June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013
21.57.1 - 21.57.6
Participation in Faculty-Led Off-Campus Programs as a Development Opportunity for Early-Career FacultyAbstractSince 1974, WPI has operated a global network of off-campus programs where studentscomplete degree-required, interdisciplinary research projects under faculty supervision. About65% of WPI undergraduates complete this requirement off-campus, working with organizations– usually overseas – to solve locally-defined, open-ended problems. Learning outcomes includeproblem solving, critical thinking, research skills, written and oral communication, teamwork,and contextual thinking. Program assessment has consistently shown that students achieve theselearning outcomes at higher levels off campus than on campus.Over 20% of the WPI faculty is involved in this program at any time, including faculty from alldepartments and disciplines. Each year about 12% of WPI’s full-time faculty spend a two-monthacademic term off campus supervising student projects in locations throughout Africa, theAmericas, Australasia, and Europe. Off-campus project advisors work closely with studentteams, guiding their research and writing, and also assuming many non-academic roles. Off-campus advisors attend to health, safety, and risk management issues, team dynamics challenges,logistics regarding housing and transportation, and cultural guidance. Faculty typically lead off-campus programs in pairs, with experienced advisors mentoring newer colleagues.This paper will describe results from a study of WPI tenure-track faculty who led student groupsoff campus prior to their tenure decision. Findings from the study suggest that despiteconsiderable demands of these assignments, early-career faculty experienced a variety ofprofessional development benefits from their participation. While many of the benefits involvedevelopment of teaching and mentoring skills, numerous benefits to research and scholarlyactivity were also reported. The paper will also examine the rate at which these faculty earnedtenure compared with other tenure candidates during the same period.
Vaz, R. F. (2013, June), Participation in Faculty-Led Off-Campus Programs as a Professional Development Opportunity for Early-Career Faculty Paper presented at 2013 ASEE International Forum, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--17262
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