How Can We Help Faculty Balance Between Teaching and Scholarly Activities?

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Conference Proceeding

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Boise State University (BSU), which is among the fastest growing institutions of higher education in the Northwestern United States, is categorized as a Master's College and University (larger programs) by the Carnegie Classifications system. With the vision of becoming a metropolitan research university of distinction, BSU is transforming from a teaching-based to a research-based university. Embracing this transformation, BSU's College of Engineering seeks to establish balanced workloads between teaching and scholarly activities among its faculty by providing appropriate evaluation, rewards, and support. During the 2009-2010 academic year, the college's Teaching and Learning Committee conducted a survey with the full-time faculty members to better understand their perceptions about the current workload ratio between teaching and scholarly activities, the current evaluation and reward systems, and institutional support. A total of 69 full-time faculty members were invited to participate in the survey, and 42 of them (61%) completed the survey. The primary results were: (1) Assistant and associate professors think that their actual teaching load is heavier than their ideal teaching load. (2) Full professors feel that they maintain a good balance between their teaching and scholarly activities and incorporate their research into teaching. (3) The faculty perceive different levels of performance expectations from the university, college and departments. (4) The faculty perceive that the reward system for excellent teaching is vague and insufficient in contrast to the reward system for scholarly activities. These results can be used to develop appropriate guidelines to assist faculty members during the process of institutional transformation from a teaching-based to a research-based university.


Awarded the ASEE Best Paper Award, New Engineering Educators Division (NEE), Vancouver, B.C. in 2011.

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