Political Science Department Statement on Scholarship
May 29, 2019
WHAT DOES SCHOLARSHIP MEAN FOR THE FACULTY OF THE POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT?
This document is an attempt to answer that question. We intend for our answer to provide guidance to current and future faculty members as they work to make progress through the tenure and promotion process at Luther College, as described in the Faculty Handbook (404.1.2). Scholarship is but one aspect of the way that political science department faculty work to support the mission of the Luther College. In scholarship, as in all other aspects of our work for the college and for our students, we seek to serve with distinction for the common good.
FORMS OF SCHOLARSHIP
We value both independent and collaboratively authored works. Scholarship valued by the political science department can take many forms:
· Publications in academic journals
· Book chapters
· Books published by university or academic publishers
· Books written for a general audience
· Publications in academic journals
o Peer reviewed research
o Book reviews
o Essays on teaching
· Applied research supporting government or advocacy group reports
· Essays and articles for general audience
· Conference presentations
· Serving as a discussant on academic conference panels
· Invited lectures
· Presentations for a general audience
· Presentations for a campus audience
· Supervising student research projects
FORMS OF PEER REVIEW
We recognize that peer review takes several forms in the field of political science:
· Review of written work by anonymous reviewers selected by publishers or journal editors
· Review of written work in the selection of conference presenters and book chapter contributors
· Review of written work (books, monographs) by editors at academic publishers
· In a less formal way, peer review also takes place when a faculty member is:
o Invited to participate in a symposium
o Invited to organize a session at an academic conference
o Invited to conduct research or serve as a consultant for government or advocacy groups
o Asked to serve as editor or on the editorial board of an academic journal
o Invited as a speaker at a professional event
SCHOLARSHIP IN THE CLASSROOM
As political scientists, we encourage many approaches to sharing the fruits of scholarship with our students:
· Incorporating original research into classroom teaching
· Staying informed about current political science scholarship and incorporating that political science knowledge into our course content
· Modeling scholarly qualities in the classroom—asking questions and pursuing answers
· Involving students in the scholarship process on faculty driven research projects
· Supervising student research
· Campus lectures, forums and workshops that enrich the intellectual life of the college
EXPECTATIONS FOR 3RD YEAR REVIEW, TENURE AND PROMOTION
When making evaluations about the progress of political science colleagues, we utilize a “totality of circumstances” approach. We think the primary goal of scholarship ought to be to make for better, more intellectually rigorous teaching, and we can imagine a wide range of combinations of scholarly activity that would satisfy those goals. A successful candidate for tenure will have at least two scholarly publications, in addition to other scholarship activities demonstrating a commitment to rigorous scholarship and a strong relationship between teaching and research. An ongoing pattern of publication in scholarly journals or books will be a prerequisite to being promoted to professor.
We will make certain that new members of our department establish and follow a plan of action so that by the time of the third year review there is a clear pattern of commitment to the scholarly life. Indeed, it will be important for us to know that a new faculty person has an organized research process in progress. Being able to articulate this in a personal statement will be important, and we also will expect to see evidence of research that has been shared with a larger community in the form of conference presentations or published work.
DISTINCTIVE FORMS OF SCHOLARSHIP AT A LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE IN THE LUTHERAN INTELLECTUAL TRADITION
To actively pursue the common good, we must at times make judgments regarding what that common good is. While large research institutions sometimes discourage faculty from addressing value laden subjects or making value-laden claims, Luther College provides faculty with the freedom to grapple with those contentious subjects. This is true even when, or especially when, reasonable people disagree on the nature of the common good.
Within the field of political science, the case is often made that political scientists should play a more active role in helping the citizenry understand contemporary political issues. Although the role of public intellectual/commentator is not one that research universities tend to reward, it is an important kind of research that might be well suited to a college whose mission statement calls for moving students “into a larger world” and preparing them “to serve with distinction for the common good.” This might result in op-ed pieces and articles for journals that aim to reach a more general audience.
At this liberal arts college within the Lutheran intellectual tradition, political science faculty are empowered to conduct scholarship that does not shy away from the role of religion and faith in politics, and the ways that individual and community values influence rights and responsibilities related to civic engagement and citizenship. And importantly, we are empowered to use such scholarship to teach our students to deal with value laden, contentious issues.