Research Enhancement Plan

UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education Research Enhancement Plan


The Research Enhancement Plan (REP) is a five-year, multi-step process that involves support structures and professional development opportunities intended to support tenure-eligible faculty in enhancing research skills and promote successful performance reviews. Its purpose is to encourage tenure-eligible faculty members to continuously engage in the improvement of their research skills and to provide them with the support they need to be successful. At the conclusion of each academic year, the tenure-eligible faculty members will meet with their assigned mentor and Department Chair to review progress in completion of the REP.

Sequence of Recommended Experiences

The REP is intended to consist of a logical sequence of recommended experiences that progressively require greater independence and application of skills. The REP is intended to be customized. Faculty will have some choice in the activities to meet their specific needs. The sequence of recommended experiences is outlined in the REP Chart. This chart is provided to help tenure-eligible faculty record, schedule, and document their process. As documentation of their efforts to enhance their research skills, tenure-eligible faculty may wish to upload a copy of the chart (at various stages of completion) with their annual reports in Years 1-5 and in their reappointment and tenure dossiers. The REP may also help guide the faculty member in targeting new goals in the area of research for the next academic year that are included in the annual report. The REP Chart is also designed as a potential source of evidence for tenure-eligible faculty members to use in writing the research narrative for the reappointment and tenure/promotion reviews. It may be used by the faculty member to demonstrate engagement in the continual improvement of research. Faculty are encouraged to download the chart, print it on color paper, and store it in a safe place.

Personalized Professional Development Plan

A key component of the REP is a Personalized Professional Development Plan (PPDP) that tenure-eligible faculty develop and implement in Years 2-4 using the PPDP template. In each of these years, the PPDP is developed by the faculty member around a research goal identified in the previous year’s annual report. In other words, the goal sought in the Year 2 PPDP should be connected to a research-related goal identified in the faculty member’s annual report completed at the end of the first year in the tenure-eligible role. In some cases, the same goal may be carried forward from one year to the next or may be different from what was mentioned in the annual report. Goals should be 1) developed in consultation with the faculty mentor and/or Department Chair, 2) directly related to furthering the faculty member’s research agenda, and 3) intended to enhance research skills and/or productivity. Examples might include, but are not limited to, submitting a competitive grant proposal for an internal or external award, strengthening quantitative or qualitative research methodology skills, building collaborative partnerships, increasing research productivity, etc. The faculty member should provide a clear rationale for why this goal was targeted, and describe a series of steps to be taken within the academic year to meet the goal. Sample steps might include, but are not limited to, attending a grant development workshop or applying to the Catalyst or CLIPP programs, serving as a manuscript reviewer for a journal in one’s field or as a peer reviewer for a funding agency, participating in a writing group, or applying for an internal SEED grant competition to fund a new research project. The steps to be taken should be designed in collaboration with the faculty member’s mentor or Department Chair. While the College/University will provide a variety of research-related professional development opportunities throughout each academic year, the faculty member may choose to participate in opportunities outside of the College or University (e.g., opportunities provided by professional organizations and conferences that align with the research focus). The steps outlined in the PPDP may also include identifying and examining resources, materials, or scholarship to develop a deeper understanding of the research focal area and inviting a faculty member to review and provide feedback on the faculty member’s work related to the research goal.

An equally important element of the PPDP is reflection. Each PPDP requires that the faculty member reflect on the identified goal and the steps taken during the year to meet it. The reflection should demonstrate how the plan has enhanced the faculty member’s research related to the targeted area. The PPDP will be initially presented (Years 2-4) to the faculty member’s mentor by September 1st for guidance and review, and will be reviewed again by the mentor no later than January 15th to check progress and to review any needed revisions to the plan. The mentor will sign and date the faculty member’s PPDP at both the initial and mid-point review.