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Dan Wong

What are the standards and the process for Tenure at your institution?

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Every institution has a different process and sets different standards for tenure. It is even possible that these standards and processes change while you are in the midst of the tenuring process, as administrations change, or as the field of study changes.

Many institutions have adopted the three-legged stool approach of faculty assessment—teaching, service, scholarship. Some places expect all legs to be of equal length. Others may assign one leg more importance than the others.

There is also the process the institution goes through to assess your accomplishments. Some require the anonymous assessment of an established academic of the discipline. Some have committees who review your package separately. Do you know the process where you are?

The type of institution has potential bearing on how this process will go. Carnegie classified R1 institutions may require highly academic research to be executed, with publishing requirements. Private Art & Design institutions are full of creatives who inherently will understand your scholarship, while liberal arts universities may have physics and math academics assessing your efforts.

What is/was your experience going through the tenure process? What type of institution is yours? Was/is the process transparent, and does your institution offer support (workshops, mentorship programs, etc.) to help you through the process?

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University of Minnesota design scholarship matrix.pdf

This matrix is a useful tool for considering the diverse approaches to scholarship that design faculty engage in. My department has design faculty that are designers, humanists, social scientists, artists and engineers. Besides graphic design, we have programs in interior design, product design and apparel design. 

Edited by Steven McCarthy
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@Steven McCarthy – I am just seeing this post and curious about this since we are looking to write new guidelines for design faculty that are different from art faculty. Your chart looks like a good way to visualize  the range of research. I'm wondering if there are guidelines you may be able to share? 

 

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Carma Gorman chaired a session at CAA Conference 2020 that was very well attended and incredibly insightful. I'm hoping that a bunch of organizations (Design Incubation, Design Studies forum, AIGA DEC) can come together to develop a single document that cover's the majority of the Communication Design depts in the country. In speaking with Carma, she proposed a flexible document, almost a document wizard, that could support any dept at a variety of institutions to help develop their own standards.

For instance, if you are a community college in the midwest that is situated within a business dept, select the options that are important to you...

One thing that was brought up in the CAA conference session was the double-standard, higher bar which we must go through, as compared to other disciplines. It is not enough for us to secure a project from a major company, we need to also win an award. She pointed out, as I have always argued, that the vetting process a client does of us is peer review. And payment for our work is a grant.

What also frustrates me is that everything we do is always considered "Service", because our skills and expertise falls within a service industry and field of study. Only if we then win an award, is it suddenly scholarly.

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