Publication Details

Smith, K. M., Else, F. & Crookes, P. A. (2014). Engagement and academic promotion: a review of the literature. Higher Education Research and Development, 33 (4), 836-847.


Universities in Australia are becoming increasingly concerned with their reputation as 'engaged' institutions. Yet there is significant confusion about what this idea of 'engagement' means and no clear way of measuring or reporting it. In part, this is because of the nature of engagement itself which is dependent on local context, partnerships and communities. This presents a difficulty for academic staff undertaking engaged work within institutions and stresses the need for institutions to develop internal processes that clearly articulate definitions of engagement, set out performance expectations and provide processes for the reward and recognition of the scholarship of engagement. In a sector increasingly concerned with the outputs of research as measurable by publication bibliometrics and grant income, the sometimes difficult to measure outcomes of engaged work can become relegated and dismissed. As part of a project to articulate performance expectations in the area of the scholarship of engagement for academic promotion at University of Wollongong, researchers undertook an extensive international literature review to learn what had been done in this area previously and to identify issues of concern. This paper sets out the findings from this review, considers the implications of engaged scholarship for academic promotion and suggests some possible ways forward for institutions and staff working in this area.



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