Strategy 2025 Documents

Advancing Research (Faculty & Staff Session 4 Recap)

Faculty and staff attended a virtual listening session on April 23 to provide feedback on advancing research at the university. Facilitator Jennifer Mayer-Glenn, director of University Neighborhood Partners, explained that the purpose of the session was to gain insights to inform the strategic plan for reaching the U’s 2030 goals. Participants were divided into two breakout sessions with the same set of topics to discuss. Each breakout group is summarized below.

Breakout Session 1

The group raised several challenges to successful research initiatives at the university. Participants stressed the need for more time and resources. They emphasized the importance of a long-term research vision and increased training for staff, along with addressing bureaucratic hurdles. Participants highlighted technology barriers in sharing patient data in health sciences. They expressed a need for improved communication between coworkers, noting that the many different IT systems and software across campus is a barrier to effective collaboration. They also stressed the need to communicate research better to non-scientific audiences. To increase the societal impact of our research, the group said we need purposeful, meaningful engagement with the community, not just scholarly publications. They also proposed linking research and publications to societal outcomes.

To better support researchers and research initiatives, participants suggested creating a repository for research staff, increasing funding and training for PhD students, and increasing training for support staff. They recommended providing research results to participants, prioritizing local/state challenges, and allocating more funding and time for community engagement. They emphasized the importance of addressing faculty and staff burnout and fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion while striving to be a top employer with excellent wages and benefits. Centralizing common tasks was also suggested to streamline operations.

Breakout Session 2

Participants echoed the lack of adequate time and resources as the most significant challenges to advancing research. Faculty mentioned feeling overburdened and stated that protecting their time is essential for successful research initiatives. They also called for a cohesive strategy addressing mentorship at all levels of a career. Low pay is an issue for both faculty and staff. Staff also mentioned feeling stress and burnout and would like more support. They suggested senior leadership not just point to resources, but actually curate resources so they’re accessible, functional, and user-friendly. Staff also expressed a desire for more professional development and training opportunities.

Participants expressed a desire for more connection and collaboration both internally and externally. They suggested the university partner more with outside organizations on research initiatives, develop strategies to foster interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and provide more opportunities to network with others at the U and share knowledge and best practices. Several participants mentioned targeted development as a retention strategy for research faculty and staff. They noted that the U’s values should include diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as civil discourse.

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