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Building Castles in the Air?. The Pitfalls of Ignoring Organizational Constraints in Research Development in Philippine Higher Education Institutions . CHED : NHERA (1997). First fully articulation of research as among the three primary functions of all HEIs

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building castles in the air

Building Castles in the Air?

The Pitfalls of Ignoring Organizational Constraints in Research Development in Philippine Higher Education Institutions

ched nhera 1997
CHED : NHERA (1997)
  • First fully articulation of research as among the three primary functions of all HEIs
  • Research productivity as criteria for –
    • University status
    • Center of excellence
    • Autonomous / Deregulated status
    • Institutional quality
    • Opening of graduate programs
research development
Research Development

Accrediting agencies

  • Research part of criteria for educational quality

Individual universities

  • Research productivity as part of criteria for promotions and/or permanency, professoriate
  • Incentives for research
research development4
Research Development

Interventions: New policies and programs

  • Capacity building activities
  • Research grants
  • Journal accreditation
  • Awards and other incentives
evidence international refereed publications
Evidence: International Refereed Publications
  • Using one strict indicator: publications in international refereed journals, the answer seems to be YES!
of hei publications out of total philippine publications 1994 2008




% of HEI Publications out of total Philippine publications(1994-2008)
survey of international refereed publications 1994 2008
Survey of International Refereed Publications (1994-2008)
  • the increase in the number of HEIs producing international publications was found only in 6 out of the 16 geographic regions
  • the total number of HEIs involved in producing all international publications was only 88, which represents 4.27% of the 2060 HEIs in the Philippines
survey of international refereed publications 1994 200814
Survey of International Refereed Publications (1994-2008)
  • increase in publications may be due mainly to the increased productivity of a small group of approximately 30 HEIs (not a widespread increase in productivity across the Philippine higher education system);
  • the increase in number of researchers or authors varied across the geographic regions, with six regions not showing any noticeable increase.
research development15
Research Development???
  • Growth in research productivity is very localized in specific regions and institutions
  • The overwhelming majority of regions and HEIs have largely been unaffected by research development thrusts and programs
building castles in the air16
Building castles in the air?

Developing research in Philippine HEIs is severely constrained by the structural/organizational features of most HEIs that do not (cannot) support development of substantial research processes and outcomes.

definition research processes
Definition: Research processes
  • Research activities sustained over long periods of time directed at inquiring into questions and validating propositions, with the goal of generating knowledgethat expands current boundaries human knowledge
definition research outcomes
Definition: Research outcomes
  • various forms of knowledge productions that are assessed by the relevant sector of the global scholarly community in terms of its competence and substance
  • publication in refereed journals, citation, patents and applications
definition organizational features
Definition: Organizational Features
  • Elements or characteristics of these elements of the organizational structure of HEIs that define the parameters for the various processes that operate within the organization (organizational structure; of work; finance/budget model, etc.)
definition organizational features20
Definition: Organizational Features
  • Organizational features are also constrained by other forces in the larger environment of higher education institutions (policy, regulations, markets, quality assurance systems, etc.)
organizational features
Organizational Features

Thus, we can consider both

  • Elements of the internal organizational structure of HEIs, and
  • Elements of the external environment of HEIs that constrain the internal organizational structure and operations of HEIs
What are these organization features that may constrain research development?Consider what makes the top HEIs produce?
organizational features24
Organizational features

Level of research activity

  • existence of some viable level of research activity and processes
  • higher ratio of faculty members with PhDs
  • we cannot start from zero
  • BUT, most Philippines HEIs are starting from zero
organizational features26
Organizational features

Work load of faculty members

  • research requires devoting substantial & sustained amounts of time to research activities
  • in most HEIs: 24 to 30 hours per week in the classroom, plus class preparation, marking papers, etc.
  • Faculty members job function is defined primarily in terms of the teaching function.
organizational features27
Organizational features

Work load of faculty members

  • transitioning from pure teaching to combined teaching and research functions is difficult to manage
  • incentives for faculty research not commensurate to difficulty in transition
organizational features28
Organizational features

Expectations that faculty members will produce quality research does not seem to be founded on a good appreciation of the work conditions of faculty members.

university budget model
University budget model

Most Philippine HEIs (private & public) need to maximize efficiency:

  • have as few faculty items handle as many full time student equivalents
  • faculty salaries contingent on being able to teach a number of paying students
  • freeing up faculty members from teaching requires getting money from other sources
university budget model30
University budget model

Private HEIs’ budgets depend on tuition

  • Supporting faculty time for research, funding actual research expenses, and providing incentives also need to be obtained from sources other than tuition

Public HEIs

  • Faculty members also expected to participate in income generating activities of the university
  • Fiscal realities of most HEIs require faculty members to be more active in non-research activities.
the organizational model of heis
The organizational model of HEIs
  • The mission & structure of most HEIs are conceived in relation to the delivery of teaching services.
  • Leadership of HEIs address research development as an “add-on” to teaching.
  • Organizational elements of HEIs are designed to maximize efficiencies for teaching.
  • Research-related interventions are mostly ad hoc & auxiliary to teaching elements.
external regulation of heis
External Regulation of HEIs
  • Legal restrictions on how to increased revenues from tuition are used
  • CHED requirements that full time faculty members handle majority of mandated courses
  • CHED requirements related to work load of full time teaching staff
external regulation minimal standards
External Regulation: Minimal Standards
  • Organizational requirements for research :
    • at least 2% of university budget for research (varies depending on size of operations)
    • existence of a research office and policies
weak external support for research development in heis
Weak External Support for Research Development in HEIs

System for research training is weak

  • Faculty of HEIs do not have many good and viable options for acquiring serviceable research skills
  • Most developed countries: Graduate education is the most effective approach for research training
graduate education in the philippines
Graduate Education in the Philippines
  • Large graduate education sector (w/annual graduates in the thousands)
  • High enrollment in non-research oriented disciplines (educational management; public administration)
  • Curriculum and instruction is not designed to develop high level research skills
  • Graduate faculty members are NOT researchers
graduate education in the philippines36
Graduate Education in the Philippines
  • Many student unable to graduate / unable to complete thesis and dissertations
  • Most thesis/dissertations completed are “unpublishable”
  • PhD holders who are incapable of launching viable research programs
  • Current state of graduate education in the Philippineinadequate to support research training needs of HEIs
post doctoral research training
Post-Doctoral Research Training
  • Obtaining a PhD is not sufficient to establish productive research program
  • 5 or more years of post-doctoral research is needed before a PhD holder can set a viable and sustainable research program
  • Most HEIs have no provisions for such

Most common alternative:

  • Short-term capacity-building activities
  • Questionable efficacy??
external sources of research funds
External Sources of Research Funds

Traditional external sources (in other countries):

  • Government
    • Well-defined priorities, limited funds
  • Private (foundations, corporations, development agencies)
    • Priorities aligned with organizations’ missions and “self-interests”
    • May not contribute to knowledge capital of larger society
  • May be augmented by strategic partnerships
conclusion organizational constraints to research development in heis
Conclusion : Organizational constraints to research development in HEIs
  • The process of research development in HEIs is not a simple matter of defining targets on research and publications, funding research, and setting higher research-related standards
  • The process needs to be grounded on appropriately configured HEIs with capable faculty researchers operating in viable environments
conclusion organizational constraints to research development in heis40
Conclusion : Organizational constraints to research development in HEIs
  • In addition to targets and standards, the research development process should define the organization environment, research processes and mechanisms, and incentives that would support for faculty research
conclusion organizational constraints to research development in heis41
Conclusion : Organizational constraints to research development in HEIs
  • HEIs should develop budget models and business models that are more appropriate for HEIs that do both teaching and research
  • Research faculty members should be given more time, space, and support sustained over long periods of time
conclusion organizational constraints to research development in heis42
Conclusion : Organizational constraints to research development in HEIs

Invest in high level research training of faculty members

  • ?? Require higher standards of existing graduate programs ??
  • Be selective in where faculty members are sent for graduate studies (consider foreign training)
  • Support post-doctoral research training
building castles in the air43
Building Castles in the Air…

If not:

  • Most HEIs would NOT be able to respond to challenges or research development
  • Most HEIs would NOT be able to absorb the research development interventions of CHED and other agencies
building castles in the air44
Building Castles in the Air…

We need to RETHINK the very nature of our universities and our faculty position, and consider major paradigm shifts in the process of research development in HEIs.

building castles in the air45

Building Castles in the Air?


Allan B I Bernardo

De La Salle University Philippines