Social Work

Date of this version


Document Type



administrative supports, infrastructure, National Institutes of Health, research capacity building


Research intensive universities have raised the bar for all academic units, expecting them to increase research grants and contracts to support knowledge creation and scholarship. Similarly, performance requirements for faculty have changed, with annual reviews and tenure and promotion decisions weighting obtaining grants along with publication of scholarly products, teaching effectiveness, and service to the school, university and community. These expectations compel Deans and Directors of schools of social work to undertake new roles related to research development and administrative capacity building in order to help faculty and their units succeed.

Social work schools and departments must stay or become strategically positioned in their university or college, even as the context for research development has been dramatically altered as colleges and universities invest in the nanosciences or bio- technology rather than the social sciences. A $4 billion nanoscience operation dwarfs the $20 million that a robust research enterprise that a few schools of social work enjoy.

This paper highlights some of the opportunities, barriers, challenges, as well as stepping stones to success in the process of building research supports and infrastructures. Drawing upon presentations at recent meetings of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD) that have been organized by the Institute of Social Work Research (IASWR), we feature several examples of approaches advancing supports for research development. Brief scenarios illustrating efforts underway at several schools depict challenging and often rewarding research capacity building endeavors. This paper presents the perspective of several Deans and Directors in the development of administrative research supports. The paper also features one model for a supportive research administration structure in the pre- and post-award environment.





Published in

Social Work Research

Citation/Other Information

Brian-Lawson, K., Korr, W., White, B., Vroom, P., Zabora, J., Middleton, J., Shank, B., & Schatz, M. (2008). Advancing Administrative Supports for Research Development. Social Work Research, 32(4), 236-241.