So, I asked this question on Twitter earlier today, but I thought I’d make the discussion easier here on my personal (non-volcano) blog. Here’s the gist:
We are currently running a search for a tenure-track professor and it got me wondering how to evaluate candidates. In baseball, players are ranked (especially young players) based on the 5 tools:
1. Running speed
2. Hitting for contact
3. Hitting for power
4. Fielding ability
5. Arm strength
These are seen as the 5 most important, fundamental aspects to playing the game of baseball. Players are rated by scouts on a scale of 20-80, where 20 is poor and 80 is truly exceptional. For example, a player with a 80 rating for hitting for power will knock out the lights in the stadium like the “The Natural” while a 20 will barely hit it out of the infield.
So, I started thinking, can we define the 5 tools of academics – the 5 most fundamental pieces needed to succeed in academics, either at a big research school or a small liberal arts (or everything in between). What are you thoughts? What are the skills and what score would you give the best R1 or SLAC professors in each of the tools? Do you think this is an effective way to impartially assess candidates or is there no way to pull that off? Lots of things to ponder, hopefully some of you will join the discussion.