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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 2009. Partnerships for Emerging Research Institutions: Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12577.
Page 35
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. 2009. Partnerships for Emerging Research Institutions: Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12577.
Page 36

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Summary Several points summarize the workshop discussions. Most workshop participants said repeatedly that emerging research institutions can develop a “research culture” and embrace the broad con- notation of the term—adopting some of the principles proposed by Lee Shulman (president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) regarding the scholarship of teaching and learning. For example, they can offer courses that sufficiently empower students by imparting the knowledge and skills needed to conduct research and to successfully complete graduate programs. Such courses also can demon- strate the interconnection between research and education and can help to institutionalize undergraduate research. As Terry Millar, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stated, “In order to understand the discipline, doing research is just part of the game to get the mentality of what the arguments are.” ERIs also can place more emphasis on research as a factor in faculty evaluations and afford rec- ognition and special awards for research accomplishments, including undergraduate research. The rest of the world is shifting bases. And I think that faculty, both in research universities and small universities, will have to undergo what amounts to a paradigm shift in the way they work and think. And we have to start with research behavior. (Workshop Participant) Many participants emphasized that administrative leadership can be pivotal in developing a research climate. Leadership is needed to stimu- 35

36 PARTNERSHIPS FOR EMERGING RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS late internal collaboration in order to leverage resources and provide access and opportunity for research experiences to larger numbers of students. In addition, it enables researchers to share their findings and promotes more interdisciplinary activities. ERIs can develop “learning communities” especially for junior faculty where there is not a critical mass of disciplinary expertise in one department. In that model, young faculty members would not be embedded in older departments with most of the faculty already tenured. They would, instead, be able to find the synergy needed to incubate and nurture innovative ideas. Administrators must be better informed about the value and cost of doing research, as a number of participants emphasized. Realistic esti- mates of expenditures needed for research support personnel, materials, and equipment will help guide decisions about research investments. Realistically, developing a research enterprise is difficult and expensive. However, good strategic planning and investment can optimize the results and minimize the liabilities. Many participants stressed the need for ERIs to provide seed capi- tal for emerging and potentially productive research areas that could increase their capacity to compete. They stated that the institutions also should provide attractive start-up packages to recruit bright experimental scientists and young investigators to enable them to become productive, high-performing researchers. Marcus Shute commented that ERIs could appeal to state legislatures, federal agencies, and foundations for funding to propel these institutions into more competitive research enterprises. He added that they should encourage federal agencies to provide grant programs to enable minority- serving institutions to develop the critical mass of research talent needed (UT-Brownsville and UT-El Paso models) to support the nation’s scien- tific and technological foundation. Programs such as the NSF Math and Science Partnership and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation have helped institutions such as UTEP to achieve research-intensive sta- tus. Research is important enough to the educational enterprise that some mechanism, such as a variation of the EPSCoR model, could be explored to competitively fund research at the institutions that serve the majority of students who are underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. Workshop participants reiterated that collaboration and partnerships among ERIs, research institutions, and other organizations can offer solu- tions to the infrastructure impediments to research. They echoed the senti- ment that research and education are not mutually exclusive, particularly in the context of educating the future workforce, and that ERIs should exploit the resources that can enable them to reach the next level of insti- tutional enterprise development. The participants noted that “strategic” is the operative term in forming partnerships so that ERIs can market their intellectual assets effectively.

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Constituting one-third of all U.S. institutions of higher education, emerging research institutions (ERIs) are crucial to sustaining the nation's technological competitiveness through innovation and workforce development.

Many, however, are not fully engaged in sustained sponsored research. This book summarizes the discussions at a workshop that examined the barriers ERIs face in building more robust research enterprises and approaches for overcoming those barriers. The book includes a description of federal programs that focus on capacity building and institutional collaborations.

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