Faculty in science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) are expected to excel in their technical work, teaching, and professional service. Their career advancement is often determined by academic peers evaluating accomplishments in these three areas. Recently, however, there is a growing concern that the evaluation of those accomplishments and traditional incentive systems are misaligned with some of the values and missions of higher education institutions, such as student learning, public engagement, and innovative research. Debates about current advancement systems also point to a body of research on the negative effects of traditional advancement criteria on the academic environment and workforce, including the influence of systemic and individual biases on the promotion and advancement of women and individuals from underrepresented populations.
To examine and potentially re-envision advancement pathways for all STEM faculty, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened academic leaders, scientists, engineers, medical professionals, scholars, philanthropists, and representatives from higher education associations and research funding agencies in October 2019. The Convocation on Re-envisioning Promotion and Advancement for STEM Faculty: Aligning Incentives with Values addressed challenges with the current system of faculty advancement and considered changes to promotion practices. Particular emphasis was placed on aligning faculty reward pathways to institutional and departmental missions and values. This publication highlights the presentation and discussion of the convocation.
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