Promoting values-based assessment in review, promotion, and tenure processes

Authors : Caitlin Carter, Michael R. Dougherty, Erin C. McKiernan, Greg Tananbaum

Criteria and guidelines for review, promotion, and tenure (RPT) processes form the bedrock of institutional and departmental policies, and are a major driver of faculty behavior, influencing the time faculty spend on different activities like outreach, publishing practices, and more.

However, research shows that many RPT guidelines emphasize quantity over quality when evaluating research and teaching, and favor bibliometrics over qualitative measures of broader impact.

RPT processes rarely explicitly recognize or reward the various public dimensions of faculty work (e.g., outreach, research sharing, science communication), or, when they do, relegate them to the service category, which is undervalued and often falls heavily on women and underrepresented groups.

There is a need to correct this mismatch between institutional missions or values—often focused on aspects like community engagement, equity, diversity, and inclusion, or public good—and the behaviors that are rewarded in academic assessments. We describe recent efforts to promote RPT reform and realign institutional incentives using a values-based approach, including an overview of workshops we ran at the 2023 Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP) Annual Meeting, the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Annual Convention, and the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Department Leaders Summer Institute.

These workshops were designed to guide participants through the process of brainstorming what values are important to them as departments, institutions, or more broadly as disciplines, and which faculty behaviors might embody these values and could be considered in RPT evaluations. We discuss how similar activities could promote broader culture change.

URL : Promoting values-based assessment in review, promotion, and tenure processes