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Balancing The Demand For Teaching And Sponsored Research Activity

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Issues and Directions in ET Education & Administration: Part II

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.225.1 - 15.225.12



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Paper Authors


Daniel Johnson Rochester Institute of Technology

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Daniel P. Johnson is an Associate Professor and Department Chair in the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology/Packaging Science Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. He teaches courses in manufacturing operations, automation, robotics, computer aided manufacturing and operations strategy. Prior to joining the MMET/PS Faculty he was Director of RIT’s Manufacturing Management and Leadership Program, Engineering Manager for the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, and an Advanced Manufacturing Engineer for Allied Signal. He has a Master of Engineering Degree in Manufacturing and a BS in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from RIT as well as an AAS in Engineering Science from Hudson Valley Community College.

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Brian Thorn Rochester Institute of Technology

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Brian K. Thorn is an Associate Professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an M.S. and Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests include sustainable product and process design, life cycle analysis and applied statistical methods.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Balancing the Demand for Teaching and Sponsored Research Activity


Academic departments routinely struggle to strike a balance between two competing needs:

- the need to deliver classes with capacity and frequency sufficient to meet student demand, and

- the need to conduct sponsored research at a level to support meaningful scholarly contributions by the faculty

Universities and departments have a strategic decision to make when it comes to setting a goal for what percentage of the organization’s efforts should be dedicated to teaching vs. research. Some may be comfortable with more than half of their total faculty efforts dedicated to sponsored research, while others might find this level intolerable. After the strategic decision is made, the stochastic nature of these activities can continue to present a serious challenge to administrators attempting to achieve and maintain the desired balance of activity. This paper outlines an effort to build a model which can be used to examine the variability inherent in such systems, and to use past experience to plan for likely future outcomes. The model generates information on the likelihood of an oversupply or shortage of faculty capacity and the potential that organizational metrics like percentage of adjunct faculty use could fall outside acceptable ranges.

Introduction and Background

Academic institutions must address a number of constituencies along a variety of dimensions as they seek to fulfill their missions. The mission statement for the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the institution that the authors will address here, reads in part:

“Our mission is to provide technology-based educational programs for personal and professional development. We rigorously pursue new and emerging career areas. We develop and deliver curricula and advance scholarship relevant to emerging technologies and social conditions.”

At this institution, there is a good deal of variability among departments in terms of how their activities are expected to support the pursuit of “new and emerging career areas” and “advance scholarship relevant to emerging technologies”. However, in the engineering and technology oriented programs, there is a clear expectation that support of these dimensions of RIT’s mission should come, in large part, from scholarly research, preferably funded research.

At the academic department level there is an ongoing challenge to provide significant scholarly research opportunities for faculty. As a matter of faculty and departmental advancement it is

Johnson, D., & Thorn, B. (2010, June), Balancing The Demand For Teaching And Sponsored Research Activity Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16586

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