November 3, 2022
CUNY IAR team: Ariella Trotsenko, Jessica Fields, Nhi Tran, and Cira Cardaci
Members of the CUNY Central Innovation and Applied Research Division of the Office of Research presented new findings at the second annual Promotion and Tenure – Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference (PTIE), held in July 2022 at the historic Skamania Lodge on the Columbia River, near Portland, Oregon. Supported by the National Science Foundation and hosted by Oregon State University, the Promotion and Tenure – Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PTIE) Conference explored how integrating and valuing innovation and entrepreneurial achievement can impact promotion and tenure in higher education, leading to a more diverse academic community.
The conference, which invited speakers from across the country, showcased several issues regarding university promotion and tenure: how to make the process more inclusive of innovation and entrepreneurship impact by university faculty, and how to improve transparency and fairness while reducing bias in the promotion and tenure process.
Ariella Trotsenko, Executive Manager, NY I-Corps Hub and Cira Cardaci, Assistant Manager, NY I-Corps Hub, presented “The NSF I-Corps Inclusion Summit: A Model for Increasing Awareness of the Value of I&E,” describing their development of the Inclusion Summit. The Inclusion Summit was a convening of 85 members from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges, and others to determine strategies for increasing I-Corps participation and success. They addressed outreach and invitation preparation, the activities and sessions hosted, and specific goals accomplished and outcomes, including the first Culturally Relevant Economic Development (CRED) I-Corps with eight entrepreneurs from the Native American community, including representation of multiple tribal colleges. Attendees learned how programs like I-Corps have enabled individuals and institutions to successfully incorporate innovation and entreprenership into their practices. “We felt that our work was validated when, following our presentation, two audience members at the Skamania conference who had also participated in the Inclusion Summit stood up and spontaneously shared how the Summit had impacted their institution’s participation in a positive way,” said Trotsenko. “Our research found that entrepreneurship in academia can provide an additional pathway towards promotion and tenure, and that feedback further underscored our findings.”
“Presenting at PTIE gave us a platform for sharing positive, long-term outcomes from the Inclusion Summit to an informed and engaged audience,” added Cardaci. “The Summit not only sparked inclusive entrepreneurial initiatives for the NY I-Corps Hub, such as catalyzing collaborations with three North Carolina HBCUs, but also for those who attended and remained active in its programming.”
Jessica Fields, Associate Director, NY I-Corps Hub, and Nhi Tran, Project Coordinator, NY I-Corps Hub, presented “Analysis of the Role of NSF I-Corps Training on Engineering and Science Faculty Retention Rates at CUNY.” They described retention rates of CUNY PIs within academia after completion of an I-Corps course; a comparison of retention rates to national averages; variations of retention rates by discipline and sex; and notable differences between PIs that have completed regional versus national I-Corps training. Tran and Field’s analyses suggest that the NSF I-Corps increases retention of STEM faculty in academia and may enhance their careers.
“There has been a continuous debate about whether Innovation and Entrepreneurship strengthens or distills a faculty member's candidacy for P&T and consequently, about the ability of a university to retain their STEM faculty,” said Fields. “We are glad to be a part of a growing body of research clarifying the topic. Within our case study, it has been exciting to see that the data is actually supporting the argument for integrating I&E.”
“It was wonderful to meet people from across the country because you really felt that there is a growing movement from coast to coast to incorporate I&E into Promotion and Tenure,” Tran added. “Everyone is looking for data and best practices that can justify this change to their institution, and we were excited to contribute to that growing call with our initial research.” NY I-Corps (https://newyorkicorps.org) is led by the Innovation and Applied Research Divison at CUNY, which provides entrepreneurship training to CUNY researchers. Follow the national conversation on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6958053518020591617/ For further reading: “Innovation, entrepreneurship, promotion, and tenure: Academic incentives must reward broader societal impacts,” in Science Magazine (DOI: 10.1126/science.abj2098).