Re: E-publish or perish

Tue, 14 Jun 1994 16:49:31 -0500

In reply to Stephanie Wilson's proposal:
For many departments, the peer reviews are the major criterion for tenure
or promotion, rather than the numbers.

The annual review idea while great in principle has a few bugs in it.
if you were to evaluate every prof each year, then departmentalpromo
committees would need about 3 meetings a month, and probably 500-1000%
more time than they use at the moment. this would mean that getting
people to sit on these committees would become more difficult. researchers
would shy away because of time commitments, leaving the bumps-on-logs
to do the job, almost ensuring that they would skew the system to save
their butts. also think of the extra work load you are placing on the
peers who must now write a new letter for their colleagues every year
stating the glories of this person's research! if you think we are overworked
now, imagine what will happen when you start getting 5-10 letter requests
per year for your colleagues (this assumes that you have enough stature
to be able to give a sufficiently worthwhile review that the committee will

while the idea is great in prinicple, it will not work, given our current

most universities do consider teaching evaluations. the problem with these
is that it is well known by the administration that a typical teaching
evaluation measures something intrinsically different from what youu
really want to measure, everything from whether the stduent thinks they
wil;l get a C and needs an A, to how well they slept the night before.
therefore adminstrators only use teaching evaluations when they are very
good consistently or they are very bad consistently. also as you probably
know teaching is usually only granted 20-40% of the total tenure/promo
equation. i have seen taching evals used to counter requests for bonus
salary increments.

i do feel that we need some consistent review of all faculty every 5-10
years, esp after promotion to full prof. all too many sit back on their
laurels then. to do it every year would jsut take too much time and

somepeople feel also that success in acheiving grants is a measure of
one peers' true evaultions. while i don't wnat to open this can of worms
too much, le tme just say this does not tend to favour interdisciplinary
research or that in "controversial" topics/fields. it also is fraught
with even more politics than promotion. big name schools tend to get big
grants just because of their name. and the old boy network works to its
full potential here.