June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.225.1 - 15.225.12
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. https://peer.asee.org/16586
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