow, pivot, innovate, lead, take risks, and make an impact throughout your post-tenure career. 

A promotion plan is dynamic and should be consulted, examined, and updated on a regular basis with support and mentorship from senior faculty internal and external to Lehigh.

  • It aligns skills, strengths and expectations to your career choices and work activities.
  • It helps keep you accountable to what matters to your goals for your success.
  • It can help you prioritize and see tradeoffs when new opportunities or roadblocks arise.
  • Successes should be celebrated along the way.

Faculty career planning tools vary. Adapt the following components to your needs. 

Promotion Plan Questions Printable Plan and Grid 
  • Write your goals with relevant time frames.
  • How are they aligned with your interests and department/college needs and expectations?
  • Describe existing skills, resources, or connections that you can build upon for support?
  • What do you need; what specifically requires further development?
  • What approaches, resources, strategies, or training will help to develop these areas?
  • Identify barriers to you attaining these resources.  Can you ask for what you need?
  • Seek feedback from mentors and your chair about the goals, alignment with expectations, and approaches; then incorporate their feedback and suggestions in meaningful ways.
  • What are your next steps to implement the plan?  
  • Celebrate success.
Extended Planning Questions with Deeper Reflection
Goal Setting
  • What are my long-term career goals?
  • What are my shorter-term goals that will ultimately take me there?
  • How are these goals aligned with my department/unit needs and expectations?
Career Reflection

Consider the successes and challenges in your path so far: 

  • How have my career or interests changed from my original plans/direction?
  • Have these departures been intentional? Have they aligned with my changing interests and opportunities?
  • Has my career progress or portfolio been impacted by work-life or campus climate issues?
  • What are new demands on my job which could benefit from new skills? 
Strengths and Resources Assessment
  • What are my strengths to help me reach my goals?
  • What specific areas need further development?
  • What resources, skills, collaborators, or time are needed develop these areas?
  • Barriers to attaining these resources or skills or time?
  • What can support me to overcome these barriers?
  • Ask peers and mentors for their input (we are our own worst critic).
Write the Plan

Align goals, strengths, skills, and resources needed with your action steps over time. A table can help organize your thoughts. While this process can be iterated and broken down into smaller chunks project by project and week by week, for now, think in years.

Prepare for Feedback

Self-reflection before asking for feedback on the plan or along the way

  • Am I comfortable asking for what I want?
  • Am I open to hearing new ideas and feedback about my strengths?
  • Am I ready for feedback which could make me uncomfortable?
Discuss the Plan with Mentor(s) and Chairs
  • Seek input on how realistic the plan and time frame are.
  • Seek input on how aligned the plan is with my current situation.
  • Do they have ideas for obtaining appropriate resources to implement plan?
  • Do they have ideas related to how to implement the plan or its parts?
  • Do they think the plan is aligned with department/unit needs?
  • Do they think the plan is aligned with the performance criteria?
Implement the Plan
  • Incorporate the feedback in meaningful ways.
  • Put my plan into action.
  • Revise and modify the plan as necessary.
  • Review the plan with my mentor(s) and chair on a regular basis.
  • Celebrate success along the way.

The ideas presented here have been met with success across a host of institutions, including those with robust ADVANCE programs. There exist other career planning templates and frameworks.  Try out the formal template or make your own with these questions and ideas. See work by Buch, et al. 2011; https://advance.uncc.edu;  UNC Mentoring IDPs,  NCFDD, etc.