Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore how the role of Ontario college faculty has evolved since the advent of the Post-Secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act of 2000 and the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act of 2002, and to consider whether or not the decision to create a research culture at the colleges included making time available to the professoriate to engage in applied research activities. Web content was analyzed to select four Ontario colleges at various stages of research evolution using D.J. Madder’s typology of college research and innovation. The study compared the current state of the four Ontario colleges focusing on whether the institutions had developed policies or procedures to provide time for faculty-based applied research. Interviews were also conducted with two senior members from the relevant provincial government sector involved in planning the implementation of applied research in the colleges, and with five senior college leaders who were present in the college system when the Acts were introduced. Additional interviews with four senior college leaders examined the current conditions surrounding the development of applied research cultures in Ontario colleges. Findings indicated that regardless of where a college is located on Madder’s typology of research evolution, time for applied research activities is provided to the college faculty in an inconsistent manner. Ontario colleges may want to consider what other jurisdictions have done to develop successful, applied research-focused colleges. The development of a more robust, fully integrated applied research culture in the colleges will require more comprehensive planning by the colleges either by themselves or in concert with agencies of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, than has been experienced to date. As long as the Collective Agreement governing the allotment of time for faculty activities exists in its current iteration, allocating time for faculty to engage in applied research activities outside the classroom will likely continue on an ad hoc basis. In the near term, having curriculum-based applied research activities could partially solve the problem, accommodate program specific needs, and be of enormous benefit to students and faculty alike.
Author: Otte Arild Rosenkrantz
Source: University of Toronto - TSpace
Last Updated: July 31, 2015