Application of the National Academies’ Recommendations in the Publication “Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security” to a Division within a Research University
Barlow, Katherine A.
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In the fall of 2015, the Division of Nuclear Medicine (“Division”), a twelve million dollar research division at an institution of higher education (IHE) (“Institution”), was in administrative shambles, and lacked many policies and financial controls. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (“National Academies”) 2012 publication, “Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security” was used as a plan for enabling change within the Division. For this capstone project, the author examined the ten recommendations and analyzed each recommendation to see if they could be applied to the Division in order to improve the research administration tasks within the Division. Using data from secondary and tertiary data sources, the author constructed a plan on how to apply the recommendations and implemented them in the Division. At the end of the project, an evaluation survey was sent to all research administration personnel in the division to examine the results of the capstone project and assess the status of the Division on research administration issues related to job satisfaction, job contributions, innovation, and good stewardship of sponsored research. However, only twenty-five percent of the survey recipients responded to the survey, which was voluntary. With only a twenty-five percent response rate it was difficult to determine if an overall improvement occurred in the Division in the specified areas as a result of the application of the National Academies’ Committee on Research Universities and Board on Higher Education and Workforce’s recommendations. For many of the recommendations, the Divisional Administrative Staff were supported the changes; the Divisional Faculty were not supportive of the changes. There was also a lack of Department engagement with the Division, especially in the areas regarding finances, which is concerning as the Division is in the Department and the Division’s finances directly effects the Department’s finances. This project demonstrated that even with a high level of effort and knowledge into the creation and implementation of best practices, these efforts become moot if the majority of persons involved are not onboard and interested in seeing that the changes occur. While the ten recommendations were able to be applied to the Division and could be applied to other divisions, departments, and institutions to improve the research administration tasks, it is the author’s determination that the environment, administration, and faculty engagement would be a deciding factor in the success of the application of these recommendations.