Scholarly Engagement as Understood within Sociology
As a holistic discipline, the teaching of sociology is not limited to the classroom nor is scholarship in this discipline necessarily separate from its teaching. The faculty in Sociology have come to understand that scholarly engagement takes many forms and will vary based upon individual predilections and stages in career development. Nonetheless, significant involvement with the discipline is crucial to maintaining one's intellectual vitality while conveying a sense of sociology as a vibrant arena of inquiry to our students. Then, again, a discipline which imagines itself as capable of systematically examining the multiple dimensions of human sociality must recognize that such an ambitious claim would require a plethora of approaches and modalities to be represented within this endeavor. As such, we favor the flexible application of criteria whose ranking is sensitive to the nature of the sociological inquiry that our colleagues pursue as well as the different stages through which most careers are likely to pass at this institution and within the academy as a whole.
Possible Scholarly Productivity Scenarios
While it is difficult to suggest definitive performance scenarios and remain true to the spirit of flexibility we intend in these guidelines, a value to which we are fully committed, we think it is both wise and desirable to express with more specificity the types and range of scholarship that a successful review dossier might contain relative to the faculty member's scholarly engagement, particularly in the area of publication. We do not prejudge, however, any performance which varies from the scenarios presented herein. In fact, we specifically reject the notion that there is a numerical formula which either requires a determination of "inadequate engagement" or ensures a successful review on the scholarship dimension.
For a colleague's pretenure review, which ordinarily will occur in that person's third year of service at Kenyon, we believe that "scholarly engagement is demonstrated when she or he has been actively engaged in the process of sharing her or his ideas through a combination of activities which should include publication. That is, in addition to active participation at disciplinary meetings and participation in academic panels or forums at this institution or others, at the level of pretenure review, we expect that our colleague should have published a journal article, review essay, monograph, or book chapter. Further, we would expect that our colleague's attendance at conferences or disciplinary meetings would include a presentation of her or his work.
By the time of a colleague's review for appointment without limit (tenure), our expectation of her or him is that scholarly engagement will have been demonstrated through a combination of the activities described herein. As an integral part, however, of her or his participation in such activities, we will expect our colleague to have shown both promise and progress in the area of publishing. By this stage of one's career and service at Kenyon, we will expect that she or he has had published some combination of journal articles, reviews, review essays, monographs, or book chapters. Our colleague's attendance at conferences or disciplinary meetings should include presentation of her or his work with some recognition of the original contribution his or her research scholarship offers to at that moment in the academic career.
A colleague who becomes a candidate for promotion to the rank of full professor will, of course, already have demonstrated a degree of scholarly engagement sufficient to merit tenure. A tenure decision, however, should not signal the end of a scholarly career. On the contrary, it is typical that members of this department have done their most important work later on. Therefore, in order to earn the rank of full professor, our colleague must present a record of continuing scholarly work, including but not limited to publications. Said publications are likely to be a combination of journal articles, review essays, book chapters, or books. We also expect to see that our colleague is organizing disciplinary conference sessions and/or receives regular invitations to serve as a panelist on sessions within his/her research field.
Finally, it should be emphasized that these guidelines and the scholarship criteria upon which they elaborate need to be applied flexibly in order to take account of career stages and individual interests. For example, during the first five years of one's professional life, we would expect that most of an individual's efforts will be concentrated on writing articles and reviews, presenting papers, and, where appropriate, seeking funding. Not all of these attempts will bear immediate fruit; "one who is just beginning to walk cannot be expected to run." Evaluations should take this into account, accepting earnest effort, such as promising, yet so far unsuccessful, article submissions or manuscripts not yet under contract, in lieu of long lists of accomplishments. During the next ten years or so, articles, papers, and grant proposals should start finding greater, though never universal, acceptance. This is the span during which people establish their careers and get a clearer sense of who they are professionally. The next ten to fifteen years may witness a gradual transition away from active field research and toward writing those books that have been long-delayed by other responsibilities. This is also the interval in which one's growing maturity of vision and purpose can be expected to reveal novel lines of inquiry that may require new skills. These factors must be borne in mind at all stages of evaluation.
These guidelines are intended to provide guidance to our colleagues in advance of their reviews as to the expectations that the department has about the types and range of activities which we feel demonstrate scholarly engagement. Again, we expressly reject the notion that there is a numerical productivity threshold, even where we have indicated our preferences or expectations, at which point it can be assumed that a colleague's engagement is either sufficient or inadequate. We acknowledge that there may be occasions where the expectation is not met, yet in our judgment, our colleague has nonetheless demonstrated scholarly engagement. We specifically retain the right and responsibility to make such judgment on each individual case, consistent with the guidelines set forth herein.