Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Department Statement on Scholarship
Revised March 3, 2016
Language is the foundation of culture, and as such, it touches upon a broad range of human activity. Thus, language professionals in academia have multiple roles. These include working with language skills, engaging students in the challenges and opportunities of a new culture, and developing and sharing expertise in a specific area of language, literature, or culture. Therefore, scholarship in modern languages takes multiple forms. We define scholarship as contributions to the general body of knowledge in the field, and as the application of that knowledge in the college and wider community.
In addition, scholarship that crosses disciplines or includes service learning is particularly suitable to a liberal arts college of the church. For example, Spanish professors supervise service learning in Postville or Decorah's free clinic, where translation/interpretation is essential. The German department has worked with the Religion department on interdisciplinary teaching. Russian Studies' Paideia Capstone course in Moscow has combined interdisciplinary learning with service in a soup kitchen.
Types of scholarship
The following categories offer multiple models of scholarship within the department of Modern Languages. These categories of scholarly activity reflect the demands of our field and they indicate no particular hierarchy in the listing. Individual members may freely seek those elements which most fit their preparation and interests. We evaluate our peers on their pattern of scholarly activity, rather than on any particular publication or kind of scholarship. At the same time, while it is important to excel in any combination of these categories, faculty are expected to develop significant work in Category A: Public Presentations and Publication. For Category A, which is expected of all faculty, review by professional peers is essential. Depending on other categories, listed below, forms of peer review include review panels for article submissions and grant applications, various certifying organizations, the campus audience, both formal and informal, audiences at conference presentations and departmental colleagues.
Public presentations and publication. Professional presentations include invited and peer-reviewed presentations at international, national, regional and local conferences and workshops, as well as sharing at Luther and sister institutions. Professional writing is not limited to a particular area, but embraces a broad range of areas, including literary criticism, translations of literary or historical works, current professional and pedagogical issues, web-related creations, interdisciplinary studies, cultural studies, linguistics, and the development of major grant proposals.
Leadership in the profession and professional outreach activity. This category includes activities such as active participation or serving as an officer of a professional organization at the local, state, regional, national or international level; planning and hosting regional or national conferences or seminars; outreach to area or state teachers.
Service to the community in a pluralistic society. Activities related to one's field of expertise might include service on local museum or cultural boards; community presentations on issues of cultural diversity; service to an ethnic community such as tutoring programs; planning and carrying out cultural activities and events such as musical groups, performances, art exhibits, film festivals; collaborations with the local library, newspaper, church groups, educational institutions to expand cultural offerings to the community.
Professional work as editor, reviewer, interpreter, translator, consultant, etc. These activities reflect the versatility that often characterizes a multi-language professional. One might do any of the following: serve as consultant to an educational institution in the assessment and development of its curriculum or language technology ; assist in the development and implementation of a proposal to a foundation; serve as editor or referee of a journal or book; develop teaching materials to be used throughout the country; translate or interpret in a legal, medical or other community or professional setting.
Work related to the department as an academic community. The development of teaching materials including new course resources; leadership role in department forums for the discussion of research and pedagogy; intellectual mentoring of junior colleagues; mentoring students in pre-professional activities; coordinating speakers, events, and cultural activities within the department; leadership role in inter-departmental activities such as workshops, college presentations, and interdisciplinary courses.
Expectations of achievement in scholarship at various review times
Third-year review: Faculty should have evidence of progress towards completion of a scholarly project or activity as defined in Category A. In addition, they should formally identify areas which they plan to develop in any of Categories B-E.
Tenure review: Since their appointment, faculty should have evidence of at least one completed scholarly project or activity as defined in Category A. They should have evidence of completion or significant progress towards the completion of projects in any of Categories B-E.
Promotion: Faculty should have evidence of continued achievement since tenure in scholarly projects or activities in Category A. They should have evidence of a pattern of scholarship in any of Categories B-E.
Role of scholarship in our academic life
Scholarship and teaching, two primary activities of the academic professional, are activities that inform and enrich one another. In order to foster an environment where this beneficial interaction can flourish, we encourage colleagues in their scholarly work by: A) allowing colleagues appropriate time and space to do that work all year, not just in the summer, and B) by improving the campus culture for scholarship through mentoring, in which colleagues are regularly in conversation with each other about their research projects. In addition, we should allow colleagues the freedom to pursue a curriculum that serves both the teachers' and students' interests. Examples include new content in traditional courses, experimental courses, interdisciplinary as well as student collaboration, and limited administrative constraints.