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Factors influencing grant writing: perceptions of tenured and nontenured faculty
SRA Journal. 29.3-4 (Winter 1998): p61+.
Abstract: 

This study examines factors that motivate and hinder faculty in their

pursuit of grants. The focus of this study is the differing perceptions of

tenured and nontenured college of education faculty at Association of

American Universities (AAU) institutions in the United States. The findings

suggest that nontenured faculty perceive motivational factors and barriers

differently from tenured faculty. The authors conclude that adequate

training in grant writing is essential, that incentives must be

individualized to faculty, and that support for nontenured faculty in every

aspect of grant writing is necessary for their pursuit of grant proposals.

Full Text: 

INTRODUCTION

Being "scholarly" traditionally means engaging in research, writing articles for publication, and sharing research findings with students (E. L. Boyer, 1990). Recently, the pursuit of grants has come under the umbrella of research in academia (Blackburn & Lawrence, 1995). Research universities judge themselves - and are judged by others - based on research productivity and the dollar amount of acquired grants. In addition, writing proposals increases the number of publications submitted and published by faculty.

Researchers such as Daniel and Gallaher (1989), Monahan (1993), and Dooley (1994) have identified factors that motivate and hinder faculty in their pursuit of grants. These studies reveal that junior faculty and senior faculty differ in their perception of the grant-pursuit process. While both groups are concerned about expanding workloads and diminishing opportunities for external funding (Finkelstein, Seal, & Schuster, 1996), they identify different reasons for not pursuing grants. Nontenured, junior faculty found the grant-submission process to be intimidating, especially in the absence of a mentor (P. G. Boyer, 1997) or prior experience in proposal writing (Lischwe, O'Neal, & Willimann, 1987). Tenured faculty, on the other hand, did not pursue grants because they were not seeking promotion, tenure, or new jobs at other institutions. Moreover, some senior faculty will not seek grants under any condition, simply because they do not want to (Monahan, 1993).

The purpose of the present study is to examine in greater detail the factors that motivate or hinder faculty - both tenured and nontenured - in their pursuit of grant funding. Specifically, the authors (a) identify factors that influence successful grant writing for tenured and nontenured faculty, and (b) clarify those factors that are obstacles for tenured and nontenured faculty who are seeking external funding. (See Tables 1 and 2 on pages 63 and 64 for a list of the motivators and barriers used in this study). The study focuses on college of education faculty at "Research I" institutions that are constituents of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

METHODS AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE SAMPLE

Survey Instrument

The survey was based on instruments used by Thomas Monahan and Larry Dooley as well as a review of the related literature. The pilot for the survey instrument was a sample of faculty in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The instrument was generated based on factors from the literature that influenced education faculty in their pursuit of grants.

The questionnaire was mailed to 370 faculty randomly selected from institutions that are members of AAU Research I institutions. The questionnaire examined motivators and barriers based on the rank of faculty. Chi-square tests of independence were used to analyze the data. A sample size of 248 (67%) usable responses were completed and returned. The sample - identified through a systematic random selection of names of AAU faculty - was designed to have a confidence level of 90%, with a margin of error of [+ or -]5%.

Of the AAU faculty responding to the questionnaire, 141 (57.3%) were males and 105 (42.7%) were females. Of professors responding to the questionnaire, 143 (58.1%) were full professors, 58 (23.6%) were associate professors, and 45 (18.3%) were assistant professors; 191 (77.6%) of the respondents were tenured professors, while 55 (22.4%) were untenured professors.

RESULTS

The factors that motivated faculty pursuit of grants are presented in Table 3 (see p. 65), while the barriers to grant pursuit are listed in Table 4 (see p. 66). Significant motivating factors include "Consideration in tenure or promotion decisions" ([[Chi].sup.2] = 30.371, df = 3; p[less than].001); "Building my professional reputation as a capable researcher" ([[Chi].sup.2] = 10.644, df = 3; p[less than].01); and "A strong commitment from the college president" ([[Chi].sup.2] = 9.467, df = 3; p[less than].05). Each of these factors were more important for nontenured faculty than for tenured faculty. Significant barriers included "Lack of training in grant seeking and grant writing" ([[Chi].sup.2] = 16.968, df = 3; p[less than].001); "Lack of knowledge of budget development" ([[Chi].sup.2] = 14.716, df = 3; p[less than].01); and "Lack of knowledge of funding sources" ([[Chi].sup.2] = 7.937, df = 3; p[less than].05). As with the significant motivating factors, each of these barriers were more important for nontenured faculty than for tenured faculty.


Table 3: Motivating Factors by Faculty Rank

                                     RANK
                            Tenure        Nontenured
Variable                    f (%)         f (%)        [[Chi].sup.2]

Indirect funds                                         4.108

Not                         46 (24.60)    12 (23.08)
Marginally                  62 (33.16)    13 (25.00)
Moderately                  43 (22.99)    19 (36.54)
Very                        36 (19.25)    8 (15.38)

Support                                                1.509

Not                         24 (12.70)    9 (16.36)
Marginally                  36 (19.05)    9 (16.36)
Moderately                  48 (25.40)    17 (30.91)
Very                        81 (42.86)    20 (36.36)

Support when funded                                    1.810

Not                         8 (4.26)      1 (1.82)
Marginally                  5 (2.66)      1 (1.82)
Moderately                  37 (19.68)    8 (14.55)
Very                        138 (73.40)   45 (81.82)

Tenure & promotion                                     30.371(***)

Not                         38 (20.32)    1 (1.85)
Marginally                  24 (12.83)    3 (5.56)
Moderately                  57 (30.48)    8 (14.81)
Very                        68 (36.36)    42 (77.78)

Publications                                           1.951

Not                         66 (35.29)    18 (32.73)
Marginally                  49 (26.20)    16 (29.09)
Moderately                  49 (26.20)    11 (20.00)
Very                        23 (12.30)    10 (18.18)

Time allocated                                         4.381

Not                         15 (8.02)     5 (9.43)
Marginally                  37 (19.79)    4 (7.55)
Moderately                  54 (28.88)    18 (33.96)
Very                        81 (43.32)    26 (49.06)

New information                                        2.045

Not                         4 (2.12)      1 (1.82)
Marginally                  4 (2.12)      3 (5.45)
Moderately                  31 (16.40)    7 (12,73)
Very                        150 (79.37)   44 (80.00)

Travel money                                           3.089

Not                         9 (38.30)     6 (40.00)
Marginally                  36 (37.77)    9 (32.73)
Moderately                  71 (19.15)    18 (16.36)
Very                        72 (4.79)     22 (10.91)

Equipment                                              0.016

Not                         17 (9.04)     5 (9.09)
Marginally                  40 (21.28)    12 (21.82)
Moderately                  70 (37.23)    20 (36.36)
Very                        61 (32.45)    18 (32.73)

Contact funding source                                 6.667

Not                         26(13.83)     6(11.32)
Marginally                  65 (34.57)    17 (32.08)
Moderately                  64 (34.04)    24 (45.28)
Very                        33 (17.55)    6 (11.32)

Grant preparation                                      0.657

Not                         37 (19.68)    9 (16.36)
Marginally                  46 (24.47)    12 (21.82)
Moderately                  57 (30.32)    18 (32.73)
Very                        48 (25.53)    16 (29.09)

Commitment from president                              9.467(*)

Not                         79 (42.25)    14 (25.93)
Marginally                  43 (22.99)    16 (29.63)
Moderately                  36 (19.25)    19 (35.19)
Very                        29 (15.51)    5 (9.26)

Boilerplates                                           4.100

Not                         63 (35.80)    12 (23.53)
Marginally                  54 (30.68)    15 (29.41)
Moderately                  41 (23.30)    18 (35.29)
Very                        18 (10.23)    6 (11.76)

Professional reputation                                10.644(**)

Not                         12 (6.35)     2 (3.64)
Marginally                  21 (11.11)    5 (9.09)
Moderately                  75 (39.68)    11 (20.00)
Very                        81 (42.86)    37 (67.27)

Recognition                                            3.758

Not                         24 (12.70)     7 (12.96)
Marginally                  51 (26.98)    12 (22.22)
Moderately                  73 (38.62)    28 (51.85)
Very                        41 (21.69)    7 (12.96)

* p[less than].05. ** p[less than].01 *** p[less than].001.

Note: df = 3. Critical values for [[[Chi].sup.2].sub..05] = 7.815,
[[[Chi].sup.2].sub..01] = 11.345,
[[[Chi].sup.2].sub..001], = 16.266.
Table 4: Barriers by Faculty Rank

                                  RANK
                          Tenure        Nontenured
Variable                  f (%)         f (%)        [[Chi].sup.2]

Inadequate support                                   1.736

Not                       26 (13.90)    4 (7.27)
Marginally                36 (19.25)    11 (20.00)
Moderately                53 (28.34)    17 (30.91)
Very                      72 (38.50)    23 (41.82)

Lack of training                                     16.968(***)

Not                       71 (38.17)    13 (23.64)
Marginally                55 (29.57)    12 (21.82)
Moderately                44 (23.66)    14 (25.45)
Very                      16 (8.60)     16 (29.09)

Heavy teaching load                                  5.509

Not                       32 (17.11)    3(5.45)
Marginally                51 (27.27)    15 (27.27)
Moderately                49 (26.20)    15 (27.27)
Very                      55 (29.41)    22 (40.00)

Committee assignments                                4.031

Not                       34 (18.38)    7 (12.73)
Marginally                45 (24.32)    19 (34.55)
Moderately                61 (32.97)    13 (23.64)
Very                      45 (24.32)    16 (29.09)

Lack of knowledge                                    7.937(*)

Not                       58 (31.02)    13 (23.64)
Marginally                56 (29.95)    11 (20.00)
Moderately                49 (26.20)    16 (29.09)
Very                      24 (12.83)    15 (27.27)

Work & bother                                        0.824

Not                       59 (32.07)    19 (34.55)
Marginally                56 (30.43)    19 (34.55)
Moderately                44 (23.91)    11 (20.00)
Very                      25 (13.59)    6 (10.91)

Too time consuming                                   0.832

Not                       44 (23.53)    14 (25.93)
Marginally                47 (25.13)    16 (29.63)
Moderately                55 (29.41)    14 (25.93)
Very                      41 (21.93)    10 (18.52)

Work with colleagues                                 2.938

Not                       77 (41.18)    16 (29.09)
Marginally                50 (26.74)    19 (34.55)
Moderately                39 (20.86)    14 (25.45)
Very                      21 (11.23)    6(10.91)

Advising students                                    0.916

Not                       68 (36.56)    17 (30.91)
Marginally                68 (36.56)    23 (41.82)
Moderately                30 (16.13)    10 (18.18)
Very                      20 (10.75)    5 (9.09)

Expectations                                         0.748

Not                       103 (55.08)   30 (55.56)
Marginally                44 (23.53)    14 (25.93)
Moderately                25 (13.37)    5 (9.26)
Very                      15 (8.02)     5 (9.26)

Budget development                                   14.716(**)

Not                       102 (54.84)   20(36.36)
Marginally                59 (31.72)    17 (30.91)
Moderately                18 (9.68)     9 (16.36)
Very                      7 (3.76)      9 (16.36)

Policy &job description                              2.400

Not                       118 (65.19)   31 (57.41)
Marginally                41 (22.65)    12 (22.22)
Moderately                12 (6.63)     6 (11.11)
Very                      10 (5.52)     5 (9.26)

Getting funded                                       1.696

Not                       39 (20.63)    12 (21.82)
Marginally                53 (28.04)    19 (34.55)
Moderately                49 (25.93)    10 (18.18)
Very                      48 (25.40)    14 (25.45)

Reduced signatures                                   1.083

Not                       92 (50.00)    28 (51.85)
Marginally                50 (27.17)    16 (29.63)
Moderately                33 (17.93)    7 (12.96)
Very                      9 (4.89)      3 (5.56)

Internet access                                      0.518

Not                       134 (72.04)   39 (70.91)
Marginally                34 (18.28)    8 (14.55)
Moderately                16 (8.60)     6 (10.91)
Very                      2 (1.08)      2 (3.64)

* p [less than] .05. ** p [less than] .01 *** p [less than] 001.

Note: df = 3. Critical values for [[[Chi].sup.2].sub..05] = 7.815,
[[[Chi].sup.2].sub..05] = 11.345, [[[Chi].sup.2].sub..001] = 16.266.

DISCUSSIONS

Most faculty seek opportunities to build their professional reputations as researchers; grant writing is one means of accomplishing this task. When grant proposals are funded, faculty disseminate this information by publishing the results. This study shows that nontenured faculty consider "building their professional reputation" to be very important, while tenured faculty think it's only moderately important.

To motivate faculty to use grants "to make a name for themselves," incentives must be individualized, allowing them to contribute to their area of research interest. Baldwin (1985) claims, "the key to faculty vitality is to discover the types of incentives that are most attractive to faculty members and that will most economically and effectively stimulate professor's best work" (p. 15).

Lack of training and knowledge in grant-proposal activities - particularly in areas such as developing budgets and locating funding sources - were barriers for the faculty in this study, more so for nontenured than for tenured faculty. Many junior faculty members perceive grant proposal writing as a barrier because they lack training and knowledge about the process. Additional research is needed to determine specifically where help is needed. Clearly, however, it is important that junior faculty have faculty-development programs and mentors to assist them through the process.

The results of this study can be used by college of education faculty and administrators to: (a) plan faculty development programs that assist junior faculty in developing greater knowledge of external-funding sources and proposal budget development; (b) help junior faculty in obtaining tenure or promotions; and (c) assist faculty in training and shaping the curriculum for future faculty members. This research holds important implications for universities in developing programs to support and mentor junior faculty in their pursuit of grants.

REFERENCES

Baldwin, R. G. (1985). "Incentives for Faculty Vitality." New directions for higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Blackburn, R. T., & Lawrence, J. H. (1995). Faculty at work: Motivation, expectation, satisfaction. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press.

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Boyer, P. G. (1997). Factors influencing college of education faculty in pursuing grants. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia.

Daniel, L. G., & Gallaher, I. (1990). "Impediments to faculty involvement in grant-related activities: A case study. Journal of the Society of Research Administrators, 16, 5-13.

Dooley, L. M. (1995). "Barriers and inducements to grant-related activity by a college of education faculty." Research Management Review, 7(2), 10-24.

Finkelstein, M.J., Seal, R. K., &Schuster, J. H. (1995). The American faculty in transition: A first look at the new academic generation. The National Center for Education Statistics NSOPF93.

Lischwe, S., O'Neal Manning, L., & Willimann, J. (1987). "Encouraging research process: SUIE's experimental grants seminar for faculty." Journal of Society Research Administrators, 18(3), 49-53.

Monahan, T. C. (1993). Barriers and inducements to grant-related activity by New Jersey state college faculty. Journal of the Society of Research Administrators, 25(4), 9-25.

Patricia Boyer (co-author, "Factors Influencing Grant-Writing: Perceptions of Tenured and Non-tenured Faculty") is institutional research assistant at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Along with Irv Cockriel, Boyer created and teaches a graduate course titled "Proposal Writing for External Funding."

Irv Cockriel (co-author, "Factors Influencing Grant-Writing: Perceptions of Tenured and Non-tenured Faculty") is director of grants and contracts and associate dean for graduate studies and research at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Please note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
Boyer, Patricia, and Irv Cockriel. "Factors influencing grant writing: perceptions of tenured and nontenured faculty." SRA Journal, vol. 29, no. 3-4, 1998, p. 61+. Academic OneFile, https%3A%2F%2Flink.galegroup.com%2Fapps%2Fdoc%2FA53643801%2FAONE%3Fu%3Dgooglescholar%26sid%3DAONE%26xid%3Df759dff6. Accessed 22 July 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A53643801