Does Academic Blogging Enhance Promotion and Tenure? A Survey of US and Canadian Medicine and Pediatric Department Chairs.
BACKGROUND: Electronic educational (e-learning) technology usage continues to grow. Many medical journals operate companion blogs (an application of e-learning technology) that enable rapid dissemination of scientific knowledge and discourse. Faculty members participating in promotion and tenure academic tracks spend valuable time and effort contributing, editing, and directing these medical journal blogs. OBJECTIVE: We sought to understand whether chairs of medicine and pediatric departments acknowledge blog authorship as academic achievement. METHODS: The authors surveyed 267 chairs of US and Canadian medicine and pediatric departments regarding their attitudes toward the role of faculty participation in e-learning and blogging in the promotion and tenure process. The survey completion rate was 22.8% (61/267). RESULTS: A majority of respondents (87%, 53/61) viewed educational scholarship as either important or very important for promotion. However, only 23% (14/61) perceived importance to faculty effort in producing content for journal-based blogs. If faculty were to participate in blog authorship, 72% (44/61) of surveyed chairs favored involvement in a journal-based versus a society-based or a personal (nonaffiliated) blog. We identified a "favorable group" of chairs (19/59, 32%), who rated leadership roles in e-learning tools as important or very important, and an "unfavorable group" of chairs (40/59, 68%), who rated leadership roles in e-learning tools as somewhat important or not important. The favorable group were more likely to be aware of faculty bloggers within their departments (58%, 11/19 vs 25%, 10/40), viewed serving on editorial boards of e-learning tools more favorably (79%, 15/19 vs 31%, 12/39), and were more likely to value effort spent contributing to journal-based blogs (53%, 10/19 vs 10%, 4/40). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that although the majority of department chairs value educational scholarship, only a minority perceive value in faculty blogging effort.