Evaluating Community-Engaged Research in Promotion and Tenure
Keywords:community engaged research, community engaged scholarship, promotion and tenure, evaluation, metrics
To advance and encourage partnerships between institutions and their greater communities, academic reward structures must be designed in ways that support those who choose to leverage their expertise, resources, and time to engage with community in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. This study investigates how school- and department-level promotion and tenure committees define, understand, and evaluate faculty’s engaged research. Specifically, this study explored what goes into making evaluative decisions and how evaluative decisions are made (e.g., how review committees define and categorize faculty’s engaged research, what metrics are used to assess it). In this single case multi-site qualitative study 12 participants across five R1 institutions classified as engaged by the Carnegie Foundation participated in semi-structured interviews. All participants were tenured, engaged scholars with experience serving on a school- and/or department-level promotion and tenure review committee. Findings demonstrate that review committees struggle to define, categorize, and evaluate community engaged research in promotion and tenure, as they are forced to exclusively rely on a traditional set of metrics to evaluate the engaged work of their peers. Though universities are making strides to institutionalize engagement, appropriate recognition of engaged research within promotion and tenure is not yet a reality.
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