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More on Professional Analytics

August 26, 2015

Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology


In my last post, I discussed preparing for the AEJMC conference in San Francisco. Administrators also must follow up on new friendships, alliances and opportunities that might be of interest to your faculties or even the association as a whole.

This is what I am working on today.

I met several new colleagues at the ASJMC panel about evaluating creative and professional work in academe. I presented a PowerPoint noting the challenges of having professional work count toward promotion and tenure at research institutions. I was asked to moderate the panel by Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism at Kansas University.

Each panelist explained the P&T difficulties of professional work and how to overcome them. Panelists were Marie Hardin, dean, Penn State’s College of Communication; Jerry Ceppos, dean, Manship School, Louisiana State; and Dale Cressman, former associate chair, School of Communication, Brigham Young. Each provided best practices to ensure that professional and creative work is evaluated on par with traditional scholarship.

If you would like to download a copy of my PowerPoint presentation, click here.

During our panel presentation, I noted among other things that projects and juried shows involving visual communication and photojournalism often are not considered for promotion and tenure advancement.

Coincidentally, the AEJMC Visual Communication Division was dealing with the same phenomenon.

Last week I received a statement from the VisCom Division that noted how P&T “committees at academic institutions may at times face the task of evaluating a
faculty member based on creative work rather than on more traditional academic research in published form.

“In visual communication areas, creative work will most often be in the areas of film, video and photography, and graphics, design and illustration in both print and digital platforms, including website and app design, interactive graphics and animation.”

The VisCom division had recommendations very similar to what we suggested at the ASJMC panel:

• Contribution to the creator’s field: Does it present new ideas and approaches, and does it advance the field in ways that are of value to other members of the field?
• Venue and audience reach: Analogous to a publication’s reputation, is it presented in a way that makes it accessible to its intended audience, and so that other members of the profession can review it and have the opportunity to both learn from and critique it?
• Innovative Presentation: Does it provide a unique intellectual, revelatory or emotional experience to its audience?
• Leveraging the particular strengths of visual communication: Does it present ideas or information in a stronger, clearer and/or more accessible way than could be expressed in text or in other traditional media?
• Professional development: Does it help the faculty member(s) who created it to improve their knowledge and expertise in their field, and aid them in being better teachers?
• Advancement of the field of visual communication: Does it provide a new experience and help those outside the field better understand the field’s value to communication?

Our ASJMC recommendations also emphasize impact of products or services on society; acceptance rates of juried shows; audience attendance; circulation, viewership, or Internet hits in trade, broadcast, and online posts; and any grants, projects, and consultations by and for corporate entities.

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