Date of Award

11-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Education, Leadership and Public Service

Program

Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor/Chairperson

Christi Edge

Second Advisor

Derek Anderson

Third Advisor

Jessica Thompson

Abstract

No two institutions are mirror images of each other such that identical descriptions, policies, procedures or needs apply to all. Such an assumption is too simplistic when universities are adequately analyzed. Northern Michigan University is a primarily undergraduate institution in the Midwest region of the United States that sits on the coast of Lake Superior, is the home of the Upper Peninsula Brain Tumor Center, offers unique outdoor resources year-round, and boasts a set of strengths, weaknesses, faculty, policies, benefits and a climate that cannot be replicated. Thus, it is distinctive, but like many other comprehensive universities, fosters a confused sense of identity. A key component involves scholarship: Tension exists in regard to scholarly activity, with some faculty believing it is a fundamental component of academia, and others consider teaching the only priority. This case study offers an in-depth look at this identity crisis, focusing on the perspectives of NMU faculty, revealing insight into the benefits of scholarship, institutional support available, and persistent challenges related to scholarly activity. Specifically, the investigation examined how faculty perceive scholarship as a role in their academic appointment specifically at NMU.

Thanks to the location, history and commitment to regional education, NMU attracts committed employees and students; however, to retain students, faculty and staff, NMU should commit to supporting scholarship, teaching and service in such a manner as to understand the support mechanisms, resources, recognition and rewards necessary to adequately balance the needs and stresses for faculty engaging in all three tasks.

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