Faculty Scholarship: A Study of the Accepted Forms of Scholarly Activity and the Perceived Importance in Granting Faculty Tenure in TAC of ABET Accredited Baccalaureate Engineering Technology Programs

James J. Hurny, St. John Fisher College


Traditionally engineering technology (ET) faculty members were expected to excel in teaching, maintain currency in their field, and serve the profession and society. Those factors were critical relative to being awarded tenure. Emphasis on scholarship and the engagement in scholarly activity were not generally required of faculty members teaching engineering technology but overall expectations appear to have changed. This study identified the acceptable forms of scholarly activity for engineering technology faculty and examined the perceived importance of those activities to granting tenure. The scholarly activities identified were evaluated within the framework of Boyer’s (1990) four scholarship domains and the relative importance of each of those domains to tenure decision making was examined. An experiment comparing the relative importance of refereed journal publication to that associated with the receipt of patents was included in the study. Data provided by engineering technology faculty and chief administrators via an online survey indicated that (a) faculty and administrators share common views regarding the relative importance of various scholarly activities to the receipt of tenure, (b) Boyer’s scholarship model has been embraced by engineering technology and the importance of each domain to tenure varies by institution type, and (c) there is no difference in importance between refereed journal publication and patent receipt relative to the receipt of tenure. The scholarly activities chosen by faculty seeking tenure to meet their scholarship expectations is an important consideration because of varying perceived importance.