Consideration of technology-related activities (such e-books, multimedia CD-ROMs, and online articles) in the tenure, promotion, and review process (TPR) has become important to both young and senior scholars. Unfortunately, across the historical profession, there is much uncertainty about the status of digital activities in the traditional categories of teaching, professional development, and service.
As a result, many historians remain hesitant to develop or use electronic materials or to have their scholarship published in a digital format.
During the spring 2000 semester, the American Association for History and Computing conducted a survey of tenure, review, and promotion policies concerning digital media activities at 650+ history departments listed in the American Historical Association's 1999-2000 Directory of History Departments and Organizations. The goal of this survey was to obtain a snapshot of the policies and practices that are currently in place as barriers and incentives and to determine what guidelines are necessary to advance serious, sensible, innovative work with digital technologies.
The full results of the AAHC survey will be presented at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Boston and will be published in the winter issue of the JAHC. Preliminary analysis of the survey data, however, indicates an urgent need for guidance and guidelines. Several junior faculty anonymously reported being denied tenure and/or promotion for over-emphasis of digital activities, and many senior and junior faculty expressed great anxiety about the current ambiguity and confusion.
The members of the Executive Council of the AAHC have been working with members of the Modern Language Association and the American Political Science Association for the last year in crafting appropriate guidelines for the current context, and the distressing reports in the survey suggest that such recommendations and guidance are needed immediately to benefit scholars who are going through the TPR process this fall. Thus, the AAHC offers the guidelines below, which were adapted with permission from the MLA Guidelines for Evaluating Work with Digital Media in the Modern Languages (www.mla.org). Similar guidelines have been adopted by the APSA, and we hope that collectively these recommendations will help institutions during this transitional period.
Institutions and, when appropriate, departments also should develop their own written guidelines so that faculty members engaged in research and teaching with digital media can be adequately, fully, and fairly evaluated and rewarded. Institutions should also take care to grant appropriate credit to faculty members for technology projects in teaching, research, and service, while recognizing that because many projects cross the boundaries between these traditional areas, faculty members should receive proportionate credit in more than one relevant area for their intellectual work. Written guidelines must provide clear directions for appointment, reappointment, merit increases, tenure, and promotion and should take into consideration the growing number of resources for evaluating digital scholarship.
Guidelines for Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committees
Guidelines for Candidates and Faculty Members
Documentation of projects might include recording sources of internal or external funding, awards or other professional recognition, and reviews and citations of the work in print or digital journals.
The pace of technological change makes it impossible for any one set of guidelines to account completely for the ways digital media and the work done with them is influencing historical research, teaching, and publication. The principle underlying these guidelines is that when institutions seek work with digital media and faculty members express interest in it, the institution must give full regard to this work when faculty members are hired or considered for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
created by aaron marcavitch 2006