Sunday, April 10, 2011

Faculty retention, tenure and promotion (RTP) in the Internet era

Teaching, service and research are considered when evaluating university professors for retention, tenure and promotion (RTP).

RTP committees generally look at things like teaching evaluations by students at the end of a class, published journal articles and conference papers, and service on school committees.

Today's active, effective faculty do a lot of time-consuming work on the Internet -- things like:

Teaching: podcast lectures, develop online teaching material, help students via email, chat or VoIP, create a blog or Twitter stream relevant to a class.

Service: build a Web site or other application for a department or conference, build a Web site or other application for an organization in the community, offer mentoring or advising to students in feeder schools, offer tech training to colleagues, develop campus infrastructure.

Research: create a scholarly blog, publish in online journals, participate in online research communities, maintain an online database, make scholarly contributions to Wikipedia.

What would you add to these lists? Which of these activities would count toward RTP on your campus? Which should?

Auburn University recently considered significant contributions to Wikipedia in granting tenure to professor. Would your university have done so?


  1. Larry,

    Thanks for bringing this topic up. Here, I am just expressing my personal idea.

    While I support the idea of electronic publishing being figured into the RTP process, I am trying to let faculty know that the Library can provide a digital ground to support faculty electronic publishing, to help preserving the organization's legacy, and to facilitate digital scholarly communication.

    The University Library is thinking about building a Digital Institutional Repository System (IR).
    What is a Digital Institutional Repository (IR)?
    It is an online locus for documenting, collecting, preserving, communicating, and disseminating – in digital form – the intellectual life, scholarship, and research activities of CSUDH university community. IR is an important tool for preserving an organization's legacy; it facilitates digital preservation and scholarly communication.

    A system like this will be able to facilitate faculty electronic publishing in research and teaching, allowing faculty to easily and freely publish/share scholarly work and creativities, etc. Examples of the contents of an IR:
    - If we record, in this IR, the implementation process of the Title V (Leena Furtato and her group are currently working on), interested people around the World can learn/share the implementation process, the products, and the result.
    - If we document, in the IR, Dr. Matt Mutchler and his collaboration project with Harvard, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and may-be the grant application documents, implementation process and results, scholars around the World can learn/share.
    - If we record, in this IR, the "No Boundaries" Spring Dance Concert in the University Theatre on May 13 & 14th, the World will be able to view our talented students and faculty showcasing.
    - Examples like these can be listed on-and-on....

    CSUN has an IR system: Though it is still under construction, it gives us an idea of what an IR is.

    What I am trying to say here is that it is possible and it is very easy to publish/share our scholarly work nowadays. IR provides us a community centralized digital space to publish and share.


    Wei Ma