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The Research-Productive Department: Strategies from Departments That Excel

ISBN: 978-1-882982-74-5
316 pages
September 2004, Jossey-Bass
The Research-Productive Department: Strategies from Departments That Excel (1882982746) cover image
American society thrives on innovation, which is advanced by the quality and productivity of research from higher education faculty. It is therefore typical for the responsibility of nurturing and sustaining faculty research to fall upon department chairs and deans at postsecondary schools. In The Research-Productive Department, the authors recognize the importance of this task, and share tested strategies for facilitating quality faculty research and promoting an institution’s overall vitality.

Many such books written for department chairs and deans have chosen to address the full range of leadership and management tasks that typically occupy this readership. However, few have narrowed their scope—as this book does—to the important leadership tasks that influence the overall success of academic departments in one critical area: research. This book features the experiences of nearly 40 leaders from well-respected research institutions from across the country. It offers specific, useful recommendations for academic leaders seeking to promote high levels of research productivity, including insight on: recruitment practices, mentoring programs, reward systems, culture-building activities, and the distribution of fiscal as well as human resources.

An eminently practical book, The Research-Productive Department provides readers with two essential tool sets: a user-friendly summary of over 40 years of literature on the characteristics of research-productive organizations, plus a wealth of descriptive examples of how these characteristics are actually manifest in a large number of research-productive academic departments and schools. This book is an engaging exposition of best practices that readers can adapt as befits their own institutional settings.

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About the Authors.

Foreword.

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

1 Blueprint for This Book: A Literature-Based Model of the Research-Productive Organization.

2 Faculty Recruitment and Selection.

3 Clear Goals That Coordinate Work and Emphasize Research.

4 Shared Culture and Positive Group Climate.

5 Mentoring.

6 Interdisciplinary Collaboration.

7 Communication With Colleagues: Professional Networks.

8 Resources.

9 Teaching.

10 Sufficient Time for Research.

11 Rewards.

12 Brokered Opportunity Structure.

13 Faculty Size and Diversity: The Right Mix of Expertise and Experience.

14 Leadership and Governance.

15 Final Take-Home Lessons.

Appendix A: Study Origins and Methods.

Appendix B: Pre-Interview Survey.

Appendix C: Semi-Structured Interview Protocol.

Appendix D: Senate Working Group Project on Research Productivity.

Appendix E: Demographic Survey Results of Participating Departments (n = 32).

Appendix F: Brief Narrative Description of the University of Minnesota.

Appendix G: Leaving the University of Minnesota: Results of an Exploratory Survey of Departed Faculty, 1997–2000.

Appendix H: Related Works.

Bibliography.

Author Index.

Subject Index.

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CAROL J. BLAND is professor and director of research in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School, and member of the Department of Educational Policy and Administration, College of Education and Human Development, both at the University of Minnesota, where she has been a faculty member since 1974. She received an M.A. in experimental psychology and a specialist degree in behavior modification from Drake University in 1970 and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1974 in educational psychology with an emphasis on measurement, evaluation, and adult learning. During 1989-1990, she was an American Council on Education Fellow, learning about higher education’s administration, organization, and funding. She has been active in university-wide governance, having served on the Senate Faculty Affairs, Judicial, and Faculty Consultative committees. She has served as special assistant to the provost and has codirected a three-year university initiative to assist departments in solving complex academic issues. In the Academic Health Center she ahs served on the Faculty Consultative Committee and has chaired the faculty Affairs Committee. Currently, she directs the following: a university-wide study on the characteristics of research-productive departments, a departmental division that provides consultation, resources, and programs to support research; a three-year Clinical Investigator fellowship for family physicians; and a one-year national fellowship to prepare family medicine educators for the deanship or higher-level administrative positions. She also teaches courses and workshops on education, administration, research, evaluation, and faculty vitality. She has served as a consultant in these areas, as well as on physician specialty choice, to departments, universities, foundations, professional associations, and the federal government. She served as a chair on the board of directors of the Alfred Adler Graduate School, is currently serving as a regent for Augustana College, and has chaired or served on numerous other organizational and editorial boards, national peer review committees, and task forces. Her research focuses on the development and productivity of faculty, administrators, and institutions. She is series editor of the Springer Series on Medical Education (Springer Publishing Company), and has written more than 80 publications, including and award-winning book. Vitality of Senior Faculty Members: Snow on the Roof—Fire in the Furnace.

ANNE MARIE WEBER-MAIN is assistant professor and associate director of research in the department of family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. With Carole Bland, she helped develop a three-year Clinical Investigator Fellowship for family physicians and codirects a departmental research division that provides consultation, resources, and programs to support faculty-led research. In this capacity she consults with faculty and fellows on their research goals and plays a substantial role in assisting researchers with their scholarly writing projects, that is, the development of grant proposals, journal articles, book chapters, and other research-related manuscripts. She lectures on scholarly writing in a family medicine research courses and cofacilitates a participative writing seminar for family medicine and pediatrics fellows. To these academic roles she brings a diverse blend of educational and professional experiences that span the physical sciences, technical writing, and communications. She received a Ph.D. in chemistry (analytical emphasis) from the University of Minnesota in 1997. her doctoral research was funded by the National Institute of health and has been published in several peer-reviewed journals (Biochemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Archives of Biochemistry). In 1995 she was awarded a mass media Fellowship by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Through this program, which places scientists in media settings to promote the public understanding of science, she researched and wrote science news stories that aired on CNN. She has been active in Graduate Women in Science, serving a three-year term as editor of its national newsletter. In 2002 she completed a core curriculum in medical editing offered by the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and is continuing her training as a participants in AMWA’s advanced curriculum.

SHARON MARIE LUND resides in St. Paul Minnesota, where she is a Ph.D. candidate in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.S. in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in nutrition and dietetics from New York University in Manhattan. Her expertise is in diet assessment—measuring the impact of diet on health and diseases in large populations. Her professional experience includes directing a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and developing policy in maternal and child health at Minnesota’s state health and human service agencies. She has lectured and conducted research in the University of Minnesota’s Division of Epidemiology. She is also collaborating with international foundations and agencies in East Africa to develop a comprehensive public health program, which would include a food supplementation program, designed to serve vulnerable populations in developing and war-torn nations.

DEBORAH A. FINSTAD is director of research services in the Department of Family medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota. Since 1986 she has consulted with faculty and fellows on their research projects and assisted with instrument design, collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data. The Projects cover a diverse range of research areas, including cancer prevention, smoking cessation, sexual health, women’s health, and faculty vitality. She lectures on instrument design and database management for the fellow’s seminars.

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"This book deserves attention by all who are involved in ensuring research productivity and excellence in our universities."
—Nils Hasselmo, President, Association of American Universities
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