Academic Exchange Quarterly
Winter 2004 ISSN 1096-1453 Volume 8,
To cite, use print source rather than this
on-line version which may not reflect print copy format
requirements or text lay-out and
Join editorial staff
Strategically Increasing Faculty Productivity
Scott C. Hammond, Utah
Susan R. Madsen, Utah
James W. Fenton, Jr.,
Hammond, Ph.D., is an Assistant
Professor of International Business and Management and an independent change
consultant; Madsen, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of Management and an Organization
Development consultant; and Fenton, Ph.D., is the Dean of the School of
Business and a Professor of Management.
of Business at Utah Valley State
College is working toward AACSB accreditation. With a relatively new Dean and
Faculty Scholarship Committee, carefully designed strategies for change have
been implemented, specifically related to increasing faculty research
productivity. Improving this productivity is a major concern and difficult task
for many schools, colleges, and universities. This article cases Utah Valley
State College to provide other institutions with ideas and a framework for
consideration in how to strategically increase faculty research
of Business at Utah Valley State College
(UVSC), with over 4,300 students, is one of the
largest undergraduate student bodies of any business school in Utah and one of the largest in the Rocky
Mountain region. With annual growth
rates between 8 and 12 percent, UVSC is adding over 2,000 students per year
while the School
of Business is attracting between 400 and 500. UVSC has gone
from a technical school to community college to state college in 15 years and
is now facing the challenge of potentially gaining university
status in a state that already has five universities. Within three years it
is anticipated that UVSC will have a larger student body than
neighboring Brigham Young
University and the University
of Business faces rapid growth,
accreditation, and the challenge to move towards university status. At the beginning of the 2002-03 academic
year, the School of Business was two years
into its candidacy for business accreditation with AACSB International—the
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. About
50 percent of the 63 member faculty had been hired when UVSC was a two
year technical school. Nearly 50 percent of the faculty hold masters degrees
and have no experience in research and publication. Yet, accreditation for graduate degree
programs requires that 90 percent of the faculty be academically qualified
(AACSB, 2001). As such, the faculty must be involved in bona fide scholarly
Other researchers and educators
have also reported similar challenges and pressures
to increase scholarly publications as well as to determine applicable faculty research
directions. Blackburn, Bieber, Lawrence, and Trautvetter (1991)
explained that today “faculty in almost every institutional type perceive
pressure to obtain external funding, conduct research, and publish their
findings (p. 385). Bentley and Blackburn (1990) studied the data from four national surveys of the
American professoriate and found that research and publishing had intensified
at all institutional types (research, comprehensive, liberal arts, and two-year
community, junior, and technical colleges). However, the debate has continued
regarding the appropriate balance, role, and type of research and publishing
for these various types of institutions (McKenna, Cotton, & Van Auken, 1995). For example, Martinez,
Toyne, and Menger (2000)
found that deans of high-teaching-emphasis schools placed a “significantly
greater importance on teaching-oriented and cross-disciplinary research” (p.
773-774) than other types. According to Cotton, McKenna, Auken,
and Meuter (2001), business schools are being pulled
in two opposing directions. “The academy, where they live, pulls them to
emphasize science and its values, and to focus on expanding the field of
knowledge” (p. 227). While the profession, “into which their graduates move,
pulls them to deal with immediately relevant, practical problems” (p. 227). Further,
Westerbeck (2004) purported that business schools
need a more experimental and aspirational approach to research. “They must be
willing to go inside organizations and experiment with new approaches to
business problems” (p. 39).
the literature has addressed these various research issues, few cases
have been published that center on a dean or committee’s specific efforts to
increase research productivity. This article does just that. It focuses on the efforts, in our School
of Business, to strategically increase
faculty research productivity for the primary purpose of obtaining
Different People Require Different Strategies for Faculty
the beginning of the 2002-03 academic year, 20 to 30 percent of the faculty members
in active research programs. While some embraced the challenge of adding
research and publication as a job requirement, others
felt they were being asked to extend beyond their training. In the fall
of 2002, the Faculty Scholarship Committee members
interviewed every faculty member and identified strategies to support increased
contributions from each category of faculty member.
noted that faculty members fell into four basic
scholarship categories, and that each category required slightly, and sometimes vastly,
different strategies for support: 1) high motivation—high ability; 2)
high motivation—low ability; 3) low motivation—high ability; and 4) low
motivation—low ability. While we did not identify individual faculty members in
each category, it was clear that there was a critical mass in each quadrant.
High Motivation – High Ability. The first type of faculty scholarship mindset included
faculty who had high motivation and high ability to research and publish. These
faculty were characterized by a strong desire to have research that
informs their teaching. They generally taught three
to four classes per semester, but found time during the week, in the evenings,
and during the summers to develop research programs. Most of the faculty in this category had doctorate
degrees, with a few notable exceptions.
Many were still involved in research that had begun
with their advisors and doctoral programs.
Most also had strong collegial relationships outside UVSC that
encouraged their continued research.
because many of these faculty members had learned to do research in institutions
whose main focus was teaching, there was concern about whether other faculty
would value a research contribution in the tenure process. Some expressed
concern that research success might be seen as coming at the expense of quality
teaching. Also, there was a great deal of concern
over burnout. Others who enjoyed and were involved in research said that if
research and publication were not rewarded they would “write themselves
to a better institution.”
The Faculty Scholarship Committee
and the Dean of the School of Business
identified this group as critical to AACSB accreditation. All the strategies
for increasing the contribution of other faculty were dependent on the
willingness of this group to share their abilities and excitement with others. The
challenge with this group was to motivate them to expand their contributions by
assisting and mentoring less experienced faculty with regards to research and
publishing. The School of Business Dean once stated that “It is not enough to
do your own research and publishing. You are expected to share your expertise by
assisting less experienced faculty members. This is the primary vehicle
necessary to yield wide-spread faculty success.” As a result, the following
strategies were developed to support motivated faculty with the ability to do
- Some teaching
load reductions were offered to those who had or were publishing.
and support was offered for those willing to mentor other faculty.
were diverted for summer faculty research grants.
was increased funding for conferences with preference given to people
- Finally, almost daily
the Associate Dean published an “e” letter called “Cheers” that
highlighted any scholarly successes.
High Motivation – Low Ability. The second type of faculty scholarship mindset included
faculty who had high motivation but low ability to research, write, and
publish. This group was composed of faculty who had deliberately sought out a
teaching institution. Some had doctorates but had not pursued research since
their dissertations. Others had master’s
degrees and had become dedicated and experienced teachers. Many were
highly committed to the institution and could see how research programs
contributed to teaching success. They were also concerned that students needed
to receive their degrees from an accredited business
school. Hence, these faculty members were open, willing, and motivated to learn
so that future UVSC students would benefit by obtaining degrees from a higher
quality, more respected school.
The Committee identified this group as the most likely to make
positive change. They were motivated, but generally lacked the ability to start
research programs. Strategies for this group included the following:
- Mentor matches were made with research faculty with
similar interests. These matches were
made informally, but encouraged by the committee. Often junior faculty found themselves
mentoring senior faculty on research projects.
focusing on basic research skills were held every three weeks and included
research basics such as developing a research question, SPSS basics,
qualitative research, case publication, and the writing and editing
process. One third of the faculty
attended each of these workshops during the year, with 75 percent
attending at least one.
support for those interested in completing a Ph.D. was developed. Faculty who were
five years or more from retirement were encouraged to enter into
Ph.D. programs. Faculty entering doctoral programs were rewarded with a
one year sabbatical leave and a reduced load for an additional two years
following the leave.
continuing education course titled “Writing for Scholarly Publication” was
designed for delivery in the fall of 2004. It was limited to six faculty
members, some of whom were in this quadrant. Additional criteria for the
course included faculty who did not have Ph.D.s, were within two to six
years of retirement, were not planning to start a doctoral program, and
had not previously published as a principal author. All faculty members
approached were interested and willing to participate. In fact, before the
summer break all of these future class members had asked for a copy of the
course text and a meeting with the professor so they could start reading
and preparing during the summer months.
- Publishing success was also publicized through email,
memo, and recognition at meetings.
is no way to measure this impression, we noted that this group was
socially connected with the other groups within the School
of Business. These faculty members
were willing to serve on committees and interact with all types of faculty
including those who had terminal degrees and enjoyed research (it is important
to note that some faculty in the other categories actually distanced themselves
from those who were successful researchers and writers). This group of faculty
was open and willing to learn. In addition, they willingly and optimistically
participated in seminars, workshops, and research teams. Their increased excitement over the academic year appeared to
have a significant impact on the final two groups.
Low Motivation – High Ability. The third type of faculty scholarship mindset included
faculty who have the ability to research and publish but, for various reasons,
did not want to make an expanded contribution. This group was
characterized by faculty who felt institutional betrayal, low trust, change
fatigue, and increased social isolation. They formed
a culture of mediocrity that was extremely defensive of the status quo. The Faculty
Scholarship Committee was faced with the problematic challenge to motivate a
group of highly independent intellectuals who were feeling that their
contributions were diminishing in value in the new culture and under new
leadership. With this group, trust was a significant issue. One committee
member in this category told us, “I’ve been here before. I’ve reinvented
myself. I learned how to teach what they needed. I wasn’t surprised when I
wasn’t rewarded, but I didn’t expect to be sidelined or punished for it.” The
faculty members in this category were difficult to categorize. One committee
member said, “The ‘herding cats’ metaphor was optimistic.” Most just wanted to
know that if they took the significant steps to begin a research and
publication program they would be rewarded.
Unlike those who were motivated but not able,
those who had ability but no motivation were withholding their abilities in
order to gain power or status. These
were highly individualistic resistance tactics that could only be addressed at
an individual level. Individual members of the Committee worked one on one to create social
ties with faculty in this category. The
objective was to identify their fears and insecurities and
invite their participation where appropriate.
Success in motivating these faculty members was completely
dependent on helping them built strong social ties and rebuild social trust. In one case a faculty member chose to retire. In several
cases faculty entered into co-authorships that, in one case, produced one
faculty member’s first publication after 30 years of teaching.
Low Motivation – Low Ability. The final type of faculty scholarship mindset included
faculty members who had both low motivation and low ability. This group
was generally characterized by older faculty who were approaching retirement,
though it should be noted that there were several faculty in each of the groups
described above who were approaching retirement. In
addition, it is important to note that a few younger faculty members with no
research or publishing education or experience also fell into this category. Most
of the faculty members in this category did not have terminal degrees and,
therefore, no education or experience in the research and publishing that most
often comes with doctoral programs. A few had terminal degrees from
institutions that did not require depth in research courses and did not
encourage scholarly conference attendance or journal publication activities. While
many of this group are tenured, they were generally bitter about the
rapid change from a teaching to an increasingly research-oriented institution.
They were focused in a narrow teaching specialty and some were marginally
involved in citizenship activities.
The Committee acknowledged that
this faculty group was unlikely to contribute positively towards accreditation
during the first academic year, but that they could also do a great deal to negatively impact the efforts of the Committee and
administration. Most had strong social ties to the faculty, institution, and students. It was hoped that through both subtle and obvious change
interventions (e.g., education, vision-building, friendships with newer faculty
members, requirements from Dean, colleague interactions) that this group would
increase motivation throughout the year at various levels. Thus the following
strategies were adopted to deal with this category:
Dean of the School articulated a philosophy to the faculty that all
faculty members, regardless of prior training, were capable of doing some
form of scholarly activity that could and would have a positive
contribution and impact toward accreditation. Collaboration in performance
of scholarly activity was emphasized and encouraged. The Dean’s approach
emphasized a change in faculty emphasis from a one-dimensional teaching
focus to multidimensional teaching and scholarship focus. The Dean
articulated the message to the faculty in a way that emphasized confidence
in the faculty’s ability and willingness to respond to the change.
and citizenship activities tied to the values of the past were kept intact
in order to provide recognition for this group.
Chairs met individually with each faculty member and developed a plan for course
load expectations, publishing requirements, and plans to retire.
members without doctorates, who planned on being in the School
of Business for more than five
years, were strongly encouraged to enter into a Ph.D. program.
- A few faculty members, originally perceived to be in
this quadrant, were invited to join the faculty writing course already
discussed. To our surprise they accepted the invitation willingly and
their motivation appears to be increasing as they now feel they have
specific support and assistance to help in meeting the high expectations.
addition to faculty development, the School
of Business has embarked on an ambitious hiring program in an
attempt to enhance research productivity.
New faculty members are expected to
serve as mentors and collaborate with senior faculty on research while senior
faculty mentor junior faculty on teaching and citizenship. Although the comprehensive and far-reaching results
are still unfolding, in 2003-04 there was more than a doubling of the number of
articles published and almost 80 percent of faculty members now say they are
involved in some kind of research activity.
But the most significant change is the least measurable; there has been
a change in the culture within the School
of Business. Scholarship and teaching appear to be equally valued by many faculty
members. Collaboration between junior and senior faculty is valued and even
cherished, particularly by senior faculty. One senior faculty member
said,” When these changes started to hit us in the face, I started to look at
retirement. Now I’m going to stick
around another year and see if this project has wheels.”
February 14). Standards for business accreditation. Retrieved July 2, 2004, from http://www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/freq_requests.asp
& Blackburn, R. (1990). Changes in academic research performance over time:
A study of institutional accumulative advantage. Research in Higher Education, 31(4), 327-345.
R. T., Bieber, J. P., Lawrence,
J. H., & Trautvetter, L. (1991). Faculty at work:
Focus on research, scholarship, and service. Research in Higher Education, 32(4), 385-413.
Cotton, C. C.,
McKenna, J. F., Auken, S. V., & Meuter, M. L. (2001). Action and reaction in the evolution
of business school missions. Management
Decision, 39(3), 227-234.
Z. L., Toyne, B., & Menger,
R. A. (2000). Research expectations at business schools: Responding to changing
business education pressures. Journal of
Marketing Management, 16, 761-778.
McKenna, J. F.,
Cotton, C. C., Van Auken, S. (1995). Business school
emphasis on teaching, research and service to industry: Does where you sit
determine where you stand? Journal of
Organizational Change Management, 8(2), 3-17.
Westerbeck, T. (2004, July/August). Brave new world, bold
new b-school. BizEd, 36-40.