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Unit 1: Planning for Promotion and Tenure

Section 1.3: Showcasing Your Work and Soliciting Peer Review

Introduction
Strategies for Making Your Work Visible
Generate Multiple Types of Products Across the Academic Missions
Solicit Peer Review of Applied Products
Measure impact in the community and the academy
References & Resources

Introduction

"When I was oriented here by the associate dean, he said, "Document, document, document. You always need to be thinking about how you'll have evidence that is real. He recognized that this was very difficult to do in practice but that it was necessary. I really appreciated his clear direction…"
(Full Professor)

"If you want to be involved in community work, you need to start out early. Create a mechanism for documenting in some form of a portfolio."
(Associate Professor)

Faculty in the Scholarship Project emphasized that it is critical to "document, document, document." Over the course of the past decade, the higher education literature has contributed to our understanding of how to document and collect evidence of faculty impact. This section includes strategies for increasing the visibility of your work and systematically soliciting peer review for scholarly products other than manuscripts for journals.

STRATEGIES FOR MAKING THE WORK VISIBLE

Faculty need to make their community-engaged work visible. For service-minded faculty, communicating the importance of your work may not come naturally. But Scholarship Project faculty and others have conveyed this as an essential strategy for achieving promotion and/or tenure. (Gelmon and Agre-Kippenhan)

"Involve others in order to make the work visible."

"Know your institution and what is valued. If you are doing something unique, let others know what you've done."

"Don't be afraid to toot your horn. Figure out how to do this well. Get newspaper press. Figure out how to make what you do look glorious."

Associate Professor

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am for myself only, then what am I? And if not now, when?"

Hillel, Rabbi from the 1st century

"The first part of the quote means I've realized that I have to advocate for myself if I truly believe that the work I am doing is holy, ethical and important. No one else will do it for me. There has to be a genuine career or service reason for it; it is not about money or prestige. My success at early promotion did not come about however, only because of successful service initiatives. I also had to frame my successes in ways that were compelling. I had to show that what I've done is innovative, has had impact and was successful. Particularly when you work on the margins of traditional paths, whether it is in research, education or community service, you've got to let others [department chair] know what you are doing clearly.

In community service in particular, do not assume that anyone will immediately understand what is innovative about your work, how it is achieved, recognized or rewarded. Community service is still a fringe mission to academic departments, and few colleagues understand its importance. Those of us doing it in part as a career path know why we do it, why we are passionate about its link to our academic mission, and how we can excel in its performance. Not only is it appropriate for your career to frame how others see your work, it helps transform the mission of the organization."

Publishing and Presenting Your Work

"I encourage faculty to work in communities. It isn't good enough though, to do good work. Faculty need to think about how they will turn it into an acceptable form of scholarship. Community-based work should be rigorous and not evaluated at a lower standard to other forms of scholarship."

"Write it and disseminate it. Writing is important."

Full Professor, Scholarship Project Faculty

Community-based work and program development by faculty takes time and can detract from the time that is needed to write and publish in peer-reviewed journals. However, even with cultural changes for community-engaged scholarship and continued emphasis on the need for community involvement by the academy, most health professional schools will continue to emphasize publishing and presenting your scholarly work in reputable peer-reviewed journals. Therefore, if you are a faculty member at such an institution, the strategies below may enable you to meet institutional expectations with your community-engaged scholarship.

Strategies:

  • Work with like-minded people and recognize all people involved through authorship. Be involved in a team effort in writing and publishing. Involve multiple authors on papers, including community partners. This enables peer-reviewed articles to be written and published in a timely fashion. Resources are available that address involving community partners in the writing process. The North Carolina Public Health Initiative has Authorship Guidelines that partnerships can use to guide the authorship process, order of authorship, and acknowledgments.
  • Create a hybrid of CBPR and traditional research agendas. An effective strategy identified by the Scholarship Project faculty [link to Scholarship Project web page] included developing a research agenda that included both community-based participatory research and more traditional forms of research. Several faculty worked as co-investigators on traditional research projects. The rationale faculty gave for using this strategy is that:

    "The turnaround time [for traditional research] is shorter and allows skeptics to see that these faculty can do both types of research. If you get involved in traditional research you are showing respect and making other people open to [less traditional] CBPR work."
    (Professor, Scholarship Project Faculty)
  • Write about Process. Writing manuscripts about the process of developing and sustaining partnerships is very important since, as one faculty put it, you "can't wait until all the data comes in." This can include descriptive articles about:
    • Ethical challenges and issues
    • How the project developed and was implemented.
    • Community perspectives on community-based participatory research or service learning
    • Reflective or critical thinking monographs
  • Write about the impact of your work in communities and the lives of the people served. As the fields of service-learning and community-based research progress, journals will be looking for articles on the impact on students and communities and policy. Thus, writing about the process and impact of community involvement are important to the field.
  • Submit to journals that publish CBPR and service-learning and other forms of community-engaged scholarship. The Community-Campus Partnerships for Health website has lists and links to journals that publish such articles and recent journal theme issues. The National Service Learning Clearinghouse has fact sheets on Opportunities for Service-Learning Research and Scholarship in Higher Education and Publishing and Presenting on Higher Education Service-Learning.
  • Keep an eye out for "call for papers" for journal theme issues on CBPR, service-learning and other forms of community-engaged scholarship. Recent examples include the Journal of General Internal Medicine July 2003 and the Journal of Interprofessional Care October 2004 theme issues on community-based participatory research CBPR research articles in July 2003. Becoming a member of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and subscribing to key listservs can help you to stay on top of publication opportunities
  • Disseminate your work in multiple ways to multiple audiences. The skilled faculty member learns to use the work that they do for multiple purposes, often without requiring significantly more time. One faculty recommended "turning teaching into consulting and presentations and consulting into teaching and presentations and papers."

Long-term Investment Strategies: Creating a Strong Portfolio

"Tenure is awarded on the perceived value of that individual to the university. One way to raise awareness is [to] present at professional organizations and serve on federal review panels."

"Find something you are passionate about and make it your avocation. Be focused early and go with your passion."

Associate Professor


The life of the faculty member requires a long-term view and actively thinking about one's career development. The toolkit sections on Vision and Mentors are designed to support you in creating and maintaining your vision within your institutional setting and to guide you in developing mentoring relationships that support your growth. In addition to these long-term strategies, Scholarship Project faculty have recommended that faculty:

  • Seek positions where you can have the 1st year to prepare your career and develop community partnerships.

    "Junior faculty need to be engaged in this work from the beginning. Set your direction early."

    With budgets all across higher education tightening, it may not be possible to negotiate a full year on the university's payroll to publish your doctoral, postdoctoral or fellowship work, developing community partnerships and writing grants without teaching responsibilities. However, scholarship project faculty highlighted this as a critical strategy for faculty committed to CBPR. For faculty whose teaching is community-based, a lighter teaching load will also support the development of community partnerships.
  • "Know what the system is and see if you are willing to live with it." Be realistic about your vision and goals. There may be cases where your institutional culture is a true mismatch with your vision for community-engaged scholarship. Be honest with yourself about how willing you are to either adjust to your current institution or your willingness to seek a faculty position at a different institution. As one faculty stated, "don't try to do projects or initiatives if it becomes impossible. It is important to have realistic aspirations."
  • Consider taking time off the tenure track. For tenure track faculty, this strategy allows faculty to extend the tenure track clock and build up the needed portfolio. At many institutions, non-tenure track faculty have the option to delay the promotion process by one or two years.
  • Involve students in community-based work. Students understand why this work is important and give it energy. The students benefit as do the communities.
  • Involve your promotion and tenure committee or senior faculty in what you do. Faculty emphasized that involving committee members in small but important ways in your community-based work can be an important strategy for gaining promotion and tenure. It helps to educate them and also allows them to see first hand your commitment to improving the health of communities and your scholarly contributions
  • Attend workshops on reappointment, promotion and/or tenure. Increasingly, institutions are giving workshops on the promotion and tenure process. These workshops are a good way to learn about the specific expectations at your institution and allow you to begin asking questions early in the process.
  • If possible, seek a joint appointment with a School of Public Health, if your primary appointment is in a clinical department or school. Faculty who become involved in this form of scholarship tend to be boundary spanners, developing partnerships with communities as well as across schools. Faculty in the Scholarship Project in medicine, dentistry and nursing found that it to be an advantage to have a joint appointment, mostly with schools of public health at their academic health center. The appointment provided them with leverage to legitimize their work with communities, and interdisciplinary colleagues with whom they could write collaborative grants and develop community-academic partnerships. However, while the joint appointment may provide you with a supportive group of colleagues, your primary appointment will ultimately be the overriding focus of how you will be evaluated for promotion and/or tenure.


GENERATE MULTIPLE TYPES OF PRODUCTS ACROSS THE ACADEMIC MISSIONS

During the course of your training and education, you were likely given guidance about how to organize and write an article for a peer-reviewed publication. The peer reviewed journal article is still the gold standard for measuring the productivity and scholarly contributions of a faculty member.

In this section, we first provide a summary of the types of products that you can create in addition to the peer-reviewed journal article. The goal of this section is to broaden your thinking about the work you do as a faculty member and the types of products you generate. Each of these products can be generated for the academic missions in which you are most directly involved.

The section makes the case for soliciting peer review of products of scholarship that are not peer-reviewed journal articles and suggests steps you might consider to create a peer review process for your work. Note: If your institution currently doesn't value these other types of products as scholarship, we recommend you discuss these ideas with a mentor and your department chair.

  • Peer Reviewed Journal Articles. The traditionally accepted product of scholarship is defined by an established number of descriptive or empirical articles in reputable peer-reviewed journals. The importance of peer review is valuable and peer-reviewed articles can communicate to others in the field lessons learned and descriptions of innovative prevention programs and can serve as a vehicle for documenting research findings in community settings. Therefore, this type of product retains some importance in evaluation of community-engaged scholarship. More journals over the last decade have been publishing articles on service learning, public health practice and community-based participatory research, some through theme issues. Community-Campus Partnerships for Health maintains a list of journals as does the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse fact sheet on Opportunities for Service-Learning Research and Scholarship in Higher Education. Recent theme issues include the Journal of General Internal Medicine July 2003 and the Journal of Interprofessional Care October 2004 theme issues on community-based participatory research CBPR research articles in July 2003. Becoming a member of Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and subscribing to key listservs can help you to stay on top of publication opportunities.
  • Dissemination to the Community. Other methods of dissemination can provide valuable forums for reflective critique by peers both in the community and in the academy (Dodds et al, 2003). Dissemination of information by faculty can include:
    • Community forums;
    • Websites;
    • Policy level presentations at community, state and national levels;
    • Presentations at national academic meetings; and
    • Technical assistance reports as consultants at community, state, and national levels.
  • Applied Products. As you'll note by reviewing the list above and in the Demonstrating Excellence report, many of these forms of dissemination use applied products. These products focus on the immediate transfer of knowledge into application, rather than the delayed transfer of knowledge into peer-reviewed journals. Applied products can include
    • Innovative intervention programs;
    • Reports or policy documents at community, state and federal levels; and
    • Educational or other curriculum resource materials, in hard copy formats and online.
  • These applied products can be evaluated by the extent to which they are implemented or used, and the degree of impact on learners (if educational in scope) or on community health. It is this list of products that communities value and that can affect community health improvement.

    The Association of Schools of Public Health's report Demonstrating Excellence in Academic Public Health Practice contains a list on page 13 of examples of applied products faculty can generate across the academic missions. (ASPH 1999). A paper commissioned by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health provides additional examples (Maurana 2000).
  • Grants and contracts. In many academic institutions, the number and dollar amounts of grant and contract funds you generate, whether you are the principal investigator and the level of indirect cost recovery will be key markers of how you will be assessed for promotion and/or tenure. To the extent that these metrics are meaningful at your institution, it may be useful for you to consider 'grants and contracts' as the fourth type of academic product. Grants and contracts are instrumental for developing and carrying out the work of partnerships. As noted in the Making Your Work Visible section , some of the faculty in the Scholarship Project recommended creating a separate section of the CV that highlights grants and contracts focused on community partnerships.

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the Northwest Health Foundation have published a directory of funding sources for community-based participatory research that includes funding agency descriptions, deadlines, contact information, examples of previously funded CBPR projects, and an annotated listing of funding resource websites.

Important Note for Faculty in Schools of Public Health. If you are a faculty in a public health degree program or school of public health, we recommend that you review the American Association of Schools of Public Health's Demonstrating Excellence in Academic Public Health Practice. This report provides a useful overview of how public health faculty can highlight products other than peer-reviewed journals in their portfolio for promotion and tenure. (ASPH 1999).

 

SOLICIT PEER REVIEW OF APPLIED PRODUCTS

As a community-engaged faculty member, it will be important to solicit peer review of your work and document that peer review has taken place. Not only does asking for peer review of your work provide you the opportunity to improve upon your work, but it also provides you with the opportunity show how your work is making an impact and to elevate these products to meet the criteria of scholarship. Scholarship "requires a high level of discipline-related expertise, breaks new ground or is innovative, can be replicated, documented, peer reviewed and has a significant impact." (Diamond) Using this definition as a framework for making the case that your community-engaged work is scholarship, we recommend soliciting peer review of your work.

  • Submit products for peer-reviewed publication & dissemination through CES4Health! CES4Health is a free online mechanism for peer-reviewed publication and dissemination of diverse products of community-engaged scholarship that can improve the health of communities and "count" in the faculty promotion and tenure process.  Products published to date include educational videos, curricula, toolkits, program manualsm policy briefs and more.  Every product submitted is peer reviewed by community and academic experts.  If it's published, the Editor sends an email about the publication and the rigorous peer review process to people that authors identify, such as deans and department chairs. CES4Health also tracks how many times a product is downloaded and can follow-up with users to find out how it was used - important data that can be included in promotion and tenure portfolios and grant proposals.
  • Solicit review of your products by well recognized academic and community leaders. Community leaders would include, for example, high-ranking leaders of highly regarded practice agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Health Departments; and highly regarded local leaders of highly regarded community-based organizations.
  • Create a process that is blinded. We recommend mirroring the peer review process used by many journals, in which reviewers do not know the identity of a paper's authors, and a paper's authors do not know the identity of the reviewer. You might consider asking your department chair to develop the process with you so that you are only indirectly involved in the process.
  • Have your products reviewed in an ongoing process. Ongoing review will also mirror the process you go through for submitting manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals. In other words, manuscripts are submitted as they are completed, not all at once when you are pulling your portfolio together for promotion and/or tenure. This approach will save you a great deal of time when creating your portfolio. Ongoing feedback from peers will also allow you to make useful improvements.
  • Create a review tool that allows for both quantitative and narrative assessment. Use the information to improve your work and organize the reviews in your portfolio.

Measure Impact in the Community and the Academy

As you consider asking for peer review of your work, it will be essential that you consider how your community-engaged work is making an impact. Impact represents the outcomes of faculty members' efforts to generate and apply knowledge, and foster and sustain change in communities and in the academy. Impact occurs through the relationships faculty members develop and sustain with communities and the applied products they develop together to generate and apply knowledge that affects long-term community health improvement.

Impact in the Community

Measures of impact in the community include changes in health policy, improved community health outcomes, improved community capacity and leadership, sustained community-based programs and increased funding to the community for health-related projects (Council of Linkages; Sandmann, 1999; Drisoll,1999; Maurana, 2000 ). The Association of Schools of Public Health's Demonstrating Excellence in Public Health Practice provides a set of useful examples of impact and ways to measure it. (ASPH 1999).

Impact in the Academy

Measures of impact in the academy can include the extent a program or curriculum is institutionalized, generates external sources of support, or changes learner knowledge, skills and attitudes. Faculty who incorporate service learning into their teaching, for example, have the potential to contribute to a wide range of educational outcomes including changes in student attitudes, career choice, skills, and knowledge related to working with underserved populations. The toolkit's teaching portfolio section provides a more detailed overview of how you can demonstrate impact of educational programs.

For measuring the impact of service-learning, visit Community-Campus Partnerships for Health's Service-Learning Resources webpage, the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning's issue on a Service-Learning Research Agenda and the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse's fact sheets on Tools and Methods for Evaluating Service-Learning in Higher Education.

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