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8 Ways Universities Can Make Career Assessment Equitable

From Nature Careers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Academic success is still defined mainly by publishing lots of articles in high-impact journals and landing prestigious grants. These measures privilege one type of academic profile and skill set. They fetishize the ‘lone scholar’ and obscure the crucial contributions of teamwork and good leadership.

There is growing awareness that current measures of good scholarship are sorely insufficient, or even inappropriate, to assess a diverse population of academics and academic roles. Important impacts that are mostly hidden include mentorship and leadership, teaching, academic citizenship (the work done outside normal teaching and research, often to support a university’s civic mission) and societal engagement.

In 2019, a position paper called ‘Room for everyone’s talent’ was published by five academic organizations: Universities of the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centers, the Dutch Research Council and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development. The paper called for all Dutch universities to develop recognition and rewards (R&R) policies. It said that these should support diverse skill- and competency-based career paths, recognize both individual and team performance, and value quality over quantity in academic outputs.

Universities were urged to re-examine their current policies and recognize a more diverse array of skills and competencies, career scenarios and work–life balance challenges in scholars’ performance evaluations. They were encouraged to become more inclusive of people who have worked outside academia for a period of time or had other kinds of career break, or whose profiles emphasize outreach, leadership or teaching over publishing and grant acquisition.

But diversifying standards of excellence does not automatically advance diversity….

Read the full artile on the Nature Careers Blog –

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in this blog by Dr Yvonne Couch – Your resume needs you.

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