By the Numbers: Strategic Plan Aim 3: Emphasize and Prioritize Research and Creative Activity Across the College

Monday, June 20, 2022 - 9:00am

In 21-22, the college focused on creating the necessary infrastructure for success in research and creative activity, providing faculty with professional development opportunities and increasing our campus connections. 
Several policies were revised or created to support research and creative activity. A policy to incentivize grantmaking was passed in spring 2021 to provide faculty with monetary incentives to obtain grants with a return on F&A to the college. During 21-22, the college faculty also fully revised the promotion and tenure guidelines to provide rigorous expectations and clarity on the path to promotion. The new guidelines were passed by the college faculty in March 2022. In May 2022, the college adopted a new process for independent study courses that will allow faculty to more easily recruit undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research projects. The college also revised the Seacrest Travel Grant program to provide additional funding to faculty who participate or moderate panel discussions at academic conferences. 
The college held a series of rotating brown bag discussions with support services on campus to ensure faculty are aware of all the resources available to them on campus. The college also held monthly discussions on the University’s Grand Challenges to identify opportunities for faculty participation and encourage campus connections. As a result, six faculty participated in seven different Grand Challenge funding proposals in spring 2022. 
To increase the visibility of research and creative activity, the college promoted publications internally every week through the faculty and staff newsletter, encouraged participation in campus events that showcase research and creative activity and promoted opportunities to engage in campus research centers such as the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center. A first-year faculty member, Ciera Kirkpatrick won the 21-22 Research Slam in Spring 22 and six faculty became NGTC fellows. 
Seaton Professor Valerie Jones also launched the Public Insight Lab in May 2022, which provides a forum for faculty from UNL and other national institutions to come together and explore social media research. The Lab held a social media research workshop on May 6, that registered more than 240 faculty from across the country. 


Start (20-21) 


Goal (25-26) 

Increase the number of tenured or tenure-leading faculty by 20%[1] 




Increase the number of faculty submitting extramural grant applications by 50%[2] 




Double research and creative activity revenue[3] 




Increase the number of peer-reviewed publications by 75%[4] 




Double the number of graduate assistants dedicated to research support[5] 





[1] Drawn from the UNL IEA Data Index Faculty and Administrator Headcount Report 

[2] Grant applications are drawn from NuGrant by fiscal year 

[3] Grant revenue is drawn from NuGrant by fiscal year 

[4] Publications are drawn from the CoJMC annual report by calendar year 

[5] Graduate assistant information is provided by the graduate student services coordinator 

Review of the targets 

The number of tenure-track faculty remained flat in 21-22. The college is losing one tenured faculty member in 21-22 and 1 in 22-23. The college plans to post six faculty positions during 22-23, with the potential to hire up to five tenure-leading faculty in this cycle. 
The college’s applications for extramural grants dropped in 2021, however, the funding rate jumped from 16% to 100% of applications and revenue increased dramatically. In 2021, the college refocused efforts on pursuing internal grant funding to build faculty portfolios and make us more competitive for external funding. Faculty successfully obtained 12 grants from internal university funding sources during 2021. The college will need to focus on building upon faculty members’ internal funding success to pursue extramural opportunities in future years. 
The college doubled its peer-reviewed publications between 2020 and 2021, jumping from 10 to 20 publications. This increase was driven by the addition of four new tenure-leading faculty in fall of 2022, which accounted for 11 of the publications. 
Graduate assistants dedicated to research support remained flat at 1 assistant, funded by the Kearns Professorship and an internal grant. To support growth in research-focused graduate assistants, the college will need to focus efforts to obtain additional extramural grant funding.