Charlotte, North Carolina
June 20, 1999
June 20, 1999
June 23, 1999
4.266.1 - 4.266.4
Finding and Keeping Good Faculty
Jerry W. Samples, Kathy Bearden, Donald D. Harter University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
The availability of faculty with academic credentials is never a problem when engineering technology programs cast their net. Unfortunately, most of the catch must be thrown back because they lack industrial experience, thus not meeting the basic credentials requirement of TAC of ABET. The other side of the coin is the lack of stability caused by three employment factors: the return to academe of very experienced industrialists, the retirement of long standing professors, and the departure of young scholars to seek their fortunes in the competitive industrial environment. This paper describes faculty transition problems and offers solutions that lead to better stability within engineering technology programs.
Background Imagine a three-year period in which the following events occur. One faulty member fails to receive tenure and suddenly departs for a new position. A newly tenured professor decides that teaching just isn’t as enjoyable as it should be and leaves for industry. Five faculty members decide to take the University’s retirement offer that includes a healthy incentive. One faulty member is hired from graduate school and has just slightly over the minimum industrial experience, and another comes from industry after 20 years of industrial experience. Nine personnel actions in three years within a faculty of 17. Instability of that faculty is certainly a problem and one that must be dealt with to ensure program stability. The remaining faculty must decide on the direction of programs, look at class sizes, be concerned about teaching overload, and be flexible and creative as teaching assignments are developed. The faculty needs to look at the instability as an opportunity to reshape and update the faculty. They must also assess the situation and determine factors that affect individual decisions to stay or leave, and they must put in place a mechanism to find good faculty with an eye on the reasons that faculty stay, to ensure a match. It is this match that will foster retention. Of course, the tenure process, mentoring, workloads, and expectations must be balanced to assist faculty who want to stay and are encouraged to do so. Information In any problem solving situation engineers define the problem, i.e. there is faculty instability, and generate courses of action based on knowledge of the subject. There are two questions that faculty need to consider during the analysis process, why stay at your current institution?, and what characteristics of a new hire are important in defining a good fit in the current faculty? A brief survey of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown provides answers to both questions. The survey was not scientifically prepared and the results are not statistically supported, but the answers represent what this faculty thinks and indicates how they might go about choosing new faculty members. A hiring action is currently underway so this information is timely and important to the success of the search.
Bearden, K., & Harter, D. D., & Samples, J. W. (1999, June), Finding And Keeping Good Faculty Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. https://peer.asee.org/7675
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