Book for Tenure?

Matt Kirschenbaum points to The Book as the Gold Standard for Tenure and Promotion in the Humanistic Disciplines, a study by Leigh Estabrook at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

As Stockton reconsiders its own (by general consensus outmoded and onerous) tenure and promotion procedures, this report has a lot of relevance. Among the relevant findings:

  • Only in History departments does a majority of faculty believe a book should be required (with rare exceptions) for tenure in their departments. Faculty with tenure and faculty who have not yet achieved tenure are similar in their views about this issue.
  • Most of the faculty members surveyed do not feel a book length manuscript is necessary to present their scholarship.
  • Faculty members are beginning to examine electronic publications as an outlet for scholarship.  A small number of departments have formally considered how electronic publications should be evaluated.

At Stockton, a task force recently put together a series of recommendations for changing our process — among them that publication expectations should be clarified. The History department suggested that other departments could use their guidelines (book publication for promotion) as a model, which was not generally well-received by other programs. It's interesting to read that this is a common expectation among other History programs, but not among other humanities programs generally.

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