Standards for the Evaluation of Scholarship | Department of Geography Handbook | Kent State University

Standards for the Evaluation of Scholarship

Scholarship is an essential and critical component of University activity. The originality, quality, impact and value of the work must be assessed. In support of University requirements for external reference letters, the candidate shall submit the names of at least five (5) experts in his/her field who are considered capable of judging the candidate's work. Moreover, the candidate must provide the Ad Hoc RTP Committee with ample descriptive evidence of his/her scholarly activity. A faculty member's specific area of specialization may be a factor in the number and size of grants received and in the scope and time required for research and the resulting publications.

In addition to funded research and scholarly publications, other scholarly activities including but not limited to serving on national grant review bodies, presenting at refereed professional meetings, chairing society committees, and presenting papers before learned societies should be considered. These later activities complement scholarly publications and grant funded research. Faculty members are expected to hold membership in professional societies, attend and participate in institutes and seminars, organize institutes, seminars, and workshops, insofar as such activities enhance their professional competency.

Faculty are expected to seek excellence in scholarly activity.  Indicators on which the assessment of the quality of scholarly activity is based are provided below. In cases where the candidate is one of multiple participants in a particular scholarly activity (e.g. multiple-authored paper, multiple-investigator grant), he/she is expected to designate his/her role as part of the overall assessment.

Indicators of the quality of a faculty member’s research record include the quality and quantity of published work as well as the faculty member’s success in obtaining extramural funds. All faculty members in the Department are expected to produce records of scholarship that reflect their disciplinary focus and the attributes of an individual faculty member’s scholarly activity will vary across disciplines.

To meet expectations in the category of the scholarship at the time a faculty member stands for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, he/she should have established a research program which demonstrates an emerging impact upon his/her discipline.  For promotion to Professor, he/she must provide documentation of an established research program, with a level of achievement that demonstrates a recognized national and international prominence.  Promotion to Professor requires a sustained impact on the field above and beyond that expected for promotion to Associate Professor.

Within this context, during annual reappointment reviews, each faculty member who will seek tenure or promotion is obligated to provide evidence supporting his/her scholarly record. This obligation will be met by providing specific information about activities in each of the following four categories: Publications, Grants, Professional Activity, and Reputation. In turn, the members of the Department’s Ad Hoc RTP Committee and the Chair shall evaluate a candidate’s record in light of the Department’s expectations for a successful tenure decision. The totality of a candidate’s scholarship will be evaluated via the expectations in each of the categories listed below.  Examples for each category are provided for additional guidance.

Publications:

  • Evidence of a research agenda resulting in a clear record of publications in quality venues. Publications include:
    • Peer-reviewed journal articles. The quality of journals will be assessed through several means, including Journal Impact Factors, as well as stature and readership within the discipline and the specific field, and also the appropriateness of the outlet to the faculty member’s research.
    • Books and book chapters in reputable presses.
    • Other forms of publications may also serve as evidence of a quality publication record, if relevant to the candidate’s research.

Grants:

  • All candidates are expected to seek extramural funding as relevant to support his/her research; candidates, moreover, should frequently serve in PI or Co-PI positions on these awards. Funding expectations will be based on the conditions specified in the candidate’s original letter of offer.

Professional Activity:

  • Evidence of participation in advancing and disseminating results of the research through demonstrating professional visibility. Examples include, but are not limited to, presenting at meetings, serving on professional committees, research-related service to federal/state agencies or non-profits.

Reputation:

  • Positive and supportive external letters.
  • Evidence of impact/ recognition in this discipline. Examples include, but are not limited to, editorship or guest editorship of journals, invitations to review manuscripts and grant proposals, invitations to speak at meetings, citations, awards or other meritorious recognition from scholarly/learned societies.

Alternatively, examples of insufficient activity in these categories include, but are not limited to, sporadic publications, especially in low-quality journals, lack of acquiring adequate external funds to support his/her research, minimal engagement in the profession, or weak external letters.