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Science Faculty - Tenure & SOTL

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Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5245 Points

This message is specifically for disciplinary science faculty (not teacher ed faculty) ... I'm curious, does your department/college/institution equally weight SoTL/DBER research (scholarship of teaching and learning or disciplinary-based educational research) with disciplinary research? 

I feel fortunate that my department equally weights the two. If I publish a SoTL study, it counts the same towards my tenure as an environmental chemistry study. I still have to demonstrate impact, but they also consider alternative metrics for impact beyond impact factor/CiteScore/SNIP. For SoTL work, the target audience is practitioners, so they consider readership and downloads as evidence of impact. 

Robert Cohen Robert Cohen 470 Points

Within the department, research in the discipline is worth more than research in education, partly because it is so much harder to publish in the discipline (based on my own experience, where I've published in both).  However, once it gets to the unversity-wide level, they are weighted the same (based on my experience serving on those committees).  This is for a non-R1 institution.

Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5245 Points

Does your departmental administration support a SoTL-focused research agenda for your faculty? When I accepted my current position, there were very few tenure-track faculty, all of whom were doing SoTL and DBER research. There was little institutional support to overcome the barriers to traditional research that they faced. For example, there was little support for gaining access to laboratory space or equipment either at our own campuses or other institutions. The distance faculty were also very siloed from residential faculty and there was no leadership push to form partnerships between faculty across our campuses. We got a new Dean the next year and there was a push to get us TT folks to do disciplinary research. That didn't last, though, since the supports were not improved. The Dean split the department in two and all new hires in the new department will be disciplinary researchers and all new hires in the department I remained within will be SoTL/DBER researchers. 

The administrative policies all fully support SoTL/DBER and disciplinary research as equivalent. (Even though equivalence is not expressly stated, it is not disallowed and several places in the policy support faculty freedom in their research agenda.) 

How else are folks experiencing the SoTL paradox?  

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