Tenure and Promotion in Applied Anthropology

Panel Sponsored by the Consortium of Applied and Practicing Anthropology Programs (COPAA)

Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, 2005


Linda Bennett and Michael Whiteford


Anthropologists holding varied administrative leadership positions in their universities address the concepts of applied scholarship and engaged scholarship as they are applied to the tenure and promotion process and decision-making at their institutions. East panelist will discuss the distinction between conventional, applied, and engaged scholarship in their own perspective, in the tenure and promotion guidelines in the anthropology department, and in the university overall.

Panelists and their academic and administrative positions

Kathryn Cruz-Uribe (Dean of College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona State University, Professor of Anthropology, archaeologist)

Elizabeth S. Bird (Chair of Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida, Professor of Anthropology, in the past served as special assistant to the provost at USF, socio-cultural anthropologist, folklorist)

Michael Whiteford (Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (22 departments), Iowa State University, Professor of Anthropology and past Chair, Department of Anthropology, socio-cultural anthropologist, medical anthropologist)

Linda Bennett (Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and past Chair of Department of Anthropology, Professor of Anthropology, University of Memphis, socio-cultural anthropologist, medical anthropologist)

Marietta Baba (Dean of College of Social Science and Professor of Anthropology, Michigan State University; past Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Wayne State University, business/industrial anthropology)

Allen W. Batteau (Has never served as a chair or dean. Has gone through the tenure process twice, once at Michigan State and then after working outside of academia, at Wayne State, business anthropology).

John Young (Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Oregon State University for the past 18 years, Professor of Anthropology, applied anthropology).

Summary of discussion: critical points in the tenure and promotion process
  • A theme in most comments was the negotiation of service learning and community engagement in the tenure and promotion process
  • Need to provide external reviewers sufficient information in order for them to write good letters and to be sure to send them the tenure criteria in the department, college, and university.
  • Question raised about collaborative work and how that gets factored into the evaluation of accomplishments by the faculty member applying for tenure and promotion.
  • Grant-writing: typically this activity does not count toward tenure and promotion unless the faculty member receives the grant.
  • One panelist mentioned that his office tries to protect young scholars from doing too much grant writing.
  • Know your own institution and how different kinds of scholarly work are evaluated and valued.
  • Co-authorships: important to clarify your contribution to the publication.
    Outside offers: these do not have any impact on whether you get tenure.
  • A position responsibility statement, which is a contract between the individual faculty member and the department, can be constructive.
  • Lay out expectations for the years leading up to tenure.
  • What is the relatively weight of publishing books/ethnographic films, publishing the dissertation?
  • If a faculty member is in a less traditional appointment, clarifying expectations for achieving tenure and promotion is really important

Summary compiled by Elgin Klugh (Montclair State University) and Linda Bennett (University of Memphis).