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Discussion Guide for Departments and Colleges about Community-Engaged Scholarship in Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure

Convening constructive conversations about outreach and engagement in reappointment, promotion, and tenure is challenging, especially when faculty disagreements about the nature of scholarship, the importance of rigor, and the standards of evidence raise deep controversies about “what truly counts” in the academy. For decades, institutional leaders have advocated for reform of the faculty roles and rewards system to include outreach and engagement as a recognized form of faculty scholarship. While there is agreement on the need for such reform, there is little guidance on how to convene campus conversations on such a contested and controversial topic—community-engaged scholarship in promotion and tenure.

An interdisciplinary team at the National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement developed this discussion guide which synthesizes that latest research on faculty engagement into a framework for faculty, departmental chairs, and college deans to use for leading constructive campus conversations. Scholarship about types of scholarly activities, motivations for engagement, continuum of evidence, indicators of quality, career stages, degrees of collaboration, integration of engagement into faculty work, and institutional policies from around the country form the basis of this evidence-based discussion guide.

In addition to the discussion guide, dialogue cards were developed to spark conversation, assist in prioritizing issues, and focus conversation. Each flashcard includes the key concept, description, and reflection questions. Dialogue cards address such topics as: scholarship, language, degree of collaboration, community, type of activity, scholarly products (academic and public audiences), motivation, integration, career stage, and support.


Diane Doberneck

Director for Faculty and Professional Development, Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Community Sustainability

Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship