Keywords:activism, engaged scholarship, tenure, community-engagement, academia
Universities and scholars have long wrestled with the types of impact they want their work to have on the world. This narrative explores the challenge of impact from the perspective of a recently tenured professor reflecting on his case for tenure and his struggle to fit his activist scholarship within the genre of the tenure case, which requires candidates to explain their work and its impact. Through an examination of this struggle, the author identifies three challenges that universities need to confront if they want to enable more community-engaged scholarship: 1) The problem of expertise, 2) the problem of genre, and 3) the problem of focus. If and when the academy begins to address these challenges, the author argues, activist scholars will no longer have to hide the nature of their community engaged work and their scholarship will be able to better reach larger audiences beyond the academy.
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