Over the past couple of months I’ve been putting together a new project, a brief handbook aimed at pre-tenure faculty members in the humanities and social sciences. It actually started as a blog post here, then expanded well out of control, and now here we are.
Today, I’m pleased to announce the open-access publication of Talking about Impact: a handbook for pre-tenure humanists and social scientists, through the Wayne State University Digital Commons. My own work straddles several disciplinary realms, and it’s been fascinating, over the past decade, to speak to colleagues from disciplines as far afield as Semitic philology and cognitive neuroscience about what they value, and why. Being on the tenure track is extremely stressful, and nearly everyone feels anxiety about the process. When going up for tenure, your work will be read and evaluated by people who have no knowledge of your field, and often have very different ideas about how to evaluate scholarship. It’s worth taking some time to organize some knowledge about how and why your work matters, to leave as little as possible to chance. Talking about Impact is meant to serve that function for people across the humanities and social sciences, whether they’re tenured or not.
I’m making the handbook available for everyone, freely, under a Creative Commons license, in the hope that it will be of broad use. I decided against traditional publication because it’s an article-length work, but hardly the sort of thing that a journal would publish, and in any case, any venue like that would have far too restricted an audience. Please feel free to download and distribute widely.