Impact of Achieved Tenure and Promotion on Faculty Research Productivity at a School of Pharmacy

  • David Scott North Dakota State University
  • Michael Kelsch North Dakota State University
  • Daniel Friesner North Dakota State University
Keywords: Productivity, Scholarship, Publication Rates, Promotion and Tenure, Grants


Objective: Critics of the promotion and tenure system contend that promotion and tenure may lead to a decline in research productivity (“dead wood phenomena”) by those faculty. To assess this perception, we compiled the publications and grants at the time of application for promotion, and again through 2017 for the same faculty following promotion and/or tenure.

Methods: Promotion documents at a school of pharmacy at a public Midwestern university were assessed. Mean publication rates and grant dollars per year per faculty member were compared to the same group of faculty (n=13) pre and post-promotion.

Results: At the time of promotion to associate professor, mean numbers of total publications per year per faculty in the pharmacy practice department were 1.1, compared to 1.4 post-promotion. For pharmaceutical sciences department faculty, corresponding means were 5.0 and 4.1, respectively. At the time of promotion to full professor, mean numbers of total publications per year for pharmacy practice faculty were 7.0, compared to 7.2 post-promotion. For pharmaceutical sciences faculty, corresponding means were 3.5 and 4.7, respectively. For grant activity, both associate professors and full professors increased the mean total dollars per year from pre-promotion to post-promotion for both departments.

Conclusion: Research productivity at this school of pharmacy continues to be either maintained or increased since promotion for the collective group of faculty. This evidence runs counter to the perception that promotion and tenure may lead to decreased scholarly productivity. The study provides a roadmap for other schools/colleges to quantify research productivity and make comparisons to national mean levels reported in the literature. 


Article Type: Original Research


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Received 2019-08-05
Accepted 2019-09-30
Published 2019-12-30
Practice-Based Research