University Research Council

January 12, 2006

Meeting Summary

Multidisciplinary Research Project Report

Carrie Leana, Professor in the Katz Graduate School of Business, and Sherry Cleary, Assistant Professor in the Department of Instruction and Learning, reported on the status of their URC multidisciplinary small grant project.  The project is entitled “Work Discretion and Job Crafting in the U.S. Child Care Industry.”  Drs. Leana and Cleary have compiled available data on childcare providers in Allegheny County; conducted four focus groups with childcare workers and one focus group with childcare center directors; drafted a survey instrument for teachers and aids; and drafted an interview protocol and post-interview survey for center directors.  They also are working with researchers at Rutgers University to expand the scope of their study within and possibly beyond the United States.

Their project is unique in several ways.  First, there is a limited body of research aimed at understanding the dynamics of childcare work in terms of actual work execution, motivation, and discretion.  Second, there is little cross-pollination among the approaches that researchers have used to examine childcare.  Economic studies of the child care labor pool are typically static studies of pay, benefits, and turnover with little focus on the day-to-day work of child care.  The literature on early childhood education tends to focus almost exclusively on pedagogy and child development with little regard for working conditions in a child care center.  Drs. Leana and Cleary integrate economic and educational approaches and provide a model of the relationship between structural factors, such as pay, and important outcomes, such as the quality of care, by focusing on how child care workers craft their jobs.

Report from the Office of Research

Allen DiPalma, Director of the Office of Research, discussed two electronic initiatives: the Office’s internal grants management program, which uses InfoEd software, and the federal government’s web site.  The Office will release InfoEd’s proposal-tracking module for general use in February.  This module will capture all relevant pre-award and immediate post-award information.  Electronic reporting and tracking capabilities then will be developed.

 Office of Research staff are developing a training program that will enable faculty and staff to utilize the system.  A year-long program geared towards users of the site will be instituted in February.  The Office will sponsor an open forum on the system each month.  Departments and schools can request more targeted training.  Additional information on the system is located on the Office of Research web page.


Other topics of discussion included:

  • Multidisciplinary Small Grant Program proposals were due on January 6.
  • Small Grant Program (CDRF) proposals are due on February 15.
  • Dr. Klinzing attended a meeting at Penn State to discuss troublesome clauses.
  • This year’s federal agency trip to Washington, D.C., will take place on March 27.