The Carnegie Foundation’s analysis of research activity in doctoral granting institutions points to three key components: grant expenditures, doctoral production, and research staff support. In May of 2006, Carnegie classified Baylor University as a Research University with "high research activity" (RU/H). Baylor’s Vision 2012 Strategic Plan supported research in specific areas of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition, this vision led to investment in the construction of the Baylor Sciences Building (BSB) where the facility served as a "magnet" for attracting new faculty and students.
In the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) within the College of Arts & Sciences, research output in terms of number of publications, grant funding, and Ph.D. graduation rate has more than doubled during the Vision 2012 time period (2002 to 2012). However, Baylor’s institutional ranking has not significantly improved and progress in several critical areas in the sciences remains slow. Without substantial improvements in research productivity within the STEM areas no institution can achieve the Carnegie Research University with "very high research activity" (RU/VH) status.
Assessments in terms of publications and doctoral production indicate that Baylor’s Humanities and Social Science departments are much closer to reaching the Carnegie RU/VH benchmarks than the STEM departments (refer to Table 2.1). While the College of Arts & Sciences must emphasize gains in STEM research output, the strength of the Humanities and Social Sciences programs provides a foundation for the University’s future progress. In this context, Arts & Sciences will assess the strategies for the sustainability of masters programs and move forward with new initiatives for doctoral programs.
Academic Analytics (AA) is a database for comparing faculty research productivity in doctoral programs to research institutions across the country. Metrics include publications, citations, presentations, honors and awards, and research expenditures from Federal sources. Most of the science and mathematics doctoral programs at Baylor rank below the median, as measured by AA, and most Baylor STEM faculty fall within the 2nd to 5th quintile for faculty productivity. Though the AA data is limited in several ways, such as by a lack of accounting for the contributions of co-Principal Investigators on grant expenditures and an exclusive focus on Federal sources for grants, the College of Arts & Sciences aims for all programs to improve in the AA ranking over the next 10-year period. In addition, Arts & Sciences strongly encourages faculty who receive release time for research to seek Federal funding, whenever possible, and improve to the upper quintiles for the AA metrics applicable in each faculty member’s discipline.
National Research Council
In the past the National Research Council (NRC) has issued rankings for doctoral programs each decade. Those doctoral programs at Baylor ranked by the NRC in the 1990s improved somewhat in the NRC assessment between 1990 and 2000. Unfortunately, a number of our more recent doctoral programs in the sciences (Biology; Geology; and Ecological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences) have not been assessed in the NRC ranking. It is only in the last few years that these programs have graduated the minimum number of doctoral students to be considered by the NRC. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the NRC will continue to rank doctoral programs. In the absence of an NRC ranking, the academy will place greater emphasis on services, such as AA, and on the data provided by the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Survey of Research and Development Survey to assess institutions in terms of research activity.
Stacy Atchley -- Chair, Department of Geology
Gregory Benesh -- Chair, Department of Physics
George Cobb -- Chair, Department of Environmental Science
Jaime Diaz-Granados -- Chair, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Robert Doyle -- Chair, Department of Biology
Patrick Farmer -- Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Lance Littlejohn -- Chair, Department of Mathematics
Jack Tubbs -- Chair, Department of Statistical Science
Lee Nordt -- Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Kenneth Wilkins -- Divisional Dean of Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences
Viola Osborn -- Director for Informational Analysis and Planning, College of Arts & Sciences
Pro Futuris articulates a bold vision that if successful will significantly elevate the academic standing of Baylor University among its peers both nationally and internationally. A key aspect of this vision is that Baylor will become a Carnegie "Very High Research" institution, an aspiration requiring a substantial increase in external granting, doctoral productivity and research staffing. These indicators place the primary burden of success or failure on the shoulders of the STEM departments in the College of Arts & Sciences (Arts & Sciences). Success will depend on maximizing productivity with current faculty and resources, but also on a significant increase in the number of new faculty lines and affiliated costs.
As a first step to the implementation of Pro Futuris the University is establishing five-year goals, along with specific metrics intended to document progress toward these goals. In order to advance toward the goal of becoming a very high research institution, the University aims to increase external grant expenditures by $5 million per year within the next five years. In response, the strategic plan for Arts & Sciences directly addresses the Carnegie research goal by proposing that the faculty produce approximately $10 million annually in grant expenditures by 2024. Such a proposal assumes that at least 40 new faculty lines are in place in the eight STEM departments.
To what extent should the STEM departments in Arts & Sciences contribute to the University’s five-year goal of increasing grant expenditures by $5 M per year? The Dean and STEM departments recently convened to discuss the possible annual increase in grant expenditures within the next five years with current faculty and resources. Table 1 below displays the past five-years of external research proposals (i.e. grant submissions) in the aggregate for the eight STEM departments, for which 90 to 95 percent are annually submitted by STEM faculty. The drop in proposals during the past two years can be explained in part by the cycle in granting for faculty currently holding grants, an increase in collaborations among colleagues internally as co-Principal Investigators, and a decrease in grant funding opportunities from Federal agencies. However, the eight STEM departments propose that they will increase the annual number of grant proposals during the next five years by 85 to 99 (Table 2). Added to the 2013 total (126) this will increase the annual output to between 211 and 225.
The trend for external research expenditures during the past five years is flat according to the data presented in Table 1 (Note: 90 to 95 percent of research expenditures also originate from the eight STEM departments). As with submissions there are a number of reasons why this may be the case. Whereas the STEM departments bear responsibility to increase grant expenditures, it is also true that the number of tenure plus tenure-track faculty in the eight STEM departments has increased by only three since 2010 (3 percent increase). Compounding the slow growth in net faculty is that since 2010 student credit hours among these eight STEM departments has increased by 8 percent and the number of undergraduate majors by 6 percent. The increase in number of majors and student credit hours, if tracked since the opening of the science building in 2004, would be even higher. Also, there are a number of unfilled faculty lines, particularly in the Department of Biology, that have hindered scholarly productivity. Nonetheless, the aggregate projected increase in annual research expenditures within the next five years from these eight STEM departments range from $2.5 to $4.25 M (Table 2). Projecting granting success in the future is a complex issue with many contingencies, but the lofty goal is to achieve the $4 M mark on behalf of the University’s five-year goal. This would raise annual research expenditures for Arts & Sciences to between $7 and $8 M per year, more than doubling the amount generated in 2013 ($3.127 M). It should be noted that these dollar figures do not include research expenditures provided by the University that also count toward our Carnegie goals (i.e. start-up and facilities).
There are two other possibilities that may improve research proposals and expenditures during the next five years. It is expected that during this time approximately four new STEM faculty lines per year will be provided to the eight STEM departments. At least a few are expected to be mid-level to senior faculty hires that would afford a rapid infusion of additional grant funding within the five-year window. Faculty hired at the entry level during the next couple of years are less likely to contribute significantly to annual grant expenditures in this five-year time frame, because several years might be required for these faculty members to become established and successful securing grant awards. However, we would still expect these individuals to demonstrate success obtaining external grants as part of a successful tenure or promotion bid. Another possible factor in achieving our goal of increased grant expenditures is the potential contribution from faculty in the social sciences and humanities. During the past few years these departments have provided an average of 10 percent of the total research expenditures from Arts & Sciences. Strategies will be developed over the next five years to maximize the contributions from the humanities and social sciences.
During the next five years, the College of Arts & Sciences will initiate the following measures of accountability across the eight STEM departments to ensure success of the stated research goals:
The STEM departments in the College of Arts & Sciences take very seriously the goals articulated in Pro Futuris during its first five-year phase of implementation, and wish to provide leadership for the University regarding research expenditures, doctoral productivity, and research staffing. We are confident that the Arts & Sciences departments can attain the specific target figures mentioned in this report and, with new faculty lines during the coming decade, that research expenditures will increase significantly. This will greatly enhance the reputation of the entire University as we make significant strides towards becoming the premier Christian research institution.
Successful candidates for tenure will:
The department and institution have the following responsibilities to facilitate the efforts of the pre-tenure faculty member in achieving tenure:
Departmental promotion guidelines should be an extension of the standards set by the tenure guidelines. In other words, scholarship accomplishment upon tenure must continue to the point that the faculty member will attain a national and international reputation in their respective field (e.g., publications, reviewer panels, national professional organization, and editorships). Faculty in STEM departments who seek promotion to Professor should have flourishing publishing and granting records that at a minimum are consistent with benchmarks provided in Table 2.3 for quintile 3 with progress toward granting expenditures in quintile 2. Teaching assignments and lab space allocation will depend upon scholarly productivity for recently tenured professors or mid-career members at the associate or full professor level.
Within the constraints of the University operational budget model and our fundraising potential, we project the need for a minimum of 40 faculty lines in the sciences during the coming decade. The faculty lines will include a combination of (a) new and replacement faculty lines funded by the University and (b) new faculty lines funded from endowments. These faculty lines will require substantial start-up and facilities costs. Funding for the salary costs for approximately two-thirds of these lines would come from existing positions and approximately one-third of the lines would free up existing research space, but all of the positions would require new start-up money.
These faculty are projected to facilitate an increase in annual external research expenditures of approximately $6 million. If the remaining 100 or so tenured faculty in the sciences increase their annual grant expenditures collectively by $6 million, then total external grant expenditures for the next 10 years would increase to $12 million annually. In the coming decade this increase, along with projected increases from Engineering and Computer Science, will place Baylor on a trajectory that leads to the RU/VH research classification.
Research space available in the Baylor Sciences Building is inadequate to meet the laboratory needs of these 40 faculty lines in the sciences. With replacements over the next 10 years, research space will become available for approximately 20 of the 40 faculty lines needed. The remaining 20 will need an estimated 80 research laboratory modules. Planning during the coming months will determine how much of this need can be offset by potential expansion space in the BSB.
Masters programs described below should remain independent of Ph.D. tracks, based on student need and employment demand for the degrees:
The masters programs not associated with doctoral programs are American Studies, Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), Communication Studies, Directing (in Theatre Arts, terminal), Environmental Science, Journalism and International Journalism, Museum Studies, Nutrition Sciences (in Family and Consumer Sciences), and Spanish.
Those departments with both doctoral and masters programs are Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, English, Geology, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, and Statistical Science.
All departments with masters programs will provide a self-assessment to include the following criteria: