The Leap from Teacher to Teacher-Scholar: The Quest for Research in Non-Traditional Fields


  • La Verne Abe Harris Arizona State University
  • Mary A. Sadowski Purdue University


With the national trend toward decreasing state allocations, higher education institutions have been forced to be entrepreneurial to survive, and search for alternative means of funding through external agents. Many technology professors are finding themselves in a situation in which their top mission of teaching must be transformed to a teacher-scholar model. Through use-inspired basic research, which is the marriage between traditional basic university research and applied research, technology professors must strive to link their research findings directly to their coursework. They must be proactive in the search for external funding, not only to foster the culture of the academic enterprise, but also to become better teachers. This can be accomplished through federal grants, industry collaboration, and technology transfer.


The academic enterprise model of “academic capitalism” (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997) brings with it several implications: (1) social stratification on a global, national, institutional, and individual level, (2) industry collaboration, (3) the priority shift from instruction to research, and (4) a new higher education research model. The culture of academic capitalism impacts professors in non-traditional fields behaviorally through individual challenges in stratification, autonomy, and meritocracy. It also impacts the manner in which faculty must now work. Whether this is an opportunity or a threat to the academic success of the technology professors remains to be seen.


According to Donald E. Stokes (1997), former Dean at Princeton University, technology that stagnates in the lab offers almost no economic benefits. Innovations of technology require scientific methods applied to industrial practices. This paper will draw from two arenas of higher education and technology: “academic capitalism” and “Pasteur’s quadrant.” (Stokes, 1997).




Feature Articles