Academic Citizenship

graulty johnJohn Graulty, Cabrillo College
Chair, Academic Citizenship Committee

The CMS Academic Citizenship Committee contributed much to the Society’s 2013 focus on “inclusivity and invention.”  The committee believes that full embracement of academic citizenship demands:

  • Engaged, collegial, civil, collaborative participation in the full life of the college/conservatory/university
  • An awareness of the institution's strategic goals and active contribution to their achievement
  • A willingness to integrate meaningfully the demands of our discipline with the needs and expectations of our students and of the civic community. 

Academic Citizenship Committee Accomplishments in 2012

The Academic Citizenship Committee hosted an Open Forum at the 2013 CMS Conference in Cambridge, MA, entitled Building Inclusivity in the Exclusive Academy.  Recognizing that the fierce competition for scholarly and artistic recognition and validation often cultivates exclusivity rather than inclusivity, isolation rather than collaboration, and dynamic power struggles that pit young, non-tenured faculty against tenured veterans, or department against department, the Academic Citizenship Committee hosted an Open Forum at the 2013 Cambridge Conference that posed the question: What can we as productive and collegial academic citizens do to encourage collaboration, connection, and inclusivity in the largely exclusive world of academia?  

In a world that desperately needs artists and scholars in the academy to communicate, collaborate, connect and empathize with students, faculty, and others across campus and beyond for greatest public good, this forum, led by members of the CMS Academic Citizenship Committee, explored ways in which the academy might formally and informally promote greater inclusivity for the good of the academy and the society it serves. 

Major themes that emerged in the open forum, from the committee and attendees included:

1. A professoriate currently consumed, flustered, and distracted by “super pedestrian issues”

2. “Teamwork makes the dream work” 

3. Models of Inclusivity:

    1. Using service learning opportunities on campus to focus on education for the common good.
    2. The importance and impact of collaboration and entrepreneurship encouraged from the very highest levels of the university: Harvard President Drew Faust’s “Deans’ Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge;” encouraging connections between the worlds of the arts, business, student body, and the wider Harvard community.
    3. Incentivizing collaboration and collegiality through the P & T (Promotion & Tenure) process; considering terms such as “pre-tenured” versus “probationary” for faculty who have not yet been awarded tenure.
    4. The importance of collective action in the academy toward an education focused on improving the public good; the need to go beyond individual agency – no more “my budget, my students, my department;” the importance of posing the question: “what will our graduates provide society?”

4. Comments from attendees included:

    1. Establish environments that do not encourage isolation; consider the effectiveness of the Q Factor Concept at Pixar
    2. Collegiality is not typically a weighted element in P & T reviews. If collegiality and collaboration are essential, why not award these values in P & T evaluations?
    3. “Probationary” faculty at some institutions are advised to focus on what is “rewarded.”
    4. “Interdisciplinary collaboration” is often touted as a powerful buzz phrase, but it is seldom a reality.
    5. Some institutions offer incentive grants for interdisciplinary collaboration.
    6. University of Miami openly encourages interdisciplinary collaboration as part of its culture.

 One of the goals of the committee in 2013 was to engage a new graduate student member, someone who is able to contribute a pre-career student lens to the work of the committee.  Committee member Hal Abeles nominated Anna Song, a student in one of his doctoral cohorts at Columbia University-Teachers College, who is also a faculty member at Linfield College, a small liberal arts college in Oregon. The committee welcomed Anna to its membership in November 2013.

Plans for 2014

Responding to one of the primary themes that emerged in the 2013 open forum session in Cambridge, the Academic Citizenship Committee plans a survey of the CMS membership to assess the role current P & T processes play in either rewarding or discouraging collegiality, collaboration, and effective academic citizenship.

The committee has proposed a 55-minute panel presentation at the 2014 Conference in St. Louis, entitled: Promoting Academic Citizenship: Are P & T Criteria Helping or Hindering the Development of Collegial, Collaborative Academic Citizenship? 

Abstract: The CMS Academic Citizenship Committee believes in and advocates for the notion that “responsible academic citizenship demands engaged, collegial, civil, collaborative participation in the full life of the college/conservatory/university.”  During the Committee’s 2013 Conference open forum entitled  “Building Inclusivity in the Exclusive Academy” a common concern emerged: that current promotion and tenure processes might actually be hindering the development of collegial and collaborative academic citizenship; that the intense focus on measuring and rewarding individual academic  and creative productivity might actually be encouraging more independent agency rather than collegial and cooperative cross-disciplinary work that is more responsive and relevant to the needs and expectations of our students and of the civic community. 

This panel presentation will present and analyze the findings of the Academic Citizenship Committee’s survey of CMS membership on the topic of promotion and tenure. The survey will assess the current status of promotion and tenure practices across the profession, as well as solicit ideas for how current practices might be improved to encourage the development of ever more collegial, collaborative, and civic-minded academic citizens. The Academic Citizenship Committee fully expects this effort will result in the panel’s recommendation of new best practices in the area of promotion and tenure.   

Congratulations to Alicia Doyle (CSULB) and Bob Jones (NDSU), who will co-chair the Academic Citizenship Committee effective January 1, 2014.  After serving as Chair of the Academic Citizenship Committee for the past two years, John Graulty announced his intention to step down as chair and step off the committee, effective December 31, 2013, citing professional obligations. 

I thank my colleagues on the Academic Citizenship Committee for their invaluable and collegial contributions to the important work of the committee over the past year. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as the committee’s chair for the past two years. As I step off the committee, I extend to my dear friends and colleagues all best wishes as they continue their important and selfless work for CMS and the profession.