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CFaR Background

The Center for Facilities Research (CFaR) was established in 2002 by APPA to organize and consolidate research in educational facilities management. APPA promotes leadership in educational facilities for professionals seeking to build their careers, transform their institutions, and evaluate the value and recognition of facilities in education. APPA provides its members the opportunity to explore trends, issues, and best practices in educational facilities through research, publications, professional development, and credentialing.

CFaR Mission

The mission of CFaR is to advance the body of knowledge of facilities management through research, discovery, and innovation. To accomplish this mission, CFaR has been established by APPA to function through its Directors and project-specific Peer Review Panels. Adding to the information and body of knowledge related to educational facilities occurs at many levels. The development of information and knowledge may occur from simple inquiries between members to preparation for a presentation to specific, well-defined research projects.

CFaR Audience

Strategic connections between effective planning and facilities management may not always be obvious. The more that institutional administrators, Boards of Trustees or Regents, and legislators understand these links, the easier it will be to justify resources, make changes in modernization and renewal funding formulas, and develop consistent design and energy management standards in the areas of facilities and management.

The primary audiences for CFaR engagement are assistant/associate vice presidents for facilities, allied associations, as well as directors, managers, first-level supervisors, and front-line employees involved in facilities issues. Intended audiences also include other administrative areas within the college, university, or school environment such as the business office, information technology, environmental health and safety, state governing bodies, regulatory agencies, foundations, and federal agencies.

APPA invites researchers to the APPA community in order to enhance visibility around the annual Thought Leaders Series Top Critical Issues.  APPA encourages submissions for CFaR research based on the previous year’s top 10 critical issues within the facilities profession.

Once a CFaR research proposal is submitted online, APPA staff will review the proposal and submit it to the appropriate CFaR Assistant Director.  There are four Assistant Directors who represent each of the four core competencies: 1) General Administration; 2) Operations and Maintenance; 3) Energy, Utilities, and Environmental Stewardship; and 4) Planning, Design, and Construction. 

The completed proposal will be submitted to APPA staff and a member of the CFaR Advisory Council, who will primarily serves as an advisor to the Principal Investigator throughout the research process.

Throughout the research phase, APPA staff will act as a facilitator for the project and may be able to  provide some resources for the project. 

Once the research is completed, it will be submitted to APPA.  A select panel of peer reviewers will be chosen to review the final submission.  The peer review process will be confidential and should take approximately one month.  Based on the review, the document may require further research and revision.

APPA will accept all completed research submissions for consideration of that academic year’s "Researcher of the Year” award as well as other publication and/or presentation forums. Each researcher who completes a research project under CFaR receives a CFaR Research Award certificate at the next scheduled APPA annual conference.

CFaR research will be focused around the annual top ten critical facilities issues from the previous year’s APPA Thought Leaders Series.  Principal investigators are welcome to address topics of interest to them so long as the research topic applies to the facilities profession as a whole and is not focused on a particular institution or segment of the profession.

The current vision for research is to structure, balance, and archive foundational knowledge into four core competencies: 1) General Administration; 2) Operations and Maintenance; 3) Energy, Utilities, and Environmental Stewardship; and 4) Planning, Design, and Construction.

The following accepted topics of investigation within the four competencies outlined above may be pursued in terms of various types of research to be conducted:

  • Financial
  • Internal Processes
  • Innovation and Learning
  • Customer Service Orientation
  • Technology Management
  • Knowledge Management

The Center for Facilities Research is designed to encourage participation among a broad spectrum of people with an interest in education regardless of formal research experience.  Research within CFaR is defined broadly within four specific types:

  • INQUIRY:  Simply posting a question about an aspect of educational facilities using APPA’s electronic discussion lists.  All inquiries and responses are archived on the APPA website.  Join the APPAinfo list or see archived queries.

  • SHARING: Case studies and success stories shared through publication in Facilities Manager magazine, on the website, at an APPA conference or seminar, or through another APPA medium.  Read recent examples or search the library.

  • SYNTHESIS: The integration, critical examination, or cross-analysis of existing research to bring a new perspective to the body of knowledge for facilities professionals.  This research type requires evaluation and oversight from one of CFaR’s Assistant Directors and a Peer Review Panel.  Learn more about Synthesis research.

  • CREATION: Original research conceived, conducted, and interpreted specifically for the industry and CFaR, typically with guidance and oversight from one of CFaR’s Assistant Directors and a Peer Review Panel.  Ultimately, Creation research results in a dissertation-like report of findings.  Learn more about Creation research.




Historically, effective management of educational facilities has been the primary focus of APPA’s membership and its programs. The survival and success of the institutions themselves now demand that facilities planners and managers more clearly understand and articulate the link between what they do and what they manage. Thus, more attention must be placed on institutional policy, academic planning, budgeting and finance, community relationships, and education policy at the state/provincial, regional, and federal/national levels. By developing a body of knowledge and expertise on specific issues that can influence these environments, APPA and facilities professionals will become more influential in making decisions at the most critical institutional levels.


  • Ensures increased visibility, credibility, and professional competency
  • Fosters leadership qualities and skills valued in the facilities profession
  • Research results will be highly publicized at APPA’s annual conference, peer-reviewed journal, Facilities Manager magazine, APPA’s website, and via separate prestigious monograph
  • Opportunities afforded to present lectures on research findings at several venues
  • Satisfies the research requirement for the APPA Fellow designation
  • Eligible for “Researcher of the Year” cash prize and recognition in the form of a certificate of completion
Thought Leaders Series

Promote dedicated discussions on the future of higher education and the impact of that future on educational facilities

Research Topic or Question?

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CFar Application

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CFar Advisory Council
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Sponsorship Opportunities

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