Much of the work done by faculty at both public and private universities has significant public dimensions: it is often paid for by public funds; it is often aimed at serving the public good; and it is often subject to public evaluation. To understand how the public dimensions of faculty work are valued, we analyzed review, promotion, and tenure documents from a representative sample of 129 universities in the US and Canada. Terms and concepts related to public and community are mentioned in a large portion of documents, but mostly in ways that relate to service, which is an undervalued aspect of academic careers. Moreover, the documents make significant mention of traditional research outputs and citation-based metrics: however, such outputs and metrics reward faculty work targeted to academics, and often disregard the public dimensions. Institutions that seek to embody their public mission could therefore work towards changing how faculty work is assessed and incentivized.
The data that support the findings of this study are available in the Harvard Dataverse with the identifier https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/VY4TJE (Alperin et al., 2019). These data include the list of institutions and academic units for which we have acquired documents along with an indicator of whether each term and concept studied was found in the documents for the institution or academic unit. The data also include the aggregated values and chi-square calculations reported. The code used for computing these aggregations can be found on Github https://github.com/ScholCommLab/rpt-project (Alperin, 2019). The documents collected are available on request from the corresponding author (JPA). These documents are not publicly available due to copyright restrictions.
Terms and Concepts found in Tenure and Promotion Guidelines from the US and CanadaHarvard Dataverse, 2018-05-22.
- Juan Pablo Alperin
- Meredith T Niles
- Erin C McKiernan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Emma Pewsey, eLife, United Kingdom
© 2019, Alperin et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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