Service Records - The "Activity" Field

The "activity" field in the Create Request form describes which of the fundamental university activities the work supports; i.e. Research, Teaching, or Administration.

Those paying for the work are concerned about where support resources are being allocated. So, we're obliged to ask this question.

CSCF Guidelines

Research Support

Guidelines for CSCF staff in specifying research support are:

MFCF Guidelines and Examples

A general principle to follow is that the source of funds used to buy the equipment being used generally determines the "activity" involved. Exceptions are made when the activity is unambiguous, and is being done in a way that doesn't increase the cost of support over what it would be if appropriate equipment was being used.

For some requests it's not obvious what category to choose. For example:

Grad Student has a Problem

By default, graduate students are treated as faculty. Thus the category depends upon whether they're engaged in research or teaching.

Admin Staff Can't Format a Research Paper

If administrative staff are working on something which is clearly research, e.g. the text formatting software is failing while trying to produce a research paper, then the work is classified as support of research, even if the person doing the work is administrative support staff, on their personal workstation.

Admin Staff Machine Won't Boot

If the same machine described above won't start, then the work is classified as support of administration.

Faculty Workstation Fails to Start

Faculty members may choose to engage in teaching activities on their research systems. However, since specific teaching resources are provided for that purpose, fixing a researcher's failed workstation is classified as research support.

One non-obvious situation is:

Startup Grants

Until a new faculty member receives a regular research grant, a "startup grant" is often provided. Such grants are classified as research funds.

Faculty Workstation Fails to Run Course Software

If software that would fail in the teaching environment also fails on a researcher's own machine, the request is classified as teaching. This assumes that the researcher's environment is the same type as the teaching environment, and thus hasn't increased the cost of teaching support.

The Activity is Unknown

Please do your best. If you specify 'unknown' as the category, we're required to find out ourselves, which may delay the work. We thank you for your patience.


When specifying this field in a customized sort or display, any of the names "sponsors", "Sponsors", "?" (for terse output), or "Why" (for terse output) can be used.