Differing Faculty Perceptions of Research and Teaching Emphasis

Article excerpt

Abstract

In almost every college or university in today 's world, almost all faculty members are expected to be involved in some type of research activities in addition to teaching. Certainly the types of research differ among the various disciplines, and this probably holds true within colleges of business. The purpose of this paper is to determine if perceptions and performances of Management and MIS faculty differ with regard to certain questions relating to teaching, research, and demographic factors. The data were gathered by sending questionnaires to Management and MIS faculty throughout the United States.

Respondents were relatively similar with respect to type of institution, AACSB accreditation status, or rank. With respect to teaching performance, there were also other similarities. Results also show similarities in research productivity. However, differences were noted with respect to reasons for remaining in academe, and with respect to the effect of research on teaching. These results should be of interest to all faculty and to administrators interested in determining where differences exist.

University faculty are expected to teach, engage in scholarly activities to advance their fields of knowledge, and provide service to their university and public communities. These duties serve as the basis for evaluation of job performance in decisions of tenure, promotion, and salary levels. While such expectations are generally applicable to all faculty, the specifics of what they entail and how they are to be evaluated vary widely by discipline. On one end of the spectrum are the so-called hard sciences, which purportedly deal with objective and quantitative evidence. At the other end are the performing and fine arts, with presumably more subjective and broader interpretations of duties and performance. Most fields will fall somewhere between these, with some tendency toward objective measurability but still attempting to allow freedom and interpretation in the pursuit and expression of knowledge.

Administrators at various levels in academe are faced with the challenge of trying to establish some reasonably homogeneous standards while still allowing for diversity of expression and thought. Faculty input is often utilized in these efforts, with perhaps some hope that recognition and appreciation of differences might foster a greater sense of unity and common purpose. Faculty still differ in their perceptions as to what should be emphasized most among job activities, and with regard to how their performance of these activities should be evaluated. While some faculty contend that research detracts time and other resources from teaching, others believe the two activities complement each other. Regardless of the level of resources provided in support of research, academic institutions encourage and often expect faculty to engage in such activities in addition to teaching. More importantly perhaps, many faculty perceive their institutions as requiring publishing for the granting of tenure (Boyer, 1990). Boyer also reported survey results indicating a mixture of faculty perceptions with respect to emphasis placed on research and the value of research in teaching.

Demski and Zimmerman (2000) point out that faculty research activities involve consumption as well as production, but most studies and faculty view it from the perspective of production. A number of studies have examined various factors which appear to influence or relate to the level of faculty research production. Bakir, Vitell, and Rose (2000) determined that larger departments (based on number of faculty) tended to produce more journal articles consistently over time. Their study was limited to Marketing Departments and Marketing journals, but the relationship likely applies at other disciplines as well. Rachal, Brumfield-Day, and Gorman (2000) surveyed the Association of Colleges for Teacher Education to determine the five top journals in education and the top ten publishing institutions in education. …