Promotion, tenure, and digital humanities

The extent to which engagement with digital humanities is a liability for junior faculty was frequently discussed during the Project Bamboo workshop 1 series. There was a widespread consensus that it is "not good for getting tenure if you spend time on technology" (Day 1, 1A), since the promotion and tenure system is still built around a printed publication model of scholarship. There are no agreed-upon standards for evaluating digital scholarship, nor a formally recognized organization that could serve as an equivalent to peer-review. One participant mentioned being reluctant to involve graduate students and junior faculty in digital humanities projects because it is "not very 'responsible' to get people engaged in these activities, and then not reward them" (Ex 1, 1b-A).

The requirements for promotion and tenure are "an expression of values" (Ex 1, 1b-A), and it was felt that any attempt to impose new values upon a discipline were guaranteed to fail. General outreach about what digital humanities methodologies enable was seen as a first step that could open the door for peer review (or a peer review equivalent) for digital scholarship. While these social changes will progress slowly, it was felt that acceptance of digital scholarship is inevitable, but likely to happen sooner for those forms of scholarship that most closely resemble the existing model of printed publications.

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