Fordham’s Research Resources Are Lacking


Research proposals for the annual FCRH Undergraduate  Research Symposium were due this past Monday, April 3, and the event will take place later in the month. Even if students are not submitting a proposal for the research symposium, Fordham scholars are utilizing the resources Fordham offers for end-of-semester research papers and projects. With the amount of research currently happening on Fordham’s campus, it is imperative to have resources that can match that demand.

Fordham’s research resources are falling short of this demand for access to a wide range of quality online databases. Students searching Google Scholar will frequently find that a variety of databases are unavailable through their institution. Even if students go searching for a resource through the official Fordham libraries page, they will most likely be relegated to whatever can be found on the most basic databases, such as JSTOR. 

Students studying abroad at Fordham’s London Centre also come face-to-face with the realities of poor resources for research. Professors who teach at other American universities in London have access to a wider selection of databases available through their home university to assign research or reading materials that Fordham students do not have access to. Professors will also direct their students to personally register themselves outside institutions, such as the New York Public Library, so they can access better and more diverse options. 

It would be unfair to compare Fordham to large research universities, such as the highly-ranked University of Michigan or the UC system. However, looking at similar institutions to Fordham — in tuition and size — it becomes clear that Fordham needs to put more funding toward research resources to be a competitor with their peer institutions. 

Overall, Fordham was ranked 72nd generally in relation to other national universities. Other rankings for Fordham include 84th in Best Value Schools and 68th in Most Innovative Schools. One way Fordham could prove more valuable and help students be innovative in what they are producing is increasing the research budget. 

One competitor for Fordham is Boston College. Another northeastern Jesuit institution, Boston College is commonly invoked as a similar school to Fordham. Boston College, however, has a wider collection of online database systems for students to choose from, as well as a trial program of other databases they are considering adding to their offerings. Boston College even has more than 35 research centers and institutes for students and faculty to engage with.

Keeping all of this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Boston College is ranked much higher at 36th for National Universities, 50th for Best Value Schools and 16th in Most Innovative Schools. Seeing these offerings directly correspond to higher rankings, it doesn’t seem like a big ask for more funding for a wider selection of databases to choose from for research projects. 

Another private Jesuit institution with a comparable tuition and similar geographic location is Georgetown University. Georgetown is ranked at 22nd for National Universities and 39th in Best Value Schools. Georgetown’s library also contains many more online databases for their students to utilize. Similarly to Boston College, Georgetown also has a database trial system for students to try out a potential new database and offer feedback before the university commits it to their offerings. For more prolonged research, Georgetown also offers several research centers and institutes that span several disciplines for their students to engage with during their time there. 

Considering that these universities are commonly compared to Fordham, the resources offered to students should also be comparable. Students are not asking to increase Fordham’s research centers and institutes to 35, but knowing that the costs and fees are similar at all three of these institutions, it is possible to have more online databases available directly through the university without the need to go to an outside source. 

As a society so focused on progressing forward or innovating the social sphere, it is imperative to have research resources that meet this ideal. Fordham needs better and more varied research resources to best situate students to be among some of those change makers and innovators that are generating the ideas to move society forward. It does not seem as though that is the path Fordham is setting students along with the university’s current offerings.