academic scorecard

How should I work with academics? In the past 15 years of hosting Planeta.com, the rules have changed a number of times, but incredibly we still don’t see a public online inventory/database of academic work in the field.

If we were to evaluate how well colleges, universities, polytecs and other educational centers work in ecotourism and responsible travel, what would the scorecard look like? How would students, faculty and locals evaluate the work underway?

Here’s the first draft of a presentation that explores how this could work to mutual benefit.

academic scorecard

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2 Responses to academic scorecard

  1. Scott Walker says:

    Planeta asks…”How should Planeta.com work with academics? In the past 15 years the rules have changed a number of times, but incredibly we still don’t see a public online inventory/database of academic work in the field.”

    This is largely because academic work in the field (any academic field for the most part) is documented in academic journals. Academics are rewarded based on publications in high-quality journals. Journals are largely kept in online, full-text databases these days and are only accessible through college/university library subscriptions. Thus, the record is there, it is overwhelming in fact, it’s just not available to the general public.

    Publication by academics in “consumer literature,” in which Planeta would be cast, is less than desirable, even weak, in the view of many tertiary institutions. When one is weak academically, one does not get tenure. If one does not get tenure then one goes hungry. This is the nature of the academic beast we’ve created. Changing several hundred years of this process will be difficult at best.

    “If we were to evaluate how well colleges, universities, polytecs and other educational centers work in ecotourism and responsible travel, what would the scorecard look like?”

    It might look like any other scorecard, it just simply won’t be important to post-secondary institutions though I’m afraid.

    “How would students, faculty and locals evaluate the work underway?”

    Perhaps students evaluate programs based on their perception of ability to get “good” jobs after they graduate. For graduate-level students a program’s reputation (often found in the academic literature) is how they evaluate.

    I would submit that faculty don’t care.

    Locals might evaluate a program based on it’s ability to gain a community income generating possibilities. That’s been my experience.

  2. ronmader says:

    Good points, Scott. That said, after seeing how academics evaluate various components of ecotourism and responsible travel, it’s time that we evaluate the academics themselves, something along the lines of a TripAdvisor of the mind. My presentation — http://www.slideshare.net/planeta/academics — pushes the case that beyond evaluation what we need is meaningful engagement. Schools used to foster a love of learning. Many have simply become grist mills and students, alumni and locals are noticiing. It’s time for a positive change.

    For my part, I’ll work with the academics and educational institutions open to working with me. It’s time to develop an innovative program integrating the various components of ecotourism and responsible travel. This is and needs to be public. As we head into 2010, I’d argue that subscription-based scholarship is a dead end.

    These are ideas I’ll bring up at the upcoming conference in Belize. Keep an eye on the Powerpoint presentation as it will be updated as this work moves forward.

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