The promotion and tenure process (henceforth referred to as P&T) is the core of our advancement within academia. But, changing the process is slow. Incorporating “new” methods of delivering scholarship into P&T documents can be an agonizing chore. One unnamed department just recently started to include video as a recognized scholarship output. Video. If video takes decades to get included, how long will it take for things in the oncoming avalanche of technology to get recognized?
Problem: Research is seen as the pinnacle of academic achievement and this thinking is not congruent with the outcomes created by Extension.
Solution: Extension work (especially on the faculty side) is not rewarded equally with research. Some universities have created equivalencies that helps to demystify what “counts” for what and for how much, but Extension and research are not equivalent jobs. Scholarship is the culmination of creative work, yet the creative aspects can, and do, greatly differ between the two practices. Extension should be looking beyond the world that it exists and encourage creative avenues to deliver the non-traditional scholarship and search for ways to meaningfully reward it. Look to the liberal arts for ways to evaluate and reward scholarship – in fact, look at every department and college on campus (and others) to find suitable and equitable methods of rewarding high quality, creative, and innovative work. The downside here is that we come back to the “liberal” vs. “conservative” action that was discussed previously. To create a “New (Extension) World Order” the ties to rewarding research need to be severed.
For the final segment, how fast can we run to keep up with digital technology?