Department chairs' research-related roles and responsibilities at a public research university

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this qualitative explanatory case study is to explain how academic department chairs enact research-related roles and responsibilities at one public research university to support faculty research productivity. For this study, I interviewed 22 department chairs at one public research university in the Southeastern United States undergoing striving to advance its research prestige. Participant responses indicated that chairs’ research-related roles and responsibilities generally fall into four categories: (1) assessing departmental productivity, (2) fostering an environment conducive to research, (3) assessing faculty for tenure and promotion, and (4) supporting faculty research careers. Three major themes emerged from the participants’ responses regarding how they negotiate the department leader and career researcher roles: (1) maintaining research productivity, (2) perceiving administrative value to research, and (3) growing professional identity and career aspirations. The finding suggest that chairs serve as change agents to help create a culture of research assessment in support of one public research institution’s striving efforts.

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Higher education administration