National Academies Press: OpenBook

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education (2012)

Chapter: Appendix D: Estimating Project-Related Departmental Research

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Estimating Project-Related Departmental Research." National Research Council. 2012. Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13417.
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Appendix D

Estimating Project-Related Departmental Research

Recommendation (7) calls for an “estimate of the departmental research (DR) directly associated with sponsored research projects (now typically considered part of the instructional cost in universities’ accounts),” which should be excluded from faculty instructional labor. The algorithm will have to be developed through a special study, since it appears impractical to capture the data directly in university accounting systems.

Two options suggest themselves:

  • Alternative 1: Acquire a sample of faculty reports that include time allocations and regress the average departmental research allocation, excluding academic year salary offsets, against the department’s sponsored research funding. Minor public service activities might be included as well, if they are not separately budgeted. This could provide the basis for adjusting the institution’s overall faculty cost for research, but some adjustment for field would be required. Nonfaculty costs would not be adjusted. (The research design needs to be elaborated.)
  • Alternative 2: Array data for sponsored research per faculty FTE into deciles. Set the percentage of faculty time for the top decile to the results of a sample of reported time allocations for a sample of very research-intensive institutions. Scale the other deciles linearly to zero at the lowest decile.

These options need more research, particularly with regard to determining the time allocation percentages, probably through a survey on time use by faculty for a sample of institutions. The sample should be representative of the current

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Estimating Project-Related Departmental Research." National Research Council. 2012. Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13417.
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institution segment mix. The Faculty Survey on Student Engagement has an item on number of hours spent in a seven-day week on various activities:

  1. Teaching undergraduates
  2. Grading paper and exams
  3. Giving feedback to students
  4. Preparing for class
  5. Reflecting on improving teaching
  6. Research and scholarly activities
  7. Working with undergraduates on research
  8. Advising undergraduate students
  9. Supervising internship
  10. Working with students on activities other than coursework
  11. Interacting with students outside classroom
  12. Conducting service activities

This structure may provide a good starting point for the analysis.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Estimating Project-Related Departmental Research." National Research Council. 2012. Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13417.
×
Page 203
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Estimating Project-Related Departmental Research." National Research Council. 2012. Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13417.
×
Page 204
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Higher education is a linchpin of the American economy and society: teaching and research at colleges and universities contribute significantly to the nation's economic activity, both directly and through their impact on future growth; federal and state governments support teaching and research with billions of taxpayers' dollars; and individuals, communities, and the nation gain from the learning and innovation that occur in higher education.

In the current environment of increasing tuition and shrinking public funds, a sense of urgency has emerged to better track the performance of colleges and universities in the hope that their costs can be contained without compromising quality or accessibility. Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education presents an analytically well-defined concept of productivity in higher education and recommends empirically valid and operationally practical guidelines for measuring it. In addition to its obvious policy and research value, improved measures of productivity may generate insights that potentially lead to enhanced departmental, institutional, or system educational processes.

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education constructs valid productivity measures to supplement the body of information used to guide resource allocation decisions at the system, state, and national levels and to assist policymakers who must assess investments in higher education against other compelling demands on scarce resources. By portraying the productive process in detail, this report will allow stakeholders to better understand the complexities of--and potential approaches to--measuring institution, system and national-level performance in higher education.

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