Applying new strategies and evidence to demonstrate the value of public scholarship

The Center has been working with faculty for several years now, helping them to strategize, collect, and report evidence to demonstrate the impact and value of their scholarship. We take a broad view of what counts as scholarship, as we often discuss in our workshops. University P&T and hiring committees, funding agencies, and professional societies generally recognize that scholarship is more inclusive than journal articles, books, and conference proceedings. The scope of work that is recognized as scholarship has expanded to include syllabi, open course materials, presentations, as well as digital projects and collections, writing for a more general audience (e.g., blogs), data, and code. This expansion also provides more opportunities to gather and use data (e.g., altmetrics) as people interact with these products in an online environment.

Public scholarship is one approach to creating knowledge that can benefit from this new array of options for dissemination and evidence gathering. As scholars and students who are working with the community develop shared goals, create documentation of their work together, and report evaluation outcomes, they can decide with the community what should be disseminated and how to do so. We have begun to document several examples of public scholarship and will be sharing strategies and examples of evidence that can speak to the value and impact of these projects. Our first such project is the Your Life. Your Story. project, briefly described below. Later this semester, we will be posting use cases that describe three projects, strategies for gathering evidence, and examples for reporting in P&T dossiers, funding applications, and awards.

Your Life. Your Story. is a summer day camp for Latino teens in the Indianapolis area. The program is led by Silvia Bigatti, a psychologist in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. Silvia’s work tightly integrates teaching, research, and service, so it is important to her to demonstrate impact beyond citations. The Your Life. Your Story. project is an excellent example of integration as a research project that has incorporated service learning. The impact of this project cannot be captured solely by publications and citations. It takes time to gather, analyze, and report the evidence to demonstrate improved resilience for teens who participate. Silvia worked with librarians at IUPUI to gather other forms of evidence to indicate more immediate impact. These include media coverage, metrics from Facebook and YouTube, as well as donations to the program, and attendees at local events. Such evidence helps to tell the story about how this project is affecting the local community (civic engagement and public scholarship; see pp 32-35).

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Updated Jan 25, 2018 by hcoates