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The mythologies of faculty productivity: Implications for institutional policy and decision making.

Research accomplishment, the most "cosmopolitan" academic function, has social and economic value. Research visibility certainly enhances institutional stature among peers (Alpert, 1985). Political and public support for academic institutions, however, rests on the perceived institutional commitment to "local functions," especially teaching and learning (Ewell, 1994; Hearn, 1992). Legislative calls for accountability and effectiveness, and public concern about increasing costs and the potential adverse consequences for access clearly focus on the teaching mission. Many state legislatures have focused on faculty commitment to teaching often in terms of instructional productivity. Efforts to eliminate tenure by the governing boards in Arizona and Florida, legislation in Ohio to mandate an increase in the time faculty spend on teaching, and growing legislative interest in post-tenure review are specific expressions of this concern. The focus of this reform movement is not limited to public institutions. The Nati onal Science Foundation, which supports and influences both public and private institutions, recently required grant applicants to state how their research work will affect their teaching effort.

Much of the policy debate about the nature of faculty work is shrouded in myth, opinion, and conjecture. Critics of the perceived lack of emphasis on teaching in research universities may assume that this criticism applies equally well to teaching-oriented colleges, a questionable assumption at best. Parents, potential students, and even state legislators often overestimate the actual cost of attending college (National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, 1998).

Yet the perceived inattention to teaching and learning, particularly at the undergraduate level, is not off base (B ok, 1992; Fairweather, 1996). Boyer (1990) acknowledged the legitimacy of this claim when he attempted to encourage institutional responsiveness to public concerns about teaching and learning. He advocated considering teaching as a form of scholarship to increase its status on college campuses. The American Association of Higher Education Forum on Faculty Roles and Rewards took Boyer's concepts a step further, encouraging institutional teams to foster changes in local faculty rewards.

The willingness and ability of academic institutions to respond effectively to these challenges is influenced by what Clark (1972) calls institutional sagas. These sagas contain a variety of beliefs or myths that help perpetuate organizational culture by socializing new participants (students, administrators, and especially the faculty) by establishing norms for their behavior. Among the set of beliefs held by many academic administrators and faculty members about the nature of faculty work and productivity are that (a) teaching, research, and service are activities imbedded in some form within each faculty member's work effort, (b) teaching and research are mutually reinforcing, and as a consequence (c) faculty can simultaneously be productive in teaching and research.

Other than hiring new faculty members, the principal expression of academic values about faculty work lies in the promotion and tenure decision. It is here rather than in institutional rhetoric that the faculty seek clues about the value of different aspects of their work. It is here that productivity is most meaningfully defined and evaluated. Yet promotion and tenure decisions are both individual and private in nature. These characteristics make it difficult to identify the cumulative effects of individual decisions within an institution, much less identify patterns across types of institutions and disciplines. The purpose of this article is to identify these larger patterns by examining national data that represent criteria often used in local promotion and tenure decisions or in annual faculty reviews. I am particularly interested in the belief that all aspects of faculty work--particularly teaching and research--can be equally (or somewhat equally) addressed by the work of each faculty member. This tene t asserts that each faculty member is expected to be (and can be) the complete faculty member--simultaneously productive in both teaching and research.

I created a decision model based on how a hypothetical promotion and tenure committee might judge a faculty member's teaching and research performance. For this model I developed productivity norms by discipline within type of institution using national survey data. Although even liberal arts colleges increasingly value traditional scholarship (Fairweather, 1997), the decision model is primarily applicable to master's, doctoral, and research universities. The quantitative model is limited because every promotion and tenure or annual review decision also takes into account qualitative assessments and judgment. Nevertheless, most reviews of faculty performance rely heavily on quantitative measures of productivity, especially ones having meaning across the disciplines.

Beliefs About Faculty Work

Teaching and Research: Mutually Reinforcing

As Crimmel (1984) points out, the teacher-scholar represents the ideal in American higher education. This ideal is purportedly perpetuated in the socialization and psychological predisposition of faculty members to pursue both teaching and research (Finkelstein, 1984). Blackburn and Lawrence (1995) epitomize this perspective in their model of faculty productivity. Their model places the greatest emphasis on self-knowledge, which includes personal interest, commitment, efficacy, psychological characteristics, satisfaction, and morale. Less important, according to Blackburn and Lawrence, is social knowledge, which includes social support, perceived institutional preference, and institutional values (e.g., rewards). Environmental influences have a tertiary role in their model.

Other authors also have emphasized the psychological and behavioral implications of faculty experiences. Bess (1978) claims that experiences during graduate school help shape the future faculty member's attitudes and behavior. Alpert (1985), Baldwin and Blackburn (1981), and Boice (1992) claim that the experiences during the early part of the faculty member's career also affect psychological development and orientation and thereby influence behavior.

The evidence in support of the intrinsic model of faculty behavior is less convincing than the arguments made in its behalf. Blackburn and Lawrence (1995), the leading proponents of this model, found that the most important factors in faculty research productivity were demographic characteristics (e.g., rank) and "behaviors," including external research funding. In other studies of faculty teaching and research behavior, respectively, Fairweather and Rhoads (1995) and Diamond (1993) found rewards to be the strongest correlate of faculty behavior, not socialization or attitudes.

The belief in the teacher-scholar rests on several tenets:

Teaching and research are seen as mutually reinforcing. From this perspective, the best scholars are the best teachers; the best teacher is a scholar who keeps abreast of the content and methods of a field through continuing involvement in research and who communicates knowledge and enthusiasm for a subject to students. (Fairweacher, 1996, p. 100)

Feldman (1987) examined the theoretical bases for believing that research and teaching are mutually reinforcing behaviors. Most are versions of Liasky and Straus's (1975) "spillover effect," where, for example, faculty who conduct research are supposedly more likely to introduce research-based material into their classroom instruction. Feldman's review of more than 200 research studies found little relationship between student ratings of teaching excellence and various forms of research productivity (overall correlation coefficient of 0.12). Hattie and Marsh (1996) expanded Feldman's analysis and found an even smaller cross-study correlation (0.06). As I did before them (Fairweather, 1993), Hattie and Marsh found a negative relationship between faculty time allocated to teaching and time allocated to research.

In contrast, using in-depth investigation of a small number of faculty members, Colbeck (1997) found that teaching and research activities can overlap. For example, research is much more likely to overlap with independent study instruction or dissertation committee work than it is to influence classroom teaching. By implication, Feldman's and Hattie and Marsh's analyses did not find a relationship between teaching effectiveness and research productivity because they focused on only one aspect of the instructional work effort (i.e., classroom instruction). In any case, "the common belief that research and teaching are inextricably intertwined is an enduring myth" (Hattie & Marsh, 1996, p. 529).

The Complete Faculty Member

The ultimate tenet about faculty work, which is influenced by beliefs about the importance of intrinsic motivation and the overlap of teaching and research, is that faculty members can be productive in all aspects of faculty work. This belief is codified in promotion and tenure dossiers where faculty members are required to demonstrate their productivity in teaching and research (with some emphasis on service as well).

The belief that the typical faculty member can simultaneously achieve high or at least above average levels of productivity in both research and teaching is largely unexamined. Feldman (1987) and Hattie and Marsh (1996) examined ratings of teaching effectiveness, which is one measure of quality but not of productivity. Much of my work (e.g., Fairweather 1993, 1996) focuses on time allocation and rewards rather than on specific measures of productivity. Massey and Wilger (1995) discuss faculty perceptions of both teaching and research productivity, but they do not demonstrate empirically how this relationship plays out among a national sample of professors. Even less is known about the variation in expectations and norms for faculty working in distinct types of institutions or by discipline within an institution.

Study Purpose and Research Questions

The purpose of this article is to examine empirically the principal beliefs about faculty work to inform the debate about how to increase faculty productivity, enhance the attention paid to teaching, and preserve the parts of academic life essential to carry out the multiple missions of teaching, research, and service. I examine two research questions:

Research Question 1: What percentage of the faculty are productive in teaching or research?

Research Question 2: What percentage of the faculty are simultaneously productive in both teaching and research?

The Study

Data for this research were gathered in the 1992-93 National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty 1992--93 (NSOPF 1993), sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics. NSOPF 1993 examined a nationally representative sample of 29,764 part-time and full-time faculty in 962 two- and four-year colleges and universities. In all, 25,780 fulland part-time faculty from 817 institutions responded (respective institutional and individual response rates of 84.9% and 86.6%). The institutional sample was stratified by source of control (public or independent) and by type of institution. Based on the Carnegie Foundation classification scheme (Carnegie, 1987), types of institution ranged from research universities, whose faculty train the majority of doctorates in the United States and which house most of the funded research; doctoral-granting universities, whose faculty also train doctoral students and conduct research but whose production of doctorates and research dollars generated are less than those of the rese arch universities; comprehensive colleges and universities, which focus on liberal arts and professional programs at the undergraduate and master's-degree levels; liberal arts colleges, which focus on teaching undergraduates (although the majority now also offer some type of masters-degree program); other 4-year institutions, which in this study primarily focus on separate medical and engineering schools; and 2-year colleges. For this research, I used weighted data (1) on full-time, tenure track faculty from 4-year institutions (n = 7,835, weighted n = 269, 789). I omitted department chairs because their work allocation patterns are usually distinct from those of regular faculty members. The weighted distribution of faculty by type of 4-year institution is as follows: 35.0% from research universities, 15.3% from doctoral-granting universities, 34.9% from comprehensive colleges and universities, 8.4% from liberal arts colleges, and 6.4 percent from other 4-year institutions.


For Research Question 1, I calculated the medians for productivity measures by program area within type of institution. Based on the decision model I used these data to define "high teaching productivity" and "high research productivity" groups. I calculated weighted percentages for these productivity groups. T-tests were used to examine results by type of institution, gender, race/ethnicity, and academic rank. For Research Question 2, I determined the weighted percentages of faculty simultaneously achieving high teaching and research productivity. I examined the differences in percentage distributions by type of institution, gender, race/ethnicity, and academic rank.

Defining Faculty Productivity

Massy and Wilger (1995) define productivity as the ratio of outputs to inputs, or of benefits to costs. Meyer (1998) distinguishes productivity from workload and time allocation: "Workload ... captures how their [the faculty] time is spent, while productivity is a measure of what is produced with that time" (pp. 45-46). Massy and Wilger (1995) assert that some accounting for quality is necessary in any definition of faculty productivity. They found that faculty members from all types of 4-year colleges and universities typically defined productivity as outputs, not the ratio of outputs to inputs. These faculty respondents also were strongly influenced by institutional rewards:

When asked for a definition of the term [productivity], respondents tended to provide broad and complex answers usually involving both teaching and research.... However, when asked to tell "what matters," ... respondents were more likely to [say] ... research and publication (Massy & Wilger, 1995, p. 12).

Across all types of institutions faculty respondents most often defined their own productivity by refereed publications and research grants (Massy & Wilger, 1995, pp. 15-16). Winston (1994) attributes this finding to a national labor market for faculty members that reinforces "the use [of] similar research-oriented criteria in hiring and rewarding existing faculty" (p. 43) across institutional type.

Consistent with Massy and Wilger's respondents, I define productivity in terms of individual faculty member outputs. I include measures of both teaching and research output. According to Meyer (1998, pp. 48-49), clarifying research and especially teaching outputs represents a step forward in the study of faculty productivity even though they represent only partial measures of productivity (i.e., they do not include inputs). Most previous studies of faculty research output (hereafter productivity) focused on quantity, especially the number of refereed publications and competitive research grants. Peer review for both publications and grants was assumed to ensure some aspect of quality (Blackburn & Lawrence, 1995; Fairweather, 1996; Konrad & Pfeffer, 1990). Promotion and tenure procedures often include qualitative assessments, such as external review, to assess quality and impact.

Less agreement exists about appropriate measures of instructional productivity. Researchers and policymakers often confuse teaching productivity, quality, effectiveness, and time allocation and mistake faculty input (e.g., hours spent teaching) for student learning outcomes. Classroom instruction is often the only form of instructional output examined (Meyer, 1998, pp. 53-56).

Measures of instructional productivity serve two purposes. The first is to address internal and external accountability (Graham, Lyman, & Trow, 1995). Demonstrating that faculty members teach undergraduate courses, spend an acceptable amount of their time on teaching, and so forth, are essential to maintain or restore public confidence in higher education (Gaither, Nedwek, & Neal, 1994). Relevant measures here include counts such as student contact hours generated per semester.

Johnstone (1993) argues that instructional productivity should also serve as a proxy for student learning. He points out that measures such as student contact hour production may not reflect student learning productivity. Menges (1981) argues that the measures of instructional productivity should include the use of teaching methods found effective in promoting student learning. Most of these instructional practices encompass active and collaborative teaching and learning in the classroom (Angelo, 1993; Chickering & Gamson, 1991; Johnstone, 1993; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Sorcinelli, 1991).

Productivity Measures

The first step in identifying faculty members who are highly productive in teaching and research is to select appropriate productivity or output measures. The measures selected must have meaning across all types of 4-year institutions, permit comparison with previous research, and be commonly used in promotion and tenure decisions at many, perhaps most, colleges and universities. The principal measure of research productivity that meets these criteria is the number of refereed publications during the previous two years, where "publication" includes articles in refereed journals; published reviews of books, articles, or creative works; books; textbooks; monographs; and chapters in edited volumes. Limiting the time period for the measure of research productivity to the preceding two years was necessary to compare it with teaching workloads and productivity during Fall term, 1992. Although Hattie and Marsh (1996) argue that weighted scales for publishing productivity may be preferable to simple numbers of publi cations, selecting weights that are applicable across disciplines and types of institutions is impractical and can be misleading. For example, a book may be valued more highly in history whereas a refereed article in a top journal may be valued more highly in engineering. For this reason, I estimated number of publications with a simple count of eligible publications. Publishing productivity has the advantage of having similar meaning and value across types of institution, at least as reflected in faculty rewards (Fairweather, 1996). It also has been widely used in previous research, ranging from Ladd (1979) to Blackburn and Lawrence (1995).

Local promotion and tenure or annual review decisions typically use a broader definition of scholarly output than refereed publications. Being a principal investigator on an externally-funded research project during at least part of the 1992-93 academic year can be highly valued, especially in engineering, the natural and social sciences, and the health sciences (Konrad & Pfeffer, 1990; Massy & Wilger, 1995). The total research funds generated by a faculty member during the 1992-1993 academic year adds useful information about his or her contribution to the department. A less prestigious but commonly considered form of scholarship is the number of conference presentations or workshops during the previous two years. For faculty members in the fine arts, a related measure is the number of exhibitions or performances during the previous two years.

For instructional productivity I first selected a true productivity measure, student classroom contact hours per semester. This measure equals the number of hours the faculty member taught in a specific class per week times the number of students enrolled in that class, summed over all the classes taught during Fall term 1992. Student classroom contact hours reflect an individual's gross instructional contribution to the program or department. It does not reflect nonclassroom instructional output. Nor does it adequately reflect the instructional output of faculty members who primarily teach smaller graduate seminars. To measure out-of-class contributions to instructional productivity I have included the independent study contact hours per week during Fall term 1992. I also have included the number of thesis or dissertation committees served on during Fall term 1992. This measure includes both undergraduate theses and graduate dissertations and theses. It reflects an important instructional contribution made by graduate faculty members.

A proxy for instructional quality focuses on classroom teaching methods. Another proxy commonly used in promotion and tenure decisions, student ratings of faculty teaching, is not on NSOPF 1993. The emphasis here is on the use of best practices found indicative of student learning. Recent literature indicates that students exposed to collaborative or active learning experiences may learn more than those whose classroom experience is passive (Bottrill & Borden, 1994; Bruffee, 1993; Goodsell, Maher, & Tinto, 1992; Svinichi, Hagen, & Meyer, 1996; Weimer, 1990). Based on this literature, I created a measure of whether or not a faculty member used collaborative or active learning as the primary instructional approach in any course taught in Fall term 1992. Using the NSOPF 1993 categories, I classified a faculty member as using collaborative or active instruction if the primary instructional approach in any class employed discussion group and class presentations; apprenticeship, internship, field work, or field tr ips; role playing, simulation, or other performances; group projects; or cooperative learning groups. Lectures and TV were defined as noncollaborative forms of primary instructional approaches. To this group I added faculty members who used both student presentations and student evaluations of each others work--both tenets of active and collaborative teaching--regularly in their courses.

The Decision Model

I created a decision model to represent how a hypothetical promotion and tenure or annual review committee might combine productivity measures to identify highly productive researchers and highly productive teachers. For each measure other than instructional method (a dichotomy) I developed within-discipline-within-institutional-type norms by calculating the quartiles and medians separately by program area within type of institution (Carnegie, 1987). For research, doctoral-granting, and comprehensive universities I used all ten NSOPF 1993 program areas: agriculture/home economics, business, education, engineering, fine arts, health sciences, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and other fields. The relevant program areas for liberal arts colleges were fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and other fields. For other 4-year institutions the relevant program areas included health sciences, natural sciences, and other fields.

The decision model appears a bit mechanical, a set of "equations" driven by quantitative standards. It ignores the qualitative assessments and judgments inherent in the promotion and tenure or annual review processes. The model employs a modest standard to define "highly productive," using above the median rather than substantially above the median (i.e., the top quartile). Yet the decision model reflects many commonly held beliefs about the nature and importance of faculty work. It is also adequate to determine whether or not the percentage of faculty members simultaneously achieving high levels of research and teaching productivity is consistent with conventional beliefs.

The Highly Productive Researcher

I deemed a faculty member a highly productive researcher if his or her refereed publications during the previous two years--the gold standard for research productivity--exceeded the median for the relevant program area and institutional type. The median is the best measure of central tendency when the distribution is skewed, which was true here. To take into account other ways of achieving high levels of research output, I also designated faculty members as highly productive researchers if they fell in the second quartile (the quartile immediately below the median) of refereed publications, were a principal investigator on a funded research project, and achieved any one of the following:

* in the top quartile of total research dollars generated during 1992-1993

* in the top quartile of conference presentations (or exhibitions and performances if in the fine arts)

* above the median in both total research dollars and conference presentations.

Consider the education faculty in research universities as an example. I designated faculty members with three or more publications in the previous two years (the median) as highly productive researchers. To this group I added faculty members with between one and three publications (the second quartile) who were principal investigators and who obtained more than $300,000 in annual research funds (the top quartile) or who had more than nine conference presentations (the top quartile) or who had at least $25,000 in research funds and five presentations (the respective medians).

The Highly Productive Teacher

I designated any faculty member above the relevant median in student classroom contact hour production as a highly productive teacher. To this group I added faculty members in the second quartile of student classroom contact hour production if they were also in the top quartile of generating independent study contact hours and in the top quartile of serving on dissertation and thesis committees. As a separate measure, I used evidence of collaborative or active instruction as a proxy for effective teaching or instructional quality.


Research Question 1: What percentage of the faculty are productive in teaching or research?

Tables 1 and 2 demonstrate substantial variation in teaching and research productivity by type of institution and program area, respectively. As examples, publishing productivity ranged from a high of about six refereed publications during the previous two years for faculty members in research universities, to a low of less than two publications during the same time period for faculty in liberal arts colleges. (2) Faculty members who work in liberal arts colleges produced the least number of total student contact hours in Fall term 1992 (signifying smaller class sizes), whereas faculty members in other four-year institutions produced significantly larger numbers of contact hours. (3)

Similarly, across all types of 4-year institutions publishing productivity ranged by program area from 1.49 publications per two-year period in fine arts to 5.08 in health sciences. The faculty in business, education, the fine arts, humanities, and other fields produced below average numbers of publications; faculty in engineering, health sciences, and natural sciences were above average. (4) Student contact hours ranged from a high of about 537 student contact hours for faculty in health sciences to a low of about 223 in engineering. Faculty in the health sciences produced a much greater number of contact hours than did their counterparts in other program areas. (5)

These results support the more detailed breakdown by program area within type of institution. Again, substantial variation exists. For example, the median for publishing during the previous two years in research universities ranged from a low of 0 in agriculture to a high of 6 in the health sciences. In doctoral-granting universities fine arts faculty members published the least, engineering faculty members the most. In comprehensive institutions the social sciences faculty published the most. In liberal arts colleges the top publishers were in the humanities and social sciences. In other 4-year institutions the natural sciences faculty published the most. (7)

In research and doctoral-granting universities the business faculty produced the highest median student contact hours. In comprehensives it was the social sciences faculty. In liberal arts colleges the natural sciences faculty generated the most student contact hours; in other 4-year institutions it was the health sciences faculty.

Based on the decision model criteria, about 50% of the faculty are highly productive teachers regardless of type of institution (see Table 3). The percentage of highly productive researchers ranged from about 39 in liberal arts colleges to almost 50 in research universities. It is slightly higher in research-oriented institutions than in teaching-oriented colleges. (6) The faculty in bachelor's- and master's-level institutions were more likely to use collaborative or active instruction than their counter-parts in research-oriented universities. (8)

Women were less likely than men to be highly productive teachers (t = 2.67, p < .01) or researchers (t = 3.43, p < 0.001). They were much more likely than men to use active or collaborative teaching (t= 10.77, p < 0.001). Minority faculty members were as likely as majority faculty members to be designated highly productive researchers, less likely to be highly productive teachers (t = -4.09, p <0.001). Slightly fewer minority faculty members employed active or collaborative instruction in their classrooms (t -2.40, p <0.05). Full professors were the most likely to be designated highly productive researchers,(9) assistant professors the least likely to be highly productive teachers.(10) Assistant professors used active or collaborative instruction more often than their senior colleagues. (11)

Research Question 2: What percentage of the faculty are simultaneously productive in teaching and research?

I defined two groups of high research/high teaching productivity. Group 1 consists of the faculty who were designated both highly productive teachers and researchers. Group 2 consists of the faculty who were highly productive teachers and highly productive researchers (Group 1), and who used collaborative or active teaching approaches in their classes. Table 4 presents the results by type of institution, gender, race/ethnicity, and academic rank.

In 1992-1993 about 22% of all faculty in 4-year institutions simultaneously attained high productivity in teaching and research (Group 1). This percentage did not vary substantially by type of institution. When collaborative/active instruction is added to the definition (Group 2), the overall percentage drops to about 6%. Faculty members in liberal arts and comprehensive colleges were more likely to make this latter designation than their counterparts in doctoral-level institutions. (12)

Slightly more men attained Group 1 status (t = -2.40, p < 0.05), whereas slightly more women attained Group 2 (t = 2.17, p < .05). Non-minorities were more likely to attain Group 1 (t = -2.61, p < 0.01); Group 2 did not vary by race/ethnicity. Lecturers and assistant professors were less likely than their senior colleagues to attain Group 1. (13) Group 2 membership did not vary by academic rank with one exception: lecturers were less likely to be in Group 2. (14)


The small percentage of faculty in all types of 4-year institutions who achieved high levels of output in both research and teaching during 1992-1993 belies the common belief that each faculty member can achieve both simultaneously. Even fewer were able to achieve above the norm in teaching and research productivity while using potentially more effective instructional practices. Formal personnel policies for tenure-track faculty that presume simultaneous productivity in research and teaching often do not adequately reflect the difficulty in achieving such a mix. Indeed, dossiers for promotion and tenure and for annual review often require faculty members to document contributions to public service, professional service, and administration in addition to teaching and research productivity. Informal personnel policies do reflect this difficulty. Gappa and Leslie (1993) demonstrate that 4-year colleges and universities increasingly rely on part-time and adjunct faculty and teaching assistants to attain acceptab le levels of instructional productivity, thereby freeing time for full-time faculty to focus on research.

Across all types of 4-year institutions, the most common factor in simultaneously achieving high teaching and research productivity is to spend more hours in the classroom (Fairweather, 1999). However, this effort may deter faculty members from using collaborative teaching techniques (Olsen & Simmons, 1996). Faculty members with higher classroom work assignments typically are able to publish at greater than average rates when they also have a research grant, which gives them the opportunity to publish from their ongoing research work. Faculty attitudes and beliefs are also important, especially the fit with institutional missions and the perception that research should be the primary criterion in promotion and tenure (Fairweather, 1999).

These results help explain why so few faculty are able to achieve above average levels of teaching and research productivity at the same time. Few faculty members are able to publish while carrying above average teaching loads. Few faculty members have externally funded research projects, a resource that increases their ability to publish while teaching above average numbers of students. Even fewer attain above average productivity levels in teaching and research while using active or collaborative instructional techniques. In sum, simultaneously achieving high levels of productivity in teaching and research--the complete faculty member--is relatively rare. For most faculty members, generating high numbers of student contact hours diminishes publication rates, and vice versa

Untenured faculty members are the least likely to attain high levels of both research and teaching productivity during a given two-year period. Making certain that the untenured faculty shift their work focus during the pre-tenure period to achieve sufficient productivity in both teaching and research seems especially important. Each annual review should be considered in light of the career to date, not just a snapshot of current productivity. Policies that identify the most valued outputs also seem more useful than ones that imply every activity category is equally important.

Policies meant to encourage teaching productivity and effectiveness might adversely affect individual research productivity, and vice versa. More complex and potentially successful policies might reward teaching and research productivity differently at distinct points in the faculty career. Alternatively, rather than having a single broad institutional expectation for faculty work, academic policies might differentiate individual faculty responsibilities and allocate rewards accordingly. In its most radical form, this alternative might lead to the "unbundling" of faculty work responsibilities with differential work assignments, expectations, and rewards.

For most academic departments, the key to increasing teaching and research productivity may lie in looking for group solutions rather than on relying on each faculty member to increase productivity levels in teaching and research. Viewing faculty productivity as an aggregate across faculty members permits department chairs and departmental committees to combine the efforts of their individual members to achieve acceptable levels of productivity. Faculty who are less productive in research can increase the departmental average teaching productivity, whereas faculty who publish extensively can contribute to aggregate research productivity goals. In any case, the departmental or aggregate view of faculty productivity implies far more interdependence than is currently accepted as the norm for faculty behavior.

James S. Fairweather is professor of education, Educational Administration, Michigan State University.

This research was supported by a grant from the Office of Educational Reform and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education (Award No. R309F60075). The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author. For additional material, see a related chapter in Faculty Productivity: Facts, Fictions, Issues, edited by William Tierney (Falmer Press, 1999). Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to the author.


(1.) Population estimates from survey data were based on weights derived from the inverse of the probability of a faculty member in a particular type of institution being selected. The probability of selecting a faculty member for the sample was a function of the odds of an institution being selected from the universe of accredited postsecondary institutions and the probability of a faculty member being selected from the population within his or her institution.

(2.) t(res/doc) = 8.82 (***); t(res/oth) = 2.33 (**); t(oth/doc) = 2.91 (**); t(doc/comp) = 12.11 (***); t(comp/lib) = 2.01 (*) where (*) = p < 0.05, (**) = p < 0.01, (***) = p < 0.005. The comparison being made is shown in parentheses. For example, t(res/doc) refers to the mean difference between the publications rate of faculty members in research universities with faculty members in doctoral-granting universities. Only significant t-test results are shown. For a list of all comparisons of mean differences associated with tables 1 and 2 contact the author.

(3.) t(res/lib) = 3.66(***); t(doc/lib) = 2.08 (*); t(comp/lib) = 6.85 (***); t(oth/res) = 4.37 (***); t(oth/doc) = 4.19 (***); t(oth/Lib) = 6.65 (***).

(4.) t(business) = -6.24 (***); t(education) = -6.92 (***); t(engineering) = 2.79 (*); t(fine arts) =-16.30 (***); t(health sciences) = 6.06 (***); t(humanities) = -3.05 (*); t(natural science) = 5.30 (***); t(other) =-.7 03 (***). For academic disciplines, t tests were based on comparing the mean for the program area with the overall mean. Bonferroni corrections were used to estimate the level of significance of each test.

(5.) t(health sciences) = 6.10 (***); t(natural science) = 4.03 (***); t(agriculture) = -3.78 (***); t(business) = -3.l6 (*); t(education) =-2.75 (*); t(engineering) = -7.36 (***); t(fine arts) = -6.39 (***); t(humanities) = -5.78 (***).

(6.) t(res/comp) = 4.50(***); t(res/lib) = 3.86 (***); t(doc/comp) = 3.l0 (***); t(doc/lib) = 3.67 (***).

(7.) Contact author for the complete table, which is too large to include here.

(8.) t(lib/res) = 6.7l (***); t(lib/doc) = 5.04(***); t(lib/oth) = 5.90 (***); t(comp/res) = 9.0l (***); t(comp/doc) = 6.34 (***); t(comp/oth) = 6.40 (***).

(9.) t(full/assoc) = 3.30 (***); t(full/asst) = 4.48 (***); t(full/lect) = l0.22 (***).

(10.) t(full/asst) = 2.97 (**); t(assoc/asst) = 4.39 (***).

(11.) t(full/asst) = -3.85 (***); t(assoc/asst) = 2.86 (**).

(12.) t(comp/res) = 4.03 (***); t(comp/doc) = 5.00 (***); t(comp/oth) = 2.62 (**); t(lib/res) = 2.57 (*); t(lib/doc) = 3.05 (**); t(lib/oth) = 2.11 (*).

(13.) t(prof/asst) = 3.46 (***); t(prof/lect) = 5.74 (***); t(assoc/asst) = 2.60 (**); t(assoc/lect) = 5.83 (***); t(asst/lect) = 3.99 (***).

(14.) t(prof/lect) = 4.45 (***); t(assoc/lect) = 4.09 (***); t(asst/lect) = 4.13 (***).


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Productivity Measures by Type of Institution

                             All 4-Year             Research    Doctoral
                            Mean   SE          Mean    SE          Mean

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year       3.850   0.068      5.780    0.179      3.840
  investigator (%)        28.840   0.557     47.300    1.374     27.470
Research dollars ($)     172,655  10,509    198,654   17,391    176,052
 presentations, 2-year     4.060   0.084      5.440    0.218      4.160
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours    328.940   5.665    317.650   15.241    328.300
Independent study
  contact hours            6.500   0.131      7.560    0.273      6.140
  committees               4.730   0.108      7.290    0.296      5.070
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
  instruction              0.252   0.005      0.189    0.011      0.227

                         Doctoral       Comprehensive       Liberal
                         SE            Mean  SE           Mean

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year     0.128        2.060  0.072       1.741
  investigator (%)       1.209       12.140  0.601      11.110
Research dollars ($)    28,244       70,840  7,690      77,929
 presentations, 2-year   0.182        2.940  0.103       1.990
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours   12.778      335.330  6.655     249.760
Independent study
  contact hours          0.229        5.600  0.214       4.720
  committees             0.211        2.820  0.133       1.860
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
  instruction            0.011        0.317  0.009       0.342

                         Liberal           Other
                         SE          Mean    SE

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year     0.142      4.890    0.338
  investigator (%)       1.316     35.910    2.375
Research dollars ($)    20,339    179,123   24,485
 presentations, 2-year   0.193      4.300    0.350
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours   10.576    470.500   31.471
Independent study
  contact hours          0.495      8.070    0.574
  committees             0.173      2.460    2.510
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
  instruction            0.020      0.171    0.021


Productivity Measures by Program Area

                                  Economics               Business
                                 Mean         SE     Mean       SE

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year            4.740      0.383    2.800    0.177
Principal investigator (%)     67.240      3.981    8.110    1.221
Research dollars ($)          116,176     11,707  124,758   42,286
 presentations, 2-year          7.240      0.656    2.940    0.231
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours         241.610     21.304  295.880    8.863
Independent study
 contact hours                  9.040      0.890    3.600    0.392
 committees                     8.160      0.784    1.630    0.169
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
 instruction                    0.190      0.036    0.265    0.019

                                 Education            Engineering
                               Mean       SE       Mean       SE

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year          2.750    0.182      4.630    0.300
Principal investigator (%)   18.480    1.643     56.940    2.658
Research dollars ($)        214,784   61,248    184,848   13,841
 presentations, 2-year        6.030    0.396      6.180    0.641
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours       285.190   19.202    223.270   13.651
Independent study
 contact hours                5.100    0.298      8.920    0.637
 committees                   8.590    5.400      8.100    0.639
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
 instruction                  0.508    0.215      0.050    0.010

                                   Fine Arts            Health Sciences
                               Mean          SE       Mean           SE

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year          1.490       0.168      5.080        0.273
Principal investigator (%)    7.070       1.292     39.160        1.906
Research dollars ($)         26,150       8,062    175,064       23,640
 presentations, 2-year        2.720 (a)   0.270      5.410        0.289
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours       247.460      13.404    557.190       39.467
Independent study
 contact hours                7.440       0.480      9.680        0.571
 committees                   4.150       0.387      2.520        0.241
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
 instruction                  0.563       0.025      0.236        0.019

                                 Humanities          Natural Sciences
                               Mean       SE        Mean          SE

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year          3.490    0.142       4.890       0.197
Principal investigator (%)    8.470    0.805      46.440       1.396
Research dollars ($)         49,668   13,139     173,314      15,740
 presentations, 2-year        2.820    0.143       3.560       0.147
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours       254.680    6.354     389.790      15.190
Independent study
 contact hours                4.200    0.249       7.900       0.342
 committees                   3.230    0.153       5.230       0.295
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
 instruction                  0.370    0.014       0.098       0.008

                               Social Sciences             Other
                               Mean           SE     Mean       SE

Research Productivity
Publications, 2-year          4.090        0.162    2.790    0.145
Principal investigator (%)   23.940        1.482   19.600    1.574
Research dollars ($)        179,063       25,866  202,375   76,471
 presentations, 2-year        3.710        0.186    3.390    0.211
Teaching Productivity
Student contact hours       317.810       10.830  300.920   10.549
Independent study
 contact hours                4.730        0.285    5.640    0.315
 committees                   5.340        0.259    4.280    0.307
Instructional Approach
Proportion using
 instruction                  0.141        0.012    0.326    0.018


(a)In addition the fine arts faculty averaged 17.02 exhibitions or
performances (SE = 1.894)
Table 3

High Research or Teaching Productivity by Institutional and Demographic

                                      Institutional Type
                                All 4-Year                 Research
                             Mean          SE       Mean       SE

% Highly productive
  researchers               45.260        0.618    49.090     1.393
% Highly productive
  teachers                  53.600        0.630    52.290     1.449
Proportion using
  instruction                0.252        0.005     0.189     0.011

                                    Institutional Type
                              Doctoral            Comprehensive
                         Mean      SE        Mean         SE

% Highly productive
  researchers           46.670    1.364     41.590      0.915
% Highly productive
  teachers              54.620    1.378     54.520      0.930
Proportion using
  instruction            0.227    0.011      0.317      0.009

                                   Institutional Type
                            Liberal Arts              Other
                          Mean      SE        Mean      SE

% Highly productive
  researchers            39.480    2.068     46.030    2.483
% Highly productive
  teachers               52.800    2.117     53.970    2.711
Proportion using
  instruction             0.342    0.020      0.171    0.021

                               Female                 Male
                          Mean     SE        Mean      SE

% Highly productive
  researchers            41.880   1.067     46.370    0.756
% Highly productive
  teachers               50.910   1.099     54.490    0.770
Proportion using
  instruction             0.347   1.010      0.221    0.006

                                Nonminority                  Minority
                              Mean         SE          Mean      SE

% Highly productive
  researchers                45.060       0.696       46.690    1.346
% Highly productive
  teachers                   54.380       0.709       48.040    1.378
Proportion using
  instruction                 0.256       0.006        0.226    0.011

                                       Academic Rank
                              Professor              Associate
                           Mean      SE        Mean      SE

% Highly productive
  researchers             49.750    1.071     44.650    1.114
% Highly productive
  teachers                54.070    1.087     56.360    1.130
Proportion using
  instruction              0.231    0.009      0.243    0.010

                                       Academic Rank
                              Assistant               Lecturer
                           Mean      SE         Mean     SE

% Highly productive
  researchers             42.420    1.072      18.060   2.908
% Highly productive
  teachers                49.520    1.106      58.110   3.762
Proportion using
  instruction              0.283    0.010       0.336   0.040


Percentage of Faculty Members Productive in Both Teaching and Research
by Institutional and Demographic Characteristics

               All 4-Year             Research              Doctoral
           Mean       SE       Mean       SE       Mean       SE

Group 1   22.09     0.53      21.69     1.21      21.54     1.15
Group 2    5.96     0.31       4.59     0.63       4.05     0.57

             Comprehensive          Liberal Arts             Other
           Mean       SE       Mean       SE       Mean       SE

Group 1   22.79     0.79      20.40     1.73      23.82     2.33
Group 2    7.90     0.52       8.07     1.20       4.54     1.17

                           Gender                      Race/Ethnicity
                 Female                 Male              Non-Minority
           Mean       SE       Mean       SE       Mean       SE

Group 1   20.11     0.89      22.75     0.65      22.49     0.60
Group 2    7.10     0.59       5.59     0.37       6.06     0.35

             Race/Ethnicity                  Academic Rank
                Minority             Professor             Associate
           Mean       SE       Mean       SE       Mean       SE

Group 1   19.23     1.10      24.04     0.94      22.98     0.97
Group 2    5.25     0.65       6.35     0.55       5.90     0.55

                       Academic Rank
               Assistant              Lecturer
           Mean       SE      Mean        SE

Group 1   19.58     0.88      9.77      2.30
Group 2    5.90     0.54      1.40      0.95
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Author:Fairweather, James S.
Publication:Journal of Higher Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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