Monday, April 13, 2009

Research and Scholarship

Northern Arizona University is classified as a high research activity institution according to the Carnegie Classification. This national system to categorize colleges and universities is based on the level of research activity using indicators such as R&D expenditures in science/engineering and non-science/non-engineering fields, research staffing levels, and doctoral conferrals. This classification does not differentiate institutions with respect to research quality or importance. Institutions with more extensive research activities (e.g. ASU and UA) are classified as very high research activity institutions.

When considering the direction of the university, how do we cultivate one of the key components of our mission—scholarship and research? The Strategic Planning Council is interested in learning your opinions. The following items should guide this online discussion:

  1. What does it mean to be a highly successful institution in our “high research” category? How do we define success in the context of different fields (engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, art etc.)?
  2. How do we better integrate teaching and research/scholarly activities? How can undergraduate students become more involved in research activities, and/or non-funded scholarship? How do “public service” and “instructional” funding/activities fit into the picture? How does being a research campus benefit student education?
  3. How do we attract private funds to advance our research and other scholarly activities?
  4. When we say that the Flagstaff campus is a “research” campus, what implications does this have for NAU’s other campuses/sites across Arizona?
  5. What recruitment strategies could colleges and departments employ to balance a teaching-focused and research-focused faculty? What reward mechanisms should be in place to reward both teaching and research?
  6. Should we focus on a few already successful areas of research to achieve even greater recognition or fund new projects that would expand the portfolio of the university’s research activities? What are the implications of selecting one strategy over another?

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