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Weatherford Hall peering through some trees.

Oregon State-led coalition pushes to increase universities' societal impacts, inclusivity

By Steve Lundeberg

University promotion and tenure criteria and processes should be broadened and made more inclusive to value innovation, entrepreneurship and other forms of scholarly impact, a collaboration led by Oregon State University asserts today in a paper published in Science.

Eighteen authors from 14 institutions across the United States, including four OSU researchers, teamed up on the article, which stems from the work of the Promotion and Tenure, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PTIE) Coalition, a group of more than 100 leaders representing 65 universities and 13 national organizations.

Led by principal investigator Rich G. Carter, professor of chemistry in the College of Science, the coalition’s efforts were supported by a grant awarded to Oregon State from the National Science Foundation in 2019, with additional support from VentureWell and the Lemelson Foundation.

The grant also funded a nationwide survey of nearly 100 institutions by co-principal investigator Jana Bouwma-Gearhart, associate professor of science and mathematics education and associate dean of research and faculty advancement for the College of Education at OSU. The survey found misalignment among innovation and entrepreneurship priorities and university reward systems, and results were described in detail in a recent article in Change, the Magazine of Higher Learning.

“Given the reality that the most important output of any institution is the people it produces, universities must continue to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world,” said Carter, the Science article’s lead author and a chemistry professor who also serves as the faculty lead for innovation excellence in the OSU Research Office. “These recommendations will directly help universities to meet that need while also addressing the potential for bias in the review process to make the academy more inclusive.”

Read the full story here.

The College of Science’s Diversity Action Plan, a unified effort to translate extensive community feedback into changes to be implemented starting Fall 2021, includes establishing holistic, inclusive, and equitable hiring, recruitment, and retention practices.