Strengthening the Scholarship of Engagement

Title of Proposal

Strengthening the scholarship of engagement by focusing on faculty, departments, and reappointment, promotion, and tenure decision-making processes

Presenter Name(s)

Patricia M. Sobrero, Associate Vice Chancellor, Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development, North Carolina State University, 

Ellis Cowling, Professor Emeritus, University Distinguished Professor-at-Large, Colleges of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University


Many North Carolina State University’s policies, procedures, and structures have been designed to encourage and support the mission area of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development. These policies include implementation of Six Realms of Faculty Responsibility and increased roles for faculty at all levels of evaluation and decision making about reappointment, promotion, and tenure. As a result, in 2006 we were pleased that NC State was identified as an “Engaged University” by the Carnegie Commission for the Advancement of Teaching. 

In 2008, we began to explore ways to further strengthen societal engagement across all departments, colleges, and other specialized units at NC State. Our principal focus was on actual societal outcomes and impacts including both economic as well as quality of life considerations such as social and human capital impacts, environmental (natural) capital impacts, and cultural impacts. Three faculty Task Forces were established and produced the following publicly available reports:
1) “Impact! — Benchmarking Economic Development Impacts;” 
2) “Impact! –What Counts is What’s Counted;” and 
3) “Integrating Learning, Discovery, and Engagement Through the Scholarship of Engagement.”

From these three Task Force reports we discovered a series of progress-inhibiting faculty perceptions that mostly involve uncertainty about criteria for evaluation of faculty achievements and decisions about rewards. Recommendations from these three faculty Task Forces include needs for: 
1) Increased assessment of relationships between faculty competence and and well-defined societal needs; 
2) Increased use of logic models that show tangible connections among university resources, faculty activities, faculty outputs, societal outcomes, and long-term societal impacts, and 
3) Better defined evaluation criteria and increased roles for faculty in departmental, college, and university-wide evaluation of faculty performance and in decisions about salary increments, reappointment, promotion, and conferral of tenure.

Note: This proposal relates to two categories above. Under Strategies for Inst. Change, this relates directly to: How do institutions or schools within align their mission, actions and policies to strengthen community engagement more broadly.
For Structures and policies, it relates to: How can specific structures such as community-based learning centres, research or science shops, and offices of research contribute to supporting CES? 
Ellis and I believe it relates to both criteria. We chose one, but hoped you would understand.

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