Is There a Better Model for P&T Preparation and Evaluation of Geoscience Education Research in Geoscience Departments?

Monday 3:45pm REC Center Medium Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Geoscience Education Research I


Kristen St. John, James Madison University
Compared to traditional research in geology, research on teaching and learning in the geosciences is a relatively young field of study. Peer-review publication statistics and the increase in the number of graduate programs in geoscience education research (GER) are evidence that this field is growing and robust. Most GER is conducted by faculty who are in tenure-track positions at colleges and universities. Therefore, career success requires a geoscience education researcher to plan for, and satisfactorily meet, the expectation for promotion and tenure (P&T). P&T is traditionally organized around Teaching, Research, and Service. However, when the area of research is on teaching itself, where does this fit within the traditional P&T framework? And, how can P&T preparation and evaluation be improved?

These questions are addressed in three ways:

(1) Conditions that cause disconnects between GER and traditional P&T evaluation are outlined based on published studies and personal observations. These include challenges that arise from integrating geoscience with social science; from evolving definitions of what constitutes geoscience education research and scholarship; and from different ideas on how the impact of research is best measured.

(2) A synthesis is provided of recommendations from published reports on ways in which the challenges facing geoscience education researchers can be reconciled with the existing P&T structure. Recommendations range from community building strategies to clarifying what constitutes evidence of impact for GER outcomes.

(3) Lastly, a modified P&T structure is proposed that follows the Boyer (1990) model of scholarship. In it, the porous nature of Teaching, Research, and Service is recognized and embraced by adding a forth P&T category of Integration. Meaningful connections across teaching, research (and service) would be expected in this structure; and geoscience education research, as well as other interdisciplinary fields of study, would be better situated for sharing the importance of their contributions.

Presentation Media

Promotion and Tenure-GER (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 2.5MB Jul14 15)