This article responds to the stimulating comments of Kurt Weyland (2015) about the important but seldom discussed full professor promotion process. He suggested a number of problems, particularly candidates who are too eager to “go up” and institutions with insufficiently rigorous publication standards. Rather than proposing a top-down solution, Weyland urged associate professors to wait until they cleared a high research bar. By contrast, I see few systemic problems with the current promotion process. Although research is important, our academic ecosystem requires the valuing of a wide range of faculty activities and contributions. In addition, asking faculty to jump through even more research hoops may be ‘fiddling while Rome burns.’ It overlooks the crucial issue that we all face: making the case for the value of higher education to taxpayers, parents, lawmakers, students, employers, philanthropists, voters, and society. I am optimistic that we can do so, but it may require a new set of academic priorities—less of the status games that can animate our academic lives and more of a focus on how our work benefits society.
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