Skip to main content

Faculty Productivity Barriers and Supports at a School of Education


All programs in a midwestern university recently embarked on a path to help increase the scholarly productivity of faculty. The effort to develop a research emphasis within the School of Education required determining the needs of tenure-track faculty regarding meeting the new requirements. The purposes of our study were to investigate these needs and identify the individual, environmental, and leadership factors that affect faculty productivity. Findings revealed a need to transform the School’s service and teaching culture to a culture of research and scholarship. Recommendations for helping other schools of education to become more research-oriented are provided. While the study focuses on data from a particular School of Education, the implications may generalize to faculty productivity within other institutions, particularly within professional schools.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Bellas, M., & Toutkoushion, R. (1999). Faculty time allocations and research productivity: Gender, race, and family effects. Review of Higher Education, 22(4), 367–390.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bensimon, E. M., Ward, K., & Sanders, K. (2000). The department chair’s role in developing new faculty into teachers and scholars. Bolton: Anker.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bland, C. J., Seaquist, E., Pacala, J. T., Center, B., & Finstad, D. (2002). One school’s strategy to assess and improve the vitality of its faculty. Academic Medicine, 77(5), 368–376.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bland, C. J., Center, B. A., Finstad, D. A., Risbey, K. R., & Staples, J. G. (2005). A theoretical, practical, predictive model of faculty and department research productivity. Academic Medicine, 80(3), 225–237.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, V. S. (2003). The teacher, the scholar, the self: Fitting thinking and writing into a four-four load. College Teaching, 51(1), 22–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Colbeck, C. L. (2000). Reshaping the forces that perpetuate the research-practice gap: Focus on new faculty. In A. Kezar, & P. Eckel (Eds.), New directions for higher education, 28. Moving beyond the gap between research and practice in higher education (pp. 35–47). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cole, A. L. (2000). Academic freedom and the publish or perish paradox in schools of education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 27(2), 33–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Creamer, E. G. (1995). The scholarly productivity of women academics. Initiatives, 57(1), 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  • Denton, J. J., Tsai, C., & Cloud, C. (1986). Productivity of faculty in higher education institutions. Journal of Teacher Education, 37(4), 12–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fairweather, J. S. (2002). The mythologies of faculty productivity: Implications for institutional policy and decision making. Journal of Higher Education, 73(1), 26–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fogg, P. (2006, September 29). Young Ph.D.’s say collegiality matters more than salary. The Chronicle of Higher Education, A1, A11–A12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gappa, J. M., Austin, A. E., & Trice, A. G. (2007). Rethinking faculty work: Higher education’s strategic imperative. San Francisco: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gillespie, D., Dolšak, N., Kochis, B., Drabill, R., Lerum, K., Peterson, A., & Thomas, E. (2005). Research circles: Supporting the scholarship of junior faculty. Innovative Higher Education, 30(3), 149–162.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, L. K., Hoenack, S. A., & Hannida, M. (1994). Career development of tenure-track assistant professors. Thought and Action, 9(2), 147–172.

    Google Scholar 

  • Knowles, J. G., Cole, A. L., & Sumsion, J. (2000). Modifying conditions of researching in teacher education institutions. Teacher Education Quarterly, 27(2), 7–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Krahenbuhl, G. S. (1998). Faculty work: Integrating responsibilities and institutional needs. Change, 20(6), 18–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levine, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. Washington, DC: The Education Schools Project. Retrieved January 5, 2009 from

  • Levine, A. (2007). Educating researchers. Washington, D.C.: The Education Schools Project. Retrieved January 5, 2009 from

  • Ma, Y., & Runyon, L. R. (2004). Academic synergy in the age of technology—A new instructional paradigm. Journal of Education for Business, 79(6), 367–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Research Corporation. (2001). Determining publication productivity and grant activity among science faculty at surveyed institutions. Special report—Academic excellence: A study of the role of research in the natural sciences at undergraduate institutions. Tucson, AZ: Research Corporation (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED469492).

    Google Scholar 

  • Selingo, J. J. (2008, July 18). A midlife crisis hits college campuses. Chronicle of Higher Education, B1, B3–B5.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharobeam, M. H., & Howard, K. (2002). Teaching demands versus research productivity: Faculty workload in predominantly undergraduate institutions. Journal of College Science Teaching, 31(7), 436–444.

    Google Scholar 

  • Toews, M. L., & Yazedjian, A. (2007). The three-ring circus of academia: How to become the ringmaster. Innovative Higher Education, 32(2), 113–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson, R. (2001, October 5). A higher bar for earning tenure. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12–14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wolfinger, N. H., Mason, M. A., & Goulden, M. (2008). Problems in the pipeline: Gender, marriage, and fertility in the ivory tower. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(4), 388–405.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Susan A. Santo.

Additional information

Susan A. Santo

received a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia and is currently an Associate Professor of Adult and Higher Education at the University of South Dakota. Her research interests include faculty productivity in higher education and improving distance learning.

Mary E. Engstrom

received an Ed.D. from the University of South Dakota in Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently the Associate Director of Extended Learning Services at the University of Montana. Her research interests include instructional design for online learning and professional development for educators.

Linda Reetz

received an Ed.D. from the University of North Dakota in Teacher Education and serves as the Associate Dean of the School of Education at the University of South Dakota. Her research interests include higher education practices for teacher education programs and mild disabilities.

William Schweinle

received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington in Psychology and serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota. His research interest area is in statistics.

Kristine Reed

received a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in Curriculum and Instruction/Administration and serves as a faculty member in Curriculum and Instruction, University of South Dakota. Her research emphases include multicultural education and rural education.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Santo, S.A., Engstrom, M.E., Reetz, L. et al. Faculty Productivity Barriers and Supports at a School of Education. Innov High Educ 34, 117–129 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • research productivity
  • promotion and tenure
  • school of education