June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.907.1 - 13.907.8
Motivating Research in an Engineering Teaching Institution
This paper discusses multiple ways of motivating and assisting faculty to conduct research and scholarly work at what has traditionally been a highly teaching-focused university. As part of this initiative a number of novel institutional programs have been devised and implemented. This initiative encompasses programs such as creating faculty professional development funds; offering faculty awards in the form of money and time allocation; presenting distinguished scholar awards; publicizing and celebrating scholarly work; formally incorporating research goals in annual plans at the college/school, department, and individual faculty levels; and other incentives. The impact of these efforts has resulted in a significant, measurable increase in research and scholarly work over the last four years. Details relating to the institutional programs and faculty research over this four year period are shared.
The success and reputation of any undergraduate or graduate engineering program depends upon whether the students, faculty, facilities, equipment, and initiatives can keep pace with the technological advances of the 21st century and its ability to grab the various opportunities that open up from these changes. To a larger extent, research activities contribute to the reputation of an institution. As long as such support is available, the likelihood of being able to promote research activities is very high. In the last two decades, American universities have experienced increased emphasis and significant research activities in institutions that are considered primarily teaching institutions. Concomitantly, the roles of faculty members have changed to reflect the increased importance of research. Although research output is one key component in the evaluation of salary increases, promotion, and tenure, sustaining active research in primarily teaching institutions can be challenging at best. Furthermore, as research activities in most instances are commonly pursued by the faculty through externally funded programs, obtaining such external funding can be somewhat problematic at teaching – versus research - institutions. This paper discusses multiple ways of motivating and assisting faculty to conduct research and scholarly work at what has traditionally been a highly teaching-focused university.
Role of a faculty member
The three facets of a faculty member in every university are teaching, research, and service. Teaching is a fundamental activity that every faculty member participates in. However, the role of research is becoming more important even in institutions primarily considered as teaching- focused university. Research expectations for university faculty have risen to the extent that research productivity has become a dominant criterion for hiring, tenure, and promotion at many universities. This trend has been driven by several factors, including the universities’ growing dependence on external research funding to support basic operations 3 and the desires of their administrators and faculty members for high national rankings. Faculty involvement in research is recognized as an essential component of a high quality program, primarily because faculty members are considered creators of knowledge and information1,2. Research is also considered as
Evans, H., & Viswanathan, S. (2008, June), Motivating Research In An Engineering Teaching Institution Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4181
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