Recommendations for Enhancing Faculty and Student Success in Scholarship UNF Faculty Association Research Council
The faculty members of the University of North Florida strongly support a campus community that is dedicated to promoting student success. We are confident that new initiatives by the Administration will result in the improvement of not only student outcomes, but the view of the University of North Florida by the Florida Board of Governors. While we are working to demonstrate student success at various levels on our campus, the Faculty Association Research Council recommends that the Administration begin to think about the future, so we are appropriately poised to benefit from a higher ranking within the Florida State University System, and the funding that accompanies it. With that in mind, the Faculty Association Research Council proposes the following recommendations to best support faculty and student success in scholarship. The recommendations are ordered by impact based on a survey of the UNF faculty.
1. Flexible teaching loads:
Faculty scholarship can be best supported by providing flexibility in teaching loads. We understand that the current culture of the University and the contract ratified by faculty members and administrators does not provide an opportunity for flexibility in teaching assignments. We suggest that a task force be assembled that includes representation of the Faculty Association, the United Faculty of Florida, and Academic Affairs to begin discussing ways in which differential teaching assignments could work for UNF and therefore be included in future contracts. It is possible that by developing a third mode of sabbatical leave that has different expectations and eligibility than the two present modes would allow for this flexibility while still aligning with current opportunities and guidelines established.
2. Graduate student funding:
Support for graduate students, especially in the form of research assistantships and funding for research and conference-related travel are needed. Funding these efforts not only improves our graduate students and academic program profile but also improves the research capabilities of their faculty mentors.
3. Funding for international research and conference travel:
Many faculty scholarship efforts are focused internationally. Because of this, appropriate conferences for the dissemination of their research are held in other countries. The cost to travel for research and conferences is often more than is allotted through annual professional development funding. Additional funding for which faculty can apply would enhance the ability of UNF faculty to participate in these activities.
4. Technology and software to support research activities:
Updated technology and software are necessary tools to conduct research commensurate with the level of the respective fields of scholarly endeavors. Instrumentation, technology, databases, and site licenses for commonly used software packages are required for faculty and their students to conduct research in the 21st century and would likely improve efficiency while reducing costs to individual departments.
5. Resources to support ORSP:
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs requires an increase in its current funding to support the growing needs of UNF. The Office requires resources, both in terms of staffing and software, to increase efficiency of grant submissions and research integrity compliance. Many faculty members, and their students, rely on this office to submit funding requests to external agencies and to obtain approval to develop projects using human and animal subjects. Significant support of the UNF ORSP would greatly contribute to increases in success related to scholarship endeavors by students and their faculty mentors.