Should social media activity be a consideration in tenure and promotion reviews?

Dive Brief:

  • A new report from the American Sociological Association suggests tenure committees consider the impact of social media engagement in review of teaching, research and service when considering a candidate.
  • The report, which maintains that standards of rigor and relevance should be maintained even in new media, says that blogs, tweeting and forms of new journalism can still be “well grounded in sociological theory and research.” 
  • Groups like the American Association of University Professors have not taken an official stance on social media consideration in tenure, but do acknowledge that public discourse is encouraged as a form of academic service and impact. 

Dive Insight:

Public academics and thought leaders capture the attention of media, students and industrial observers, and their work goes a long way in expanding institutional brand. For colleges which hope to capture the free exposure that comes with likable or respected voices in academe, making social media a part of tenure and promotion is a logical aspect of recruiting them to campus. 

Additionally, faculty members with the personality and the professional gravitas to share their work through social channels creates new opportunities and challenges for institutional communications. If they are mild-mannered, it lessens the workload of trying to keep up with controversial statements or work being placed into public view instantly. But if they are volatile, they sometimes require their own public relations monitoring. 

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology