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Balancing Teaching, Research, and Service

Faculty members might struggle to balance their many roles and responsibilities of being a teacher, researcher, and administrator (Schrader et al., 2011).

The following are tips to achieve greater balance between teaching, research, and service:

1. Positive attitudes toward students (Boice, 1991)
Have “uncritical, accepting, and optimistic attitudes” about students (Boice, 1991).

2. Positive attitudes toward work environment (Boice, 1991)
Seldom complain or be cynical about the campus and colleagues.

3. Seek Advice (Boice, 1991)
Look for teaching advice from colleagues, literature, observations, and faculty development programs. Spend 2-4 hours per week talking with colleagues about teaching.

4. Relaxed classroom environment (Boice, 1991)
Teach at a leisurely pace that promotes student involvement. Allow pauses for reflection.

5. Spend less time on class preparation (Boice, 1991; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth)
Spend “no more than one and a half hours of preparation per classroom hour” (Boice, 1991).  “Less preparation means more chance for student participation and interaction” (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth).

6. Combine research and teaching (Boice, 1991)
Integrate your research interests into your classes. This not only makes the class more interesting for you to teach, but it also advertises your research to potential research assistants.

7. The forest and the trees (University of California – Los Angeles, 2013)
Think about managing your career before you begin managing your day. The forest consists of major goals in your academic life, trees are incremental goals along the way, and leaves are the actual tasks. Be sure to have clear sight of the forest while you’re among the trees and leaves.

8. Regularly scheduled research time (Boice, 1991)
Spend at least 3 hours, typically 4-5 hours, per week of at least half the weeks during a semester on scholarly writing. Preferably, this weekly goal should be divided into 30-60 minute increments per day. The most productive work is done in short, regular blocks. Weekend long binges are not as productive and there is no guarantee when that larger chunk of undisturbed time will be available (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth).

9. Invest in yourself (Boice, 1991)
Have high energy, broad interests and hobbies, a sense of humor, and awareness of self-presentation.

SIUe Campus Resources

Faculty Development Events
“Faculty development events focus on topics such as leadership development, teaching and learning experience, research productivity and grant writing, mentoring, work/life balance, career advancement, and serving diverse populations” (Center for Faculty Development and Innovation, 2016).

Peer Consulting and Mentoring Program
“The Peer Consulting/Mentoring Program offers faculty and continuing contract instructors at SIUE the opportunity for collaborative exploration of their teaching, research, and service” (Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, 2016).
Service Opportunities
Program Review
Faculty Senate
Graduate School


Boice, R. (1991), Quick starters: New faculty who succeed. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1991: 111–121. Retrieved from

Center for Faculty Development and Innovation. (2016). Welcome! Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Retrieved from

Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. (2016). Peer consultants. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Retrieved from

Schrader, C. B., Chyung, S. Y., Hughes, W. L., Sasaki, K., Cole, T., & Chiasson, J. N. (2011). AC 2011-324: How can we help faculty balance between teaching and scholarly activities? American Society for Engineering Education. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/slau/Downloads/ASEE2011-FacultyPerceptions-Final%20(1).pdf.

University of California-Los Angeles Diversity & Faculty Development. (2013). Balancing work & life as an assistant professor. Retrieved from

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Time management. Retrieved from

Additional Resources

Making Time for Research
Webpage from Robert Boice and National Association of Geoscience Teachers

Combining Teaching and Research
Article by Teaching Commons of Stanford University

Successful Faculty Performance in Teaching, Research and Original Creative Work, and Service
Article from Dean of the Faculties Office of Florida State University

Advice for New Faculty Members: Nihil Nimus
Book by Robert Boice

Advice for New Faculty
Article from Learning, Teaching & Innovative Technologies Center of Middle Tennessee State University

NEXT (Narratives supporting Excellent Teaching): I’m Swamped!
Article by University of Washington’s Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching

How to be More Productive
Podcast episode by Freakonomics Radio

Tenure, She Wrote
Blog written by several tenured and not-yet-tenured professors of various universities and chosen guest bloggers

The Professor Is In
Blog and academia-related services by Dr. Karen Kelsky and chosen guest bloggers

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