Countdown: 27 days to HLC visit: Research Support
Editor's note: Ranger Today continues a series of articles on the future directions contained within the university's self-study.
Future Direction: Improved Support for Research and Creative Activity
By Kim Kelley, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Institutional Effectiveness
Through the development of chapter three within the self-study, which included reviewing the scripts submitted by each unit on campus, and examining data collected about issues of importance to faculty and staff, the need for enhanced support for research and creative activity emerged. Currently, UW-Parkside provides support for faculty and staff for research and creative activity primarily through the Faculty/Academic Staff Professional Opportunities Fund (FASPOF), and through funding provided by the Office of Research Administration, to the Committee on Research and Creative Activity (CRCA). The funding for CRCA is provided by grant overhead dollars and provides financial support for faculty research and creative initiatives deemed meritorious by the CRCA.
The resources administered by FASPOF and CRCA are important to the campus and were considered supportive of faculty and staff as evidenced in the scripts and feedback received during the development of the self-study. At the same time, these resources are limited, and there is a need to identify additional means to support the creative and research activity of faculty and staff. As the campus goes forward beginning the planning process for the next strategic plan, and entering the implementation phase for the academic plan, there is an opportunity to identify new avenues to recognize and support creative and research activity through developing planning goals that address this critical issue.
One suggested approach for increasing support for research and creative activity, that arose in the development of the self-study, was for the colleges and departments to explore opportunities to provide greater support for research and creative activity through strategic and academic planning within their college or department. In addition, developing more grant submission activity on campus arose as a potential solution because this activity would help to ensure continued funding for creative and research endeavors. Using funds generated through new grant activity provides the means to provide new avenues for supporting faculty and staff creative endeavors and is a critical need for the campus.
While there is no one answer for how to effectively support faculty and staff in their creative and research endeavors, thinking strategically will be essential to increasing current levels of support and providing the means to ensure continued support for the future. It is especially important to plan in these times of tight budgets to make sure that this key area of the university is funded, and faculty and staff are recognized for their work. Support and recognition encourage faculty and staff to be productive and benefits everyone, especially our students who benefit from having an engaged faculty and staff who are educators, performers, practitioners, and researchers and bring those synergistic perspectives to their work and into the classroom.