Definition of Research - Department of Engineering and Technology



Engineering and technology can be distinguished from other academic fields by its applied nature, the importance of design, and the validation via commercial application.  ABET, Inc., formally known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology has defined engineering as "the profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to use, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind."  Because of the importance of design and commercial application in the field of engineering and technology, the department has adopted a definition of scholarship that includes these aspects.

The four basic types of scholarly endeavors valued by the Engineering & Technology Department are listed below.  These basic types have been developed to encourage research in all its diverse forms and to provide guidance in making promotion/tenure-based decisions.

Applied Research- Includes activities that relate knowledge in academic disciplines to communities outside academia.

Research of Teaching and Learning- Includes activities that are directly related to improving pedagogical practices.  This type of scholarship is oriented to discovery, evaluation, and communication of information about the teaching and learning process.

Discovery Research- Includes all activities that extend knowledge through discovery or collection of new information.  The scholarship of discovery includes but is not limited to the typical label of basic or original research.

Integrative Research- Includes activities that are primarily interdisciplinary and interpretive, seeking better understanding of existing knowledge through integration across disciplines and original synthesis to bring new meanings and insights.

While documentation and dissemination of scholarly endeavors in the engineering and technology fields may include traditional mechanisms such as journal articles, conference presentations and the like, it may also include a variety of other forms that are utilized in a confidential commercial environment.  In such cases scholarly work that is completely valid and valuable to our department mission, cannot be disseminated through traditional routes.  Hence the department has defined a procedure for validation of confidential engineering and scholarship endeavors.  This procedure calls for the investigator performing the scholarly activity to prepare a summary memo, which is to be approved by the client, outlining the scholarship project.   For purposes of tenure applications, the memo shall be included as part of the tenure application, while in cases of promotion and other performance evaluations, the memo shall be validated by the department personnel committee or department chair.  

(Submitted: October 2007; Revised: October 2014)