Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Summer Grants

In a pervious post I noted a small empirical project I undertook suggesting that tenure and a decrease in scholarship were closely related. My impression then was that the relationship shown by the numbers way understated the decline in post tenure writing. I found massive amounts of post tenure recycling -- a series of articles that became a book, multiple editions of basically the same casebook, the ideas presented in earlier articles dressed up in new clothes, edited books of readings containing previously published works. I do not claim to be a non offender on any of these.

I am wondering how the plans different schools have for summer compensation play into this. We know this much. Law professors generally perfer not to teach in the summer and they also like to get paid. So one way to increase scholarship --- perhaps the only way to do it with post tenure people -- is to withhold summer reseach grants unless the professor can show that he or she actually produced something with past summer grants. I do not mean a 5 page transcription of a speech or something that was actually finished in May and sent out in September.

So, here is a short poll (two questions) on how your school operates.

Does your school use summer grants as a means of encouraging scholarship?
Free polls from

If so, how?
Grants only to those who used a previous grant to write or complete a substantial article or book.
Grants to those who are generally productive even if their work cannot be linked to previous grants
A general expectation that one should use a grant for research but no serious enforcement.
Available only to those who have taught in the summer recently.
Available to all who ask.
Other-- Please answer as a comment
Free polls from


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summer research stipends, like faculty raises, can be used as a device to ensure loyalty to the power structure. I know that sometimes one's productivity demands a research stipend regardless of political considerations, but in environments where grants are not awarded simply for the asking there is a threat that withholding the grant can be used as leverage. Facilitating scholarhisp is a worthy goal; determining what counts as scholarship is where the money is.

Is scholarly productivity defined as playing ball with the zeitgeist, with generating ssrn hits, or with drawing attention from the national press? Here's a radical idea: how about defining the scholarly contribution by assessing its reception among the intended audience of experts. Nah, that would take too much effort.

2/14/2007 10:12 PM  

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