A Collective Vision for Scholarship

Background and Purpose

As a result of a Universitywide reorganization in 2011-2012, San Francisco State University established a new college that joined departments and programs in Health and Human Services with those from Behavioral and Social Sciences. The reorganization inspired a reflective endeavor to create a shared vision for what constitutes meaningful scholarship in our college.

To this end, the dean of the College charged the Task Force on Scholarship to (a) undertake an examination of the values and principles that guide scholarship in the College and (b) draft a statement that reflects these values and principles. The Task Force consists of faculty members at different ranks and across different units within the College. The Task Force deliberated throughout AY 2011-2012. To examine the values and principles underlying scholarship in the College, the Task Force examined faculty and departmental input from the following three sources: (a) a Roundtable on Scholarship in Fall 2012, (b) an online survey for faculty and (c) a thematic analysis of the Retention, Tenure and Promotion Guidelines of all units within the College. The statement below emerged from the Task Force’s analysis of the information from these three sources.

This statement seeks to affirm the breadth and depth of the invaluable scholarship we conduct across all disciplines within the College and reflect the collective efforts of all faculty throughout the College. We have organized this statement to present (a) the vision of scholarship that inspires our work, (b) the values that are the foundations of our scholarship, and (c) the principles that guide our actions and reflect these values.


Consistent with the social justice mission of the University, the hallmark of the College is its belief in the potential of scholarship to right a wrong—an act of intellectual advocacy to serve the public good, to wrestle with critical social problems, and to transform how individuals, communities, and institutions function—by advancing and disseminating the knowledge and practice of specific disciplines. This purpose is best achieved when scholarship is supported as a faculty-initiated and faculty-driven process that emerges from their intellectual curiosity, expertise and professional identity. To affirm the breadth of faculty interests and to honor the spectrum of academic disciplines, the College embraces an inclusive view of scholarship as discovery, integration, application, teaching, and engagement. We value scholarship that is ethical, innovative, interdisciplinary, collaborative, theoretical and applied.


  • Transformative: Affirms scholarship that leads to positive social change and addresses critical societal problems by advancing both knowledge and practice.
  • Academic Freedom: Supports faculty in pursuing scholarship true to their intellectual passions and curiosities.
  • Inclusive: Embraces a broad, inclusive view of scholarship.
  • Community-Focused: Emphasizes culturally competent and socially engaged scholarship that responds to and addresses the needs of communities, particularly those that are marginalized and underserved.


  • Multiple Indicators: Utilizes a range of criteria to evaluate scholarship. 
    The College regards the evaluation of faculty scholarship as a complex process that is best achieved through an analysis of multiple criteria rather than reliance on any single criterion. Faculty who, through their scholarly pursuits, invest themselves in the training of future scholars are especially recognized in the College.
  • Quality and Quantity: Recognizes the evaluation of scholarship as a balance between quality and quantity.
    While quality and quantity are both integral to this evaluation, there is an emphasis on multiple indicators of quality, such as innovation, professional and community impact, quality of publication venue, and so forth.
  • Peer Assessment: Supports the fundamental role of faculty in evaluating scholarship.
    Faculty from relevant fields and disciplines are critical to the assessment of the significance and quality of scholarship.
  • Funding for Scholarship: Celebrates the full range of scholarship, with and without funding.
    The College views funding as a means to support scholarship rather than a goal of scholarship. Faculty members are encouraged to obtain funding only to the extent that such grants are needed to advance their scholarship, their professional agenda, and/or the welfare of the community.
  • Developmental: Respects the evolving process of scholarship and one’s scholarly agenda and accomplishments.
    We recognize that the skills to pursue a scholarship agenda are honed over time and that tangible scholarly outcomes require sustained dedication.