Research about Outreach and Engagement in Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure at Michigan State University, 2002-2006
In 2001, Michigan State University significantly revised its faculty reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) review policy to embed opportunities to report outreach and engagement throughout the required documentation form. The revisions reflected MSU’s definition of outreach and engagement as a form of scholarship that cuts across institutional missions of teaching, research and creative activities, and service; emphasized the use of multiple forms of evidence to document quality; and encouraged reporting of integrated scholarship.
Six years later, researchers with MSU’s National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement examined how and to what extent scholarly outreach and engagement activities were reported on the revised form. Document analysis of 244 forms focused on the MSU faculty who successfully underwent reappointment, promotion, and tenure review between 2002 and 2006.
Data from the faculty section of the RPT forms were analyzed by:
- demographic variables: gender, ethnicity, age
- appointment variables: appointment allocations among research, teaching, and service; recommended rank, annual or academic year appointments; joint appointments; MSU Extension; primary college
- outreach and engagement variables: type of scholarly activity, integration, degree of engagement, intensity of activity
Some major findings include: 90% of the faculty reported one or more instances of outreach and engagement on their RPT form. 47% reported outreach and engagement in all three functional areas—instruction, research and creative activities, and service. When faculty members were given the option to report integrated scholarship, 56% reported integrated outreach and engagement. Additional findings appear in the institutional and college reports.
- MSU Academic Human Resources
Associate Director, National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Community Sustainability
National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement