Fanning the Flames:
Tenure and Promotion and Other Role-Playing Games

Janice R. Walker

University of South Florida


  1. In his review of this CoverWeb article, Dickie Selfe said that this seems to "contradict what Seth has proposed, that we techno-rhets be largely responsible for justifying our activities in terms that the unitiated will understand and value." Selfe points out, rightly, that we ("techno-rhets") do not really "want to let go of our control over the description of the 'fit' of our scholarship." However, as Seth Katz points out in his proposal, ultimately "our experience will force us to consider altering or replacing the traditional categories of academic activity." David Gillette and Cindy Nahrwold, however, also in this CoverWeb, agree that attempting to justify what we do online based on existing categories just won't do. As Gillette says in his proposal, "[P]ublication on the web . . . should not be considered as equally valid to printed publication for tenure consideration [because] web publications are fundamentally different than print, requiring separate evaluation."

  2. Johndan Johnson-Eilola in reviewing this text pointed out that it certainly is possible to mirror existing structures online. This is precisely the fear I have: when we try to "fit" online work into existing categories for purposes of tenure and promotion, we may do just that -- simply mirror what already exists -- rather than attempting to find new definitions. As David Gillete proposes,
    What needs to be reconsidered is not whether on-line publication is as good as printed publication, but whether the tradition-bound, print-based standards for tenure evaluation need to be revised so they are more in line with the goals of what most people consider to be true scholarship, learning and teaching.

  3. Even though I wanted this hypertext to do something different, something beyond the traditional "paper" published online, interestingly enough the subdirectory it is in is called "papers" ( I had hoped to write this as a non-paper, to write it entirely online, and to write it on two levels--one where it would speak through the text, and a second level where what I was saying in the text was apparent through the hypertext -- through the links. However, being limited in knowledge of how to do some of the things I had hoped to do, as well as being brought up and educated in a print-based world, I found myself, instead, printing out drafts and editing them with a pen. What this means to me, however, is that it will take many more hours of study, of research, of exploration, many more "papers" (or attempts at "non-papers") before we are ready to even come close to envisioning the future. Or, perhaps, we can only make a start in that direction.

  4. Greg Siering's job as links editor is a tough one, not only ensuring that all the links in a hypertext work, but also looking at how the author has included those links. In this hypertext, one of the things I had hoped to accomplish was to let the reader get lost--lost in the Web as well as lost in the text. However, Doug's suggestion that the links to outside of the text should include the target="link" tags does make sense from an editor's point of view, so I have incorporated the changes in this article. But, in so doing, I have also, once again, bowed to the print-based world that believes that a text should be read completely, even if, in this case, it is not necessarily read from beginning to end in a linear fashion.


J. Walker, 1997.
Last modified 21 February 1997.