Consideration of Technology Transfer in Tenure and Promotion

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Genshaft, Judy
Gray-Little, Bernadette
Hanson, Karen
Marchase, Richard
Schiffer, Peter
Tanner, R. Michael
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Wickert, Jonathan
Senior Vice President And Provost
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Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost
The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, reporting to the President, is responsible for Iowa State University's land-grant academic mission in education, discovery, and service. The Division of Academic Affairs includes seven academic colleges, the Graduate College, the University Library, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach, and Enrollment Management. Additional reporting units include the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, University Honors Program, Institutional Research, Study Abroad Center, University Lectures Program, Program for Women in Science and Engineering and the Ombuds Office. The Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Ames National Laboratory also reports to the Senior Vice President and Provost.
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Universities face increasing expectations from both the public and elected officials to contribute to the economic development of their respective states, geographical regions, and the country. Technology transfer activities have proven to be a key way to meet these new imperatives. Despite the university’s expanded mission and the growing role of tech transfer, the academic community has yet to produce a consistent framework for evaluating faculty activities in technology transfer and their societal benefits. In response to this situation, the authors, working as the APLU Task Force on Tenure, Promotion, and Technology Transfer, surveyed US and Canadian universities to ascertain current approaches for defining technology transfer activities and recognizing them in assessing faculty performance. Building on the results of that survey, the authors offered the following five recommendations: 1) university policy statements should acknowledge the merit of technology transfer as part of the university’s work, while including safeguards against conflicts of interest or commitment; 2) technology transfer activities should be explicitly included among the criteria relevant for promotion and tenure at the university, college, and department levels, as appropriate to the respective disciplines; 3) technology transfer activities should be an optional component of the review process, one that will be rewarded when present but not seen as a requirement for everyone; 4) recognizing the unique character of technology transfer, the criteria should be flexible enough to encompass high-quality work in many forms of creative expression; and 5) technology transfer activities should be evaluated for intellectual contribution and expected social benefit consistent with the accepted process of peer review and without reliance on artificial metrics.


This article is from Technology & Innovation, Volume 17, Number 4, 2016, pp. 197-204(8), doi:10.3727/194982416X14520374943103.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016