Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Historian
American Historical Association, National Council on Public History, and Organization of American Historians Working Group on Evaluating Public History Scholarship
Building on conversations within their respective organizations, in 2007 the American Historical Association, National Council on Public History, and Organization of American Historians organized a working group to evaluate public history scholarship.
Representing the American Historical Association were Kristin Ahlberg, Edward Countryman, and Debbie Ann Doyle; from the National Council on Public History were Bill Bryans, Kathleen Franz, and John R. Dichtl; and from the Organization of American Historians were Constance B. Schulz, Gregory E. Smoak, and Susan Ferentinos.
The Working Group’s White Paper (PDF) from 2010 provides context and background for the formal report.
This white paper will provide useful advice for public historians on the tenure track; history departments and department chairs seeking fair evaluation standards for their colleagues; and deans, provosts, and other administrators at colleges and universities that employ public historians. The working group by no means intends to devalue traditional scholarship; rather, we argue for expanding the definition of scholarship to incorporate the types of work public history faculty are hired to do. Because public history often blurs the lines between the traditional categories of scholarship, teaching, and research, this white paper will address all three aspects of scholarly life.
The Working Group report, “Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Historian,” (PDF) is a formal statement adopted in 2010 by the three major organizations for historians working in the United States.
This report is the product of the Working Group on Evaluating Public History Scholarship convened by the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and National Council on Public History. It is designed to help faculty members, personnel committees, department heads, deans, and other administrators develop a plan for evaluating historians who do public and collaborative scholarship. Drawing on a survey of existing promotion and tenure guidelines and input from public history aculty members, the report offers suggestions for evaluating public history work as community engagement, scholarship, teaching, and service. It defines a number of best practices and describes possible approaches to the hiring, review, and promotion.