The particular question in the survey is worded as follows:
Does your campus/institution have a formal program to recognize and reward the use of information technology as part of the routine faculty review and promotion process?Now, the whole issue of how faculty are reviewed for promotion (and tenure) is fraught and complex and related to controversies around tenure, the appropriate relationship between research and teaching, the rising role of contingent faculty, and indeed the very value and purpose of faculty. But even asking the question suggests that this is something our institutions should be doing. As Casey puts it,
For example, even as instructional integration is the top institutional IT priority again this fall, less than a fifth of campuses (17 percent) recognize instructional IT efforts as part of the faculty review and promotion process.If it's a top priority, why wouldn't we tie it to the way we review and provide incentives for faculty?
Here's Bryan Alexander responding to Casey's findings:
How do colleges and universities support faculty in using technology? Badly, it turns out, according to one critical measure. A look back at decades of campus computing strategy finds that the majority of American campuses neither recognize nor reward professors who integrate tech in their teaching and research.To use Bryan's word from the title of the posting (and I know he chooses words carefully) our institutions "refuse" to recognize the use of technology by not using it as part of the criteria for faculty recognition.
I'm an advocate of providing technology to faculty and providing the best possible training and support that my institution's resources can muster, but ultimately technology is a means, not an end. Technology has the potential to transform instruction, improve engagement, and expand access to learning. Technology constantly opens new avenues for research and enables new exploration and discovery. But faculty should be rewarded for excellent teaching and research. If my campus had a practice of providing some kind of weighting or quota for the use of technology that was used in a review process, I'd be concerned that this would become a check box, detached from the meaningful goals at the center of the faculty role.
There's a lot to critique about the way that faculty are reviewed and rewarded, but I don't believe that adding "did you use technology" or "how much technology did you use" to the review process will provide the outcomes we want. Those of us who provide technology need to listen carefully to our faculty colleagues, work in partnership with them to incorporate the right technologies (and ditch the wrong ones) and keep the focus on the goal: student learning. That's the outcome that concerns me, not how much technology we use. So it doesn't concern me at all that 17% (and holding) of institutions refuse to "recognize and reward" the use of technology - except that 17% might be higher than I would like.