Asee peer logo

Motivating Research In An Engineering Teaching Institution

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.907.1 - 13.907.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Howard Evans National University


Shekar Viswanathan National University

visit author page

Dr. Viswanathan is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Engineering and Lead Faculty on Engineering Management and Homeland Security and Safety Engineering. Lead a six full time and fifty two adjunct faculty members offering three undergraduate and six graduate programs with student population of three hundred students. Dr. Viswanathan is an educator, researcher and administrator with more than twenty-five years of industrial and academic experience encompassing engineering and environmental consulting, research and development, and technology development. Career experience includes teaching at the University level, conducting fundamental research, and developing continuing educational courses.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

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. 10.18260/1-2--4181

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015