Is a faculty member who publishes six peer-reviewed articles more or less meritorious than a faculty member who publishes one peer-reviewed article, but also has large teaching and administrative responsibilities?
It depends. Six top quality publications in outstanding venues could represent a career achievement, even given teaching and administrative offloads. However, six papers published in other venues might represent considerably less achievement than a single paper in addition to a typical teaching and administrative load.
That is one reason the departments have been given the power to make the award of merit – they are usually best situated to judge the relative value of venues.
Remember, merit is not to be used punitively. That is, while the judgment of meritoriousness should take into account the full range of a faculty member's duties, merit cannot be withheld from a colleague who has had outstanding performance in one area but does not meet some standard in another area. Special increases can be awarded in one OR more of the categories in Article 17.2.
The USFA is interested in your views on this matter – you can let us know what you think simply by replying to this email, and someone will get in touch with you.