Expanding Research and Creative Endeavors

Expanding Research and Creative Endeavors

Kent State University
on Oct 31, 2012

CONVERSATION CLOSED
How can the university better support the breakthrough work of its faculty and students? This conversation is part of the work of the Academic Affairs Strategic Planning Committee and the Provost Office.

Participants (23) See All

What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2014-11-01T13:49:40+00:00
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Recent Activity

Paulette Washko
on Dec 11, 2012
"Yes, you are correct we are working on an online submission system for both IRB and IACUC! I am..."
S Vijayaraghavan
on Dec 11, 2012
"There were a number of useful suggestions in this discussion.  For various reasons I could not..."
Paulette Washko
on Dec 11, 2012
"It is great to see the comments regarding the Researcher Database as a tool to..."
Lori Burchard
on Dec 11, 2012
"Sponsored Programs and Grants Accounting have been working on a Grants Management Manual. ..."
Rebecca Meehan
on Nov 30, 2012
"I agree with the emphasis on quality in both applied and "pure" academic research.  Health..."
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 21, 2012
"thats a really good idea that would be easy to implement - thanks for your input"
Catherine Smith
on Nov 20, 2012
"I agree -- this would be very helpful as long as it could be kept current. "
Catherine Smith
on Nov 20, 2012
"To continue,… When I look at the KSU research “news”..."
John DeCola
on Nov 20, 2012
"Paul,   I am excited about the changes in the direction of  College of Applied Engineering,..."
Catherine Smith
on Nov 20, 2012
"I’m brainstorming here. A simple “clearing-house” for existing brown-bags would be a start – a..."
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012
"Hi Mary, could you expand a bit on how you see decentralization as better than the current..."
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012
"Hi Catherine - we have a culture like that in Psychology in which there are probably 5-6 current..."
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012
"I think that would be a great idea for RASP to put together something like that - it would..."
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012
"That's a great idea, Barbara - I wonder if we can link that somehow to the "find a researcher"..."
Catherine Smith
on Nov 18, 2012
"I’d like to work toward a “brown-bag culture,” with more frequent, regular, and less formal..."
Joel Hughes
on Nov 16, 2012
"Now that I've calmed down, I'll point out that in my department our current approach works very..."
Donald M.  (Mack) Hassler
on Nov 16, 2012
"Even with the use of national norms in our system,  we still need chairpersons in our units who..."
Joel Hughes
on Nov 15, 2012
"I think we need the courage to ignore parts of the Delaware report. One goal of the Delaware..."
Kent State University
on Nov 14, 2012
"Beyond defined national norms (e.g., the Delaware Study: see  http://www.udel.edu/IR/cost/) ..."
Jeffrey Wattles
on Nov 14, 2012
"One thing that facilitates multidisciplinary research is a philosophy that gives a coordinated..."
Barbara  Hipsman Springer
on Nov 14, 2012
"Another idea to help researchers who are looking to collaborate is a very transparent directory..."
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 13, 2012
"that's a really good idea about emailing monthly publications - do you think it would work on a..."
Stan Wearden
on Nov 13, 2012
"This is an excellent response, Paul. It would be useful if we could change the research emphasis..."
Eric Mintz
on Nov 13, 2012
"I realize it isn't quite politically correct to say so, but I think we do a little too much..."
Denice Sheehan
on Nov 13, 2012
"Special Interest Group (SIG) emails might work to bring groups together For example, researchers..."
Denice Sheehan
on Nov 13, 2012
"I have worked with many helpful people at KSU since my study was funded by NIH 2 years ago. There..."
Mary Anthony
on Nov 12, 2012
"Lots of good ideas for process and the importance of collaborations.  I would like to advance the..."
Joel Hughes
on Nov 12, 2012
"I'm trying to push the research agenda of KSU for myself and my colleagues. I direct the Applied..."
Joel Hughes
on Nov 12, 2012
"A couple years ago I looked into the costs of a headset. It was about $100 and I was told the..."
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012
"What stops you from getting a simple device like that Joel?"
S Vijayaraghavan
on Dec 11, 2012 - 1:08 pm

There were a number of useful suggestions in this discussion.  For various reasons I could not participate until now. I thought I will belatedly post some thoughts I have had regarding extramural funding. My observations are mainly limited to NIH funding. 

An examinaltion of the list of people at Kent who have porcured extramural funding (from a website called engrant - www.engrant.com)) shows that there are several examples of successes in obtaining NIH funding.  However a striking fact that emerges from this data is that our record of obtaining competitiive renewals of funded NIH proposals is poor. 

I think the university has several programs, with good intentions, to stimulate research - seed grants, research challenge grants, research time off, protdoctoral fellowhips etc.  If we have not already done so, what I think would be a useful excersise is to see if these investmests have yielded results. Did successful extramural funding result from these investments.  This list could be generated by  RASP.  I think this critical self examination will be helpful. This data should  help in a discussion of not only how to increase first time NIH funding but also to hopefully determine why we not very successfull in procuring renewals of funded NIH grants.

 

 
Kent State University
on Nov 14, 2012 - 4:09 pm

Beyond defined national norms (e.g., the Delaware Study: see  http://www.udel.edu/IR/cost/)

"The Delaware Study") has matured over the past decade and is now generally acknowledged as the "tool of choice" for comparative analysis of faculty teaching loads, direct instructional cost, and separately budgeted scholarly activity, all at the level of the academic discipline.

What factors should be considered in establishing individual teaching/research workloads for faculty?

 

Responses(3)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 15, 2012

I think we need the courage to ignore parts of the Delaware report. One goal of the Delaware report is to garner glory and prestige for the Delaware report and perpetuate the research machine of the Delaware report. They're not very self-critical even though there are flaws you can drive a truck through. Like selection bias. The non-representative sample of paying "volunteers" may skew the data toward those institutions who can present themselves well or who want to prod "unproductive" departments with the data. 

Another fatal flaw is ignoring NTT faculty. The rationale is that TT salaries are expensive and stable. But ignoring NTT faculty and graduate students in a study of instructional costs and expenses is ridiculous. There have been massive shifts away from TT to NTT instructors since the Delaware report started in 1992. I predict that instructional costs per credit hour are much lower when NTT, adjunct, and graduate student instructors are factored in.

Apparently 2 of 3 credit hours is taught by TT faculty at research/doctoral universities. In my department (> 800 majors) we would need about 20 more TT faculty.  

Finally, the Delware report is based on a flawed premise: "What is the return on investment?"--combined with a focus on TT faculty and instructional costs. I'll tell you the return on investment--terrible. You'll have lower instructional costs with all adjunct or NTT faculty, like for-profit online "universities." You don't hire, evaluate, or promote TT faculty for their instructional efficiency. If there's no research/scholarship then why are they TT faculty?

Ultimately, the conclusions of the Delaware report are:

1) have a smaller TT faculty

2) have them teach a lot

3) have really big classes

But I do not thing that these are the goals or ambition of Kent State University. 

 

 

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 16, 2012

Now that I've calmed down, I'll point out that in my department our current approach works very well. The only issue we run into is not having enough faculty to cover graduate courses when people buy out with grant salary support. It's the productivity paradox again, and it can result in people teaching an overload which is counter productive to their research program. However, if you don't teach the overload you risk weakening the graduate program. In my case, I can stop teaching FYE (although I like the way it connects me to the undergraduate student body). I can't really stop teaching the specialty seminars and electives in my niche because then they simply aren't available for our graduate students. I have (sadly) left grant buyout money on the table in the past to teach the overload, for example. That was my fault-I was naive.

 
Donald M.  (Mack) Hassler
on Nov 16, 2012

Even with the use of national norms in our system,  we still need chairpersons in our units who can be both strong and sensitive in keeping track of the writing "pulse" of their faculty who write.  We need this good leadership and have depended on it in the past.

 
Expand This Thread
Jeffrey Wattles
on Nov 14, 2012 - 3:04 pm

One thing that facilitates multidisciplinary research is a philosophy that gives a coordinated interpretation and appreciation of a wide range of subjects.  The writing project that I will be pursuing nearly full-time beginning in January is a philosophy of truth, beauty, and goodness on material, intellectual, and spiritual levels.  I dream that my results may facilitate others' integrative work.

 
Mary Anthony
on Nov 12, 2012 - 4:03 pm

Lots of good ideas for process and the importance of collaborations.  I would like to advance the need for better and consistent infrastructure at the college level.  Having research deans in each college would go along way to advance the KSU research agenda to the aspiring goals for productivity.  Research productive universities have decentralized research deans who can be more consistent in spearheading initiatives. Having a centralized office limits the opportunities for developing and sustaining systematic collaborations along key fundable lines. 

 

 

 

Responses(1)

Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012

Hi Mary, could you expand a bit on how you see decentralization as better than the current centralized model? It would seem to me that centralizing resources leads to less redundancy and cost but I would be really interested in your ideas.

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 09, 2012 - 1:03 pm

Given your experience and your knowledge of the university, what role can you  play in helping the university to generate the resources necessary to meet these major societal  challenges?

 

Responses(1)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 12, 2012

I'm trying to push the research agenda of KSU for myself and my colleagues. I direct the Applied Psychology Center in the Department of Psychology and do what I can to promote grant activity in my home department. In the last couple years, I applied (with co-investigators) for about 8 federal grants and some local/internal funding. Given the difficult funding environment, I've expanded my efforts beyond the traditional (R01, R21) to other opportunities like NSF, SBIR, STTR, and Ohio Third Frontier. I applied (with co-inventors) for two patents. I maintain relationships with three hospitals, and help connect people with opportunities there when I can. Seems like every year I pick up a new collaborator. I've worked with collaborators in Psychology, Biology, Public Health, Nursing, the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, and the School of Visual Communication Design. This is not all altruism: I need grant support and all my work is interdisciplinary, I want my students to have dissertation opportunities, etc. My two challenges right now are writing the R01's I need to write for "myself" (I have too many proposals to write and end up working on the collaborative projects) and scaling back my teaching to make time for writing. This sounds like shameless self-promotion (but the tag-line for this site is "everyone is entitled to my opinion!") so my succinct answer to the "what role can you play" question is that I can keep doing what I'm doing, perhaps with better focus.

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 07, 2012 - 3:56 pm

Given that these major societal challenges require multidisciplinary approaches to find solutions, how can KSU encourage cross-discipline, cross-college and cross-institution research and scholarly collaborations?

What multidisciplinary groupings of Kent State faculty would naturally lend themselves to this effort?

 

Responses(13)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

I need a better phone. I don't use the phone much on a daily basis, but when I do it's almost always a teleconference. I need a headset so I can type while I talk. We need easier to understand teleconferencing so we can arrange calls between multiple people.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

What stops you from getting a simple device like that Joel?

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 12, 2012

A couple years ago I looked into the costs of a headset. It was about $100 and I was told the phone system would be changing. So, I waited. Well, it hasn't changed in my department. Also, I don't know whether our phones support hosting teleconferences. I end up using skype or having the other party be responsible for hosting the teleconference.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 08, 2012

Health. Health is a huge cross-cutting theme. Public health, nursing, biology, health psychology, medical sociology, etc. We need to emphasize health and ensure that health researchers know each other. An academic medical center probably has at least as much funding as an entire university sans hospital. We are fortunate to have solid collaborators in the area, so we are well-positioned to have health themes even without being adjacent to a medical center or VA.

 
Katherine Rawson
on Nov 09, 2012

Re: education as one of the three major societal challenges we're targeting, some multidisciplinary groups are already coming together (e.g., the effort I mentioned in a comment above about Math, Psychology, and Ed Psych to improve student learning in the Math Emporium).  Another nascent grouping includes faculty in Psychology, Ed Psych, and Early Literacy, with work directed at improving children's reading skills.  But I think another exciting direction that would actually cut across both education and health would involve a multidisciplinary team focused on enhancing patient education.

 
Denice Sheehan
on Nov 13, 2012

Special Interest Group (SIG) emails might work to bring groups together For example, researchers could be grouped on a list serve to be readily available to discuss new ideas or help a new researcher navigate a particular system. 

 
Eric Mintz
on Nov 13, 2012

I realize it isn't quite politically correct to say so, but I think we do a little too much talking about interdiscplinary efforts for the sake of being interdisciplinary.  There are a lot of good ideas out there - some of which require interdisciplinary efforts and some that do not.  I don't think we should be stressing one over the other.  I cringe every time I see that some kind of internal university competition will be judged partially on its level of "interdisciplinaryness". 

Honestly, I think this is a case of a solution in search of a problem.  When people have good ideas, they seek out those that can help.  That said, I agree that we could all use a little more familiarity with what people are doing around the university.  A couple of years ago I started sending out monthly e-mails to my department listing all the new journal articles published by departmental authors.  This has been very well received.

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 13, 2012

that's a really good idea about emailing monthly publications - do you think it would work on a university level? Regardless, I think it would be a great thing to do at the departmental level

 
Catherine Smith
on Nov 18, 2012

I’d like to work toward a “brown-bag culture,” with more frequent, regular, and less formal presentations and discussions on work in progress, recently funded proposals, and talks/papers given elsewhere and shared on campus. Hearing about ideas, questions, and problems in related (even unrelated) disciplines is productive for creative thinking. We would need a critical mass of somewhat regular attention/attendance, and a little coordination. Invitations to existing brown-bags would be a start. In building a more active exchange, breadth and persistence are probably more important than scale.  

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012

Hi Catherine - we have a culture like that in Psychology in which there are probably 5-6 current weekly or monthly brown bags - how would you envision that working at the college or university level?

 
Catherine Smith
on Nov 20, 2012

I’m brainstorming here. A simple “clearing-house” for existing brown-bags would be a start – a KSU Brown-bag Facebook page or wiki. A basic version could link to the department sites that list the talks. It would be nice to see a central schedule of planned talks across departments, with abstracts when available. 

 
Catherine Smith
on Nov 20, 2012

To continue,… When I look at the KSU research “news” (http://cmsprod.uis.kent.edu/research/news.cfm) I wish I could hear about the listed projects in informal talks from the faculty involved. Hearing about work-in-progress might also engender some cross-fertilization. Perhaps a regular “mixed-bag” lunch, sponsored initially by the DRSP? A little pizza or salad and an intriguing research topic might entice people.  

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 21, 2012

thats a really good idea that would be easy to implement - thanks for your input

 
Expand This Thread
Carol Sedlak
on Nov 07, 2012 - 1:20 pm

There needs to be more awareness and overtness throughout the general university community of who are the individuals doing research and their focus.  We seem to be  isolated within our own departments and at times it becomes a challenge in knowing who to contact when developing interdisciplinary teams (calling the various departments does help but is time consuming and word of mouth helps too).   

Carol

 

 

 

Responses(7)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

You are right but top-down 'get togethers' are difficult for me. I do better tracking people down and taking them out for a beer to discuss options. I've made lots of research collaborations and they are relational instead of structural (i.e., by an administrator). That said, there have been some great efforts in terms of coordinated hires, the ICTR, etc. that have worked. Also, mostly getting the word out in terms of publicizing who is who and where they are is really helpful. It would cost very little to have a university-wide research newsletter that highlights what people are doing.

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 07, 2012

Have you guys ever used the find-a-researcher link through RASP? It was designed to help identify researchers throughout the University - it does have flaws, but perhaps the largest is that no one knows about it - I agree with Joel that large scale organized meetings only really succeed if there is a dedicated cheerleader whose job it is to hassle people throughout the process such that something meaningful occurs - I think a newsletter is a good idea, but would you honestly read an electronic one sent to your email periodically? Do you think others would? If so, it would be easy to put together

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

I don't use linked-in, the RASP search engine, or anything. I learn by word of mouth or by scouring the dept websites. I have a lot of collaborators and I meet their collaborators. I believe in a relational approach with less imposed structure. I also think that "introductions" are a great approach--people have said "you need to meet this person..."

 
Carol Sedlak
on Nov 07, 2012

 

Joel - Great idea about a University Research newsletter.  Maybe it could even begin by being an ongoing item in the E-inside.

Doug- thanks for the reminder about the RASP" Find a Researcher" link http://www.kent.edu/research/FindAResearcher/

 

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

I didn't know about this link! I put in my resarch topic and found someone! That is exciting.

I think for the newsletter couldn't it be a list with links and the list would have the name, dept. and research topics the work touches on. I'd be happy to scan through something like that.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

I didn't know about this link. It is great!

I am wondering if a newsletter with the recent accomplishments linked so we could scan throug a list of people, their depts. and related research topics and then click for more information would be useful. Or at least inspiring.

 
Paulette Washko
on Dec 11, 2012

It is great to see the comments regarding the Researcher Database as a tool to connect Investigators for collaboration on research projects! This is exactly what we had in mind when we created the database.  I worked on this project under the direction of Dr. Alemagno and have always believed that the project was worthwhile! Additionally, we have thought that it could be developed even further to connect researchers and serve as a valuable information management tool for not only for RASP, but KSU as a whole. Currently, we maintain and create new profiles for the the database manually and the database is a stand alone applicaiton.   There has been discussion of incorporating a Research tab into the faculty profiles tool of CommonSpot so that all of the information is collected and able to be entered by the faculty all in one convenient place.   However, there were comments/thoughts that the faculty might object to the idea of having to maintain a profile that is published on a departmental website.  I am wondering if any of you have any comments/ideas in this regard?

 
Expand This Thread
Joel Hughes
on Nov 06, 2012 - 12:44 pm

Better post-award grant support. We have great people in RASP, and this is getting better, but there are still glitches that are tough to unravel. PI's are not trained on how to take care of grants they receive (I do NOT want more mandatory training), but perhaps there is a relational solution that would help instead of having to make it up as we go.

For example, people in RASP could have a caseload of researchers that they follow. When someone on their 'roster' wins a grant, they could follow up with advice ("let's get started on your progress report EARLY....this is the person to talk to re; budget problems...let's make sure IRB is going smoothly on that ....). Knowing that all your grants are followed by one supportive person would be helpful.

I do not wish to criticize anyone in RASP, as they are very helpful, but I think they may be overworked and undesrstaffed when it comes to managing the portfolio of work that Kent wins. There is so much pressure to process submissions that the more proactive post-award grantsmanship is difficult to keep up with.

 

Responses(10)

John Gunstad
on Nov 06, 2012

These are great ideas and could even be extended further.

Why isn't RASP more directly connected to Grants Accounting?  Having more integration would make the inevitable grant re-budgeting easier.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

And why isn't HR capable of using a dollar value instead of % effort? When someone on a project gets a raise the money flows away regardless of whether the project is going to go over budget.

We would never pay an invoice to a subcontract that is higher than the fully-executed subcontract award, but we'll pay ourselves in excess of what we had budgeted.

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 07, 2012

Ive never understood the relationship between RASP and grants accounting - let me see what I can find out

 
Katherine Rawson
on Nov 09, 2012

I want to second John's motion to improve the connection between RASP and Grants Accounting.  We've had some very frustrating experiences lately managing grant budgets because of the current disconnect.

 
Catherine Smith
on Nov 09, 2012

I would extend comments beyond IRB and accounting to other processes at KSU. Activities such as purchasing that could be straight forward can be very time consuming. People work hard, but some processes still require signed paper documents that can take days to move between buildings on campus. Computer systems don’t talk to each other. I have a small grant with a small group of GAs and even that has been more time consuming than it should be. The research support infrastructure and policies seem to be designed for a different era. Some investment here would be helpful. 

 
Pamela Luft
on Nov 09, 2012

I also have experienced significant issues in reporting on grants and the yearly amount expended on each student. None of our accounting systems allow that (except for the Registrar, apparently, who easily tracks each student's payment schedule). The result is that this has to be hand-calculated, for each month, for each student and further complicated by having to check multiple fields for tuition vs stipend vs travel vs other support.

I've had another significant issue in securing and now utilizing an IES restricted use license. I spent nearly 2 years because no one in the college, RASP, or otherwise could provide any guidance. Finally, several in library helped and we submitted, only to be told that we were completely wrong. I would have thought that KSU was familiar with this given their push for research. I received the license, but have again waited 2 years to have a  secured room established. A year ago the KSU police said that such a room would not be allowed because they need access to everything. Again, I'm surprised that this has been such an area of contention when colleagues all over the country have worked these things out. The police finally were satisfied but I'm still waiting.

I have a colleague who is PI of an IES grant with a sub-award through Mich St where they were given 2 GAs and a separate room without having made any such request. Here, my colleague has no room, no GAs (we have to fight for every few hours of any kind of GA assignment) and yet at every turn we are criticized for not competing equally with top-tier reserach institutions.

We need substantlly better infrastructure and support--here I sit with data I cannot access to study an area that no other researcher is focusing on. I wait on hours of staff time for annual reports based on hand calculations of data.

 
Denice Sheehan
on Nov 13, 2012

I have worked with many helpful people at KSU since my study was funded by NIH 2 years ago. There have also been many challenges finding those people.  A "Researcher's Handbook" may be helpful to guide the process it includes clued  blanks for us to insert our "go to" people throughout the University, ie:Parminda in RASP, Tessa in Grants Accounting, etc. 

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012

I think that would be a great idea for RASP to put together something like that - it would increase efficiency from both sides.

 
Catherine Smith
on Nov 20, 2012

I agree -- this would be very helpful as long as it could be kept current. 

 
Lori Burchard
on Dec 11, 2012

Sponsored Programs and Grants Accounting have been working on a Grants Management Manual.  Sections covering different topics are posted at: http://www.kent.edu/research/sponsoredprograms/awardadmin.cfm as they are available.  We hope that this online format will allow it to be kept up to date with current policy and procedures.  We plan to offer related training sessions for PIs and departmental support staff next year.

 
Expand This Thread
Joel Hughes
on Nov 06, 2012 - 12:39 pm

Online IRB! I know it's in the works, but IRB would be less cumbersome immediately if we had a good online submission/review/approval system.

 

Responses(2)

Doug Delahanty
on Nov 07, 2012

I agree, Joel, at the last IRB meeting they gave updates regarding where we stand, and I do think we will have online submission soon

 
Paulette Washko
on Dec 11, 2012

Yes, you are correct we are working on an online submission system for both IRB and IACUC! I am currently configuring the IRB and IACUC modules and can provide you with some insight. As you may, or may not know, Coeus will be replaced by Kuali-Coeus, a more user-friendly, html-based application. What this means is that at some point RASP must migrate from the current Coeus application to the html-based Kuali-Coeus application. Coeus, as it stands now, will cease to supported/updated by the consortium that created it. Dr. McGimpsey has stressed to all of us at RASP the importance of providing effective and efficient research support tools.  He has also emphasized to us the value of researchers, and the use of their time.  In this regard, rather than waste resources and time by launching an IRB/IACUC online submission system that needs updated and thereby requires new training materials within a year, we are waiting to be able to provide researchers with the html-based, Kuali-Coeus compliance system that will be available this summer.  To help ease the transition to the online system, our office will publish updated IRB forms in January 2013.  It is important to note thatthese forms will closely mirror the questionnaires that will be accessed in the html-based Kuali-Coeus IRB/IACUC submission systems.  In addition, the new forms will include appendices to provide the information required by the regulations to the IRB, rather than having to respond to emails when an application is sent to our office.  I hope that this will save some time for Investigators, as well as some frustration.

 

 
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Doug Delahanty
on Nov 05, 2012 - 8:14 pm

Hi all, I'm the chair of this sub-committee in this process and very interested in your thoughts and answers to this and other questions we'll be posting in the coming days. Thank you for your thoughts so far - I apologize in that I am just returning from out of town but am very interested in any thoughts that people have regarding how to expand research and creative endeavors at Kent.  As we are actively trying to encourage discussion, it would be most helpful for people to post thoughts here rather than individually emailing me; however, if you are more comfortable emailing, I will be happy to include your comments as we prepare our suggestions for the content of the strategic plan, thanks, Doug

 

Responses(3)

Donald M.  (Mack) Hassler
on Nov 08, 2012

Appreciate your work, Doug.   Am having a little trouble navigating all the various possibilities here, but my main thought at the moment is that we must actively be hiring new researchers into our ranks if we are to maintain research excellence.  Pretty simple and direct, but hard to do in this environment.   Mack Hassler,  8 November

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 08, 2012

Thanks Mack, I agree with the need to hire researchers, but there are a variety of models - one is to try to entice high-level multiple R01 recipients to come to Kent, but you always risk the chance that the reason that person might leave their current position is because the want to "settle down" a bit, and then you have invested a lot in someone who is less productive.  Another model is to hire promising junior people at a cheaper cost but the payoff will take 5-10 years.  This is what we have done in Psychology, with great success.  But, it takes recognition of the fact that this is a longer term investment.  I think as a University we are also accepting the fact that we can't be excellent at everything; hence the more focused areas of excellence. The next question asks about groupings of researchers that may make sense cross-dept, cross-college, and cross-university -- would you have an opinion as to possible groupings of faculty that could be competitive for interdisciplinary grants?

 
Donald M.  (Mack) Hassler
on Nov 09, 2012

In English with junior hires at the tenure-track, we get payoff fairly rapidly.  The last four or five new TT folks we have hired have been nicely productive during the probationary period.  Some very fine people come right off their doctoral work with books in their heads and primed for good work.  But as you know (luckily Psychology does not have this problem), if the hiring climate does not loosen up soon for us we are apt to be without folks in the probationary period.  A side effect from this shrinking is that during the probationary period, I have found, senior faculty get a strong sense of revival in their own work and writing.  We get a sense of our writing strength as a department in those intense meetings.  We do not get this when we review NTT work.   We get a little bit of it when we review merit apps as we are now in the process of doing.  But the knives are so present with the new contract stiuplations there, and that process is not as regular as the thoughtful review of probationary TT colleagues.   So I think everyone who wants to see writing productivity will feel blocked more and more if the stream of new TT people were to stop.  I know that is a clear backside way to move a group away from research and into teaching delivery only.  But in our field, the teaching also is much constricted if we are not productive writers at the same time.  What I describe is mostly true of those disciplines where the productivity is in writing projects more than in data research.   Mack Hassler 

 
Expand This Thread
Paul  Gaston
on Nov 05, 2012 - 4:19 pm

Many at Kent State already are addresing these and other challenges. The important issue is how effectively the university encourages research and scholarship directed towards clearly identified priorities while supporting also strong research that pursues less immediately quantifiable ends. The terms are inadequate, but both "applied" and "pure" research are essential to the life of the university. 

 

Responses(5)

Carey McDougall
on Nov 05, 2012

Paul can you share some ways that you feel we could better encourage a balance of the two?

 
Paul  Gaston
on Nov 07, 2012

Rather than attempting a balance, I would acknowledge the value of both. These are by no means airtight categories. Research directed towards highly specific outcomes often leads to new directions in research not envisioned at the start. Similarly, so-called "pure" research often proves highly productive in terms of useful outcomes. The criterion should always be quality. How clearly is the project conceived? How well informed is the proposal regarding work already accomplished and work under way? How realistic is the research plan in terms of needed resources, timeline, and intended results? What will be the audience for the study and the potential impact of its results? And so on--the usual questions.

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 13, 2012

This is an excellent response, Paul. It would be useful if we could change the research emphasis from quantity to quality. At the department and school level, I would like to see stronger definitions of quality and more emphasis on the importance of questions researchers attempt to answer.

 
Rebecca Meehan
on Nov 30, 2012

I agree with the emphasis on quality in both applied and "pure" academic research.  Health Informatics is another area in which we see a need for both applied and traditional academic research.  Hospitals and physicians’ offices in the United States are in a position where they need to transition to electronic health records (EHR), in a relatively quick way, given ‘Meaningful Use’ incentives from the Department of Health and Human Services.  They need assistance in many areas that we are addressing, including educating the workforce to not only be ready for these new technologies, but to help evolve them.    The industry in general needs help in addressing usability issues related to the EHR to ensure patient safety and to optimize health outcomes for patients.  These are just a couple of areas of need, both of which will benefit by direct applied research and longer term academic research. 

 
John DeCola
on Nov 20, 2012

Paul,   I am excited about the changes in the direction of  College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.  As you may know, we are breaking ground in the spring for a 60K sq foot new physical plant for the college in the science corridor , and, perhaps more importantly, augmenting and developing new concentrations  to reflect a  focused synergistic approach to Sustainability  and Innovation.  With the advent of multiple new faculty in the next year to support these efforts, we also expect to become very active in the research venue.  I expect we will have the capability and wherewithal to contribute mightily to successful sponsored research.  The key to that success might very well hinge on how the university community supports these efforts and how CAEST  successfully reaches out and becomes inclusive to better propogate successful endeavors in this most important area.   In any case, I believe we have unlimited potential to significantly improve both the quantity and quality of output as we move forward with our new college.

 
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Kent State University
on Nov 01, 2012 - 12:05 pm

Given your experience and knowledge of KSU, how can we, as  faculty, students and staff address the national societal challenges of human health, energy and sustainability, and education through research and creative scholarship?

 

Responses(9)

John Gunstad
on Nov 05, 2012

One option is to think of the entire KSU campus as a laboratory--testing bold ideas at the university level could lead to programs that work at larger levels (i.e. communities, society, etc.)

 

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 05, 2012

John thanks for posting. Can you share any recent examples of bold ideas being tested at KSU or any examples of bold ideas that we should be testing?

 
John Gunstad
on Nov 06, 2012

I'm not aware of any projects at a very large scale yet. 

The KSU community involves 50K people.  Even small changes for a group that size can have enormous impact.  One example might be looking for ways to make KSU healthier, whether through more physical activity, better diet, stress management, sleep hygiene, etc.  But, it could also include other things more directly related to KSU, including using data from students' flashcards as a way of predicting who is at risk for dropout, using GPS devices to follow people and see how patterns of friendships emerge over time, among many others. 

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 07, 2012

Hey John, I know that you guys are already involved in research like this on a slightly smaller scale; have you run into any barriers that make conducting research such as this difficult?

 
Katherine Rawson
on Nov 09, 2012

I really like John's idea about thinking of KSU as a laboratory.  Regarding an example of this approach at a semi-large scale, we currently have a collaborative team of faculty (from Math, Psychology, and Ed Psych) who are conducting research in the Math Emporium to understand and improve students' learning experiences with the ALEKS system (the math auto-tutoring software in place in the Emporium).  For example, we recently had a two-day meeting with the ALEKS developers to design large-scale experiments that will be run in the Math Emporium in the ALEKS system. 

 
Averil  McClelland
on Nov 05, 2012

One of the things that would most helpful to those of us who are working in areas of diversity and global learning would be to have a research agenda (or several) that focused on these areas so that faculty could, in effect, be doing research and also working with faculty initiatives in broadening our research agenda.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 05, 2012

Great idea Averil!

 
Barbara  Hipsman Springer
on Nov 14, 2012

Another idea to help researchers who are looking to collaborate is a very transparent directory or repository listing research that is being funded through Kent State. At times I've been surprised when a colleague from a very different area is interested in a similar topic. And...it could be nearly cost-free!

 
Doug Delahanty
on Nov 19, 2012

That's a great idea, Barbara - I wonder if we can link that somehow to the "find a researcher" link that has been discussed below.

 
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