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Archive for March, 2010

ScholarshipQ: What is the role of academic research at our institution?

A: This is a question that I have spent the past 20 years giving careful consideration.

In my opinion, the answer begins with the mission & vision of the school. In our case:

The College of Business is committed to preparing students to be active and engaged citizens who are exceptionally well qualified leaders for success in a global competitive marketplace.

and

CoB faculty members believe that a balance between teaching and research is the most effective way to educate their students. Scholarly contributions complement classroom teaching by helping faculty members maintain currency in their discipline. Furthermore, students gain a deeper understanding of subject matter, a greater appreciation of a discipline’s body of knowledge, and added enthusiasm for learning when they are taught by active scholars.

As an administrator I believe that the first step is to develop a culture of scholarship and to actively promote this culture within the college, within the university and with external constituents. It is important to consistently articulate the relationship between scholarship and our stated mission of “preparing students”. As a starting pointing, faculty scholarship complements classroom teaching.

Some of the good things the college now does are:

  1. annual scholarship awards (practice, teaching, theory) done at the college level
  2. summer research grants where faculty are held accountable for results from previous awards
  3. research “colloquium” within some departments
  4. clear AQ standards with clear consequences for not meeting standards

Some things we can do better:

  1. clearly and consistently articulating the importance of scholarship – particularly as it relates to “preparing students” and to “being effective in the classroom”.
  2. increased resources for activities associated with good scholarship: travel to academic conferences, summer research grants, and sabbaticals.
  3. increased promotion of the outstanding scholarship – press releases, “expert” database with connection to reporters (local and national)
  4. college level support for interdepartmental scholarship – workshops (research methods & grants); support for undergraduate research; support for honors program w/senior thesis; faculty engagement with executive advisory council
  5. faculty led effort to examine promotion and tenure standards across departments.

Faculty scholarship is the “currency” of academia. I firmly believe that at an institution like ours, a culture of faculty scholarship is essential for us in order for us to successfully complete our mission. We need faculty members who are actively engaged in their academic community. These faculty members must be engaged in scholarship related to the issues our graduates face in the business world. Only through the activities associated with scholarship (reading, discussion, data collection, analysis, writing) will our faculty be on “top of their game” and be the type of faculty we want in our classrooms.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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QuestionHere are the questions that the department heads are asking the associate dean candidates.  I will answer each of these questions in the next several weeks.

  1. What should the role of scholarship be at our institution?
  2. What role should assessment play?  How is this related to curriculum review and development?
  3. If you and the dean disagreed on an issue, how would you handle this?
  4. How would you promote better teaching in the college?
  5. What is your view of the graduate programs in the college?
  6. What experience do you have with working with institutional data in the decision making process for issues such as enrollment management and determining faculty lines?
  7. What is your view of the college’s “brand”?
  8. For the issues that you are not familiar, how would you ‘get up to speed’?

Others that could/should be asked:

  1. Do you have experience with setting an academic budget?
  2. What would be your primary mechanisms for acquiring resources for the program?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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