Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Putting a Price Tag On Service To The University?


FEVER: A Forum Engaging Values, Education, and Responsibility is a blog run by my friends at the Society for Values in Higher Education

Last month, they featured a lively exchange by my SFU colleagues Bill Strosnider and Denise Damico on community engagement and the liberal arts. You can read their contributions here and here

This month, I wrote a piece that looks at how we value--and don't value--a professor's service to the university. It opens...
Teaching, scholarship, and service—the “holy trinity” of a professor’s professional life. When it comes time for tenure and promotion, the final decision hinges entirely on these three areas. To be sure, the weight given to each category differs from place to place. Research and teaching institutions respectively prioritize scholarly output and classroom competence. Irrespective of the setting, though, professors have at their disposal tangible artifacts to demonstrate their effectiveness in either domain, from books and articles to student evaluations and classroom observations from their colleagues. 
When it comes to service, though, things get hazy—especially when it’s university-related work. This category gets reduced to a mere list of committees, searches, and assorted administrative tasks. Accordingly, much like the Supreme Court’s infamous definition of pornography, those reviewing these lists assume that they know a sufficient service record when they see it. 
While this is an institutional habit at many universities, it should also be a cause for concern. Taking service for granted has enabled an unjust system that has placed the burden of this sort of work onto a select few—most of whom are women.
 You can read the rest here. My solution to this dilemma is to monetize service to the university in the same way that we monetize something like teaching loads.

I am curious to hear if anyone out there has thoughts on this. Are there schools doing this? Or are there other solutions for leveling out university-related workloads? Let me know--in the comments or something... because that whole social media fast...

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