Board 150: Effective Faculty Development – More than Time in the Seat

Louis Everett
2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
A common format used for faculty development is to hold workshops at national conferences or "one of" meetings. Often faculty come to the event absorb information and return home and anecdotally speaking, some hang onto what they learned many do not. This paper experimented with a new type of faculty development. The work brought young faculty from minority serving institutions into a one-time workshop then used personal follow up with the attendees. The objective was to keep the workshop
more » ... als fresh in their minds. The development materials were selected to be useful for the workload expectation of faculty at predominately undergraduate institutions. These included, teaching, evaluating students, handling accreditation, student advising, undergraduate research experiences, student discipline and curriculum development. Often a new faculty member at a small university, like many undergraduate institutions, must do all these things from the moment they step on campus. This diverse set of expectations can be overwhelming. The development program used evidence based best practice components. During the face-toface workshop, participants were surveyed to identify what aspect of their work was most important to them. Some participants felt the need to learn to create new courses, others wanted to learn to write educational proposals. Once they identified their priority, they were asked to commit to follow through and deliver a product. Five of the attendees did not make a commitment to follow through. After the face-to-face, the participants who committed to delivering product were contacted several times during a 12 month period after the training. Many engineering graduates in the US matriculate from smaller predominately undergraduate universities (UG). These universities typically have a modest research program and place emphasis on undergraduate instruction. They also employ a significant number of PhD graduates from similar institutions. The faculty sizes are typically small and teaching loads can be formidable. Without proper training new faculty can struggle for years before (if ever) they develop the skills needed to manage expectations. The typical job description of a tenure track faculty at a UG university is very broad and includes, teaching, evaluating students, handling accreditation, student advising, undergraduate research experiences and sometimes student discipline and curriculum development. Because the number of faculty at a UG university is often correspondingly small it is difficult for new faculty to find mentors and adequate training. For example, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has a modest PhD program graduating several engineering PhDs yearly. Virtually all these graduates complete a technical dissertation and most have some experience as "instructor of record". These graduates quickly find employment and many of them take tenure track positions at a UG university. UTEP also employs a number of non-tenure track PhD holders as instructors and/or researchers. Since state allocated tenure track positions are difficult to obtain these faculty help level the teaching and research loads of the Tenured/Tenure Track research active faculty. As a result, UTEP has a sizable number of young inexperienced new PhD graduates who need training in teaching. There are a number of excellent faculty development programs that focus on a limited set of job responsibilities. For example, teaching workshops, educational research workshops, and ABET accreditation workshops. These programs provide excellent in depth coverage of specific areas but expecting a new faculty member to attend all this training is unrealistic. What this project focused on is providing a holistic, cohesive approach to multiple areas of faculty development. By providing the basics in these areas, it is expected that new faculty will be able to better understand how to balance the demands of a position at a UG university and be more amenable to taking on curriculum innovations. Background
doi:10.18260/1-2--32268 fatcat:n3fezcivtvgqxnx5fvovgcnxke