The Concept of Scholarly Productivity - From a Single Work to Multiple Scholarly Spin-Offs - Writing as Professional Development

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

The Concept of Scholarly Productivity
From a Single Work to Multiple Scholarly Spin-Offs
Writing as Professional Development

A leading professor from a major research university once remarked, “Of all the things you might do at the university, earning the esteem of your colleagues is one of the most important.” To that end, Lucas and Murry (2011) advise new faculty to become good university citizens. Faculty members who have achieved (and deserve) sterling reputations as teachers, advisors, mentors, colleagues, scholars, leaders, and community members generally are good university citizens. They show up. They get work done and turn it in on time. They continue to contribute to the department, university, community and their professions, even in the absence of tangible rewards. They act on their commitment to continuous improvement in the courses they teach, the programs they direct, and the groups with whom they affiliate from local to international. They resist the temptation to exploit the less powerful by deluging newcomers with committee work or gathering up all the glory for themselves when a project turns out to be successful. Being a productive scholar surely consists of more than an impressive CV and shameless self-promotion (Boyer, Moser, Ream, & Braxton, 2015). Nevertheless, while comprehensive evaluation nearly always emphasizes the three areas of teaching, research, and service, priority definitely is given to productivity as a scholar, particularly after professors gain a few years of experience. In fact, Nygaard (2016, in press) narrowly defines scholarly productivity as how much peer-reviewed output is published by faculty.

Most institutions of higher education have specific criteria for assessing scholarly work yet, as anyone who has served on a university-wide evaluation committee can attest, weighing the relative merits of faculty members’ work across disciplines is a challenge. Over the years, there have been many different methods proposed for making these judgments (Centra, 1993; Seldin, 1984). Four areas that are commonly assessed to determine scholarly productivity and are part of the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (FSPI) developed by Martin and Olejnizak are in Fig. 11.1 (see for more details).

Fig. 11.1 Four dimensions of scholarly productivity

One way to monitor your progress toward such goals is to use a grid such as the one in Table 11.1; it was adapted from a matrix used by University of California and gives a sense of what goes into faculty members’ professional portfolios.

Table 11.1

Example of a tabular report of scholarly activity

Activity 11.1: Charting a Course for Scholarly Productivity

Using the categories in Table 11.1, assess your areas of strength and areas that need improvement. What steps can you take to address the blank spaces in the table so that you can present a well-balanced professional portfolio?