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Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University

Abstract

What social forces are driving the increase in research requirements for tenure at teaching universities? Engaging Pierre Bourdieu's field theory, this case study examines a state comprehensive university, at multiple levels of analysis, and via multiple methods. Field theory is a viable alternative to neoinstitutional theory for higher education scholars. The methods used are quantitative content analysis, qualitative discursive analysis and interviews. The study provides a detailed account of whether economic or cultural forces are the stronger influence on the trend to increase research requirements. Economic factors, such as national enrollment trends, do not necessarily have a strong effect on individual institutions, Also, the drive to increase research is not always initiated by administrators, as suggested by the academic-economy argument. Instead, faculty preferences, at the department level, tend to favor of the teacher-scholar model. This varies by academic discipline. The trend to increase research requirements is moving from the ground up, as faculty preferences become part of university manuals and eventually university missions. It is is suggested that it is mission critical for teaching universities to recognize the worth of integrating teaching and research. Teaching and research are theorized as two sides of a coin. The production and dissemination of knowledge is a key source of legitimacy for professors. This core cultural value may be more important than short-term regard for economic gains.