COE’s Renick Makes Headlines for Research on Expanding University Reward System

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - College of Education (COE) Assistant Professor Jennifer Renick has recently been featured in several scholarly articles for her research on a proposed restructuring and/or broadening of faculty incentives and rewards. Renick, along with three other colleagues from across the country, published a white paper in October 2023 that shed light on the current system in which research is rewarded.

“I would generally say that current incentive structures are limited to more basic forms of research and in order to adequately recognize and support diverse forms of scholarship, incentive structures need to be broadened to also consider societal impact,” said Renick.

Jennifer Renick Headshot

Currently, societally impactful research, the point Renick is driving, is not traditionally how institutions measure rewards for faculty researchers. In many cases, faculty are rewarded based on the number of times their work is published or cited. This can be seen as a barrier for a younger generation of researchers. In her research, Renick and her co-authors scanned thirteen universities and ten organizations across the U.S. that have revised their incentive structures and have seen a difference.

She said, “It was encouraging through this scan to see the many innovative approaches…to increase institutional support for societally impactful research, and I feel the University of Memphis is well-suited for such efforts, as well, given our mission and values as a public university and history of community engagement.”

White papers are reports on heavily researched topics that not only identify an issue or a problem but offer a solution within a specific industry, in this case higher education. Renick’s co-authors in this publication are Emily Ozer, PhD, from UC Berkely; Bruce Jentleson, PhD, of Duke; and Bemmy Maharramli, PhD, from UCLA.

See the articles Renick was featured in: The William T. Grant Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The HIBAR Research Alliance, and LEAD California.