Because Women's and Gender Studies is both an interdisciplinary field and a recognized discipline with its own distinctive theories and methods, it presents some unique challenges to the assessment of scholarship.
Most faculty in Women's and Gender Studies will have been trained in a traditional discipline as well as in Women's and Gender Studies and will engage in scholarship that draws upon their disciplinary training, while at the same time demonstrating interdisciplinary syntheses. For this reason, it is important that evaluative criteria remain flexible enough to recognize a wide range of scholarly activity and yet insistent upon the interdisciplinary nature of the enterprise.
We believe that effective teaching in WGS depends upon its faculty's ongoing and active participation in the scholarship about gender upon which teaching depends. With this preamble in mind, we would stress the following in evaluating WGS scholarship:
Faculty in WGS are expected to provide evidence of active and effective participation in the interdisciplinary field of Women's and Gender Studies through publication, exhibition, or performance. These may take a wide variety of forms, illustrated in "Defining Women's Studies Scholarship: A Statement of the National Women's Studies Association Task Force on Faculty Roles and Rewards" (NWSA statement pdf). We recognize that some forms of scholarship represent a more significant commitment of time and resources than others and should rightly be more highly valued in part because of the extraordinary effort required to complete a complex project, while at the same time engaging in teaching and other forms of professional work. For this reason, a scholarly, theoretical, or creative monograph might be more highly valued than a peer reviewed article or chapter in a book, which might be more highly valued than, say, participation in a professional conference or the receipt of a grant.
Venues for publications, conference papers, exhibitions, performances, poster sessions, or grants (to name only a few outlets for scholarly work) might be venues designed specifically for Women's Studies (i.e. interdisciplinary journals like Signs or conferences like the annual National Women's Studies Association Conference). They might be feminist venues specific to a discipline, such as Gender and History or Psychology of Women Quarterly, or even feminist scholarship in more traditional disciplinary venues (such as PMLA or the American Sociologist). All such scholarship should be equally valued.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of WGS, however, faculty in WGS should be required to demonstrate that their scholarly work engages the distinctive theory and methods of the field. We would not insist that such a criterion be met only through publication. Rather we would recognize a wide variety of activities through which faculty might show such engagement, including, but not limited to, publishing in recognized Women's Studies journals or books, presenting a paper at a Women's Studies Conference, consulting, receiving grants, serving as a reviewer for Women's Studies books and journals, research with students that goes beyond course work, attendance at a seminar or workshop to acquire new skills or secondary fields within Women's and Gender Studies. We stress the flexibility with which this criterion should be applied.
At some point it may be necessary to consider how to evaluate a faculty member in a joint appointment with Women's and Gender Studies and another department or program. This would raise some issues about the assessment of scholarship (as well as other categories of evaluation) that would need to be carefully worked out in advance, in accordance with faculty legislation on joint appointments.
Finally, because the program relies heavily on courses taught in traditional departments, we feel that it is the obligation of the Women's and Gender Studies program to ensure that feminist research on women and gender in traditional disciplines is being appropriately evaluated. Feminist research in some disciplines might look different from more traditional forms of research (for instance, in the social sciences it might be more qualitative in fields that value quantitative research). We believe the program might offer some guidance here, as would the report prepared by the National Women's Studies Association Taskforce on Faculty Roles and Rewards (http://www.nwsa.org/).