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ERIC Number: ED556159
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 135
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-4570-2
Exploring Multiple Patterns of Faculty Productivity in STEM Disciplines at Doctoral Universities
Liu, Ying
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
This study is one of only a few that attempts to examine simultaneously faculty productivity in teaching, research, and service. The research is guided by a conceptual model built from several branches of the literature on career stage theory, motivation theory, and previous studies of faculty productivity. The model hypothesizes that faculty engagement in different scholarly activities is shaped by the combined influence of personal and contextual factors and that the effects of those factors vary over a faculty member's career to produce different activity profiles across the areas of faculty effort. The model guides the research design, selection of variables, and statistical methods. Data for the study are obtained from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) and consist of a population of over 3,400 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) faculty members in research and doctoral-granting institutions who responded to the 2004 HERI Faculty Survey. Using Principle Axis factor analysis, the survey responses are reduced to clusters of variables reflecting nearly all the concepts in the model. The study also develops multiple measures of each type of faculty productivity. This study extends the scope of previous research by using multiple measures of each type of academic productivity and Latent Profile Analysis to identify profiles of faculty productivity. The results of this study provide insights into faculty productivity in several important ways. First, the study finds empirical support for a conceptual model linking faculty instructional, research, and service productivity in a single conceptual framework. Based on this model, this study extends the scope of previous scholarship by using multiple measures of the three different types of academic activity, and by examining the interaction of personal and organizational factors on faculty productivity using both simple multinomial logistic regression and Hierarchical General Linear Modeling. Second, the LPA results are quite robust and indicate that the 13 measures of faculty productivity used in the study identify four, very clear categories: faculty members who are primarily research oriented, primarily teaching oriented, primarily oriented toward internal service (such as campus administration and governance), and primarily oriented toward external outreach. Consistent with the mission of universities, the largest group (57.3%) are research-oriented faculty, followed by teaching-oriented faculty (31.9%), internal service oriented (5.6%), and external outreach (5.2%). The LPA results produced an unusually clean solution with the average probabilities for membership in each of the four classes ranging from 79 to 89 percent of the cases correctly classified. Third, although causality is not clear, the model-driven results confirm that faculty behavior may be influenced by a combination of many individual and institutional factors. As suggested by career stage theories and motivation theories, career age and intrinsic motivation, like research interests and needs for self-actualization are the best individual level predictors of faculty productivity patterns. Organizational contexts like institutional control, mission emphasis, admission selectivity and campus climate for research and faculty administration relations also exert strong influences on faculty work preference, and steer faculty towards certain production functions. Fourth, the current study contributes to our understanding of administrative practice as an influence on faculty work, and may have important implications for reward systems and faculty development. The research results here indicate that few faculty members attain above-average productivity simultaneously in teaching, research, and service. Instead, they appear to concentrate their efforts on particular areas of activity. Thus, a more realistic institution policy might be to assess and encourage balance among these different professional activities at the aggregated department level rather than at the individual level. Although this study is not longitudinal, the results suggest that faculty members shift their attention to certain production functions at distinct periods in their careers. Therefore, instead of expecting faculty members to be equally productive in teaching, research and service at the same time, higher education institutions might better differentiate individual faculty responsibilities and provide (even promote) diverse career advancement paths for faculty members with variable interests in teaching, research and service. Finally, the current findings suggest that faculty development may play an important role in engaging faculty members, particularly in teaching activities. Extrinsic rewards, such as salaries, appear to have limited impact on faculty behavior compared to the internal needs, values, and interests faculty bring with them to the job. To improve instructional effectiveness, institutions should alter faculty values and enhance faculty commitment towards teaching via carefully crafted faculty development and mentoring programs, instead of relying solely on increasing extrinsic rewards for teaching. Moreover, efforts to improve faculty productivity in any given area may need to begin at the front end, by recruiting faculty with known preferences, rather than by attempting to change them after hiring. (Abstract shortened by UMI.). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A