Systemic reform is necessary to allow for an acceptance
of and emphasis on outreach performance as an area of
faculty work critical to faculty and institutional growth
Evaluating Outreach Performance
Marilyn J. Amey
Outreach has long been an area of faculty work for which meaningful evaluation processes are lacking. Often considered consulting or service activity, most institutions have not dealt constructively with ways to acknowledge, evaluate, and reward outreach activity. Yet, what do we do with faculty work that does not fit into traditionally narrow definitions of teaching and research? Are these aspects of faculty work just part of being a good citizen? Is being a good citizen and taking one’s turn on sundry college committees the same thing as providing discipline-based expertise to the larger institution in addressing a serious faculty, student, or learning problem? Is becoming involved in one’s local community organizations as a volunteer the same thing as providing professionally grounded expertise in working with those outside the walls of academe on a field-based problem? With or without expectations that each faculty member engages in such activities, the category “service” is commonly used to accommodate this broad mix. Those committed to a different organizational orientation for postsecondary institutions suggest that it is time to seriously consider using new labels and creating acceptable procedures to evaluate professionally grounded faculty work that may fall outside of—or weave through—the traditional tripartite of teaching, research, and service (Boyer, 1990; Edgerton, 1993; Fear and Sandmann, 1997; Ramaley, 2000; Votruba, 1997). They call for emphasizing faculty outreach performance as critical to individual faculty development and to appropriate positioning of colleges and universities in the twenty-first century.
In the last decade, many scholars and administrators have called for the reprioritization of faculty work; for new definitions of teaching, research, and service; and for repositioning academic work in the future. No work