3.4. Evaluation of the Quality and Significance of Faculty Scholarly Accomplishments
A. Definitions of Scholarly Activity and Scholarship
Scholarly is an umbrella term used to apply to faculty work in all performance areas. Scholarly is an adjective used to describe the processes that faculty should use within each area. In this context, scholarly refers to a cyclical process that is deliberate and intentional, systematic and planned, measured and evaluated, revised and rethought. On the other hand, scholarship is a noun used to describe tangible outcomes of the scholarly processes. This tangible product is disseminated in appropriate professional venues relating to the performance area. In the process of dissemination, the product becomes open to critique and evaluation. What follows is a description of how faculty work in each performance area might be scholarly and could result in scholarship.
While the professional activities of faculty vary, every faculty member is expected to demonstrate scholarly activity in all performance areas. Furthermore, tenure-track faculty members must produce scholarship in at least one of their performance area(s) of emphasis. The performance area(s) with scholarship expectations must be agreed upon by the faculty member and the faculty member’s supervisor. In other words, although faculty members are expected to engage in scholarly activity in all the performance areas identified in their FPA, they are not expected to produce scholarship in all areas. Evaluation of all scholarly accomplishments and scholarship will be based on evidence of the quality and significance of the work. KSU’s scholarly and scholarship expectations support the Board of Regents policy (8.3.15), Work in Schools.
Examples of Scholarly Accomplishments in Teaching
Scholarly teachers plan their class activities in such a way that they seek outcome data regarding student learning. Faculty members typically revise their courses from semester to semester; the scholarly faculty member makes these revisions deliberately and systematically assesses the effect of the revisions on students’ learning. The following semester, the scholarly faculty member makes more revisions based on the previous semester’s outcomes if such revisions are warranted. Professional development activities such as attending workshops and conferences related to teaching are another example of scholarly accomplishments.
This process can result in scholarship when the faculty member makes these processes and outcomes public and subject to appropriate review.
Examples of Scholarly Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity
Scholarly researchers and artists approach their research and creative activity in a systematic and intentional manner. They have a clear agenda and plan for their work in this area.
Faculty who do scholarly work in this arena engage in programmatic research and creativity as opposed to random, haphazard forays into research and creative activity that have less chance of building a substantial body of work. Researchers and creative artists transform their work into scholarship when the work is formally shared with others, exhibits the use of appropriate and rigorous methods, and is subject to informed critique and review, which would include the usual process of peer review and publication, showcasing, or presentation. Professional development activities such as attending workshops and conferences related to research and creative activity would be an example of scholarly accomplishments, but not necessarily scholarship, in this area.
Examples of Scholarly Accomplishments in Professional Service
Faculty members who perform scholarly professional service use their knowledge and expertise in a service opportunity to the University, the community, or their profession. Good documentation of scholarly service describes the role of the faculty member in each service activity, how he or she uses their expertise in the role, and clearly demonstrates the outcome or impact of the service activity. Reports of service lack a scholarly dimension when they merely list committee assignments, provide no evidence of the nature of activities or results, provide evidence of outcomes but no evidence of the individual’s role, have no review by others, or provide no evidence of how the service work is consistent with professional development or goals. Although all professional service may not be scholarly, faculty should document the quality and significance of all service activities. Scholarly service can move toward scholarship as it meets some or all of the following criteria:
- the service is documented as intellectual work
- there is evidence of significance and impact from multiple sources
- there is evidence of individual contributions
- there is evidence of leadership
- there is dissemination through peer-reviewed publications or presentations
- there is dissemination to peers, clients, the public, patients, etc.
- there is peer review of the professional service.
Faculty members who are in administrative positions often provide oversight to initiatives that strengthen and enhance the mission of their unit. Building innovative programs, policies, and procedures can require scholarly investigations (e.g., research or literature reviews) and can lead to outcomes and products that are shared at professional meetings or in professional publications. For example, a department chair might develop a mentoring program in his or her department that is shared in professional meetings or publications and becomes nationally recognized.
B. Quality and Significance
Quality and significance are the primary criteria for evaluating faculty performance. Quality and significance of scholarly work are over-arching, integrative concepts that apply equally to all areas of faculty performance. A consistently high quality of scholarly work, and its promise for future exemplary scholarly work, is more important than the quantity of the work done. The criteria for evaluating the quality and significance of scholarly accomplishments include the following:
Clarity and Relevance of Goals
Faculty members should clearly define the goals of scholarly work in their respective areas of emphasis and the relevance of their scholarly work to their Faculty Performance Agreement. Clarity of purpose and relevance of goals provide a critical context for documenting and evaluating scholarly work.
Mastery of Existing Knowledge
Faculty members must be well-prepared and knowledgeable about developments in the relevant context of their scholarly activity. The ability to educate others, conduct meaningful research, produce creative works, and provide high quality assistance through professional service depends upon mastering existing knowledge and background information. Faculty members should use appropriate techniques, methods, and resources in their scholarly work.
Effectiveness of Communication
Faculty members should communicate effectively with their audiences and subject their ideas to critical inquiry and independent review.
Significance of Results
Faculty members should demonstrate the extent to which they achieve their expressed goals and to which their scholarly accomplishment(s) may have had significant professional impact. Customarily in the academy, such significance might be confirmed by various credible sources (e.g., academic peers, community participants, or other experts), as well as by published documents such as reviews, citations, acknowledgments, or professional correspondence regarding one’s work.
Consistently Ethical Behavior
Faculty members should conduct their work with honesty, integrity, and objectivity. They should foster a respectful relationship with students, community participants, colleagues, and others who participate in or benefit from their work. Faculty members should uphold recognized standards for academic integrity (see also Section 2.13).