To advance the broad culture change that the HuMetricsHSS initiative envisions requires strategic focus on specific leverage points in the ecosystem of higher education. While we have been able to assess the needs of individual scholars and administrators through our workshops, we know that to provide transformative tools to departments, colleges, and universities, we will need to understand their specific contexts, beginning with the values that a discipline, department, or institution holds. To better understand both that local context and what those levers of change might be, we are conducting targeted interviews at each of the Big 10 Academic Alliance (BTAA) universities.
What we hope to understand through our conversation are the roles that are played in research and scholarly evaluation at each university and the current challenges to — and opportunities for — rewarding what is most valued.
At each university we are speaking with those who are daily involved in metrics, evaluation, and impact: deans and other administrators (e.g., faculty affairs, research administration, diversity and inclusion), faculty (particularly those who serve on relevant committees in the faculty senate), librarians, and research evaluation managers. We are also reviewing institutional mission statements, statements of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and other “values-driven” documents already produced by these universities.
At the conclusion of this research, we will write a white paper that we hope will serve as a resource for sympathetic actors and provide greater transparency on the barriers that remain to enacting systemic academic change across institutions.
The first three sets of interviews took place in person prior to the onset of COVID-19, which subsequently curtailed travel. We are now conducting our interviews via Zoom, an approach we will continue — even should travel restrictions be lifted — to ensure as much continuity as possible in our data-gathering.
- Michigan State University (conducted in person): October 16–17, 2019
- University of Maryland (conducted in person): November 22, 2019
- Penn State University (conducted in person): February 13, 2020
- University of Iowa (conducted via Zoom): July 10, 20–21, 28, 30, 2020
- University of Illinois
- Indiana University
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln
- Northwestern University
- Ohio State University
- Purdue University
- Rutgers University – New Brunswick
- University of Wisconsin – Madison