The role of research and engagement should be understood in relation to Plymouth State University’s Strategic Plan 2012. That “living document” positions research and engagement as a central part of the institutional mission and reflection of PSU’s values and guiding principles. PSU will be best served when the role of research and engagement is considered in respect to the five core institutional goals: excellence and quality, student success, faculty and staff support, partnership and engagement, and physical, technological, and financial resources.
- Excellence and quality is pervasive at PSU, and we are faced with many challenges and opportunities to support research and creative work. The three greatest challenges we face are associated with a) faculty workload, b) support for faculty research, and c) effective communications. The climate for research at PSU has improved dramatically over the past decade. Establishing the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Engagement is a strong next step in communicating the importance of this work on campus, facilitating communication around the vast number of relevant projects and initiatives across campus, and providing a much higher level of support for these initiatives. The proposed reorganization of the Office of the Vice Provost holds great promise for supporting excellence and quality at PSU.
- Student success is PSU’s primary purpose that will be further enhanced by creating even more opportunities for research and engagement for our students. Many research projects on campus will provide direct learning opportunities for students. Research that does not directly involve students will enhance the intellectual climate on campus, reduce the financial reliance on tuition, and enhance public perception of PSU. All of this will lead to greater opportunities for students.
- Faculty and staff support will be a significant aspect of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Engagement. This office will facilitate a higher level of service within the Office of Sponsored Programs, enhance communications related to research and collaboration, redress obstacles to faculty work, and help mitigate the challenges of heavy faculty workload.
- Partnership and engagement is both an institutional goal and a vehicle for more successful research. Research partnerships and engagement creates meaningful opportunities for research, enhanced opportunities for external funding, and fulfills PSU’s obligation for public service.
- Physical, technological, and financial resources provide the material context for scholarly work at PSU. Research, engagement, and external funding is central to supporting all activities at PSU, reducing the financial burdens on students, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the institution, and enhancing public perception of PSU.