Five Ways to Support Interdisciplinary Work Before Tenure

J Environ Stud Sci, 2015, DOI 10.1007/s13412-015-0326-9

8 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016

See all articles by Melinda Benson

Melinda Benson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Chris Lippitt

University of New Mexico

Ryan Morrison

University of New Mexico

Barbara A. Cosens

University of Idaho - College of Law

Jan Boll

Washington State University

Brian Chaffin

University of Montana

Alexander Fremier

Washington State University

Robert Heinse

University of Idaho

Derek Kauneckis

Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University

Timothy Link

University of Idaho

Caroline Scruggs

University of New Mexico

Mark Stone

University of New Mexico

Vanessa Valentin

University of New Mexico

Date Written: October 6, 2015

Abstract

Academic institutions often claim to promote inter- disciplinary teaching and research. Prescriptions for successfully engaging in interdisciplinary efforts, however, are usually directed at the individuals doing the work rather than the institutions evaluating them for the purpose of tenure and promotion. Where institutional recommendations do exist, they are often general in nature and lacking concrete guidance. Here, we draw on our experiences as students and faculty participating in three interdisciplinary water resource management programs in the USA to propose five practices that academic institutions can adopt to effectively support interdisciplinary work. We focus on reforms that will support pre-tenure faculty because we believe that an investment in interdisciplinary work early in one’s career is both particularly challenging and seldom rewarded. Recommended reforms include (1) creating metrics that reward interdisciplinary scholarship, (2) allowing faculty to “count” teaching and advising loads in interdisciplinary pro- grams, (3) creating a “safe fail” for interdisciplinary research proposals and projects, (4) creating appropriate academic homes for interdisciplinary programs, and (5) rethinking “advancement of the discipline” as a basis for promotion and tenure.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinary,Tenure, Coupled Human Natural Systems

Suggested Citation

Benson, Melinda and Lippitt, Chris and Morrison, Ryan and Cosens, Barbara A. and Boll, Jan and Chaffin, Brian and Fremier, Alexander and Heinse, Robert and Kauneckis, Derek and Link, Timothy and Scruggs, Caroline and Stone, Mark and Valentin, Vanessa, Five Ways to Support Interdisciplinary Work Before Tenure (October 6, 2015). J Environ Stud Sci, 2015, DOI 10.1007/s13412-015-0326-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2673895

Melinda Benson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Chris Lippitt

University of New Mexico ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

Ryan Morrison

University of New Mexico ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

Barbara A. Cosens

University of Idaho - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 442321
Moscow, ID 83844-2321
United States
208 885-6298 (Phone)
208 885-2859 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uidaho.edu/law/people/faculty/bcosens

Jan Boll

Washington State University ( email )

Wilson Rd.
College of Business
Pullman, WA 99164
United States

Brian Chaffin

University of Montana ( email )

32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 598012
United States
4062436575 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cfc.umt.edu/personnel/details.php?ID=4123

Alexander Fremier

Washington State University ( email )

School of the Environment
122
Pullman, WA 99164-1228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://soe.wsu.edu/people/faculty/alexfremier.html

Robert Heinse

University of Idaho ( email )

875 Perimeter Drive
Moscow, ID 83844
United States

Derek Kauneckis

Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University ( email )

Bldg. 22, The Ridges, 1 Ohio University
Athens, OH Ohio 45701
United States
7405667049 (Phone)
7405667049 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ohio.edu/voinovichschool/contact/profiles.cfm?profile=kaunecki

Timothy Link

University of Idaho ( email )

875 Perimeter Drive
Moscow, ID 83844
United States

Caroline Scruggs

University of New Mexico ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

Mark Stone

University of New Mexico ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

Vanessa Valentin

University of New Mexico ( email )

107 Humanitites Building
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1221
United States

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