Final Report (draft) of the 2020 Public Service Commission
Working Group on Faculty Rewards for Public Service Activities
9th April, 2000
Working group members: Robert Hull (Chair), Rich DeMong, Betsy Flanagan, Jim Kennan,
Marcus Martin, Bob Novak, Kathy Thornton. Guest member: E. Kitch
The charge of the working group was to develop an initial set of recommendations for
ensuring appropriate faculty recognition and reward for public service activities. While
restricting itself to this charge, the group felt it also important to acknowledge the
outstanding achievements of general faculty, staff and students in the public service
arena. It is our sense that the faculty recognition and rewards proposed in this document
are as appropriate for the general faculty as they are for the tenured and tenure-tracked
faculty. We recommend that the Commission also consider how to enhance recognition and
reward of public service activities by staff and students.
The five critical elements of a strategy for encouraging and supporting significant
public service activities by individual faculty member are:
- Ensuring strong and visible commitment to public service and outreach from the
University leadership (i.e. President, Provost, Vice-Presidents and Deans)
- Ensuring that there is wide acceptance and approval of these initiatives from the
faculty members themselves
- Promoting the message that public service activity represents an additional professional
opportunity for faculty to contribute to the Universitys overall mission
- Ensuring appropriate reward and recognition structures, both in annual evaluation and
promotion and tenure procedures.
- Ensuring that faculty public service activities align with, and strengthen, teaching and
Public Service as a Professional Opportunity for Faculty
Public service should be emphasized as an additional opportunity for faculty members to
contribute to the overall university mission, in addition to conventional teaching and
research activities. It is critical that the concept of public service be clearly defined,
and differentiated from university service (committees) and professional service (society
membership, conference organization etc).
In most Schools and Colleges, contributions in the public service arena are currently
regarded as, at best, a "junior partner" with respect to contributions in
teaching and research. This is perhaps inevitable, given the present lack of recognition
for public service activities. To combat this, we propose establishing mechanisms for
institutionalizing recognition of public service activities. Traditionally, faculty
members are evaluated primarily according to their contributions to teaching and research
activities, with a greatly reduced secondary emphasis on "service". In this
context, service generally encompasses activities internal to the university and
activities external to professional bodies and to the public, with the balance of
recognition for internal vs. professional vs. public service varying by School / College
and Department. As a first major step towards an effective reward structure for public
service activities, it is critical that there be a universal acceptance and application of
the tenet that public service is at least as valuable as the other service categories. To
further encourage substantial public service initiatives by faculty, we encourage schools
/ colleges to consider mechanisms whereby public service can be elevated to a
"primary" activity. For example, a "dual ladder" for faculty
professional development could be established, whereby faculty could opt to identify
public service in combination with either research or teaching as their primary
activities, with the remaining activity being of secondary importance in evaluating the
individuals contributions. (Note that this would not affect the requirement for
quality in application of the secondary activity. For example, were teaching chosen by an
individual as a secondary activity, this would translate into a lower number of courses
taught, rather than a reduced commitment to quality of teaching). This would offer an
exciting (even re-vitalizing) opportunity for many members of the faculty. The choice of
which ladder to follow should not be irrevocable, and could change several times during an
individuals career according to opportunity and enthusiasm.
Each school / college would be expected to develop and implement a mechanism for formal
recognition of public service activities (either the dual ladder model above, or an
alternative system), according to their needs, their strengths, and their mission.
We recognize that with their current responsibilities and work-loads, faculty members
are typically over-extended. Thus we believe it to be critical to determine which elements
of the public service mission will be appropriate to different segments of the University
community (i.e. faculty, staff, students). It is the belief of the Working Group that
faculty efforts should generally be directed towards those public service activities that
integrate with, and enhance, research and teaching programs.
Faculty members will need to be convinced that they will be appropriately rewarded if
they devote significant fractions of their time to public service activities. In addition,
it is critical that contributions to the public service mission of the university not be
(or be perceived to be) detrimental to an individuals success in the promotion and
tenure process, but rather that such contributions be regarded as an integral and
important component of a successful case. Finally, peer recognition of public service
activities will be very important. To ensure that these goals are met, it is necessary
that a process be established such that contributions to the public service mission be
recognized to be in the interest of the department and school / college, as well as the
To achieve the above, we recommend the following measures:
- To help ensure appropriate recognition of public service activities in annual faculty
evaluations, each department should be required to demonstrate significant achievement in
public service, consistent with that departments realistic role (to be negotiated
with the Dean of the relevant School or College) in the public service mission. A
component of a department chairs own evaluation would be based on this metric.
Similarly a school or college would be expected to demonstrate commensurately scaled (to
be defined by negotiation with the appropriate University official or body) achievement in
the public service arena, which would represent a component of the Deans evaluation.
- In general, a faculty members public service efforts would receive greater
recognition (reward) if it is demonstrated that such activities are synergistic with
his/her teaching and research activities.
- To help ensure appropriate recognition of public service activities in promotion and
tenure decisions, a school or colleges tenure and promotion committee would be
required to demonstrate that the slate of candidates recommended for promotion and tenure
in a given year have, as a group, made significant contributions to the public service
mission. (This requirement would be restricted to those units where the number of
candidates in a given year make determination of such an "average" or
"net" contribution statistically viable. Otherwise this criterion will have to
be applied over the sum of candidates from several years). One caveat to this requirement,
however, is that schools / colleges should carefully consider whether encouraging
substantial public service activities is in the best interest of tenure-track assistant
and associate professors. While it should be assumed that sufficient achievement in this
arena would be a strong component of a successful tenure case within UVa, it is probably
realistic to acknowledge that if denied tenure at UVa, a faculty member who has devoted
substantial fractions of his / her effort to public service initiatives (with
correspondingly reduced efforts in research and teaching) may be less
"marketable" in their search for an alternative position. It is certainly to be
hoped that as the culture evolves at UVa and other institutions, this will become less of
an issue, and such public service expertise will become greatly sought after.
- University chairs in public service should be established. The number of chairs would
correspond to at least one per school or college. These chairs would be rotating, so that
an individual would hold the chair for a fixed period (we suggest five years). These
chairs will be awarded to faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the public
service mission of the university, with the expectation that awardees will continue a
comparable level of achievement during tenure of the chair. The financing of such chairs,
and the remuneration associated with them would be consistent with existing research and
- Additional faculty positions, one or two per school or college (depending on size and
mission) should be established to recruit faculty who will make significant impact on the
public service mission. Within the school or college, departments would compete for the
faculty positions, which would be granted for an initial period of five years.
- Annual university-wide public service awards (of comparable number and value to teaching
awards) should be made. Schools / colleges and departments should be encouraged to make
- Sabbaticals for public service activities should be granted, according to guidelines
consistent with existing policies for research sabbaticals. Such sabbaticals should be
available to academic, research and general faculty, as well as to administrative staff.
- Significant publicity should be given to the above initiatives, including an annual
award banquet hosted by the president and other leaders of the university. Such publicity
would emphasize the importance of the public service mission both internally and
- We recommend that each school or college consider establishing an Assistant or Associate
Dean for Public Service. These officials should coordinate their activities with a Vice
President for Public Service (i.e. Public Service only).
- We recommend that a competitive process be established within the university to solicit
faculty proposals for new public service initiatives, with significant funding available
for the best proposals. This will seed new high quality public service activities within
the university, and stimulate discussion and awareness among faculty. It will also help
faculty develop the track record to enable them to compete effectively for external
funding of public service initiatives. Finally, it could be used as a vehicle to encourage
inter-disciplinary programs across university units.
It should be emphasized that implementation of the above recommendations would require
significant new resources to be allocated at the University level. It is not envisioned
that the necessary resources to implement the above recommendations would be re-allocated
from existing teaching or research programs.
Achievement in public service, by its nature, is more difficult to quantify than
contributions to teaching (quantifiable through student evaluations, credit hours taught
etc.) and research (overhead dollars generated, number of publications etc.) It will thus
require commitment from faculty, department chairs and deans for effective evaluation.
We assume that each school or college would define its own public service mission,
consistent with the Universitys mission. Achievements of an individual, particularly
if opting for public service as a primary activity, would then be evaluated in the context
of that mission. Each school / college would be expected to develop a documented
evaluation process for public service activities that addresses both quality and quantity
of the public service contrinution. One example of such a process might be that the
relative contributions of faculty in a given school / college who choose public service as
a primary activity be evaluated by a faculty committee of that unit. Another example might
be that an external or advisory board assume the evaluation responsibility. One metric for
the effectiveness of the chosen evaluation method would be that the mean salary raise
awarded to that group of faculty who adopt public service as a primary activity should be
equal to that group of faculty who do not exercise that option, when averaged over several
years and assuming comparable evaluation of the quantity and quality of the relative
contributions. Whatever evaluation metric is adopted, it should be sufficiently flexible
to encourage and reward co-operative activities across units within the university.
For these initiatives to succeed, it is critical that a significant majority of the
faculty approve of the concept of placing public service contributions on a par with
teaching and research activities, and that there be broad discussion and opportunity for
suggesting improvements to the proposals outlined in this document. There will also need
to be support (or, at a minimum, acceptance) by department heads, deans, vice-presidents,
the provost and the president. In particular, we believe that it is critical that the
senior university leadership affirm their commitment to the public service concept, and
demonstrate a willingness to commit resources. We therefore envisage the following process
for developing these proposals, and for building support.
- Input from the entire 2020 Public Service Commission. In particular a clear definition
of "public service" is a pre-requisite for any meaningful discussion with
- Discussion with the president, provost and vice-presidents (check point: affirmation of
commitment and willingness to commit resources)
- Input from the faculty. The following mechanisms are envisaged. (a) Informal discussion
groups within the departments of subcommittee members (check point: is the scope of our
proposals realistic?. (b) A questionnaire to the entire faculty of a selected school or
college, (c) At a later stage, a presentation to the Faculty Senate.
We need to emphasize the great opportunities these proposals present to the faculty,
departments, schools / colleges and the university:
- The opportunity for increased external funding of university programs, for example
through Foundation funding of public service programs, and for a more diverse range of
options for donors in Capital Campaigns.
- Enhanced visibility, recognition and ranking of the university nationally.
- The opportunity for faculty to extend their range of professional contributions, and to
be re-invigorated by a new spectrum of opportunities and challenges.
- Experience gained from public service activities will provide new perspectives for
teaching and research activities, and can be expected to lead to increased creativity in
- Increased faculty involvement in public service activities should naturally lead to
increased opportunities, and appreciation, for student activities in this arena.
- Increased public awareness of the contributions of the university, schools / colleges
and individuals to the well-being of the community and the Commonwealth.