Public Philosophy and Tenure/Promotion: Rethinking "Teaching, Scholarship and Service"

Essays in Philosophy 15 (1):58-76 (2014)
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Abstract

One of the responses to the attacks upon the contemporary university, particularly upon the humanities, has been to encourage faculty to engage in so-called ‘public intellectualism.’ In this paper I urge philosophers to embrace this turn, but only if the academy can effectively address how to credit such work in the tenure and promotion process. Currently, public philosophy is typically placed under ‘service’, even though the work is often more intellectually and philosophically rigorous than committee work, even sometimes more than publications. I address this problem by providing an analysis of what is academically valuable about good scholarship and then showing how much of public philosophy achieves those goods. From this I argue that the academy should abandon the traditional categories of teaching/research/service and replace them with a holistic and qualitative single category of “teacher-scholar.” I then recommend that evaluation criteria should be very inclusive, giving credit to the wide range of activities in which faculty participate and I provide some suggestions for how those criteria should read

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Christopher Meyers
California State University, Bakersfield

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