Mergers in higher education: it’s not easy. Merger of two disparate institutions and the impact on faculty research productivity

Catherine P. Slade, Saundra Ribando, C. Kevin Fortner, Kristin V. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the growing popularity of mergers in higher education, limited research examines their sociocultural impact on faculty which is arguably a university’s most valuable resource. This paper examines a merger of disparate institutions in the University System of Georgia (USG) and presents faculty research productivity results over time, given that increased research presence for the merged university was a goal for the merger. A sociocultural based quantitative methods approach was used to explore faculty research efforts and productivity in the merged university. Surveys of faculty were conducted three times over five years post-merger. Research effort and productivity were analysed. The findings suggest that merging two disparate institutions to expand the primary mission of the higher status legacy institution, in this case research and scholarship, requires greater attention to cultural differences between the legacy institutions to the merger. The merged university experienced a consistent reduction in research following the merger, with the most pronounced productivity decline university-wide by year five. With this research, we provide guidance for administrators of higher education institutions and policy makers considering university mergers as a means to encourage research, among other priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStudies in Higher Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Merger
  • academic identity
  • research productivity
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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