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Creating New Structures for Faculty Engagement


Posted September 06, 2016 by Hanna McLeod - Senior Manager, Research - AACSB International

Finding the desired balance between research and teaching continues to be a challenge that many business schools face in their faculty recruitment, retention, and promotion efforts. Both research and teaching are important activities that faculty must engage in to help drive the mission of their business schools. The following examples present innovative solutions that three business schools pursued and implemented within their institutions in order to effectively manage research and teaching expectations, while also encouraging faculty to excel in pursuing their passions.

Coles College Workload Document

Kennesaw State University, Coles College of Business

The Coles College Workload Document is a faculty development and management document that allows faculty to contribute to the college in different ways. The Workload Document was developed in 1993 with the goal of allowing each faculty member to pursue his or her best mix of teaching and research, while allowing the faculty as a whole to collectively meet the mission of the college. In the intervening years, the document has undergone multiple revisions, adding more flexibility and mission focus. The document is currently undergoing a significant revision to capture the business engagement focus of the current Coles College mission and the 2013 AACSB Standards for Accreditation. The focus of the document has always been driven by the goal of maximizing faculty performance and satisfaction while achieving the mission of the college.

The Workload Document has made significant impact on many levels. It has allowed the Coles College to deploy its faculty in a way that has met AACSB requirements for faculty qualification in an evolving manner over the years, with a look to the future by capturing engagement in its latest revision. Further, the Coles College faculty are increasingly satisfied and productive, evidenced through a number of metrics. Faculty retention and tenure success are high, and few faculty members have left the Coles College in the past 20 years or failed to attain tenure, likely as a result of faculty members doing what they most enjoy and what best matches their proficiency. Additionally, teaching evaluations and research productivity are at extremely high levels because of this portfolio approach. The limited turnover and high faculty satisfaction provide an outstanding learning environment for Cole’s students and a strong partnership environment for the business and academic communities. The Coles College continues to thrive and improve with the Workload Document as a powerful instrument for a strong organizational culture.

Faculty Path Model

Wake Forest University, Schools of Business

The School of Business at Wake Forest University deployed an individualized faculty evaluation approach by incorporating a six-path model that energizes and rewards faculty excellence and increases instructional quality and research productivity. The school created a streamlined Faculty Path Model, harnessing the talents and passions of faculty to maximize their potential. This model sets out six possible paths: four for tenured faculty, one for tenure-track faculty, and one for non-tenure-track professors of practice and teaching professors. Each path specifies distinct emphases on teaching, research, and service to connect with individual interests and objectives and aligns with overall school objectives.

The Faculty Path Model creates a dynamic learning environment, fueled by faculty who are able to leverage their greatest strengths and interests, leading to rich classroom experiences and impactful research. It also provides leadership with an efficient, transparent, and holistic vehicle to maintain the highest academic quality, manage school operations, and effectively steward school resources. The self-directed model provides a useful framework for a faculty member’s professional development, and as a result faculty are positioned to seize greater control of their career progression, make deliberate path decisions, and enjoy reward for teaching and research excellence. The Faculty Path Model has also proven to be a useful recruitment tool. The school is able to clearly demonstrate how contributions are valued and evaluated, which has attracted academically qualified and professionally qualified faculty at a time when many organizations are struggling with a critical shortage of dynamic talent. The Faculty Path Model also enhances school accreditation efforts, providing clear expectations and sending a clear signal that even the most productive scholar must meet or exceed teaching standards. The path system celebrates individual differences and eschews antiquated structures, thereby positioning the entire organization to better fulfill the singular vision of academic excellence.

New Career Structure for Full-Time Research Faculty

Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa

After years of pursuing excellence in both teaching and research, Insper faced an apparently unfeasible challenge in terms of faculty management: having the faculty simultaneously engage in teaching and research improvement efforts that would lead to excellence in both areas. In 2013, Insper created and adopted a new career structure for full-time research faculty that leveraged the strongest competencies of each faculty member, in either teaching or research. In 2014, faculty members were asked to reflect and choose which track they would like to follow and present evidence that they were capable of excelling in one of the areas.

At Insper, all faculty members are encouraged to engage in both teaching and research activities, but with different emphases. Faculty on the research emphasis career track have teaching as a promotion qualifier, that is, they should achieve a reasonable level of performance in teaching both in terms of student evaluations and alignment to the school’s educational principles. Faculty on teaching emphasis career track have research as a promotion qualifier. Research track faculty have a lower teaching load compared to the other faculty; however, their performance in research is the real driver for promotion. For teaching track faculty, a reasonable level of performance in research is expected, but they may focus on national publications that have impact on public policy and managerial practice. The improved focus on either research or teaching has helped improve the climate among the faculty, as evidenced by internal surveys.

About Innovations That Inspire

These examples are part of a larger collection of Innovations That Inspire. From October 15 through November 20, 2015, AACSB member schools were invited to share ways in which they have challenged the status quo. Nearly 300 innovations were submitted from more than 200 institutions across 35 countries—an array of inspirations that illustrates an impressive commitment to engagement, innovation, and impact. Thirty of these innovations were initially highlighted at the 2016 Deans Conference and are currently available for public browsing.

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