Higher Education

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 707–719 | Cite as

The definition of academic merit

  • Lionel S. Lewis
  • Vic Doyno


Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 417 recommendations for merit salary awards, this article examines how faculty and administrators at an American university define merit. Particular attention is paid to how the academic characteristics of a writer or recipient affect the type of case made and the relative weight given teaching, research, and service in the letters.

The assessment of what determined merit varied by discipline and rank. It was also found that teaching is less valued than administrative service and research.


Qualitative Analysis Relative Weight Administrative Service Academic Characteristic Academic Merit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Academe (1979). 65: 348 (Appendix I).Google Scholar
  2. Gregorio, D. I., Lewis, L. S. and Wanner, R. A. (1982). “Assessing merit and need: distributive justice and salary attainment in academia,” Social Science Quarterly 63: 492–505.Google Scholar
  3. Johnson, G. E. and Stafford, F. P. (1974). “Lifetime earnings in a professional labor market: academic economists,” Journal of Political Economy 82: 549–69.Google Scholar
  4. Katz, D. A. (1973). “Faculty salaries, promotions, and productivity at a large university,” American Economic Review 63: 469–477.Google Scholar
  5. Kaun, D. E. (1979). “The impact of faculty teaching, research and service on rates of advancement,” Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  6. Lewis, L. S. (1975). Scaling the Ivory Tower: Merit and Its Limits in Academic Careers. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Lewis, L. S. (1980a). “Academic tenure: Its recipients and its effects,” Annals 448: 86–101.Google Scholar
  8. Lewis, L. S. (1980b). “Getting tenure: Change and continuity,” Academe 66: 373–381.Google Scholar
  9. Lewis, L. S., Wanner, R. A. and Gregorio, D. I. (1979). “Performance and salary attainment in academia,” The American Sociologist 14: 157–169.Google Scholar
  10. Tuckman, H. P. (1976). Publication, Teaching, and the Academic Reward Structure. Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel S. Lewis
    • 1
  • Vic Doyno
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

Personalised recommendations