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December 24, 2008 / compassioninpolitics

Alternatives to academic publication for university professors and professional academics

On Revising Tenure Track Appointments and Requirements for College and University Professors: My Tips for Creating and Writing Academic Position Descriptions

It might be said that the academy is going through an identity crisis. The requirement that academics be regularly researching and publishing seems retrograde in the 21st century. There are multiple ways professors can live out their professional responsibilities to the community and their profession that extend outside the requirements to be published in respected academic journals. For instance:

Pro bono Community Consulting Using their skills in a probono consulting role, particularly in projects oriented toward social good and the triple bottom line (Profits, People, and Planet) seem most instructive. This would allow them to be better instructors toward students who will often have to inhabit professional roles.

Social Change and Community Projects Second, social entrepreneurial, non-profit, and other pro bono activities seem like a very reasonable exception to publication requirements.

Student Praxis and Service Third, student activities support is instrumental to the mission of the community and the university. Without student activities support much of the social and community lifeblood of the university community would likely flounder, particularly those around academic issues.

Classroom teaching Fourth, teaching is an interactive activity. Passionate and smart teachers learn about the discipline by being in the classroom.

Publish or Perish is Bunk: The Critique of a Dead Academic Doctrine
Alternatives to academic publication model are needed for the future and viability of the university model in terms of fairness and excellence. So when academic departments, be they in the humanities or sciences, should think twice before creating position descriptions for human resources that call for a pigeon holed academic, and instead offer them multiple pathways for success in an academic setting. A movement toward practice and praxis would relieve the academy of much of the ivory tower stereotype which hangs like a noose around all academics collective necks. Revising requirement toward the values of diversity, creativity, and holistic assessments should be held up in academic communities–that is after all, what they are all about.


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