Theme 2

Becoming a Nationally Recognized Research Institution

Act of Determination 5 -- Increasing Staff Support for Arts & Sciences STEM Departments

Staff members are essential to facilitating scholarly productivity of faculty members and students. Clerical and administrative staff assist the faculty by handling correspondence, grant proposals, and manuscripts; purchasing research supplies and essential materials; and managing routine personnel matters. Technical staff may supervise research centers in which they operate and maintain sophisticated equipment, process samples, and otherwise support investigators’ research. Alternatively, technical staff may be dedicated to a department or a particular investigator's laboratory. Funding models range from regular university employee status to short-term employment on an investigator's grant.

Universities with a substantial research enterprise, and therefore, with stronger research reputations, tend to have a relatively large number of technical staff and post-doctoral graduates per research faculty member. Brandeis University, mentioned as a peer institution for Baylor regarding technical staffing levels, has a staff-to-faculty ratio of 2.94. The ratio for Rice University is similar -- 2.86. Currently, Baylor’s staffing, for both research technical staff and post doctorates, needs to increase to facilitate the University's entry into Carnegie RU/VH status. Another factor affects Baylor’s staff-to-faculty ratio: presently, many of the staff who support research are not being counted in that role. Thus, our position in Carnegie rankings can improve through accurately reporting staff-to-faculty ratios.

Action Steps:
  • By Fall 2014 the Dean, with assistance from Human Resources and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, will develop an employee classification system that allows staff who support research to be counted and accurately reported to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other critical agencies.
  • By Spring 2015 the Dean will consult with department chairs to examine current staffing and to determine the potential additions of clerical and technical lines needed to support Carnegie RU/VH research.
  • By Summer 2015 the Dean will present to the Provost's Office hiring needs for staffing in the Arts & Sciences STEM fields.