In Support of Increased Funding for the Research, Scholarship, and
Creative Activities (RSCA) Program
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) urge the Chancellor’s Office to increase funding for the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) program to a level commensurate with the intent behind the program, the recognized value of faculty and student research as a significant factor in the quality of education, the amount of external funding faculty research brings to the CSU, and the fact that lecturers, as well as tenuretrack faculty, are now eligible to receive RSCA funding; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to CSU Board of Trustees, CSU
Chancellor, CSU campus Presidents, CSU campus Senate Chairs, CSU
Provosts/Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, California Faculty Association
(CFA), and California State University Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association
RATIONALE: The RSCA program was initiated in response to a 1987 draft report issued by the Commission for the Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education. The Commission recognized that faculty research results in better teaching by faculty and better learning by students. The report, titled “The Master Plan Renewed,” recommended: “Research, scholarship and creativity in support of the undergraduate and graduate instructional mission is authorized in The California State University, and shall be supported by the State”. This statement was subsequently repeated in the California Education Code 66010.4, which reads:
(b) …. Research, scholarship, and creative activity in support of its undergraduate and graduate instructional mission is authorized in the California State University and shall be supported by the state.
Recommendation number 2 of the report estimated the cost of the RSCA program to be $14.5 million, based on the assumption that only full-time faculty are eligible for the funds. In 1988-89, the CSU requested only $7.5 million (it is not known today how that number was arrived at) to create the RSCA program, but was allocated $2.5 million, and this level remained unchanged until 2009-10, when funding was suspended. In 2010-11, funds were allocated again, while between 2011 and 2014 the program was again suspended. Funds were restored in 2014-15 ($2.4 million), based on carry over from Academic Affairs 2013-14 general funds matched 1:1 by the Chancellor. In 2015-16, funding for the RSCA program was reinstated in the amount of $2.5 million.
In his response to the ASCSU resolution AS-3173-14/FA (Rev) “Eligibility Status for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Awards”, Associate Vice Chancellor Ron Vogel stated:
“We join the ASCSU in recognizing the importance of research, scholarly, and creative activity for the faculty and students in the CSU. The value of these activities spread far beyond our institutions and positively impacts the state, region, nation, and international communities. As noted in the resolution, the distribution of the funds for this program is based on FTEF, which includes lecturers.” (More)
In response to ASCSU resolution AS-3247-16/FA “Restoring Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) Funds as a Line Item in the CSU Operations Budget,” approved in January 2016, RSCA funds were again made a line item in the CSU operating budget.
The original estimates of needed RSCA funding were based upon headcount, while at present the RSCA allocation to the campuses is based upon Full-Time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF) and includes lecturers. While this makes it difficult to arrive at a precise estimate of the funding level adequate to meet today’s needs based on the original assumptions, it should be clear that $2.5 million is not adequate. Currently, nearly 25,000 faculty are eligible to receive RSCA funds (the 1987-88 estimate of $14.5 million assumed 14,084 eligible full-time faculty).
The improvement in the fiscal situation in the state makes this an appropriate time for an increase in the RSCA funding level. The current resolution therefore urges that RSCA funding be increased (if not at once then by calculated steps over a period of time) to a level commensurate with the intent behind the program, the recognized value of faculty and student research as a significant factor in the quality of student education, the amount of external funding (currently estimated at $0.6 billion) that faculty research brings to the CSU, and the fact that lecturers (who currently constitute more than 50% of all faculty on CSU campuses) as well as tenure-track faculty are now eligible to receive RSCA funding.
Approved Unanimously – May 19-20, 2016