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CES in the RTP Process

Showcasing Your Community Engaged Scholarship in Your Narrative and WPAF for Retention, Tenure, and Promotion

Community Engaged Scholarship by its very nature is time-consuming work, as is any work that involves authentic partnerships that are mutually beneficial and of a reciprocal nature.  A lot of time and effort goes into the process of forging the mutual trust among community and academic partners that underpins CES as well as into the process of developing and implementing a CES project. Yet, university RTP policies privilege outcomes over process.

This webpage is focused on helping you to help your PRC, Dean, PTC members, and Provost recognize the full extent of your work on your CES project so that they can appropriately reward all the accomplishments of your project – the intensive and long-term process, and the non-traditional end products as well as the traditionally-rewarded peer-reviewed products.

 Here are some of the challenges involved in valuing and rewarding CES work in the RTP process:

  • The scholarship hierarchy: discovery is valued over other forms of scholarship;
  • The time involved in developing community-academic partnerships is not recognized or rewarded yet is the foundation of all successful CES work;
  • Funding agency priorities and expectations focus on tried and true research designs and timelines, and their focus on specific issues may be incompatible with a community partnership approach;
  • The journal hierarchy: "top tier" journals often do not publish articles about community-engaged scholarship;
  • The collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of CES work is antithetical to a disciplinary-based academy;
  • CES work leads to a very diverse set of outcomes, products, and dissemination pathways, some or many of which do not fit the narrow box of peer-reviewed publications, yet peer-reviewed work is the currency of the realm;
  • The diversity of end products requires a diversity of measures of quality, productivity, and impact, and the development and acceptance of these new measures;
  • The limited involvement of community partners in the RTP process.

Source: Linking Scholarship and Communities, the report of the Commison on Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Health Professionals.

Don’t Be Discouraged! Help is at Hand!

1. Planning Ahead for the RTP Process and Creating a Strong File That Does Justice to Your CES Work

Community-Engaged Scholarship Toolkit
This well-recognized and superb website provides faculty with tools to carefully plan and document their community-engaged scholarship work and produce strong portfolios for the RTP process at all levels.
These include:
        •   Planning for Promotion and  Tenure
        •   Creating a Strong Portfolio
        •   Portfolio Examples

2. Finding Reviewers to Evaluate Your CES-Based Work

Database of Faculty Mentors for CES Work and Portfolio Reviewers 
This database of faculty mentors and portfolio reviewers is a resource for faculty doing CES work and who wish they had a faculty mentor. The data-base also serves as a resource for PRCs, department chairs, deans, and others who need external experts to review the files of community-engaged faculty who are being considered for retention, promotion and/or tenure. (Note: while this database is run by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, their services are for everyone, not just for those engaged in health-related work.)

The National Review Board for the Scholarship of Engagement
Scholarship of Engagement Home page
This organization provides a mechanism for faculty who want an external review of their CES-based work as part of their RTP process. CES portfolios are reviewed by experts in community-engaged scholarship, and their recommendations and feedback are returned to the faculty member and to the faculty member's institution. The board's evaluation criteria webpage outlines the questions considered by their reviewers in assessing scholarly work:

CES4Health 
How about a peer-review process for the products of CES work that do not fit the traditional peer-reviewed mold of academic publications? Well, there is one!

CES4Health is a free system for peer-reviewing, publishing and disseminating the non-scholarly but equally valuable products of community-engaged scholarship such as videos, manuals, curricula, intake forms, and so on. Academics with training in evaluating these types of CES work products conduct the peer-review, which can then be used in the RTP process.

For questions and more information, please contact Dr. Jodie Lawston, Faculty Director of Community Engaged Scholarship, jlawston@csusm.edu, 760-750-7006