Eligibility Status for Research, Scholarship and Creative
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) commend the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees for the reinstatement of the Faculty Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (RSCA) program as specified in the Education Code, (66010.4 part (b)); and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recognize the value of research, scholarship, and creative activity to the quality of the faculty’s teaching as well as to our students’ learning; and be it further
That the ASCSU recognize that the 2014-2015 reinstated funding of RSCA is based on Full-Time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF), the calculation of which includes faculty of all ranks, including lecturers, and that many campuses allocate RSCA awards to the various segments of the campuses based on FTEF; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU encourage campuses to allow faculty of all ranks, including lecturers, to be eligible to receive RSCA funding; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Chancellor, CSU campus Presidents, CSU campus Senate Chairs, CSU campus Senate Executive Committees, CSU Provosts/Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, the Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (ERFA), Faculty Development Centers/Institutes for Teaching and Learning, and the California Faculty Association (CFA).
RATIONALE: On March 10, 2014 Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Ephraim Smith distributed a memorandum to CSU presidents indicating the restoration of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (RSCA) funds for the 2014-15 academic year. This memorandum indicated that the distribution of funds was tied directly to full-time equivalent faculty levels at each of the CSU campuses. The ASCSU affirms that because faculty of all ranks can engage in RSCA activities, and funding is provided without regard to faculty rank, faculty rank should not be used to exclude faculty from receiving RSCA funding.
In AS-2917-09 (Rev): A Resolution in Support of Reinstatement of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Awards for 2010-20111, the ASCSU noted “RSCA awards were established by the California state legislature in recognition of the inexorable link between professional achievement and effective teaching and learning. In addition, the Legislature intended that these funds ‘ensure that faculty (1) remain current in their disciplines, (2) pursue new ways to enrich student learning and (3) contribute to knowledge that will strengthen California socially, culturally and economically.’ And the Legislature explicitly called for the CSU to allocate the ‘$2.5 million for research, creative, and scholarly activities in a manner which affirms the commitment of the faculty to the instructional mission of the system.’” And while the legislature noted that such funding can especially help to “attract, develop, mentor, and retain junior faculty” faculty of all ranks benefit from engagement in RSCA, and obtain the intended outcomes of RSCA funding.
The teacher-scholar model is widely promoted within the CSU, recognizing that student learning and the quality of teaching can be improved when faculty are actively engaged in research, scholarship and creative activities, and especially when faculty connect these activities to course content and/or actively involve students in these activities. The 2008 Access to Excellence document reminds us “The CSU has long been committed to the development of new knowledge to benefit teaching and learning, to serve communities, and to contribute to regional and statewide economies. What are too often presented as either-or propositions in higher education are in fact integrative, defining, and essential dimensions of quality in the CSU: excellence in teaching and in scholarship; faculty and student research; stimulating economic development and meeting community needs.”2
In 2008 the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities report documented the results of a system-wide survey of 2006-07 RSCA award recipients3. The report indicated that of the 531 faculty who received awards, 74% reported that receipt of the award benefitted teaching and curriculum, and 62% indicated that students participated in the funded research, scholarship or creative activity (a high impact teaching practice that is positively correlated with retention and graduation). The survey findings clearly demonstrate that scholarly activities can directly influence teaching and learning. The report further indicated that over half of the recipients had been able to engage in a professional presentation or publish materials related to the funded project, and 41% reported enhanced collaborations occurred as a result of the grant funding. Of the 531 faculty surveyed, 338 were Assistant Professors (64%), 99 were Associate Professors (19%), 80 were Full Professors (15%), and 6 (1%) were identified as lecturers (the report did not indicate FERP status).
While the CSU should be providing support for probationary, tenure-line faculty to develop their research agenda, this need not occur at the exclusion of tenured and lecturer faculty. Faculty of all ranks engage in RSCA activities that can enhance the quality of student learning and achievement, and promote community needs and development, and all should have access to funding in support of these endeavors.
Approved Unanimously– May 16, 2014