Housing the measurement of university innovations' social value: Organizational site, professional perspective, institutional outlook

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3 Scopus citations


Drawing on examples from the more developed realms of technology transfer and other "managerial professions" (Rhoades, 1998; Rhoades & Sporn, 2002) in the academy, this paper explores possible organizational sites for housing protocols for the measurement of the social value of individual innovations in higher education (that may enter the market or and augment or precede commercial valuation), and the possible implications of those different settings for the academy (particularly in terms of motivating more faculty to engage in more innovative and entrepreneurial activities). Organizational location matters. Organizational site is related to professional perspective and to the institutional outlook that attaches to various sorts of work in the academy. Five possible sites are explored, analyzing the dimensions of such locations from the experience of other "new" activities in universities. One type of site consists of an interstitial (Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004), nonacademic, support unit of managerial professionals (neither faculty nor senior level administrators), as in an Office of Technology Transfer or an Office of Institutional Research. A second type of site would be an academic unit in which measurement tasks could be performed by faculty members. A third type of site would be a hybrid model that combines elements of the first two models, as in the case of entrepreneurship units in many universities. A fourth possible type of site would be to situate such activity in an intermediating association (Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004) outside of the university, which mediates between public and private sectors, and that promotes various sorts of innovation and measurement as in the case of Educause and innovative information technologies. A fifth type of site would consist of establishing university extension units in the community, to provide services more directly to constituents, as traditionally was the model for agricultural extension in land grant universities. Each of the models has its owns benefits and challenges, its implications for what sorts of professionals would be doing the work and what they would see their principal function as being, and for the impact they would have on the academic workforce and the institution's direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-267
Number of pages31
JournalAdvances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Growth
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Finance
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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