it is merit review time in the minnversity, where we once again assemble our research, teaching, and service contributions over the past year. in our department, a committee ranks all faculty, awarding 2 points for research, 2 for teaching, and 1 for service. as chair, of course, i'll also be evaluated on my leadership and administration record. and no, i don't get to set my own salary. our promotion and tenure committee will prepare a report and the college dean will dole out the appropriate rewards or punishments.
meeting with other chairs, i learned there is great diversity within and outside the minnversity in departmental merit procedures. i'm not sure whether she was exaggerating, but a friend from a text-based department described their previous system as based quite literally on the number of pages that faculty members wrote in the preceding year. for poets, merit was based on the number of published lines.
dang. based on that system, i suppose walt whitman would've kicked w.c. williams' li'l red wheelbarrow:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
clever. see how he stretched 16 words to eight lines rather than four? and wasn't he double-dipping by splitting wheelbarrow into two words? i'm glad that quality and "ideas that change the way that people think" are trumping sheer quantity of output in most merit reviews these days. that said, i wouldn't be surprised to find a positive correlation between quality and quantity of writing in the social sciences.