Undergraduate research centers: Simply a source of student employment or a model for supplementing rural university finances?

Michael K. Rich, Darrell Bartholomew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – This paper aims to discuss the inequities in the financial infrastructure of Division II rural universities located throughout the USA and much of the Western world while seeking to offer possible solutions through on-campus marketing enterprises. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a conceptual contribution based on the author's personal experiences as the executive director of an undergraduate research center combined with a literature study by the authors. Findings – Depending on available resources in the immediate proximity of a given rural university, services can be offered, such as marketing research, that otherwise would not be available. The author's personal experiences have demonstrated that sufficient cash flow can be generated not only to compensate the student employees, but also to support all operating expenses of an established university marketing department. Practical implications – If faculty members can be found who are willing to assume a leadership role, Division II universities can augment their operating funds through the development of undergraduate research organizations. This not only benefits financial situations, but also offers students real-life experiences directly related to their earned academic degree, thus enhancing their employment opportunities subsequent to graduation. Originality/value – Sufficient opportunities exist in the rural marketplace for reasonably priced marketing research services that the demand can be generated once promotion and word-of-mouth have established the impact of the offered services. Commercial research firms have often avoided solicitation of rural clients based on their inability to pay commercial rates and the dearth of opportunities to sell services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Business & Industrial Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 23 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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