History Department Statement on Scholarship

In terms of scholarly productivity, liberal arts colleges are best served by faculty members who are dedicated to research that serves the dual purpose of developing knowledge in the discipline and improving their ability to introduce their students to the best scholarship in their discipline. Given the professional practices of the discipline, the department’s responsibility is to provide students with the intellectual tools to seek truth and to intelligently evaluate received ideas; teacher/scholars can best model these behaviors.

The American Historical Association currently identifies four types of scholarship in the professional practice of history:

  1. The advancement of knowledge—essentially original research.
  2. The integration of knowledge—synthesizing and reintegrating knowledge, revealing new patterns of meaning and new relationships between the parts and the whole.
  3. The application of knowledge—professional practice directly related to an individual's scholarly specialization.
  4. The transformation of knowledge through teaching—including pedagogical content knowledge and discipline-specific educational theory.

The AHA notes in its statement that weighting of different types of scholarship in tenure and promotion decisions should vary according to institutional needs. The following list outlines our current sense of the relative value of certain kinds of scholarly activity to the work of the academic historian at Luther College.

Ideally, all forms of scholarship enhance the individual’s development as teacher, academic and member of the greater academic community. Peer review of some nature is certainly important in that it provides the scholar with an external evaluation of the credibility of his/her work. The purpose of peer review is both to establish the relative value of our scholarly endeavors, and to assist the scholar in improving his/her performance as a scholar and a teacher. Over time the standard of performance should become increasingly stringent.

Therefore the criteria for a positive evaluation at the third year, tenure year and promotion year for a member of the history department should show a developing pattern of work and productivity. Since graduate schools best prepare candidates for the scholarship of discovery, during the early stage in their careers it is reasonable to expect that continuation of this original research will dominate the faculty member’s scholarship. As historians mature as scholars and teachers they should continue their work of discovery, but may also begin to integrate and apply that advanced knowledge in ways other than traditional publication.

We see the activities described in the list of criteria below as only one component of what is to be expected of a candidate for each level of appointment. These scholarly activities need to be judged in terms of their relationship to the candidate’s performance in the other two areas of professional behavior: teaching and community service. Candidates should not be required to exhibit exemplary performance in all areas to qualify for tenure or promotion. We anticipate that the pattern for individuals will be unique and dynamic. The list of activities below outlines what are generally considered in the normal range for each respective level of professional standing. What is appropriate at one level may often be continued at the next levels. For example, faculty who have been promoted to associate or full professor may continue activities similar to those of their early careers. However, they are also expected to go beyond such work to perform at a more sophisticated level.  At the same time, work done that is appropriate for a more experienced faculty member would obviously strengthen a faculty member’s candidacy for promotion.

New faculty will be encouraged to integrate scholarship and teaching in their professional lives through regularly scheduled history department research colloquia, communication of the department’s expectations through meetings with their department head and senior colleagues, and mentoring of new faculty by senior members of the department.

We see the scholarly productions described in the list below as only one component of what is to be expected of a candidate for each level of appointment.  Scholarship needs to be judged in terms of its relationship to the candidate’s performance in the other two major areas of professional behavior: the quality of teaching and community service.

Nevertheless, at the time of third-year review, a candidate should have completed one or more of the following: presentations to the college or larger community, delivery of papers at academic conferences, published essays in non-professional venues, published book reviews or service as reviewer in historical journals, articles under consideration or published in peer-reviewed historical journals.

In addition to one or more of the above requirements, candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, should have completed one or more of the following: article under consideration or published in peer-reviewed historical journals, published encyclopedia articles,  papers at annual meetings of the leading professional organizations in the candidate’s research field, development of historical resources for classroom use, published presentations of  history pedagogy, or have received an external, competitive award (NEH Institutes, Fulbright etc).

For promotion to Full Professor, in addition to the above requirements, one or more of the following are necessary: invited publications, monographs, editions of historical resources, editor of a peer-reviewed journal, leader or presenter in competitive institutes, editor of anthology.

(Revised:  November 2010)