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Research compliance crucial with growing interest in university research

Central Michigan University officials consider research a growing priority despite faculty members’ perceived lack of research focus.

In June 2013, HRP Consulting Inc. released a report to the university, outlining its concerns and recommendations for CMU’s human research protection program.

Through questioning faculty and staff, the consultants grew concerned that research has taken a backseat at CMU.

“Based on interviews with stakeholders throughout CMU, there appears to be a pervasive perception that CMU does not value research or the importance of the (human research protection program),” according to the report.

While Vice President of Research John McGrath released a report earlier this month showing progress in all 10 recommended areas, CMU’s research program is still working toward compliance with government regulations.

Problems with CMU’s research program are more than 20 years old, said Institutional Review Board Chairman Richard Backs.

Provost Michael Gealt said he is focused on the future.

“I don’t know what happened in the past and, to a certain extent, it’s irrelevant,” he said. “I know where we are now and where we have to be.”

CMU ranks No. 244 as a research university in Forbes’ most recent list of top colleges in the nation. It sits behind most Michigan universities, including Michigan (No. 20), Michigan State (No. 79), Michigan Tech (No. 137), Oakland University (No. 218) and Western Michigan (No. 232). Grand Valley, Saginaw Valley and Eastern Michigan were not ranked.

In relation to similar sized schools across the Mid-American Conference, CMU sits behind Miami (No. 80), Ohio (No. 149), Ball State (No. 220), Northern Illinois (No. 222), Bowling Green (No. 231), Akron (No. 233) and Toledo (No. 237).

CMU is one spot ahead of Kent State (No. 245).

The scope of research is continuing to change at CMU as personnel grow more research-minded.

“The faculty we’re hiring are more interested in research. Professional accreditation agencies are evaluating our faculty on their scholarly output, so there’s a lot of pressure on us to increase our scholarly output,” Gealt said.

With higher education funding support from Lansing declining over the past decade, Backs said increased research has helped schools across the nation bring in more money.

“Most institutions are trying to do that. CMU is not unique in that respect, but we’re starting from a very low baseline,” Backs said. “Research has never been as much of a priority at CMU as it is now, so the infrastructure was never developed to the extent that it really needs to be.

“It can’t bear the demands of the increases in research that are the result of the new faculty that we’re hiring or the new initiatives that we’re doing.”

One Comment

  1. michmediaperson says:

    Another example why CMU should get out of the research business. Get back to the old CMU.

    Terminate 70 percent of the faculty plus research administrators. Remaining 30 percent of faculty teaches 6 courses a semester and 22 hours in the office. 40 hours a week.

    You could lower tuition between 50 and 70 percent.

    CMU could attract outstanding people in their field. Imagine Justin, having a couple of former long-time Free-Press or News or Chicago or New York journalists as instructors (people who have practiced the craft) instead of book-smart professors who have never had a by-line in a paper but do a bunch of worthless research.

    Because our tuition would be about $170-200 an hour, we would attract the best and the brightest throughout Michigan who don’t want to go $25,000 into debt at UM, MSU, Western. CMU wouldn’t need to spend $900,000 in marketing and need not pay an enrollment director $200,000.

    244th place. Time to get out of the research business.

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