Social Work Department Statement on Scholarship

What forms of scholarship define the work of those in your department at their best?

  • Publication in juried journals, other written material such as book chapters, monographs, and technical reports.
  • Presentations at state, regional and national conferences of NASW, CSWE, BPD and other organizations. Juried abstracts are used to decide who presents, evaluation by peers occurs after some of the presentations.
  • Application of theories and principles of social work, and research technology and knowledge in social service community contexts. This work needs to be evaluated by one’s peers in the field. As an expression of our program’s mission, it is our intention to invest our scholarly expertise and activities in negotiated partnerships with community agencies and groups in ways that promote inter-dependence and mutuality, and which are non-exploitative of stakeholders. In this sense, our scholarship of application is better described as a scholarship of engagement. We recognize that scholarship is not the sole preserve of academics, rather, it is often, for our profession, a matter of praxis through engagement with practitioners and communities.
  • Contributions to the larger social work community in Northeast Iowa by serving as a consultant to, or member of boards of directors, advisory boards, or on review teams of social service, community, or governmental agencies.
  • Passing on one’s research and knowledge of the social work discipline through lectures, panels, or other forms of presentation to the public.

What forms of peer review—including those beyond the Luther campus—are appropriate for that work?

  • The juried reviews that take place for academic journals and presentations to professional organizations.
  • Outside letters of reference from another social work professor after that person has reviewed a vita or some other material, or who has worked closely with the individual in some areas(s) of A through E above. This reviewer should be able to present evidence why they can make some judgment about the quality of the work or vita they are reviewing.
  • Outside letters of reference from professionals other than social work professors with whom the individual has worked with in areas A through E above.

How can you encourage and enable your colleagues to see that such work bears fruit in their teaching?

  • Collaborating with students in research and social work practice activities.
  • Mentoring junior faculty in the program by encouraging scholarship as defined elsewhere.
  • Plan collaborative research with faculty from other disciplines in the department.
  • Design class presentations that report ones scholarly activities; invite colleagues to class to share their scholarly work.
  • As a department or possibly a division, expect all faculty members to report on their scholarship at points in their career.

What depth and range of achievement in scholarship at the third year, tenure review, and application for promotion for full professor should distinguish the work of Luther faculty?

By the third year the person should have an item in most of the categories (see "what forms of scholarship define the work of those in your department at their best?") on their vita. In addition there should be evidence of "future works in progress." This may be actual projects that an individual is working on or ideas that are germinating with the individual, which they are planning to work on.

By tenure there should be evidence of work in all categories (see "what forms of scholarship define the work of those in your department at their best?"). There should certainly be publications and presentations as a part of a series of activities that document the individuals’ involvement in scholarship along with evidence that this work is ongoing.

By the time of promotion to full professor the person should have continued a record of work on all categories and additionally found some focal points in which greater contributions have been made. Further, there should be evidence of ongoing scholarly work.

What distinctive forms of scholarship can thrive at a liberal arts college of the church?

  • It may be possible to allow a person to do more service related to their profession (that is, have volunteer professional service be viewed as evidence of scholarship) in a church college as part of a scholarly endeavor.
  • A liberal arts college (whether of the church or not) has more liberty to decide what shall be seen as "scholarly activity" outside of the usual publications and presentations, for example, in our ongoing dialogue on the scholarship of engagement.
  • Hopefully, a liberal arts college is more able to see interdisciplinary work as important in the context of the community as well as within the college and thereby encourage work that is related to, but not necessarily within, the person’s discipline.

(Spring 2002)