USFA e-letter: What is a program of research?

The University Standards for Tenure and Promotion state that for tenure as an Assistant or Associate Professor or promotion to the rank of Associate Professor a candidate must demonstrate a “defined program of research or scholarship”.  But what does this mean?  Will a faculty member with a very narrow focus of research on a highly specific topic be considered to have a program of research?  What about another faculty member who has a very broad focus of research and conducts research or collaborates on research across a number of domains that are only tangentially related in content, but coherently related in terms of the expertise brought to the research?  It can be argued that the first colleague has a clearly “defined program of research” whereas the second one lacks focus and does not.  Do we really want to favour the research program of one colleague over another?  Challenge your colleagues to carefully evaluate the range of possibilities when they consider what a program of research is. 

What do you think about this issue?  You can share your thoughts by contacting the Faculty Association office at usfa@usaskfaculty.ca .