Dec 022007
 
Authors: Ashley Emmons

CSU faculty’s hard work is now in the national spotlight as six academic departments were named among the top 10 most productive in their disciplines in the national 2006-2007 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index.

Alicia Ebert, fourth year PhD student in the Biology Department, said getting that recognition helps the school improve its programs.

“Being ranked top 10 in Biology means that we have the capability to recruit better faculty and students to the program,” Ebert said.

Instructors were judged on several criteria from works published to awards won.

Publishing papers really comes down to peer review. When a professor writes a paper, they send it to an editor, who passes it on to experts in that field to verify the research. When the work is published it means that it is valid because it passed the approval of the peer review.

One thing the Index takes into account is research productivity, which is based on the number of papers published.

Dan Bush, chair of Department of Biology, said papers are important, but they are not all read because there are too many.

“There are 3,000 to 5,000 papers produced and the judges are not able to read all of them so it is mostly about the peer review research,” Bush said.

The Index also looks at the number of grants a department gets for research.

“When you have a lot of grants it really shows the competitiveness to get money for research from the department,” Bush said.

The final thing the Index looks closely at is the amount of awards and honors a department gets. The recognition shows that the professors are doing good work because they are researching and writing but they are also getting their information out to their students well.

Dr. Ken Wilson, head of the department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology said it was fulfilling to see CSU in the rankings.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for what the faculty does with research, publishing and teaching,” Wilson said.

The faculty members are leaders in their specific field, which means they are teaching the most current material for students.

“The faculty are great thinkers and great communicators because of how dedicated they are to their field,” Bush said. “They . are great educators because they think about how to talk about the major ideas in the field and how to communicate that in the best way to students.”

For students this means that they are well trained and will be more effective when it comes to applying for jobs. They will be more prepared for tests and challenges because they were taught at the highest level.

“Recently our department had a program review and an external review and both were very positive,” Bush said. “Ranking in the top 10 just validates that this department is outstanding.”

Every seven years a department is reviewed and occasionally it will also be reviewed from people outside of the university, which looks at the department at a national level. Bush commented that the reviews are based more off of opinion then facts.

“Being ranked is not personal opinion it is measurable data which is very satisfying to have,” Bush said.

Ranking in the top 10 means that the six departments at CSU are among the best in the country, having the best materials and education to offer to students.

It also builds up the school’s reputation. Companies that want research from an academic group look for leading departments in the country to do that for them.

“When you are a top school your work is considered to be well thought out and it is expected to be good,” Bush said.

Staff Writer Ashley Emmons can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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