Effective Practices for Academic Leaders
Fostering Scholarly Research in Departments and Colleges
Volume 1: Issue 5

Journal: 978 1 57922 154 6 / $20.00
Published: May 2006  

E-Publication (PDF): 978 1 57922 383 0 / $10.00
Published: May 2006  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
16 pp., 8 1/2" x 11"
Series: Effective Practices for Academic Leaders Archive
Executive Summary
This briefing is designed primarily for department chairs, but it will also be useful to all academic administrators. It offers suggestions by which chairs can build the research profiles of their departments. This briefing is developed around a series of concepts reported from a study of researchactive departments (Bland, Weber-Main, Lund, & Finstad, 2005), which include developing clear goals, encouraging participative research leadership, recruiting/selecting research-driven faculty, developing a positive group climate/culture, and providing mentoring.

Chairs must develop clear goals for areas of research focus within the department. As these areas are established, faculty must develop specific goals for their research groups including overarching questions that will drive the groups’ research agenda. However, these research groups and faculty plans must be developed in a participatory style that involves everyone in the process and in the decisions that are made.

Departments must hire, support, and mentor research-active faculty. That involves faculty working together to support each other and the chair providing consistent support and encouragement for the faculty and research groups. Good research leadership helps to identify and provides sources for research, promotes interdisciplinary research agendas, and encourages a positive research climate in the department.

In addition to recruiting, hiring, and supporting research-active faculty, the chair and department must continue to support more senior faculty. Sometimes this involves helping them to develop new research models and technical skills to find the keys to success with grant activities. Support may also involve faculty developmental leaves to enhance research knowledge and skills.

Finally, the chair must develop new skills to provide effective research leadership. To some extent, the new chair, who wishes to build a research-productive department, must move from research specialist to research generalist. The chair must gain through practice the knowledge and skills to articulate the department’s (and its faculty’s) research agenda to the broader academic, professional, and general community.

Related Titles by Subject:
See Leadership & Administration ( Higher Education )