Progress Report: Scholarship, Tenure and Recognition

Executive Leadership: Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Unit Leadership: Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; Deans

Published November 16, 2023

Summary of Progress:

The Scholarship, Tenure and Recognition Subcommittee recommended numerous changes to UB tenure and promotion (T&P) guidelines and criteria. These included the addition of several statements about research and community engagement to the guidelines, one of which the subcommittee had already drafted. Changes to UB’s T&P guidelines and criteria will need to be approved by the Faculty Senate.

During the 2022-23 academic year, the Faculty Senate Tenure, Promotion and Privileges Committee, along with the Equity and Diversity Committee, reviewed and updated the subcommittee recommendations and presented them to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. On October 24, 2023, a resolution on the changes to the T&P guidelines passed the Executive Committee and will be be presented to the full Faculty Senate for consideration.

Several subcommittee recommendations related to better supporting and recognizing civic/community engaged faculty research. In April 2023, in collaboration with the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED), the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (VPFAC) hosted a workshop for faculty to discuss civic/community engaged research initiatives at UB, for which 57 people registered. This workshop highlighted examples of engaged research across the university with 10 faculty presentations and included conversations on how UB can best support faculty who conduct and/or plan to conduct this type of research. This includes community-based research broadly, participatory action and activist research, civically engaged research and/or other community-oriented research initiatives. As part of the workshop, UB created an inventory of community-oriented research being done across the university.

Following this workshop, the VPRED and VPFAC submitted a report to the Provost that summarized the workshop and offered recommendations for supporting community engaged research initiatives. As a result, a new Civic Engagement Research Fund was established to support projects with grants up to $5,000. In the first round of grants, UB received 24 proposals from faculty. A review committee of faculty from across three academic units identified 12 projects to fund. Moving forward, UB is planning to create an advisory group to help guide future rounds of funding for research and to create more dialogue and an enhanced community on campus for people engaged in this kind of research.

UB’s Director of Faculty Recognition continues to work directly with deans, chairs, faculty and department awards committees to identify, support and manage faculty award nominations. In Spring 2023, the Office for the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs held a panel session focused on tips for forming productive external awards committees and best practices for promoting an awards culture within departments. This panel session included discussion of how to promote equity during the nomination and application process.  As a follow up to this session, the VPFAC expanded its website to include a dedicated page on "Equity in Recognition and Awards Efforts." The Director of Faculty Recognition has also developed a database of award opportunities that specifically recognize underrepresented faculty, as well as those whose research, service, teaching, and/or mentoring are focused on equity and social justice. This database of awards will be featured on our website in 2023-24.

In addition, several other recommendations have been implemented/moved forward:

  • To the Department Chair Leadership Program Conversation Series, the Office of Faculty Affairs has incorporated additional attention to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within departments and schools. As part of the professional development, the VPFAC partners with UB School of Management’s Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (CLOE) on a workshop to promote intercultural competence and share CLOE’s Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). This IDI training session provides an opportunity for chairs to develop cultural competence and recognize bias. It helps ensure that they are promoting EDI in their departments/schools and that they start thinking about implementing policies of accountability and training to prevent abuse of power and bias within their department/school committees. In addition, chairs are encouraged to assign service equitably and identify when faculty have taken on extra service responsibilities in their letters of support for faculty promotion and tenure.
  • In addition to the chair’s development training, several academic units and the university provide different kinds of training to ensure tenure and promotion and awards committees are committed to upholding equity. This includes the training provided for all members of the President's Review Board (PRB).
  • The Provost’s office already directly assesses contributions to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as part of the five-year decanal review process. The VPFAC has reached out to all of the deans to ask whether they include EDI in their chair review process and will request that it be added if they do not all ready to so.

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