a wood table with peoples hands writing in notebooks. Photo by Dylan Gillis.

Merit and Promotion

Merit and Promotion for Engaged Scholars

Public scholarship often integrates the generation of knowledge, education, and service; as such candidates are encouraged to describe and document their engagement activities throughout their candidate statement in any of these relevant sections. Public engagement may also intersect with faculty efforts to improve access and equity in university settings, including examining the value and creation of knowledge;  as such public scholarship efforts may also be discussed in the Contributions to Diversity statement.

In a 2021 response to the Provost’s Work Group Report on Public Scholarship, the Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) advised that “candidates should clearly list engagement and impact in the appropriate dossier sections (i.e., research teaching, service, professional competence, and activity) to help reviewers evaluate public scholarship contributions.”

In the UC Davis Academic Affairs Annual Call (July 2021): Documenting Research and Service in a Dossier, Academic Affairs advises: "Faculty are always encouraged to explain the context and impact of their research and service in their Candidate’s Statement so that reviewers can recognize the uniqueness of their academic endeavors. While all areas of research and scholarship are valued, candidates often appreciate the opportunity to highlight unusual and distinguishing features of their work, such as influencing public policy, international research and engagement, public scholarship, work with underrepresented groups and disadvantaged communities, etc. Highlighting such efforts in the Candidate’s Statement can provide important insights that are otherwise not always evident in an advancement dossier."

As a reflection of advancing conversations about the incorporation of public engagement in faculty recognition at UC Davis, in May 2023 Academic Affairs announced a new optional statement for Contributions to Public and Global Impact that will become part of the Senate merit & promotion process:

Statement of Contributions to Public and Global Impact (no page limit)

Faculty scholarship includes engaging locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, but the full breadth and impact of that work is not always appreciated or easily understood by those who evaluate their merit and promotion dossiers. It is currently difficult to understand, visualize, and evaluate the breadth of faculty activities that fall under these cross-cutting and high-priority areas for the university. These activities span the pillars of faculty research, teaching, and service. As such, this optional statement will provide the opportunity for faculty to specifically address areas of public and global impact in their dossier. Public and global impact may be evidenced by, for example: peer-reviewed publications, knowledge being brought into the policy and decision-making process, improving professional practice, pedagogical innovations, public exhibitions/installations, grants, contracts or competitive awards, and ways in which faculty public and global impact intersects with efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Guidance from Public Scholarship and Engagement

Faculty seeking evaluation of their public engagement activities should provide a record that documents impact and stand-alone value, including, but not limited to: 

  • Peer-reviewed scholarly publications that translate research for practitioners, entrepreneurs, business/industry leaders, or policymakers; and/or that are derived from scholarly work completed as part of these partnerships;  and/or that document the process of engagement;
  • Integration with educational efforts, including community based teaching, student projects, and educational opportunities that bridge between the university and community partners;
  • Evidence of knowledge being brought into the policy and decision-making process, including reports, policy briefs, testimony or other official presentations for elected officials, and/or management actions that resulted from the engaged scholarship.
  • Ways in which public scholarship intersects with efforts to improve equity, inclusion, and access to university resources;
  • Exhibitions, installations, or events that highlight engagement of scholarly work with communities outside of the university. 
  • Explanation of  the quantity, strength, and impact on non-university constituents, for example, legislation, adoption of innovations, and/or changes in professional practice;
  • Grants and contracts or competitive awards that recognize and support public engagement.


We have provided a guidance document co-developed with Global Affairs below, to support faculty who are writing their Public and Global Impact statements.