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ERIC Number: ED536156
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Literary Research: Costs and Impact
Bauerlein, Mark
Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1)
One of the standard labor practices of research universities is to hire, pay, and promote faculty members on the basis of the research they produce. In the humanities, professors write books and articles and universities reward them accordingly. The system amounts to a considerable expenditure for the institution and a significant portion of faculty time and energy. Is the outcome worth the investment? In the humanities, is research publication the best use of university resources and faculty talent? This paper examines the system of research productivity in literary studies--its policies and expectations, and its costs and outputs. To illustrate the system, the English departments at SUNY-Buffalo, University of Georgia, University of Illinois and University of Vermont are reviewed. The focus is on departments in order to add empirical evidence to the rising debate over the standing and costs of the humanities in research universities, and departments are the places in which personnel decisions primarily happen. The review reveals that: (1) Universities make substantial investments in faculty research through direct compensation; (2) Faculty members respond to this support by producing ample numbers of scholarly books and articles; and (3) Once those books and essays are published, the vast majority of them attract meager attention from other scholars. There is a glaring mismatch between the resources these universities and faculty members invest and the impact of most published scholarship. Despite the scant attention paid to this scholarship, a faculty member's promotion and annual review depends heavily on the professor's published work. A university's resources and human capital is thereby squandered as highly-trained and intelligent professionals toil over projects that have little consequence. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables, and 18 notes.) [This paper was supported by the James Madison Program and the Ann and Herbert W. Vaughn Fellowship at Princeton University.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP)