6 Post-Tenure Review Values Variety of Open Education Activities

Alishia Huntoon

Case study writer: Alishia Huntoon, PhD, Professor and Program Director

Institute: Oregon Institute of Technology: Public University

Type of intervention: This case study is about the post-tenure review process at my institution.


Oregon Institute of Technology is Oregon’s polytechnic university. It is a public university offering professionally focused undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, health, business, technology, and applied arts and sciences. I am a professor and program director for the applied psychology program.

I have already been through the tenure and promotion processes. While there are no further promotion stages for me, I am reviewed annually and must go through a post-tenure review every five years. The post-tenure review is meant to encourage continuous faculty development. The process starts with a peer review, followed by evaluations from the department chair, dean, and provost. The criteria used to evaluate faculty performance are teaching, professional development, leadership and service, and professional integrity and cooperation.

At my institution, faculty choose their own course materials. There isn’t a university-wide initiative to encourage OER adoption currently. However, our library spearheads various OER-related activities. There is a small annual grant opportunity to encourage OER creation and adoption. I have been both a recipient and reviewer for this grant. Each year, the library hosts an OER review workshop, which I participated in. For the past few years, we have had sessions on various OER topics offered during open education week. This has ranged from being a few hours up to a day of presentations. I have both attended and presented during our open education week activities. Our institution is currently in the process of putting together an OER committee, as we do not have one.


The previous five years have been the focus of my post-tenure review, which has also been a time of increased OER involvement for me in many ways. During this time, I built an organized group of activities centered around the development and use of OERs. My introduction to OERs was through a colleague that referred me to a grant opportunity to adopt an OER for our introductory course, which was a high-enrolling, thus high-impact, course. As this both led to grant funding and student benefit, my department saw this as a valuable activity. I included this in my annual performance evaluation (APE) several years ago. During my annual evaluation meeting that year, my department chair and I discussed how the grant for adopting an OER for our introductory classes was a notable activity. While I had it as a line item on my APE, we considered how to increase visibility on what I had been doing and what it entailed. We also discussed some work I had on the horizon related to OERs. I needed a better way to showcase that I had strategic and meaningful contributions to OER development and use. Just listing something as a bullet point among many wasn’t going to help those that would eventually be reviewing my post-tenure portfolio understand the depth and breadth of my activities.

The APE form consists of three main sections. These correspond with the three primary categories that faculty are evaluated on for promotion, tenure, and post-tenure reviews. The first category is “Instruction,” which includes items such as student evaluations of courses, courses taught, and development of instructional materials. The second category is “Professional Development,” pertaining to the advancement of knowledge in a variety of ways, including publication, presentations, reviews, and participation in workshops. The third category, “Service,” relates to both university and public service activities.

I like to keep things as streamlined and organized as possible, both for my audience and for myself. I considered the criteria I would be evaluated on and considered what I could do that would contribute to my interests, OER needs, and the criteria. I sought opportunities that would match all of these as much as possible. Sometimes I would do something related to the instruction criteria, such as adopting or adapting an open textbook for a course. It might be creating open materials and sharing them. There were numerous opportunities available that fit the professional development criteria. This has included obtaining grants for adopting/adapting/creating, presenting at conferences, attending workshops, and publishing. The service criteria included reviewing OER materials in development and volunteering for conferences with duties such as reviewing proposals, reviewing prerecorded talks for accessibility and length, and hosting sessions. While I had several activities related to OERs for all three sections of my APE, I needed to showcase them in a clear and consistent manner.

The APE template includes a heading followed by a blank space for each criterion. The blank space is often filled in with bullet points, but there are no specific rules as to how this blank space should be filled in. What I ended up doing was creating subcategories for each criterion. Rather than just have all teaching activities listed under the “Instruction” heading, I created subheadings that structured my activities in a more cohesive and easier to understand manner. I included the headings of Delivery—Open Educational Resources, Delivery—General, Development—Open Educational Resources, Development—General, and General. For “Professional Development,” I separated the OER activities from the rest by having two subcategories: Professional Development—Open Educational Resources and Professional Development—General Activities. The “Service” section consisted of Department, Institution, Community—Open Educational Resources, and Community—General subcategories.

An example of how I classified an OER activity on one of my recent APEs was with a textbook creation project sponsored by Open Oregon. For post-tenure consideration, not everything needs to be connected to my classes or even discipline. Branching out and collaboration with others is encouraged. One of my latest projects is developing an open textbook for a university drawing course, which is not related to my field of psychology. I worked with a colleague to use my knowledge in OER development with his expertise in studio art to create the book. The development of the open textbook for drawing is related to the criteria of instruction, professional development, and service. There are many activities that relate to more than one criterion. In instances where this happens, I will choose the category that it best fits, based on the outcome of my involvement with that project. With the example of the drawing textbook, I chose to highlight it in the Professional Development category. I didn’t include it in the teaching category, as I wasn’t directly teaching with it, and teaching was already my strongest category. I didn’t place it in the Service category, though I did include in the Service category a conference presentation I gave related to the drawing textbook development. I placed it in the Professional Development category, as it was most relevant to that category and would have the most impact on my APE in this category. It showed advancement of knowledge, which didn’t have to be in my discipline, and it was a grant-funded project.


My annual performance evaluations that have included OER activities have been overseen by two department chairs. They have both supported and encouraged my activities in this area. The updated organization and packaging of my APEs have made it much easier for evaluators to see the holistic efforts and contributions I made to the OER realm. It also made it easier for my department chairs to write up their annual evaluations of me, which have been consistently high, and I have not received pushback from anyone at my university.

My post-tenure review was evaluated by a five-member committee of peers, my department chair, the college dean, and the provost. I received an “exemplary” outcome at all stages, which is the highest level possible. Of note by all parties was my active involvement in OERs, which helped secure my “exemplary” outcome.

With my initial grant project to adopt an OER for our introductory courses, other faculty learned about OERs in the process. It was a relatively new concept at the time. When other faculty in my department became familiar with them and learned there are quality options that may include ancillaries, they became more open to considering and utilizing OERs in their classes. An example of this I previously noted was encouraging an art instructor to work with me on creating a drawing textbook. In recent years, our library has been offering educational sessions for faculty. One of the librarians is assigned the role of OER coordinator, which is encouraged and supported by the director of our libraries. Our university has the bookstore note if courses are using OER. With so much growth, education, and options, there have been more faculty both using and creating OERs for their areas of expertise. At the university level, the librarians have taken on the role of organizing educational opportunities for faculty to learn more about OER adoption and creation. They also have created and shared grant opportunities for those interested in adopting, adapting, and/or creating open materials. The librarians have done the most at my university to improve OER reputation and increase their use. They are currently in the process of creating a university-wide community of OERs. At the policy level, discussion has just started about explicitly including OERs in P&T policies.


  • Track, document, and categorize everything you do from the start and as you complete activities. Big things are important, but every little thing adds up. Create, adopt, volunteer for committees/conferences, attend workshops/conferences. It’s OK to start small and build as best works for you. Don’t think the only way to get involved and have impact is to write an open textbook on your own.
  • Think ahead of time about what activities you should be doing in the upcoming years to create a comprehensive and cohesive plan. Include activities that are meaningful, relevant to your position, valuable to your institution, and related to the criteria you are evaluated on annually and for tenure/promotion.
  • Let others know what you are doing. Connect with people both close to you and outside of your program/department. Find out what others are doing. Collaborate and share. Look for OER-supportive organizations, such as Open Oregon in my state.
  • Don’t say yes to everything. There is so much energy, enthusiasm, and need in the OER community. It can be overwhelming. Choose to get involved in activities that both tap into your passions and are valued according to your institution’s evaluation criteria.


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Valuing OER in the Tenure, Promotion, and Reappointment Process Copyright © 2024 by Alishia Huntoon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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